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Business idea: Johnny Cupcakes

After graduating from high school in 2000 John Earle went to college just for a few weeks. After he dropped out of college he started a pin business making random designs and selling them at hardcore shows and shops. Johnny even had a small group of kids that would buy pins from him wholesale and sell them at their schools. He had a database of shops that sold his pins. In addition to the pins, Johnny worked once or twice a week at a silk screening shop, as well at Newbury Comics. Almost every day when he went to work, John was given a different completely random nicknames. “Johnny Appleseed”, “Johnny Coffeecakes”, “Johnny Cupcakes”, “Johnny Pancakes”, etc… While working at the silk screening shop making t-shirts for the metal hardcore band he use to be in (On Broken Wings). He decided to make a few shirts that said “Johnny Cupcakes” on them for the fun of it.

More on his story, go to this website: http://www.johnnycupcakes.com/the_story

April 19, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entertainment, Entrepreneur, invention, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , | Leave a comment

Business idea: Rap-Up

Rap-Up was founded by Devin Lazerine when he was 15 years old as an after-school hobby;  the magazine was an online compendium of hip hop news, gossip and top-ten music lists. After listening to the song “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill at the age of 10, he wanted to be in the music industry but “wasn’t able to sing or rap, so that wasn’t an option”. Several days after launching the website, Devin decided to pitch the idea of a magazine to select publishers; the next day, a publisher from H&S Media expressed interest in the concept. Devin worked with his brother Cameron to create the magazine, and decided it would be for a young audience, in particular the 14 to 28 demographic.  The magazine’s first issue was published by H&S Media in 2001; however, the company went bankrupt shortly after publishing the first issue,  which sold 200,000 copies.  Rap-Up was resurrected in 2003 by Total Media Group as an insert in the magazine Urban Teen Scene.  The insert attracted media attention—mainly because of the brothers’ age and race—in USA Today and The Los Angeles Times.

The brothers began working on a third issue in 2004, without the backing of a publishing company. The largest advertisers were ring tone providers, while others included the Navy, clothing labels, videogames, Sony, Black Entertainment Television and Reebok. The editorials were written by 10 journalism students, and the photos were contributed by publicists. Art director Ian Lynam, who designed the magazine, sent everything online from Japan. The issue was released in March 2005, and cost $35,000 to produce. It featured singer Chingy on the cover,  and 80,000 copies were distributed around the world. Beginning with the eleventh issue, which was published in summer 2008, Lynam redesigned the magazine’s cover and contents. The main reason for the redesign was the change from a younger target audience to an older and more sophisticated one. Lynam felt the facelift “imbue[d] it with a more demure and cosmopolitan aesthetic.”

The magazine is not audited, and is sold in more than 20 countries. In the U.S., the magazine is sold by Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Borders Group and Tower Records. Devin calls Rap-Up “a magazine for Generation Y by Generation Y”.  He serves as a writer, publisher and editor in chief, and oversees editorial content and advertising sales. Cameron works as publisher and assistant editor, and is in charge of printing, production, distribution and shipping of the magazine. In 2008, the magazine released a handbook entitled, Rap-Up: The Ultimate Guide to Hip-Hop and R&B, which was published by Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group. The book chronicles the history of hip hop, and features a foreword by rapper T.I.- (source: wikipedia.org)

More about the rap-up: http://www.islavista-arts.org/docs/rap_up_magazine_in_Isla_Vista.PDF

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entertainment, Entrepreneur, Life, Millionaire, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Young millionaire: Alex Tew

Video: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=1203405n%3fsource=search_video

alex by Jeff Metal.                                        

Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from Cricklade in Wiltshire, England, conceived The Million Dollar Homepage in August 2005.  He was about to begin a three-year Business Management course at the University of Nottingham, and was concerned that he would be left with a student loan that could take years to repay.  As a money-raising idea, Tew decided to sell a million pixels on a website for $1 each; purchasers would add their own image, logo or advertisement, and have the option of including a hyperlink to their website. Pixels were sold for US dollars rather than UK pounds; the US has a larger online population than the UK, and Tew believed more people would relate to the concept if the pixels were sold in US currency. In 2005, the pound was strong against the dollar: £1 was worth approximately $1.80, and that cost per pixel may have been too expensive for many potential buyers. Tew’s setup costs were €50, which paid for the registration of the domain name and a basic web-hosting package. The website, hosted by Sitelutions, went live on 26 August 2005.

