My Personal Struggle in Choosing a Profitable Niche

Since May 2010, I’ve been trying to make this whole “internet marketing thing” work. That’s 3-1/2 years! And my income hasn’t reached the level where I can quit my day job, yet. I make between $200 and $300 a month selling physical products as an Amazon Associate. It IS passive, which is pretty cool.

There’s a wide difference in the time it takes to succeed online. Some people seem to have a real “knack” for this and become successful in a year or less. Others might spend several years at it before seeing any serious income. I guess I’m in the latter group.

My AHA Moment

Yesterday at work, I was thinking about internet marketing and why I’m not at the level I want to be. Recently, I’ve been studying one of the many online courses I’ve purchased over the years (damn shinny new object syndrome) called “Bring the Fresh“. It’s actually a good, solid training product put out by Kelly Felix (formerly the “Rich Jerk”).

As I was going through the niche/product/market section again, I realized that the examples Kelly chose to work with were in the “popular” niche categories. What do I mean by popular? Here’s a brief list off the top of my head:

  • weight loss
  • fitness/body building
  • get your ex back
  • golf
  • investing/Forex
  • paid surveys
  • how to get pregnant
  • romance/marriage
  • health related topics
  • dog training

Just go to Clickbank and check out the high gravity products. Those are the popular ones. These are the “hot” niches, right?

Here’s a list of the topics/niches I’ve been trying to market to in the last 3 years:

  • how to build a playhouse
  • pilot headsets
  • camping tents
  • how to build a canoe

Pathetic, huh? I know if I were to hire a mentor (which who in the hell can afford one of those!?) the first question he’d ask me is what have I been working on in the past three years. I’d hang my head and read off the above list, knowing that they are NOT good niches at all.

What’s Kept Me From Choosing a Good Niche

During my “aha” moment, I asked myself why I haven’t picked a “popular” niche. Why did I choose those “duds”?

I think the answer lies partly in some of the courses I’ve read over the years, where the author tells us to choose a niche that we’re interested in or “passionate about”. They tell you that any niche can be profitable. I remember one “guru” who advised beginners to stay away from the “make money online” niche as it has too much competition.

So I’ve been trying to stay with my interests or passions, and have gotten nowhere.

Maybe I AM Into Some Popular Niches and Just Didn’t Know It

Yesterday as I was thinking about all this, I realized that I had, or have had interests in a lot of the popular niches. I used to be into golfing (and I still have an interest in doing it in the future). In fact I took a golf class in the 8th grade!

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I went through a divorce and experienced a time when I wanted to get my ex back. (Not any more, though – I’m happily married to a beautiful wife!)

When I start to put on a few extra pounds and can’t fit into my jeans anymore, I have an interest in the “weight loss” niche.

My wife and I own a dog, so I could easily say I have an interest in the “dog” niche.

A few years ago, I had a strong interest (you might even be able to call it a “passion”) in the investment niche. I bought books and studied how to buy stocks and when to sell to maximize profits. I still even own a few stocks right now! BAM! “Investment niche”!

There was also a time, not too long ago, that I was jogging either on our treadmill or in our neighborhood. I guess that would fall under the “fitness” niche.

So there’s six areas where I’ve recently had an interest that are included in the popular/profitable niche markets.

Think about your past. Are there any of the “popular” niches that you personally had experience with?

Something I Noticed About Kelly Felix

In his introduction videos about choosing a good niche, Kelly chooses two niches for examples about how to do keyword research.

One niche is “survival”, which is also a hot niche right now. The other is “juicing” which is related to the always hot niche of “fitness” or “health”.

In the video he explains why he chose those two niches. Was he “passionate” about them? No. Interested? A little.

He chose the “survival” niche because he was watching a TV show about survival and thought it was interesting. That’s it! A TV show he watched. That’s not what I would call a passion!

The juicing niche he selected because his girlfriend was into juicing and he got an interest in it through her. Is he passionate about “juicing”? I doubt it. But he had an interest in it.

Kelly Felix’s interests are all across the board. He has sites based on investing, health, survival, and who-knows-what-else.

This example (from a VERY successful online marketer) shows me that having a passion for a topic isn’t necessary to be successful. All you need is an interest in the topic and the willingness to work with it.

Travis Sago and The “Starving Audience”

Travis Sago is another hugely successful online marketer. What made him a millionaire is when he decided to go after audiences who were “starving” for the product or service he was offering.

His analogy is this: Suppose you came upon a deserted island with a thousand people who had been there for several months with nothing to eat. You just happened to have a thousand hot dogs, all cooked and ready to eat. Assuming they still had their credit cards, you could easily sell every one of those hot dogs for whatever price  you wanted and without any fancy salesmanship. That’s his definition of a “starving audience”.

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A hot niche has a starving audience, always.

Getting “Into” a Hot Niche Topic

Okay, I’m ready to push past my comfort zone and choose a niche that’s not really a passion for me, but has excellent monetary potential. Here are some thoughts that helped me:

  1. Choose a “hot” topic that you’re at least somewhat interested in. Write down a list of the popular topics and choose the one that appeals to you the most. Make sure it falls under one of the four popular categories: Health, Wealth, Love (or relationships), and Expensive Hobbies.
  2. Think of it like a business, not a hobby. You’re in this to MAKE MONEY! It’s not about your passion, it’s about owning a profitable business.
  3. Remember, just because you choose “weight loss” as a niche topic, doesn’t mean you have to be the “weight loss guy” forever. You can move on to other hot niche topics after you create a profitable weight loss site or two.
  4. Your interest in a topic will increase as you delve more into it. Who knows, you might even become a little passionate about it. Think about the things you’re passionate about right now. It was a process – your passion grew as you explored and learned more about the topic.
  5. Commit for at least 3 months. Choose a topic and stick with it long enough to make it work. This is where I really struggle. Almost immediately after I start a project, a little voice in my head (sounds kinda creepy, right!) starts to tell me that the project I’m working on won’t succeed and it’s stupid. If you have a similar problem, do your best to block out that voice and press on.

Closing Thoughts

So what did I learn from my epiphany and what can you gain from it? I learned that I can (and should) build a niche site around a “popular” or “hot” niche to make any real money online.

I discovered that I don’t necessarily need to have a “burning passion” for the niche or topic I choose, as long as it’s potentially profitable. All I need is an interest in it and a commitment to stay with it for a few months.

ALL, and I mean every, successful online marketer builds niche sites around popular or “hot” topics. I can’t think of any who have a site on “how to build a canoe” or “how to build a children’s playhouse”. Those just aren’t profitable niches.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking only the “experienced” online marketers should be selling products in the popular niche categories. You and I can do it too.

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