This is the introduction section of my new book “How to be #1 – The Complete Handbook for Niche Domination.”
Let me tell you my tragic story.
In 2004, I was working on a long-term consulting contract in another city, which involved a 90-minute train journey each way every day.
To fill the time, I thought I would write some articles that could teach other people the things I had learned about making web pages that work — but which no one had taught me — the things I’d had to figure out for myself.
I chose “Web Design from Scratch” as the name of the website where I would publish these articles. (This is in 2004, before I had heard about Facebook, blogging, or WordPress.)
Within a few months, the site was getting a thousand visits every day. Now, it regularly gets over five thousand visits per day.
That project that I started on a train as it wove its way through the hills of northern England now supports me and my family. My business earns enough to cover all its costs every month, and I don’t have to do any work to keep that money coming in. I make money in my sleep. Most of what I choose to do with my day doesn’t feel like work, because I’m doing what I love. I spend most of my time exploring new ideas, building new products, and sharing what I know with others.
Am I saying this to impress you? On the contrary! As I said, it’s a tragic story.
If I knew back in 2004 half of what I know today about marketing online, I would have been in this position almost immediately. I would never have had to “work” again.
But it took me eight years. I made a lot of mistakes, wasted a lot of time and energy, and consistently failed to spot how I could have made real money.
The message I want you to get is, the world has changed a lot in the past 10 years. Today, it is not difficult to make money by marketing knowledge and expertise online. In fact, it’s simple.
You just need a few things. And this guide will help you to get (most of) them.
The Four Things You Need
- Some knowledge that will be valuable to other people.
- A niche.That unique place in the market that’s perfect for you. I’ll help you to identify yours.
- Know-how. This guide gives you that, in a clear step-by-step action plan.
- Effort. This is your bit. If you have the other three elements, and you follow my guide, you will make money!
Most people who read this guide will get the first three steps and will fail at the final step. The question you need to answer is: Will you be one of them?
You don’t have to be brilliant. You don’t have to be clever. You don’t have to know a lot about the web.
What you do need is integrity, honesty, and good old-fashioned commitment.
Let me tell you, what I do every day doesn’t feel like work. I am having the most fun I have ever had. I talk to company owners about how to boost their businesses. I help other web designers to set up on their own. I go to conferences, either to attend or to present. I pursue whatever ideas get my attention today, share them with the world, and I get wonderful feedback on a daily basis. Every morning, when other people are starting work, I’ll go to the gym, lounge in the spa, or walk my dogs .
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
This is not work. This is play that pays.
I believe that within all of us lies the possibility and the opportunity to build a business that is profitable, rewarding, and fun. It is simply a matter of discovering it.
I am now going to share what I have learned with you. I am going to show you the path to financial independence.
You may not realize it yet, but you already have an advantage over me. You have all the best intelligence collected in one place. In this guide, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to what actually works. So you can avoid the mistakes that I and others have made.
The system hinges on identifying a need for certain “niche” information, which you can fulfil.
What is a Niche?
In biology, a niche is the environment that’s ideally suited to a particular organism, the place where its special strengths allow it to thrive.
In marketing, a niche is a very specific sector in the market. Your niche is the place that is perfectly suited to you, where your strengths will be used to best advantage.
Just as nature adapts to change, you have adapted to changes in your life and career by developing new skills. You have a completely unique combination of experiences and abilities. There is not one other person in the world that has seen what you have seen, experienced what you have experienced, and adapted in the ways you have.
It’s a big world, with a huge range of markets and needs. That means it is possible to specialize and to thrive. It is my goal to help you to identify the particular niche that’s perfect for you, and to help you to thrive there.
Just a couple of hundred years ago, most communities were geographically localized. Most of the people you would meet would be part of your village, and you would congregate around local community activities.
It was also possible to form a specialized “community of interest”, which could congregate through postal mailing lists, periodicals, telephone, and occasional physical meetings.
Since then, the world has seen rapid evolution. Every new technology has changed the way people live, making it easier to communicate, and easier to congregate. Mail, telegraph, rail roads, telephone, mass media, and more recently the web, email, social media and mobile Internet… Each new technology helps to break down the barriers of geography and time, making new forms of community possible.
The media we have at our fingertips today enable anyone to create new connections and new groups instantly. That offers great potential. Today, you can create a new community, send direct or group messages instantly, and even meet up face-to-face with video chat.
My ProWebDesignAlliance is one such group. I have had video meetings with my members when we’re in different countries, even when someone is walking down the street, sitting in a coffee shop, or driving their car! Just a few years ago, videoconferencing was a luxury that only rich businesses could afford. Today, we have more power and (thanks to Google Plus Hangouts) it costs us nothing.
All this means there is more communication today than ever before. As technology has developed, it has become easier, cheaper, and quicker to communicate, but not necessarily easier to be heard.
When the web started, it was more like the familiar broadcast media. You could publish something online that anyone could see, and you could link to other interesting things. Directories and search engines made it easier to find what interested you.
What we call Web2.0 represented a significant evolution of the technology. Social media meant that the web could be much more multidimensional, organizing itself in new ways. Now, you could subscribe to feeds and actively follow individuals, groups, or brands that interested you. The latest information would be pushed to you, helping you to find new things to buy, consume, follow, invest in, or to believe in. These billions of new relationships between identities create a much more fluid, organic, evolving experience.
Along with social media, it has become even easier, quicker, and cheaper to publish online. Blog platforms, MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube in particular, have helped bring mass publishing to the masses.
Today, We’re All Publishers
The flip side is that the explosion of communication and communities means more noise, so in many ways it is no easier to be heard, or to build something of value.
While the technology has changed dramatically, the fundamentals of human nature have not changed at all. The keys to success are the same as they always were, no matter what the media of the present day.
I don’t know who first coined this quote, but I love it.
“The best thing about the web is that
everyone can be a publisher.
And the worst thing about the web is…
everyone can be a publisher!”
So when anyone can publish a web page, blog, or video, is it really much different to before? What makes success?
The race has gotten bigger, that’s all. The number of runners in the race does not make a great difference. It just makes a great deal more noise.
It can be tempting to look at the dizzying world and to assume that you’re too late, but that is not true. Sure, a lot of people have done very well in things like trading domain names, but even that market is not finished. Things move on and evolve. There are always opportunities, and you don’t have to create something totally new. (In fact, it makes much more sense to repeat what has worked elsewhere, but in a new market.)
Consider that we’re all part of a giant herd of wildebeest. The whole herd is spreading across the savannah. Wherever you are, it is likely that you are following in the footsteps of others. But there are also others behind you, following in your footsteps. You have a unique position right here, right now. You can learn from those in front, and help guide those who follow.
You have the technology at your fingertips right now to build a modern-day business that lets you earn a living doing what you love.
In order to do that, first you need to find your niche and start building.
I use the word “building” for good reason. This is not something that will happen overnight. It might take months or years to build up momentum. But when you get there, you will enjoy a level of freedom and fun in work that few people ever experience.
Here is the key to it all. You need to pick your target, set out on the journey, and stay on the path until you get there.
As you work through this book, you’ll identify a niche that is perfect for you. You will then choose the identity that you will be for that exact market. I’m not talking about acting, lying, or pretending. I’m talking about choosing which combination of your potential character traits to take on as who you are for your market.
Think Like a Farmer, Not a Hunter
Just a few thousand years ago, human beings lived as “hunter-gatherers”. In order to get meat, the males would have to go out to hunt. If they were successful, they ate.
Then they would have to go out to hunt again.
Possibly the most rapid advance in human evolution came when we moved to a lifestyle of cultivation. We planted crops that would provide a regular source of food, and we tamed beasts that could give us meat, eggs, milk, and security.
Life became a whole lot easier. Because when you invest in cultivating a field of crops or keeping a herd of cattle, your work is repaid many times over. Your field gives you a harvest every autumn. Your herd reproduces itself and gives you meat for ever.
When thinking about your niche business, I suggest you think like a farmer, not a hunter.
In other words, you’re going toinvest in long-term, repeatable returns.
Build something that will support you for years to come, looking forward to a time when you may even choose to take a passive role.
The Three Simple Steps of Niche Domination
“How to be #1” takes you through the following three phases…
First, Target your niche
Choose where to start your farm (preferably a place that isn’t already occupied), and where all the conditions are right. This should be an area that suits your abilities, where there is a genuine market, and where you’ll love to spend your time.
Second, Occupy your niche
This is where you put in your investment. Clear, weed, feed, and nurture your land. Sow your crops for future harvests. In business terms, this is about creating value, in content and in relationships.
This is the fun part. I’ll share with you all the tactics and ideas I have discovered, which have worked for me and for others. (I’ll even give you tipsthat will let youscale up and get revenue fast.)
After that, you’ll basically just repeat. Develop new channels, or scale up existing ones. As long as it works, keep turning the handle. Optimize your funnels. Keep tending to your business (fertilize your land).
How to Survive in Business
Not everything you try will work. Not everything that has worked elsewhere will work in your niche. One piece of business wisdom I love is…
“Fail fast, fail often, fail cheap.”
I will help guide you with the best advice and case studies I can provide. But you will not avoid every pitfall. If you make no mistakes, you are not trying hard enough. What’s critical is not to avoid all failure, it is to embrace it, but in a way that minimizes the risk.
Economist Peter Drucker said that there is only one fundamental rule in business:
“Don’t run out of cash.”
Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Just make sure you never risk losing everything.
Another vital tip I got from business coach Brad Sugars is:
“Prepare for the (economic) winter.”
Everything goes in cycles, not least the economy. In the wintertime, farmers cannot sow or reap. So what do they do? How do they survive?
Simple. They make enough surplus in each harvest to keep them going through the wintertime. They cut enough grass and cereals to feed their animals. They sell enough produce to give them money to keep the fires going through the cold months. And they spend those months productively. They repair and improve their equipment, and they learn new skills.
We should do exactly the same in business. Expect lean months. When you make a surplus, don’t spend it all. When times are good, save enough for the economic winter that is sure to come round.
Be, Do, Have
It’s tempting to say to yourself, “If only I had x, then I’d be able to do y, and then I’d be happy.” (Have > Do > Be)
I would suggest maybe it is the other way round. I find it more helpful to take complete responsibility over what happens to me, and that means starting with the being. (i.e. Be > Do > Have)
If you choose to start beingthe person you really want to be, then you’ll do what that person does, and finally you’ll have the lifestyle of that person.
That’s why I’m going to invite you to choose the identity your niche needs, and to start being it. Now. Only when you believe in who you are, believe that you are enough, believe that you can – then you will be able to go out and do what you need to do to make the difference you want to make. And, before you know it, you will find you have what you always wished for.
That is the first step.
The second step is to do. Just start.
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.”
The things you need to do in order to own your niche are fairly straightforward. In short, you need to inform yourself, and you need to inform others. Be at the center of the conversation. There are plenty of great publishing channels to help you to do that. I’ll show you the way in Phase Two “Occupy Your Niche”.
Then, you need to carry on your path, until one day you realize you have arrived. I cannot overstate the importance of pushing through.
In his excellent book Good to Great, Jim Collins tracked the performance of 1435 high-performing companies over 40 years and analyzed the results to identify the factors that make a great business. One of the major insights in Jim’s book is the flywheel. He says:
“Now picture a huge, heavy flywheel. It’s a massive, metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle. It’s about 100 feet in diameter, 10 feet thick, and it weighs about 25 tons. That flywheel is your company. Your job is to get that flywheel to move as fast as possible, because momentum–mass times velocity–is what will generate superior economic results over time.
“Right now, the flywheel is at a standstill. To get it moving, you make a tremendous effort. You push with all your might, and finally you get the flywheel to inch forward. After two or three days of sustained effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn.
“You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster. It takes a lot of work, but at last the flywheel makes a second rotation.
“You keep pushing steadily. It makes three turns, four turns, five, six. With each turn, it moves faster, and then–at some point, you can’t say exactly when–you break through. The momentum of the heavy wheel kicks in your favor. It spins faster and faster, with its own weight propelling it. You aren’t pushing any harder, but the flywheel is accelerating, its momentum building, its speed increasing.”
Jim Collins (ref)
The flywheel is your business. Don’t give up just because nothing seems to happen straight away.
It may also help to think of your business as being like compound interest. You save and save and save, and it seems like nothing is happening. But one day, before you know it, all those small investments have turned into something that can support you.
It’s the same with your niche business. Be prepared to invest, invest, invest, until the wheel starts turning with its own momentum, and you can enjoy the benefits for a long time to come.
Often, the margin between success and failure is remarkably slight. It is always sad to see people give up on their dream just before the breakthrough that could have led to success. One of the features that distinguish people who achieve great success is the determination to push through.
Of course, you need to have complete confidence that what you are doing is something worth doing. That’s why you need to be sure to find a niche where you can do what you love doing. If you’re going to keep your shoulder to the flywheel for those crucial months, you need to find the motivation to stick at it every day. If you love it, that will be so much easier.
Ready to start? Good.
About “How to be #1”
Who is it For?
I believe that many people have the opportunity to make a great living through marketing information to one or more particular niches.
It must be an area which you feel passionate about, where you have some experience or expertise or a story to tell, and where there is a market that is willing to pay for information that will help them in some way.
Many of us have encountered redundancy, the failure of a business, or extreme financial uncertainty over the past few years.
Niche marketing provides a very appealing alternative. It is low-cost, low-risk, high-profit, and can generate passive revenue indefinitely.
Just to give you one example (I lay out my whole business model in the book), I launched my first e-book, “Save the Pixel” in January 2008. It has earned well in excess of $100,000, and continues to make sales every month, with no additional work on my part.
Now I do not claim that everyone can be making this sort of money within the first few months. It depends on your level of expertise and skill, and on your market.
But I do give you, in the book, some tactics I have used to earn five-figure sums within weeks and before having created anything.
The “How to be #1â€³ Package
I did not just wants to create another e-book that you could buy and leave on your desktop or shelf.
My goal is to help people find their niche and create their own profitable niche business.
In order to do that, I am not just selling the book on its own. When you buy “How to be #1â€³, you also get 12 months access to an exclusive membership website.
This project is an ongoing exploration, where a group of marketers are discovering what works for them. The book will continue to expand with new case studies and examples and tactics. Its value will increase over time.
The cost of “How to be #1â€³ today is $197, including your year’s free access. (The price may increase soon.)
I also provide a guarantee. If you apply the system and the tactics that I give you, you will earn your $197 back many times over.
If you do not I will give you every penny back myself.
Buy “How to be #1” Now – $197
Includes 12 months’ access to this support website. Click the button below and complete your payment. I will send you your private access information, usually within 24 hours.