Like I said in my post last week, Today Is the Day of Niches, the internet enables niche businesses built around specialized skills and random hobbies to succeed.
When starting an online business, remember that the more specific and focused a niche is, the more likely you will be able to own this area of the internet. For example, a website that caters to "retired circus acrobats" is more nichy than a website for "how to write a book".
However, while many of us can think of general hobbies like "travel" or "writing" or "yoga", it can be difficult to identify extremely unique niches. Especially specific niches that you would enjoy creating for everyday.
To find some potential niches, follow my 8 step guide to finding your niche business.
1. Write down every hobby you have ever had onto 3X5 cards or sticky notes.
And I mean EVERY hobby. If you loved drawing as a kid, write it down. If you've imagined yourself as an astronaut while watching Gravity, write it down. Even if you enjoy things that aren't normally labeled hobbies, like people watching or hot dog eating, write it down.
2. Write down every life-changing experience you feel has impacted you or altered you.
Have you experienced a difficult illness? Have you been there for a family member who has struggled with a life-altering addiction? Have you traveled somewhere unique? Do you find yourself being asked to help people going through a specific kind of experience?
3. Spread these cards or sticky notes out on a flat surface.
Start combining two (or even three) cards together. Write down these intersects into your dream journal. Your best niches are combinations of two or three parts of your life. For example, I have a website for frugal LDS travelers, called LDSNomad.com. [my passion for travel + my LDS faith + most of my travels happened as a poor college student]
4. Select one niche today to investigate online and see what's already out there.
Do some general searches on your topic. See what (if anything) is out there on your niche. Use Google Keyword Planner to see what terms are being searched. Set up Google Alerts on a few key phrases (like "cheap travel" or "LDS travel") so that you receive weekly emails with the latest news on these topics.
Just because there may be a few websites or forums out there related to your niche does not mean you do not have a chance to own a significant part of that area. In fact, it shows there is a demand for your niche. Look for what's missing or what could be improved on. The most creative ideas came as an improvement on another.
5. Decide what platform works best for you and your niche.
Do you enjoy speaking, writing, or acting? Do you think your audience would appreciate a blog, a podcast, a video channel, an Instagram album, or a simple website to get their questions answered? While you want to be comfortable with a platform, keep in mind that a podcast wouldn't be the best platform for a Deaf niche website. Remember who your audience is.
6. Write down questions that people interested in this niche are asking.
These questions are your future content for your website, blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. There is this awesome book, Youtility, that has helped me learn so much about meeting the needs of a niche. The author, Jay Baer, says to write down EVERY question that your niche group could possibly want answered. The more questions, the more answers, the more you become an 'expert' online in this area. That is your goal, to be the place your niche can come to for honest, relatable answers and products.
7. Think about what products or services you need as a member of this niche.
Because you followed the first three steps of this guide, you are part of this niche group. This makes it easier when you're ready to write content, sell products, or offer the best services. Try to ask others in this niche for what they want as well so doesn't become The Ultimate Website for (insert your name here).
Do not skip this step if you are a nonprofit organization. It is just important for nonprofits to know what their audience wants or needs as any forprofit business.
8. Start creating. Don't hesitate.
The secret to online projects is to just start creating.
Honestly, you will never feel prepared enough or completely ready to start building an online business or starting a nonprofit organization. Every project I have ever started has required me to stop researching my project to death and just begin creating. I have shared these steps to finding a niche with so many people. They get excited and do so much research that they avoid starting. Don't let this happen to you!
Read my post: Get to the End. Now. >>
The Beauty of Online Niche Businesses
If you have selected a niche that's made up of intersections in your life, you won't regret creating - even if it isn't as successful as you hoped. That's the beauty of online businesses. It hardly costs anything to start, the work is made up of things you enjoy, and you feel more fulfilled through the process.
Remember: each time you start a niche project, the more likely you will succeed. We always hear how 80% of first businesses fail ("failing" an online business is hardly a financial recession - but that's another story), but no one reminds us that nearly every second or third business succeeds.
It's easy to see companies like Walmart and assume that the most successful businesses utilize the one-size-fits-all model. The opposite is nearly always true nowadays. Companies that understand and meet the needs of a specific group are more likely to succeed.
What niches are you working on? Share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I'd love to come check out your site and support your projects!
21 March 2016
Read another post to help your projects:
Create until you are not afraid to create >>
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