Please, find my niche for me

29 replies
I see this question asked all too often, or something similar, so I thought I would find a niche really quickly.

So while I am typing this I have Amazon open in another browser tab.

I hover over "Shop by Department"

I then select "Full Store Directory"

I clicked a random department, for this example I select "Kitchen & Dining"

On the left there are sub categories. I select "Cookware"

Again, on the left are sub-sub categories. I select "Fondue"

There is my niche. Fondue. If Amazon has a category for something then more than likely it is making sales, and is a niche worth looking into.

Of course I will now have to do a bit more research such as keywords and whatnot, but there is just one process for finding a niche.

Thats all I have to say, thanks for listening

al
#find #niche
  • Profile picture of the author nizamkhan
    Agree! If something is selling on Amazon in any category, it's worth to consider looking into that market/niche.

    - Nizam
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

    There is my niche. Fondue.
    Oooh, very nice niche, too (with apologies for taking it literally! ). Do you like meat or cheese fondues?

    Have you tried the "fruit in molten chocoloate" kind of "dessert fondue"?!
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      Oooh, very nice niche, too (with apologies for taking it literally! ). Do you like meat or cheese fondues?

      Have you tried the "fruit in molten chocoloate" kind of "dessert fondue"?!
      I like the meat fondues with multiple sauces for dipping, and of course a crusty bread. We sometimes do a surf and turf fondue with filet Mignon and jumbo shrimp, we also add either ghee or clarified butter to the oil when cooking.

      I think I am talking myself into this niche

      al
      Signature

      A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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      • Profile picture of the author kilgore
        Sorry, but you still have more work to do before you've "found" your niche.

        OK, so you've decided to do something with "fondue", but just what are you going to do and how are you going to do it? Until you know that, you still don't have a niche, you just have a topic. Are you going to:
        • Blog about fondue recipes
        • Create a online store where people can find and buy fondue pots
        • Write a fondue cookbook
        • Create a video series describing how to make your own fondue equipment
        • Open a fondue restaurant
        • Package and sell chocolate fondue jars online
        • Try to get articles about fondue published on food blogs/magazines that link back to your site
        • Create an Android/iPhone phone app for tracking the correct amount of time to keep your fondue fork in the oil
        • Post memes of cats eating fondue on a Facebook page
        • Have dinner
        Note that which (if any) of the above is best for you to embark upon is largely a matter of your talents, skills and interests. Also, most (if not all) of the above ideas are not mutually exclusive and moreover it's often the combination of what you do more than any one thing that brings your own unique value as you develop -- not find -- your niche.
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        • Profile picture of the author agmccall
          Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

          Sorry, but you still have more work to do before you've "found" your niche.

          OK, so you've decided to do something with "fondue", but just what are you going to do and how are you going to do it? Until you know that, you still don't have a niche, you just have a topic. Are you going to:
          • Blog about fondue recipes
          • Create a online store where people can find and buy fondue pots
          • Write a fondue cookbook
          • Create a video series describing how to make your own fondue equipment
          • Open a fondue restaurant
          • Package and sell chocolate fondue jars online
          • Try to get articles about fondue published on food blogs/magazines that link back to your site
          • Create an Android/iPhone phone app for tracking the correct amount of time to keep your fondue fork in the oil
          • Post memes of cats eating fondue on a Facebook page
          • Have dinner
          Note that which (if any) of the above is best for you to embark upon is largely a matter of your talents, skills and interests. Also, most (if not all) of the above ideas are not mutually exclusive and moreover it's often the combination of what you do more than any one thing that brings your own unique value as you develop -- not find -- your niche.
          if you read the post you would have seen the last line which states I have more to do. The post was just about "Finding" the niche, what you are talking about comes after you make the decision to pursue the niche.

          Lets not over complicate this thread for people

          al
          Signature

          A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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          • Profile picture of the author onSubie
            Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

            Lets not over complicate this thread for people

            al


            I actually don't think "fondue" is a very good niche.

            But you didn't state your criteria for a "good niche" so maybe it suits your needs.

            For me it is lacking the following:

            It is not "evergreen"
            After you sell someone a fondue set, and some fondue recipe books what else will they keep buying over and over as a long term customer?

            It is difficult to build a valuable list
            As above, once someone is on your list and has purchased your recommended fondue set and recipe book what else do you engage them with? What commonalities are shared among people who love fondue? Not much. Except maybe as retro fans of the 1970s. Who would you target as a JV partner to leverage your list? What would you sell?

            No high priced items
            What is the upsell path to more expensive items and services?

            Few "information" avenues for products
            Other than recipe books or "How to" books, there are not many products or services you could sell based around information or training for "fondue".

