In this video I discuss:
- How to find the perfect niche given your life experiences, passions, and goals
- Going for money vs. providing value when choosing a niche
- Why niche selection is a very personal, internal process
- What to do if you don’t have any passions/interests that stand out to you
- Brainstorming niches based on A TON of different angles
- What to do with the large list of niche ideas you should have by the end of this lesson
Please direct all questions and requests for support to the FIMP Facebook group (free for registered members).
3.1 Transcript Below
Hello, everyone! I guess another day, another section.
So today, we’re going to dig in to I think one of the most confusing things that most people face when trying to start an internet business, and that is: niche selection.
I want to take a moment briefly to say to all of my viewers that have never seen arms these pale, I apologize if it’s shocking.
Outside of that, I’ve got a lot in store for you. I know I’ve got a lot in store for you. I had never seen anyone go into this level for niche selection, frankly because it’s a really hard – really, really hard – thing to teach.
And on top of that, most people… well, I can’t say most people… but a lot of people that are teaching in this industry haven’t created enough sites and enough different niches to have experimented with what the key points for success and the key points for failure are, and unfortunately, I have. I’ve had a lot of failures due to bad niche selection over the past several years, but fortunately, that makes me a pretty good teacher of the topic.
So overall, this section is going to span a lot more information about niche selection than you’ve probably ever seen because it’s called for. It’s a very, very crucial part – we’ll talk about that here in a second.
And I highly encourage you… even if you think you have your niche picked out at this point – you may be seeing that this is a huge section with a lot of training and you may think, “I’ve already got this covered.” – I strongly encourage to watch these videos and kind of workshop your niche.
At the very least, you’re going to get a lot of ideas within your niche and you will… it’s distinctly possible if you haven’t gotten through really intense niche training like this that you’ve picked a niche that you think is valid and may not be valid.
And that’s scary to hear – we’ll talk about that a little bit in this section, too – but don’t worry about it. Don’t freak out. Lots and lots and lots of caveats to kind of stuff like that. So it’s not as bad as it sounds, I think.
So anyways, I want to dig into it. We’ve got a lot to cover here in this section. As of right now, I have seven videos planned for the initial training and I may add to those overtime as necessary. But I want to start with unearthing the perfect niche for you. It’s a really, really, important place to start, I think. And I want to talk generally speaking about niche selection and then we’ll kind of work our way through it – and I’ll talk about that here, too.
So one of the first things I want to talk about with niche selection that I don’t see covered often enough and I see people… typically, I think our tendency is to do the opposite of this and it’s actually very bad… and so what a lot of people do when they’re choosing a niche is they try to chase money.
As counterintuitive as it is, I would encourage you to do the exact opposite of that. Don’t go into a niche just because there’s good money in it. It’s an important factor – we will talk about it extensively in videos later in this section – but just for now… just generally speaking… do not go into niche simply because there’s money in it, okay?
You’ll thrive in the niches where you can bring the most value. Especially while you’re learning the ropes – while you’re building your first or second site that’s actually profitable and gets lots of traffic – it’s going to be a lot easier for you learn this industry if you’re writing about something where you bring a ton of value which likely means you have a lot of passion for it or you have a lot of experience in it. We’ll talk about that extensively as well. Kind of “Do I pick a niche-based passion, do I pick a money-based passion, or do I pick something else?” We’re going to talk about that extensively in this section as well.
There are a few noteworthy points to the value add, which again, we will cover extensively in this section. I am actually really excited to teach this. There’s just something so exhilarating about teaching a really complex topic. And again, I say this from a point of humility. I don’t just have like a giant head. I truly think that I’m teaching this topic better than… at least better than… I know for a fact better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I’m hoping it’s up there with some of the best training as far as niche selection goes on the entire internet in the entire world. That was my goal in creating this.
So we’ll cover this as well: kind of the noteworthy exceptions to bringing value because sometimes bringing value just isn’t enough.
So I want to say what is – based on all of this I’ve said, “Don’t do this, don’t do this, don’t do this, do this.” – what is one of the biggest secrets to succeeding in internet marketing (and I’ve touched on it here): it’s focusing on providing value and everything else will follow.
