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Van Girls – London’s All-Female Moving Company

The Van Girls are London’s first and only all-female packing and moving service – mostly hired by women, but sometimes men as well. “Guys who hire us kind of think it’s quite novel… and are really surprised by how strong we are,” said founder Emma Lanman.

Lanman started Van Girls in 2011, when she quit her job at the fire brigade and decided to start a business of her own. She’d seen people get excited about female firefighters, and realised it was something of a novelty for a woman to be seen doing a ‘man’s job’. She also figured that lots of women might feel safer hiring an all-female moving service.

“I thought it might actually be a valuable service,” she said. And Lanman was right – it turns out that plenty of women who live alone or don’t live with men are a lot more comfortable hiring the Van Girls – not just for safety reasons but for that feminine touch! Like 68-year-old Jean Hewitson, who moved down the street with her daughter and granddaughter last year. “We’re an all-female household,” she explained. “I thought, yes I want women packing up my house. I thought they’d be more sympathetic to my belongings really, and I’d get on with them better.”

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New Service Allows NYC Millennials in Need of Motherly Advice to Rent a Mom

Once they reach a certain age, lots of women find motherhood exhausting, but not Brooklyn-based Nina Keneally. The 63-year-old still has lots of ‘mothering skills’ that she’s actually more than happy to rent  out through a unique service called ‘NeedAMom’.  Her motto is “When you need a mom… Just not YOUR mom.”

A former theatrical producer and drug-rehab counselor from Connecticut, Nina now spends all her time using her motherhood experience and her associate degree in counselling to help millennials in New York. For $40 an hour plus expenses, Nina will listen to all your problems, offer advice (free from ‘I told you so’), help you plan and shop for a dinner party, sew your buttons back on, bake you a cake, and do all sorts of other things a real mother might do. She’ll even buy and wrap a present for your actual mother.

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Man Claims He Made $15 Million Fortune by Retrieving Lost Golf Balls

14 years ago, out-of-work thief Glenn Berger was struck by a crazy idea that would turn out to make him a millionaire. He decided to dive in lakes across the golf-course rich state of Florida, looking for lost golf balls. He now fishes out about 1.3 to 1.7 million balls a year, and claims to have amassed a fortune of about $15 million so far!

“I was partially unemployed and I was stealing golf balls out of a golf course lake where I lived and I realised that wasn’t the way to make money,” he said. So he started to sell the balls at a minimum of $1 each – a decision that has paid off handsomely over the years.

One of the reasons the balls fetch so much money is the risk that scouring golf course ponds involves. Berger faces loads of underwater dangers and challenges on a daily basis – he’s encountered tables, golf carts, lawn mowers, snakes, and the worst of all, alligators. He always makes sure to look carefully before leaping into a water hazard, but he still bumps into alligators sometimes. “One time I felt my arm in an alligator’s mouth,” he says. “I couldn’t see anything, but I almost flew out of the water. There was no blood, so I think the gator just mouthed me without biting down.”

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11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Sells Secure Account Passwords for $2 Each

11-year-old Mira Modi is cashing in on her knowledge of strong, easy-to-memorize passwords. She started her own online business earlier this month, selling hand-generated cryptographic passwords for $2 each!

“I’m a sixth-grade student in New York City,” Mira writes on her website. “This is my first business (other than occasional lemonade stands!). But I’m very excited about it and will be very responsible.” She also explains how Diceware, a decades-old password generating system, works: “You roll a die 5 times and write down each number. Then you look up the resulting five-digit number in the Diceware dictionary, which contains a numbered list of short words.”

The result, apparently, is a combination of five to eight words in a non-sensical string that is so random that it’s extremely difficult to crack. While a five-word string is breakable with “a thousand or so PCs equipped with high-end graphics processors,” an eight-word string “should be completely secure through 2050.”

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You Can Now Buy a Handful of Dead Autumn Leaves for $19.99

Not everyone has access to the beautiful autumn foliage that grows in the American Northeast. Which is why there’s a legitimate business that sells three perfectly preserved New England autumn leaves for about $20!

The idea belongs to Boston entrepreneur Kyle Waring, known for trying to ‘Ship Snow’ to warmer places earlier this year. Kyle’s latest seasonal venture is called ‘Ship Foliage’, which according to his website, preserves and ships “gorgeous fall foliage” across the US. 

