Finding a job is one of the biggest challenges for people coming out of the military. Karin Markley, founder of Military Exits, knows this well—she has 15 years of experience working in a civilian employment agency. She knows companies value employees with military backgrounds, and she wanted to provide a one-stop link between the two.
Setting up MilitaryExits.com out of her home, Markley, 40, contacted the Department of Defense for permission to use its seal on her Web site. It took months to get it, but MilitaryExits.com is now linked to all the military bases.
IT was a misty Thursday in the suburbs of this sprawling city, and inside a recently vacated house, Austin Atkins and Stefan Meissner were up to their elbows in junk.
The detritus was the usual: ratty couches, empty paint cans, old mattresses. In a closet sat a dusty upright piano. Out back, in the weeds, lay a rusted hydraulic car jack.
Mr. Atkins, however, was undaunted. "Time to clean up," he said. Over the next 90 minutes, the cleanly uniformed duo grunted and grimaced as they carted every ounce of junk out to their flatbed truck. When they were finished, they toweled off, shook hands with the real estate broker who hired them, accepted payment and headed for the dump.
GarageTek was a no-brainer when Shuman founded it in 2000. He got the idea when he and his father, with whom he outfitted department store interiors, designed and built a set of slotted wall panels with moveable shelves for a retail client. When several of his employees began using the panel systems to organize their own garages and basements, Shuman realized he had a potential hit on his hands. And the timing seemed perfect: The housing market was heating up, garages were getting bigger, and closet organizers were all the rage. Shuman decided to sell the display business and open GarageTek.
Great business ideas often come from strange places, but no one expects to find one at the bottom of a river. Yet that's what happened to George Goodwin. When he went fishing in shallow Florida riverbeds during the early 1970s, Goodwin often caught more logs than bass. "I used to snag my lures on them," he remembers. Most fishermen would have cursed their luck; Goodwin, now 59, reeled in a multi-million-dollar business instead.
What Goodwin found are known as deadhead logs. In the 1800s loggers felled centuries-old cypress and pine throughout the South for use in construction. They would float the logs downstream to the nearest mill, but often the heaviest logs--those filled with the most resin--sank to the muddy riverbed. At a time when the South was blanketed by tens of millions of acres of untouched forest, it wasn't much of a loss. But today overharvesting has reduced that old-growth forest to just 5,000 to 10,000 acres, most of it protected, and the logs once lost to the rivers have newfound value.
Have you ever wondered who's the brains behind those nifty card stunts at big stadiums-where each member of the audience holds up a card to create massive pictures and messages for the world to see? Joe Kivett, 40, organizes these fan-friendly events with his company, CardStunts.com. Kivett learned the card-stunt business as an employee of another company and branched out on his own in 1991 when word about his successful Super Bowl card stunts started to spread.
Sheril Cohen Story
I rushed back to work as soon as my treatment was finished. Everything was the same, but I was different. My colleagues got all fired up about the minutiae of marketing materials, and I'd think: "Wow, that used to be me." I felt I could make a bigger contribution, but I wasn't sure how.
People often asked me to talk to their family members or friends who had cancer. One of the first questions people asked was: "What about my hair?" I had worried about that, too, and wondered if that made me shallow and vain. But when you're healthy, hair is just hair. When you're ill, it is something else entirely. It's the moment you take a very private struggle public.
At age 18, Shawn Nelson was watching TV on the couch when he decided "a huge beanbag thing" might be more comfortable. He bought 14 yards of vinyl, cut it into a baseball shape, and spent three weeks filling it with anything soft he could find.
The finished LoveSac was 7 feet wide, and everyone who saw it tried it out—and loved it.When neighbors started placing orders, Nelson decided to start his company almost as a joke. With free help from his friends, he made the LoveSacs in his parents' basement and sold them at trade shows, events and even the drive-in.
David Marcks discovered a lucrative business opportunity when he used his dog to solve a problem that he constantly faced working at a golf course - the proliferation of geese. Geese love to inhabit open spaces that provide them with water and plenty of food (such as short, tender grasses). While adding a "natural look" to golf courses, no one would want to play in a golf course where the grass couldn't be seen under the cover of goose droppings. Imagine wading in the middle of goose droppings to hit a golf ball. Yikes!