Where to Begin in this Vast World of Information

18 replies
Hey guys,

Let me give you a brief overview of my background. I work on the corporate side of a nation wide retailer as the lead front-end developer. My previous position was server-side development and email marketing for a medium sized resort management company. I've also worked in various other positions doing everything from marketing to developing custom content management systems to SEO and everything in between.

That being said, I get a pretty decent paycheck every 2 weeks and I live a pretty good life. I have a brand new sports car, I wear very nice clothes, I am taking out of state weekend trips nearly every weekend this month, etc. Most people wouldn't complain. However...I have been sitting behind a computer building other peoples companies up for the past 10 years. I'm sick of programming, marketing, etc for other people. I want to build a career online working for myself. The main reason I want to do this is not for the potential millions of dollars I see all of the new people coming here for but instead for the freedom. The freedom to be able to work from anywhere. Being in an office or a cube 9+ hours a day with 2 weeks vacation time a year is literally draining me.

My problem is this...I simply do not know where to begin. I've only worked for established companies solving established problems. I know the best thing to do is to find a problem and solve it. But how do you find a problem that a million other online marketers aren't already solving? It sounds so easy...but after spending hours in forums, yahoo answers, etc...I came up dry. I've got nothing. Most everything I can come up with already has a billion other people doing the exact same thing and some of those people are doing it very well. I could easily go to Clickbank or another affiliate site, grab a product, create a landing page, direct traffic to it, etc...but I don't understand how you can make money doing that when so many other people are doing the exact same thing to the exact same product. How do you find something that A) Solves a problem B) Is a buyers market and C) Has relatively low competition?

Thanks in advance for any help and support.
#begin #information #marketing #vast #world
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    IMO you're thinking too hard.

    Take off your thinking cap and stop looking for the totally unique solution.

    I'll bet you've got skills and more importantly experience nearly everybody here wishes they had. Now get to work with it. You saw and worked on what other people thought was important. Surely you did the same things over and over again. What did they have you do? Write that down.

    Now do those things for yourself.

    Do them as if you were doing them for a client...but now you're doing them for your own business.

    And take heed...you may need to hear this a thousand times from a thousand different people before it sinks in:

    "You Are NOT Your Customer!!"
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    • Profile picture of the author SuccessWillCome
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      IMO you're thinking too hard.

      Take off your thinking cap and stop looking for the totally unique solution.

      I'll bet you've got skills and more importantly experience nearly everybody here wishes they had. Now get to work with it. You saw and worked on what other people thought was important. Surely you did the same things over and over again. What did they have you do? Write that down.

      Now do those things for yourself.

      Do them as if you were doing them for a client...but now you're doing them for your own business.

      And take heed...you may need to hear this a thousand times from a thousand different people before it sinks in:

      "You Are NOT Your Customer!!"
      So what you're saying is that I should just go with the cookie cutter approach and do exactly what everyone else is doing? Just find any ol' product to promote and run with it?
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      • Profile picture of the author ElGuapo
        Hi OP,

        Have you considered SaaS? You seem to have exactly the right credentials - programming, marketing, creating solutions. A premium Wordpress plugin, for example. I can only speak for myself, but I'd pay top dollar for a brilliant forum or LMS (learning management system) plugin. The top moneymakers on the market just aren't up to snuff for me.

        As for competition, there are two ways of looking at it:

        1. The pie is so big that even a tiny slice of it is worth a lot of money. You can reach the audience you want to through social marketing and/or paid advertising. Create an offering that blows away others, and you'll win with word of mouth.

        2. New niches are being created all the time. A decade ago you saw standard weight-loss products; now you're seeing people cornering their own sections of the market by going super-focused (e.g. Fitness for Overweight Dads)
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        • Profile picture of the author SuccessWillCome
          Originally Posted by ElGuapo View Post

          Hi OP,

          Have you considered SaaS? You seem to have exactly the right credentials - programming, marketing, creating solutions. A premium Wordpress plugin, for example. I can only speak for myself, but I'd pay top dollar for a brilliant forum or LMS (learning management system) plugin. The top moneymakers on the market just aren't up to snuff for me.

          As for competition, there are two ways of looking at it:

          1. The pie is so big that even a tiny slice of it is worth a lot of money. You can reach the audience you want to through social marketing and/or paid advertising. Create an offering that blows away others, and you'll win with word of mouth.

