Do you really have to solve a problem?

by Kurt
24 replies
It seems the standard advice is that you have to solve a problem to have a business. I'm not saying that advice is wrong, only that it's incomplete.

There's a couple of other ways to make money. One is to entertain. Entertainments drives a big part of the online economy. Music is BY FAR the most popular niche on Youtube. Gaming is also huge. And there's plenty of other entertainment related niches/markets that are profitable.

Another option that can be profitable other than "solving a problem" is collectibles. Many people have a deep urge, almost an addiction to add to their collections. I knew someone that collected everything with geese on them. She had clothes, pot holders, dishes, cookie jars, furniture, figurines, art and everything else you could think of with geese...and she spent a lot of money building her collection. There are tons and tons of possibilities for collectibles.
#problem #solve
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    I agree. Of course, there might be those who say alleviating boredom or assisting collectors is also "solving a problem", but that's not usually what's meant by the standard niche advice.

    Another potentially lucrative area is hobbies. People spend fortunes on their favorite hobby or pastime, and it's usually a lot easier to get a foothold in a hobby niche than trying to find yet another angle in the dating, weightloss or health markets.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

      I agree. Of course, there might be those who say alleviating boredom or assisting collectors is also "solving a problem", but that's not usually what's meant by the standard niche advice.

      Another potentially lucrative area is hobbies. People spend fortunes on their favorite hobby or pastime, and it's usually a lot easier to get a foothold in a hobby niche than trying to find yet another angle in the dating, weightloss or health markets.
      I agree with hobbies and they are similar to collectors in that they have similar desires for "more", although I believe hobbies to be a form of entertainment. Golfers and people that like to fish are good examples. They both want the latest gear and equipment and will buy stuff over and over, like collectors.

      IMO, a problem is a "need". Entertainment, collections and hobbies are "wants". People are often more likely to spend money on something they want instead of something they need. They may "need" to lose weight, but they "want" a pizza.

      But my main point isn't nit picking over what's a "problem" and what isn't...it's that there's a lot more money-making opportunities other than solving someone's hemorrhoid issues that are also probably much more interesting to a large number of Warriors.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
        Yeah "hobbies" is a great example: You don't necessarily have to solve a problem, just serve People that are passionate about something.

        Another example that comes to mind is Gary Halbert's Coat-Of-Arms letter. (Basically he sent countless letters to everyone in the phone book offering them information about their surname.) He didn't solve a problem yet made something like $40 Million.
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        "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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  • Profile picture of the author radu
    I think this "solve a problem thing" was related to IM world mostly...which is not far from the true...

    Of course there are numerous ways to build a business, in sports, entertainement, and so on
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    • Originally Posted by radu View Post

      I think this "solve a problem thing" was related to IM world mostly...which is not far from the true...

      Of course there are numerous ways to build a business, in sports, entertainement, and so on
      well even sports/entertainment is all about people wanting to escape from their lives for a short while....

      Problem - solution.

      Alcohol, drugs, sex, time wasting.....people have a problem with spare time....
      If you think about it everything boils down to a problem solved.

      "I have a problem..i need to fly to XXX island"
      Solution: aeroplane

      Problem: I need to make money
      Solution: ........................................
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Kurt,

    Frank is right ... you can reframe anything with some creativity to say that your product or service "solves a problem."

    But I tend to agree with you, there are lots of reasons why people buy online not having to do with a problem.

    Another reason is to fulfill a dream. The travel industry does that ... as just one example among many.

    Likewise for people in the dating marketplace. For many, dating is easily accomplished (it's not really a "problem") but the dream of finding "the right one" is yet unfulfilled.

    There are lots of additional reasons besides "problems" that create marketplace demand.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    All you have to do is serve a purpose.

    Be useful, meet the needs or requirements, satisfy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    "Solve a problem" can be interpreted in different ways.

    Entertainment? Solves the problem of experiencing boredom, doesn't it.

    Food? Solves the problem of being hungry--or even the impending prospect of being hungry.

    "Solve a problem" was NOT invented by internet marketers. It has been around a long, long time. I'm Sandler-trained as far as sales methodology goes and that was around in the 60s.

    All

    REPEAT

    All

    of the people I follow are Challengers when it comes to selling style.

    And that irritates me mightily as they make the same noise of: "We don't have problems. My clients don't have problems."

    Oh.

