I’m sure that you’ve heard about how many start-up companies fail when they first begin, and the reason that most (if not all) of their failures are that they don’t create a good fountain to build on.
If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time. But if we start wrong, it’s much harder to go back and get it right. So please pay close attention, get out your pen and pencil, and let’s get to work.
When you first start, you need to decide which niche are you going to conquer.
When I first started my online business, I made the same mistake that 99.9% of people make. I read an ebook about how to make money online, and I decided that I would…
can you guess…?
I wrote my own book about “how to make money.” I compiled all of the regurgitated information I could find, put a twist on it, and started to sell it. After 2 weeks and a little over $30 in sales, I started to think:
“Why am I selling a book about how to make money… when I have NEVER in my life made any real money!?!”
You may laugh, but it took me a few weeks before I realized that there was a problem there. I decided to stop selling my book and started to look for other ways to make money online. What I stumbled upon next really gets exciting.
I was going to college at the time, and my degree is in “Computer Information Systems.” I knew some things about programming, but not enough to create anything real. What I did know is where programmers spend their time online.
So I started visiting places where you could hire programmers and got to know a few. I then started to search for a market that needed something.
What I came upon was the “Resale Rights” market. Basically, this was people buying and selling digital products (ebooks and software) that they could then go and sell to other people. This concept really excited me. I purchased a lot of these products but struggled to sell them because all of the products had links back to the author’s websites.
These authors were making money every time I sold these products… on the backend. When I realized that, the first thing I thought was,
“I wish that had a way to brand all of these files with my own links.”
And there the idea was born. I just needed to create a product that would brand these “resale rights” products. I wouldn’t be competing directly with that market, but make a complementary product that would benefit them all.
I went back to the programmers that I had been building relationships with and gave them my idea. Within a matter of weeks, they created a product that is now known as Zip Brander. (You can see the product at www.ZipBrander.com)
I’m not going to go into how I marketed it in this lesson (I’ll save that for another day), but with the one product I made over $1,000 in my first month with it, and it made us over $50,000 in 2004 alone.
Since then I’ve been able to branch out to a lot of various niches and have had amazing success in most of them. In other issues, I will share exact case studies of these that you will be able to model in your businesses.
How To Pick The Right Niche
I want to show you now how to choose your niche. Just follow these 3 simple steps.
Step 1 – Do not choose the “how to make money” niche. I’m not sure why, but I made this mistake along with thousands of other people. This is the most competitive niche in the world. If you want to fight against the marketers, good luck. But there is a lot more money (and it’s made a lot easier) in the niches I’ll explain below.
Step 2 – Look at your personal talents, and start from there. I have had this conversation more than once – usually, every time I discuss an online business with someone.
I ask them what their hobbies are that we could market, and they almost always tell me that they don’t have anything they could sell. The problem is that people usually look at their current job, and can’t think of ways they can market that skill.
Don’t look at your current job, but look at what you do in your free time. The thing that is your passion. This is where you’ll find your niche.
Here are examples of the last 3 conversations I’ve had:
Friend #1 – works construction, and couldn’t think of a marketable skill. After 3 1/2 minutes realized that he has twin girls. Found there was a huge market for informational products in this niche and he and his wife are now working on their first product.
Friend #2 – works as a manager at Office Depot. On the weekends loves to shoot guns with his dad. They are creating a software program that helps people to increase their accuracy when shooting. They are also creating video demonstrations on how to improve your accuracy.
Friend #3 – came to me asking for help promoting a “how to make money online” course. He had to call me using a video relay because he’s deaf. I told him that he was going in the wrong direction with what he was promoting. He had no experience making money online. I asked him what his hobbies were, and sure enough, told me he didn’t have any that he could sell. Before I even asked that question I knew what his niche was. He’s been speaking through sign language his whole life, and there are thousands of people searching every month on how to learn sign language.
What do you do in your free time when no one else is around? Are you good at video games? Are you a good cook? Do you play any sports? Do you throw dinner parties? Do you collect anything? Can you play an instrument? What is your passion? When you can answer this… then you know what your niche is.
Step 3 – Research your market. Don’t worry – this part isn’t nearly as hard as you’d think. Within about 5 minutes I can usually tell if a niche is worth looking at. There are 3 things you need to do, and you’ll know if it’s the right niche.
First – Check out the search engines. There are a lot more advanced tools than this, but this one is completely free to use. Go to http://inventory.overture.com and type in your niche. This will show you how many times that word was searched for that month on their search engine. If there are a lot of people searching for it each money, then it’s likely a good niche.
Second – Search for online communities related to your niche. People with similar interests migrate to the same places online. Wrestlers hang out at wrestling forums, poets hang out in poetry message boards, etc… Go to www.google.com and type in “________ forums” or “_________ message board” or “_______ groups” (put your niche in the blank). Visit these forums and see if they are active and how many members they have. You can often find forums with 10,000+ members in it. If you find good communities focused around your niche, then this is another good sign.
Third – Search for similar products. If you can find others selling products in your niche, then it’s usually a good sign that there’s some life there. Purchase their products and get to know your competition (because they are going to become your JV partners in another lesson).
After getting this far, you should have a good idea about which niche you would like to conquer, as well as some idea about if it is a profitable niche.
In the next lesson, we are going to discuss how you can turn those talents into a product. Product creation is one of the most exciting parts of the game for me, so look out for that lesson coming soon.