June 8, 2024

The Counterintuitive Approach to Uncovering Your Profitable Niche

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Have you ever sat down and tried to come up with the ‘perfect’ business idea? Something that aligns with your passions, skills, and has the potential to generate revenue?

If so, you're definitely not alone.

Finding a profitable business idea is one of the biggest challenges aspiring solopreneurs face.

But by the end of this issue, you'll have a simple framework you can follow to uncover your profitable business.

Let’s dive in.

The Problem with Brainstorming in a Vacuum

Most people start the idea process by locking themselves in a room, staring at their computer screen, and trying to come up with something unique. They'll make lists, mind maps, and whiteboard outlines for days or weeks.

I totally get that approach. I’ve done it a million times.

That might surface a good idea or two, but usually it leads to overthinking, frustration, and ideas that are disconnected from what the market actually wants (or needs).

In my experience, this approach is not a recipe for success.

Common Advice That Falls Short

If you've shared your brainstorming struggle with others, you've probably heard something to the effect of:

"Just follow your passion!" or "You'll know it when you see it."

I also don’t love this advice. Of course, following your passion is certainly important. But it's not the complete picture. Some passions simply aren’t profitable.

And for the "You'll know it when you see it” crowd? Eureka moments can and do happen, but hoping that you’ll get a sudden strike of ‘idea lightning’ is like playing the lottery.

Not a reliable strategy.

A Smarter Approach to Idea Generation

In my experience, the best ideas don't come from brainstorming in isolation or waiting for some epiphany.

The best ideas come from a deliberate process of research, experimentation, and incremental iteration.

And you can think about this in three simple steps:

1. Start with a Small, Hungry Market

Instead of trying to come up with an idea first, start by identifying the skills and knowledge you already have.

Then, work on moving from that broad topical area down to something a bit more niche.

For example, you might have knowledge about digital marketing (topical area). But that’s awfully broad. You want to be more specific.

Digital marketing (broad topical area) → SEO (core topical area) → Newsletter SEO for Creators (niche)

The more specific you get, the more you can find people actively searching for solutions to a specific problem.

Then you want to figure out where people are already spending money trying to solve that specific problem.

Some great places to do your research: bestselling books, popular courses, trending products, forums like Reddit, Quora, and Facebook groups. And YouTube, of course.

If people are already gathering around a specific problem and paying to have it fixed, you know there's demand.

2. Immerse Yourself in Conversations

Once you've honed in on a specific problem, you can dive into the conversations people are having.

  • What are their biggest pain points, obstacles, and goals?
  • What solutions have they tried?
  • Where do they still feel stuck?
  • After spending money, what still isn’t solved?

When you join conversations, you'll spot patterns and gaps in solutions that are currently in the market. And after awhile, you'll develop a sense of what people really want, which is the key to building your profitable offer.

See how much better this feels than being locked in a room with a blank screen?

3. Craft Your Unique Solution

When you have insights from people who are ideal customers, you can develop a tailored solution that ties together:

  • Your unique blend of skills, experience, and perspective
  • What you've discovered the market wants and needs
  • Your passion and interest in solving that problem

Run your idea by some ideal customers for feedback, and refine your offer based on what resonates.

Bottom line: When you focus on solving a real, visceral problem for a specific group of people, you'll have a much better chance of finding buyers.

Today's Action Steps

Here's how you can act on this advice today:

  1. Write down 5 skills or areas of competency that you have.
  2. Identify 2 niches you potentially want to serve. And be specific (Newsletter SEO for Creators) but not overly specific (On-page SEO for female solopreneurs under the age of 40 in eCommerce). Don’t get carried away.
  3. For each niche, search Amazon, Udemy, YouTube, and Google and use terms like ‘bestseller’, ‘popular’, ‘trending’, ‘problems’, ‘books’, ‘courses’ etc
  4. Note common questions, problems, and desires that come up. And aim to collect 8-10 data points for each of your niches.
  5. Identify one or two specific problems you are capable of and interested in solving, that you know people are already paying to solve.

With just 60 minutes of thoughtful research, you'll uncover a ton of raw material to inform your idea.

If you want to go deeper, my flagship course, The Creator MBA, takes the guesswork out of turning your idea into a real business. I share my entire framework for turning knowledge and skills into a profitable online business - from uncovering your best idea, to developing products or services, to getting your first customers and scaling up.

To enroll with 4,250+ other internet entrepreneurs click here.

Because your big idea is out there.

And now it’s time to go find it.

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Creator MBA:  Join 4,000+ entrepreneurs in my flagship course. The Creator MBA teaches you exactly how to build a lean, focused, and profitable Internet business. Come inside and get 5 years of online business expertise, proven methods, and actionable strategies across 111 in-depth lessons.

2. The LinkedIn Operating System:​  Join 22,500 students and 50 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 2K to 550K+ followers, be named a Top Voice and earn $7.5M+ in income.

3. The Content Operating System​:  Join 10,000 students in my multi-step content creation system. Learn to create a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week.

4. ​Promote yourself to 215,000+ subscribers​ by sponsoring my newsletter.

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