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If This Guy Made $1M Wearing T-shirts and Selling his Name, What's Holding You Back?

If this guy can make over $1,000,000 wearing t-shirts, selling his last name, and writing a book, what's holding you back?

Jason SurfrApp (formerly Jason Headsetsdotcom and Jason Sadler) has been dubbed "the king of sponsorships." He's had everything sponsored from his t-shirt, his last name, a couple road trips, a fitness challenge, and most recently his self-published book Creativity For Sale. Since my own sponsored wedding turned into my first company, I've been fascinated by Jason's journey into the world of life sponsorship.

Entrepreneurs like Jason are outliers for sure. This guy decided in 2008 that he wanted companies from around the world to pay him to wear a t-shirt and promote them via social media. His company, IWearYourShirt, started with an initial investment of $300 (t-shirt hangers and a Flip Video camera) and ended up generating over $1,000,000 in just a few short years. Jason worked with brands as large as Starbucks, Nissan, Pizza Hut, Bill Cosby, and many more. But what makes Jason successful is not just the crazy ideas, it's his ability to execute and put in the work.

In 2012 Jason turned lemons into lemonade, and then some. After the unfortunate news that his parents were getting a divorce, he cracked a joke to his mother that he wanted a divorce too and was going to sell his last name. That off-handed joke became a viable business opportunity just a few months later with the unique marketing campaign "BuyMyLastName." Jason launched an eBay-style auction, which started at $0 to buy the rights to change his last name for one year. In the first 24 hours after the auction launched, the bidding shot up to over $30,000. At the end of the 30-day auction, the winning bidder was Headsets.com at $45,500. In 2013 he sold his last name again and it went for $50,000. BuyMyLastName ended up on the homepage of CNN, USAToday, Fox & Friends, and many more media outlets (with no paid placements).

Most recently Jason made the decision to write a book about his entrepreneurial journey. Much like his other business ideas, he knew he wouldn't take a standard route to write and publish a book.

Jason decided to do something akin to his previous projects (and that he'd never seen before). Jason offered 200 sponsorships on the pages of his book as well as the front cover, back cover, and inside flaps. These sponsorships would read as 140-character messages on the actual pages of the book, much like footnotes. After launching the website SponsorMyBook and using his existing network and community, Jason was able to make over $75,000 before writing a single word of his book or selling a single copy.

You may not be interested in getting parts of your life sponsored, but you can absolutely be inspired by Jason's story and willingness to stand out from the crowd. If a normal guy living at the beach in Florida can make a living by doing things differently, what's holding you back?

Jason's brand new book Creativity For Sale was just released. In it you can learn more about his entrepreneurial journey and get practical advice on how to get creative and turn your passion into profit.

What creative ideas do you have? Would you ever consider selling your last name? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

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Last updated: Jun 11, 2014

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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