As consumers, we’ve seen a number of incredibly dumb business ideas turn into unbelievably successful ventures.
While many of these ideas were almost laughable from the start, the entrepreneurs that came up with these ideas were the ones laughing in the end, all the way to the bank!
Here are 7 of the dumbest business ideas ever that actually ended up making millions:
1. The Pet Rock
Back in the 1970s, advertising exec Gary Dahl came up with the concept of the pet rock.
He purchased stones from a builder’s supply store, packaged them in cardboard boxes with breathable holes, and marketed them as in demand pets.
While the actual cost of the product was less than a dollar, he priced the pet rock at $3.95 each. The idea was wildly successful, and pet rocks were THE item to have come Christmas 1975.
2. Holy Ink
Father Bernard McCoy had a printer that ran out of ink.
When searching for cost-effective ink alternatives, he did not have any luck.
Therefore, he decided to start his own ink-refilling business, naming it Holy Ink.
They are able to keep the product’s price low by filling used plastic cartridges with black powder.
Holy Ink quickly became more successful than anyone anticipated, with annual revenue of $2.5 million as of 2005.
3. Positive Attraction
While most dating websites strive to offer a positive experience, this one interpreted the word “positive” a little differently and launched a website to match people that are both HIV positive.
Within a few years of this website being launched, it had earned more than 50,000 members.
4. Plastic Wishbones
In an effort to appeal to people’s desire to control their own destiny, Ken Ahroni started Lucky Wishbone Co., which creates 30,000 plastic wishbones on a daily basis.
Each artificial wishbone retails for $3, and people can’t seem to get enough of them.
5. Exercise Cards
If playing a simple game of cards wasn’t enough, an ex-Navy SEAL and gym instructor, Phil Black, created playing cards exercise routines on them.
In just one year, the exercise cards yielded $4.7 million in revenue.
6. Santa Mail
The idea behind this business is that children can write a letter to Santa, address it to the North Pole, and get a reply back from the jolly man himself by Christmas Eve.
Parents are charged $10 per letter, which is a small price to pay to see the look on their children’s’ faces when Santa’s response arrives.
This idea caught on quickly, with more than 200,000 parents paying the $10 for an “authentic” letter from Santa.
7. Fish-less Aquariums
Why would anyone want an aquarium without the fish?
Well, apparently, this has become The Pet Rock of the 21st century.
The product is called an Ecosphere Closed Ecosystem, where each small glass globe contains a self-sustaining ecosystem.
So what is the big takeaway from this list of dumb, but successful business ideas?
You should realize that there’s always room in the market for your next original business idea, and it may just turn out to be a tremendous success.
If you’re feeling inspired after reading through this list, we encourage you to also check out our list of 11 entrepreneur blogs that will change your life in 2015.