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Wunderkind

Determining if an idea is viable

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I'm curious to hear what some of you do before diving into an idea to determine if it is worthwhile or not.

You identify a problem or a need. Then do you:

Find a product to match that problem/need?

Do you run numbers to figure out if you can generate enough sales to make the commission worth it?

Do you decide to create your own product to fit the space? 

Do you not worry about the product and just start building a site and/or Facebook page (or some other platform) to build traffic and a following and just figure you will determine how to monetize it later?

I know some people find a product first, and then figure out why they can sell it to. That always seemed a bit backwards to me, but maybe it works and some of you are doing that.

Myself, almost all of my websites rely on search engine traffic (with a few working off of social media almost exclusively). I start analyzing search traffic to see if there is potential out there. Then I try to find a product that matches and that I feel comfortable selling. In a couple of cases, I have developed my own product. They consist of simple PDF's. If it is something that is not a one-time need (like how do I get rid of this rash), then I start developing an email follow-up series to get people to keep coming back. 

I'm always looking for ways to get better and improve my business, so would love to hear what others do.

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SEMrush

How does that approach work for you?  Are you getting the results you want?

I make the products I want to sell FIRST;  I ignore search engines completely;  And I deleted my email lists and no longer do any email marketing whatsoever.

Now my online businesses no longer feel like "work"... More profit for less time invested than ever before.

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I only bother with subjects I'm extreme in passion for.  Sometimes I make a product first - I have two already made for the niche I'll be working on after my main site is fully designed again.  My other one was an offline hobby/business that the website has helped advance exponentially. If I'm going to spend time making products, writing, and keeping a website going, it's not going to be over something that I don't love. You don't do your best work that way. You're content will never be top quality if the "niche" bores you.

So basically - I don't bother with stats either. It's either something I'm doing because I love it, or I'm not going to bother with it. Can it fail? Yeah. I had to dump one off along the way.  It can also be the best experience of your life.  

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In some cases, where I've identified a particular need, I will do market research to determine just how great that need might be - in other words, will I recover the development/marketing costs and then profit from it? Is it a sustainable product (long-term profit) or a fad (short-term profit)? 

In other cases, I have a product idea that no one else has thought of and I'll run with that - gambling on its profitability. 

I'm in the process of developing a new site for which I will decide later how to monetize it. I used to do this in the past, usually ending up just slapping Adsense or CPA type ads on them. 

 

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8 hours ago, MikeTucker said:

How does that approach work for you?  Are you getting the results you want?

I make the products I want to sell FIRST;  I ignore search engines completely;  And I deleted my email lists and no longer do any email marketing whatsoever.

Now my online businesses no longer feel like "work"... More profit for less time invested than ever before.

 

I'm doing fine online, just always looking to make my business more efficient. Although I make a full-time living online, I'm not so arrogant to believe that my way is the best way or that I cannot learn from others. If someone has a better/different idea, I want to hear about it.

With deleting your email lists, are you doing anything to stay in front of people? Facebook page, Twitter following etc.? I know some people have said that Facebook is the new email list. I still get decent results from email marketing, so I'm not ready to ditch it completely.

 

 

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7 hours ago, HeySal said:

I only bother with subjects I'm extreme in passion for.  Sometimes I make a product first - I have two already made for the niche I'll be working on after my main site is fully designed again.  My other one was an offline hobby/business that the website has helped advance exponentially. If I'm going to spend time making products, writing, and keeping a website going, it's not going to be over something that I don't love. You don't do your best work that way. You're content will never be top quality if the "niche" bores you.

So basically - I don't bother with stats either. It's either something I'm doing because I love it, or I'm not going to bother with it. Can it fail? Yeah. I had to dump one off along the way.  It can also be the best experience of your life.  

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't really buy into that "only pick niches you love" thing myself. If it is a niche I'm not as passionate about or don't think I can produce the best quality content for, I employ writers to do so. One thing I have done is sought out people for writing content from forums and blogs. I'll find someone who does seem to be passionate about a topic and try to contact them to see if they would like to write for me. i find they do a better job than hiring a writer off a freelance site or one of those content mills. You certainly lose the convenience of placing an order and having something done in just a few days because it takes longer to find a writer, but I am normally not in a hurry to have something done right away.

 

 

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4 hours ago, BIG Mike said:

I'm in the process of developing a new site for which I will decide later how to monetize it. I used to do this in the past, usually ending up just slapping Adsense or CPA type ads on them. 

 

 

I have done that a few times too. This is where the "pick a niche you're passionate about" thing fits for me. I'll build a site around a new interest or maybe a DIY project I'm working on at home. Then figure out how to market and monetize it later. I have found AdSense to be a little better on these type of sites now (if the traffic is there) than in the past with the way remarketing works and their cookies. 