            What would your "personal coaching" program look like for fondue?


            Not that I am trying to overcomplicate things, but "fondue" is the kind of niche that a newbie could pursue for a year, make very little money and decide that IM is not a good way to make money.


            I would look to an evergreen niche that has a variety different products and a market that buys similar products and accessories over and over. Once you grab a customer you want to be able to repeatedly sell them things for years. Not just a fondue related item once a year at Christmas.

            I would look for a niche that has higher priced products and services to appeal to the fanatical client who needs everything. Some customers will get very keen on a good niche and pay a premium for more expensive products and services.

            Think golf where some customers play mini-putt once a year on their birthday for $10 while other customers pay $10,000 for clubs and $30,000 a year in golf vacations.


            I also think the niche is too small. The number of potential customers who pay a lot of money on a regular basis for fondue related items is (and I haven't done any deep research) tiny.

            I think choosing a good niche should be more thought out than simply picking a category on Amazon and say "If it sells on Amazon it must have a good market".


            But again, I am not trying to complicate things and I don't know your business model that would see "fondue" as a valuable niche.
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            • Profile picture of the author agmccall
              Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

              I actually don't think "fondue" is a very good niche.

              But you didn't state your criteria for a "good niche" so maybe it suits your needs.

              For me it is lacking the following:

              It is not "evergreen"
              After you sell someone a fondue set, and some fondue recipe books what else will they keep buying over and over as a long term customer? This is the MMO mindset, every niche will not meet this criteria.

              It is difficult to build a valuable list, No it is not
              As above, once someone is on your list and has purchased your recommended fondue set and recipe book what else do you engage them with? What commonalities are shared among people who love fondue? Not much. Except maybe as retro fans of the 1970s. Who would you target as a JV partner to leverage your list? What would you sell? IF you looked into the niche you would find out that most people who like fondue probably like entertaining, time to test

              No high priced items
              What is the upsell path to more expensive items and services? You do not need high priced items for everything, again this is the MMO mindset

              Few "information" avenues for products
              Other than recipe books or "How to" books, there are not many products or services you could sell based around information or training for "fondue". You do not need "Training "for fondue, as for the information products, write your own

              What would your "personal coaching" program look like for fondue? Why the hell would anyone need coaching to dip fruit into melted chocolate


              Not that I am trying to overcomplicate things, but "fondue" is the kind of niche that a newbie could pursue for a year, make very little money and decide that IM is not a good way to make money.


              You are trying to over-complicate things, and most wanna be guru's will over-complicate this. This was a simple exercise on how to quickly find a niche. It was not meant that once you did that you had it and just started making money. Everything you say is for after you find the niche and it will be up to you to decide weather to pursue this or not.

              al
              Signature

              A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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              • Profile picture of the author discrat
                I think you all are busting als balls a little bit here.

                He is just giving a short idea of a example of how Newbies could brainstorm new ideas when looking for a Niche to pursue.

                Of course, there needs to be more stuff done than this.

                But it is just one more example that can assist people when they do not have a clue of a Niche to go after.

                Kind of like my brother the other week asked me where he should start with finding a new Car for his family.

                I told him to go down to Car Max and check it out.

                Of course, there are many other things he needs to check out and go over to find his perfect car...i.e. car dealerships, used car lots, newspaper ads for cars, craigslist, checkout Consumer reports for ratings on cars etc..etc..


                - Robert Andrew
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                • Profile picture of the author agmccall
                  Originally Posted by discrat View Post

                  I think you all are busting als balls a little bit here.

                  He is just giving a short idea of a example of how Newbies could brainstorm new ideas when looking for a Niche to pursue.

                  Of course, there needs to be more stuff done than this.

                  But it is just one more example that can assist people when they do not have a clue of a Niche to go after.

                  Kind of like my brother the other week asked me where he should start with finding a new Car for his family.

                  I told him to go down to Car Max and check it out.

                  Of course, there are many other things he needs to check out and go over to find his perfect car...i.e. car dealerships, used car lots, newspaper ads for cars, craigslist, checkout Consumer reports for ratings on cars etc..etc..


                  - Robert Andrew
                  Thanks and I agree. But, I just want this post to be about the first step, which is the hardest step. I am only trying to get people over the first hurdle. And that is Finding the niche. Using this simple step somone, newbies especially, can search and find several niches and be ready to start on the next step, which we should talk about in another thread.

                  One of thes reason many newbies "give up" is information overload. Lets let them work on this one step without any other distractions.

                  al
                  Signature

                  A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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                  • Profile picture of the author kilgore
                    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

                    Lets not over complicate this thread for people
                    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

                    But, I just want this post to be about the first step, which is the hardest step.
                    I guess I just have to disagree about what constitutes "overcomplicating" here. To me, what you left out of your original post -- namely, what the person/business seeking a niche is actually going to do -- is the number one most important part of developing a niche.