    IMO they do...you're just not choosing to see it that way. They are bored in their current roles. They are doing "fine" as far as cashflow goes, but are excited to learn about how they could do even better. They are not in "pain" in Sandler terms, but if you show some of them a bigger dream than the one they are currently playing with, they will duplicate your idea in their minds and move to buy.

    Is that "solving a problem"?

    I think so.

    "I'm bored. Who can I trust to let near my business and will have something exciting to say?"

    That's a problem.

    Rephrased: "I'm bored and don't know who to listen to. It's getting lonely up here and I feel a bit frustrated even though there aren't any 'emergencies.'"

    For my part, I have had to change my approach in dealing with high 7 and 8 figure clients by moving my language from that of "searching for pain" and into the Challenger mindset of "here's a cool idea you may not have thought of, and you can trust me to implement it with you."

    For the level the typical Warrior is on, searching for pain and solving a problem are a great place to be. I made a lot of money finding business owners who knew they were terrible at selling and giving them the tools to feel better about themselves and have honest, ethical, and effective sales conversations with qualified prospects. That language won't work at the level I'm on now, but it's powerful stuff here.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    It's all a matter of perspective.
    For example, I was living in an unhappy place that was expensive, so I moved to the countryside where it's more affordable, peaceful and calm. That also helps me mentally relax.
    However, there's not as much to do...so boredom can creep in.
    So I sold my small dumb TV and bought a bigger smart TV and signed up for Netflix. Boredom is gone.

    These issues may not be for everyone but for me, they were big problems.

    Always remember, if you're trying to "sell" anything, take yourself out of the equation because it's what the other person perceives as a problem is what you need to find a solution or you will never win.

    I concur with Jason about when you deal with people who earn the big bucks, you have to change the way you deal with them if you want to "sell" them on anything too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Several years ago (when Michael Masterson was the Editor) I was a great fan of EarlyToRise.com. They didn't really solve any kind of problem ― just provided People with great advice. (I'm sure there are countless other examples.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    It seems the standard advice is that you have to solve a problem to have a business..

    There's a couple of other ways to make money..

    Another option that can be profitable other than "solving a problem" is..
    Excellent post Kurt! I might be wrong, but I think I understand your post as a way to point out that 'solving problems' is the standard response to other people's question as to 'how to make money online' and in fact there are more ways to 'make money online.'

    When I read a thread I tend to read the first sentence of each paragraph to get the jest of the post. When it interests me I then read the full post. In this case you stated the reason for the post, stated a specific, and stated options. That in itself led me to read the whole post.

    Again excellent post as it actually conveys a better response to 'how to make money online.'
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  • Longer term, yes. However, if you just want to make quick cash then sell t-shirts. T-shirts are driven by passion. No need to solve problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    I've never been a huge fan of the "desperate buyer" strategy. You know, find an embarrassing problem and offer a solution. If you solve that specific problem, what do you do for an encore?

    Most people immediately think about throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks. "If they lost weight, they need new clothes, dating advice, etc."

    The problem with that is, in most cases, to get the sale in the original niche, you often have to present yourself as an authority of some kind in that niche. In the weight loss example, you either point to credentials and studies or you use anecdotal evidence. Neither of which position you with any authority as a wardrobe consultant or dating coach.

    I far prefer what I call "enthusiast niches," like golf, fishing, collecting (as Kurt mentioned). Basically, niches and markets where there are tons of products, and where enthusiasts are proven to spend money multiple times to pursue their passion.

    Within these niches, you don't need "massive traffic." You just need your loyal tribe that know you, like you, and trust your recommendations.
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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    When it comes right down to it...everything feeds a desire to be, have or do something that you aren't today...that could be thinner, more confident, or drive a golf ball farther or it could be to fit into a certain social dynamic by watching and sharing music, dressing like your favorite celebrity, etc...

    Key is to understand the emotional reason someone has in wishing, wanting, buying and consuming anything...if your intent is to tap into that market, you need to understand and intercept your market at that emotional level.

    This is why the "angle" you take marketing to your market is more important than the market itself...you can target golfers with an angle to shooting a lower score so you can look better in front of your social circle, or to overcome a golfing injury to get back to the sport you love so much, etc...

