Sports Camp

TeenBiz – Idea #9
Follow up on listeners’ comments and Casual Sports Camp

First, let me thank all of you that left comments on the blog. I appreciate the time you took to do that, if you haven’t done that yet, please do so, your feedback is very important.

One comment requested that we do more motivational podcasts to get people more excited about these opportunities. We will do our best on this one but let me address why we may not hit this as hard as you may like. An entrepreneur needs to be self motivated. If he/she is in constant need of other peoples help to stay motivated they future being self employed looks grim. Now, if you aren’t excited all the time about the ideas you have, don’t worry. Motivation is more than enthusiasm, it is an understand of the rewards and a willingness to do what it takes to get there; sometimes that road is rough and enthusiasm is the last thing on you mind. So we will seek to motivate but we also want to be very real and not get you excited about something you are not ready for.

There was also a request for case studies. I will start to include more but I will focus on those done by people I know. The problem with case studies is they are the exception, not the rule, and sometimes they are a fluke and it gets people excited over something that is really nothing. Also, they never report standard, everyday studies, only the ones that are really amazing which often gives people false expectations. However, I will get in touch with my contacts and come up with some real, true, useful case studies to feature..

Keep the comments coming they are extremely helpful. And to the listener who posted that we need to get the word out about our podcast thank you for speaking up and saying something. We are going to double our efforts to spread the word about TeenBiz and we would ask that you would too. If you have any friends that have the entrepreneurial spirit or have thought about making money on their own, please send them an email and invite them to stop by and subscribe to the podcast on itunes or whatever they prefer. Oh yes, and about the website, it is coming, but it will probably be sometime this week. I decided to change things around a little bit from my original plan.

Anyways, on to today’s idea which is called “Casual Sports Camp.”

For this idea you will either need to know people to are really good at sports or music or be very good yourself.. When I was in my early teens I used to play golf almost every day. After school it was a given that you could find me and my older brother at the golf course. By the time I was in high school I was playing well enough to be the captain of the school golf team. I had developed a smooth, fluid swing that I often got compliments on and after multiple requests for help I learned to patiently coach people on their swings.

When I was 18 I taught a golf class with my father. The class consisted of about 20 students, most of which had only touched a golf club a few times. We bought 400 plastic golf balls wholesale and then gave each student 20 during each lesson to hit. The class was held with permission on the field of a local elementary school. Each student paid $40 for an 8 week course.

During each lesson my father and I would walk up and down the row of students and watch a few swings and then give pointers and praise. Since this gave them a chance to hit on their own but also be watched and coached. We kept it fun and laid back and all the students had a great time and really did develop nice golf swings.

Many times the class was taught by just one of us and we managed just fine. So for 8 hours work we made $800. Since then I have looked back on my little league baseball and basketball years and realized how nice it would have been to play once a week with a coaches who would teach us for 30 minutes and then let us play and be coached for 30 minutes.

If you don’t have a lot of sports talent, think of other things you are good at. Do you play a musical instrument you could teach individually or in groups? Do you have a skill that people are often asking you to teach them? Or do you know someone, just hire them to do it, give them $25 an hour and you walk away sitting pretty.

The steps for this idea really are simple. Advertise through flyers, posters at the local golf course (or equivalent for your talent), and maybe even an ad in the local paper. Sign up as many classes as you can get people for. Buy some plastic golf balls (or whatever supplies you need), schedule a local school gym or field and you are set. The best part is that for students you can do this all in the evenings when you don’t have school!

That’s all for this week, make sure you keep the comments coming and we will see you next week!

Waxing To Go

Idea #8 – Ski Waxing…To Go
The ski tuners that come to you

In honor of the first snow falling on high, mountain peaks in the Rockies this week’s idea will be one that can be used during the upcoming ski season. For those of you in not-so-cold areas of the world that don’t have ski areas, I apologize you may not be able to use this one but think of similarly popular things in your area you might be able to cash in on.

I snowboard…a lot. Usually I am on the hill 30 days each season. Most people don’t wax their skis and boards, even experienced riders that I snowboard with. In fact, some friends of mine go full seasons without doing any type of tuning. The dumb thing is they know they should and when I am gliding smoothing their boards are sticking to the snow like glue; yet they still don’t wax. I also had a season pass for three years to a ritzy resort where 75% of the skiers were from out of state. They come and spend $300 a night on a fancy hotel room, eat at $30/meal restaurants, and ski on amazing skis that haven’t been waxed or tuned since they bought them. Here is where you come in.

