Investing Outside The Box

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Today’s guest post comes to us from Richard Adams. Richard blogs about his own personal finance experiences at Debt Assistance Guru (http://www.debtassistanceguru.com). Stop by his website to learn more on the topics he writes about!
When many people consider the subject of investing they think of topics such as futures, foreign currency trading, digital currency trading, shares and/or bonds. In the case of all of these investments, the hope is that they will pay off over the long term.
 
And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this view of investing, there are a few downsides worth considering.
 
One example of this is the risk to reward ratio. Nice, safe, sensible investments tend to offer relatively small potential returns. In contrast investments which offer far higher potential returns are often far more risky and put you in a position where you could lose a considerable sum of money if things go wrong.
 
Then there is the amount of research needed to order to invest smartly in the stock market and find the best investments of 2011. Reading company reports, competitor analysis, charting and so on can all come with the territory which means considerable time will be required if you are to invest wisely. But it’s not just the time factor but also the effort – quite simply many people find the idea of doing this kind of research just plain dull.
 
Which is why today I would like to discuss the concept of “investing outside the box”. Of getting more entrepreneurial and creative when it comes to finding ways to make your money work for you.
 
Over the last decade or so my entrepreneurial streak has led me to try out all sorts of unusual investment ideas to see what sort of results I can generate – and some of the results have been far more exciting (and in my opinion lower risk) than handing my cash to a stock broker.
 
One example of this is website flipping. Did you know there is a growing market for pre-built websites? I didn’t until not to long ago. It seems there are wealthy investors looking for new ways to leverage their capital and one way they are doing this is buying up existing, profitable websites.
 
It’s rather like buying up apartments with sitting tennants so you know you have income from day one, but transferred into the internet age.
 
A few years ago I set up a website from scratch and spent some time marketing it in my free time and on a very limited budget. I then went on to sell it for a five figure profit. Putting aside the time invested for a moment, I would realistically say I invested less than $1000 in cash into the venture and multiplied that by 15-20 times in the space of a couple of years. Now that’s what I call an exciting return on investment!
 
Here’s another idea I tried. I spent a small amount of money last Spring buying some compost, flower seeds and seed trays. When the plants had germinated and grown to a decent size I placed the flower plants into attractive pots and spent some time at local farmers markets and boot sales selling them as the perfect Mothers Day gift.
 
The costs were virtually nothing (how much does a pack of seeds cost?) but they sold for up to $10 each for the larger containers filled with a range of flowering plants. Again, we’re talking returns of several hundred – if not thousand – percent.
 
I could go on but the point here is simply to encourage you to think about investing (some of) your money into rather more exciting vehicles than treasury bonds. Think outside the box. Make a list of ideas to test and see just how much fun (and how much of a return you can make) when you get creative with your investment decisions.
 
How about you all? What sort of creative investments have you done in the past? Share your experiences by commenting below!
 
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**Photo courtesy of http://www.diddleyzworld.com/thinking-outside-the-box.jpg

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