    J
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  • Profile picture of the author pregyrick
    Making money whether you are doing this online business or having a brick and mortar business, if you cannot do your marketing well - whether you are providing solutions to a problem, selling entertainment, furnitures, flowers or anything, your business will close down in no time if you cannot convert your leads/traffic into money. This is one of the main reasons why small businesses are closing down, running out of cash flow to sustain their business without the full understanding of advertising and marketing.

    Competition is everywhere. Entertainment industry, manufacturing, agriculture, digital marketing, etc. If you will look around your competition they have a modern professional good looking website, but are they making money is a different thing.

    The most important is you need to have the power to attract those people suited for your business, why they need to choose you or go to your shop over your competitors?

    Also, you need to have the skill set to engage and build a genuine relationship because different people you need to have different skills to deal with them, but converting them into sales is another matter. If you cannot engage people to put out their wallet for you, that means you are not doing your marketing successfully.

    I guess the combinations of all these 3 are crucial to the success of any business. The power to attract their attention, engagement and relationship and the power to sell to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Judey
    Yeah I kindly of agree with you.

    But most profitable companies are problem-solving businesses.

    It's a simple formula ;
    Find a target audience that need a solution to problem and give it to them in exchange of some $$$.
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    You dont have to solve a problem, you just have to make people want what you have.
    Marketing is about selling you know. IM is really just direct response marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author kazimuhith
    Do you really have to solve a problem?

    No, but the most urge to buy stuffs comes from the hope that it will solve a problem.

    If the problem is "how to lose weight", the solution is "weight loss programs, supplements etc).

    If the problem is "finding a house in Hawaii", the solution is "real estate brokers"

    If the problem is "finding a birthday gift", the solution is "search in store or online or discuss with a friend".

    The definition of problem varies depending on the situation of the buyers... but it is the most effective way ( but not the only way) to sell stuffs to people.
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  • Profile picture of the author mostCPA
    You can invest or work in many various of business under the same concept (solve problem) so I think that solve issues is one of greatest concepts in business track.
    you can solve problems in hobbies, wealth and health ...etc
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    It seems the standard advice is that you have to solve a problem to have a business. I'm not saying that advice is wrong, only that it's incomplete.

    There's a couple of other ways to make money. One is to entertain. Entertainments drives a big part of the online economy. Music is BY FAR the most popular niche on Youtube. Gaming is also huge. And there's plenty of other entertainment related niches/markets that are profitable.

    Another option that can be profitable other than "solving a problem" is collectibles. Many people have a deep urge, almost an addiction to add to their collections. I knew someone that collected everything with geese on them. She had clothes, pot holders, dishes, cookie jars, furniture, figurines, art and everything else you could think of with geese...and she spent a lot of money building her collection. There are tons and tons of possibilities for collectibles.
    In order to conduct good business you must sell premium goods or provide a quality service that enriches a customer's life or simplifies a once difficult task. How much value can you give for a dollar.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

    It seems the standard advice is that you have to solve a problem to have a business. I'm not saying that advice is wrong, only that it's incomplete.

    There's a couple of other ways to make money. One is to entertain. Entertainments drives a big part of the online economy. Music is BY FAR the most popular niche on Youtube. Gaming is also huge. And there's plenty of other entertainment related niches/markets that are profitable.

    Another option that can be profitable other than "solving a problem" is collectibles. Many people have a deep urge, almost an addiction to add to their collections. I knew someone that collected everything with geese on them. She had clothes, pot holders, dishes, cookie jars, furniture, figurines, art and everything else you could think of with geese...and she spent a lot of money building her collection. There are tons and tons of possibilities for collectibles.
    I think the whole idea of solving a problem to find a product can hold true, but is far from the only way to make money. It's just one way, and it also really depends on the problem you are solving.
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  • Profile picture of the author sana11
    I suppose it really is a matter of the point of view. Depending on the niche, you do not necessarily need to solve a problem, yet provide information, maybe products that there is a demand for in the market and along the way take your piece of the "big pie"....
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Nope. And yep. Meaning yes; you can inspire someone to live their dreams and build a thriving business. Simply offer some service useful to people. Whether it solves problems or entertains, it is good money if useful. Fidget spinners solve virtually no problems but so entertain. Or maybe they solve the problem of boredom. Not sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark-Dickenson
    Great post Kurt!

    I never thought of the music niche. Definitely will check out your materials on the topic.

    I hope all is well.

    -Mark
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