They say that every good business idea starts with identifying a need that people have. A lot of businesses look for the obvious ones, like wanting easy access to food and other essentials, while others go outside the box. With the internet, just about anyone can create a business, and sometimes, even the most unique and niche ideas really take off:
Way back in 1999, Joseph Tantillo had an idea to start an online business. He had already thought about finding a way to sell Greek merchandise (as in, frats and sororities), and doing it online seemed like a good idea. Greekgear.com started out with just two customers during the first month, but by 2004, it was one of the largest online sources of Greek custom-printed shirts, hats, jewelry, and more. Tantillo branched out, creating a total of five sites like coedgear.com and mychristiangear.com. He’s currently still the CEO.
When the Ipod came out, the music industry changed. 23-year old Catharine Keane saw that people were switching from CDs to the Ipod, but not everyone had the knowledge or time to digitize their collections. She started a business where she converted CDs and loaded them to the Ipod. She called it Hungry Pod, and eventually got the attention of The New York Times in 2004, and brought in $100,000 a year with just three employees. She sold the business in 2008.
Appealing to people’s innate curiosity and risk-taking, the Something Store is an online retail store where you order a mystery box for $10. Items can include earrings, a crimping tool, table runners, clothing, toys, and so on. The most expensive item they’ve ever shipped to a lucky customer was a $600 computer, while some people have said they received items they could have gotten on Amazon for way less than $10. That’s just the risk of buying something from a business that will not tell you what you’re getting.
I Want To Draw A Cat For You
Steven Gadlin was a website development manager and decided to launch a website, where for $9.95, he would draw a stick-figure cat any way a person wanted. Drawings include a cat playing basketball, a cat riding a unicorn, birthday greetings, marriage proposals, and more. Gadlin went on “Shark Tank,” and got Mark Cuban to invest $25,000. After that appearance, the website took off, and he made close to $300,000. After three years, he decided to close down in 2015, with around 18,794 cat drawings under his belt.
When she started pitching her online business idea, Melanie Perkins had already found success among schools with a separate yearbook project, but she wanted to go bigger. Motivated by the fact that graphic design software is so expensive and difficult to use, she wanted to create an online platform that was as fun and easy as social media. In 2012, she flew from Australia to California to raise funds. She took 100 meetings, but no one wanted in. Eventually, after connecting with an investor, and actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, Canva finally got its funding. Within a year, Canva’s users leapt from zero to 1 million. In 2016, it had 10 million users over 179 countries. Canva is now one of the fastest growing tech companies in Australia.