So, you want to build a blog and create an online business. You think it could do well. You think you might even be good at it. But, there’s a problem…
It seems there’s already other people doing it. Maybe even a lot of them.
What’s more… some of them are damn good at it.
The niche feels… crowded.
You start to doubt yourself. You wonder if there’s anything you can do to be unique. To stand out. To get noticed.
What do you do?
“I don’t feel I have anything unique about me.“, he said.
My business is guiding people through building a real business around their blog. One that generates actual revenue rather than chasing the empty promises of banner advertising or depending on affiliate links.
And in working with folks, I see that it is the initial “getting started” phase which usually trips people up.
The two largest barriers, by far, are these:
- “I don’t feel I have anything unique about me to monetize.”
- “I’m not an expert on anything.”
Until you get over that hurdle, you have no niche, no market, no product, no business, no… nothing. Just a whole lot of questions and doubts.
Case in point, one of my newest subscribers to my email list recently replied to one of my emails. He was impressed I actually read and reply to my emails, but that’s another issue. 😉 He said:
What I’m not sure about is having a unique enough voice and message that I really have anything unique to monetize. Do you deal with that too? Or is that more of an issue with self-confidence?
Maybe a vague question. But I’m also now impressed you actually got back to me. Others have not done that.
Certainly, in the land of self-proclaimed gurus, it is easy to assume you must be some big-name guru to make decent money.
But, let’s boil this down to basics here…
Here’s What I Said About Being Unique… (And Sushi)
Being unique is certainly a help, but it also isn’t necessary. Think about it…. people open businesses all the time that are doing the same thing as other businesses already do. It is normal. It is about going where people need/want something and then delivering that thing to them well. Make it about delivering value to people who are already asking for that…. not starting from inside your own head and thinking about how you can be different than anybody else online. That’d be paralyzing. 🙂
Here in my little town outside of Tampa, I was happy as a clam to get a good sushi restaurant. I’m a big fan of sushi and it was almost like we became a real town the moment that sushi joint showed up. And, we’re not talking about cheap bulk sushi, either. This stuff is hand-rolled. Beautiful.
But, then over a year later, another sushi place opened up. Literally right across the street from the first one. And its pretty darn good, too.
Is the place all that different? Well, it offers a little more variety of non-sushi meals, but in terms of the sushi itself it is pretty much the same thing.
And it is working. One evening I walked in there for take-out and the place was pretty busy. Both places were, actually.
So, do you need to be unique? Do you need to necessarily be doing something completely and totally different that’s not been done before?
Answer = no.
How People Screw Up Niche Selection
Most people who are still trying to figure out their market start off inside their own heads. They ask “what am I passionate about”? or “what am I an expert in”?
Forget these questions at first. Choosing a niche should begin with your eyes firmly OUT THERE, not in a daze of self-introspection.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Choosing a niche should begin with your eyes firmly OUT THERE, not in a daze of self-introspection.” quote=”Choosing a niche should begin with your eyes firmly OUT THERE, not in a daze of self-introspection.”]
Here’s the 3 part formula to finding a good market…
- Find a group of fish who are already hungry.
- Find out what they want to eat.
- Feed it to them.
Yes, it really is that simple. Find a group of people who have a common problem. Find out what they really want. Then give it to them.
Worried that somebody else is already feeding that pool of hungry fish? Well, my local sushi joint didn’t care about that and neither should you. All you need to verify is whether they’re still hungry.
If people are truly hungry for something and looking for it, then that’s all that matters.
AFTER you verify that they’re hungry, THEN you get a little self-introspective about your ability to deliver to them.
Do you have a passion for it? Would you like to talk about the topic even if you didn’t get paid to? Do you have expertise on it… or do you know somebody (or could get access to them) who does?
But, your main issue is CAN you deliver what the market wants. Keep in mind that you can always create partnerships with somebody else who can do it and you be the marketing person who worries about the online business side of it.
About The Issue Of Standing Out In A Crowded Space…
Often the fear of whether you’re unique or not comes down to whether you will be able to stand out and ultimately get traffic or not. No doubt, busier markets are harder to get into. But… not impossible.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Standing out in a crowd market isn’t always about being unique. It is more about being willing to do what others aren’t.” quote=”Standing out in a crowd market isn’t always about being unique. It is more about being willing to do what others aren’t.”]
In today’s online business world, getting the attention and traffic your business needs isn’t as much about uniqueness as it is marketing chops. Very often, it comes down to simply doing what others aren’t willing to do.
- Are people in that market doing live webinars? No? Then go do that.
- Are people in that market doing videos?
- Are people in that market doing live video?
- Are people in that market running paid traffic? You will be.
- Are competitors in that market typically talking to the same group of people? Then, go talk to new audiences and bring them over to you.
Basically, if most of the market are typically doing the same set of things to get the word out, then you can go where they haven’t gone. Be willing to do what they’re not. That right there is being unique. It isn’t even about expertise, really. It is about getting the word out more effectively.
And about that paid traffic thing…
The game of traffic has changed completely because of this. Your ability to get seen by your target market is really only a function of whether you’re willing to pay for it.
[clickToTweet tweet=”He who has the ability to acquire leads at the cheapest rate wins.” quote=”He who has the ability to acquire leads at the cheapest rate wins.”]
