10 New Ways To Make Your Fortune (Mar, 1950)

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10 New Ways To Make Your Fortune

If you want to stay broke all your life, better skip this. For here’s the secret of making money—and you might dash off and strike it rich!

By Lester David

EVER want to make $100,000 a year? With a little brains, a little know-how and a novel idea, you can. You don’t have to bundle your head up in a big bath towel and make like a crystal-gazing swami with your goldfish bowl to discover the secret of rolling in coin.

All you have to do is to put a new idea to work in a business of your own. Just give your community something different—something it needs or something you can make it want. It’s a quicker and far surer way to fortune than bucking the tough competition in an estab- lished line of business. MI has rounded up 10 unusual big-money ideas based upon the actual experiences of enterprising young Americans, who saw their golden chance and took it. These examples should stimulate your imagination and start you on the road to success in a similar business in your own community. . Here are your 10 new ways to make that fortune:

1. Turn Dust into Gold.

In vast areas of our country, dust is a major problem to both business and homeowners. If wind and vehicles constantly kick up a cloud of choking dirt around your community, profit by the example of two veterans, who turned this nuisance into gold dust for themselves.

Robert K. McQuade and Anthony Dincalici, both GI students at the University of Arizona at Tucson, were having a hard time supporting their wives and children on their government allotments. They happened to notice, though, that the city’s wonderfully dry climate was ruining business and threatening the health of the citizens, because of the ever-increasing dust. Newspapers warned that the city would soon lose its reputation as a health resort for those suffering from asthma, tuberculosis, sinus and other ills.

The two veterans visited a number of gasoline stations around town and asked the boss at each place what he did with the hundreds of gallons of waste oil drained every day from auto crankcases.

“Oh, we just keep the stuff around somewhere till it gets in everyone’s way,” the boss usually answered. “Then we get somebody to haul it away for us.”

The boys offered to carry off all the waste oil for nothing. They had an idea they could use that oil to lay the dust and pile up some profit for themselves.

After scouting around a bit, they turned up an ancient automobile, which they stripped completely except for the front seat. Then they rigged up old oil drums on the rear to serve as a tank and installed a 2-hp pump to force the oil out through ordinary lawn sprinklers. All this equipment, including the battered jalopy, cost them exactly $300. They loaded the tank with oil by driving around and picking up the crankcase waste from the filling stations. Then the students went from house to house in the Tucson area and solicited orders for dust-damping. For a fee of $10 per house they guaranteed dust-free roads for three months with their oil-sprinkling equipment. Residents found this new service a godsend and eagerly signed up for all the work the boys could handle.

Tucson’s dusty streets are by no means unique. If your community is plagued by dust, you can do a valuable civic service and at the same time build up a profitable antidust outfit for yourself by following the example of these two ex-GIs. You will find as McQuade and Dincalici did that you can drum up all the business you need if you merely paint your phone number in large letters on your vehicle and cruise around the neighborhood for a few minutes.

2. Guide Yourself to Riches.

Andrew Hettle, a New York engineer, knew and loved the big city. After work he spent long hours exploring the town and poking about in its odd out-of-the-way corners.

Then one day Hettle lost his job. He drifted gloomily about the streets until he was nearly pushed off the sidewalk by a guide leading a group of tourists through Times Square. Suddenly the thought struck him: “Wouldn’t those visitors be eager to get a look at the real New York instead of just being rushed past all the routine old sightseeing landmarks?”

Hettle stopped worrying about his lost job and got busy on his idea. He sent out circulars describing his own inside-New York tour. Soon he was showing his first batch of out-of-towners the bustling city markets that ran full blast while the rest of the town slept; the quaint foreign quarters, and the strange life along the waterfront. He introduced his clients to charming regional restaurants unknown to the general public. The visitors were enchanted. When they returned home, they passed the word that here was a real sightseeing tour. In a few months Hettle was swamped with more tourists than he could handle. Just because he was curious about his own town, he discovered a far better career than the one he had lost.

So, if you know and love your city or region—not merely on the surface but behind the scenes—Hettle’s example can guide you to a bonanza. First, familiarize yourself with any tours already conducted in your area. Then, as soon as you have learned where they go and what they show, forget all about them—because those are the very places where you should never take your clients.

