Day 1 — Digging in and Finding Your Niche Ideas

Brainstorming Niche IdeasAt last Thirty Day Challenge 2008 (TDC) is here. In the upcoming 30 days, you will see my progress to start a small business online from scratch. A lot of people are going to talk about their experience with Thirty Day Challenge but I’m going to offer complete details of my journey.

As I’m huge in blogging, you should expect my emphasize on using the tool to build this pilot project. If you think I already have an idea in mind about what to build, guess again.

When I’m talking about starting from scratch, I really mean it!

Whether you want to establish an online presence for your existing small business or start a new online business to augment your existing income — that will replace your earnings one day, you are in for a treat.

Before you go into the real work on the next day, in day 1 you do nothing but wander around — either virtually on the real world. The purpose is to get 5-10 of ideas.

Tips: It is important that you don’t edit or judge your ideas right now. You won’t know the market potential yet unless you have done proper research for each of them.

“Why starts with an idea?” You may ask. Good question.

Online, you are able to identify demand, hot products, price of the ads in the marketplace and other things if you take the time to do the research.

The traditional way of starting with a product is misleading. Many people started with it and later found that the market doesn’t want that product, or the customers don’t want it to appear the way it was created.

If you have been thinking about creating a product, mind mapping, making the idea perfect etc., but you haven’t done any market research — or take it one step further, interact with the prospective customers yet, you need to stop right now.

Once you’ve done the research, a large percentage of the work has been done. All you need is to create the product and reach the market via cost effective channels, so when they buy, you still make money from it. Let’s not go into the fact that you can actually break even or even lose a bit of money if you have a strong back-end strategy from the start.

The Symphony of Four Parts

The whole TDC is a symphony of 4 parts:

  1. Market research. Identify what the market wants and find cost effective marketing channels.
  2. Traffic. A great product without targeted traffic is nothing. As this is business, you want prospects and customers. While the marketing approach doesn’t have to do with hard selling at all, you need to promote to get traffic.
  3. Conversion. Think about traffic as the input. In this step, you want to turn your web site or blog into a machine. Conversion is where you optimize your page and site to make the readers buy or do whatever you want them to do.
  4. Product. Only after doing those above that you should think about creating a product. That means you have already started interacting with the audience before you create your product. Even if you get negative feedback, it is better than nothing because you know another way how NOT to approach your market.

Preliminary Requirements

You don’t need to spend a dime if you don’t want to, but if you are serious about building your business you should not hold back when you need to spend some cash to build the right infrastructure to support your business.

If you followed the entire preseason, you should be ready to go right now. Make sure you allocate some time to learn and take action every day. It is a consistent 30 days of actions and that is necessary to win. Although that $1 dollar should not be the thing you focus about, you’d like to think about the 30 days challenge as a way to discipline yourself into doing.

Many people feel their productivity increases as they stick to a schedule. At the pace of getting things done in 30 days, you’ll be impressed with how many things you could do in such a short period of time. Once you know how it feels, you don’t want to stop!

Finally, prepare for the right mind-set. It is easy to be too excited to start the journey, just to be discouraged when you stumble upon technical issues and other things. It is important to remember that it is just part of life and business.

No matter what you do, you will find obstacles along the way. Getting outside of the comfort zone a bit allows you to grow and be a better person. Just keep in mind or print out your goal on a piece of paper and stick it to the wall. The life-changing vision should NOT subside in a few days!

The Model of This Online Business

Perhaps it helps if you understand this upfront. People are using the Internet to search for information. They are looking for guitar lessons and tutorials, review of guitars, places to buy the music instrument, compare prices, physical locations of places providing guitar classes, and so on.

Again, if you are able to reach the market cost effectively, or to be precise the cost is less than the revenue generated from your business, you are going to be in profit.

While you can build a very successful business by advertising, this challenge focuses on different things. First off, we want to build a business from scratch with little or no money, so let’s scratch advertising from the options to generate traffic to your site.

You can use various other ways, which will be covered later, to drive traffic too. And one of them is through search engines. Instead of hard selling, you provide the visitors with good information so they feel they get value from it and come back.

How to Come up with Ideas

Ideas are around us. In fact, personally I think this is the easiest part. You can go to Amazon and immediately get 20-30 ideas by browsing through products and look for the categories.

However, some people get stuck with the process. It that happens to you, it is important that you put your idea radar up and on. Don’t start with pressure in your mind. Relax mind is more receptive to ideas. I’m sure you have ever come up with ideas about something and if you notice it most likely happened when were are not expecting them.

If going for a walk helps, go to local bookstores and look around for the titles. They are idea generators. Stroll around the mall is another way to get your creative juice going for niche ideas. Even watching tv and infomercial can help you get unexpected ideas very quickly.

It is important that at this stage you don’t filter anything at all. You want to do it scientifically, not by guessing. You will be surprised that nine times out of ten, your guess is not accurate or worse still, untrue.

Here are a few places to generate niche ideas:

  1. PayPal Shops. Search or browse through shops. If there are products and they sell well, that’s a surefire indication that there is a profitable market. Bingo, you just hit an idea. Write it down for research later.
  2. eBay Pulse. This is eBay’s daily snapshot of current trends, hot picks and cool stuff on eBay. You can continue by browsing the categories and watch what products people are selling in real time in the marketplace.
  3. Lulu. Top 100 best sellers for books that are published in Lulu. This is a good list to get your creative juice going.

Action List

When you are ready for a few ideas (3-5 would be good, 10 is great) then you area ready to move to the next day. Just remember that you don’t judge your idea first. Let the market tells you instead.

Finally, here are a list of niches I generated in about 15 minutes just from browsing Amazon’s magazines: backpacking, camping, snowboarding, log homes, woodworking, cartoon drawing, rose gardening, winter wedding, organic gardening / food, birdwatching, camping out, flower arrangement, companion dog training, tarot, teach children swimming.

If you wonder which one works best, I really don’t know. That’s we are going to find out tomorrow.

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