If you do that… that is one of the biggest “secrets” to succeeding in internet marketing, affiliate marketing, eCommerce, whatever kind of flavor of internet marketing you’re pursuing… if you focus on value above all else and bringing value to your audience, everything else is going to follow. The traffic is going to follow, and when traffic follows, money follows. And then, you can kind of tweak and turn that into more and more money, more and more traffic – and that’s when you get a full-time internet marketing living. Those are the components. That’s just what happens. That’s the natural sequence.
So I really, really, want to emphasize that at this point in the journey, that when you’re picking a niche, there should be at the top of your mind… and actually it should steer, it should direct basically everything you do in your internet business… is value.
I know it’s kind of counter-intuitive and there’s something a little bit scary about it if it’s the first time you’re introduced to this concept, because obviously, ultimately you want to make money.
If you think about how I add value (if you haven’t done it several times in this industry, it can be kind of difficult to see how those two things are tied to one another as closely as they are but they really are)… if you add value and you hit a lot of the points that I will teach as far as niche selection, you are going to make money in this industry if you stick with it. Period.
So picking the perfect niche for you comes down to a bunch of different things. Picking a niche is a very, very personal process. I get people asking me pretty often – almost frustratingly so – but again, I know it’s not from a point of trying to annoy me or anything like that or trying to be too needy, it’s just people are overwhelmed by this and they haven’t been taught it really well (which is something I’m hoping to rectify here). So it’s very, very personal process. You can’t say, “Hey Ian, give me a niche.” And I say, “Oh okay, here are the top niches that you should consider pursuing.”
The only way a person could really – it’s even someone with a lot of experience – could suggest a viable niche for you is if they were in an extensive kind of interview questionnaire process, someone read that, interpreted it, dug into the niches themselves… and we’re talking a several hour long process.
So you just can’t ask someone… you just can’t ask anyone, even an experience expert, “Hey Ian, what niche should I pursue? Could you give me some niche ideas?” It doesn’t work that way. Niches come from a very internal place – at least viable niches.
And so it’s more important… you know, the concept of teach a man to fish versus handing a man a fish: (a) it’s kind of impossible to hand a man a fish that’s not rotten, knowing whether or not that fish is rotten, so to speak – just stick with the analogy. But it’s really, really important that you learn how to do this yourself because it needs to come from an internal place.
It’s also one of the most crucial steps in internet marketing. I think a lot of you watching this may have experienced it already: picking a bad niche sets you up for failure a lot of the time from the very beginning.
And it’s a gruesome analogy and I apologize if it’s offensive, but the best way for me to put it is: if you pick a bad niche, no matter how hard you work, no matter what you do in your niche, you’re trying to give birth to a stillborn.
And if you don’t have the experience, you don’t know that. You could be working on it for months and months and months and it will never amount to anything no matter how well you execute all of the other points in between.
So it really is one of the most crucial steps and I understand it causes a lot of analysis paralysis – you know, people think about it so much that they never actually end up getting going. By the end of this section, that’s not going to be a problem anymore. I promise you that as well as long as you follow the training.
So I mentioned that don’t paralyze yourself thinking about it too much – I’ll talk about that in the final video; I’ll give you a very precise window of how long you should think about this before moving on – and just realize you may get it wrong. You may get your first niche wrong. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not the end of the world.
Even the worst case serious scenario – choosing a bad niche – is not the end of the world. I can’t tell you how many bad niches I’ve chosen and I still run a very profitable internet business.
Again, the important thing is that you don’t let that overwhelm you and frustrate you to the point that you give up. You need to keep pursuing, you need to stick with it, you need to remember everything in internet business means to you and how it would change your life, and you need to keep aiming for that. You really need to hold on to that because the stronger hold you have on your “why” – the thing that drives you – the more likely you are to survive some of those frustrating things (like discovering three months in that your niche probably isn’t as good of a choice as you thought it was).
But again, this training is going to make that significantly less likely than how I’ve seen niche selection and niche discovery is taught in most products.
