What It's About
What starts as an April Fool's joke ends up earning more than $50,000.
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.
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
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.
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- Permanent140: Get one of your own tweets permanently engraved in wood!
- GE Engineer Sells Hand-Crafted Slate Artwork to All 50 States: A GE engineer uses his skills to make and sell hand-crafted slate artwork to all 50 states. In addition to bringing in a great side income, it’s also given him more courage and security to make decisions at his day job
- USPS Mail Carrier Makes Clay Imprints for New Parents: How a USPS mail carrier and court interpreter created an $800/month hustle serving new and expectant parents
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