Okay, here are a few articles on how you can do that work online, now that you understand how important it is!
One of the lies online is how easy it is to build a new business. People believe that. They read sales letters and even watch late-night infomercials about how many new niches and new opportunities there are.
That data is made up for the purpose of the infomercials and the sales pages. This “data” is everywhere and says that you can figure all of this out, with no “boots on the ground”, in other words, with no work and without fully understanding what’s going on.
I say this because so often when someone reads something about choosing a niche, or how to find out what your marketplace needs, you are looking for an easy formula.
The truth of the matter is: there is no easy formula!
Building a Business in Real Life
Think about the example we used to figure out if you need a new restaurant in town. Let’s say you want to open up an Indonesian restaurant. And there are no Indonesian restaurants in your town. One way that you’ll actually know if that restaurant will work would be to open one.
Yes, it will cost you money.
Yes, it will cost you time commitment.
Another way would be to have a stall outside (or pay to go inside) a shopping mall. You offer free samples of Indonesian food to passersby and ask for feedback. Ask the question “Would you like to eat at an Indonesian restaurant in town?”
Which do you think is the most cost effective way to get your answer? Spending many thousands to actually open your restaurant and find no one likes that type of food at least in that town? Or spend time doing surveys in several towns and finding the next one over loves Indonesian food?
One way is to invest whatever it is. $100k for kitchen equipment, you hire a chef, you paint the front door, and you open the doors. Once the doors are open, you can start counting heads. You can look at all the business that everybody else is doing, but you’ll never know what your brand new Indonesian restaurant is going to do, until you open it.
It’s still not going to prove your idea, even if you sell 1k plates from that survey stand. It’s still not going to prove that the restaurant will do well. Hey, maybe people like eating Indonesian food out of road-side carts, but they don’t want to sit down and eat it. I don’t know.
You Have to Get Out There and Do It.
The key here is you won’t know until you actually do it.
You need to do the same thing online.
You’ll never know exactly how much need there is, and how many sales you’ll make, until you actually open up shop. And tell people your website exists!
But here’s the beautiful thing about opening up shop online. All you really need is a domain name and a web site [here’s a tip for you – find a suitable domain name that has expired but had traffic going to it but no current website showing GoDaddy is one place to look at for this] – you don’t even need to create a product initially, but in order to sell, you’ll create a product, put a merchant payment button on it, and start inviting people in that particular niche, and you’re able to see what happens.
Note about choosing a domain name The Myth of Having An Exact Match Domain Name
And why not have a survey form as well or instead of a product for sale? The results of the survey will help you craft your first product to more closely fill the needs of your customers. They will be impressed on their first visit to your site and want to come back. [Good old Google have a free forms tool you can use to create your survey].
It’s very, very low entry price to get started online, to test something.
Theoretically, you could test something every month, for the next 24 months, until you found the one that worked.
Offline, you can’t do that. You can’t go be a plumber for a month and then decide if you want to do it. You can’t then go be an electrician for a month, and then be a chef for a month, then be a mechanic for a month. It takes you a couple of years to learn how to be a plumber. It takes you a couple of years to learn how to be an electrician. You’ve got to put that time, energy and effort into it.
The same thing with opening a restaurant, there’s an investment in opening that restaurant. The beautiful thing about online is, you really could try a new niche every single month for 24 months until you found one that works. Maybe in the 7th month, you tried the 7th idea, and it simply worked for you.
But, we don’t want to leave you in the dark here. We’ve talked about the fact that we don’t have any fully accurate information that’s just going to point you in the right direction and say, this will work for you. Just like you can look at the 10 restaurants in your downtown area, and see that some are making money, and some are not, you can do the same thing online.
You can get clues and signals. You can do research. But in the end, you need to buy the domain name, create the products, and start testing. That’s how you’ll find the winners. That’s how you’ll build a business that makes real money.
What are some ways to determine what online areas people are interested in?
One way would be to simply go online and go somewhere that there’s a lot of advertising. Maybe go to any of the news websites. A lot of the news websites have classified ads on them. You look at those classified ads, and you look at the topics of those classified ads. You could even take a screenshot of the classified ads today and then a month from now, take another screenshot and see if the same people are advertising.
Watch for Consistent Ads
In the advertising world many people advertise once. But, if it fails, they don’t advertise again. The only way to know if advertising works is to buy the advertising. I’ve done it before. I’ve bought advertising before that didn’t work. I only bought it one time. But if I buy it again, and again, and again, and again, you can assume I’m doing one of two things. I’m either trying to throw the competition off, and just trying to get them to all buy the same advertising, so they’ll fall off the cliff. Or, I’m genuinely making money.
The truth of the matter is, 99% of the time, when you see advertisers advertising month after month after month, they’re doing it, not because they want to drive their competitors off the cliff, but because they’re making money.
Look at the ads on the big websites (like big news sites) If you take a screenshot today, take a screenshot a month from now, and they’re the same advertisers. You can probably guess those people are making money.
Does that tell us there’s a big demand?
It doesn’t tell us anything about demand.
What it does tell us is there are some people making money.
Is There Room for More Competition in Your Niche?
There’s 2 ways to look at other people making money.
One way is, to look at it and say other people are making money, is there room for another entrant? My belief is there’s always room for another entrant, IF you’re willing to optimize so that you can do things as well as somebody else or give a different angle to the solution.
Some people like to enter markets where there’s very little competition. Where there’s only 2 or 3 people making money. Because then you can be a big fish in a small pond. The problem with that in today’s marketplace is if competition is low, there’s probably not a whole lot of demand. That’s not across the board, but it’s a general rule of thumb.
There are a few ways to know if your competition is profitable, but many ways to imagine that they might be profitable.
For them to actually be profitable is one thing, and for you to figure it out is another.
Imagine going into your local pizza shop, and walking up to the proprietor and saying. “Hey, I’m thinking about opening a pizza shop across the street, how many pies are you selling on Friday night?” The guy might call the police and have you arrested for trespassing! He’s not going to give you that information! Well, it’s the same thing online.
If someone is genuinely making money in your area of interest they don’t want you, or anybody else, to know. Sometimes folks will do things that make it look like they’re not generating as much revenue as they really are. They don’t want the competition to know.