Biz idea: Background check yourself and publish

(another free random business idea worth what you paid for it)

There are a bunch of background check services but very few that encourage you to background check yourself. And even fewer that give a potential employer the opportunity to access your verified information.

There should be a business that allows consumers to pay for a resume verification service (verifying that you did get an MBA from Stanford, a computer science degree from Georgia Tech, worked for Goldman Sachs, etc.). Then the consumer can put a unique URL on the bottom of his resume that takes potential employers to a trusted page, with a trusted brand, that lists which of the items on someone’s resume the service was able to verify. It is that simple.

Of course, the economics only comes with building large-scale relationships with employers and universities as I doubt you could charge more than $100/person (plus $20/year to maintain the record).

Paying famous people for their time

Another business idea you are free to steal … paying famous people for their time. Let’s say you want to talk to P-Diddy, Bill Clinton, or Warren Buffett. Pay them for their time.

I’d like to see a business with a directory of famous people who all have a rate per hour that they have specified (kind of like what Ether does with knowledge professionals). Then, through the site, you can schedule a time to talk to your favorite person by phone. Would it be worth it for you to pay $1000 for 30 minutes of Sean Connery’s time? Maybe. Maybe you have something to pitch him … or maybe you just want to ask him an question about what it was like to be James Bond.

And it could be an interesting academic, a great researcher, or someone you want to talk to about roofing.

Regardless, for the famous person it could be fun, easy to schedule (could do it while in the car or at a convenient time for them), and could be a good side source of income (and the target could decide to donate all or part of it to charity).

practice being an entrepreneur

I know a lot of people who want to be an entrepreneur, want to open their own business, but their not sure if they are right for it. They’ve been at a large company or have been in government.

My past advice: do it.

But I have been thinking about it more and realized entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It is for a lot of people and maybe even most people, but not for everyone.

My new advice: practice.

Yes … practice being an entrepreneur.

Before having kids (which are a lot of responsibility), many couples first might try getting a plant. Then seeing how they handle the watering responsibility. Then they might get some fish. And then a dog. And then, after they get a hang of it, they might chime in with some kids.

Practice first

That same concept could apply to being an entrepreneur.

Maybe you’re in school — start a small student club. If that goes well, start a student movement.

Or you’re working full-time … so start a blog or some small web site. See how it goes. See if you like the responsibility of constantly adding to it and marketing it. Then maybe put advertising on it.

It is a good idea to try to walk before you run. For many people, you might want to practice being an entrepreneur by doing something small yet tangible before jumping into it.

Biz idea: Stop smoking, help society, make money

PirateIn theme of putting up crazy business ideas … here’s one … Let’s create a new cigarette brand.

I know what you’re thinking … ehhh Hoffman, you’ve got a few loose screws. And while that is probably true … indulge me for a second …

We’ll call our brand of cigarettes “Death”

The slogan will be “smoking WILL kill you.”

And instead of a cowboy or a hot model or a crazy cartoon camel, this cigarette mascot will be a skull and cross bones. Yes, stay away. It is Death.

We’d put something like this on the packaging: “We suggest you do not smoke. All the executives at Death do not smoke because we know smoking will kill you and it will kill others around you.”

792Would this sell? Not sure. But my guess is that there is a large enough audience of smokers out there who are tired of big tobacco lying to them and pushing cigarettes on kids. Death would be just the opposite. We’d be very up front with our customers — we will probably kill you and we don’t think you should buy our product.

“Death” might encourage people not to take up smoking or to quit.

Truth in advertising might actually work.

Biz idea:

OK … i was inspired by my friend Noah Kagan who often blogs free business ideas.

i thought i’d try out the same thing. every few weeks or so, i’ll through out a random business idea. some of these ideas will be great. some will be absolutely horrible. the idea here is to encourage your (the potential entrepreneur) brainstorming…

So here is idea #1: (at the time of this posting, the domain is available … so grab it now)… is like HotOrNot meets DIGG: for places like, Jdate, MySpace, friendster, etc.

instead of pictures being uploaded to HotOrNot, works like this:

– a user is surfing MySpace, friendster,, JDate, etc. and the user wants to rate the good-looking-ness of the profile they are viewing.
– the user can copy the dating-site URL and paste it into (or just use a bookmarklet) … screen scrapes the photos off of the dating site (or just does an iframe)
– then the user rates the person’s hot-ness from 1 to 10.

and, of course, other people can go to and just go through the pictures (like HotOrNot).

this would be really fun.

of course, the pitfalls wil be copyright issues. but there is likely to be a way around this (like an iframe or partnership or luck or something).

anyway … enjoy the free business idea. and remember, this idea is worth what you paid for it …