          2. New niches are being created all the time. A decade ago you saw standard weight-loss products; now you're seeing people cornering their own sections of the market by going super-focused (e.g. Fitness for Overweight Dads)
          Thanks for the reply,

          I have not considered SaaS but I will definitely do some market research and look into that. Seems like it may be a good idea.

          I see a lot of people creating very focused niche products but what I don't understand about this is how you can make a decent amount of money when your target audience is so small. I mean obviously the more people you can reach the more money you can potentially make but with such small numbers with the focused niches doesn't it cap off fairly quickly? Maybe I'm being too close-minded here but I've always thought you should make sure that the venture has a potential to grow larger. If only an average of say 2,000 people have been doing google searches for this micro niche over the past 6-12 months then clearly a limited number of people are interested. Sure you could push paid ads to people who might not know they're interested but I just feel like the cap is so small. Am I wrong or is the intention here to build it out, accept the cap, move it to the back-burner, and then build out more micro niches until you have a collection?
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

        So what you're saying is that I should just go with the cookie cutter approach and do exactly what everyone else is doing? Just find any ol' product to promote and run with it?
        Find a serious problem and solution you can help a target market with. It helps if you enjoy talking about that niche all day.

        Drive traffic to your offer, and get it converting. Then improve upon it. Ignore all the distractions and shiny objects. This is so simple, you'll probably pass it by. But it's NOT what most people are doing--and just about everybody is making $0.

        It doesn't really matter what you pick, no. Maybe you're used to someone directing you to "Do This," but now you're in charge and you get to pick. No one is going to tell you, "Here, this is the niche that will make you rich." And even if they did, they'd probably be wrong.

        You understand the mechanics. Now get them working for you. Stop second-guessing yourself and get started.
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  • Profile picture of the author xxxFerdinandxxx
    Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

    Hey guys,

    Let me give you a brief overview of my background. I work on the corporate side of a nation wide retailer as the lead front-end developer. My previous position was server-side development and email marketing for a medium sized resort management company. I've also worked in various other positions doing everything from marketing to developing custom content management systems to SEO and everything in between.

    That being said, I get a pretty decent paycheck every 2 weeks and I live a pretty good life. I have a brand new sports car, I wear very nice clothes, I am taking out of state weekend trips nearly every weekend this month, etc. Most people wouldn't complain. However...I have been sitting behind a computer building other peoples companies up for the past 10 years. I'm sick of programming, marketing, etc for other people. I want to build a career online working for myself. The main reason I want to do this is not for the potential millions of dollars I see all of the new people coming here for but instead for the freedom. The freedom to be able to work from anywhere. Being in an office or a cube 9+ hours a day with 2 weeks vacation time a year is literally draining me.

    My problem is this...I simply do not know where to begin. I've only worked for established companies solving established problems. I know the best thing to do is to find a problem and solve it. But how do you find a problem that a million other online marketers aren't already solving? It sounds so easy...but after spending hours in forums, yahoo answers, etc...I came up dry. I've got nothing. Most everything I can come up with already has a billion other people doing the exact same thing and some of those people are doing it very well. I could easily go to Clickbank or another affiliate site, grab a product, create a landing page, direct traffic to it, etc...but I don't understand how you can make money doing that when so many other people are doing the exact same thing to the exact same product. How do you find something that A) Solves a problem B) Is a buyers market and C) Has relatively low competition?

    Thanks in advance for any help and support.
    Hi,

    you should check out Warriorplus.

    Once you are there, you can click "Marketplace" and search for FREE WSO's/free products.

    At Warriorplus you can find loads of products that teach various things online such as traffic generation and more! Usually, the FREE products have FREE written in there titles.

    I'd just recommend you to read a bunch and you will start learning loads!

    BTW it is super useful to have your skills! They are very handy!

    Anyways, if you have any question just ask me and I hope I could help you a little.

    Ferdinand
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I don't know you apart from what you said in that posts but I could make a guess
    that you are in your mid-30's. That's the time that most people make a career
    change. I would say that you shouldn't give up your day job just because you are
    tired of it and want a change. There are also people doing the same thing you
    aspire to and also want a change--guess what? They are also in their mid-30's
    early 40's. It's the REAL midlife crisis.