“All leaves are collected from New England, and undergo a unique preservation process,” the website adds, revealing that their foliage experts (Waring, his wife, and their two Italian greyhounds) hike all over the Northeast in search of the perfect leaves. This is called the collection phase, during which each leaf is hand selected and branded ‘Grade A’ foliage. They venture out every weekend around Hamilton and Manchester-by-the-Sea, and at scenic spots like Lincoln, Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington, and Lake Winnipesaukee.

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Believe It or Not, the Last Audio Cassette Factory in the US Is Doing Better Than Ever

I haven’t seen audio cassettes in use in over a decade, so it’s pretty shocking that a company is still making a profit manufacturing them. In fact, National Audio Company (NAC) – the last audio cassette maker in America – has had its best year since it opened in 1969!

The tapes are apparently high on nostalgic value, and that’s why they’re still flying off the shelves. And NAC’s stubbornness in not quitting when the other manufacturers did has finally payed off. “You can characterise our operating business model as stubbornness and stupidity,” NAC president Steve Stepp said. “We were too stubborn to quit.”

“Probably the thing that really enlarged our business at a faster pace than anything is the retro movement,” he added. “There’s the nostalgia of holding the audio cassette in your hand.”

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Texas Entrepreneur Makes $10,000 a Month Sending People Potatoes

Potato Parcel has got to be the most ridiculous business idea since the Pet Rock. It’s so silly that when entrepreneur Alex Craig told his girlfriend about the idea, she laughed right in his face. But Craig went right ahead with his plan, and now he’s the one laughing all the way to the bank.

The business model is rather simple – anonymous messages sent via potatoes. Users go online to order a potato, add a custom message and send it to whomever they like, anonymously. 24-year-old Craig said that he came up with the idea for the service while having dinner with his girlfriend earlier this year. “She said, ‘You will not sell a single potato. This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.’”

Yet, to everyone’s surprise, Craig’s idea caught on. “On our second day that we were live, and we started promoting it on Reddit, and we got $2,000 in orders, I just knew this was it,” he said. He’s sold over 2,000 potatoes so far and he’s been making a neat profit of $10,000 per month since May.

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The Man Who Made Millions by Selling Rocks as Pets

Gary Ross Dahl, who died earlier this year at age 78, will always be remembered for inventing the ‘Pet Rock’, a 1970s novelty toy craze. The brilliant salesman essentially sold rocks for a living, and managed to make millions through his “ridiculously successful marketing scheme.”

Although he began his career as an advertising copywriter, Dahl quickly turned entrepreneur when his idea of selling rocks as pets took off. It all started one night in the mid-’70s, while having a drink at a local bar in Los Gatos, California. People around him were talking about pets, and about how difficult it was to feed, walk and clean up after them.

Struck by sudden inspiration, Dahl declared that he had no such trouble with his own pet. “I have a pet rock,” he told the crowd. And his response was so well received that he began to toy with the idea, eventually setting up a business around it.

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Enterprising Chinese College Student Sells Girls’ Used Quilts to Their Male Admirers

Chinese student Long Yi recently made a small fortune selling quilts used by female students to their male admirers on campus.

The idea sounds creepy, but Long said that he was inspired by a female graduate who sold her own quilt within minutes of posting it online. He quickly did the math and realised that the market was potentially worth thousands of yuan. So he spent his savings on dozens of old quilts belonging to female students who are graduating this year from Qinghua University, where Long is a junior.

Next, Long posted all the quilts online, and managed to sell a major chunk of them in just one day, raking in a whopping 10,000 yuan (US $1,600). In fact, the demand is so high that he has set up a live stall on campus to complement his online sales. Believe it or not, lovestruck young men are lining up for the chance to cuddle with quilts that once belonged to the women of their dreams.

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Californians Are Painting Their Lawns Green to Save Water During Record Drought

California residents have come up with an innovative solution to brighten up their dry lawns, in the midst of their fourth year of drought: they’re painting their lawns green! The extreme measure became popular after statewide water restrictions were announced for the first time in history, in order to combat one of the region’s most devastating droughts.

The restriction leave average Californians with virtually no water for their lawns, but that hasn’t stopped them from wanting to keep their front and back yards looking green. Lots of them are now turning to lawn painting, which is a whole lot cheaper than artificial turf, at 25 cents per square foot. The service was once limited to athletic fields and golf courses, but is now being sought out homeowners, hoteliers, and wedding planners, among others.

The green dye is apparently plant based and completely harmless to humans and animals. It’s also water resistant, although no one would mind if a little rain were to wash it away. The effect lasts for about three months, after which the lawn has to be spray painted again.

