Maybe you’ve all grown accustomed to visiting the blog, grabbing your weekend Web Candy, and going on your merry way. Not so today. Why not? Because this weekend I’m in the mood for a huge pity-party, and you’re all invited! Not to worry, your Web Candy is here too. If you just want to grab the goods and go, then feel free to scroll to the end for some good resources to help you find your niche. Otherwise, please forgive me while I first indulge a few frustrations about finding my own.
What’s a Niche?
The word “niche” is a popular buzzword when it comes to planning your internet business. You gotta’ have a niche. So what exactly is a niche? Well, your niche is “your thing.” It could be:
- An area in which you have specialized skills and/or education. Maybe you have 10 years of experience designing websites or fixing cars, or you have a degree in supply chain management.
- Anything you’re passionate about. Maybe that’s animal rights, saving the environment, or reality TV.
- A hobby. If you know how to grow bonsai trees, crochet, restore furniture, or take great photos, that could be your “thing.”
- Personal Experience. If you’re lucky enough to live in a really interesting place, or you’ve done a lot of traveling, that could provide you with a good niche. Or, maybe you have personal experience overcoming a certain problem that a lot of people have. There are a lot of people with problems out there, and providing solutions could be your niche.
- Something you’re interested in learning. Let’s say you don’t know much about astrology, but it’s something you’ve always found interesting and fascinating and you’d love to learn more about it. Maybe that could be your niche.
Theoretically, any of these things could be your niche; something that you could potentially develop into a profitable business. Why then, do so many people (myself included) get so damn hung-up and stuck on finding a niche??
We are studying Course 2 at Internet Business Mastery Academy, and I’m ‘bout to sprain my last few brain cells trying to find my damned “thing.” So far, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be the most unskilled, passionless, boring/bored, apathetic person in the galaxy. Finding my niche is something I’ve tried to do before. I knew I’d have to go looking for it again when we joined the Academy, and I’ve been dreading it! Now, it’s that time and my damned “thing” is still doing a hell of job hiding from me.
Why I Can’t Find My Niche
When you’re finding a niche for your business, you should be looking for something that you’re interested in, good at, and willing to spend time on, so it won’t bore you to tears, right? Oh, and you should be able to come up with some good possibilities for monetizing it. Like a membership site, info product, newsletter, etc. So why is so hard for some of us to find our niche (assuming it’s not just me)? Here are some conclusions I’ve drawn about myself:
- I’ve spent most of my life pursuing the wrong job skills and education. I wrote about this in a two-part post called My Career In A Nustshell. Basically, what it boils down to is that I have started numerous academic pursuits (mostly in healthcare) – not because I was interested in it, but because it would presumably prepare me for a high-paying career someday. Because I wasn’t really interested, I repeatedly dropped out and/or changed my major and never finished any of those degrees. Same thing with my career history, which has been almost entirely manufacturing jobs. Not that I’m so in love with making stuff, but it’s a good-paying gig for people like me who are too confused to choose a major and follow through on getting a degree. I did finally get my BS. Why? Because my employer paid for it. Seemed like a no-brainer at the time. One little catch, though. My major had to be job-related. Yeah. I had to study something closely related to a job that I took only for the money and that was sucking the life out of me. Yay me. So, now I have a degree in Operations Management and Quality Management. That’s right, I AM in fact, hard-headed enough to get a double major in a field I chose for all the wrong reasons. Now would be an appropriate time for someone to hit me square in the face with a shovel.
- I haven’t made time for hobbies and interests. I’ve been much too busy pursuing the wrong education, the wrong jobs, etc.
- I’m not really what you’d call a “passionate” person. Currently, I’m passionate about getting the hell out of my job. One day, once I’ve successfully quit the Rat Race, I suspect that’ll be my niche. I have a lot of great ideas for that niche, but it’s a little premature right now, considering that I’m still punching the time clock.
- Like a lot of you, I’m stuck in a job that drains my energy, squashes my motivation, kills my creativity, sucks the life out of me, and leaves me whimpering in a twisted heap of bitter disappointment and frustration. What…too harsh? Maybe a little, but you get my drift. It’s hard to find things like passion, motivation, and excitement when you’re spending 40+ hours every week doing something you dread.
Resources to Help You Find Your Niche
Ok, I’ve rambled enough. Thanks for attending my pity-party. What I really wanted to do was give you some resources that I’ve come across in the search for my thing. So, here’s the good stuff. If you’re having trouble coming up with an idea for a niche, you can use these websites and tools to get some ideas and hopefully find your thing.
- Look at the titles of magazines. If there’s a magazine dedicated to it, there’s a market with money to be made. Go to a bookstore, or check out the magazines at Amazon. If you want to “explore” some different interests, you may want to consider MagHound – a unique magazine subscription service. You can get 3 magazines subscriptions for 4.95/month, change your magazines whenever you want, and even receive “substitute” magazines during the months when your regular subscription isn’t published. There are details about other options and features available at the website. Don’t forget industry-specific Trade Magazines (you can get a lot of these free). TradePub.com has a pretty good list to choose from.
- Look at the topics of “How-To” books. Probably the most popular is the “Dummies” series. The publishers of these books have already done the research and found niches that people are interested in reading about. Also check eHow.com to see what information people are looking for. At the time of this writing, there’s a list of the “Top 10 eHows” in the left sidebar, and a list of “Popular Categories” in the right sidebar.
- Surf online forums. If there are active forums about a topic, chances are it’ll be a profitable niche. You can also “lurk” in the forums of your niche to find out what your target market wants and needs. Make an info product that gives them what they want, and you’ll have a successful stream of income! You can Google [topic] + forum, or keep an eye on BoardReader.com to find forums.
- Check out 43Things.com to find out what goals people have. If you can help people achieve a goal, you could make a niche for yourself. Look at the tag cloud on the website and click on “popular goals.”
- Find out what people are searching for. Try Hot Searches at AOL, Google Trends, and Yahoo Buzz. Dogpile’s Search Spy is a real-time “ticker” of some of the things people are searching for on that search engine.
- Google’s Wonder Wheel. This is a really cool thingamajigger that a lot of people overlook. Go to Google, and type in a search term. Use a broad topic you’re interested in. When you get the search results, look at the very top of the listings (right above the Sponsored Ads) for a “Show Options” link, and click on that. A menu of options will show up in the left side bar, and near the bottom you’ll see a link for “Wonder Wheel.” Click on that and have fun exploring!
- Find out what people are buying. Try Shopping.com’s Consumer Demand Index.
I’m sure there are a ton of other idea-generators out there. What’s your favorite? These resources have helped me brainstorm some possibilities, but I still don’t feel like I’ve really found “my thing” yet. So, if you have other ideas for finding a niche, please post them in the comments. You may just save what’s left of my sanity.
In the Works:
- Product Review: Affiliate Elite
- Quitter Profile
- Throwin’ Mo Money Atcha’