                    So while you may think some of us are overcomplicating things, I think you're vastly oversimplifying them -- even more, I think you've got things backwards -- what you're talking about as "the first step" shouldn't be the first step at all. You start with your own talents, skills and interests and then -- and only then -- do you start thinking about what topic(s) you might apply to them. You don't just "find a topic" and call that a niche.

                    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

                    Using this simple step somone, newbies especially, can search and find several niches and be ready to start on the next step, which we should talk about in another thread.
                    As Steve stated above, the topic of fondue "would allow you to position your business in a number of different ways - hence there could be several niches carved out that don't necessarily need to compete with each other." In other words, your technique doesn't actually find a niche at all -- it finds topics, which are very different things.

                    Moreover, the beauty in what's bundled up in what Steve said above is that it recognizes that the concept of a niche is indelibly bound to the concept of competition. In other words, if you've "found" your niche but can't articulate who your likely competition is, you've got more work to do. This is clearly the case with a niche like "fondue" (or any other "niche" that you might find using the technique you've outlined above.) I'm not arguing that to "find a niche" all you need to do is identify your competition; but I am saying that if you can't identify your competition you probably haven't actually "found your niche".

                    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

                    One of thes reason many newbies "give up" is information overload. Lets let them work on this one step without any other distractions.
                    If newbies give up because of information overload it's either (a) because they're looking for simple answers to complicated questions, simple answers that don't actually exist or (b) they are bombarded with very small amounts of good information but very large amounts of bad information and aren't able to pick out which is which. To my way of thinking, debate and disagreement (when backed by logical argument and reasoning) is helpful for newbies to sort through all the information they receive. After all, every business is different, every niche and every person is different and so what works in one situation for one person in one niche may completely flop in another. Because of this "simple" answers just don't cut it -- in business why something works (or doesn't work) is just as important as what works.

                    Which brings me back to your Amazon technique. I don't doubt for a moment that the technique you described works: for you. But that's because you've already done what I consider to be the really hard work: leveraging your own unique set of skills, talents and interests to develop a business model that works for you. It may well be the case that your business model works in just about any Amazon.com category you can find. And it's also probably why you're confusing a topic with a niche -- for you the business model is a given, so all you need to do is apply it to a new topic and you really have "found" your niche. But just because you've already taken care of the business model part of the equation, doesn't mean that it's not a vital component of niche development.

                    Moreover, just because the Amazon technique works for you doesn't mean it'll work for others. It all depends on what they're going to do with the topics they find that way. An obvious example is someone who's developed their skills in coaching -- what sort of coaching are they going to do with fondue? Or imagine someone who's really good at game development. A fondue game? Even a fondue blogger would be hard-pressed to find a sustained audience. Which isn't to say that there aren't some potentially viable fondue-related niches out there, only that (a) fondue is hardly a viable niche for everyone and (b) it's going to take more work to find/develop those other niches.

                    Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

                    You are trying to over-complicate things, and most wanna be guru's will over-complicate this.
                    Again, I'd beg to differ with you, and I think it's an appropriate way to end my missive. If you look at almost any sales pitch by almost any guru, what's striking is just how easy they claim everything to be (if only you have the secret knowledge, which you can buy for only...)

                    The reality, of course, is very different. Business is complicated and messy, especially when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of creating a workable business model, executing it and adapting it as you learn more about what's working and what isn't. As mentioned above, every business, every niche and every person is different. Moreover what works today may not work tomorrow. So the key to success is not to look for simple answers to complicated questions or to look for some mythical set of steps that if you follow will magically yield success. They key is being able to apply knowledge and experience that is often both complex and contradictory to your specific situation, to be able to think through problems yourself, to try, to evaluate and to learn and to try again with hopefully better results that the first time around.
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                    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                      Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

                      Moreover, just because the Amazon technique works for you doesn't mean it'll work for others. It all depends on what they're going to do with the topics they find that way. An obvious example is someone who's developed their skills in coaching -- what sort of coaching are they going to do with fondue? Or imagine someone who's really good at game development. A fondue game? Even a fondue blogger would be hard-pressed to find a sustained audience. Which isn't to say that there aren't some potentially viable fondue-related niches out there, only that (a) fondue is hardly a viable niche for everyone and (b) it's going to take more work to find/develop those other niches.
                      kilgore, think about it...

                      If someone has developed a viable skill set in coaching, would they really be looking for a product niche?

                      If someone is really good at game development, would they really be looking for a product niche?

