How To Choose A Niche (Quick Exercise)

how to choose a nicheI've often said there are 3 good ways to choose a niche for an online business.

But in this post I'm going to give you another idea - a 4th way, that will get you past your niche-discovery hurdle for good!

The most popular advice is to "do what you love", or go with a niche you are passionate about. This most likely includes a hobby or lifestyle choice.

This is a great idea because you are already knowledgeable and experienced on the topic. You're also less likely to get bored with it than niches where you don't have a personal interest.

The second suggestion is to choose a niche where you have professional experience or expertise. Another great approach, except that most people are already burned out on their chosen profession, or still doing it as a day job, and can't get excited about spending their nights and weekends at it as well...

The third way to select a niche, and one that I recommend a lot, is to choose something you'd like to start doing. A new hobby or lifestyle, or something you'd like to collect or get into.

Since you are just getting started at it yourself, you actually are your target market. This puts you in an ideal position, and gives you insight and empathy with your market - you can easily connect with them on their level.

You're in research phase, finding resources and discovering what works and what doesn't - or the best way to do this or that. Sharing all of that information becomes your "content". And it's very easy to generate since you're already actively collecting information on the topic.

Of those top 3 ways to choose a niche, the last one would be my favorite. I have often started a new online business based on new personal interests. I find that it makes work fun, and that fresh enthusiasm for a topic will take you a long way.

With all 3 of these viable niche-selection methods, you are limited to choosing from what you already know or feel comfortable with...

4: What would you do if there were no limits?

Life is full of limits: physical, financial, situations & circumstances, you name it. Often we'll dream big only to remind ourselves of all the reasons those dreams can never become a reality.

But just for a moment, let's imagine that there are no limits. Maybe you've always dreamed of spending your winters in New Zealand, owning a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, going on an Alaskan Cruise, or backpacking across Europe.

This is what they mean when they say "think outside the box".

They are talking about your box.

Your box is your current frame of reference. It includes your personal experience, things you've experienced by association, and all of the elements you draw from to make choices and decisions.

Your box is not the same as mine, or anyone else. It's also not real. We are all drawing from a unique combination of circumstances and experiences. So it's basically just perception. And perception is not reality.

Let's do a quick exercise...

Step outside of your frame of reference for a second, and consider everything that the world has to offer. What appeals to you most?

Dismiss any negative thoughts that appear, and allow yourself to just imagine your ideal life. How would you spend your time? How would you spend money if you had an unlimited amount at your disposal? Jot down everything that comes to mind.

(don't think or hesitate, just jot it down)

Your next step is keyword and market research. Find out if there is interest in that niche, and whether it is a buying market.

This exercise will open up a lot of new options for you, new niches you may not have considered before. And just imagine getting to wake up every day to work on something you can really get excited about!

You may just be amazed at the things that present themselves along the way when you start thinking and working outside of your current frame of reference. Things that were once outside your reach may quickly become real possibilities - and even options.

We'll go back to the example of New Zealand vacations. You may be a single mother that lives in a small town in Tennessee. You have a work schedule, your children have a school schedule, and New Zealand is just a fantasy place in your mind that you realize you'll probably only ever see on tv or on the internet...

You do this exercise, your market research, and you start an online business around New Zealand Travel and Vacations (over 57,000 combined searches each month). You see that it's sort of competitive, hesitate for a second, and then decide to just go for it. This is what you want, and you're willing to put in the work to grow this business into an online authority.

And you do.

Now you're in a position to take that trip to New Zealand, and it's no longer a personal expense. It's a tax deductible business trip. You meet people, take photos and videos, blog about your experiences. And before you know it, you're getting VIP invites from airlines, hotels, restaurants etc that would love to be reviewed and featured on your popular travel & vacation website...

See how that works? :D

Dream big. Choose your niche... and make it happen!

Best,

p.s. Find this tutorial helpful? Subscribe by email to get notification of new free tutorials and detailed case studies. Just enter your first name and email address in the form below, and you'll get the email every Monday morning:

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Your advice to do keyword research and find a buying market is so essential but for many people does not come naturally or is not an enjoyable task. But if you are "getting out of the box" and going with a brand new topic, you could spend a lot of time learning the topic only to find out you can't monetize it. Bummer!