So what we’re going to do in this section is we’re going to start super broad – which is good. That’s what we want. We want to start super broad. And then we’re going to refine the ideas; we’re going to workshop them; and you’ll get a really good idea of this one’s invalid, this one’s invalid, this one may be valid, at this point this one may be valid; and we’re just going to work to slowly kind of eliminate by teaching the layer upon layer upon layer… it’s kind of like niche lasagna… which sounds disgusting.
So that’s what we’re going to do in this section. In this video we’re going to start super broad and then we’re going to refine it throughout the rest of this process.
But first, I want to address something that I hear a lot and actually something that I faced personally so it’s something that I empathize with a lot better than some of the questions that I get time to time and that is, “What if I don’t have any passions? What if I’m not good at anything? What if I don’t know enough about anything to run a niche site?”
Flat out, that’s just not true. You just have to dig deeper. We’ll talk about a lot different paths you can take in niche discovery in this video and I think it’s going to stir up a lot of ideas that may not have come to the surface otherwise. So you may be saying to yourself right now, “I don’t have any passions.” Well that’s okay. “Hey Ian, I don’t know enough about anything to write about it.” That’s probably not true, you probably just don’t have enough confidence in yourself.
So we’ll tackle that. Actually, I think that will be taken care of inherently if you watch all of these training.
So we’re going to start off like I said really, really, really broad. Just write down everything that comes to mind as I talk about these things, okay? And if you need to, if I’m going too fast, just pause the video here and there, start it back up. Make sure you’re writing down everything that comes to mind – whether you think you’re going to shoot it down instantly. Just let it be a stream of consciousness what you’re writing down right now or what you’re writing down in this section.
So get a pen and paper handy or get a notepad open that you can type into on your phone or on your computer and literally write down everything that comes to mind. We’ll polish it later… it’s very likely that you’ll eliminate it later. Don’t eliminate anything at this stage, just write it all down.
So the first thing that I want to talk about is what jobs or expertise have you developed? What jobs have you had in the past, dating back to your very first jobs? I’m talking back like to high school days which for some of you may have been 40 years ago. For some of you, you might still be in high school. But irregardless, there’s still definitely pockets of knowledge that you have, experience that you have, passion that you have that can be refined into a really, really good niche that you can run a site on.
So what jobs or expertise have you developed? These are frequently where you’re going to be able to offer the most value, because when you did something as a profession or you got certified as a professional in a particular industry, you inherently have a lot of expertise and authority and credibility that just inherently lead to value.
You just have get it out of you and much later… well, not much later but later in the training… we’ll talk about how to do that and we’ll systemize that as well and break it down. But for now, just know that this category as far as I’m concerned is the best category to pick from.
A really good example for me is this project: Free Internet Marketing Project. Another thing to recognize, I live by everything I teach, right? So my number one priority is giving value. My number one priority is to take care of my audience members in every niche I enter before all else – before how much money I’m going to make, before all of these different things.
So Free Internet Marketing Project… an important thing to recognize is that what you’re watching right now absolutely is a manifestation of a niche site. When you all subscribe for tools that I use to build my business and I recommend or things that you need like hosting, I’m going to make a commission.
And hopefully, I’m providing enough value – enough very clear value… hopefully value above everything else you’ve seen in this industry – that that doesn’t bug you, right? You’re like, “Oh, of course!” I have people writing me all of the time saying, “Could you send me your affiliate link for this, I can’t find it on your website and I want to buy for you because you’ve helped me so much.” That means I’m doing my job, right?
So a perfect example for me is Free Internet Marketing Project. This is a colossal undertaking to put this project together and I’ve been thinking about it for years. And it’s just because I’ve done all of these so much that it’s somewhere that I can add a ton of value.
And so it’s not necessarily my biggest passion. I’ve actually actively avoided publishing training – you know, training that I actually monetize really heavily – in this industry for a long time because I was afraid of being one of those “me too gurus” that basically strike it rich once and they don’t know how to replicate it, they don’t know how to teach it to someone, but they’re going to release a product and charge it much money for it anyways. And the end of the day, they get rich by teaching other people how to get rich rather than teaching people how to work and dig and work through the murk and all of the trenches like they have time and time again.
So it took me several years to get to the point. I think that I felt like I was kind of, “Oh, I’d seen enough battle.” I’d gone through enough to kind of bring that level of value.
