A Macabre Niche from the 1800s: Photos of Dead Outlaws

April 11th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Niche Businesses

In my ongoing quest to find examples of interesting niche markets, I give you Ira Sumner, a Northfield, Minnesota photographer who lived in the 1800s. Sumner possessed a peculiar talent: taking portraits of dead men.

The entrance to the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota is on the left side of this photo

The entrance to the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota is on the left side of this photo

And September 7, 1876, was Sumner’s lucky day. That’s when an eight-man gang of outlaws were foiled in their attempt to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.

The robbers included legendary criminals Jesse James, Frank James, and the three Younger brothers: Cole, Jim, and Bob. Two members of the gang — Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell — were killed during the raid. The others escaped.



Exaptation: A Valuable Innovation Concept For Solopreneurs

April 8th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Product Launches, Starting Out

Sometime around the year 1440, a young Rhineland, Germany solopreneur began tinkering with the design of the wine press. Rhinelanders had recently begun using wine presses, and the wine industry was on the verge of huge growth.

Our solopreneur was fresh from a disastrous business venture: manufacturing small mirrors with supposedly magical healing powers, which he intended to sell to religious pilgrims. But then the bubonic plague happened, and it put a huge dent in the size of the pilgrim market.[1]



How To Profit From Your Inventions, Yet Retain the Freedom of Solopreneurship

April 8th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Marketing, Product Launches, Starting Out

When I read about inventors who have a great idea for a product but are working morning, noon, night, and late night to bring it to market, my reaction often is: “Why don’t you just sell the licensing rights?!”

That’s just me. If I had an idea for a new product in an industry that’s new to me, I wouldn’t want to deal with investors, manufacturing, marketing, and selling. I’d rather share the risk and rewards with people who know what they’re doing.

That’s why inventor Stephen Key’s story appeals to me. His creations include:



How Affordable is Housing in America’s Best Small Towns?

April 1st, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Uncategorized

How affordable is the housing in America’s best small towns? Three things came together and caused me to ask that question:

• I was on vacation in Phoenix last week — to recover from Minnesota’s bleak winter and to escape its wintry spring. This was the second time I’ve been to Phoenix, and I love it. Sunny, highs in the 80s. I could definitely live there, at least in the winter.

• As I look out the window from my home in Owatonna, Minnesota, it’s snowing.



A Lesson From In-N-Out Burger: Your Customers Might Want Less Choice, Not More

March 31st, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Marketing

I’ve written in the past about how your customers might want less choice, not more.

Last week I was on vacation in Phoenix with my wife and daughters and we saw an example of “less is more.” It was at In-N-Out Burger, the regional burger chain that many Midwesterns absolutely have to visit when they’re in California or the Southwest. My daughters were insistent that we go to In-N-Out, so we had lunch on Thursday at the In-N-Out in Tempe.

Here’s In-N-Out’s menu:

• Double Double (double burger with double cheese)

• Cheeseburger

• Hamburger



How to Get Into an Innovation Mindset

March 19th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Innovation, Starting Out

Definition of innovate: 1. to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products. 2. to introduce something new.

Why innovate? Because innovative enterprises generally are more productive, responsive, profitable, and a lot more fun.

This is the first of a series of posts that will answer the question: What steps can you take to be innovative in your solopreneur venture or business? This post explores Step One: How to get into an innovation mindset.

Yesterday I was in an email conversation with a group of friends, and the discussion turned to the future of Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook.



When Estimating the Profitability of a Niche, Answer These 9 Questions

March 17th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Niche Businesses, Starting Out

If you’re considering one or more niches and your passion and skills for them is equal, then the tiebreaker is profitability.

To begin to understand the profitability of a niche, answer these questions:

• What specific products/services would customers buy from you?

• What’s the dollar amount of the average sale?

• Would there be recurring/repeat business?

• How long is the sales cycle?

• What are the sales and marketing costs?

• How competitive are the niches?

• Are the niches growing, shrinking, or maintaining?



How I Made My First $10,000: Marie Segares

March 11th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Starting Out

This is “How I Made My First $10,000,” a new, ongoing feature that gives all of us a glimpse at how other solopreneurs hit the challenging $10k milestone. Click here to read the other “How I Made My First $10,000″ articles. If you would like to be the “How I Made My First $10,000,” please send me an email.

Marie Segares

Marie Segares

Name of solopreneur:
Marie Segares

Name of business and city:
Underground Crafter,
New York, NY

Website address:
Ravelry designer page
Etsy shop



How to Keep Colds From Damaging Your Bottom Line

March 10th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Productivity, Time Management

I’m nearly back to 100 percent health after a nasty cold that required 500 boxes of Kleenex. It’s amazing how good “normal” feels after being sick.

It was my first cold of the 2014 cold/flu season. I was hoping to get through winter unharmed, but no dice.

There’s an old saw about the length of colds that I think is very close to the truth, “three days coming, three days here, three days going.” I don’t think the first three or the last three days of colds affect my work productivity, but the middle three days are a struggle.



Napoleon Hill on The 10 Major Causes of Failure in Leadership

March 9th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Encouragement, Goal-Setting, Motivation

Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 in a cabin on the Pound River in Wise County, Virginia. Hill’s mother died when he was 10 years old, and Napoleon’s father, James Hill, had difficulty taming his son’s wild nature.

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill

Napoleon, enamored of the outlaw Jesse James, carried a six-shooter on his hip and went about the county pretending to terrorize its citizens.[1]

James Hill soon remarried, and his new wife Martha established herself as a force in the home. Martha saw Napoleon’s potential and encouraged him. She suggested he use his overactive imagination to become a writer. At age 13, Hill began working as a reporter for local newspapers.