Starting a business is very intimidating and hard. It takes a TON of hard work and sacrifice – no matter what your “product” is.
And yes – you must have a product. It doesn’t have to be a traditional product like something you ship out or even something people download like an e-book. It can be something as simple as information. (Like this blog – this blog is part of my business.)
So here’s the thing. If you read a lot of business books, blogs, forums or listen to really smart people they all kind of say the same thing – you find something you like, discover you have some knowledge in the topic, and then create something to help other people with their problems based on your knowledge. Whether you make a product to do that is up to you.
But how do you know if the product will actually sell, or be worth it to some people? How do you know if you are even in the right genre?
And that whole “find something you like” thing is complete crap – I’ll tell you why in a minute.
You really don’t know if your business will succeed, based on your likes or passions or interests, unless you do a ton of research and tests – both product and marketing tests – and do it on the right target audience. And if you do get the results and they are not favorable, will you actually stand up to yourself, look yourself in the mirror and say “Well…that’s not going to work, I have to find something else that I might know something about, because what I know just isn’t going to sell that great.” That takes a big person to admit that – especially when first starting out. No one likes to check their ego at the door that easily. Some might even say it is giving up (which I don’t, because I am a realist and learned to accept failure as a part of business. It’s a good mindset to have.)
Here’s the thing – products and home businesses that make money and are successful seek out and find a problem. And they don’t just solve any problem – because problems are really easy to find. They solve what people perceive to be BIG problems. Those are the kind of problems people WANT information on, they WANT to buy a product to help them solve, and they will pay a premium to buy those products or that e-book with information on how to solve it.
When you are first starting out, I’ll bet you don’t know where to find those problems. Here are a couple of places you can start looking, and then I will tell you a few “genres” or categories to help you get started.
When people search for something on the Internet, they are actively looking for something on their mind. That’s powerful. Think about it. If you walked into an electronics store and held up a sign “I am looking for a Bose speaker” it would be relatively easy for a clerk or salesperson to walk up to you and show you to the Bose speakers – and perhaps a few options that are better, or more affordable.
A web search is relatively the same thing – except without the pressure of a salesperson at a retail location, and with the convenience of looking anywhere and at any time. Someone cared enough, or has a big enough desire or problem to look for Bose speakers online. It telegraphs their intention to research and possibly buy a product.
What if you had access to that information?
Here’s the good news. You do. And its free.
Google has a tool – it used to be called Google Zeitgeist, but now it is just called Google Trends – that does just that. It can help you find what people are searching for, and also contains historical data about what was popular in the past.
Some trends are, well, trendy, and can related to pop culture or recent events and don’t make any sense to base a business product on.
Here’s the downside to some of the info Google trends – they tend to be older and outdated, because it takes months to compile the data (or at least that is what it appears. I don’t work at Google, and I would have thought with advanced data mining and other technology you just know Google has I would imagine it wouldn’t take so long.) As of this writing it looks like they are about 5 months behind. So in August, Google has trends for…March. Not terribly helpful – insightful – but not great. Moreover it can be hard to find something to build a long term business on based on trend categories. (NOTE: This is referring to “Top Charts”. Don’t use it.)
But fear not! Let’s try something a little different as use trends to help us.
Let’s say that I tell you some of the perennially popular categories that people always seem to want. We’ll start with health. People generally want to be healthy. They want to live long, happy lives. Most of us care about our health and well being.
But most of us aren’t doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists, nurses, or in the health care and maintenance field.
But if you think about health, you immediately think about sub categories that relate – weight loss, better exercise, eating healthy, sleeping better, vitamins, homeopathic options…the list goes on.
So, let’s trend some of these out. If we search for homeopathic remedies we get presented not only with how popular the search is in different parts of the country – we also get related searches people are looking for.
So based on this, we can see that people are currently (or at least in the last 7 days) really interested in alternatives to acid reflux, shingles, eczema, etc. Now can we build a home based business of this? Possibly – I guess it depends on your capabilities. But it does illustrate the power of recent trends in Google Trends. Unfortunately it is not often the first stop people go to in Google trends so it can get a little lost. But this information is clearly more powerful than a 5 month lag on popular category search.
Let’s use the tool as yet another way we can prove why one of my product launches was an epic fail…
If I use the trends tool to search for “energy efficiency tips”, which was really the core of the failed product, and refine the trend search to USA, in the past 30 days:
This can mean a few things – either my search term is too specific or else I really need to rethink my product. The search frequency or interest just wasn’t there. I would need to dig further and find if there was anything perhaps in the home energy category perhaps I missed and refine the product, sales pitch, or if the interest wasn’t there, scrap the whole thing altogether.
Not a fan of google? Other search engines have their own analysis tools you can leverage.
Finding great keywords as a base for your product, website or advertisements
Some of you might know how to use Google Ads, or at least are somewhat familiar with it. In a nutshell, in order to be successful you have to have great keywords. You have to be able to find and put those keywords into your product, website, or ad campaign.
Great keywords to create a promote a product are very hard to find. And you will constantly be evolving, evaluation, adding and removing keywords.
There is a great web based tool out there called Keyword.io that helps you find related keywords people are searching for. This is very powerful and important because again it tells you what people’s intentions might be. It also gives you the chance to hone in on hot and related keywords you can use in your ad campaigns, products, website, and articles to generate more traffic and more revenue.
Here’s an overview of what you can do.
First, you can type a keyword into the tool – lets use home based business as an example.
The tool generated and found 331 keywords that are related. This is at least partially based on google auto complete, which uses a trending algorithm designed to give web searchers a shortcut into finding data fast.
There is a premium version that will give you more analytics, like search volume, trend, cpc, and competition. However you can get this same information from Google Ads.
Let’s say I wanted to focus on home based business for nurses, because that is a new one for me (haven’t seen that before), plus it ties somewhat in to the health care example we used before. I can take that keywords and go into Google Ads.
So we see that, as expected, this is truly a specific niche with a relatively low – moderate number of monthly searches and would appeal to a very specific crowd.
The important idea is that you are not limited to those specific keywords. Let’s say that you are a nurse, and you want to start a home based business. That doesn’t mean you have to focus on the keyword “home based business for nurses”. You can use alternatives.
For that, we can use a good old fashioned thesaurus and think of related words and phrases. Then we can plug each one into the keyword tool, and Google Ads (or your favorite PPC tool) and find winners.
One thing you will find – you can infer roughly how popular or profitable a particular category or keyword is through this method. The reasoning is simple. If the cost is higher, or competition is higher, there are more people and organizations paying a higher cost for the ad space or competing over the same keyword. This can mean the niche or category is profitable – otherwise why fight over it? You can compare with the monthly searches column. If you find products and websites that sell the products are paying a high cost per ad and there are a lot of monthly searches, again, there is at least a good chance there is some money there. If the monthly search volume is high, and not a lot of people are buying ads, it could either mean 1) this is an untapped market, or 2) people who search for this aren’t buying.
For example, there are typically high search volumes for celebrities. However, most people who search for a celeb aren’t looking to buy a product.
Remember – you can use this tool to not only find keywords for tools and websites – but also products that people might want. And of course your business will be providing them.
Homes business categories to get your started
OK, I think I promised you some out of the box profitable home based business categories to help you get started on your journey.
Here’s the list.
- Home business (starting a home business, running a home business, etc)
- Making money or saving money
- Health and fitness (exercise, eating better, living healthy)
- Pets, pet care and pet pampering (really big at the moment)
- Retirement (as of this writing, about 10,000 people are reaching retirement age every day)
- Home decorating and gardening