                      I think you may be suffering the curse of knowledge, here. Go through some of the threads and count the number of times someone says "I'm brand new, what should I promote/sell?" People who don't even know where to start, who don't know what they don't know.

                      I went through a form of this back when I decided to actually learn to use Adwords, rather than simply accepting the suggestions given by the software. I ended up promoting a boxed set of DVDs of a popular TV show at the time. I followed a method much like al described.

                      Did it set me up forever? Of course not. Did it get me over the hump and into action? Yes.

                      Using a method like al's can help the stuck and paralyzed get off the schneid and get them moving.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Joe Russell
                      Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

                      I guess I just have to disagree about what constitutes "overcomplicating" here. To me, what you left out of your original post -- namely, what the person/business seeking a niche is actually going to do -- is the number one most important part of developing a niche.

                      Depending on the goal of the newbie you just might be overcomplicating things.

                      If the newbie is looking to start a "business" in just one niche market and grow to all it can be then yes be as thorough as you can.

                      If someone new wants start with affiliate marketing as a business there is no need to complicate things that much.

                      For me, I consider there to be two kinds of affiliate earners...

                      If you are dedicated to just one niche market/your passion, with no intentions of ever creating a product or going outside that niche than you are a website owner who earns from affiliate offers.

                      If you manage multiple domains across a wide array of niches and your only basis for selecting a niche is based on its profitability then I consider this to be an affiliate marketer.

                      An "Affiliate Marketer" doesn't care if a niche is a passion, seasonal, a fad or evergreen, the only determining factors are how much money can be made and can the site rank. Rank isn't even a factor with PPC.

                      It takes me no more than a few hours to find and setup a new niche with authority potential, this includes a minimum of 19 pages of original content. The longest part of the process is waiting for the content. (a few days) Once the content arrives the site is up ready to earn within minutes.

                      The method that Al mentioned is actually one of the sources that I use and recommend. Many other marketers also use this same source to help them find a "Seed Keyword" or niche idea that can be researched further.

                      Amazon sells everything under the sun; if people are buying it Amazon is selling it.
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                      • Profile picture of the author boobooch5
                        Originally Posted by Joe Russell View Post



                        It takes me no more than a few hours to find and setup a new niche with authority potential, this includes a minimum of 19 pages of original content. The longest part of the process is waiting for the content. (a few days) Once the content arrives the site is up ready to earn within minutes.
                        Could you elaborate a bit more on your method? My curiosity id piqued and you have my attention.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Joe Russell
                          Originally Posted by boobooch5 View Post

                          Could you elaborate a bit more on your method? My curiosity id piqued and you have my attention.
                          I would be happy to share my process but I don’t want to hijack Al’s thread.

                          I have, in the past, considered starting my own thread to share this info but to be honest I don’t know how I could explain my process without it sounding self promotional, even though that definitely wouldn’t be my intent. 99% of the things I use I couldn’t be mentioned and if it were, the thread most likely would be deleted.


                          Joe
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                          • Profile picture of the author DABK
                            I think the definition of a niche, in marketing, is in order:

                            a small, specific, well defined segment of the people currently alive.
                            You identify one by identifying one or more needs or wants that other marketers/business owners do not serve (or do not serve well) and you serve them (or serve them better).

                            The OP did not, indeed, identify a niche. He identified a topic. However, his goal was to help new people find a niche. And his method is a good one to get someone started.

                            So, whether you think the word 'niche' is used loosely or not, say thanks for the quick, clever method to unstuck a newbie and direct his/her energies in a useful direction.

                            PS I did love reading the discussion of whether this is finding a niche or a topic.

                            PPS But give credit where credit is due, even if a word was used more loosely than you think it should have been.

                            PPPS Peace! And think nothing but nice thoughts of me. I haunt dreams like it's nobody's business!
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                          • Profile picture of the author agmccall
                            Originally Posted by Joe Russell View Post

                            I would be happy to share my process but I don't want to hijack Al's thread.

                            I have, in the past, considered starting my own thread to share this info but to be honest I don't know how I could explain my process without it sounding self promotional, even though that definitely wouldn't be my intent. 99% of the things I use I couldn't be mentioned and if it were, the thread most likely would be deleted.


                            Joe
                            Go for it, I won't mind. I wanted this thread to be about "Finding" a niche. I would love to hear and share ideas about the beginning process

                            al
                            Signature

                            A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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                            • Profile picture of the author boobooch5
                              Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

                              Go for it, I won't mind. I wanted this thread to be about "Finding" a niche. I would love to hear and share ideas about the beginning process

                              al
                              Ditto and Amen.....let's hear it!!!!
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                      • Profile picture of the author kilgore
                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        If someone has developed a viable skill set in coaching, would they really be looking for a product niche?
                        If someone is really good at game development, would they really be looking for a product niche?
                        This is exactly my point. Why would people like these be looking for a product niche?

