That’s what I hear most often when people come to me wanting to start a business, but don’t know where to start.  Let’s nip this in the bud:  you don’t have to create something brand spanking new to be successful.  You just need something .. better.

Before we dig into the how-to, let’s talk about the WHY.

People have an adverse reaction to building a business that is targeted to a smaller audience.

  • They think that they’ll have a better chance of success if they start with a massive audience
  • They think that they’ll be trampled by the big guys when they realize what they’re doing
  • They think that they’ll miss someone who is in desperate need of their information or product

The reality is that when you specialize or find a specific niche, you’re chances of success increase and so does your profit.  It’s much easier to stand out as “THE” go-to person for something very specific than to be one of a million general reads on a broad subject.

Here’s an example:

I have several friends who are photographers.  HUGE market.

How can a photographer stand out in this massive ocean?  Specialization.  If I asked you to give me the name of a photographer in this area, you could probably give me a list of at least 5 that you know of that are good of what they do.  I know I can give you at least that just off my friends list on Facebook.

But what if I asked you to give me the name of THE photographer in this area who is the absolute best at shooting newborns under the age of 10 days.  Sure, you probably know of at least one of the photographers who has done this before .. but is that all that they do?  Are they THE go-to photographer for that?

What if I asked you for the name of THE photographer when it comes to lighting?  THE photographer known for editing?

The reality is, that it scares the shit out of people when they think they have to stop servicing a group of people.  Look what happens though when you specialize in editing.  You still photograph clients, but now you also have a whole world of online information that you can write about and sell.  Online courses on how to use Photoshop, you sell your editing services, you teach people how to take better photographs to make the editing process easier.

Suddenly, when someone needs to know something about editing a photograph, you’re always the website they land on.


Start by looking at your passion.  There are loads of people who will say this is a sure fire way to fail, but you guys should know by now that I’m a true believer that if what you’re doing isn’t making you happy, it’s not worth doing.  Start with passion.  What makes you smile?  What would you do even if you didn’t get paid for it?  What makes your heart feel full?

Look to the market.  Here’s the kicker.  You can have a passion for something that is going to flop.  The key to being able to follow your passion and interests is to find the right market for it.  If people don’t want something, if they’re not feeling any pain, then there’s nothing to sell them.  Your job is to figure out what they need and provide it.

Know this:

When choosing a niche, start with the audience, then choose the topic.


One tell tale sign that people are in need is if they’re searching for it on Google.  (The most obvious answer is usually the right one.  Start with low hanging fruit and find people who are already dying to hire you.)

If they aren’t, then that’s a pretty good indicator that people just aren’t that interested.  Plug it into Google and see what comes up.  If there’s only a handful of pages .. well, just boo.  If there’s a lot of results but the pages are just spammy looking crap .. well, boo again.  You’re looking for a lot of volume AND quality pages.

I’m not going to get into the entire process of keyword searching, but I do want you to read this article when you’re finished here.  It covers a lot of SEO and keyword research topics.  

This is where people usually start freaking out.  Because there’s so many other people doing it.  And their fear of success or failure jumps into over drive.  If that’s you – remember, we don’t necessarily need something brand new.  Competition is good because it quite likely means that someone else did a bunch of research and figured out this is a pretty good niche.  Deep breath.  Onward.

Check out the pages on that first page.  Do they show any kind of sign of authority?  Is there other topics and articles that are going to keep people on this page?   Track the good ones in an Excel spreadsheet.

Amazon is another good place to look.  When you type in a broad subject like “photography” you’ll come up with a slew of different sub topics.  Those are niches baby!  Look for magazines too (if they have a subscription service and people are buying it, that’s another good indicator right there!)

One of my favourite places to hunt is in forums and Facebook groups.  These things are like little gold mines.  The fact that it exists (provided there’s actually people engaging in it) kinda proves that there’s some kind of market for it.  The bonus is that they’re often loaded with questions.  If this is your target market and niche, those questions, problems, brags and complaints are your ticket to figuring out what your market wants and needs.  When you see a constant stream of queries on the same subject, you’ve found a problem that needs solving.