The homepage featured a Web banner with the site’s name and a pixel counter displaying the number of pixels sold, a navigation bar containing nine small links to the site’s internal web pages, and an empty square grid of 1,000,000 pixels divided into 10,000 100-pixel blocks. Tew promised customers that the site would remain online for five years – that is, until at least 26 August 2010.

More article: http://www.moneyweek.com/news-and-charts/profile-alex-tew-founder-of-millondollarhomepagecom.aspx

2. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/8c31b4e8-a3a7-11da-83cc-0000779e2340.html

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, invention, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Young millionaire: Todd Graves

Todd Graves (born February 20, 1972)  is an American entrepreneur and the founder, chairman and CEO of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a quick-service restaurant that offers fried chicken fingers as its only main course. Graves, along with Craig Silvey, founded the restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on August 26, 1996. Graves had a vision for a quick-service restaurant focusing on a simple menu item, chicken fingers. Unable to gain financing, Graves decided to raise his own capital and worked as a boilermaker in Los Angeles, California and a commercial sockeye salmon fisherman in Naknek, Alaska. On August 26, 1996, Graves opened Raising Cane’s for business. Over the next 12 years, Graves would oversee the company expansion to over 70 restaurants and over $100 million in annual sales. The Baton Rouge Business Report, a local business news magazine, named Graves the Young Businessperson of the Year for 2002. Additionally, the Business Report named Graves to their 2000 Top 40 Under 40 list, a recognition given to young businessmen and women in the Baton Rouge Capital Region for their achievements before the age of 40. Graves has also been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2008 award winner.

What’s their secret? Concept: doing one thing and doing it well

If you ask Raising Cane’s CEO and founder Todd Graves what the secret is to his company’s success, he will tell you it’s being committed to a vision and having a quality product and a cool corporate culture with great “crew members.”

But there’s an even simpler and more fundamental reason that the chicken-fingers chain has grown to a $97.4 million company with 73 stores in 13 states and limitless plans for expansion: It focuses on one thing and doing it well.

“We stay focused and committed to that one love,” Graves says. “We do one thing, and we do it better than anyone else.”

That was Graves’ intent when he founded the company: to sell just one product, but to do it right. That product was a high-quality meal of fresh fried chicken fingers, and the target market was the college crowd. Back then, however, Graves and partner Craig Silvey had their eye on just a single location outside the North Gates of LSU.

The rest of the story is the stuff that has become local lore. A business school professor told Graves, then a student, his plan had no future. Local banks wanted no part of it, either. He worked 20 hour days as a commercial fisherman in Alaska to raise the seed money to launch his dream.

From those humble beginnings in 1996, the company has grown exponentially, particularly in recent years. Employees now number more than 2,300, and the chain has an expanding presence throughout the South and West, with a mix of company- and franchise-owned stores.

When the company moves into a new market, it seeks to establish itself through aggressive promotional campaigns. It advertises heavily on local airwaves and, more important, gives away copious amounts of its chicken fingers, banking that once people try their product they’ll come back for more.

“Then, once we get them in the door, we’ve got them,” Graves says.

While focusing on a limited menu has been one of the biggest factors behind Cane’s success, another key has been the fun ambience of the restaurants, which are decked out with ceiling fans and sports or movie posters, and the playful attitude of its employees.

“If we had people who didn’t care and weren’t inspired, our sales wouldn’t be nearly where they are today,” Graves says.

The company recently announced plans to relocate the bulk of its corporate operations to Dallas, though Graves maintains Baton Rouge will remain the company’s headquarters. It’s a move designed to fuel even more growth and enable Cane’s to join the ranks of the big-time, fast-food chains, which have thousands of outlets around the world.

“We want to be international,” Graves says. “This is the next logical step.”

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , , | Leave a comment

Young entrepreneur: Evelyn Espinoza

Evelyn Espinoza Wins Youth Business Plan Competition

From news article, Los Angeles Times :

Evelyn EspinozaPhoto: Evelyn Espinoza, 17, reacts as she is named winner of Merrill Lynch/NFTE Greater Los Angeles Regional Youth Business Plan Competition, by Garrett Gin, right, Director Communications and Public Affairs, Merrill Lynch & Co.