  2. I like the idea of setting up something that you're interested in getting started doing. That just plain sounds fun, and honestly sounds like it would be easier because you'd just be learning right along with your readers.

  3. I love the idea of #4, totally killer method. And it resonates even more with me because I LOVE international travel and do it every chance I get. Thanks for the the idea Lynn!

  4. Goodness gracious Lynn, I thought I could spot money-making opportunities, but what a way to fund your dreams! You are a genius! OK, before I start doing keyword research on going back to my hometown St. Thomas, I won't allow myself to get too distracted by this concept. I'll file this away until I reach my goals with my current niche ;-)

  5. Excellent stuff, Lynn. It seems like I'm forever trying to match my interests with my resources with marketability. Lately, I've taken a new tact that some folks might want to consider.

    Awhile back, I researched a niche and found it was very lucrative, but soon realized that even with plenty of research I wasn't really qualified to write about it. Later, at a large gathering of old friends, I ran into someone I knew from years earlier who happened to be a highly recognized (offline) expert in the field. After we discussed the kind of exposure and potential income that was possible through Internet marketing, he was very interested. We're now putting together a blog and planning web-sold products. It's an almost perfect situation, since I enjoy the geeky part of IM and he's an endless source of top knotch content-- with prestigious offline credentials, too.

  6. What is all this talk about finding a niche? While i agree that finding the right niche will help you go along way with a business, many people can still do very well choosing any niche. I guess what really matter is something that gives you a cool buck every now and then.

    Not everybody can determine what they can do or what they love. If you find yourself in this kind of situation you might want to try something out instead of waiting to re-discover yourself.

    Nice post thou.

    Cheers

    John

  7. I really really DISLIKE people who quell or quesh dreaming. I think loads of entrepreneurs (became entrepreneurs) because they dreamt.

    But they DREAM BIG.

    If you're surrounded by negative people, including family members. Get away from them! Move away. Do whatever you have to, to be around positive successful people.

    Work + Dream + Action = Gold!

    Another home run article, Lynn. (IMHO)

  8. Michelle says:

    I have to agree with this. First and foremost I think you should type what you love. I have a lot of hobbies so I never run out of talking about something, thing is I don't have the time. But it is always easier to write if it's something you are into. I talk about SEO sometimes though, even if I don't particularly like it as I read a lot about it and know a few.

  9. Jorge Blanco says:

    Very nice idea. Number 3 is also my favorite, but thinking outside the box is definitely a valid and fresh approach. Specially for those who think they have run out of niches that interest them. Unfortunately, thinking outside the box is not as easy as it seems. There results are worth it though.

  10. I think there is an element of do what you love involved, but more helpful is choose something you like well enough that happens to have some keywords which are easy to rank for.

    Give yourself impossible keywords and you'll quiet for sure!

  11. I can agree, especially the part where you say write about something that you enjoy and like to do, how can you tell others to be passionate about something if your not passionate about what you do yourself.

  12. jamessamy says:

    Hi Lynn,

    I like the way you say " Think out of the box". Yes! I have think out in order to do better in my life and have a relax enjoyable time with my family. Thank you for the post and the ideas to choose a niche.

  13. Picking something that has product potential where you will have good things to sell to the traffic that you build isn't a bad ideal either. Especially if you are looking to monetize your blog at some point.

  14. Great Post! Thank you for this information.

  15. Love this post! Of course currently I'm doing what I'm passionate but I have also recently started following your last tip and started building on something I want to learn more about and will definitely find ways to monetize that. And then of course I have other ideas in mind too that we have been brainstorming for some time. I think it's time to stop thinking about them and just do them while trying to keep focus. I'm excited about the potential!

    Fun exercise!

  16. I did the exercise and was surprised with the outcome. Wow...what a neat source for niche ideas. "Earn while you learn". Creative post! Thanks Lynn.

  17. Hmmm. This sounds pretty much like the Lynn Terry "modus operandi" over the past many years.
    Find something that interests you and you want learn more about. Ask lots of questions, do the research, take action and learn by doing.
    Be willing to share what you learn freely with others and pass on tips, tricks and make recomendations based on own experience.

