Brainstorming Affiliate Niche Ideas (Part 2)

Lynn Terry and Vera Raposo

Vera and I are having an open (public) discussion on choosing an affiliate niche for a profitable online business. In my first reply, I said:

“If you were given 10 hours a week and a bottomless bank account to start a new hobby, with the condition that a television crew would follow you for those 10 hours every week, which hobby would you pick?”

You can see Vera's reply here. There are two BIG problems in Vera's brainstorming process, so it's time to reign her in and clear up one very common misconception...

"Easy Money With A Hands-Off Business"

Did Vera drink the koolaid? There are so many people selling the idea that you can earn easy money with an online business, and that you can "fund the life of your dreams" through hands-off passive income via the internet, that it's become an expectation. Followed by big disappointment, unfortunately.

Now Vera's a smart woman, and she has years of business experience both online and off, so I have no doubt that she knows the investment it takes to start and run a business of any kind...

But I'm going to be blunt and get serious in my reply here, for the sake of helping her make a solid decision - as well as anyone else reading along. ;-)

YES, it is possible to make great money online. YES, it's relatively easy. YES, it requires less time and money invested to reach success - quicker - than other business models. And YES, you can have an amazing lifestyle and unlimited income potential with an online business. All of those things are true.

That said, if you ask ANY successful online business owner if "it came easy" for them, they would tell you NO. In fact they might get downright pissed at the assumption, considering how much they invested in getting where they are today.

Best case scenario, they'd tell you they didn't really consider it "work" because it was so much fun and exactly what they wanted to be doing. :D

You could walk behind the scenes of one of those flashy sales letters with the pretty sailboats and the "big read headline" - that promise you big dreams - and just take a look at what's really there.

Worst case you'd find an unshowered unshaven man sitting in his underwear in front of a computer 12 hours a day in his mother's basement.

Best case you'd find a hard-working team that is busy creating products, writing copy, putting together marketing strategies and basically working passionately to bring their message to market every way that they can.

The same goes for a successful affiliate niche blogger. All you have to do is watch them online to see how active and engaged they are with their business - at their blog, in the comments, on Twitter and Facebook, and around the web.

Does that mean it's all a scam? No. Not at all! But it does bring us back around to choosing the RIGHT affiliate niche, which I discussed in my last post...

Vera said: "This will provide me with the ability to work on these different missions, make a difference in the world while this affiliate biz supports my family and the lifestyle that I want to live. ...The only way I can see it all working is if my biz here online is VERY streamlined and Hands Off."

Remember my example in the post about Affiliate Niche Selection?

Here's the point of that example:

"So you create an affiliate blog all about holiday ornaments so you can earn enough money to live your "RC Helicopter" dream. Right? Wrong."

Vera has some serious passions and missions in life. She wants to make a difference. She wants to have a positive impact. She's a very spiritual person. Yet she's considering "cooking" as her affiliate niche, even though she doesn't enjoy cooking at all - not even a little - as a means of funding her bigger dreams in life.

What you really want to do is tie your passions and interests INTO your business. Meaning, choose a niche or a topic that is aligned with your life goals, and ultimately takes you toward the lifestyle you most want. Not only will it "fund" your lifestyle, your work will become integrated or nicely aligned with your lifestyle.

That's the ideal choice! Consider how many hours you spend on your career. As an entrepreneur you eat, breathe, sleep, and think your business, around the clock. You're passionate about what you do. You ENJOY your work. Who you are and what you do become one and the same. It just doesn't make sense to separate the two...

Other people know you better than you know yourself.

Vera is going through the brainstorming cycle, and she's processing ideas the same way most people do. Just freely putting it out there, then sorting through it all. Only she's doing it publicly. (Kudos, Vera, for having the guts to lay it all out there!)

One of the toughest things about brainstorming though, is that we're stuck in our own head. We often don't even tap into our true strengths or passions, because we're trying so hard to come up with "ideas" - and usually new ideas, instead.

My advice: Figure out who you are to the people who know you best. How are your known? How would they describe you? What do they come to you for most? And... is this the same as how you WANT to be known, or what you want to be known FOR?

^ This is your homework, Vera! :D

Now, tie that in with a creative angle, and you have your affiliate niche!

See Vera's post here, and let's help her out in the comments below. How do YOU see her? What kind of business would you recommend that would allow Vera to make a positive impact, or make a difference in the lives of others?

Vera is obviously a very spiritual person, and very involved with her church and missions. I would assume she inspires and impacts others in her life spiritually. She has an inspiring life story to share, full of interesting experiences that could serve to help others. She also needs something fun, exciting, adventurous - and outside her comfort zone. She loves beaches, and the BC area where she lives.