When she was 8 years old, Evelyn Espinoza sold bubble gum and other candy door-to-door in her Los Angeles neighborhood to earn money.

By sixth grade, her mom was buying the enterprising 12-year-old toys at a wholesale mart to resell at school.

Now 17, Espinoza is still hard at work. Her latest business venture, Hippie’s Candles, was named the winner last week of the Los Angeles regional business-plan competition, and a $1,750 prize, at the event sponsored by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the Merrill Lynch Foundation.

“Entrepreneurship is excellent,” said Espinoza, who is in the NFTE entrepreneur-training class at Soledad Enrichment Action Girls Academy, a charter school in downtown Los Angeles.

“Money rules the society,” she said. “Everyone wants money, and it’s only right to learn how to make it in a legit way and to be your own boss.”

Link: http://talentdevelop.com/teenyatalent/evelyn-espinoza-wins-youth-business-plan-competition/

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube | , , , | Leave a comment

Business Lesson: Young entrepreneur brews her first success

Six months ago, Heather Mantione opened her first business, the Blue Spoon Coffee Company in Manhattan. Opening a business is tough, especially your first one, and Heather chose a difficult industry in a difficult location.

Even more challenging, Heather is only 26 years old, and her parents took out a home equity loan to finance her dream.

I’ve been tracking Heather’s progress as her business grows. And I’ll check in with her from time to time to share lessons Heather is learning what can help you and other entrepreneurs succeed.

The good news? Heather is doing well — very well — for a start-up. The Blue Spoon Coffee Company is breaking even financially. Of course, that’s with just Heather and her brother as employees. It’s unusual for a company to break even that quickly.

Heather did her homework before opening. She developed a thorough business plan and took a class on how to run a coffee shop. Still, planning a business and running one are very different.

“You can’t know what it’s like to open a business until you actually open a business,” she said. “There are so many things you have to worry about.

“One thing that surprised me is how much I think about the business,” Heather continued. “When I’m in the shower, I’m thinking about the business. When shopping, I’m thinking about the business. When I’m out to dinner, I’m thinking about the business.”

Like most new entrepreneurs, Heather had to readjust her product offerings. She planned to only sell coffee drinks, but she quickly realized she needed to add lunch items to survive. That’s typical; within six months of starting my company, I dramatically changed the type of consulting I offered. Once you actually interact with your market, you have to be flexible enough to react to reality.

A nice surprise for Heather has been the relationship with her customers. “Some I now consider my friends. For the most part, they’re really nice people, and we have a sense of community. They really want to support independent businesses.”

Some lessons Heather learned in her first six months:

Do one new thing at a time. Heather started by serving coffee drinks. She added desserts and packaged sandwiches. At the same time, she was learning “latte art” — the process of pouring and steaming milk to create artistic images on the foam, such as roses or hearts. It was too much.

“Don’t try to add too many things at a time,” said Heather. “It confuses your customers and overwhelms you.”

It takes time to build word of mouth. “It took more time to get customers than I expected,” said Heather. New entrepreneurs always expect business to grow faster than is likely.

Networking is critical. Heather has learned a lot by asking others for advice and contacts. “I’m doing research because I’m going to make sandwiches on premises …Through one of my customers, I received a name of a man who owns a gourmet shop … and he gave me a bunch of tips and numbers for the distributors that he uses. This is information I never would have found on my own. It’s good to have people to talk to who are in the same situation as you.”

Your job is never done. Although Heather’s cafe is only open five days a week, she finds herself working all the time. “On weekends, I have to do bills and there’s stuff you always have to work on. I don’t have anyone but myself — ordering, bills, it all falls on my shoulders. You have to be prepared to do everything.”

Get emotional support. Heather turns to her parents to help handle the stress. “They’re my support. I’ll have a bad day, and my dad will tell me to keep my head up.”

With all the ups and downs of a new business, Heather is very glad she took the plunge. “I have those days when I wonder if I’m going to fail, am I good enough? But I’m definitely proud of myself … This place is me — it’s my blood, sweat, and tears.”

I’ll check in with Heather again in six months, and let you know how she’s doing. Together, we can celebrate her first anniversary!

source: http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/abrams/2006-03-31-coffee-entrepreneur_x.htm

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Life, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Young millionaire: Ryan Allis

August 2, 2008 Posted by | Business, Entrepreneur, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Television, Youtube | | 1 Comment