  18. Lynn,
    Thanks for reminding us to step outside of the (our) box. Even if there is competition, we have to take action and move forward. We can only reach our goals if we start by taking that first step. I appreciate all the information you provide. Thank you

  19. Sarah Dinsmore says:

    Wow, I tried Lynn's exercise, jotted down a few ideas and then went for my morning hike (quick exercise) thinking about this niche and, whamo-bango, I met a stranger who filled in the missing piece to understanding the potential market potential of this niche.

    I'm a newbie to Internet Marketing but I've always had a vision and passion for adventure but I didn't even consider this as a choice because it was too broad so I kept choosing topics I knew a lot about but didn't see the buying market aspect to them. I have passion and expertise but never thought of going forward with this lifestyle focus and now I have a container to put it in that appears compelling and perhaps lucrative.

    I've never done a keyword researching but, hey, I'm an adventurer.

    Thanks, Lynn.

    Sarah

  20. Jeff Herring says:

    My 2 cents...

    Once you pick a niche, commit to going an inch wide and a mile deep - that's where your future and your fortune is...

    Jeff
    http://Facebook.com/GoUseThisStuff

  21. Chef Tony says:

    GUYS...seriously, listen to yourselves...DO WHAT YOU LOVE!!! it's so easy, this new world we're in, there are sooo many opportunities to be THE MASTER of some small tiny niche, get a loyal COMMUNITY (TRIBE a la Seth Godin) and monetize in a thousand ways....

    Don't fall victim (we've all done it ) to over analysis...yes, take some time, but Lynns advice is SPOT ON! Any of the four methods can work, and we all fall victim of being a BUT victim...(see Sean Stephenson) I'd love to do xxx, BUT....Yeah, how awesome would it be do to YYYY , BUT......

    Just take the first step, actually DOING something, and you just won...just rinse and repeat...and you'll be there....

    I lost 110 lbs a few years ago, but you know my first big success?? Losing 12 oz one day, 1 lb the next, 1/2 a pound the following Friday, etc...it doesn't come off in 10 lb chunks!! right?? Just get going, and share your MINI success stories here on Lynns awesome blog!! It will help inspire all of us and push us all to new hights...

    Peace, I'm out...

    Hug someone ya love.

    Chef Tony

  22. This is really good advice! So many times we look at what we are good at, or what we feel be can impart - but we need to look outside the box and thing 'what would I do if I could do anything?'. If we were doing this, we would be so much more passionate and more times than now - so much more profitable.

  23. Lynn,

    Great seeing ya at Underground.

    I've always loved that you keep things simple and doable. You're smooth smart.

    Peace,
    P

  24. I think its all a question about whether you believe in focusing on just one money site, or having lots of sites each making just a bit of money. If its the former then yes, you do need some interest as you;re going to be writing content, articles etc. If its the latter and a made for adsense site then I think you can go for anything, provided you've done your KW research first.

  25. You know It is funny that something so simple can take you months to figure out. I stumbled on this page a couple of days ago and started thinking about the things I like to do (and others). Now I have so many ideas I don't know where to start. Thank you so much for this article!

  26. I believe this to be true. I tried blog topics that I thought would make money, only to get bored quickly because I really didn't care about it. I'm going to try this and see what comes to mind. Thanks!

  27. Hi Lynn,

    Great ideas, excellent feedback and so true - just love what you do right now, because this is where life is at. Do what you love, and it isn't work, it becomes your play. My day business/job is just play everyday at creating beautiful gift boxes for people, which is fun and satisfying. You too can dream up a niche or ideal night/day job and have fun doing it. But as many have said before me, YOU MUST TAKE SOME ACTION, and NOT JUST THINK ABOUT IT!!!

    I look forward very soon to sharing my new niche with you.

    Thanks Lynn
    Diane

  28. Hi Lynn "How To Choose A Niche" tip 4 is brilliant! Dream big. Choose your niche… and make it happen.

    Thanks Lynn
    Tip: Say it! Until you believe it.
    Patrick Barnaby

  29. I love it! Lynn you always seem to make everything look so simple! I would love go backpacking in New Zealand! That would be great! Even better to have it deductable!

