Someone on some site on being asked some question related to becoming an entrepreneur had answered, “Do not even think of becoming an entrepreneur unless you have an Instagram up your sleeve!” Well sir (I know he was a male), I strongly disagree. Sometimes, the simplest of ideas that can turn into a million-dollar company that you’ve always wished to build. And no, I am not saying luck’s a factor, but I’ll go old school.
“Necessity is the mother of all inventions.” And let me add, “So are mistakes!”
1. “Pay the bill!”, “Call the plumber!”, “Fix the sink!”…I don’t know how we can even function without these post-it notes! And, they were an accident that earned Dr. Spenser Silver a billion dollars!
My cupboard is painted all over with these lovely post-it notes. To be honest, I even write a note “Call mom!” (how lame could I be?!) just to use my post-it notes. But never, absolutely never have I wondered about how they became so popular or how they were invented because these are such simple things! Just a piece of paper with a little glue (I didn’t go thinking about how difficult it would be to make that glue, obviously)! But, Dr. Spenser Silver, while attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive accidentally developed “low-tack”, reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. And viola, there you have a super invention that earned him in millions (and don’t think he didn’t put efforts into marketing)! In 2012, his earnings had reached over 1 billion!
2. Slinky – The real deal toy of steel! Richard James, not everyone is lucky enough to earn $1 billion like this!
I have bought dozens of them! And they are so much fun. Richard James, while developing springs that could support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships in rough seas, knocked one off and saw it loop down the stairs and stand upright. He came home and told his wife, “I think if I got the right property of steel and the right tension; I could make it walk.” They sold 400 units in the first 90 minutes! And their revenue is $1 billion! Can you imagine?!
3. Crocs! These ugly-cool items were meant for spas. I don’t know about how cool they are, but they surely made the founders billionaires!
Okay. This wasn’t even meant to be a fashion item!! They were just made as simple, spa shoes. And they are so ugly that they are attractive! And the makers, Lyndon Hansen, Scott Seamans, George Boedecker, Jr. would have never thought in their wildest dreams that they would make millions out of this! Actually, no. In 2012, the figures had reached over a billion dollars! I really think I should have had worked on that idea I had back in high school.
4. Smiley face helped earn half-a-billion dollars for Bernard and Murray Spain?! However, the creator, Mr. Ball earned just $45. Not-so-smiley, huh?
Those tiny, adorable, goofy, yellow smiley faces are practically everywhere around you. The cute kisses that you send to your lover, the smiley you send when you have nothing to say, the smiley that shouts your red-hot anger, the smiley that declares to the world you are sick; so these little faces are ruling the world. However, the story is pretty ironic since the man who actually came up with the idea only made about $45 dollars from it. We feel you, Charlie Ball. However, two brothers, Bernard and Murray Spain came upon this and realised its hidden potential. They bought the legal rights to the mark and started using them with their tag-line, “Have a nice day!” And, they became millionaires. Correction. Billionaires. The estimated profit is 0.5 billion dollars! Okay, however lame your idea, JUST TRADEMARK IT!
5. Band-aid is the story of love! Or is it the story of $30 million earned because of Earl Dickinson?
The band aid was a simple idea of a husband who wanted her wife to be able to dress her wounds easily! Such a thoughtful gesture, that paid him alright! Earle Dickinson is the man. He then passed on his idea to Thomas Anderson, his employer at Johnson & Johnson and together they made this indispensable product! You and I have them in our wallets, and so does everyone else. So you can begin to imagine how much this tiny invention would have earned for them! Band-aid earned $30 million for Johnson & Johnson!!
6. Bless the kids playing with the bamboo hoops! And Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin, the smart inventors who earned $12 million!
How in the world could have these simple rings earned a million dollars for its creators? Oh, but they did. Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin came up with the idea when they saw children playing with hoops of bamboo. And they were able to market it so well that in two years, the sales reached up to more than 100 million units. They later sold the company to Kransco Group for $12 million. I have an advice. Just go to whoever is ready to listen to your idea. And don’t be scared when people call you foolish. But don’t even be delusional!
7. Does Snuggie even need marketing?! Gary Clegg beat cold in the coolest of ways. Also, earned $7 million!
Do you see that amzing, cosy slanket? It was created by Gary Clegg. And it earned him $7 million! Clegg’s mother made him a blanket with a single sleeve for use in his cold dorm room so that he doesn’t have to unwrap the whole blanket to reach for the remote. And that’s how Clegg came up with the idea of a blanket with two sleeves. How very convenient. And warm. And easy. And that made him a millionaire. And left me sulking on my couch in want of that snuggie!
8. Because we love our dogs. We care for their eyes. And we love goggles on them! Roni Di Lullo, the lady who now owns a $3 million company!
Dog love! Roni Di Lullo saw her dog Midknight, squinting in the sunlight. And that’s what inspired her with the idea of goggles for dogs. It might seem silly, but it’s totally logical. They probably need them more than us, especially in the army! It is now a $3 million company. Thoughtfulness made her a millionaire!
9. Alex Tew, you are a genius! 21 and a millionaire! Why even attend the University (rhetorical)?
Alex Tew, in order to pay his university fees came up with the idea of selling space on his website. He sold each pixel for a dollar. Buyers could add their image or logo and add a hyperlink to their website. That’s ingenious! And what could make you feel worse is that he was 21. I am 21. And I am light years away from a million dollars!
Keep your eyes open and your ears active. If you can’t invent, trademark other people’s things (I am not evil, just inspired)!