    Just one factor to consider.

    -Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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    • Profile picture of the author SuccessWillCome
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      I don't know you apart from what you said in that posts but I could make a guess
      that you are in your mid-30's. That's the time that most people make a career
      change. I would say that you shouldn't give up your day job just because you are
      tired of it and want a change. There are also people doing the same thing you
      aspire to and also want a change--guess what? They are also in their mid-30's
      early 40's. It's the REAL midlife crisis.

      Just one factor to consider.

      -Ray Edwards
      I'm actually only 26. I just started very young. Began at about age 12-13 by creating an ad driven tutorial/tips/help community site for a popular online game at the time. Learned SEO (which was super easy at the time) and used that along with engaging with the community to drive traffic. By the time I was 17 I was head of IT for a modeling agency. I'm just realizing that I absolutely cannot sit in an office for 8-9 hours a day for the rest of my life toiling away at projects that I don't care about. I need more out of life. Honestly I'm mainly dying to see the world, explore new cultures, etc. but with only 2 weeks vacation time a year that's a bit hard to do. Especially considering the fact that I like to use one of those weeks to go visit friends and family in other places I have lived. If I could make a decent income from my laptop then that would solve my problem so that's my goal.
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      • Profile picture of the author SterlingWebb
        Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

        I'm actually only 26. I just started very young. Began at about age 12-13 by creating an ad driven tutorial/tips/help community site for a popular online game at the time. Learned SEO (which was super easy at the time) and used that along with engaging with the community to drive traffic. By the time I was 17 I was head of IT for a modeling agency. I'm just realizing that I absolutely cannot sit in an office for 8-9 hours a day for the rest of my life toiling away at projects that I don't care about. I need more out of life. Honestly I'm mainly dying to see the world, explore new cultures, etc. but with only 2 weeks vacation time a year that's a bit hard to do. Especially considering the fact that I like to use one of those weeks to go visit friends and family in other places I have lived. If I could make a decent income from my laptop then that would solve my problem so that's my goal.
        It's crazy how closely our stories overlap. I came from industry and can tell you that most of the time you mentioned solving other people's established problems. I found that it took an incredible amount of detail to solve the complex problems I was facing and that this internet marketing thing isn't very hard but there's a couple things to remember (these might hurt feelings)

        1. A lot of answers you will get are either complete crap or 80% complete.
        2. There are hundreds of different marketing strategies and you could be chasing different "hot" ones for years before finding the one that is successful. (They call this the shiny object syndrome)

        Here is my concise advise, if you're interested in more I'd be happy to chat but I'm afraid my post will get buried with others

        1. Get your mentally fixed first. With you're skills this will be a cakewalk if you can be positive and stay focused.
        2. Treat it like a real business: set a budget, a timeline with milestones, and at least a light business plan
        3. Seek profitable advise. Anyone with fingers can reply to you on a forum but find people that you personally resonate with and develop a relationship with them. Even if they aren't successful now....this like every other business is based around relationships.

        I hope this helps,

        WW
        Signature

        I made it from NEED, now I fight off GREED.

        Having a hard time finding VALUE? Shoot me a PM. It's time to give back.

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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    Don't listen to what anyone says.

    Just build your own business plan, and then hustle to see if it's feasible.

    If it's feasible, then you know what to do.

    If it's not, then revert to the drawing board.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Success Will Come,

      I suggest you begin where you have an advantage.

      Inventory your skills, hobbies, training, education, past employment, passions, and those things that other people would say you do very well.

      If you have advantages, they could be the basis of your business in a specific niche.

      Another very important step that most people don't address is market demand. Before you decide upon the subject or topic of your business, you should spend a little time in validating that the business idea is something people in the niche are searching for, wanting, desire! If you don't do that, you may just build a business with products or services that nobody will buy.

      Finally, I would offer that it's important to provide an original, unique business. You want to stand out from the crowd that your competitors are! You can be in a very competitive marketplace ... that's actually a good thing. But you need to position your business in a way that sets you apart from all the other competitors.

      Some call this your USP (unique selling proposition). It's what you're known for. It's how you will brand your business.

