The following post is the first chapter of an online course/guide I’m currently building. Even though the title is “How To Make $ 100” it’s more about the ultimate niche validation. Within this course, I will introduce my personal approach on how I validate new ideas. Besides of validation, I will also show you where and how to find new ideas.
Cost of this course?
- Free, if you decide to sign up to Shopify through my affiliate link.
- $ 5 (five – no missing 0), if you don’t want to sign-up or already have a store.
[You will find affiliate links to Shopify here in this post, too.]
As I’m a huge fan of keeping it simple af, I built this guide asap (as simple as possible).
Why This Sneak Preview?
It’s my approach to validating this idea. As this whole course will be all about validation it would be ridiculous if I wouldn’t validate this course itself, right? I would also love to have early feedback from you on what I can improve. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com
A short note before we start: As I’m still building this course you will find some missing parts here and there. Mostly when it comes down to bonus material or access to spreadsheets. I marked these parts with red notes.
START SNEAK PREVIEW
Please don’t get confused by the title. This is definitely not the next weird online course or guide where someone will tell you the secret on how to make money.
Personal note: I built this course/guide in a way I would have needed it when I started about six years ago. I made a lot of mistakes and wasted even more money just to find out how I should not work (even if all these “experts” told me to do so). As I really want to help people who want to become successful (whatever this means to you) I started my personal branding journey.
Even though we are aiming for $ 100 it’s more about the validation of your business idea and/or products. From my personal experience is making money the best and ultimate way to find out if a niche is (or can be) profitable or not. If you are able to make $ 100 within the next weekend you are definitely able to grow this to $ 1,000 and then (hopefully) strive for the big money.
But as I want to keep it real and we’re just at the beginning of our journey we are aiming for the 100.
Bonus: I will give you a list of 10 FREE marketing strategies (Bonus material will be available at the full course).
How to Work With This Course
As I don’t know your personal preferences I decided to use all mediums to build this course: video, audio and text.
If you like videos, watch the videos. If you love to read, read the text. And if you want to listen to this course while in the gym or on your way to work, listen to my voice. In the end, it’s up to you. But here is my personal recommendation on how to work through this course:
- Watch the videos first to get a quick overview of what to expect
- Read the whole text (including watching the videos a second time)
- Go out for a walk (please go outside) and listen to the audio version (no audio at the moment)
I know you can find value in this course. Some will find eye-opening parts, others will just find one to two things they can apply while others simply get inspired. But if all you get is “just” getting inspired, I am more than happy.
What You Will Learn
I will show you some very basic and simple things. Maybe they are so simple that you don’t even think about it or simply did not believe such things can be helpful. You won’t learn some crazy new marketing strategy or a (wannabe) business-hack.
“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
We will take a deep look at your personal assets and work from there on. You don’t have to learn some crazy or fancy marketing strategy to get your business to a point where you call it successful. I truly believe that you already have access to everything you need. You might just not using it in a proper way. But don’t worry about that; we will figure out how to do this together.
If you think you don’t have the skills you need to build your online store, I can highly recommend entering Shopify’s dropshipping webinar. At the end of this webinar you will get access to a bunch of bonus material including a case study I have written for Shopify on “How I Built a Profitable Dropshipping Business in 14 Days (Without Spending Money on Ads)” where I documented every single step I took in a 14 day experiment to make around $ 200. I spent zero dollars. No custom domain, no ads, no products for influencer… just work.
But today, as you are participating in this course, we will dig deeper. You will learn this:
- how to find a product you can sell,
- how to validate your product/your niche,
- how to take advantage of your personal assets,
- how to focus on the most powerful assets,
- how to estimate your sales, and
- how to work like you’ve never worked before.
- Bonus: where (and how) to promote and sell your products for free.
Sounds good? Awesome!
But before we jump into this course I would like to introduce you into the files section (no file section at the moment):
If you click here you will get instant access to the files section of this course. You will find summaries of each step, bonus material and the $ 100 spreadsheet. Within this spreadsheets, you will find a bunch of sheets which we will use and I will explain every sheet once we come to a point where we use this. As for now I just want you to do three things:
- Click here to get free access
- Open “$ 100 Spreadsheet”
- Click “File” > “Make a Copy” and save it to your drive
You have to do this in order to work with this sheet. Otherwise, you just have access to read it, but not to edit it.
If you’ve never worked with Google Drive before, this link will help.
As we will go through quite some stuff I can highly recommend to make notes on the way. Therefore I created a learning sheet for you (“Notes”). If you want to use it feel free to make notes like what you’ve learned, what you would like to take a deeper look into or what suddenly came into your head. Even though it’s not required to do this I can highly recommend doing this.
Personal note: Feel free to share your notes with me. I would love to see what you have learned and maybe I can give you even more input on a specific topic.
Just send your notes over to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Even though there is no spreadsheet for your notes, I would also love to take a look at your notes)
Step 1: Find Products to Sell (+ How to Validate Your Ideas)
Personal note: Even if you already have products you want to sell I recommend to not skip this part. You never know if you will find new inspirations for new products or just get the confidence to stick with your existing product.
It’s pretty obvious that you have to have products to get to a point where you achieved your goal. So this will be our starting point.
We will cover two ways of finding and validating products:
- Use recommendations from legit companies
- Use bestselling lists from big players
Both ways are equally good. Since using recommendations from legit companies who have a strong relation to e-commerce and dropshipping is easier we will start here.