Establish friendly connections with any interesting markets, colorful eating places and quaint regional crafts or businesses. You will find them most willing to help because they appreciate out-of-town publicity and are glad to give any visitors a chance to purchase their wares. Then, work up a mailing list of prospective clients, such as women’s clubs, chambers of commerce and fraternal orders within a radius of three or four hundred miles from your home. Prepare an attractive circular telling of your very special guide service. You will find yourself miles ahead of all the other tours that cover only the standard landmarks. And you will also find that you’re quickly guiding yourself along the road to wealth 3. Plant Drugs—Grow Money.

Drug concerns buy large quantities of medicinal herbs and plants. If you live in the country, the berries, herbs and roots-growing wild all around you—and free for the picking—may be worth their weight in greenbacks. If nature doesn’t provide enough of these valuable plants in your area, you can probably cultivate one or more of them yourself.

In the central and eastern states, soil conditions are best for growing belladonna, used “in preparation of a mild narcotic; digitalis, valuable for certain types of heart disease; horehound, key ingredient in stomach tonics or cough remedies; camomile, which helps produce perspiration artificially; conium, a sedative, and fennel, a stimulant.

In warmer climates you can try your luck on licorice, wanted for laxatives, or wormseed, used to destroy intestinal worms. In the northern half of the United States, look for aconite, arnica, poppy, seneca, valerian and wormwood—-all important because of their medicinal properties. If your soil is rich and moist, you may grow alteris, althea, angelica, calamus, pinkroot, peppermint and spearmint. To raise a money crop of drugs, you should study the technical information in two pamphlets: 77 MP, American Medicinal Plants of Commercial Importance (30 cents) and 123 IF, Drying Crude Drugs (5 cents). You can get these publications by writing to the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C. Send specimens of your drug harvest to the crude drug supply houses or manufacturers. Most of these concerns will be eager to buy your crops regularly.

4. Make Money with a Camera.

Are you a shutterbug? Competition is killing in ordinary commercial photography. But give your hobby an original angle and soon your only financial worry will be about the heavy taxes on your high income.

Most people get painfully self-conscious in front of a lens. Their faces freeze into silly smiles or deadly grimaces. Of course, they are convinced it’s all the photographer’s fault for not catching their personality as it really is.

So, why not let your subject take her own picture? Group some big mirrors around the camera so that she can see herself clearly. Fasten a long extension to your shutter bulb or cable release. Load your camera and fix the shutter. Then give the bulb to your subject. Tell her to look in the mirror and press the bulb when she is fully satisfied about the way she looks. Leave the room so that she can practice her most winning smiles in complete privacy.

You can set up a studio in your home and become the only photographer in town with a brand-new idea. It’ll cost you less than $25 to launch this photo business. An ad in your local paper about this novel take-your-own picture technique should get you off to a flying start.

Jimmy Meyers, a Florida caddy, tried another interesting angle on photography. He bought an inexpensive movie camera and took action shots of golfers. Then he sold the printed reels to players so that they could study them at leisure and find out what was wrong with their game. Jimmy’s caddy fees are only small change to him now. He’s turned his golf analysis movies into a big-money deal.

5. Give a Party—Make a Profit.

Remember all the headaches that accompany a big party like a wedding reception, christening, graduation or any of the holiday blowouts? For a fee, offer to take over all the arrangements. Your job will be to hire musicians, entertainers, prepare the cocktails and canapes, send out the invitations from the names given you by the hostess, oversee the decorations and handle the other bothersome details that usually spoil all the fun for the party-giver.

If you enjoy entertaining at home and have a flair for organizing games, it’s an admirable foundation for a business of your own. If you are married,’ here’s a job you can tackle with your wife. Possibilities for a party-giving agency are practically limitless—especially if you live in a fair-sized town. You can make up a good list of prospective clients by keeping up with your paper’s society pages. After spotting an engagement or wedding announcement, birth listing or graduation exercise, make a personal call or mail an attractive circular to the people who might be planning to celebrate the occasion. After you’ve seen the bride’s family about plans for her reception, don’t neglect the groom. A bachelor dinner for the prospective husband may be biggest and best party of all.

6. Put It on Wheels.

Like Mohammed, if a mountain of business won’t come to you, get up and go to the mountain yourself. Traditionally, retail and service firms ask customers to come to them. Why not upset this tradition and take your supplies or services right to your clients?

