It is almost back to school time and which means Football season is almost here. Here is a mini-business that I did in college that is a fun and very effective way to make some quick and easy money while helping promote businesses in your local community.
What you will be making and selling is customized vinyl seat cushions for people to sit on during high school football games. Instead of just selling the cushion to high school football fans though, you will also be selling advertising to local businesses to be featured on the cushion.
Here is how you do it. Go over to CustomSeatCushions.com (or any other custom seat cushion printer) and find a vinyl cushion that can be customized and gives you 12 inches by 12 inches of printing space on each side. On one side of the cushion you will put a graphic of the high school’s name and logo in your community. On the other side you will print the ads that you sell to local businesses.
Since the cushion is 12” x 12”, break down the ad space in to 3” x 3” ads, which will give you 16 ad spots to sell. Approach a variety of local businesses and sell each ad spot for $500. The best types of businesses to approach are ones that are actively involved in your local community. Here is a sample list of types of businesses that work well:
- Local Pizza Parlors
- Insurance Agents
- Breakfast Cafés
- Sit Down Restaurants
- Quick Serve Restaurants (Subway owners are especially receptive!)
- Local Grocery Store
- Flower Shops
- Car Wash
- Martial Arts Studio
- Coffee Shop
If there are any other businesses in your area who you notice are always supporting local events or the school, approach them as well. You’ll find that selling something like this is quite easy if you approach locally owned businesses, because they all have a desire to support local events and be seen as being involved in the community.
Once you have sold all 16 ad spots at $500 each, you have made $8000. Now you need to put the design together by combining the ads that the local businesses gave you. I recommend using Photoshop for this, but if you don’t have it, GIMP is a free alternative that will allow you to do pretty much everything Photoshop does. Create images for both sides of the cushion—One side is just the high school name and logo and the other side is the advertising.
Go back to CustomSeatCushions (or whomever you decide to use) and upload your images. I recommend ordering 1,000 seat cushions. This will cost you close to $4,000 to get your customized cushions with printing on both sides, but that is why you have collected the money up front from the advertisers—so you can pay for the printing!
It will take a week or two to get your custom cushions back to you. Once you have them, go to the local high school football games on Friday nights and sell the cushions. I would sell them right by the front door for $5 each and people just ate them up. Even better, you can put an ad on Craigslist asking for a student from the high school you will be selling to and give them a job selling the cushions. People love to buy from high school students, especially if you let him or her say that this is a new businesses they are working on—people will always support a young entrepreneur. (And nobody needs to know you are the man/woman behind the curtain!)
Here is how the math plays out: Sell $8,000 worth of advertising plus $5,000 in cushions ($5 x 1,000 sold) for a total of $13,000 in sales. Take out the $4,000 price of the cushions and you have netted yourself $9,000 for about 6 weeks of part time work. If you pay somebody to sell the cushions for you, maybe take out another $1,000 to get them really motivated and you’ve still netted $8,000 for some part time work.
This method truly works, but you really need to take action on it quickly because the new school year (and Friday night football games) are about to start. You really want to be selling your cushions during the first few weeks of the season so that people will use them all season long. This is also a great selling point to the advertisers—this is something that people will be looking at on a weekly basis for at least two and a half months. So even though you will only be selling 1,000 cushions, the ads will get viewed many more times than that.
If this helps motivate even one Warrior to go and take action, this post will have been worth it. I hope it inspires and gets your creative juices flowing. There are money making opportunities everywhere, you just have to see and act on them. Seize this opportunity and don’t look back!
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