Do you agree that Vera should do something that ties in with her offline life, her biggest missions, and her true passions? Not only would it "fund her ideal life" but it would also allow her to stay fully engaged in the things that matter to her most, and give her a platform to get the word out about her missions.

I can see Vera as a "spiritual adventurist" type blogger that tours some of the earth's most beautiful spots, and shares hope and inspiration that helps people get way outside their mental comfort zone and embrace life more fully. All by sharing her story, her faith, her experiences & adventures, words of wisdom and practical application. Along with beautiful inspiring photos that she takes on her own "spiritual adventures".

What say you? Assuming you've read her post, do you agree, disagree, or have other niche / affiliate / blogging ideas for Vera to consider?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and Vera's reply!

Best,

Next: Choosing Your Niche… Without Research?!

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. Lynn and Vera,Thank you so much for allowing us to listen in on your frank conversation and the process of choosing a new niche and developing an affiliate marketing business. This means a lot to me at this moment in my life. I\'m on this journey right along with Vera! I have been trying to develop a fully supporting online business for a long time now -- unsuccessfully. Lots of reasons, not just because I didn\'t know how. Life happened and my life and my business just fell out of alignment big time. Time for a new start and I\'m floundering.So, I\'m going on my own walk now and taking the question to heart: “If you were given 10 hours a week and a bottomless bank account to start a new hobby, with the condition that a television crew would follow you for those 10 hours every week, which hobby would you pick?”

    • Thank you for the feedback & comment, Kate. I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying the conversation! :D I understand what you mean by "my life and my business just fell out of alignment big time." It makes a HUGE difference when everything is moving in the SAME direction...
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Free: How to Make Your First $100 OnlineMy Profile

    • Hi Kate,

      "Life happened and my life and my business just fell out of alignment big time."

      Oh boy do I know this one in a huge way. I was changed forever when I had to witness my daughter fight to LIVE. Life for me was never the same and working was always my "go to" and I couldn't make sense of it any longer.

      I've just come out of this and I can tell you looking back, I know this new plan is so much better and greater than I was ever doing before, but it was a tough journey getting to this very spot.

      Kate, besides Lynn's question, I encourage you to start doing things that make your heart sing. For me it was getting to the beach at 5am to watch the sunrise. The sounds of the waves and the birds flying over head and time in prayer. I love it and do it regularly now.

      I don't know what you've been through but I know you WILL see the other side of this.

      Huge virtual ((HUGS)) to you!!!
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz Design: Taking A Deeper LookMy Profile

  2. This is a great discussion. One I'm struggling with now. I turned 50 this year and about to move from CA to WI to help look over my 90 yr old mother. I'm completely starting over. I'm leaving a career behind that has complete broken my soul.

    I crave to make a living with something I'm excited about, as you said Lynn, spending 10 hrs a week probably more doing it. I want something that feed my soul, help me grow and expand and serve others.

    I think you nailed it with your suggestion to Vera about discovering new places and writing about them etc...She was very passionate when she described her desire to live on the beach and to travel..

    I'm looking forward to see how this unfolds. Thank you for sharing it with all your readers.
    Bernita recently posted..Hello world!My Profile

  3. Hi Lynn and Vera,

    I love the idea of a back and forth ping pong match on the brainstorming process of niche choosing... it's a fascinating exercise! Thanks for posting it for those that are interested. :)

    Vera, I have to chime in and say that I hope you don't go with the 30 Minute Meals idea. You said it yourself...and you even put it in bold... "I don’t enjoy cooking, I don’t even really like it, not even a little."

    Zoinks! If you don't like it now, do you think you'll like it when you *have* to do it in order to get the next blog post up? My guess is that you may begin to resent your chosen topic and that would be a bummer!

    As someone who *loves* looking doing keyword analysis and number crunching, I know that this may look like a profitable niche from a number-of-searches standpoint... but beware! This is the siren song... and it can lead you astray... or down a winding, frustrating path. ;-)

    Why not choose something you LOVE, something you're *already* passionate about -- that way, coming to your computer to write about it will be a pleasure! (Just my two cents, of course!)

    You mentioned Vancouver and the beautiful place you live in, your love of the beach, of exploring your immediate area... Vancouver is a destination for lots of travelers...you could focus on that, explore around, write about it, review restaurants, local hotels, what's underground/unusual/quirky/special/serene/top of the line/unknown/ETC! there, from shops to salons to nightlife to beaches, mountains, train trips, etc., etc., etc....... What are you interested in? Go there, take some pictures, talk to folks and write it up!