                        But ignore the examples that I provided and think about someone completely new to online business. Maybe she isn't a game developer, but has significant software development experience. Or maybe he's not a coach, but has 25 years experience as a high school guidance counselor. Maybe she isn't an experienced blogger, but she's always loved journaling. Or maybe he's an auto-mechanic who was just laid off who doesn't really know the first thing about anything online.

                        I don't think these are far-fetched examples. And I don't think that it's obvious why any of them should look for a product niche either:
                        • The software developer might do better freelancing or even learning game development.
                        • The guidance counselor might do better getting into coaching.
                        • The journaler might do better with a blog or trying out article marketing.
                        • The auto-mechanic might do better by (a) doing something auto-related (b) increasing his skillsets and then moving in a direction related to those skills or (c) trying to find another job as a mechanic.

                        That said, it's also not at all clear that the examples I gave shouldn't look for a product niche. For instance, I do have a background in software development and I do have a product niche. Well, of sorts. I actually promote a variety of products on a single website all relevant and targeted to a specific demographic. Thus, even for me a product niche like "fondue" really isn't a very good one.

                        But that's the problem with the technique above. It gives you the "what" but doesn't give you the "why", the "how" or the "to whom". And each of those questions are essential components of a niche.

                        People come to the WF from all walks of life, with just about any skill, talent or interest you might imagine. One size does definitely not fit all here, but when people attempt to "simplify" things this complex -- and this central to the identity and functioning of a business -- to a single step or set of steps, that's essentially what they're claiming.

                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        Go through some of the threads and count the number of times someone says "I'm brand new, what should I promote/sell?" People who don't even know where to start, who don't know what they don't know.
                        I've read tons of those threads -- and I gotta say that I've found almost every answer is unhelpful, not because what the responders were saying was untrue, but because it's impossible to tell a complete stranger what the right business they should start just by reading a short post. Developing a niche requires self-reflection and creativity -- it's not something you can outsource to a forum or to an Amazon search.

                        And yes, I get that people need a place to start. But what I'm suggesting is that getting started by more or less randomly picking out categories on Amazon.com is probably counter-productive for many, if not most people. Instead, the way I think people should get started is to think about themselves first, their skills, talents and interests, how they can creatively use those to add value to people's lives and how they can monetize the value they create.

                        Again, I'm not suggesting that this Amazon technique won't work ever for anyone -- but you can't know whether it'll be useful until you have a reasonable idea of what you're going to do with the topic you're going to pick. Certain skills and talents are better suited to certain topics than others. For instance, I'm a decent writer, but writing the long-form sales pages that seem to be the rage in the various MMO niches aren't something I can -- nor have any desire to -- do well. So I'll either steer clear of any topic areas where that sort of sales page seems to be effective or create my own niche in those topic areas where such sales pages aren't necessary.
                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        I think you may be suffering the curse of knowledge, here.
                        Actually, I think I have the curse of a lack of knowledge. The point is that I don't -- and can't -- know what kind of business people should start. I know what has worked for me in the past but I also recognize that my way isn't the only way or the best way to do things.

                        A problem I see too often on this forum is that people just try to blindly copy what others do without really thinking about -- let alone understanding -- why they're doing it. So what they do is:
                        1. Find a topic (which they mistakenly call a niche) without really thinking about why that particular topic makes sense for them
                        2. Pick out some products to promote maybe by just picking the ones in their topic with the highest ratings, "gravity" or some other measure that either (a) anyone could do just by sorting or filtering on Amazon or (b) has no relevence to the customers they are actually trying to serve
                        3. Buy some cheap hosting, use a cheap design, install Wordpress and either set up a poorly implemented squeeze page (to collect email addresses they don't know how to effectively use) or use a WP extension to create a mini-Amazon store, one that really doesn't add any value other than by choosing the highest rated products from a particular category
                        4. Fail to get much traffic
                        5. Fail to get any return visits
                        6. Post a thread on the WF wondering why they aren't getting any traffic or making any money

                        The thing is that none of the steps above (well, at least the first three) are bad in themselves. But they lack the glue that will make them successful. And that glue is the knowledge and understanding of why they're doing the things they're doing and what each step is trying to accomplish. Without that understanding, they can't evaluate their work; they can't build upon their strengths and fix their weaknesses. And they're probably not really adding any value for their customers.

                        There seems to be a cult in the WF around "taking action" (or even "taking MASSIVE action"). But while taking action is obviously a necessary factor to being successful, it is far from a sufficient factor. To be successful you don't just need to take action; you need to take the right action.