      You are going to be competing against lots of people that have already established their brand in your marketplace. So if I were you, I would ask myself these questions:
      • How am I going to break into this market and establish my own credibility (define your USP)?
      • What am I going to sell (and at what price) and how am I going to position and differentiate my business from all the others in this niche market?
      • How am I going to rise above my competitors and stand out from the crowd in my products or services provided?
      • Where am I going to go for targeted traffic and what am I going to spend to get prospects to my business?
      • Once someone buys my product, then what? What upsells, downsells, crosssells and affiliate products am I going to promote?
      • Why should anyone buy from me in the first place when there are other established products already in the marketplace?
      • How am I going to nurture my prospects and give value to my customers during the times when they aren't actively buying?
      • How am I going to market my products?
      • How am I going to brand my business online?
      • Who are my direct competitors and what are they offering?
      • How is my product better, more comprehensive, more useful, more valuable than other similar products in my market?
      These are the types of thoughtful ideas that you should be asking yourself and come up with good answers so that you will clearly understand what you're trying to accomplish in your new business.

      The very best to you,

      Steve
      Signature

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

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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Fuentes
    SuccessWillCome,

    Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

    How do you find something that A) Solves a problem
    Problems of B2B (business to business) markets, or B2C (business to consumer) markets?

    Different sets of general problems for each of those markets. Here are just some of them:

    B2B = Profit generation, sales and marketing, traffic generation, advertising, brand positioning, product development, customer support, sales processing, cut down overheads through automation or outsourcing or offshore banking, offshore incorporation, etc.

    B2C = Wealth generation, health and fitness improvement, looking and feeling good, dating and relationships, pet care, gaming, gambling, addiction, hobbies, etc.

    Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

    How do you find something that B) Is a buyers market
    Which market do you think has buyers that would spend more money, more frequently so as to solve their problems?

    Which problem area/s of that market do you think would buyers in that market focus on so as to stop wasting their time, money and other resources and finally get what they want, consistently?

    Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

    How do you find something that C) Has relatively low competition?
    Which market and which problem area/s would be more risky, more costly, more resource-extensive and more time-sensitive for a business to serve?

    You'll weed out competitors without proper risk management systems, without enough money, with insufficient resources, those that need to earn quickly so as to pay their overheads and continue with what they're doing or milk whatever they can get from a fad, or a combination of these ...

    For example -- A business that serves [insert name of country here]-based merchants, contractors and freelancers with a quicker, easier, more inexpensive and simpler way to process, send and receive payments online from local and overseas sources using different platforms, particularly one that's much better and more reasonable than the few others doing this, would PROBABLY be something that solves urgent problems, is in a buyer's market and has reasonable competition? And, could something like this possibly provide you with significant recurring income, promising direct and lateral scalability, and less things to worry about? Probably not the last one ...
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    • Profile picture of the author videobyemail
      Hello,

      It does not matter how many people are solving problems.

      Their are alot of people that could use your services/ assistance.

      If you hae something that will solve a problem, I suggest you create a product and get it out their.

      also, you could create your own products and sell them online.

      Their are many options to choose from when it comes to selling.

      You could add your own product to clickbank, amazon,newegg, and tripleclicks.

      Creating a product and adding it to the sites above as well as many others is a good way to go because those sites have affiliates that will be willing to prmote your products in return for a commisions.

      Again, if you can solve a problem , go for it!
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      Norman McCulloch

      You need to have the right 'vehicle' to create time freedom.
      To see what I 'drive'... Visit here <---
      (it's getting me where I want to go)

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  • Profile picture of the author Marty Foley
    Hey, SuccessWillCome.

    My suggestions, if I were in your current situation:

    * Keep your current job, for now. But start squirreling away some of the money you're now spending on "a pretty good life", sacrificing a bit now, to develop a financial cushion to help safeguard you through possible leaner times later on, as you embark on your new venture.

    * You don't have to quit your job cold turkey; it's usually best if you don't cut out reliable income from a steady job, until you have other income from your new venture(s). I started my online business part time while still "working for the man", and gradually went part time at the same job, before quitting the rat race to run my own online business from home.

    * Ignore the onslaught of information-overload that bombards us each day, and stay focused on the fundamentals of online (or offline) business success, which in a nutshell are:

    1. A product, service, or other resource people really want (enough to pay for)
    2. Targeted traffic to your web site.
    3. A sales process (web site) that converts enough visitors into leads or sales, to make it profitable for you.

    Test track, and measure your way to success, in all 3 of the above areas.

    What do I mean by that?

    1. Finding winning products / services: For longest term success, it's better to have your own winning products or services that you control. A line of related ones is best to help get maximum leverage from the long-term value of your customer list.

    Far better to creatively imitate and improve on what's already working for others, than to try to "invent" something out of the blue that is untested and unproven.

    Consider learning and applying "growth hacking" and "lean startup" concepts, to test and track your way to profitable products and services.

    2. You're going to need to effectively drive targeted prospects and customers, i.e., "traffic" of some sort, to your web site or offline brick and mortar business. Here again, you should test, track, and measure to find what works better out of the many free and paid marketing and advertising options available to you.

    3. To develop a sales process (web site) that converts prospects into customers at a healthy rate, you should test, track, and optimize the site or other process.

    If you do business through a web site, you should fanatically A/B or multivariate test it, to maximize lead- and sales-conversion rates. It's smart to also set up web analytics on it, (with conversion goals, with monetary values assigned to the most important ones, even on non-transactional sites). This will let you see clearly which traffic sources are paying off, among other powerful advantages.

    These ideas along with some others in this thread can help you join the ranks of self-employed entrepreneurs.

    ~ Marty Foley
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  • Profile picture of the author donpurdum
    First, I want to commend you heavily!!!!! What a great endeavor you are considering.

    I was just sharing in another thread that there is another way to think about this...

    Instead of just finding a problem ask yourself; "what problems are you passionate about solving?"

    This will frame it in your mind differently and help you start down the road of clarity... which you will need sooner than later as you're already discovering

    I have one more piece of advice...

    Don't look at the last ten years as negative. They are anything but. You have had an incredible opportunity to learn a skill and how to focus on just doing one thing well. There is a lot of value in that!

    I just created a video today that I think may be really helpful to you. There is no sales pitch or anything to download, buy, etc... just straight up helpful information.

    Entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination. In the video, I'm going to share where I was stuck in the first 8 years (of 11 years) of my journey and the mistakes I made that cost me dearly.

    What is the process? It's transitioning through each of the following stages:

    -> Employed -> Self-Employed -> Business Owner / Entrepreneur -> Investor

    Check out the video here:
    Best wishes to you! You can do this!!!!

    ~ Don Purdum
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  • Profile picture of the author SuccessWillCome
    Thanks for all of the replies guys. I really do appreciate the feedback.
    Due to the number of replies instead of addressing each of you individually I'm just going to sum up the key points.

    Let's start with what I am NOT going to do or what I do NOT want to do.
    - I do not want to quit my current job and dive into IM. I want to build an IM based business on the side until it can fully support me and then quit my job.
    - I do not want to offer or provide services to anyone. This includes all sites such as fiverr, elance, etc.
    - I do not want to do anything that I will not be able to continuously grow.

    What I do want to do is to better understand the process of figuring out what to sell or what to promote or what to develop. Like I said, I'm fairly knowledgeable in all other departments. I understand sales funnels, traffic sources, email marketing, etc. It's literally just that very first step that has me stuck. Deciding what to pursue. A few of you have given me suggestions and tips regarding that aspect which has definitely given me something to think about.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marty Foley
      Hey SuccessWillCome,

      Just a few more things:

      1. Keep expenses down to a reasonable level so you can afford to keep testing to discover what works. "Fail forward fast."

      2. To get ideas about testing your way to product success, consider reading "The Lean Startup", by one who popularized the concept, Eric Ries.

      3. Continue your entrepreneurial education, but be more about action than meditation; Don't let analysis paralysis hold you back. Dive in and go for it!

      Marty Foley ~ Traffic & Conversion Mad Scientist
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Originally Posted by SuccessWillCome View Post

    How do you find something that A) Solves a problem B) Is a buyers market and C) Has relatively low competition?
    Being a simple kind of guy, I highly recommend focusing only on B, and ignoring everything else. IMO, these are all mutually exclusive.

    Solving problems (A) generally has limited scope and continuity, and "low competition" (C) is a strong indicator of low profits.
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