He who has the ability to acquire leads at the cheapest rate wins. And guess what… running a smarter sales funnel gets your cost per lead down. And that can make you competitive in any market you want.
Honestly, if you’re keeping yourself entrenched in the old school of thought that you have to exclusively blog your way to traffic, then no wonder you’ll give yourself a headache with all those niche doubts!
There’s another way. 🙂
The Typical Mindset vs. The Strategic Mindset
There are two different mindsets – different approaches – to starting up a new blog and business. The first one is more typical and involves thoughts like these…
- “How can I be unique?”
- “I’m not an expert so I don’t know what to do.”
- “What am I passionate about?”
- “Is anybody doing this yet? Because if so, maybe there’s no room for me here.”
- “Maybe I’ll try it and see if it works. Give everything away for free and make money with ads and stuff. As my audience grows, I’ll see about creating some kind of product.”
- “Hmm… those other people seem to do this so well already. I’m screwed.”
Those thoughts just whirl around in there and, quite frankly, it is hard to break out of it.
But, if I were to delve into the mind of somebody entering a new business who is more likely to succeed, I’d expect them to be thinking stuff like…
- “Where’s the hungry market? What are they trying to accomplish?”
- “What are they looking for? What are they already buying?”
- “Hmm, cool. There seems to be a market here. So, is it a good fit for me? Am I truly interested in it?”
- “Can I provide value? Or, do I know somebody or have access to somebody who could do so? Maybe I can put something together with them on this.”
- “What is the competition doing? What are they not doing?”
- “What are the buying triggers of this market? Who is the market and what are the thinking?”
- “Cool. Let’s create some lead magnets to hit those triggers then run a little bit of paid advertising to them. See which one works the best.”
- “Ah, so that market is responding to this trigger. Now, I’m going to get an offer together for them and start running this paid traffic through this funnel to see if I can acquire leads at break-even or better to build my list.”
Do you see the difference?
Starting With Your Offer, Not Your Blog
Those who try to start an online business by first starting up a blog are doing it BACKWARDS. And doing this in a crowd market just amplifies the problems.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Those who try to start an online business by first starting up a blog are doing it BACKWARDS.” quote=”Those who try to start an online business by first starting up a blog are doing it BACKWARDS.”]
The correct and, quite frankly, easiest approach is to start with your offer.
See, the strategic mindset starts off with product/market fit. It is right there on the Blog Monetization Model…
Product/market fit is exactly what it says. You start with the market… then you find the product that FITS them.
- MARKET: Any group of people with an existing need or want who are actively looking to fill it.
- PRODUCT: Something to sell.
If you start with the market and then make your priority simply finding an offer they want, everything else starts to fall in place. And here’s how…
- By concentrating on your offer first, you’re working on developing effective monetization.
- Monetization enables you to use paid advertising without blowing money needlessly.
- Paid traffic allows you to get in front of your market predictably.
- Paid traffic allows you to build your list.
- By concentrating on the two things that matter – traffic and conversion – you ultimately arrive at your right product/market fit.
- You are then in the driver seat because you can acquire traffic reliably.
These days, growing an online business around your blog is a math problem. Not an issue of being unique. It is a matter of traffic cost versus conversion. As long as you make more than you spend (or at least break even), you’re golden.
Now, on top of this, you spend the time to make great content and build that blog. It will all work SO MUCH BETTER. And it won’t be for no reason… because you already monetized and proved product/market fit.
I circle back to what I said at the beginning…
Standing out in a crowd market isn’t always about being unique. It is more about being willing to do what others aren’t.
Most bloggers aren’t willing to do this. They’re afraid to use paid traffic. They hide behind short-sighted excuses like “I don’t want to spend any money at all until I’m making it!”
But, because that’s what most bloggers do, you should go the other way. Most blogs fail, so the power of “most” isn’t workable here.
The truth is… it isn’t any problem to enter a crowded market if you keep your eye firmly on what really matters: Traffic and conversion.
Your “uniqueness” in the market is a problem for when you’re higher up the food chain.
You Don’t Have To Be Unique. You Have To Be Willing.
… willing to do what others don’t.
Willing to accept that the internet is a maturing platform. That things have changed. That you can’t do the same ‘ol thing anymore and have much hope of starting from scratch.
If I were launching a new blog today, I wouldn’t be spinning my wheels on how to make myself unique. I would simply be… me. What I would be doing is this…
- Finding out how I can best serve that market.
- Craft some redwood posts to attract them and put an offer in place.
- Make priority #1 to be to get a lead magnet to build the list.
- Run paid traffic to the blog post and, ultimately, the lead magnet. Goal = build the list.
- Pivot directly into an offer. Find an offer they will pay for. Pivot and test until I find it.
- With traffic & conversion now addressed, I work to expand the blog. I continue to run paid traffic, and the blog designed to put people into my funnel.
- I continue to serve.
I can outflank people all day long because I can run paid traffic and acquire leads reliably while they flounder around.
In many markets, the major players don’t know how to do this so it is easy. In some markets, even the paid traffic gets pretty competitive. But, the game there remains traffic & conversion. As long as the funnel converts and fuels itself, I’m good.
The one thing I wouldn’t do is start a blog right off the starting line.
Truth is, even if you find a way to be truly unique, it doesn’t mean anybody will find you. Worrying about how to stand out that way is a waste of time.
Play the game smarter.