                        Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you have to do everything right to be successful. But to me "right action" is action that you are able to use to learn from, grow and build upon. But if you're just looking for a bunch of trite steps that you can blindly follow without understanding why (such as by more or less randomly picking topics from Amazon and calling those niches) then you're going to have a very, very hard time figuring out where your making mistakes. And if you're new, you will be making mistakes. Lots of them.

                        So no, I don't suffer from knowledge. But I at least try to not suffer from a lack of it, and I do that by trying to recognize where my gaps in my knowledge are and running what are essentially experiments in my business in such a way that I can learn from my mistakes.

                        Originally Posted by Joe Russell View Post

                        Depending on the goal of the newbie you just might be overcomplicating things.

                        If the newbie is looking to start a "business" in just one niche market and grow to all it can be then yes be as thorough as you can.

                        If someone new wants start with affiliate marketing as a business there is no need to complicate things that much.
                        I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. But what I am saying is that there are a lot of "if's" in what your saying. "If's" and assumptions. And the biggest assumption is a business model to back up the topic that the would-be entrepreneur is more or less randomly choosing.

                        Because even with affiliate marketing, there are countless ways to approach a business. Look at goodreads.com(Share Book Recommendations With Your Friends, Join Book Clubs, Answer Trivia), kayak.com (KAYAK - Cheap Flights, Hotels, Airline Tickets, Cheap Tickets, Cheap Travel Deals - Compare Hundreds of Travel Sites At Once) and kenrockwell.com (KenRockwell.com: Photography, Cameras and Taking Better Pictures). All are essentially affiliate marketers, but all do it very differently. The first created a social network. The second, a web application to find cheap flights and the third is a review site. And those models are hardly representative of all the possibilities. I do affiliate marketing and my site is very different than any one of those!

                        So yes, with someone like you, who has lots of experience and thus knows what works and doesn't work -- for you -- I might be overcomplicating things. But that is because in your case the business model is implicit and thus once you choose a topic, your niche -- which combines both what you do, how you do it and the topic area you're operating in -- is also implicit.

                        But for someone who doesn't have a working business model, for someone who doesn't know what to do or how to do it, a topic area is just a topic area. It's not a niche. There is no positioning. There is no value created. And there is no understanding of what each step they're doing is actually trying to accomplish and so there is no way to judge where or why they aren't getting the results they're looking for.

                        Basically it's like treating starting a business the same way one might approach building a piece of IKEA furniture. The problem is that unlike when building an IKEA bookshelf, there is no standard set of directions for any type of business. Moreover, the most important material needed to build a successful business can't be purchased in a box: it's the entrepreneur him or herself.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Joe Russell
                          Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

                          This is exactly my point. Why would people like these be looking for a product niche?

                          But ignore the examples that I provided and think about someone completely new to online business. Maybe she isn't a game developer, but has significant software development experience. Or maybe he's not a coach, but has 25 years experience as a high school guidance counselor. Maybe she isn't an experienced blogger, but she's always loved journaling. Or maybe he's an auto-mechanic who was just laid off who doesn't really know the first thing about anything online.

                          I don't think these are far-fetched examples. And I don't think that it's obvious why any of them should look for a product niche either:
                          • The software developer might do better freelancing or even learning game development.
                          • The guidance counselor might do better getting into coaching.
                          • The journaler might do better with a blog or trying out article marketing.
                          • The auto-mechanic might do better by (a) doing something auto-related (b) increasing his skillsets and then moving in a direction related to those skills or (c) trying to find another job as a mechanic.

                          That said, it's also not at all clear that the examples I gave shouldn't look for a product niche. For instance, I do have a background in software development and I do have a product niche. Well, of sorts. I actually promote a variety of products on a single website all relevant and targeted to a specific demographic. Thus, even for me a product niche like "fondue" really isn't a very good one.

                          But that's the problem with the technique above. It gives you the "what" but doesn't give you the "why", the "how" or the "to whom". And each of those questions are essential components of a niche.

                          People come to the WF from all walks of life, with just about any skill, talent or interest you might imagine. One size does definitely not fit all here, but when people attempt to "simplify" things this complex -- and this central to the identity and functioning of a business -- to a single step or set of steps, that's essentially what they're claiming.

                          I've read tons of those threads -- and I gotta say that I've found almost every answer is unhelpful, not because what the responders were saying was untrue, but because it's impossible to tell a complete stranger what the right business they should start just by reading a short post. Developing a niche requires self-reflection and creativity -- it's not something you can outsource to a forum or to an Amazon search.

                          And yes, I get that people need a place to start. But what I'm suggesting is that getting started by more or less randomly picking out categories on Amazon.com is probably counter-productive for many, if not most people. Instead, the way I think people should get started is to think about themselves first, their skills, talents and interests, how they can creatively use those to add value to people's lives and how they can monetize the value they create.

                          Again, I'm not suggesting that this Amazon technique won't work ever for anyone -- but you can't know whether it'll be useful until you have a reasonable idea of what you're going to do with the topic you're going to pick. Certain skills and talents are better suited to certain topics than others. For instance, I'm a decent writer, but writing the long-form sales pages that seem to be the rage in the various MMO niches aren't something I can -- nor have any desire to -- do well. So I'll either steer clear of any topic areas where that sort of sales page seems to be effective or create my own niche in those topic areas where such sales pages aren't necessary.
                          Actually, I think I have the curse of a lack of knowledge. The point is that I don't -- and can't -- know what kind of business people should start. I know what has worked for me in the past but I also recognize that my way isn't the only way or the best way to do things.

                          A problem I see too often on this forum is that people just try to blindly copy what others do without really thinking about -- let alone understanding -- why they're doing it. So what they do is:
                          1. Find a topic (which they mistakenly call a niche) without really thinking about why that particular topic makes sense for them
                          2. Pick out some products to promote maybe by just picking the ones in their topic with the highest ratings, "gravity" or some other measure that either (a) anyone could do just by sorting or filtering on Amazon or (b) has no relevence to the customers they are actually trying to serve
                          3. Buy some cheap hosting, use a cheap design, install Wordpress and either set up a poorly implemented squeeze page (to collect email addresses they don't know how to effectively use) or use a WP extension to create a mini-Amazon store, one that really doesn't add any value other than by choosing the highest rated products from a particular category
                          4. Fail to get much traffic
                          5. Fail to get any return visits
                          6. Post a thread on the WF wondering why they aren't getting any traffic or making any money

                          The thing is that none of the steps above (well, at least the first three) are bad in themselves. But they lack the glue that will make them successful. And that glue is the knowledge and understanding of why they're doing the things they're doing and what each step is trying to accomplish. Without that understanding, they can't evaluate their work; they can't build upon their strengths and fix their weaknesses. And they're probably not really adding any value for their customers.

                          There seems to be a cult in the WF around "taking action" (or even "taking MASSIVE action"). But while taking action is obviously a necessary factor to being successful, it is far from a sufficient factor. To be successful you don't just need to take action; you need to take the right action.

                          Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you have to do everything right to be successful. But to me "right action" is action that you are able to use to learn from, grow and build upon. But if you're just looking for a bunch of trite steps that you can blindly follow without understanding why (such as by more or less randomly picking topics from Amazon and calling those niches) then you're going to have a very, very hard time figuring out where your making mistakes. And if you're new, you will be making mistakes. Lots of them.

                          So no, I don't suffer from knowledge. But I at least try to not suffer from a lack of it, and I do that by trying to recognize where my gaps in my knowledge are and running what are essentially experiments in my business in such a way that I can learn from my mistakes.

                          I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. But what I am saying is that there are a lot of "if's" in what your saying. "If's" and assumptions. And the biggest assumption is a business model to back up the topic that the would-be entrepreneur is more or less randomly choosing.

                          Because even with affiliate marketing, there are countless ways to approach a business. Look at goodreads.com(Share Book Recommendations With Your Friends, Join Book Clubs, Answer Trivia), kayak.com (KAYAK - Cheap Flights, Hotels, Airline Tickets, Cheap Tickets, Cheap Travel Deals - Compare Hundreds of Travel Sites At Once) and kenrockwell.com (KenRockwell.com: Photography, Cameras and Taking Better Pictures). All are essentially affiliate marketers, but all do it very differently. The first created a social network. The second, a web application to find cheap flights and the third is a review site. And those models are hardly representative of all the possibilities. I do affiliate marketing and my site is very different than any one of those!

                          So yes, with someone like you, who has lots of experience and thus knows what works and doesn't work -- for you -- I might be overcomplicating things. But that is because in your case the business model is implicit and thus once you choose a topic, your niche -- which combines both what you do, how you do it and the topic area you're operating in -- is also implicit.

                          But for someone who doesn't have a working business model, for someone who doesn't know what to do or how to do it, a topic area is just a topic area. It's not a niche. There is no positioning. There is no value created. And there is no understanding of what each step they're doing is actually trying to accomplish and so there is no way to judge where or why they aren't getting the results they're looking for.

                          Basically it's like treating starting a business the same way one might approach building a piece of IKEA furniture. The problem is that unlike when building an IKEA bookshelf, there is no standard set of directions for any type of business. Moreover, the most important material needed to build a successful business can't be purchased in a box: it's the entrepreneur him or herself.
                          Hey Kilgore,

                          Great reply! As you have pointed out there are many different affiliate marketing business models or directions one can choose.

                          To me, Ken Rockwell fits my definition of a website owner who earns affiliate commissions. Im not saying my definition is right, its just the way I define it. I could be wrong, I have no idea if Ken Rockwell manages other websites in other niches without doing some research.

                          The other sites you mentioned started as corporate entities

                          Goodreads is an Amazon company
                          Kayak founded in 2004 by one of the Orbitz founders in 2007 received $196 million financing.

                          I may have experience now, but I came into this industry in 1999 knowing nothing about making money online just like anyone else. To be honest the only change I have made to my process in 16 years was to automate. I've developed and used different strategies over the years but the basic process remains the same.

                          You HAVE to start with performing proper, thorough Keyword and competition research. Get this part wrong and you fail before you even start.

                          Typically the first thing someone new does after being told to "follow their passion" is they create a blog or website.

                          Even if you ARE following your passion, a website is the LAST step of the entire process, research is the first.

                          I'm not saying that you can't make money with your passion if thats your goal but most of the time those new to the WF aren't interested in growing a business with a "revenue over time" model. Instead they want a faster solution with quicker results and by "fast" I don't mean instant.

                          Theres nothing hard about what I do. Just like assembling Ikea furniture, which I have never done before but I bet I could, even without directions Like anything else we learn, things always seem confusing at the start but we learn to do it if it's something we really want.


                          Joe
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          Al,

          Nice thread and something that will get newbies started.

          I somewhat agree with Kilgore in that you have identified a topic around which you can create a website, position your business, and address a need/want/desire for which you will be paid.

          The topic of fondue, I believe, would allow you to position your business in a number of different ways - hence there could be several niches carved out that don't necessarily need to compete with each other.
          • Selling fondue pots, forks, and accessories might be your niche
          • Selling an ebook on the greatest fondue recipes could be your niche
          • Creating and charging a subscription fee for "fondue fanatics" could be your niche
          • Sending subscribers the "Fondue of the Month" for home delivery could be your niche
          My point is . . . IMO, the niche is actually your response (product or service) and how you choose to address the demands and desires of the audience rather than the topic itself that you've chosen. Saying your niche is the topic doesn't answer the question about what you are specifically choosing to address within the topic.

          I understand that this may sound like semantics; however, I feel that by differentiating how you're going to position your business allows you to be different than other businesses in the topic. You can stand out because you become specialized and can offer things that others don't.

          "Positioning" is a great way to immediately separate your business from the competition. You can focus and specialize and become the authority in your space.

          Thanks again for the thread.

          Steve
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          Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources
          SteveBrowneDirect

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  • Profile picture of the author hbennick
    So, this is a tutorial to find out what niches exist, not to determine if the niche is worth pursuing.
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  • Profile picture of the author QueenMelanie
    yeah that's a good base way of finding your niche, but you really need to check the competition for that niche, and look for the monthly searches, etc..
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  • Profile picture of the author mfork555
    Really a great topics for newbie. Thanks a lot for creating this simple trick for us. Although some friends make this simple post complicated to us. But i like the simple one :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Monkmoney
    Just try something..anything..the more you learn.the more you are able to pinpoint niches

    I say the same thing about buying used and selling on ebay, when asked what to sell I say just look into everything, always trying things out..you wont find what you are going to be an expert at until you just....start...something
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  • Profile picture of the author rbates
    Great conversations and ideas about topics v.s. niches. Bottom line I must say, however, is that
    anyone new to "The Game" should not go into Amazon, Yahoo, the big "G" for ideas on selecting
    their niche. They should look to within and what they like. It makes things much more enjoyable.
    Once they decide on what they enjoy, then they can make things complicated
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  • Profile picture of the author anynewsbd
    I find many comments in this forum & some are good & some are very good so thanks to all.
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  • Profile picture of the author turboshandy
    This is one of the most original ways to find a niche that I heard of
    I usually just choose a niche by thinking "I know a lot about this topic"... even if said topic is not really popular.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeeGee2010
    Well, I liked your idea. Sometimes, we're after niche ideas, not turn key solutions, the first step. (I've just concluded that my black cats niche idea, while rolling in content and monetization, has very very few attainable keywords.)
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  • Profile picture of the author DeeGee2010
    My first whack at this: I come up with
    Health & Personal Care : Men's Grooming : Shave : Electric Shavers
    Okay, not bad!
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  • Profile picture of the author Lillie232013
    [DELETED]
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