415
8 min 52 sec

Business Student Sticks it to Wall Street with Inspirational Quotes

A college student turns inspiration into a profitable business, motivating the masses with positive quotes on customized sticky pads.
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What It's About

A side hustle with sticking potential!

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & Creativity
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

What’s NOT important, Michael says, is worrying about patents. He’s seen people spend thousands of dollars and five years waiting for a patent, only for another company to launch and sell the same idea in half the time. As he says, “a fifty million dollar idea is worth absolutely nothing in your head.”

Fun Fact

Michael’s love of stirring words has led him to write his own. When he’s not selling Sticky Quotes, he’s writing poems and rapping them with his friends. His writing focuses on current affairs and social issues. We hope it sticks!

Notes from Chris

Episode 415
Michael Russo was going to college just outside of New York City where he had his sights firmly set on Wall Street. Beginning with an internship at Morgan Stanley, he set off on his chosen career path with security and prestige—not to mention what he hoped would be a good salary. But things were about to take a different turn...

See, ever since college, he’d had a seriously packed schedule. We’re talking seven classes, three extracurricular activities, and that internship. Time was short, and he needed to keep up the motivation. The answer? For him, it was positive, inspirational quotes. He was scribbling them everywhere, surrounding himself with—you guessed it—sticky notes. Except he couldn’t just call them that… he decided to call them Sticky Quotes. Could this be more than just an inspirational tool for himself?

The first step was to validate his idea. Michael made a test version by putting six sticky notes on a sheet of thick paper and running it through the printer in his dorm room. Using these as a prototype, he got feedback from people around him at college and work.

This information provided him with a strong understanding of the market and a good idea of the ideal price point for this product.

For the first 18 months, Michael didn’t pay himself. It was just what he calls “straight sweat equity.” But now that Sticky Quotes is profitable with annual sales of around $40,000, he takes a modest salary and reinvests the rest.

Meanwhile, he continues to grow Sticky Quotes and hopes to make it a household name. For now, Michael’s career in financial services is on hold. He’s having fun and making money on his own! In the future, he may work towards beginning a more traditional career, or he might start yet another business venture. Still, no matter what he has coming down the road, this looks to be one side hustle that is going to stick around.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Being able to take an idea and manifest it into reality is what I believe people were meant to do, whether it’s writing a book, painting a picture, creating a song or a business."
—Michael Russo #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau