I am ready to become an online entrepreneur. I have several ideas and am having trouble picking which would be best. I'm seeking a solid, concrete opinion from someone who's started a successful business.
#1: A product (paper, cheap and simple). It's a very simple and unique goal-setting program that would require a monthly subscription.
#2: Art lessons. I'm an artist and could build a list around a free lesson, with an upsell for monthly subscribers to join a live feed each week teaching them how to draw.
#3: A membership site geared to help mentor youth. Resources for teens and their parents to help the two connect and help youth get set up for life, especially as entrepreneurs.
Passion is important, but not as important as income. Otherwise, it's just a hobby. And--funny thing--the path to producing income often becomes that "magnificent obsession" for you, because it's working.
So here's your problem: you have a skill, you can teach people something, but I'm not seeing a distribution channel. For you, that means finding a group of people you can help...beginner artists, those who want a tune-up or to learn a new skill, or youth who are excited about having a plan moving forward. You need a way of getting in front of those people, and capturing those interested as leads.
That way, you can market to them and some will become customers. You need three systems in front of the fulfillment systems you mentioned:
> a lead generation system
> a qualification system
> a closing system.
There's more to making money online than putting up a website and hoping. I've been making money through online marketing since 2010 and have put together a whole lot of funnels to make clients money over the years.
First, have a look at this picture:
It'll help you focus on where the money potentially is.
I mean, young people are great, but they don't usually have a lot of money. They don't spend it on "smart" things. Maybe their parents will, a subset, a target market (starting to see where I'm going?).
Second, watch this video which I made expressly for helping with prioritizing the zillion ideas we get as entrepreneurs:
Understand that the passion can come AFTER the money is flowing. I get excited about making money, and that gets me interested in some things I otherwise wouldn't be so curious about. Sure, some topics will never be a fit--I can make my money however I want, so I get to choose. But there have been enough ideas over the years that didn't strike me as awesome off the cuff, but after the money started flowing I really got into.
In order to pick "which would be best" do market research on each. That will not only give you an idea of which is most likely to be economically viable, but it will also let you to start refining / iterating each idea to one that might work better.
For each idea find out:
- Who would want it?
- Who would pay for it it?
- How many buyers could there be?
- How much would they pay for it in their lifetime?
- How much would it cost you to produce each product?
- What have your potential customers tried before, and why did it fail (you'll want to avoid the failure reasons with your idea)?
- Is there existing competition, and how would you be different / better?
To get answers to these questions you can:
1) Ask friends / family
2) Ask people at Meetups
3) Ask people online (forums like Quora and Reddit)
4) Ask people that have had previous experience in the fields you're exploring.
The answers to the questions will let you rank your ideas in terms of most likely to least likely to work. Start with the most likely one, or if you have time /resources to simultaneously test the waters on two of them, pick the top two.
Implement the top idea as a "minimum viable product" (MVP), and see how it goes. Iterate according to feedback you get. Set defined timeline goals of success and see if you can meet them. Continue iterating tactics / ideas / etc. to follow the promising data.
If you'd like to discuss any of these steps in more detail in relation to your specific ideas let me know,
You need to do market research. Plain and simple. What is happening already in the markets you are targeting? What is the competition doing? Do you have something unique to offer? Is there a part of the market that is underserved? Where you can stake a claim and build a strong position? You'll also have to take off the business owner hat and put on the customer hat. Who do you suspect is your customer? What do they value? Do they really have the problem or need that you think they have? Hypothesize and go test that hypothesis. Keyword analysis is one way. Are people activlely searching for the answers you can provide? Another way is to sort of A/B test each pitch and see which garners more attention. You'll have to create a minimum viable product for each put it out there and see if you get bites. Sort of like fishing. We're not interesting in hooking them just yet, just seeing if you get bites. You may discover one of the value propositions (pitches) gets more traction. If so, that may give you a nice size piece of the puzzle you're trying to solve. You'll need more pieces, of course, and there's lots more to do, but this'll get you going. Good luck and best to you.
You can hire amazing research talent on Upwork. Before that though, you'll have to work out what your hypothesis is, what are you trying to prove?
Given what you've shared, I'd guess that you're looking for recurring income. The easiest to start might be the goal setting program if it were truly uhique.
The better bet to my mind is creating a series of online courses. The online education market is booming both for traditional sites like Udemy and new entries like invitation-only Zekqr.
For a very successful model for building an online course empire check out Phil Ebiner and Sarah Cordiner. Both have built profitable online business and teach about it.
When it comes time to implement, you'll want to get my course, Outsourcing Made Easy on Udemy or schedule a call with me. Best, Dina
All three ideas are viable business ideas. How much success you could experience from each depends on 1) your strategy, 2) your execution, and 3) your team. Without knowing you, your strengths, and your business skills - it is very difficult to say anything more conclusive.
As all your concepts depend on a membership site, keep in mind that memberships must continuously deliver value and engagement, or people will not stay members for long.
It's also generally easier to sell a program that solves a very clear and specific problem - one that your clients currently feel deeply enough that they are willing to spend $$ to get it solved.
A cheap-simple paper product doesn't sound like it would be worth that much. Easier to get people to part with small amounts of money, but you'll have to sell a squat-load to make any profit (and that increases your costs too). But if you can leverage other resources and focus only on the marketing/sales side (e.g., using a fulfillment resource), you could make this work. But you probably should have some pretty awesome online traffic generating skills.
#2 sounds intriguing, but again, the perceived value of art lessons is relatively low (in general). You would need to establish a powerful motivating message directed toward a potentially lucrative audience. In short, your marketing strategy here is critical. But the content development could be quite simple, so if you master the marketing and have low operational costs, you can make large profit margins.
#3 could have a higher perceived value which can make the marketing message easier, but the content delivery side requires more expertise (e.g., coaching skills, parenting experience, and entrepreneurial expertise all rolled into one). This will be harder to resource (higher operating costs, tougher to staff, etc.), but with the right strategy could also be quite lucrative.
Happy to chat more by phone. I've helped hundreds of people get started with similar businesses....