There’s a lot of debate going on as to whether you should follow your passion or profit when starting an ecommerce business. Some experts say that following your passion is essential for your happiness and longevity in the business.
The counter argument says that if you want to succeed, you have to go where the money is – plain and simple.
At Web Shop Manager we teach to find a balance between the two. As a good friend used to say, whether you're following your passion or profit, work is still a four-letter word.
You need to enjoy it enough to stick around to when times get tough (which they will), and you need to make money (or you don’t have a business). Either way, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and put in a little elbow grease.
Here we’ll look at how to select a niche with both passion and profit in mind.
Start with profit
The idea of‘going where the money is’ provides an excellent starting point. When it comes to e-commerce, you should always start with profitable niches and then narrow those down based on your passion.
It simply does not make sense to start with niches that won’t make money. So eliminate those immediately and then start your selection process.
Unless you begin with a lucrative niche instead of one that comes from a hobby or interest, you'll never be sure if you’ll traffic or sales and might never make a penny.
It can be a hard pill to swallow that an e-commerce store based on your interests isn't going to bring in much money, but it’s a much harder pill to swallow that you’ve just invested a couple of years of your life and several thousand dollars into a store that was doomed from the outset!
Be strict with yourself. Do your research and if there’s no money in it, ditch the idea right away. You’ll have to think about whether there’s even a market, how much you'll make per unit, how many people actually will buy from you,how much work you have to do to make and fulfill those sales and how you are going to compete with the online megastore or the convenient store down the street that people know and love.
Break down your options based on your passion
Now that you’ve created a list based on profit, you can break it down and find the niche that is best suited to what excites you.
Say this is the list of money-making e-commerce niches you’ve come up with:
Now, you can pick through and decide which ones you're the most passionate about. Perhaps you've never been a fan of car stereo systems, and you think the competition is too steep for camping gear. So, you can mark those off the list.
You’ve never been interested in juicers (and have no desire to learn about them) so that one goes out the window.
With some detailed research, you discover that most people are more inclined to buy gardening tools at a brick and mortar building, and it would be a tough sell for you.
Now you've got water filtration systems left. While it's not quite a sexy or fun topic, it is one that you've found yourself concerned about, and you actually use a system in your own home. You have opportunities to create content, and doing further research would benefit yourself and your family, not just your business.
Plus, you see that you're not alone in your concern for the quality of water now and in the future. You see a potential for this product to gradually increase in popularity and the selection at your big chain stores is limited.
Boom – profitable niche found that also aligns with your passions!
Discover the passion within your niche
After selecting a profitable niche that you are most passionate about, you may find that you’re still not thrilled with the industry. And that’s okay because the goal is to cultivate your passion, industry knowledge, and to get more involved.
Just because you don’t love the internal workings of water filtration systems, doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate them. Soon, you’ll find yourself paying more attention when you see them in use and being advertised by other stores. And then one day you'll find yourself in a twenty-minute conversation about the ion exchange process with a guy in the hardware store. Then he might just come and buy from you too!
In case you’re still struggling to get interested in a ‘boring’ niche, we've listed a few ways to discover that passion and start to cultivate your appreciation for the products you're selling.
#1: Learn more about it
As with anything, the more you learn about it, the more you are going to find it interesting. When it comes to the water purification market, you'll notice that Google has plenty of reading material:
From the blurbs alone, you learn that water purification systems become very popular after natural disasters. You also learn that people are concerned about the safety of the water that comes through their faucets.
#2: Brainstorm with others who are interested in the industry
Nothing can make you more interested in a niche than discussing it with others who are passionate about it. Passion is contagious, and if you've ever been talking with a relative expert that gets you excited about something like the interworkings of Chevy motors, you know what we’re talking about.
When you look back on those moments, you'll find that it was their approach to the topic that made it exciting. And that's exactly what you need to give your audience.
#3: Be curious
Remember when you were a kid, and curiosity resulted in learning about something like how deep earthworms can go underground or what kind of ramp would allow your remote control car to jump over the kiddie pool.
That's the kind of curious you need to be to find a unique selling point and get excited about your niche.
Here’s an example of how two guys (whose passion probably wasn’t diapers when they started) found their niche because they saw the need for new parents to get baby supplies delivered right to their doorstep.
Because they both have kids and the parenting niche is huge, they seized the opportunity and became authorities. They found the balance between profit and passion, and it has paid off (big time).
Start paying attention to your every day and those little frustrations that you go through and apply them to a niche setting. Could multiple people be suffering from the same inconveniences and problems that you have? Could you find satisfaction in helping people overcome those obstacles - even if the subject matter isn't something you're in love with?
Once you identify the profitable website solution to those problems, you’ll become more passionate about your niche than you ever thought possible.
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