Stuck at Niche Selection – A Sign of the Resistance?

Stuck at Niche Selection – A Sign of the Resistance? post image

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about resistance and how it manifests in our lives.

Resistance is more than mere procrastination– it’s our deep inner fear of expression often masquerading as productive tasks or “stuff we have to do.”

It’s the VA you hired to write your copy. It’s the Indian development firm working on your web app. The resistance is the birthday party you needed to attend. Resistance is having an emotional obsession with the President’s job performance.

I know– I’m going a little McCarthy on the resistance. It’s probably overkill. Today, an extreme idea popped into my head: is our obsession with niche selection a symptom of the resistance?

Uh oh.

*  *  *

There’s a bunch of well-documented problems with niche selection. Here’s some:

  • Selecting one is seems to be the #1 sticking point for people hoping to be an entrepreneur.
  • It’s hard to fail with a niche. You might hang around the thing (failing) for years.
  • Selecting a niche feels too permanent. It’s difficult to emotionally commit.

It’s no wonder so many people can’t get past niche selection.

Now I know that might not sound all that revolutionary, but I’m not kidding around here– instead of thinking about a niche, you should be thinking about a specific product or service.

You’ll likely be in a bunch of niches over the years. The equity you build up over the years can follow you from niche to niche. Over the past 4 years I’ve sold everything from portable bars to cat furniture to SEO services to website development to make money online to outsourcing consulting — YOU NAME IT I’LL SELL IT! !!! :D

Thank god I didn’t select a niche! I selected products. Here’s two techniques I use to do that:

  1. Rip, pivot, and jamIdentify products in a space you are interested in. Figure out if they make money. If they do, figure out what they don’t do. Or how you could do something similar but different. Better. More expensive. Different color. Different market. Different channel. Then GO! (That’s the jam part).
  2. Brainstorm a nexus benefits / price / and rhythm – Instead of putting yourself through long walks week after week trying to decide if you really want to go after your passion of personal development, or entrepreneurship training, or personal fitness, just start pulling together a benefit cluster of a product or service you think should exist. Example: BENEFITS:  -1 hr on the phone, 30 page ebook, 3 email follow-ups, forum access with 24 hr answer service. PRICE: $17 dollars RHYTHM: monthly recurring.

Then walk around for a few days asking everyone you come in contact with (call them if you must): will you buy this from me?

A few years later, when you are cash flowing and hiring people to keep up with the demand, you can take a long weekend and figure out what niche you are going to get into. :)



PS, last week I bought Twitter. It’s pretty cool. The fish photo is form my buddy Tommy Schultz. I think he wants to rank for Bali Surf Photography, or something.

PPS, you can get on my mailing list by putting your email address in the form below:

Published on 05.04.12
  • That’s great advice on choosing some market in which to sell a range of products using your reputation. I’ve been thinking recently of getting into Kindle using the eBooks I write and apparently if Kindle users love your books they will buy them all.

  • I haven’t thought of it that way, but you know, you’re probably right.

    Niche selection is tough and I’ve often gotten stuck. It could very well be resistance.

    They way out? Along the lines of what you’re saying: if you encounter a niche roadblock, you simply walk around it.

    Lately, I’ve started testing ideas (in the form of products/services) – some ideas based on research, others on what I perceive to be unmet needs/unsolved problems.

    I’m starting to get a hang of it.

  • Dan

    You response to this post via email was EXACTLY what I’m talking about man. That’s how it gets done.

  • Dan

    I do that all the time!!! Actually reading books like Steven Pressfield’s war of art has got me going back to read his fiction. Same with Steven Kings book on writing.

  • Hey Dan, maybe I can get your take on this.  I have one successful product and it is currently all that I’m selling.  

    The product is train horns.  I have 3 options on how to expand my business at this point.  I don’t want to start a new site because over 4 years I have built up a ton of domain authority.  

    Open Site Explorer Stats:

    Domain Authority – 67
    Page Authority – 73
    Linking Root Domains – 5,561
    Total Links – 21,923

    Option number one – Since I sell train horns I have authority for any/all “trains” related keywords in general.  There is a huge market for model trains, toy trains, trains for kids, etc.  

    Option number two – My customers so far have not so much be railroad hobbyist but aftermarket automotive accessories people.  I have asked them what other things they would buy and they have mentioned – HID Lights, Turbo Kits, Grills, Etc

    Option number three – I think my train horn kits are bad ass.  What if I just went out and found other products I really like and forget trying to stay in a vertical.  So what if I sell homebrewing supplies, grow boxes and other products i find cool – even if my domain is trainhornsdelivered


  • My current niche found me. 

  • Funny Dan this is almost what i do every time now that i start a new business, awhile back i was doing the same mistake oh i should look for a niche. Well a niche is to general of a word and can be about anything.
    Yet a product you can look at the product, you can turn it over in your hands (hardgoods) and there is usually a lot of documented proof on the product. You know who manufactured it, and in the end you could go right up to them and have them make your product for you.

  • not sure i would lead it back to that site, people would get confused a confessed customer is a customer who does not buy so lost sells. My advice is to research (go out buy, find out about the market and then see if you really want to make a new product?)

  • Dan

    happens a lot i suspect! 

  • Dan

    word indeed. 

  • Thanks for your insights Dan.
    This is a different approach from Sterling and Jay’s Internet Business Mastery.

    They focused on finding a audience base that I want to work with and find a product that they desire and then sell it to them.

    You are probably right. Just find a product, ask people if they would buy, and just go.
    Over thinking can kill a good product.

  • Really interesting post Dan,

    I have often heard it the other way around… Focus on the niche. But this is refreshing and different. I have struggled to find the right niche, but have decided to move forward anyways.

    I actually have moved to Japan, and am pursuing my childhood dream – to become a ninja. I am blogging about the experience in hopes of inspiring others to follow their dreams. Though the “follow your dreams” market is pretty crowded so when I was trying to hone in on a niche it made it very complicated.

    But as you put it, focusing on products is a completely different route that I had not thought about. I really like that. It opens a lot of door and opportunities to generate income creatively.

    Good Post

  • Dan

    Hey Ronald– audience-first approach can work great as long as you are confident it’s a buying audience. That’s not that hard to determine if you are in a niche that has a history, like MMO, taxes, ya know, you name it. The problem with that approach comes in early and often when people try to develop content with software value, like personal development, inspiration, etc.

  • Dan

    Shit. My childhood dream was to become a ninja too….

    That’s balla!

  • Nice post, Dan. About your “rip pivot jam” idea (first of all the link isn’t working properly right now) the most challenging question is “Figure out if they (other products/svcs in your space) make money.” Wondering if you’ve written a post about that, or have other suggested content for this.

    Also, you might like a (new?) idea about niching that I came up with: there are 2 paths, both of which work — the Entrepreneur’s Path and the Artist’s Path —

    Thanks for your great work… keep up the awesomeness.

  • Also, rather than “Benefits/Price/Rhythm” did you mean “Features/Price/Rhythm” since “benefits” are more like how the customer’s life will be different while “features” are the core aspects of the product.

  • Hey George… I like the distinction between entrepreneur and artist, I actually think that’s a useful dynamic to add in there. Very cool. I haven’t yet written a detailed Rip Pivot Jam post but just have talked on the show a few times about it…thanks for the link thing BTW>

  • yes agreed here this should be updated

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