So at the end of the day, a lot of people say niches are about passion. Niches are about passion. Choose something you’re interested in, choose something you’re passionate about. I actually think that this is the top category because you’re going to set yourself up for success best by picking the place where you can offer the most value.
The place you can offer the most value is probably a place where you’ve been accredited or you’re some form of professional in the industry. So this could even be a college degree, past jobs, training, certifications, tests you’ve passed – all kinds of things in this category.
So hopefully, even through my talking, these are starting to kick up some ideas in your head and you’re writing this down. What jobs have you had, what training have you gone through in the past, what certifications have you achieved, what tests have you passed, what things have you studied extensively.
I think as we go through this… actually why I have this particular slide structured is we started at the places where you’re typically going to be able to provide the most value and then we kind of work our way down to the places where there are still very viable ideas to pull niches from – but it’s going to be much harder, it’s going to be less natural for you to provide value in those areas (which is where we get to the passion-based stuff but we’ll get there in a second).
So I said all of that crap about myself and Free Internet Marketing Project to say even if it’s not your passion… I’m very passionate about helping people… I enjoy so much more building new internet marketing projects, affiliate marketing sites, eCommerce sites, expanding my team. There’s something so thrilling about that to me rather than sitting in a room with a bunch of lights around me, creating PowerPoint slideshows… it’s very monotonous to teach if you want to do it really, really well. And so it’s not the kind of thing that really makes me tick, but at the same time, it’s the place where I’ve always known I could offer a ton of value.
And so, just because it’s not something you’re super passionate about, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue it. It actually probably means that it’s something you should pursue. It’s a means to an end, right? For a lot of you, your best niche site is one of the things that you’ve done so much you may be somewhat burned out on, but you have the ability to offer the most value in that industry.
And I think a really healthy lens… I’m sorry if I’m rambling here… but I think a really healthy lens to view this through and the thing that gives me so much satisfaction, the thing that makes it possible for me to trudge upstairs and turn on all these lights… I’ve got five lights in this room with me, giant green screen… and just kind of hole myself up in this room and record for hours and hours on end is because at the end of the day, if I died tomorrow and all of these was still in me… this project where I knew I could teach people how to change their lives and empower people with skills that would allow them to create internet businesses… I’ve had that in me for a long time now and to leave this world without giving that gift is what… and I’m sorry if this sounds cliché or cheesy… but it’s what motivates me to do this. It’s what gets me out of bed every day. Even though the work is monotonous and it doesn’t play well to my constant dividing of attention and wanting to do a hundred different things… it requires a lot of focus, a lot of discipline doing the same thing over and over again… and those things don’t excite me but what does excite me is to get out of bed every day and know that every inch I progress in this project changes someone’s life. And hopefully, it’s changing your life.
So if you are burned out about something or if you’ve worked in a particular industry for 30 years and you just don’t have it in you – you think you just don’t have it in you to keep pursuing that – it’s important to shift that perspective and think about how much you’re going to help people, how much value you can give people. And for me that’s motivation enough. That’s some of the best motivation I think in the world.
So anyways, I think this is the best category so write down everything that can come to mind based on these different things. Make sure you’re getting it all out, you’re flushing it all out, and if you need to pause this video before we move on to the next category, go for it. But make sure everything is out, because again, I think this is the prime category to kind of source your niches from.
So moving on: what problems have you faced in the past? What things do you find yourself researching extensively on the internet, Googling, and going from website to website? What things do you consistently find yourself coming back to and researching more and more on? This could have anything to do with health things that you’ve faced in the past, issues of family members, this could have to do with parenting – something where you’ve done a lot of research.
And even better in this particular category is where have you faced problems and have a lot of difficulty finding a solution? Because that means that the solution hasn’t been prominent enough and it means that there may not be as much competition in that industry which could make it easier for you to establish yourself and help people and position yourself in the authority as an authority in the niche much quicker.
So, dieting. Debt – if you’ve been in debt or if you’re really good with debt, if you’ve knocked out debt, or you’ve struggled with debt or credit, if you’ve had good credit, if you’d had bad credit, if you have bad credit and you’re aiming to improve that. Anything having to do with money. Relationships. Beauty – the different beauty struggles that you (probably more likely speaking to the lady audience here) but different beauty struggles that you’ve encountered.
