These are catchy little phrases that sound very nice, but I’ve long since learned that they are not a wise or solid basis for starting an online business.
While choosing the right market is not as easy as identifying your passion, making the decision based solely on where you think the best money is won’t be the best move for your long-term success either.
When you decide to start an online business, choosing the right market is like choosing your college major. “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” is an important decision that’s not to be made lightly.
You can certainly decide to change your online business down the road, just like you can change careers after you get your college degree, but the goal is to get you into a profitable business now. Then, if you choose to change your business it’s because you want to, not because lack of profit is forcing you to.
When choosing where you’ll be doing business, there are two big considerations. First, what market am I interested in and qualified to start a business in? And second, what market can I make money in?
We are going to focus on the first question today.
There are 3 questions you should ask yourself that will give great ideas for where you should start your online business.
1. Do you have a story to tell?
Simply put, stories sell. My friend Ingrid France Taillefer lost 100 pounds. She’s building a business based on the fitness program, Formula 55, that she and her husband created.
Do you think people who are looking to lose weight and get in shape want to get their hands on what Ingrid used to transform her life? You bet.
And she doesn’t have to sell them on the features or benefits of her Formula 55 fitness program. All she has to do is effectively tell her story and people will line up to get whatever it is she has.
Do you have a story? Have you changed your life, your health, your career, you family in a way that you could share with others? If so, this is a great starting point for choosing the right market for your online business.
2. Are you an expert in a market?
Is there something that people routinely look to you for? It’s not necessary that you are formally recognized as an “expert” by anyone. But do you know a lot about something that most other people don’t, and, is there a lot of interest in what you know?
Is there something you feel like you can teach people about?
My friend Linda Yarbrough knows a lot about web design and search engine optimization. A lot of people want to have an online business, but most of them don’t know the first thing about designing a website and making Google like that website.
You can bet they want to know these things. So Linda’s turned her expertise into a business called The Media Mix.
Don’t underestimate yourself when you think about what you might be an expert in. If you have to, ask people close to you for their opinion.
3. Do you hang out in a market?
So maybe you aren’t an “expert” in a certain market, but you “hang out” there. This is often the case for those who have a career in one area, but feel drawn to something else.
Maybe you participate in online forums or groups dedicated to a certain topic. Maybe you visit websites or read everything you can get your hands on about a certain topic. Maybe your social media friends come mainly from a particular market.
My friend Susan Preston was a corporate executive – a marketer and a speaker. In the course of her career, she learned that she had a real passion for and ability to create relationships through social media.
Susan was already hanging out in the world of relationship building and social media. She turned it into a career as a relationship consultant for both “real life” relationships and social media relationship building. She’s definitely an expert in her field now.
Don’t discount something you may view as a hobby or side gig. If you hang out in a market, and you enjoy it, it’s potentially the right place for your online business.
Choosing the Right Market is a Huge Piece of Your Success
The choice of your market can be the difference in prosperity and struggle. You must get this right. Spend some time answering these 3 questions, then get started on researching the profit potential for your favorite markets.
I look forward to hearing what direction you’re heading in!