Bootstrap Business Ideas: Pyrographic Art, Glass Terrariums, and More

Bootstrap business ideas can come from almost anywhere. Here are a few successful ventures readers were pursuing in the late 1970s.

| March/April 1980

062 bootstrap business - dressing pheasant - Fotolia

One reader established a bootstrap business dressing pheasants for hunters who weren't prepared to do it themselves.


The following are bootstrap business ideas readers came up with after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. 

MOTHER EARTH NEWS' article on "Fine-Feathered Hatbands" helped me establish a rewarding home business in less than one week's time!

I live in a region that has a large pheasant population, so I did a bit of investigating (after studying your hatband write-up) and found that there were quite a few out-of-town hunters who needed help dressing pheasants they've killed. I let it be known — in the local filling stations and motels — that I was interested in providing such a service . . . and within two days I'd received a batch of 18 pheasants to prepare.

I set my rates at $1.00 a bird, but my first customers were so pleased with my work that they paid me $30 — a $12 bonus over the fee I'd requested. In addition, my clients left me the pheasants' plumage, which I put to good use in my experiments with hatband designs. I invested $7.00 in a variety of suede scraps at the local shoe repair shop, and promptly sold five handmade headwear adornments at $7.50 each . . . for a profit of $30.50!

Well, that was just six days after I'd first read MOTHER EARTH NEWS' article, and already I'd established a pretty steady income. Word of my new service spread throughout the community, and before long I acquired a number of regular customers. I've come to count on a pheasant per day, for example, from one fellow who's made a habit of hunting along the lengthy route from his home to his job here in town. And, on occasion, I dress out chickens and ducks in addition to the more exotic birds. (Recently, one load of barnyard fowl earned me my fee plus two ducks ... and, while cleaning the birds' gizzards, I found four tiny pieces of gold!)

Meanwhile, I'm saving up feathers for my hatband handiwork because Easter is on its way;  since that holiday causes folks to look for fashion finery, I know I have a booming business to look forward to. Thanks, Mom . . . this sure beats sitting behind a desk!

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!