Niche Selection is the Hardest Part. Niche Selection is the Easiest Part.

The other week I received an email from a reader of the blog:

As an aspiring online entrepreneur, how can I start to identify solutions and niches that are worth pursuing? Your rip, pivot, jam post helped a lot. Do you have any more to say on that? I’m not looking for 101 winner blogs, which was useful, don’t get me wrong, but I want to BUILD something, not make a business out of a blog.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, there’s no question that niche selection is the biggest sticking point. It’s odd then that for more established entrepreneurs it evolves into one of the easiest elements of starting a business. How many times have you heard an entrepreneur complain they have “too many opportunities!”

One might say that niche selection is the first thing you do when you start a new business. It makes sense then that resistance would show it itself at the beginning.

Often when business coaches talk about strategies for identifying niches, they’ll bring up these types of questions:

  • What are my passions and interests? (personal will)
  • Are people willing to pay money for the things I am interested in? (commerciality)
  • Which of these niches has small to medium SEO competition? (market conditions)

When I looked at this standard approach to niche selection it occurred to me: these questions are easy to answer. Even for relatively complicated products and markets, we can spitball answers to the above questions pretty quick. So why are people getting stuck?

Here’s a guess: these aren’t the actual questions that entrepreneurs are asking. Instead, these are the types of questions that get answered 2 years after a business has launched, by a blogger or reporter or something.

Entrepreneurs are asking more fundamental questions. Here’s what they look like:

  1. What sorts of entrepreneurial relationships and resources do I have? (What is the quality of the information, feedback, and support I am receiving?)
  2. What marketable skills and know-how do I possess? (Is my knowledge useful to others?)
  3. Where am I currently weak that is preventing me from owning valuable assets? What strengths do I have that I could build on? (Do I understand the reasons that I am struggling?)
  4. Am I spending a majority of my most productive hours working on key relationships and skills? (Have I made the necessary sacrifices or connections?)
  5. Have I given myself appropriate time to let the results materialize? (Am I being realistic about the timeframes involved?)
  6. Do I want to be somebody who spends the lionshare of their energy growing enterprises?

If you’ve sought honest answers to these sorts of questions, selecting niches will be easier.

It’s less about niches and more about you, the company you keep, and what the company thinks of your and your ability to generate results.



PS, people all around the internet agree, I tweet.

PPS, if you get on my mailing list, I’ll let you know about the products I’m creating for entrepreneurs: