'I Want to Draw a Cat for You' and Other Start-up Successes
Other unlikely entrepreneurial efforts have come not so much from thinking up something entirely unique, but by discovering niches so specific that others wouldn't think to explore them.
For instance, San Antonio-based Alisa LeSueur has made a living by specializing in cleaning dryer vents. And Virtual Dating Assistants lets you outsource your love life. The company will assemble a profile for you on dating sites after a thorough interview, then weed through the people who respond, sending you the best matches. Clients pay between $360 and $1,440 per month for the services.
David Marcks stumbled across his calling when working at the Fairview Country Club in Greenwich, Conn. 25 years ago. Charged with ridding the course of the pesky Canadian geese that flocked there, he came upon an innovative solution: Border Collies.
While other dogs would chase the geese away temporarily, specially trained Border Collies effectively herded them away permanently. Within a couple years, he opted to make this a full-time job – and Geese Police was born.
Today the company employs 30 people (and 30 dogs), has helped rid New York City's Central Park of the unwanted visitors and has 12 franchised locations around the country (which carry total start-up costs for the franchisees of about $70,000).
"We're adding a predator to the property, which is what's missing," says Dianne Neveras, Marcks' sister and vice president of Geese Police. "Our goal is to get them to lift and fly away 'cause they'll fly a mile or mile and a half away – and generally won't come back, because geese are lazy."