  30. I like it! Take what is old and make it new again. I love the idea of going for the out of the box solution. Everyone and their brother teaches niche marketing. No one teaches it like Lynn Terry. That is why I am here and keep coming back. Lynn you Rock!

  31. When choosing a niche I first recommend people to choose niche which they have interest and they research on the market value of that niche. We can make better perform if we choose the niche of our interest.

  32. I suppose I would choose a combination on them all just to keep my writings fresh. And to spice it up a bit I would consider taking a co-writer. Oddly I have never heard such recommendation.

  33. Great article and tips Lynn. Definitely go for the niche in an area we love. Makes those tough days very palatable. Love the idea on "no limit" thinking. Truth be told, we are often our greatest limitation.

    How often do people how back out of fear of failure, unwillingness not to get it right the first time, not wanting to look like they don't know something and on and on.

    Truth be told, the most successful people are those who are willing to take risks, admit they don't have all the answers (but will search out the answers) and not get stuck by their own limitations.

    As always Lynn, you knocked this one "outta the park".

  34. Number 3 resonates for me as it is exactly how I began my current endeavor, stepping away from what I was doing into something I had always wanted to do. ans so far, so good. Great post

  35. Rick Byrd says:

    Lynn:

    I really enjoyed this post. I like the idea of selecting a niche based around something you would like to start doing. My thought was always, I don't know enough about it so why start it. But you put it in a different light for me. Great, now I have lots of work to do.

    Thanks,

    - Rick

  36. I think you make some good points here. A lot of beginner marketers try blindly promoting products that they will make a high commission from, but they know nothing about. It's extremely difficult and boring to sell something you're not interested in, so why not do what you love? You'll be much more knowledgeable, which will come across to your customers and make you more money.

  37. You won't go wrong if you really like what you're doing. You will simply feel that you're not working at all. Wordtracker has been one of the most effective webmaster tool for free.

  38. Eric Phillips says:

    Thanks for the insight and encouragement. I'm working through the Thirty Day Challenge for the second time and I've been struggling with finding my micro-niche. This opens up new avenues to research.

  39. How to choose a niche? Well demand is more important than supply. So don't choose a niche - let the demand inform your choice (otherwise it will be a lonely niche!)

    Social Networks and Google Searches are well and good, but there are plenty of other tools out there you can utilise to develop your research and learn more about your target audience. Here are a few basic sites that provide a slew of information for anyone skilled enough to sort through it:

    Google News – Google news will display a wide array of news stories from throughout the world. When targeting your audience, finding news stories and current events in your niche that can be leveraged into content is a major plus.

    Google Trends – Google keeps close track of the trends in their search terms, showing spikes in searches, current popularity, and shifts in interest throughout the world. Keep track of keywords you’ll be researching soon and see how the interests of your audience ebb and flow. If you can stay abreast of these trends, you can be quite successful.

    Quantcast – Quantcast is a tool that will allow you to see what the demographics are for a given website. Take the competitor sites you gathered earlier and start looking them up here to learn gender, age, family, income levels, and educational breakdowns for the site and its niche.

    Compete.com – Again, coming back to your competitors, you can use Compete.com to compare them to each other and learn what they have managed to do over the course of the past few weeks, months, or years. You need to be a subscriber to access the more powerful tools here, but even just the basic data you gain is highly useful.

    Product Searches and Reviews – If you’re selling a product or a service that is often reviewed or discussed on sites like Amazon, look through the reviews of that product. You may not find any specific information pertaining to your products, but you will quickly learn what it takes to make your audience happy.

    These tools, while extremely useful, are not all of the options you are going to have when it comes to effective niche research. Most of the data you gather will actually come from keyword research tools that will be discussed in the next chapter. However, having a clear mental picture about who you are selling too and more importantly what they want from you is incredibly important.

    Why You Never Know Enough about Your Niche...

    You’re never going to learn enough. Even after hours of research, dozens of marketing campaigns and 10 different websites, you still won’t have a complete grasp of your niche. The reasons are many, but mostly it’s just because people change and technology evolves. Getting your finger firmly on the pulse of anything these days is next to impossible.

