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Profit from gov regulations, dominate local biz security market & WFH office design service

Latest startup ideas & trends including MFM episodes 129 and 130


Wes Kimbell

Nov 23 2020

6 mins read


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Weekly roundup of startup ideas & trends…


Dominate the local business security market

(Source: My First Million episode #129)

Spy Guy is a niche e-commerce company selling products like spy-cam detectors. It was started by a guy named Allen who was inspired by Tim Ferriss’s book Four Hour Work Week. Shaan estimates he’s doing over $3M per year in sales with about $1M in bottom line profit. He’s been in the space for about ten years.

It’s a niche most people don’t think about. It has a good name. He doesn’t use Facebook to drive traffic because it hasn’t worked for him. He mostly gets purchases from Google SEO and word of mouth, which costs him little if anything.

The home security space is growing quickly. SimpliSafe is a home security business using wireless technology that makes the system very simple to set up. The company started around 2010 and is valued at $1 billion. They do $100+ million in annual sales.

There’s a company called Deep Sentinel that offers video security systems with a twist: There’s a live person on the other end that get’s notified if the video camera senses a moving object. If it’s a false alarm (a dog or bird) then nothing happens and the customer does not get notified. If the live person senses a real threat (a suspicious person) then the customer get’s an alert and the live person can turn on a siren to scare them off or even talk to the intruder, warning them to leave the premises or the cops will come to arrest them.

How can you jump on the growing security trend?

There is an opportunity for business security systems in local markets with recurring revenue. Currently, most businesses hire a small security company in the area who buys the equipment from China, installs the cameras, and connects them to the company server room/closet where the DVR is located. The key to doing well in this market is to get in the door by offering low cost or even free security equipment and low installation charges. Then you can earn the big money through recurring monthly charges for “monitoring” your alarm system. This typically ranges from $60 to $100 per month. If you added a “real human” monitoring solution you could charge even more. By offering an all-in-one solution (equipment, installation, and human monitoring) you could beat out your local security company. If you are interested in scaling, franchising would be something to consider.


WFH office design service

(Source: Everyday Startup)

The Work From Home (WFH) meta trend continues to grow exponentially as 4 out of 10 Americans now work from home, according to Stanford University. This has led to a boom in office furniture, home office renovation, office equipment and tools, including blue light glasses, ergonomic chairs, laptop stands and noice-canceling headphones.

Backyard Office popularity has surged with one Los Angeles based manufacturer reporting a 250% increase in sales since the pandemic started.


Backyard office popularity (source: Glimpse)

How can you take advantage of the WFH meta trend?
Because options have never been more plentiful, many would benefit from WFH design consultation. This would be similar to interior design but focused on office space. If you’ve gone thru the process of converting a room (or section of a room) in your house to an office, then you have a pretty good idea what others might be needing. Leverage your experience to help others and charge a fee.


Profit from government environmental regulations

(Source: My First Million episode #129)

Trade Water finds and destroys the most potent greenhouse gases from polluting industries and makes a killing doing it.

One of the biggest money makers is collecting old refrigerators and HVACS that are emitting refrigerant that has made the government’s naughty list. A couple of employees in a truck go around the local area and purchase these old fridges from people, destroy them and earn credits they can then sell for cash from other polluters.

Trade Water does “several million” per year in revenue with 30 employees. They advertise on Facebook and other platforms as Refrigerant Finders because some people decide not to give them their old refrigerators when they find out it’s part of the ‘Cap and Trade’ government program.

How can you profit from government red tape?
If you live in California or another state that heavily regulates greenhouse gasses and participates in a ‘Cap and Trade’ agreement, you could start your own pollution collecting company and profit from government regulations. With Biden likely to become the next President, overtime we will see increased pollution regulations. Biden has also pledged to bring the US back on with the Paris Climate Agreement. If you’re interested in scaling this thing, you could look into franchising. I would focus heavily on organic SEO and stay away from expensive paid ads in order to keep margins high and potentially undercut the competition.


47:00 Handwritten note startup

(Source: My First Million episode #130)

Steve Morrin, Head of Mobile at Asana(?), created Addressable. Addressable uses robots to make “hand written” notes to send to people to stay in touch or thank you notes.

Bond Letter is another similar company. But Bond didn’t do too good compared to how Addressable is. Addressable targets business and non-profit type transactions (including real estate agents) which allows it to corner a market.

How can you compete in the handwritten notes space?

As it turns out, even handwriting robots are cheap when sourced from China. A girl in China blew up on social media for purchasing a handwriting robot for about $120 which she then used to complete class assignments. While you may need a more advanced robot than this girl, it may be possible to get into the handwritten note space without a big Capex budget. I would try and niche down the concept and focus on a specific group of people or sector to try and get your foot in the market.

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