As I’ve been saying for a while now, hubby and I have been trying to find viable small business ideas, something that we can start on a shoestring and is still scale-able. In other words, we need to be able to meet the demand in the event of explosive growth. That’s not an option with the spouse-man’s yard sale turnovers, nor the various get-rich-slow projects he keeps throwing out, 99.999% of which involved my doing a shit-ton of time-intensive work.
We’ve got a little bigger shoestring now, but I know us. We need to invest the money while we’ve got it, before we blow through it all. Hubby had been nay-saying everything without contributing anything valuable to the pot in return, and I hit the point of saying, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. Deal with it.”
As I mentioned, I bought the stock for the medical marijuana website (the stock code is LBUY if anybody’s interested) and whilst it’s not making me rich, we’re in the black and staying there pretty consistently so far.
I invested in a decent camera for hubster and we’re building a portfolio of high quality photos. I have one friend who’s a retired pro photographer, one who worked many a year for a portrait studio, and I’m going to be begging for more submissions from my friends in the near future (Hil, you KNOW I’m gonna be talking to you, and probably Dangerspouse specifically for food porn, if he’s got a good enough camera.) I bought some stock photo packages for resale, but the better option is to build something that’s different than everybody and their brother offers. I talk to people who are ALWAYS looking for stock photo sources for blogs, magazine articles, book covers, etc. Book designers and bloggers don’t have deep pockets, and everybody’s looking for images that aren’t being used by thousands of other people at the same time. If you submit and your photos sell, you get paid. We’re trying to figure out a way to keep it cost effective for buyers and for us, while still treating our photographers fairly. I do know most of those categories prefer to get their photos from paid sites vs. free ones, because with free ones you’re never quite sure of the picture’s legitimacy. I know people who got sued for using free stock photos on their blogs.
The camera base and a couple of basic lenses, first year’s hosting, and software, together will run us $1500 or so. In terms of business investments, that’s peanuts. My partner in crime in Canada wants me to drop $3000 into our joint effort there, and I might eventually – but not until I sock some more cash back. If that ends up happening, next year the photo site will move to our own servers and we’ll have another prong added to our business portfolio.
Then today I sent a query about a fourth option, one I think could ramp up insanely fast if we can cut the deal.
With all of my health issues, I’d been debating the purchase of a medical marijuana card. I have zero desire to get high, but I’ve got neurological crap going on and I know cannabis is known to help with pain and other neurological factors. During my wheeling and dealing on Simbi, however, I traded for a couple of facials with a local lady, who told me I didn’t need a medical marijuana card for CBD oil. I had also run across CBD oil as an option when looking into a franchise, but that turned out to be a MLM scam. It’s legal since it contains no THC, but does all the things. At least, it does all the things for which I wanted medical marijuana.
So I bought a bottle, despite the price nearly giving me a coronary. $40 for one liquid ounce. I don’t know the cost of marijuana, but considering you can buy food-grade hemp oil at the health food store for $10 a 16-oz bottle, that sounded steep to me. (The version sold for food has been stripped of its cannabidiol, the medicinal component.) Since my youngest daughter’s neurological issues are becoming life threatening and the doctors say verbatim there’s nothing they can do, I gave her my bottle to try and went back to buy another. It was up to $75 for the same one-ounce bottle. What’s more, I bought the last bottle they had and they said they couldn’t keep it in stock at that price.
Considering what I considered price gouging, I decided to hunt online. I found the option from the MLM – also around $75 for the same size bottle. And I found a seller on eBay for a pittance in comparison, and ordered a bottle, which was delivered today. Thank goodness for the delivery, because eBay kicked the seller to the curb, wouldn’t let ’em sell their product on the site. I couldn’t find it anywhere else for less, nor from any other seller that cited comparable details about the makeup and potency. (The MLM came close, but no cigar.)
The seller enclosed pages and pages of documentation with the bottle I bought, including their website address. I just emailed them to ask if I could buy from them wholesale. Because DUH.
Incidentally, this is all legal and above-board. Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona and a few other states, but hemp oil is legal in all 50 states, without a medical marijuana card. It won’t make you high. It DID, however, provide pain relief for me without 1) making me giddy or lightheaded; 2) making me nauseated; 3) causing me to lose feeling in my hands and feet; 4) making me tired; or any number of other nasty side effects I’ve encountered with prescription and over-the-counter options. It DID reduce my stress levels, too, and unlocked my muscles I didn’t even realized were locked until then. There’s more, but this isn’t meant to be an ad for the stuff.
If I can work this deal, it might kill two birds with one stone, as it were. I can potentially help myself and others, while developing a line of business I can do from home, or by opening a small shop close to home. I want eventually to sell online, but even at a local level we could potentially do extremely well. That’s doubly true if I can undercut the competition. If this goes through, I can undercut the heck out of them, and that’s if I pay this seller’s retail price per bottle and sell it for double what I paid for it. If I buy 50 or 100 bottles at a time, for example, I’m sure I can negotiate for a better deal.
Now hopefully I’ll hear back from these people and they’ll consider my proposal. We’ll see how it goes.
On a more somber spot, my younger kids’ health took a turn for the worse. I’m not talking just my daughter, though she’s had one crisis after another. My younger son is going through a similar trajectory now, too. My daughter finally went to Mayo Clinic and they said at minimum she has POTS syndrome – which, unlike the tongue-in-cheek reference to “pot” in this entry, is neither fun nor profitable. It means her autonomous nervous system is progressively further out of whack. In plain English, all the things the body does automatically: heartbeat, blood pressure, kidneys, liver, pancreas, lymphatic system, breathing, neurology – all that stuff is moving to its own erratic beat. And there’s not a damned thing they can do with it. We believe my son likely has the same thing, and the other two kids have some variant.
Yes, it’s as deadly as it sounds, and it’s genetic, meaning it’s likely the grandchildren will also have inherited it. They’re still doing test after test on my daughter but we’re compiling as complete a family history as we can. We don’t know now if my mom died of ALS or if she had some variant of this. We assume my baby sister and I share somewhat milder versions of it. Sister has been taking meds for tremors and other issues for a few years (something I didn’t know until today.) Not sure yet whether or not it’s related to the childhood seizures, though we’re throwing that into the folder, too.