Entrepreneurs are blessed with the gift of thinking outside the box, coming up with new, creative ideas for how they want the world to look.
This quickly becomes a curse when they realise that they've too many ideas, but not enough time or skill, even, to bring them all into existence.
They quickly fall into a state of paralysis where they're trying to think through every little intricacy they could to determine what sort of niche or business they should go into.
Some even fall for the old trick, shiny object syndrome, and try to dribble all balls at the same time leading to nothing but disappointment and negative self-talk.
I've been there and it's a disgusting feeling.
This overly ecstatic feeling and vibrance inside you when you've got so many ideas to choose from quickly turns into a haunting when you realise that you can only really do one thing at a time.
A while ago when I owned a marketing agency I thought that I had found my niche, my life calling, the thing that will finally make my dreams and aspirations a reality.
I thought that when people ask me what I do, or my friends look at me and ask me how did you do it, my response would be 'I run a marketing agency.'
Once the true colors of an agency owner's life started leaking through, I fell into a negative state of mind and started looking into other niches to go into.
This mashup of ideas haunted me day after day until I finally decided I'm going to try and pursue all of them simultaneously.
That's when my biggest mistake occurred.
In this article, I'm going to share 5 simple steps to find your niche in 15 minutes or less.
Identify your strengths & interests
There's a reason I didn't say passion - I'm not a firm believer that passion can get you through an entrepreneurial journey.
In my case, at least, I've never seen my passion for a specific thing get me through hardship.
On the internet, you're going to hear everyone talking about 'passion' like parrots, all copying what the other person says.
Once again, in my experience, I couldn't think of anything I'm passionate about.
The only thing I really enjoyed doing was playing games and playing basketball.
The issue was that I was too short and not amazing at basketball, so I didn't stand a chance.
Playing video games every day taught me one thing - I was just using it as a means of escaping something.
I didn't truly enjoy playing video games all day.
Therefore, the only real way to earn off these two was by becoming a YouTuber, and who knows how long that would take?
Passion, most of the time, doesn't pay dividends.
If you last long enough in a business that is run on passion, you'll quickly start to hate whatever it is you're doing.
That's where I believe strengths or interests come in.
I was interested in the world of SaaS before I started Hawk Prospecting.
I didn't know anything about coding, however, my interest paved the way to what now is known as Hawk Prospecting, my very own SaaS business.
Strengths are the same, it's a lot better to do something you're naturally good at in order to see naturally better results.
It's very counterintuitive to do something for passion when you're probably not good at it.
Take some time to brainstorm things you're good at or some things you've got a genuine interest in.
From here, start to circle all the ones you'd really enjoy digging a little deeper into as a business niche.
Identify problems that align with your strengths
Business is all about solving problems.
This is where we start to align those strengths and interests we highlighted in the earlier step with some problems that might be worth solving.
The smaller you're able to niche down, the better your chances of success are.
This is because products are typically built more generally for a wider audience.
For example, something like Netflix is built for anyone who wishes to watch on-demand movies and tv shows.
However, for people who don't do this and maybe have a specific way of watching things, Netflix doesn't fit those needs.
That would mean that you've got an opportunity that you can explore further, which is what we're going to do in the next step.
To find problems worth solving, spend some time scrolling through forums like Reddit, Facebook groups, Quora questions, and look for trends.
Find trending problems that align with your strengths - you can simply join groups or look in forums that are somewhat related to your strengths or interests.
What are some things that keep coming up?
What are some things that people are not sure about, or need help with?
What are people complaining about and couldn't find a solution for?
You can even take this a step further.
Whenever you start seeing trends, take those and put them in the Google Keyword Planner to discover how many people are searching for this topic or a similar topic per month.
You'll want to focus on the USA and UK volumes specifically.
Selling to other markets may not be worth it unless it's part of your niche.
Uber was a solution in the UK, USA, around Europe, and other large countries.
However, for smaller countries, there was nothing like this and so the owner of Bolt decided that there should be a similar concept in other countries.