I remember years ago when you had to create content and hope their were advertisers for that particular topic. Now though, it doesn't seem to matter as much. AdSense does show ads related to your page, but you also get a lot of ads related to what the user has been browsing recently.

 

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3 hours ago, Wunderkind said:

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't really buy into that "only pick niches you love" thing myself. If it is a niche I'm not as passionate about or don't think I can produce the best quality content for, I employ writers to do so. One thing I have done is sought out people for writing content from forums and blogs. I'll find someone who does seem to be passionate about a topic and try to contact them to see if they would like to write for me. i find they do a better job than hiring a writer off a freelance site or one of those content mills. You certainly lose the convenience of placing an order and having something done in just a few days because it takes longer to find a writer, but I am normally not in a hurry to have something done right away.

 

 

That is a very clever way to get writers who not only know their area of expertise, have extensive knowledge in that niche, but obviously, if not enjoy and love, at least don't mind writing on the topic. I like it!

As far as waiting, I think you have the right mindset. I'm sure the quality you get is worth the wait. 

 

Terra

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3 hours ago, Wunderkind said:

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't really buy into that "only pick niches you love" thing myself. If it is a niche I'm not as passionate about or don't think I can produce the best quality content for, I employ writers to do so. One thing I have done is sought out people for writing content from forums and blogs. I'll find someone who does seem to be passionate about a topic and try to contact them to see if they would like to write for me. i find they do a better job than hiring a writer off a freelance site or one of those content mills. You certainly lose the convenience of placing an order and having something done in just a few days because it takes longer to find a writer, but I am normally not in a hurry to have something done right away.

Now that is a freaking brilliant idea for finding writers. I would imagine a little flattery goes a long way.

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4 hours ago, Wunderkind said:

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't really buy into that "only pick niches you love" thing myself. If it is a niche I'm not as passionate about or don't think I can produce the best quality content for, I employ writers to do so. One thing I have done is sought out people for writing content from forums and blogs. I'll find someone who does seem to be passionate about a topic and try to contact them to see if they would like to write for me. i find they do a better job than hiring a writer off a freelance site or one of those content mills. You certainly lose the convenience of placing an order and having something done in just a few days because it takes longer to find a writer, but I am normally not in a hurry to have something done right away.

 

 

Such a simple and logical idea, but I swear I don't think I have ever heard anyone mention it before. It totally makes sense. Why go to writers when you can go to experts?

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7 hours ago, Wunderkind said:

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't really buy into that "only pick niches you love" thing myself. If it is a niche I'm not as passionate about or don't think I can produce the best quality content for, I employ writers to do so. One thing I have done is sought out people for writing content from forums and blogs. I'll find someone who does seem to be passionate about a topic and try to contact them to see if they would like to write for me. i find they do a better job than hiring a writer off a freelance site or one of those content mills. You certainly lose the convenience of placing an order and having something done in just a few days because it takes longer to find a writer, but I am normally not in a hurry to have something done right away.

 

 

It seems to me that you and I aren't following the same business plans from the get.  I don't do a lot of websites - one or two that I actually love. My rock and gem site is almost 12 years old. That is a hobby/business that they site does more for me brick and mortar than it does online. I'm just rebuilding it again, so it will bring in some online funding, but the offline benefits are the important ones.  The new site I am building will also be a long term endeavor and more online monetized than my other one, but also because I love it and make products in that line. 

Top that off -- I am a professional writer.  I still have articles I wrote almost a decade ago that still rank page 1 for some searches. Of course, some always got better rank than others.  I have sidelined on writing for others before - and still do on rare occasions if I am intrigued enough. 

Frankly, I would wonder why someone would write for someone else as an ongoing contract if they are "expert" in the field and expert writers as well.  There's so much more money in writing for yourself. 

Professional writers often have a different take on online business than tech types do, though.  Bottom line is that if it works for you, it works for you.  That's why we're online after all. 

 

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2 hours ago, HeySal said:

It seems to me that you and I aren't following the same business plans from the get.  I don't do a lot of websites - one or two that I actually love. My rock and gem site is almost 12 years old. That is a hobby/business that they site does more for me brick and mortar than it does online. I'm just rebuilding it again, so it will bring in some online funding, but the offline benefits are the important ones.  The new site I am building will also be a long term endeavor and more online monetized than my other one, but also because I love it and make products in that line. 

Top that off -- I am a professional writer.  I still have articles I wrote almost a decade ago that still rank page 1 for some searches. Of course, some always got better rank than others.  I have sidelined on writing for others before - and still do on rare occasions if I am intrigued enough. 

Frankly, I would wonder why someone would write for someone else as an ongoing contract if they are "expert" in the field and expert writers as well.  There's so much more money in writing for yourself. 