Waxing is not very hard to do but it does take some practice and training. The best part is how little equipment you need to do it well. An iron, scraper, diamond stone, wax, and work bench are all you need; all of this will cost about $50. To learn how to wax I would recommend doing some internet research at the following sites...
Or call your local ski shop or outdoor store and see if they do any classes on waxing or will let you come sit in and watch them work.

For advertising, go to hotels and motels near the local ski area and let them know about your service. For a list of hotels to go to first, visit the ski area or their website, often they will have a listing of nearby lodging that they recommend. Tell them that you will come right to the hotel, pick up their skis and have them ready for them by the next morning when they hit the slopes. Charge a little less than the local ski shop will wax for and then split the profits with the hotels that let you offer your service. Make business cards and leave a stack at the front desk. Ask them if they will mention your service each time someone checks in and perhaps even have the room cleaners leave another card on the table in the room.

So that is it. You pick up the skis in the evening, work through the evening, drop them off in the morning, pick up your cash, stop by the hotels and give them their share as well as drop off more business cards, and then, if your like me, you grab your own stick and take for a few runs before you head back home.

Soccer Mom Productions

TeenBiz – Idea #7
Establishing credibility and idea #7, Soccer Mom Productions

First I want to respond to the comment asking about how to gain credibility in the eyes of your customers. That is tricky and I will just say a couple quick tips now, I may revisit this later.
1) Look Professional. As soon as you can, spend the money to get nice equipment that will make you look legit. Dress the part, don’t show up in basketball shorts and a tank top, look like someone that knows what’s up.
2) Act Professional. Know your stuff and act like it. Say things like “I believe” instead of “I think.” “I think” shows you are young and lack confidence; even though the two phrases mean the same thing they have very different effects. Look for other words and phrases that you can eliminate from you “teenager” vocab…like…dude.
Basically, to gain credibility, be credible. Be on time and professional.

Ok, today’s idea is called “Soccer Mom Productions.”
The main idea is to video record little league sporting events like baseball, soccer, football, and basketball and then sell these videos to parents who are either to busy to come and wan to see their child play, want to record their games but would rather watch, or just want to have those memories preserved.

Video camera is obviously the most expensive but most people have video cameras these days and if you don’t it is pretty easy to borrow one. I would say borrow or use your own camera if you want to do this idea and then when it takes off buy your own.
Tripod, $20 if you don’t have one.
Headset, dead serious, you really don’t need it but it makes you look 10x more professional. If your camera doesn’t have a headphone jack, duct tape the end to the camera somewhere so it looks like its attached. A local comedy group once bought a head set and saw how far one of their actors could get into a major college football game without credentials. He watched the whole thing from the sideline and spent halftime in the locker room…behold the power of a headset!
Another thing is a way to edit the video, if you have the stuff or access to it (many universities give students free access to sweet editing equipment). If you don’t have access, no worries, you can startup just fine without it. If you can though, add a menu to a DVD, graphics with the score, time, etc.

If you know the team well like if your brother or friend is on the team and you have a voice for it, try doing a little announcing and commentary. Don’t forget to really talk up the players so the parents, your customers, like what they hear.
Websites are great for this idea because you can put up a sample movie to download, have a way for the parents to pick and choose which games they want to buy and it’s a great way for you to list all the games you have covered.
If you have the editing capabilities you can double the price you charge per game if you have individual player highlights on the DVD main menu. This will be huge for busy parents that can’t come to the game and don’t have time to watch the whole thing.
Do interviews with the players. This will make them feel important and they will want to see themselves on TV so they will want to buy the video.
Watch a pro version of the sport you will cover, see what the main camera angle is and try to match that to give a professional effect.
Have a “please take one” tube with flyers on your tripod for people to read over when they see you filming.
Wear a T shirt with your company info on it.
Stick your logo and contact info somewhere visible on your setup.
Get there early so you can assure yourself a clear view of the game.
Try to cover 3-4 teams as once from different levels and leagues so their schedules don’t overlap.
At halftime stick flyers on all the cars in the parking lot.
Make sure you have nice, professional, color flyers.

This idea is full of potential. If you have any experience with video and editing you have a huge advantage. If you don’t then just start with the basics and go from there and slowly work your way up! Good luck!

Tipset #2

ValPak, Websites, and Fabulous Books to Read

Welcome to episode #8 where we talk about TipSet #2

Before we get into the tipset let me quickly respond to a couple questions from listeners about the last episode.

The first question was about which businesses ValPak works the best for. That is a great question, for businesses whose services cost $300-$400 its a no brainer, you get two call from 30,000 flyers and you break even. However, if you have a $20 service like the garbage can cleaners we talked about last week it becomes a little more of a gamble. I wouldn't say that there is a certain type of business that is suited for ValPak advertising it depends on what type of return you get on your flyers.

