Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creative Thinking: Coming up with a marketable niche

Are you a mom ready to return to work?  Maybe you have a job, but it's time for a change?  Have you ever considered creating your own career?  Create a Passion List first.  Then try the following method to see if you can make a living doing what you love.

Using your passions list:

1) Research

Start with the internet to search passion words.  Type in your key passion words and see what pops up. For example, if your passion is gardening: search “gardening”

If your passion is more targeted, such as roof-top gardening or herb gardening, use “roof top gardening” or “herb gardening”
Make notes of the TYPES of businesses, PRODUCTS and SERVICES that pop up from your search
Also make notes of the FORUMS and BLOGS that pop up from your search

You can also modify your search by adding "Businesses" or "unique" or "popular” or other reasonable keywords. For example, your passion is pets: try searching “pet businesses”, “unique pet businesses”, “top pet businesses”

-Again, make notes of any relevant results

2) Now visit the blogs and forums resulting from your search. 
Take a quick moment to scan for popular topics, and common needs or questions that relate to your passion.  For example: a large pet forum has a special section dedicated to pet travel.   You notice a lot of questions related to "tips for transporting a pet" or "finding hotels for pets", and even "How can I find a hotel that will let me brings my dog, but doesn’t smell stinky or look ratty?" 
If any of these topics interest you, jot them down.   It doesn't hurt to do a quick search on these expanded topics to see what businesses are currently doing to address them. 
Example: Search "problems finding hotels that allow pets" or "hotels pets accepted"

If you find there's not much of an industry, or if you find businesses aren't properly addressing customers' needs--voila, you may have found a potential career opportunity.
3) Discover a super-niche
-Another way to find a potential market is to create a niche
For this example, let’s go back to pets.   Make a list of the potential markets related to pets: pet shops, kennels, pet parlors, pet bakeries, etc.    Pretty common stuff, right?   Common can mean a lot of competition.  You don’t want common.  You want unique. 

Back to creative thinking: zone in on some of the markets that interest you.   It might be a good idea to refer to your Passion List, if you can’t remember what some of your other interests are. Use the market ideas and trends to come up with ideas that pair your interests.
For example:  Not only do you love dogs, but you enjoy sewing. Instead of selling standard pet products,  why not sell handmade sweaters for dogs?
Now take your niche to the second level—the super-niche, a niche within a niche.  After all, there's surprisingly a lot of competition for people making handmade sweaters for dogs. 

So how do you niche a niche?   Simple:  make that niche even more unique.  The trick here is to be reasonable.  (Don’t go for freaky or something that will make people think to themselves, “What drug is she on?”)  
Here’s a reasonable example of taking a niche a step further: Selling dog/owner coordinating sets: handmade sweaters for dogs and matching sweaters for the owners. 

Okay, I admit that sounds silly—actually creepy and way to obsessive of an owner.  But what about trendy sweaters for dogs and matching scarves for owners?    It’s cute, fashionable and fun.  I don’t even own a dog, and I love this idea! 
Passion Career Example: Painting Children's Bedrooms
Test your idea:
Enter your super-niche and see what comes up.
Ask trusted friends (make sure they fit your target market) what they think of your ideas
-Don’t worry if you think your idea is too narrow—super-niches have specific purposes and can be a great marketing tool.   See upcoming blogs that explain the value of super-niches.   Also coming soon: blogs on how, when and why you should expand beyond your super-niche.   Super-niches are NOT meant to lock you in to a limited market.  They are great starting tools and for marketing purposes.  
If you’ve found your super-niche or a low-competition niche, you are well on your way to your Dream! 
FYI, if you're a newbie interested in a market with a lot of competition (such as writing), don't worry too much.  The most important step in following your dream is to get started.  Find motivation in the A Better You Section section.

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