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Start a company offering custom poetry.

The great thing about this idea is that it can provide you with unlimited inspiration as customers come to you wanting poems for special occasions and celebrating special people. If you can find the rocks under which the customers are hiding, of course...

There are several drawbacks to this scheme. First, you must be able to ask people the right questions to elicit enough information to inspire a poem that will satisfy them. Second, you must be able to write on demand. The business will fail quickly if you cannot fill every order that has a reasonable timeframe available. You’re a man, and you can’t write a poem of love to another man to fulfill a female customer’s order? You’d either better learn to, or you need to team up with a female poet. Third, you have to find customers who will pay you what you are worth. If you write a poem for $20 and it takes an hour to write it, what is your real pay rate? Figuring in time for marketing and sales, administrative details of the business, dealing with accounting and taxes, interviewing customers, and other non-writing time, you won’t get to write poetry 40 hours per week. You’ll be lucky to write twenty poems a week, giving an income stream of $20,000 to take care of the taxes, marketing expenses, your income, office supplies, etc. And that is figuring full time. What if you have a real job? Obviously, $20 per poem is not a livable rate. One has to find customers who will be willing to pay more than that. You also have to live in a sizable city where there will be enough customers to provide a constant supply of events. Cities usually have higher living expenses than small towns or rural areas.

If you’re good, you can charge enough to make a good income out of writing poetry, but it’s definitely an iffy business proposition. Think about going to the bank for a loan to buy a computer and printer and office supplies to start your poetry business:

You: “Yes, I’d like to take out a loan for $3,000.”

Bank Loan Officer: “What do you need this loan for?”

You: “Business start-up costs.”

Bank Loan Officer: ’Wonderful! What sort of business will you be starting?”

You: “I’ll be writing customized poetry for people. You know, for special events like weddings and funerals and graduations.”

Bank Loan Officer: “Excuse me. I have to go to lunch now.”

You: “But what about my loan?”

Bank Loan Officer: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

At the very least, you’ll provide entertainment for people and provoke discussions about what you do.

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