In today’s economy, it can be pretty tough to make money anywhere, but some intrepid folks are earning money hand over fist online and they’re doing it in some crazy ways. There’s a lot that can be learned from these people, especially if you’re sitting on your own idea but think it’s too out there. As these people illustrate, there’s no end to the insanity when it comes to making money online!
1 . Virtual Farming – Nearly half a million people in China are making money by playing a game, earning gold and selling it to other players with too much time on their hands and a credit card burning in their pocket! The phenomenon that is World of Warcraft, a massively multi-player online role playing game, has spawned some of the most creative ideas for making money. The game’s currency is gold, but a lot of players don’t want to take the time to earn it themselves. So, these people in China, and all over the world, spend their days playing the game, making gold and selling it in the game for actual cash.
2. Doggles – If there is one thing dogs don’t need, it’s a pair of goggles, but this idea, which got its start online, has made millions of dollars and real stores have opened up all over the world. They took their original idea, of UV protective doggles and continued expanding their product line to include vests, other eye wear and even jewelry. People will spend countless dollars on their pets and this site more than proves it can pay off big time if you have a pet related product or idea.
3. The Million Dollar Homepage – This is probably the most iconic of all the crazy ideas that have ever been born. This guy decided to set up a site and sell one million pixels for $1 a piece. He got a huge amount of publicity and ended up making his million dollars. He has since gone on to other money making projects.
4. WhateverLife – This teenage girl who had a flair for the creative set up a site to offer layouts for MySpace and free tutorials. The idea took off and she now gets around 7 million visitors to her website every month. She’s managed to land some major advertising contracts and has received offers to buy her site that have exceeded $1.5 million.
5. MyYearbook – Two teens had a simple idea; why not create an online yearbook for people? The idea turned into a social networking site and they've been able to raise more than $4 million in venture capital. The company now has 45 employees, 3 million members and some heavy duty advertisers.
6. Cameron Johnson – This young entrepreneur got his start at the age of nine making greeting cards, expanded into reselling Ty Beanie Babies on eBay by the age of 12 and finally sold his online advertising company for an undisclosed sum after making $3 to $4 million a month. His latest venture, CertificateSwap, that allows people to swap out unwanted gift certificates just sold for six-figures. He’s now working the lecture circuit and focusing on helping others strike entrepreneur gold.
7. LuckyWishbone – This has to rank as one of the craziest of all time ideas. Why wait around for thanksgiving when you could get a wishbone whenever you feel like it? This company manufacturers and sells plastic wishbones. They are producing 30,000 of them a month and sales have exceeded one million dollars.
8. Steve Pavlina – This guy uses his blog to write about life hacks and by all accounts he makes a ton of money doing it. He covers everything under the sun from personal development to astral projection. He makes at least $300 a day for a few minutes of work.
9. Hungry Pod – Catherine Keane decided to make a business out of loading music on people’s iPod’s and it has paid off big time. She’s making more than $100k a year, after helping out a friend and realizing the kind of market that was out there.
10. Antenna Balls – You know those little things you see on the top of car’s antennas? Jack Wall turned this into a multi-million dollar industry by selling them online.
11. The Laser Monks – These guys really saw an opportunity and turned it to their advantage. Print cartridges are expensive and old ones clutter up the environment. Refills are cheaper and help reduce pollution. Viola! They made more than $2 million in 2005.
12. I Do Now I Don’t – Joshua Opperman got stuck holding the bag, a very expensive one, after his financee returned her engagement ring. Stuck with a ring that he couldn’t get the value back on he started a service online for everyone in this situation. He now runs a very successful home business.
13. SantaMail – Ok, this one takes advantage of little kids, but you got to hand it to Byron Reese for making millions off of this idea. Parents send him ten bucks and he writes their kids as “Santa.”
14. Amazing Butterflies – Selling butterflies and making millions? Doesn’t seem conceivable, but Jose Muniz has managed to pull it off. You can get your very own live butterfly from Jose, who started the business on a bet. I guess it paid off.
15. FitDeck – Playing cards with an exercise theme. Never work, right? Well, Phil Black made $4.7 million off of this little idea. His cards all feature fitness workout vignettes from his personal experience as a Navy SEAL and a trainer. They sell for $18.95 a pack and obviously, people are interested.