Bolt is Uber's largest competitor today.
That's a really good way to find businesses to start - find a really popular business that is not available in certain geographic areas, and start it there.
Stripe is one big example, it's the world's largest (I think) billing system, however, it's not available in many places around the world.
A high search volume indicates that there could be high demand for a solution to this problem - however, in a lot of cases, high volume also indicates lots of competition.
Therefore, the sweet spot for search volume is between 1,000 to 10,000.
Check your competitors
One of the most important things is the competitive landscape.
Once you've found a problem that seems promising and aligns with your strengths or interests, you'll want to check the competition.
Hawk Prospecting has a lot of competitors.
However, when I looked around, they were all:
- Too expensive
- Had a small database size
- Inaccurate or out of date data
- Didn't have enough information on prospects
Some solutions out there cost over $1 per prospect which is insanely priced.
Most solutions were too niched and so only a certain subsector of the market can leverage the tool.
The data for most, even the largest competitors in the market, were inaccurate and people were complaining about that.
Finally, a problem I also faced, most solutions only shared emails, or only shared numbers of prospects.
I was looking for something that could share emails, numbers, social media, and more and so I built Hawk Prospecting to fill all the gaps above.
Simply go on Google and type in the keywords you typed into the Google Keyword Planner to figure out how many results come back and how many people are advertising for those keywords.
The lower this number, the lower the competition, the better your chances of success.
You can also take a look at the Keyword Planner to get an idea if the competition is low, medium, or high.
The more niched you are, the better your chances of success, once again.
Can you profit
Profit is important in businesses and is the lifeline of any business.
Unless you want to compete with billion or even trillion-dollar companies, you should be focusing on making profits in your business.
There are many businesses that don't actually take a long time to reach profitability.
Service-based businesses, like a marketing agency, are one type of business that can be profitable from the beginning.
If you'd like to learn how to start one, this article written yesterday can help you out.
To determine if a business could be profitable, here's how you can do that.
If there are competitors for your wider niche, then that probably means that there's money to be made here.
You can go back to where you found these people talking, be it Reddit, Facebook groups, Quora questions, and talk to them.
Ask them more about the problem and if they'd like to help you build a solution for them.
If you're able to get people to buy before a solution is built, you'll know this is a pressing matter that needs to be solved.
If this is something that seems absurd, you can also, again, look through Google and look over all the competitors in the area.
Do your research on them to figure out if they're making money or not.
Now it's finally time to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
By now, you should have outlined your strengths or interests and have cross-referenced them with problems that seem like they're worth solving.
From here, you took some of those ideas and checked their validity through Google Keyword Planner.
If people are searching for this, and the competition is low or medium, it might be a great indication that there's money to be made here.
You might have even dropped some comments on Quora, in Reddit groups, or on Facebook groups and gotten replies to tell you that this problem is really a problem.
You should be juggling a few ideas right now.
All that's left now is to start testing.
If you have a budget to test with, you can create a quick landing page and start driving traffic to it through Facebook ads, Google ads, or any other channel.
This is often a quick way to get traffic to a page at scale, however, you're most likely not going to get any leads converting at first.
There could be two reasons for this:
1. You don't know people's direct pain points so your landing page copy is going to be slightly off.
2. The niche is just not as popular as you thought.
Another way, a free way, to validate your problem is by talking to the people you first found the problem from.
Again, if you can get buy-in before you build a solution, that's usually the best sort of validation you can get.
When I was running Condensr, I ran 40 customer discovery interviews to validate if people had the problem I was looking to solve and if my solution would interest them.
Therefore, surveys and interviews are great too, however, if you're able to get buy-in, it's a lot better for validation.
If your first niche or business doesn't do well, don't worry, just repeat this last step for the rest of the ideas you have.
Congratulations! You should now have a niche and are ready to start your first, or next business.
Did you find value in this article?
If so, please comment below, let me know what you've learnt, and share this article with friends or your connections.
Till next time,