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You Can Now Pay Someone to Break Up with Your Partner for You

When 37-year-old Kristy Mazins realised how much people hate confrontation, she developed an entire business plan around it. The former nurse from Melbourne started a service called ‘Sorry It’s Over’ that helps people avoid the uncomfortable task of breaking up with someone. For a fee of AUS $5.50 (US $4.44) or more, Mazins will do the dirty work via text, email, handwritten letter, or even a phone call.

Mazins only needs her customers to provide her with a brief outline of what they want to say, and she will convert it into a heartfelt message designed to ease the pain. Additional services like sending flowers, a box of tissues, a sympathy basket, or a message delivered in person are also available.

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This Canned Air from “Yeti’s Cave” Will Apparently Make You an Animal in Bed

If the claims of a group of Siberian entrepreneurs are to be believed, their new product might just give Viagra a run for its money. They aren’t selling another expensive pill, just a can of fresh air!

According to Vladimir Makuta, head of the local Tashtagol district, air from Azasskaya Cave and its surrounding area, which is where the fabled Yeti (a.k.a Bigfoot) was supposedly sighted on more than one occasion, is crystal-clear, full of goodness, and has a healing effect. It can apparently help strengthen immunity and positively impact mental state. But most importantly, it is said to works wonders for people who want to perform better in bed.

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Atheist Making over $100,000 a Year Selling Bibles Says He Feels Bad about It but Money Is Too Good to Stop

Lots of people sell products they don’t believe in, but in Trevor McKendrick’s case, you just can’t ignore the irony. That’s because Trevor is an atheist who sells Bibles for a living – and something just doesn’t feel right about that, even to him!

Interestingly, Trevor did not consciously choose his profession – it sort of fell into his lap by accident. He happened to be out at a dinner with his family in February 2012, when he found out that a relative was making $8,000 to $10,000 a month just by selling iPhone apps.

Trevor found the prospects too good to ignore, so he decided to step into the app business himself. All he wanted to do was to make about $600 a month, which would have been enough to cover his rent. So he went on to the Apple store to find an app that was making a lot of money, but “sucked”.

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Boston Entrepreneur is Trying to Make Money by Shipping Snow to Warmer Places in the US

In true entrepreneurial spirit, Boston-based Kyle Waring is trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Boston has experienced one of the worst winters this year, receiving a record-breaking 8.3 feet of snow. Instead of complaining about it like most people, Kyle is actually attempting to make a profit by selling the excess snow.

The Massachusetts native created a start-up called ‘Ship Snow’, through which he’s delivering chunks of snow to people living in warmer areas of the US where snow rarely falls. “This snow is wicked,” the official website reads. “This is historic snow. Boston Snow. This is your chance to not only own a piece of history, but also help save Boston from #Snowmageddon 2015! Every order counts!” The packaging options include a 16.9 oz snow bottle for $19.99, a 6 lbs. box of packed snow for $89, and a 10-pound package for $119. The website promises to deliver snow to any destination in the U.S. in 20 hours flat. But there’s an exception: “We will not ship snow to any states in the northeast! We’re in the business of expunging snow!”

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15-Year-Old Girl Hires CEO to Run Her Successful Nanny Agency While She Attends High-School

15-year-old New Yorker Noa Mintz is one of the youngest people in the world to own a successful start-up. The teen entrepreneur is the founder of ‘Nannies by Noa’, a popular baby sitting agency that she started after a number of bad personal experiences with babysitters, but because she is still in school she needed someone to handle business for her. So she just hired a CEO.

Although Mintz agency was doing well, she simply couldn’t find time to handle the ‘excruciating hours’ and ‘hundreds of emails’ along with homework. So she decided to delegate the responsibility of running the business, and her decision has paid off. The agency now serves almost 200 clients in the tri-state area, providing them with baby sitters as well as full-time nannies.

It all started three years ago, when Mintz, a sixth-grader, spent the first half of her summer vacation interning at a nonprofit. Subsequently, she spent the second half brainstorming for her nanny agency. It stemmed from the fact that Mintz, the eldest of four, always found flaws with her own babysitters. She realized that there must be a better way of pairing families with the right caregivers. “For what you’re paying, your kids should be more stimulated,” she explained. “At seven, I would tell my mom, ‘You need to get more bang for your buck.’ It would drive me insane.” So Mintz accepted a challenge from her mother to find a better babysitter for their family, and succeeded. Soon, she started helping out her mother’s friends too.

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