As a rule of thumb I have found that if I get 1 call per 100 flyers that I stick on doors I will usually get 1/5 that with ValPak. So I will get 1 call per 500 flyers. That is not exact but its what I have usually seen happen. So take a look at your flyer effectiveness and use that to judge whether you should try ValPak or Money Mailer. Speaking of which, Money Mailer usually costs a bit less that ValPak and is a lower cost way to test that style of advertising.

Second comment was about setting up a website for your business, if I had any experience with that, and how effective that would be with something like garbage can cleaning. I do have quite a bit of experience with this. I have created websites for about 6 of the businesses I have started. The way I see it, if you can afford to set up a website: do it. It is a perfect way to establish credibility for your business, give your potential customers a visual idea of what they can expect from your service, and also advertise online for your business using Google local results and similar methods.

So if you can afford it, do it. There is very little to lose. I did not set one up for garbage can cleaning only because I didn't have time. Had I done it more I certainly would have because the before and after pics of a really dirty garbage cans and the praise I received from customers would have been perfect to feature on the web since they didn't fit on the flyer.

The tipset for today is actually a list of 3 books I have read recently that have really helped me in my entrepreneurial efforts. Here are a few amazons links to the books.

1) If at First You Don't Succeed
A great book to help you evaluate which attribute you have, which you can develop, and many many useful examples of each.

2) How to Win Friends and Influence People
The classic is useful today as it was the day of its first printing. In any business you have to sell and interact with people. This book will help you do it better.

3) The Tipping Point
This book is really really interesting. In short, its about how fads form, why some thing find their way into everyone's closet and others don't.

That is it for today. The next episode will be another business idea so don't forget to tune in!

Super Can Cleaner

Making the world a better smelling garbage can at a time.

Click Here to Listen to the Audio/PODCAST Version

This is what I did to make money during August. Luckily, I already had everything I needed so it didn't cost me a cent to start. If you buy everything on your own it will be around $250 but let me also explain how to work around that at first.

The concept is to clean outside garbage dumpsters at peoples' homes using a pressure washer. The pressure washer is the most expensive thing obviously and it also requires that you have a truck or something to carry it around in. Both of these can be avoided, let me first tell you how to go about cleaning then I will talk about getting equipment and advertising.

Lay the cans down on their side with the bottom elevated to let the water and junk run out. I laid the open end of the can in the street and the bottom on the curb, that way all the junk that got washed out just went straight into the gutter. I used a 15 degree nozzle for the pressure washer and just blasted away at the inside, removing all that junk that had built up of the months and years. It comes off suprisingly easy with a pressure washer and takes only about 5 minutes per can. I would also spray the inside with a lysol type concentrate, scrup the inside quickly, and rinse with the pressure washer before spraying another round of the lysol and letting that stay to finish up the cleaning.

My setup was my pressure washer attached to the tailgate (down, not closed) with the bucked of lysol stuff and a coil of hose next to that. I would pull up, attach the hose, and start cleaning. From pulling up to driving away I could clean 3 dumpsters in less than 15 minutes. I would charge $10 for 1, $15 for 2, and $20 for 3. When I had a day full of appointments I would make about $50 an hour.

To advertise I would go door to door. I tried flyers and got an ok response rate but door to door worked incredibly well. Some days I would get a job at half the doors I knocked on. Heres what to do if you want to get started with no money.

Make a flyer that is 4 to a page. Make 100 copies so you end up with 400 flyers. Go out either at 10pm the night before the garbage comes or early the morning of and stick flyers on garbage cans and doors. With that you will proably get at least 3 calls which will be enough to rent the pressure washer for the first week. Rent a pressure washer (make sure its gas so you don't have to carry a long cord and find a plug also) that can fit in whatever vehicle you have. If you have a truck, you are set. If you do not you can go door to door just pushing the pressure washer along. Coil the hose around the handle, hang a gallon of the lysol stuff from the handle with an S hook.

Now this may be a ghetto setup but this is just until you can buy a hitch and trailer for your car (approx $200) and buy a pressure washer of your own. Once you have the equipment though its all profit. I used one gallon of lysol to clean nearly 40 cans to make about $300 so its not like you have a lot of money to spend once its all paid off.

Here is a very important key if you plan to try this. After each and every job ask them if they want you to come back every month to keep them clean and fresh. Offer a really good deal since it will only take you a minute or two per can to clean them again, and within a month you can have jobs setup for months and months to come.

You may want to look into advertising with the local money mailer or ValPak too, I never did so I can't tell you how effective it is but give it a go and let us all know how it goes!

That's it for now...see you next week!