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You want to start a business, but what is holding you back is the niche that you know you should choose. And, honestly, it can be tricky: you can list all of your interests and passions and come out of them as if you hadn’t touched on the singular thing that you were supposed to be doing.
Related: Find Your Niche In 60 Minutes Or Less With These 4 Questions
Yet putting that kind of pressure on you to choose the right niche can cause paralysis.
Certainly, you want to do due diligence in selecting a viable niche business, but it’s better to set yourself up than to wait. That way you can test ideas, enter the market earlier, and learn from your successes and failures. That way, too, if your first business doesn’t take off, you can always take back what you’ve learned from previous attempts and move on with new ideas.
If you’re having trouble deciding or need more data to work, use the following five steps to find your niche.
1. Identify your interests and passions.
It may be something you have already done. But if not, list 10 interests and areas of passion immediately.
Business is not easy and at some point it will put you to the test. If you work in an area that you are not interested in, your chances of quitting will increase considerably, especially as a first business owner.
This does not mean that you have to find a perfect fit. If you are passionate about some aspect of running the business, you will stick. If you don’t care about the subject, you may not be able to find the reader inside to persevere.
Here are some prompts to help you determine your interests and passions:
- How do you like to spend your free time? What are you looking forward to when you don’t?
- Which magazines do you subscribe to? What subjects do you like to learn the most?
- What clubs or organizations do you belong to?
2. Identify the problems you can solve.
With your list of 10 topics in hand, you’re ready to start narrowing down your options. To build a profitable business, you first need to find the problems faced by your target customers, and then determine if you can actually solve them. Here are several things you can do to identify problems in specific niches:
- Have one-on-one conversations or brainstorming sessions with your target market. Make sure you find or create a framework for asking questions that helps you discover the weaknesses.
- Read the forums carefully. Search Quora or find forums related to your niche, then take a look at the discussions in progress. What questions do people ask themselves? What problems do they have?
- Search keywords. Explore different keyword combinations in Google Trends and the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This can help you discover popular search terms related to pain points.
Related: 7 Steps to Define Your Niche Market
3. Research your competition.
The presence of competition is not necessarily a bad thing. This can actually show you that you’ve found a profitable niche. But you need to do a thorough analysis of competing sites. Create a new spreadsheet and start recording all of the competing sites you can find.
Next, determine if there is still an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. Can you still rank your keywords? Is there a way to differentiate yourself and create a unique offer? Here are several signs that you can enter a niche and succeed, even if there are already other sites that serve it:
- Low quality content. It’s easy to get ahead of your competition in a niche where other business owners don’t create high-quality, detailed content that serves the public.
- Lack of transparency. Many online entrepreneurs have disrupted entire industries by creating an authentic and transparent presence in a niche where other sites are faceless and too many businesses.
- No paid competition. If you have found a keyword that has a relatively high search volume, but little competition and paid advertising, there is certainly an opportunity for you to upset the market.
4. Determine the profitability of your niche.
You should now have a pretty good idea of the niche you are going into. Maybe you haven’t narrowed your list down to just one topic, but you’ve probably come up with some ideas that appeal to you. At this point, it is important to have an idea of the amount of money that you have the potential to earn in your niche. ClickBank is a great place to start your search.
So browse the best products in your category. If you can’t find any offers, this is not a good sign. This could mean that no one has been able to monetize the niche.
If your research reveals a decent number of products – but not one overabundance of products – you’re in luck. Take note of the prices so that you can evaluate your own products competitively.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to start your business with your own product offering. You can partner with product creators, advertisers, and site owners in your niche to start generating commissions while you work on your unique solution.
5. Test your idea.
You are now armed with all the information you need to choose a niche, and the only thing left is to test your idea. One simple way to do this is to create a landing page for the presales of a product that you are developing. You can then drive traffic to this page with paid advertising.
Even if you don’t get pre-sales, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not in a viable niche. Your message may not be completely correct or you may not have found the right offer yet. By taking advantage of A / B split testing, you can optimize conversions and find out if something is preventing your target market from acting.
Once you’ve confirmed the viability of a niche, start developing a full-fledged website. You will want to learn how to create a blog and generate more traffic to your site to increase your income and increase your productivity.
But keep in mind that there isn’t necessarily a perfect process for finding a niche. You’ll want to do your homework, but if you’re stuck in the planning phase, you can never actually get started. As an entrepreneur, you have to become a good beginner.
Related: 5 Steps to Determining Your Ideal Niche, Even in an Unknown Market
If you think you’ve found a business idea you can invest in, take the step. The learning and growth that comes from Make will be much more than the rewards of simple planning.