What is the simplest successful business idea you have ever heard?

I’ll never forget this simple business idea I read about in the book Quit Your Job in 6 Months: Why You Should Quit Your Job and How You Can by Buck Flogging.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Corena is a master of quick business success. She’s done dozens of things, and her attitude about starting a new endeavor is as relaxed as anyone you’ll ever meet. She knows how easy it is to start something from scratch and be making plenty of money from it in a flash. Because of that, she is very particular about what she does for money. She also made a lot of it in the past and wasn’t very happy, so it’s not about the money for her but about the lifestyle. She truly does what she wants in life and very little else. And best of all, she makes all her money without charging anyone anything. Everything she does is by donation only. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve seen her in action, and I believe that she is a glimpse into a more evolved future for humans and our dealings with each other.

One thing Corena did recently was start up a photography business. How many people’s dream is to be a photographer right? Like, nearly everyone. But most think it’s a foolish fantasy. She started a photography “business” (I don’t think she went so far as to formally call it a business), and was making enough money at it to easily support herself within a week. What did she do?

It’s pretty complicated, get ready.

She walked around on the beach at sunset and took stealth pictures of people— families, lovers, kids— all with them completely unaware that she was there. Like me, she finds staged pictures with people posing in front of the camera nauseating. So she caught people in action. I got to see many of the pictures. Some were of two lovers leaning back with the glow of the sunset on their faces as they lounged into one another lovingly and naturally. Others were of kids in a moment of captured joy tossing sand into the air. Clearly not all the pictures were winners, but when she approached these people with a warm smile and a soft, friendly voice, and then showed these people the pictures she had taken, they were overjoyed.

She handed off a business card and said the pics would be uploaded to her website with their permission, available for them to be downloaded for free if they liked with the ability to make a donation if they felt like it.

If I’m not mistaken, I believe her business card got them a free cup of coffee at the local coffee shop as well. She did this for a friend she met in her first couple of days in town that owned and ran the coffee shop. Corena did this free advertising for her without asking for anything in exchange. The coffee shop owner was so impressed by this, she felt obligated to return the favor, and had several of Corena’s photographs blown up and hung them all over the walls of the café, with information about Corena’s photography gig under each one.

So, Corena moved down to a new town she’d never even visited before, and within a week had a successful photography business going. She had never had a photography business before. She liked photography and was inspired about her new move to a little apartment right across from a gorgeous white sand beach to take some pictures. So she did it. And her workday consisted of a few 2-hour walks on the beach per week and some time spent uploading images to the internet. That wasn’t work for her of course. That’s exactly what she felt like doing. Why not make some money at it so she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do for money?

After a year or so Corena’s photography business grew and flourished. But she got tired of it and did something else. Then she got tired of that and now wants to return to the beach to refurbish an old, vacant building into an Art Center that’s run completely on donations. Do you think she’ll succeed?

Featured image by rawpixel.

First published on Quora.


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