091
5 min 58 sec

Copywriter Carves 140 Characters into $50,000 in Cash

A creative director and copywriter makes an April Fool’s joke that turns into a long-term income stream.
Arts & Crafts Creative High Profit Product

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What It's About

What starts as an April Fool's joke ends up earning more than $50,000.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Woodworking & Creativity
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

After his site had been up for a while, Brian realized that the one-off sales were nice, but the real potential for this hustle came from doing larger orders for events like weddings and bar mitzvahs. He created a section on the site offering batch orders. This took a lot of work since the production time for each piece was significant, so he starting thinking about a big decision: to invest in his own laser engraving machine.

Fun Fact

Brian's joke turned side hustle has not been without its challenges. Following a big scare when he couldn’t get the laser engraving machine to work at his very first event, Twitter got involved and sent him what he calls "the world’s nicest cease-and-desist letter." They didn’t tell him to stop the project, they just asked him to modify the name. A few months later, they actually hired him to work at one of their events.

Notes from Chris

Episode 91

Since high school, Brian Thompson was an aspirational entrepreneur. He had no shortage of ideas, and he dutifully wrote them down in a growing stack of notebooks. Sometimes he’d even buy a domain name, but then lose interest and move on to something else. Something changed when he settled down and started having kids: he began to take more action on his ideas.

Eventually, he grew bolder and began looking back at those notebooks he’d filled up years earlier.

His greatest idea to date started as a joke. On April 1, 2014, Brian launched a site called PermanentRetweet.com offering to turn digital “tweets” (posts to Twitter) into physical works of art. He hoped that people would share the site, but he didn’t think anyone would truly value having their 140-character message engraved on a plaque enough to shell out real money.

He was wrong. Two years and one cease-and-desist notice later, Brian is still operating what is now called Permanent140.com. Brian's April Fool’s Day project brought in more than $50,000 last year—all because he took action on one of his ideas. That, my friends, is no joke.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Permanent140: Get one of your own tweets permanently engraved in wood!
SEE ALSO:

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

Yours in the revolution,

Chris Guillebeau

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Instead of letting fear stop me, I realized that even if I failed, I wouldn’t lose the house and put my family on the street. So instead of always wondering 'what if,' I went for it."
—Brian Thompson #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau