It’s Monday, and The Boss is already breathing down your neck.
You’re trying to do work your own way, because your way works better than The Boss’ way.
A lot of the BS company procedures and protocols just slow you down.
What you’re doing actually makes the company more money!
But The Boss doesn’t care.
The Boss just wants you to follow the rules. To obey. To be a cog in the corporate machine.
You feel the anger welling up inside you, yet again. You want to lash out, to say, “Listen here - are you even thinking things through? Or do you just enjoy being average?”
But The Boss controls your paycheck. So you’re forced to grit your teeth, smile, and do things the stupid and slow way.
What if the next time you had to interact with The Boss, you could think in the back of your head:
“Yeah, you’re calling the shots now… but I’ve started my journey to freedom. I’ll be running my own online business soon enough and then I can’t WAIT to quit and wipe that stupid grin off your face.”
You can feel this sense of mental freedom TOMORROW. All you have to do is:
Grab some coffee or tea if you need to. It’s time to make shit happen.
Today, you’re going to be taking the first, MOST CRUCIAL step towards becoming your own boss: choosing your niche. Or as I like to think of it: choosing the people you want to serve.
I used to work for a boss that I hated, with a commute that sucked, with an alarm clock I wanted to throw out the window.
Now, I call the shots in my life.
I wake up when I want, do my work how I want, and feel excited to work every day….and I’m making more money than I ever did at my desk job.
This can be your life too… are you ready to join me?
There are two big mistakes that aspiring internet entrepreneurs make when choosing a niche:
How can both of these mistakes be possible?
You see, choosing a niche isn’t something that you can get PERFECT at the very beginning.
There are too many unknown variables you just can’t predict that will alter the exact niche you go into.
And that’s what a lot of people get wrong: they spend TOO MUCH TIME waiting and thinking and “researching” (read: procrastinating) about their niche.
I put researching in quotes because most of these misguided newbies don’t know how to do research the RIGHT way (which you’ll learn in this article).
In the second, smaller camp, you have people that invest no time at all before choosing a niche.
They make the mistake of assuming that just because they think their business is a great idea, other people will too.
And then they launch, or endlessly write blog posts, to a reception of… crickets.
There is a third way. A better way.
And you’re about to learn it.
You want to choose a niche that you can enjoy learning and creating content about for years and years to come.
You could be passionate about a problem you’ve solved in your life, a problem you’re dealing with in your life, a problem you enjoy helping other people solve, or simply a topic.
You don’t have to “find your bliss”. That’s BS.
As in: you don’t need to save the whales, or invent anything crazy and life changing. You can help people with their taxes, or trash, or do anything else that’s super ordinary.
Just find an area where you can do work that will feel important to you.
This is a major key for two reasons:
As successful internet entrepreneur Mark Manson would say… passion is practical.
It doesn’t matter if you think that your business idea is the bee's knees - it’s the people out there, or “the market” as Gary V likes to say, that will decide if your business idea is good or not.
Generally, people are interested in an area if it causes them either great passion or great pain.
Examples of great passion:
Examples of great pain:
Without profit, you don’t have a business. Plain and simple.
And the way you get profit is by identifying a group of people with great pain or passion in a very specific area who are willing to spend money to either solve their pain or indulge in their passion.
This is easy if your small niche is within one of the “big 3”:
A fourth, harder, big niche to go after is “Irrational Passions”. These are things like golf, motorcycling, travelling, pets, etc.
The KEY issue in niche selection is balancing yourself and the people you are going to serve. If you have all 3 Key P’s in your niche, that issue is automatically solved.
The first half of this post was a broad overview of this whole niche selection process. Now, you’re going to get your hands dirty and actually select your niche.
Don’t worry - you’re going to get walked through each and every step.
We’re going to attack this problem of passion from a couple of different angles, because it can be tricky to nail down.
But first: get out a journal and pen, or open a text document on your computer. This first step will take at least 20 minutes, and ideally you’ll spend 30-45 minutes on this process - because you want to really think here.
Keep in mind - investing quality time at the beginning of your business journey will make the rest of the path much easier and more productive.
Write out 10-20 areas you are passionate about. Some useful questions to help you through this process:
Write out each and every job you’ve had in your life. Next to the job, write out your rating of the job from a 1-10, and write your favorite and least favorite parts of each job.
You don’t have to write more than a sentence or two here. I got this exercise from Pat Flynn - it’s super useful for identifying the themes of the work you enjoy.
Write out 10-20 problems that have been the most painful for you in your life.
Bonus points if they are problems you later solved, or if they are problems that you are inspired to help other people with.
Look at these 3 lists of information. Hopefully, you see a few themes that are repeated.
For example, maybe you attached a lot of meaning to your parents being in debt when you grew up, and it’s something you would enjoy learning about and helping other people with.
Or maybe you’ve worked as a bartender and loved really making people feel at home, and you’ve always been interested in travel and hotel management.
You might not have anything so cut and dried as this - that’s OK. Just do your best at this moment in time.
Try to have 3-5 potential niches MAX before moving on to the next step.
One stupidly simple action that can help narrow things down a bit: just go through each list and “star” the ones that stand out to you. Cross out all the rest.
This is the stage in the game to trust your gut! If you’re having a lot of trouble generating niches, just keep moving - using the research tools in the next step will help you explore some ideas.
Thanks to the power of the internet and the tools you’ll learn to use below, it’s far easier than ever before to see if there are people interested in the kind of business niche you are thinking about.
If people are spending money on books in an area, there are potential profits to be made in that area.
That’s the basic idea behind using Amazon Kindle Bestseller lists for niche research.
The research process itself is super simple.
First, go to the nonfiction section on the Amazon Kindle Bestseller page.
Then, look in the categories on the left hand side to match up the niches you got in step #1.
You want to go as “deep” into the tree of niches as you can, because the deeper you get, the more specifically targeted your niche is.
For example, within the "business and money" category, you can go down to "investments", and then further narrow things by going down to "bonds":
Once you get as deep as you can go in a niche you’re interested in, scroll through the top 10-30 bestselling books in that niche. See what kinds of topics those books are on - those are the hot trends that people are willing to pay money to know about right now.
Can you see offering a business with content that is similar to any of these top 30?
Again, super simple. Just go to Magazines.com and look at the “categories” tab in the upper left hand corner:
Select a category that most closely resembles the current niche you are researching.
Then, you can find sub categories in that niche:
Or, you can find what the bestsellers in that niche are:
Magazines make money by selling advertising. So if a magazine is making enough money to stay in business, that’s a good sign that advertisers are making money off people in that niche (and you could too).
Clickbank is an affiliate marketplace. If you can find a product in here that’s selling well and closely related to the niche you are currently researching, that’s an excellent sign.
First go to the Clickbank affiliate marketplace:
Then browse the many categories they have on the red bar on the left side of the screen:
You’ll find that by clicking on any of these categories, you can go into further subcategories:
Find the subcategory that is closest to the niche you are currently researching, and then use the “sort by popularity” dropdown selection to find the products that are currently hot:
If you can imagine selling a similar product (or selling one of these products), that’s a great step in the right direction.
The logic with Google paid ads is similar to the logic we’ve used throughout this whole process: if advertisers are buying ads in a niche, they’re probably making money in that niche, or they wouldn’t continue to buy ads.
That means there’s room for you to make money in that niche as well.
To check for Google Paid Ads, just go to Google.com and type in a few searches that you think someone in your niche would type in.
For example, if you’re thinking of selling dog products because you love dogs, search google for “cheap dog products” or just “dog leashes” or something.
Then, try to see if you find any Google results with the green “Ad” box next to them:
If you want to save a bit of time looking for search terms, (and if you want to dig deeper) you can use one of the keyword research tools reviewed in this post.
Out of the 4 niche research methods you’ve used here, the Google paid ads method is the least useful, as there are some EXTREMELY popular niches that people aren’t advertising in.
For example, the search term “how to lose weight” had no ads:
But you and I both know people spend a TON of money on weight loss information products.
I think the Google Ads are biased towards products, which is why the search for “weight loss supplements” had a ton of results.
Now that you have a bit of the “lay of the land” with your research, it’s time to pick a niche, get specific, and GO!
Seriously - don’t spend more than a week MAX on your niche selection process. You can always adjust and change course later. And even if you later change to a completely different niche, you’ll still have gained valuable skills and knowledge about internet marketing from taking action on the first niche.
And if you are wondering "How do I know when I've found the right niche?" ...Watch this video:
There is no failure here as long as you’re taking consistent action. The only way to fail is to procrastinate.
Try to be as specific with your niche as you can at this early stage in the game. For example, don’t just sell dog products. Sell leashes to poodles, or info products about raising Dalmatians.
Or, if you’re in a weight loss niche - don’t teach women how to lose weight. Teach women who just had a baby and now are getting back to work how to lose their post-pregnancy belly while dealing with a busy job and hectic life.
The more specific you can get, the better. Some steps that will help you with this:
And as you are doing this - start creating or curating content. As in, start writing or sharing blog posts, podcasts, videos, courses, etc that people in your niche will find useful.
If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments below - and don’t forget to keep hustling! 🙂
Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.