In many cases, bad situations can turn into very prosperous ones. The business world has proven to be no exception to this idea. The Wall Street Journal wrote a great article about a few individuals who did just that: took a a sticky life situation and turned it for profit.
Rejection hurts, and it hurts even more when it has a price tag. Joshua Opperman experienced this first hand when his fiancee left him, and he was left with a big, fat engagement ring. The jeweler who sold him the ring refused to take it back for more than a third of what he paid when he came in to return it. Instead of getting upset, Opperman saw a business opportunity. He created a website where the broken-hearted can take their financial “woes” and sell them to those who are looking for a better outcome. Opperman’s broken heart left him with a pocket full of cash.
Just like Opperman, Ellie Scarborough was in a losing situation. Scarborough became a dumpee just a few days short of Valentine’s Day. To counteract her sorrow, she became actively involved in Valentine’s Day by sending flowers and an encouraging note… to herself. She realized after she had received her “presents” that it had been exactly what she needed to make herself feel better. Shortly after her realization, a light bulb turned on and a business was founded. She created a website where a broken heart could visit for a little patchwork. Scarborough’s business sends out cards, emails, texts, flowers, and candies to brighten the dark days of post-breakup. Her light bulb in the darkness lead to her creating enough profit for her to quit her day job.
While it wasn’t love (or a lack there-of) that inspired Kim Benson to start her business, she also was able to turn her bad situation into a positive one. Benson struggled with weight throughout her life. She had tried various diets repeatedly, but always found herself gaining the weight back. One day Benson found herself ordering enough food for two people. It was at this point, at a weight of 347 pounds, that Benson decided something needed to be done. She joined Weight Watchers for the 10th time… and this time lost 212 pounds. People were amazed by her transformation and began emailing and asking for advice and recipes. Very quickly Benson realized she was on to something and started her own online weight loss company, which now has 25,000 subscribers.
Children can be great, but as any parent knows they are also prone to making life more difficult sometimes. Adam Nelson was no stranger to this. When he moved his toddler son, Aden, to his new bed, he found himself constantly being woken up in the morning. When Aden woke up during the early morning hours, everyone had to wake up with him. Sleep deprived and grumpy, Nelson was determined to figure out a solution. Thinking of children’s night lights on timers, Nelson came up with the idea for a light in which a dim moon switches to a bright sun based on a timer set by the parent. Nelson hoped that his son would stay in bed until he saw the sun come on. It worked and a business was born– allowing parents to be well rested across the nation.
All four of these businessmen and women share a few things in common: a bad situation, a new inspiration, and a new web business. Each of these people faced a challenging situation, and chose to come out of the experience with their heads high and brains churning, which in turn produced some new figures for their back accounts. Three average people, who had and idea and the Internet, created web-based businesses that now support them and help other people out of bad situations, all at the same time.
So, next time something bad happens to you, you might want to stop and consider how you could profit from the situation besides “learning a lesson.” Nobody is born great, they merely create their own greatness. Next time you find yourself on the ground, get up, get inspired, and go! Who knows where it might lead you.