    OR.... go to Google's AdWords/Keyword Research Tool and type in the word "beach" and see if that brings up anything that gets you fired up! :-)

    Just a few thoughts... To your success! And looking forward to reading more....

    Best,
    Carrie

  4. Very interesting conversation, i thank you both.
    For me personally this is a very hard question to answer and it will take a lot of thought to find out what i'm really passionate about although an interest that comes to mind is i like to help people, but for me to help in the areas i would like to help in i must first have a better understanding of it myself..Strange i know.
    Daniel recently posted..Oxbow Oat Hay, 15 ozMy Profile

    • I think deep down we ALL want to "help people". Thank for bringing that up, Daniel! The things is, there are so many different ways to achieve that. On my low carb blog for example, I help people understand how the diet works, how to stick to it even with a busy lifestyle or a hectic schedule, and I get to inspire and motivate people along the way with my own story & struggles. I love it!
      Lynn Terry recently posted..How To Be A (Well-Paid) Professional BloggerMy Profile

  5. Hi Lynn,

    I'm in the same boat as Vera. I did have some measure of success with affiliate marketing before Panda/Penguin ended it all. If money was no object, I would travel the world and write about my experiences (this was always my dream ever since I can remember), but no money to travel. I'm a baby boomer with no company retirement to look forward to, so I was seriously considering starting a blog about surviving retirement. I really like your example about the RC hobby idea, this has got me to thinking that I can start my blog and share with my readers what I'm learning and doing to fund my retirement. Even though I'm no financial expert, I'm sure that there are many people in my exact situation. Thanks for the motivation.
    Coleta recently posted..Raw and Organic Body Butter Homemade Recipe for Dry SkinMy Profile

  6. I thank you both for the discussion. I think this is one of the biggest dilemmas everyone will face in trying their venture in affiliate niche marketing. My experience teach me that is good to choose a niche correlate with our passion but when it comes to a business we should consider the market, the competition, and people willingness to spend money on the niche.

    It is not easy for sure but doesn’t mean we can’t (as long we willing to hard work). So I think we should stick with the niche we have chosen, give it sometime to see how it really works. Passion is good but when it comes to business, the increase of sales would build you passion on things that you are not.
    Okto recently posted..Finding a Target Audience through CraigslistMy Profile

    • Good points, Okto. That said, I don't think any amount of money or time would make me passionate about Nascar collectibles, or prepaid cell phones. Blah! lol. Just a couple of examples. It also takes entirely too much time to research topics you're not personally interested in or already knowledgable or passionate about.

      You definitely need a buying market. There's a big difference between informational searches and commercial searches (and niches!). However, you CAN still monetize information. We're going to be discussing that next. ;-) You can see the next post in this series at the link below...
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Choosing Your Niche... Without Research?!My Profile

      • Lynn,

        Yep, I ran 5 stores that sold collectibles. Nascar, Hot Wheels, stamps, Canadian coins and paper, hockey cards, oh my the list goes on, even beanie babies!

        I could *easily* knock this type of blog out of zee park but I'm not PASSIONATE about it at all. The only collectibles I personally loved were the stamps, post cards and hot wheels (ya, I loved racing those cars on the mall floor at midnight, good times! lol!).

        But it's not my TRUE HEARTS DESIRE to run a blog on any of those and I like them!

        Nice to meet you Okto!

  7. This has been a GREAT discussion to follow. For me it's bringing up something surprising...
    I mentioned in another comment that I've tried niche sites a number of times and then just mostly 'fizzled out' on them. I even started a new one less than two weeks ago! The topic is sewing/refashioning thrift store clothes because I just bought a sewing machine and was super-excited to start turning thrift store finds into clothes that fit me perfectly...

    I'm already running into a problem with that and I think it comes down to what Vera was thinking of here: I just am not going to have the time to put into this site to make it what it needs to be to be profitable. You see I thought I could throw up a before and after picture, take a bunch of pics of the process and go with that. I wasn't even overly concerned about monetizing it in the beginning as I was just so excited about the topic. BUT... I'm learning fast that there are SO many things that can slow me down... getting good pictures to use on the blog, having time to write the instructions after I actually figure out what I'm doing with the clothes, eventually finding affiliate offers to promote, etc.

    Anyway, long story short is I realize I need to keep that focus and passion on the niche I already have! My main site still needs lots of love and have lots of growth to do yet, and that's where I need to throw myself in and build on all the hard work I've already done.

