How to start a business by looking in the garbage.

If you have always wanted to start your own business but didn’t know where to begin, check the trash. I know several entrepreneurs who got their start turning trash into treasure. There is no cheaper way to get your raw materials than in the garbage can. Which makes me wonder why Oscar is so grouchy.

My friend Mark Thompson of Logan, Utah worked in a warehouse in his younger years. He noticed that truckers would discard broken pallets. So he got the idea to fix or replace the broken wood on the pallets and sell them back to truckers. The cost of goods was very low. The market was there. It just took some elbow grease. Or was it elbow sawdust? Today, Pallets of Utah creates custom pallets for companies around the world.

I recently worked with William Starkey who owns Flat Out Motorsports in Indianapolis. He got his start by fixing up wrecked motorcycles and reselling them. Kinda like Fixer Upper for bikes. Only with less shiplap. Again, the input costs were low. The market was there. He just needed to put in the time and effort to bring the busted bikes back to life.

In the classic book Rich Dad. Poor Dad., author Robert Kiyosaki’s first business was created when he fished discarded comic books out of the garbage and created a comic book library. He then charged other kids an hourly access fee, and soon discovered comics could be serious business.

Check The Trash

Look for things that others have discarded that still have latent value? Are there old books you can bundle by color and resell as design elements? Can you turn old album covers into framed pieces of art? Can you take jeans that are discarded because they are too holey, and re-market them to people who think they are just holey enough?

Far too much value is thrown in the wastebasket. So look for your entrepreneurial starter kit in the discard pile. And don’t let your opportunity go to waste.

Key Takeaway

The start of your entrepreneurial journey may be as close as the garbage can. Keep your eyes open for straw that you can spin into gold. Up-cycle, recycle, re-position or transform. Make the discarded into art. Make the old new again. There is opportunity all around you. Just open your mind to see it.

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