For several years I’ve been sharing an idea in my How To Support Your Wanderlust seminars, but suspect I’ve never convinced anyone to try it.

I’ve suggested that a photographer might set up shop near famous tourist spots and take pictures of visitors which they turn into postcards. Not only would this appeal to solo travelers (like me), but lots of tourists would enjoy sending unique postcards with themselves in the picture.

To my delight, someone has finally done something  similar. Michael Lato founded HazelMail.com, a site where you can turn your vacation photos into postcards. Hazel will print and mail your postcard anywhere in the world for $1.50.

Got an idea for a business but think it’s already been done to death? Consider putting a new spin on an old idea. It’s another way to stand out from the crowd.

That’s precisely what Paul Hawken did when he returned from Findhorn in Scotland wanting to import the gardening tools he’d discovered in the UK. Despite warnings from the experts that Americans would never buy gardening tools from a mail order company, Hawken and his partner David Smith printed up their first little catalog, mailed it to their friends and Smith & Hawken was born.

The possibilities for adding a twist to an old idea are endless. For instance, touring famous destinations has been around for centuries. A popular variation on that business is offering tours after dark.

You can take a helicopter ride over the Las Vegas Strip or tour Jerusalem’s Old City after the sun goes down. In London, a popular night time walking tour follows the trail of Jack the Ripper. It just wouldn’t be the same in daylight.

Jim Denevan, an artist, surfer, chef and founder of the Slow Food Movement, has turned the ordinary picnic into a foodie’s delight. His company, Outstanding in the Field, hosts picnics at beaches, vineyards and other outdoor venues.

You won’t find fried chicken and potato salad on his menu, however. Denevan flies in top chefs from major cities to prepare the special cuisine. His company is currently undergoing a global expansion with events planned in Italy, Spain, France and Australia.

Or take your business to the customer as massage therapists, dog groomers and car detailers have done. It’s an idea that’s served Tupperware and Avon nicely and seems especially appealing in our busy times.

Have you uncovered—or started—a business that’s put a new twist on an old idea? If so, we’d love to hear about it.

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