    In the meantime I'll still be watching these posts with great interest. Thanks so much to Vera for being brave enough to do this publicly and Lynn for taking the time to give such great guidance :)
    Angela Wills recently posted..10 Signs You’re Cut Out For Freelance Web DesignMy Profile

    • You bring up a great point, Angela! It's easy to get that "blogging fever" and spread yourself entirely too thin. I've cut back on a lot of my projects in the last couple of years, and am pouring myself into the things I enjoy most. That's where it's really at. ;-)
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Choosing Your Niche... Without Research?!My Profile

    • Hey Angela,

      My "30 minute cooking" sounds like your "thrift shop finds."

      Why oh why do we do this to ourselves? And the HUGE problem for us is that it's FAR too easy to just throw something out and roll out with it.

      I'm glad this is helping you and ... yep definitely NOT easy doing this publicly but I knew it's something that's been brewing beneath the surface for me for some time.

      I knew I had to bring up my "lifestyle design" out to the light because this really isn't just about that, it's to pursue my hearts passions as I'm finding out.

      Hugs to you!!!
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz Design: Taking A Deeper LookMy Profile

  8. As I was reading Vera's response I kept thinking 'She should do a local travel blog' which could ultimately lead to more widespread travels. I really like all of Carrie's ideas and you could even monetize it with a directory of advertisements.

    But I'm starting to question if I'm passionate about anything...and I've done the same as Angela, coming up with a fun idea that eventually peeters out. It's quite frustrating, especially when I have the feeling that 'something big' is on the way for me...I can feel something is 'right around the corner' and yet it also seems out of reach...
    Christina Lemmey recently posted..Customer Service Horror StoryMy Profile

    • Keep brainstorming, Christina - that Big Idea may just be "brewing" and hit you before you know it! Choosing the RIGHT niche has the potential to help you create the ideal lifestyle you *really* want. ;-)

      I agree that Vera would do well to tour the local area, but it really stood out to me in all of her writings around the web that she is most passionate about her faith and spirituality. And that she is a person who can really inspire people to explore theirs more fully as well. And of course she can do that while experiencing the FUN and ADVENTURE she most wants out of life - of course, sharing her travels, local finds, adventures, etc (all monetizable) along the way. So it's the best of both worlds! :D
      Lynn Terry recently posted..Choosing Your Niche... Without Research?!My Profile

    • Hey Christina,

      You know what? I too felt like that, what on earth am I passionate about. It was hard for me to see yet so easy for Lynn to pluck. You may already even be doing what you love!

      I have always known you have great things to come from you yet, I'm cheering you on and I think you should just join Lynn's forum. ;-)
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz By Design: Walking The Road of PassionMy Profile

  9. Love this back and forth conversation! And the topic comes at a great time for me. I have been doing some soul searching about the niches I am in right now and know that I am not living up to my passions. I often start a blog for affiliate sales but soon become bored with it. I've done this with everything from decorating to crafts. I have been following all the conversation and comments and am doing some long thinking about where I want my business and lifestyle to go.
    Carol O. recently posted..Confused about Niche SelectionMy Profile

    • Hey Carol,

      I can feel what you're saying. When we're not working inside something that is truly our hearts desire then there's such an "empty" feeling.

      I knew I was onto something when I started my "YourCreativeBiz" site but there were still pieces missing, I'm so thankful to start this new site because it almost feels like both parts of me are coming together, the entrepreneur that I've always been and the "Vera" who has been hiding for far too long.

      Hugs to you!!! I hope and pray you find your road too!
      Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz By Design: Walking The Road of PassionMy Profile

    • I really enjoyed your blog post, Carol - linked below your comment. It's great to see others following along and doing the exercises as well! As a single mother, I could relate to the bit about spending your adult life taking care of others (I also took care of my grandmother around the clock until she passed). It can take some time for us to reconnect, or even identify, our true self - or our passions. Take some time with it! ;-)

      Consider what people come to you for most. What advice people ask from you. How you're known. The things you think about or daydream about, but keep tucked away while you're busy with everyday life, etc. Have fun brainstorming!
      Lynn Terry recently posted..The Affiliate Survival Guide: Dominate Your Niche and Blow Away Your Competitors!My Profile

  10. Hi,

    It's such a nice post. I'm still sticking to my niche, and unfortunately, I did not do much of a keyword research previously.

    When I choose this niche (from my heart, not my brain), I thought it'll be a winner, until 6 months later, there's still not much traffic ;(

    Anyway eager to hear more from you. Great share.

    Thanks
    SC
    Smart Children recently posted..How To Teach My Child To Control His AngerMy Profile

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