[A few years ago I had a stupid idea. It turned a profit 7 hours later, and had slipped into obscurity by the following day. At the time I made notes on how it happened, which are republished here.]
Around seven hours ago I came up with idea: An online club where you pay to be added to the members list, and that’s it. Half an hour ago that idea turned a profit. Mostly that’s down to luck.
5:00 pm-ish (all times are GMT)
I’ve been toying with having an exclusive (very pretentious) collective online for a while. It was talking in the hallway about this idea with housemates this afternoon and I made a joke that turned into this evening’s start-up.
What if you have a club you had to pay a dollar to be a member of, but all membership gave you was your name on an official and public list of members?
I’m a guy who likes to see immediate results, so within a few minutes I had the URL nailed down and pointing at my existing server (Useful tool: Instant Domain Search).
http://iamintheclub.com now existed.
I’m also a guy who wants people’s opinions and I quickly started telling Sam about my idea. He thought it was amazing (though probably more in a humorous way than the business way) and the first payment was agreed.
40 minutes later and the site was in a state where it worked. Sam formally applied for membership to The Club, and payment was received.
After celebrating my first income I triumphantly began my PR campaign. Which was this tweet.
The Club’s membership reached double digits. Hurrah! I took this opportunity to buy a URL version of the question that greets you on loading the site [which has since gone offline]. That doubled the total cost of the project.
With orders steadily coming in, mostly from my Twitter followers, I decided to make a video advert (phase two of my cunning PR drive).
In less than seven hours I had the 23 members needed (each, apart from me, paying $1) for the site to cover the costs of the URLs. It turned a (tiny) profit.
Domain Registration: $15.34
Membership dues: $23.00
PayPal Fees: $7.59
Total Profit: $0.07
[The site went on to be popular for a couple of days, and I actually got a few more members.]