Derek Gehl shows you how to start an online business.
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Episode Number 50 is posted under Ask Derek, Entrepreneurship

#AskDerek: 4 Steps To Uncovering Your Very Own Online Business Ideas

Summary:

The absolute number one question I get from my students and followers pertains to the struggle of trying to figure out what to sell on the internet. What should be at the centre of your business? It’s not an easy choice. Luckily, I’ve boiled it down to four no-fail steps that you can follow to set yourself up for certain success with your online business ideas. It costs almost nothing, and it’s extremely fruitful.

Transcript of: 4 Steps To Uncover Your Online Business Ideas

Welcome to another Ask Derek edition of the Project Ignite podcast. This is your host, Derek Gehl, and this is a video version of the podcast, so if you’re listening on iTunes or Soundcloud, you can also head over to projectignite.com/podcast and you’ll find the video there! Conversely, if you’re watching the video, you can check out the podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud!

In this edition I’m gonna answer a question that I get more than any other from people that come to my conferences or my website, that have seen people building incredible businesses online–not only amazing businesses, but businesses that allow for an amazing lifestyle–and they think, I want to do that! Then they come to me, and say, Derek, I don’t know what my business is going to be about.

In this episode, I’m going to break this down into four steps.

Four steps to coming up with online business ideas.

I think most people sit down and try to think really hard and search to come up with that idea. Sometimes, that’ll work. But if you want a great business idea that’s pretty well guaranteed to succeed, that already has the perfect audience, and you’re struggling to come up with that idea, then this is the process to follow.

Today, you are wanting to start a business online. You have no business online, and you’re not sure where to start. To get your great online business ideas, this is the process I recommend you follow.

Choosing a Niche Market

The first step is choosing a niche market. Something you’re interested in, are passionate about, know about or would like to learn more about it. Find a place where you want to make a difference in that market and are willing to put the effort in to make that difference.

Sit down and brainstorm. Hobbies, interests, things you’re knowledgeable about.

Then, begin to investigate those niches. This brings us to step two.

Validate the Niche

Go to the websites and try to validate the commerciality of this niche. What does that mean? Basically, you want to ensure that people in that market actually spend money in that niche. You want to avoid places where people aren’t spending money, or very much money.

Your business needs cash flow, and in order to have cash flow, you need to be selling something. You want to validate commerciality.
online business ideas
It’s really simple to do that, actually. You want to make sure that there’s already people that are selling in that niche. All you need to do is head over to Google and punch in keywords. “Dog training courses,” or “dog training tools,” and if you see that there’s one person selling, or multiple people selling, you’ll know how many people are spending money in that niche.

If I see lots of people spending money to get traffic to that website, that validates the commerciality for me because if a business is going to spend money on advertising month in and month out, they must be making money.

Then I’m going to head over to Amazon and have a look around to see if people are searching for this category. I’m going to see if there are physical products that people are buying. I’ll head over to Clickbank and see if there’s information products in that niche that people are selling, and if they’re moving.

These are all things that will tell me if people are doing business in this niche. This sounds counterintuitive, because often people will go to marketplaces and when they see that other people are already selling there, they’ll decide that they don’t want to be selling because it’s already being done.

That may have worked back in the old days, where you could find an untapped market. But now, if there’s no competition there, it’s because there’s no business there. Today, most markets have competition. But the small niches, luckily, have competition that you can beat if you know what you’re doing.

I find niche markets all the time where people are investing in advertising; and you go to their websites and find that
wow,

we can do better than this!

You can effectively go in and out-compete them. A coin termed by Russell Bronson, called funnel hacking, means, to go through someone else’s funnel and see what they’re selling and how they’re selling it. Now, you know what goes into a basic funnel that sells, because they’ve done the work for you, and you can essentially just start from there.

That’s step two. Now, are we ready to come up with a product? Not yet.

Building a List

Step three is building a list. Not just a list, a tribe.

A tribe is a group of people that have let you know by way of opting in that they want to know more about you and your business. You’re building relationships with these people.

By sending them information and communicating with them via email, our goal is to build that list. If I was just getting started, and I had a niche market that intrigued me, I’d go out and set up a blog. I’d get a domain name, set up with WordPress and BlueHost, and I’d start blogging. You could even go over to Tumblr or WordPress and get started there.

I would be either writing interesting content myself, or aggregating information to create posts that will be of interest to this crowd. I’ll optimize everything to try to snap up some organic traffic.

Then, I’ll go see where these people hang out online. I’ll find forums, Facebook groups, Q&As that I can now interact in, and then I can share my website. When they arrive on my website, they’ll find it’s been optimized with opt-ins, with free offers, with information, all in exchange for their email address.

Now my list is starting to build. I’m growing my database. Once I have 500 or 1,000 people on my list, I can figure out what to sell to them. The best part is, I don’t have to guess that to sell them. They’re going to tell me.

Ask the Question

This brings us to step four. Ask the question.

What’s the question? The question is, hey. What’s your number one problem in this area that I can help you with? If you’ve done this right, they’re all going to come back with an honest answer. And when you survey 100 people, and you hear that of those hundred people, fifty of them have the same problem, voila. You now have a product idea by solving that problem.

When I created the Ask Derek edition of the podcast, all I did was send out an email to a portion of my own list, and I asked them, if you could ask me anything, any one question, what would it be? Boom. My inbox was flooded. I added all of those questions into an Evernote document and that’s now driven this content.

One of those questions, you guessed it, was, how do I figure out what I should sell? That’s exactly what this is about. If I decided to go out and come up with an entire product based on coming up with business ideas–would people invest in that? Absolutely. They’ve been asking me for it!

That’s the number one thing that is stopping people from going forward. That’s why I think this episode is so valuable, because I’m sharing the four steps you need to take.

What I love about this process is that you’re not guessing. You’re building a following. They’re telling you exactly what they want, and you now have an audience to sell to.

The first three steps to generating online business ideas are also cheap. You’ll have to invest time, but if you’re wanting to make this business and create a lifestyle for yourself from this business, using the internet, and you have no idea, you have a choice.

You can sit around and wait for that magical idea, or you can follow this process, find your tribe, and have them tell you what they’re looking for. Then, create it, and give it to them. See instant results.

There you go! That’s how to come up with great online business ideas. I hope you learned something from this episode of Ask Derek.

If you did, fantastic–I’d love to hear about it. Leave a rating, or a review, or a comment, on whichever platform you’re using. Please subscribe on iTunes as well, that is the fuel that gives me the momentum to continue doing these videos and podcasts for free. I want to change as many lives through this as possible, and it really helps when you guys leave comments.

We’ll see you in the next episode.

    Join the conversation, add a comment using the form below.

  • Steve says:

    A great blue print Derek, with simple, actionable steps.

    A question for you – if you already have an idea for a product (say, an ebook), do you think it’s good to launch it on ClickBank (with a 75% commission for affiliates), and collect email addresses when customers download the ebook? (as opposed to building a blog first and getting leads that way)?

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