Niche Site Lesson 1: Start a Business by Solving a Problem
After every Christmas holiday, I spend about a week to plan my goals for the New Year. This time it was no different. I was sitting in front of my computer writing down my goals in Trello and brainstorming where I wanted to take my business.
Last year, we focused on scaling the web design business and training Linh on how to build WorPress websites. It was a huge success and it was due to careful planning and execution.
So this year I had either two options continue to work on the web design business…
find another monetization model to help provide a consistent income.
You see that’s the challenge.
As web designers, we definitely saw ups and down… some months we would be flooded with clients (especially after tax season) and some months we would be super dry with hardly any potential leads.
The one thing that really helped us last year was we started accepting monthly website maintenance clients. For $97 a month a client would have access to us for 1 hours worth of work on their website, web hosting, monthly plugin software updates, daily backups, security and uptime monitoring for their site.
After each client project, we would pitch this service and I would say about 75% of our clients took us up on the offer. It was a huge breakthrough! We finally had some monthly recurring revenue that we can rely on to pay monthly expenses and would help us during the slow periods of the year.
Then the big light bulb hit me…
What if we offered WordPress maintenance services to the masses. We had plenty of leads that came to us in the past that needed help with their website but weren’t ready to move forward.
This would be a great option that is affordable and can help address some of the issues they’re encountering as they work to build their own sites.
As all entrepreneurs we suddenly get a new idea and excitement builds! We start making big plans in our head and start taking massive action.
But, how can I prove this what people want?
When I first started doing online marketing I made a lot of mistakes. One of the biggest lessons I learned was not to invest too much time on an idea without validating to the marketplace that this is indeed something they wanted… and most importantly willing to pay for.
I remember one time I made a massive Online Marketing Course. It contained step-by-step videos that walked them through Facebook ads, building a blog, SEO, and more! I took me several months to record and edit 84 videos and build my membership site.
You know the crazy thing?
I hate to admit but it failed! Why you ask…
Well, I didn’t validate the market. You see here was some of the feedback I was getting.
- “Your course is too large… I don’t have enough time in the day to watch all of that”
- “I only want to learn Facebook Ads, do I have to buy the entire course?”
- “I want to take your course but it’s out of my price range because I’m just getting started.”
I made the mistake because I followed bad advice. Build it and they will come.
That’s old school mentality and you run a huge risk-taking this approach. You lose out on time, money, and resources.
Now I’ve wisened up and I didn’t build anything… I didn’t create any videos, I didn’t even build a website. I simply started pitching the idea to some friends and family and see what they thought.
Most importantly I wanted to validate it by making actual sales.
So… I simply posted the question on Facebook.
I got a couple of people who were interested in and scheduled one-on-one calls.
When you’re first building a business you have to get feedback from real people. I learned a lot from these few phone calls.
I learned what types of questions people had and what their concerns were.
- Where are your developers based?
- What’s included in the unlimited support plan?
- What are the terms are there contracts?
- How do I submit my requests?
- How much is it?
- Do you offer annual payments for a discount?
- What is the value in this service?
During these calls, I wasn’t trying to sell them on the service… I was rather trying to seek to understand what their pain points were and to see if this is something that sounds worthwhile pursuing.
I did get some interests and ultimately I made my first sale!!!!
I had one problem though…
I didn’t have a team to do the job yet.
In the next post I’ll share I overcame this hurdle.
Stay tuned. =) Click here to read the next lesson