Housewives frequently find it difficult to go out to the stores. The men of the house, tied up with their jobs, always complain that they never have time to see about things themselves. Here are some of the possibilities for rigging up a good business on wheels: A) A rolling fix-it shop in a truck that holds lumber, tools, paint, power-driven cutting machines, grindstones and other equipment for repairs. Stuart Fonde of Knoxville, Tennessee, “the House Doctor,” rolls around town to mend screens, remodel kitchens, build shelves and do other handy work for the home. One neighbor tells another and your business can boom in no time.

B) A rolling beauty shop in a trailer, offering everything from manicures to permanents. You can be the big wheel of the business while your wife or girl handles the beautifying. Ethel and Ruth Cocking started a mobile shop of this sort in Iowa after investing $1000 in the trailer and supplies. The big selling point here is that harrassed housewives who can’t budge from their homes will be tickled silly to get beauty treatments right at their door.

C) A rolling rental library, consisting of books stacked up in your car, for housewives and shut-ins. The mobile library in Cole County, Missouri, carries 1800 books, a 16-millimeter sound movie projector and a record player as this “bookmobile” tours re- mote rural villages. It’s a smashing success. You can adapt the same idea to your own area and offer the latest novels or records on a rental basis.

D) A rolling troubleshooter for electric appliances, operating from a small truck outfitted as an electrical shop. One man found this door-to-door repair work so successful that he branched out and bought used motors. These he rebuilt, then resold or rented at a good profit, all on a mobile-business basis.

E) A rolling blacksmith shop. H. D. Houser serves 300 farmers and breeders in a 50-mile area in Ohio with his smithy on wheels. You can get as many customers as you want when you make your shop mobile.

7. S-O-S—Boss in Trouble.

A small businessman’s secretary comes down with a heavy cold just on the day when all those letters must get out. A company’s switchboard operator twists her ankle and can’t come to work. A shoe store’s salesman calls in sick at the height of the busy season. < Temporary crises like these are everyday occurrences in the business world. That's why Helen Manne of New York City, an enterprising ex-public stenographer, is on her way to a fortune. Her bright idea? She answers distress signals for- employers who need temporary replacements for four hours, a day, a week or months. Her organization is called S-O-S, Substitute Office Service. On her roster are scores of people who don't want full-time jobs but are eager to serve in a part-time capacity. S-O-S aids budding actresses who are temporarily "at liberty" and young married women and mothers who want part-time work while their children are at school. The staff is available for work all during the day. Miss Manne's S-O-Sers have done "rescue" work for theatrical producers, governmental military authorities, stores, radio and publishing firms, conventions—and even for a mental hospital, where one girl was greeted with a Nazi salute and the words "Heil Hitler!" One of her girls is now in Cuba, honeymooning with the "rescued" boss. Once a desperate mother insisted that S-O-S send a baby-sitter so she could attend her sister's wedding. Miss Manne herself covered that assignment—the only occasion on which she has sent out a girl without previous experience in the field. Miss Manne has done so well that she is planning a branch office in Los Angeles— "S-O-S—West Coast." Here's how to start a similar agency in your home town: First, advertise for part-time stenographers, typists, file clerks and other office help. Prepare a full list of the kind of help you offer. Then advise all business firms in town that you are ready to provide emergency replacements on immediate notice. Miss Manne now has 300 companies using her service. As the only outfit of its kind in your town, you should do a terrific business, too. 8. Cook Up Cash in Your Kitchen. A big-money idea may be lurking right in the kitchen of your own home. Do you have a special barbecue or spaghetti sauce you love to whip up for your friends? Does your wife or mother have a favorite recipe of which the family is particularly fond—some super-delicious dish handed down by grandma? If your family is wild about it, others will be. Look at what happened to Mrs. Robert Dehlendorf of Scarsdale, New York. Her grandmother taught her to make a particularly tasty mayonnaise dressing. She prepared several jars and took them to the N. Y. State Department of Commerce which had established a woman's program at the close of the war. A consultant examined the mayonnaise and saw great possibilities in it. Mrs. Dehlendorf was advised on all phases of marketing. At home in her small kitchen she, her husband and their three sons began preparing the recipe, pasting labels and launching distribution. In three months the recipe was in great demand not only from other housewives but large stores. In another three months, Mrs. Dehlendorf had begun production of other recipes for hollandaise and tartar sauces. The business is thriving beautifully. If there's a homemade food specialty in your home, take some samples to your local office of the U. S. Department of Commerce. You will get expert advice there on exactly how to go about mass distribution. 9. Fat Profit from 'Thin' Fare. Everybody wants to stay slim. Play up to this universal desire for slender, youthful figures. Look around your community. How many eating places are there which do just this? You guessed it—exactly none. A midwestern restaurant owner was facing bankruptcy as business dropped off alarmingly all over the city. One. day he watched a fat woman ease her bulk into a booth. She ate sparingly in an obvious attempt to reduce. That gave him an idea for cutting his cost— and starting a new cafe. Next day he closed his old business. A week later he reopened with large signs proclaiming: "SLENDERIZING RESTAURANT. EAT HERE AND REDUCE. ONLY NON-FATTENING FOODS SERVED." He cut out almost all the fats in his foods. He had his pies and cakes baked with saccharine instead of sugar and served only gluten bread—all nutritious but lacking in fat-producing calories. The results were astounding. All the other restaurants in town were half-empty—but people waited in long lines to get into the new diet cafe. By a simple twist, catering to a human factor that no one else was exploiting, this back-to-the-wall small businessman turned a losing proposition into a huge money-maker. A low-calorie cafe like this also can do a highly profitable trade in outgoing orders to customers too shy to appear publicly in a "slenderizing" restaurant. IO. Be a 'Mosquito Millionaire'. Bane of many places in hot weather is that pestiferous little mosquito. Everyone would be more than happy to pay plenty for their elimination—especially if their presence is a threat to someone's livelihood. Beat that pest and make yourself a "mosquito millionaire." Visit the beach and country resorts who dot the mountain and lake regions in your vicinity. Canvass bungalow colonies. See picnic-ground operators, carnival people and even individual homeowners. Tell them you can wipe out those troublesome insects. The simple secret is to spray fine diesel oil on breeding places and sprinkle DDT on foliage. Earl Coverdale and two friends started with a bankroll of only $300. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area they organized a company called "Skeeter Beaters" and did a land-office business last year. And there you are, with 10 new roads to riches wide open before you! If you have the willingness to work hard, the courage to grasp an opportunity and the will to succeed, you can start rolling merrily along to your fortune on that golden road right now.

  1. bob says: February 24, 201210:29 am

    Isn’t it illeagle to “Plant drugs” in most places?

  2. Kosher Ham says: February 24, 201212:00 pm

    I think I’ll develop an operating system for a one board computer…….they will never catch on!

  3. Christoph says: February 24, 20121:11 pm

    Great business plan! Spreading around old engine oil everywhere to keep roads dust free!

  4. Hirudinea says: February 24, 20124:30 pm

    @ Bob – It works in Afghanistan. 🙂

  5. Toronto says: February 25, 20124:18 pm

    Used to be common in Alberta, too. Even with the oiling of the roads, you could see another car coming from the plume of dust WAY before you’d see the car itself.

    The dust made cycling fun…

  6. Nomen Nescio says: February 25, 20124:29 pm

    used to be common in rural Finland, as well. for all i know, maybe it still is. maybe you can substitute some kind of vegetable oil, idunno? if so, surplus corn oil could probably handle every unpaved road, trail, and two-track in the USA.

  7. Jari says: February 27, 20122:34 pm

    Nomen Nescio: What? Are you sure, that you didn’t mix up countries? I do know that sodium hydroxide was used in late 60’s. At least in a town where my grandparents lived, as there’s a pulp mill nearby. In these days a calcium chloride/water solution is used.

  8. Nomen Nescio says: February 27, 20123:56 pm

    pretty sure, yes. the dirt roads i remember from the 80s and early 90s used to be oily, though nothing would keep the dust plumes from rising nevertheless.

    (sodium hydroxide? as in, lye? it’s hygroscopic, of course, but i think it’d almost be better to use oil…)

  9. Jari says: February 28, 201211:49 am

    That late? Do you recall in what part of Finland? And yeah, it was called road lye. As far as I know, it was leftover diluted brown liquor. I do remember, that it was dark yellowish-brown and felt oily, if you rubbed it between your fingers.

  10. Nomen Nescio says: February 28, 201212:13 pm

    that would’ve been keskipohjanmaa, near Kokkola, Jari. i was young; it’s possible i just touched it and concluded it must be oil because it looked and felt like it — or got my information from somebody else who did. there was a pulp mill not too far away, come to think of it; you may be right.

  11. Daniel Rutter says: March 23, 20121:29 am

    Starting, and ending, with spraying oil all over the damn place. Well, I suppose it did create some good jobs in the end; Superfund clean-ups employ a heck of a lot of people!

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