Dennis M. Hope is a man with a daft plan. Well, he had a plan… now he has a booming business — a property company that’s been his sole income since 1995.
His company is Moon Estates — and it’s just about the best business model I’ve ever heard of (apart from televangelism — that racket is a goldmine).
I wish I’d thought of it first. (Although in 1995 I was only 16 so I might have had trouble getting the whole thing off the ground…)
Mr Hope has done the virtual equivalent of sticking a flag in the ground and claiming it as his own: he had a gander at what’s floating around out there in the Solar System, picked out some prime real estate, told everyone he owned it… and Bob’s yer uncle.
Seriously: he did. He’s now overlord of the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Io (one of Jupiter’s moons). It started off as a hobby when he was broke — but needs must and Dennis worked out how to turn his hobby into a legit business: he claimed legal ownership via the UN, subdivided his celestial tracts of land, and is selling it off in chunks.
You can buy a piece of the Moon from his company, Moon Estates — and you get a proper Lunar Deed stating the lot number, the area of the Moon you own (on the light side), your name on the deed, and the signature of Francis P. Williams, Lunar Ambassador to the United Kingdom (if you’re in the UK). You can even transfer your ownership.
Look: here’s a Lunar Deed.
There’s a lot we can learn from Dennis M. Hope. Firstly, that you never know if an idea will work until you’ve tried it — no matter how batshit crazy it is. He was broke, thought he might be able to make money from property, looked out the window and saw the Moon and thought: “Hey! There’s a load of property.”
Then he filed a claim of ownership for the Moon, the other eight planets and their moons, and sent it to the UN with a note stating his intention to subdivide and sell the property to anybody that wanted it. If they had a legal problem, they should let him know.
They never got back to him, and no Earthly government has ever challenged his claim to ownership.
A bunch of people have told him he “doesn’t have the right to do this” but, as Dennis says, that’s just their opinion.
Anyway — my point is this: don’t assume something won’t work. Try it out. A dude in America has sold extra-terrestrial property to three former presidents of the United States. He’s sold celestial property to the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains. And he makes a bloody good living out of it.
There’s a lot more to this story, and I’m going to carry on in installments because I bloody love Dennis M. Hope. Entrepreneurship at its batshit best.
And all he did was have an idea, then got off his arse and made it happen. He did the uncomfortable thing — he sold stuff.
Which is what my book, Business For Superheroes is all about.
Helping you sell more stuff.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.