    Don’t let that deter you though. The more you keep up with your audience, delving deeper into their needs, desires, and wants, the more effective your marketing strategies will be. And if, by chance, your strategies don’t work, having that research in hand is going to make split testing and adjustments infinitely easier to accomplish than if you were going in blind.

    Niche research may seem redundant. It may even seem a little silly. But, when you sit down in a few chapters and start integrating everything you’ve just learned about who you’re selling to into your articles, blogs, and social networking habits, you’ll find immediately that you have a closer, more effective link to your niche than you ever would have before. Selling something to someone is entirely different from understanding them. When you can grasp that concept and start to take advantage of it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful Internet Marketer.

  40. I have to agree about being an expert if you are going to be in a narrow niche. With today's access to information its very hard to bluff people. While people will find your site, they will not stay long if you look like a blow hard. Stay true to yourself and share your experiences honestly and you will have readers.

  41. I am so excited to have read this post, Lynn. Being a newbie I have been feeling lost about my niche area. Yes, it's WAHM's, but it felt a bit airy fairy until I recently rediscovered my love of personal growth, the Law Of Attraction etc. Now I am feeling that I want to tie these things in together and have started doing that.

    I do need to do and learn more keyword and market research and have been reading some of your SEO content today :-)

    So thanks for keeping me fired up and enthusiastic.

  42. Al Patoni says:

    I'm going to have to agree with you on the comment about doing what you love. You have no idea how much I hated writing blog posts that I had no will to write it out. I've found out that when I write about something I like, I tend to be more enthusiastic instead of hoping to finish the article and stop. Lynn, I guess great minds think alike. lol

  43. Niche marketing would be the answer many people are seeking when it comes to making money online. Niche markets are thinly targeted by most people so there is a better chance of making money from small niche markets.

  44. Thanks, Lynn! I love that you take the niche finding process to the level of dreaming, and then come back to the practical necessity to do the keyword and marketing research. Realizing the dream still comes down to whether the numbers work.

  45. Mike Hays from says:

    Lynn, this is a great exercise! I would add if you have an existing business and are looking to expand your product line to also use some of these techniques, especially the keyword research to find what your market wants. But first I would also be asking your existing customers what their needs are.

  46. Great post Lynn.I just wrote a blog post entitled "How to Choose Your Niche - Passion or Expertise?" Here's a quick excerpt

    "Ideally, you can find a niche where you have both passion and expertise. But if you had to choose one or the other, I would lean toward the passion. The caveat being that you will learn all you can about your niche so that you can eventually become more of an expert in your niche. And if you are truly passionate about your niche, then you will want to learn all you can about it. You will live it and breathe it. It will be part of your DNA."

    I've written an ebook on this very subject "Ten Steps to Finding and Attracting Your Ideal Niche", and it is available for free at http://www.attractyourniche.com

    Thanks and warm wishes,
    Cindy

  47. Thanks for this, Lynn!

    I usually start with the first, and then go to the second and sometimes end up with the third with my therapist clients when helping them build a niche...but I think you have made a brilliant point here to start with the third option. I have had so many clients go with one and two and then later switch to option three. So from now on, I shall recommend all my clients start with #3 option--or at least consider starting there. Thanks so much!

  48. Nowadays is not going to be an easy task to choose your proper niche...it looks like everything is already taken! I know some people on the internet which manage to make money by using some keyword tool. they spot the right keyword and build around it a website. they read a lot of stuff, write a couple of article and the rest...white hat seo...incredible but true!

  49. Mike Hays says:

    Frank, regarding your comment "it looks like everything is already taken!"...if that were true then you would never see another infomercial on weight loss products or exercise equipment. The reality is everything out there can be done better, more unique or have your own personality. When you look at David Letterman or Jay Lenno, people select which show they watch based on content and personality. So go out and find something you love to do and project your own magnetic personality.

    • Mike! Well said! If you think you can do it better go for it! You at least have to try!

    • Mike I couldn't agree with you more, you have to realize if there is a niche that is taken its because there is a demand for it. There is always room for one more and thinking outside the box and putting your own spin on an old niche just might be what people are looking for.

  50. I'm following this article and found that somehow I'm on the right track.

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  1. How To Choose A Niche - Try This if you are Still STUCK!...

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