Business – that’s a great industry to go into. Internet marketing, of course, is a great industry to go into but it’s difficult, again, to add value to an industry that you’ve never… You know I see a lot of people that try to go into internet marketing right off the bat and (a) you’re competing with some of the most experienced people in the world – not some of the most, the absolute most experienced people in the world – so you’re carving out a tough battle in the first place. But on top of that, if you’ve never made a full-time living in internet marketing, it’s… I don’t mean to be offensive here… but it’s the blind leading the blind. It becomes very difficult for you to add that value that establishes you as an authority in the niche and that you can built a profitable business out of.
So when I say ‘business’ here, I don’t necessarily mean ‘internet marketing’. I mean business that you may have worked in in a corporate sector, in startups, and all of the different things that you may have learned there.
Investing – I’m sure there are plenty of people that have had great successes and great failures when it comes to investing whether be it retirement or otherwise. The struggles that you’ve encountered with your pets. Just all different kinds of things.
So this list could go on and on and on and on. But you’ll notice yourself, if you tune in to this, thinking about this a lot more in the coming weeks, you’ll have a problem, you’ll go, “Oh wow. That actually might be a good niche site!” So that might be a good niche to go into – it happens to me all the time these days.
So again, look over these, kind of think on these fairly extensively before we move into the next category, because again, if you’ve faced this personally, it essentially means you’ve been in this target audience. If you’ve faced this personally, it’s something you’ve struggled with. You know the difficulties you’ve encountered. You know the emotions you had. You can describe perfectly the problems that you’ve faced. And again, that is one of the absolute best positions to provide value.
So, the last category I want to talk about here as we’re just writing down everything and staying really broad is what leisure activities do you enjoy? And this is where a lot of the passion and a lot of the interest comes in.
Do you enjoy music? Playing guitar, playing the piano, playing any kind of band instrument – any kind of instrument at all. Technically, it could also fall into… I can see someone seeing this and going, “Oh, I really enjoy music. I could create a blog about specific type of music.” I personally listen to some music that not a whole lot of people listen to but enough people listen to that it could be a niche. It would just be really, really difficult to monetize so I don’t pursue that. So we’ll talk about that later. Again, we’re not eliminating anything at this stage. So if it came to mind, write it down and we’ll revisit it and refine it and polish it later.
But if you enjoy photography, painting, sketching… if you enjoy woodworking… actually, I1 have a niche site in the wood turning… specifically, turning on a lathe… the wood turning industry.
Do you enjoy programming? Do you enjoy 3D printing? It’s a really, really great niche to go into right now if it’s something you’re interested in.
Building. Sports – of all different kinds. There are viewers that are going to hate to hear me say this that I apologize in advance, but I’m a huge Texas Longhorn fan. That’s my alma mater. That’s where I went to school. I’m a season ticket holder. So I run the risk of like Aggies and Sooners now just like turning it off, but it’s a huge passion of mine. So I would write it down in this section.
Do you enjoy crafting? Do you enjoy scrapbooking? Do you enjoy sewing? Or are you good at any of those things? So all of those things are things that you would write down at this point, but we’ll refine and polish them as we continue going through this section.
But this comes down to: in your spare time, what do you find yourself doing? Or if you had spare time, what would you like to do a lot more of?
The only thing I will say about this in a lot instances is if you go down the interest and passion-based route… I know so many people that say, “Hey, I’ve always been interested in *blank*, but I just feel like a poser. I don’t know how to add value in the industry. I just don’t know what to write about. I don’t really feel confident as I’m doing these things.” It’s because you need to supplement a lot of the time. Unless you have gone through certification and these things kind of overlap – you live for activities as well as the jobs and expertise you’ve formed in the past.
A lot of the times you are going to have to spend so much spare time – so much extra time – studying because you have to develop that credibility. You have to develop that knowledge in order to provide that value to your audience.
So if you do go this route rather than one of the top two above, just be prepared to study your butt off because that’s how you overcome the kind of feeling-like-a-poser aspect is you just study, study, study for every piece of content you create. You’ll probably spend an hour studying for every hour you spend writing if you don’t spend two hours studying for every hour you spend writing – if that’s the route you end up going.