Professional writers often have a different take on online business than tech types do, though.  Bottom line is that if it works for you, it works for you.  That's why we're online after all. 

 

I'll just throw in something I don't think you considered. When you're an expert in a field, then you command more pay so if someone were to contact you, it could be a great way to make some extra good cash. Information is information. Anyone can find it, but having it come from an expert in a field who understands it inside and out assures a good quality piece.

For instance, when I was approached by a physician and did quite a bit of writing for him including a book and pamphlets. That was very good money. I am fluent in medical terminology which helps tremendously. Anyone can find the terminology if they know where to look, it's not a secret. But it's not easily mastered by a random writer either. An expert in their field also has "working experience" to throw into the mix as well. 

It would be along the lines of you writing PLR in your areas of expertise. Not exactly, but along the same lines.

 

Terra

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37 minutes ago, Terra said:

I'll just throw in something I don't think you considered. When you're an expert in a field, then you command more pay so if someone were to contact you, it could be a great way to make some extra good cash. Information is information. Anyone can find it, but having it come from an expert in a field who understands it inside and out assures a good quality piece.

For instance, when I was approached by a physician and did quite a bit of writing for him including a book and pamphlets. That was very good money. I am fluent in medical terminology which helps tremendously. Anyone can find the terminology if they know where to look, it's not a secret. But it's not easily mastered by a random writer either. An expert in their field also has "working experience" to throw into the mix as well. 

It would be along the lines of you writing PLR in your areas of expertise. Not exactly, but along the same lines.

 

Terra

It goes without saying that an actual expert in a field who is also qualified to write quality articles is going to charge some money. 

A good way to get a rejection from me is to offer me 10 bucks an article.  If it's a field I am considered expert in, you won't get me for 25 -- unless you're someone I owe a favor.  Then I might even do it for free if I owe an equivalent.  

I had a company contact me for writing 1000 word articles in one of my areas of cognitive science. I quoted $100. They wanted me to do it for $60 and I just blew them off without an answer.  I went back later and looked at their site. The new articles were humorously amateurish. I wondered how much they were paying their new "expert" and how much of the info they had to feed the person in the first place. 

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10 hours ago, HeySal said:

It goes without saying that an actual expert in a field who is also qualified to write quality articles is going to charge some money. 

A good way to get a rejection from me is to offer me 10 bucks an article.  If it's a field I am considered expert in, you won't get me for 25 -- unless you're someone I owe a favor.  Then I might even do it for free if I owe an equivalent.  

I had a company contact me for writing 1000 word articles in one of my areas of cognitive science. I quoted $100. They wanted me to do it for $60 and I just blew them off without an answer.  I went back later and looked at their site. The new articles were humorously amateurish. I wondered how much they were paying their new "expert" and how much of the info they had to feed the person in the first place. 

I hear that!!

When I was freelancing, it was $50 per 500 words, or forget about it. I avoided a lot of headaches that way. It seems those that you give a lot for a little want a lot more for nothing. :rolleyes: And if it was in the medical field, it was much more than that.

I never really was in the fill up a blog with fodder pieces as I believe in quality over quantity. Like you said, a well written piece will produce more than tons of amateurish pieces. But marketing plays a role as well. If eyeballs aren't finding it, it can be brilliant, but lonely, lol!

 

 

Terra 

 

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On 1/30/2017 at 7:06 AM, Wunderkind said:

 

I'm doing fine online, just always looking to make my business more efficient. Although I make a full-time living online, I'm not so arrogant to believe that my way is the best way or that I cannot learn from others. If someone has a better/different idea, I want to hear about it.

With deleting your email lists, are you doing anything to stay in front of people? Facebook page, Twitter following etc.? I know some people have said that Facebook is the new email list. I still get decent results from email marketing, so I'm not ready to ditch it completely.

 

 

These days I don't do any marketing and accept new customers by referral only.

It's a question I had to ask myself:  At what point am I working too much for too little?  How can I refocus my efforts to make more from less?  For me, the answer was dumping all but two of the niches I was working in (soon to be only one).  This way I am able to enjoy producing products with far better quality and making connections with customers that allow me to sell more products at a higher price.

It was a painful loss of income at first, for several months, perhaps more than a year?  But now, for the time and effort invested, it doesn't feel like work, and actually I might be spending more literal time "working" than before?  (The fact that I stopped tracking it and forcing myself to work a certain amount each day is telling!)  Either way I love it, so I'm never wishing I were doing something else.  And, the profit margins are much, much higher.

So for me, in the situation I was in and the way that it has worked out, it was the right choice.  I want to believe this is the right way for everyone to do business!!!  But objectively, I'm not sure that I should push "follow your dreams!" to people that don't have the same kind of advantages I have?

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