So just know that. If you aren’t already super credible in the niche, it’s just something you’re really interested in or passionate about, there’s going to be a lot more legwork as you produce content. It’s perfectly viable. It’s okay. You just have to know to plan for that.
So I want to wrap up this first lesson. We’re going to keep refining these ideas as we go through this section but the thing I want to encourage you about the most is keep thinking about these things. Watch this video again if you need to – maybe not the whole thing, you can go back the point where I start talking about all the different categories – and see if anything else kind of rises to the top.
But if you don’t have enough ideas, if you’re sitting there with one or two things on your list (hopefully you’ve got 10 or 20 or more things on your list, at least I think five to seven), the idea again is just to write down everything that even just popped up in your mind as we talked about these things.
So if you don’t have at least 10 ideas at this point, I would kind of spend more time here and keep going until you came up with more ideas about something you’ve been a professional in whether that’s certification or job; problems you’ve faced in the past – think through some of those; and then again, if all else fails, think about passion and interest – things you like to do in your leisure time off whether it be hiking or camping or any of the other things I mentioned.
So if you don’t have at least 10 – hopefully you have an abundance and possibly even well beyond 10 – but if you don’t have at least 10, I would really encourage you to keep going until you get to 10. You’ll find an abundance of ideas when you practice shifting into this mindset. Like I said you’ll encounter a problem maybe a month from now and go, “Oh man, that would be a great niche!” and just write it down.
And that’s the next point: somewhere, keep a list of your niche ideas. I keep one on my mobile phone and I have iPhone. In my Notes app, I just have a running list of different niche ideas because even if you get to the point where you’re super successful in a niche, and then you hand it off to a team, and now that’s passive income – which is awesome, that’s the goal for most of us in this industry – you may go, “Man, I want to build up another stream of income,” and you want that list to reference and go through. So that rather than having to come up with something on the spot, you now have all of these ideas that you’ve developed over the past several weeks or months or maybe even years and you just go, “Ah, that is a good niche.” And you know that based on all the experience you’ve built, you’ve developed, while you were going through it the first time, this first cycle.
So keep a list of your niche ideas somewhere for future reference. Just everything that comes up, every problem that you encounter, and everything you think of. Just keep that running list tucked away somewhere.
So I really want to encourage you… if there’s still kind of things bouncing around in your mind and it hasn’t really settled yet… I want you to (even if you don’t have to rewatch this video… you don’t want to rewatch this video) spend a few minutes, making sure that everything is sort of rattled out, you’ve written it all down, and then we’re going to start refining in the coming videos.
So we’ve got several videos about refining – there’s so many different fine details when it comes to niche selection that are fairly difficult to understand – but I’m going to do my best to teach them.
And I think by the time you come out of this, you may be a little bit overwhelmed – remember, that’s a natural thing to happen as you learn a ton like this industry requires – but you’re just going to be set up for success so much better when picking a niche.
And once you do pick that niche, you’re going to have a lot more confidence that it’s a valid niche and it’s a good idea going forward which just makes the whole journey so much easier. Even thinking about eight months down the road when you may feel really overwhelmed or like you’re not getting anywhere, you know at the very least, “Okay I’ve met all of these very specific criteria that Ian shared so I know I have to be on the right track.”
So anyways again, before moving on to the next video, make sure everything is kind of rattled out, you’ve kind of flushed all of your different ideas out, and then move on to Video 3.2 where we’re going to kind of talk about the differences between broad and narrow niches (what’s too broad, what’s too narrow) because I think that’s something that a lot of people struggle with in this industry as well.
As always, if you have questions, feel free to post them to the Facebook group. People tend to be very secretive about niches and I can understand that to a degree. But at the same time, even if other people are competing in the same niche or you share your niche and someone says, “Hey, I’m going to pursue that too, that seems like a good idea,” you just have to outwork them, outperform them – it’s all in your control.
But if you have any broad questions about niche selection, feel free to post them to the Facebook group – again, free for registered members which of course is free as well – and I’ll be seeing you in the Facebook group and I will also see you in the next video.