Find Products to Sell #1: Use recommendations
Companies like Shopify and Oberlo regularly publish posts on what to sell. So why not using recommendations from companies who have a very strong interest in making you successful? As I mentioned before, keep things as simple as possible. You really don’t have to do everything on your own.
Personal note: I know some people from Shopify and Oberlo personally and I can promise you that they are doing everything they can to make you successful. I can highly recommend to trust them. I do it, too.
My favourite posts:
- What Should You Sell (Oberlo)
- Best Dropshipping Products to Sell (Oberlo)
- What To Sell Online (Shopify)
- 12 Things To Sell On Shopify (Shopify)*
*Even though the last post is about things other than physical products it’s very helpful to get your thoughts out of the box. Who knows, maybe you end up selling yoga classes or digital products – who cares? Dropshipping is not the only way to make money and to live happily. As long as you love what you’re doing (and can pay your bills) the business model itself doesn’t matter.
I am very sure you will find great products within these posts which allows you to reach your goal.
Find Products to Sell #2: Use bestselling lists
Another great way to find products you can sell is to take a look at the bestselling lists of major shopping sites. This step alone is one kind of product validation itself. Those lists show you exactly what people like to buy at this moment. If they are willing to spend their hard earned money over there, they are probably also willing to spend money on your store. Let the market decide what you should sell.
Here are my top four bestselling lists:
Spend some time to discover all the bestsellers and make some notes while doing this. If you go to your “$ 100 Spreadsheet” you will find a sheet called “Products”. Put your notes, products or ideas in there. We will work with this sheet later even more. (Remember: no spreadsheets at the moment).
Besides of finding a product, you will also learn how the market thinks. Entrepreneurs, especially when starting, have this tendency to think just within their own world: “If I don’t like it, the others don’t like, too”.
By regularly taking a look on bestselling lists you will develop a natural intuition on what will work and what does not. It’s like taking a look into the head of the market. The more you can “feel” upcoming trends, the more you will sell.
Personal note: One of the first things I do in the morning is to take a super quick look (20-30 seconds each) on all these bestselling lists. Whenever I have the feeling something can become successful I make some notes to take a deeper look at it when I have more time.
Find Products to Sell #3: Niche Validation
Even though this whole guide is one big validation, we will now validate your ideas within this validation. Let’s call this step “micro-validation”.
Why niche validation?
Because otherwise, you can lose a lot of money and time. Whereas money can (and will) come back, time is lost forever. But an also very important point why you should validate your ideas is simply to stay motivated and focused.
A validated idea is more likely to become successful than “just some idea”. As success is one of the biggest factors when it comes down to motivation we simply can’t ignore this validation step.
Google Trends is a free tool from – who would have thought of – Google. You simply put in your main-keyword(s) of your niche or products in the search field and Google shows you instantly if there is an increasing or decreasing search volume on Google for this specific term.
As the majority of the people who search for something on the internet will use Google this is an extremely powerful tool.
If you would like to compare up to five ideas you can simply add more terms to this search. This will help you to decide on which idea you should focus the most.
The best way to validate ideas with Google Trends is to look at each graph itself and also on the comparison of all ideas.
Even though the yellow graph has the highest amount of search volume it doesn’t have to mean it is the best idea. It’s probably also the most competitive idea. That’s why validation with Google Trends is just one piece of the puzzle to validate your idea.
Google Global Market Finder
While Google Trends doesn’t show you actual search volume numbers we have to use another free and powerful validation tool from Google: Global Market Finder.
To get the data you need you simply put in the search terms (your niche/idea) into the “Keyword(s)” box. Google now shows you the exact amount of monthly searches for your term(s).
Raw numbers are not all. You always have to have in mind that the higher a number of monthly searches, the more competitive is the niche. You have to find that sweet spot.
Personal note: I usually try to go for ideas which have at least 1,000 monthly searches (okay, 986 is also okay…) and not higher as 100,000. From my personal experience, it’s usually like this: entrepreneurs with quite some money in the bank go for the big ones because they can afford the expensive ads which are necessary to separate yourself in such a competitive market. But if you run on a tight or even zero budget I can highly recommend starting with the low end. Once you made your first money you can (and should) re-invest this money into bigger opportunities.
As you now have a first and rough picture of the demand for your idea we will now go to take a look at what people are actually saying about your product or your niche in general.
When entrepreneurs or marketers think about social media they’re mostly thinking about ads and marketing. But we are far away from spending money on marketing. We will use social media as our next step towards validation.
As Facebook is THE social network, we will start our social media validation here.
What we will do now is a mix of niche validation and competitor research. I will show you a super simple way to see how high the demand for your product is AND how your competitors advertise them. Besides of the validation, this will give you an idea on how you could (later) build your ads.
Personal note: What we do now may not work for every niche as the products have to be “cheap”. But as Facebook validation is just one step it doesn’t really matter if you can’t do this step.
Let’s say you found out that strapless bras currently trending. To find out if there is potential in your idea, just type – strapless bra “just pay shipping” – into the Facebook search field.
You will now see a bunch of ads from your competitors who set up free + shipping campaigns. We don’t do this because want to do the same but we have to find a way on how to filter all posts on Facebook. We just want to see ads and not personal recommendations etc.
Instead of “just pay shipping” you could also use “shop here”, “Get yours here”, “Order here” or “Click here”. Just try them all.
As you now see a lot of ads from competitors you can look at the reactions, likes, comments and amount of shares.
942 positive reactions, 470 comments and 289 shares!
Even though we don’t know how much money your competitor spent on this ad this is a good signal that there is a demand for strapless bras.
The next step of our social media validation is Instagram. As Instagram is getting bigger and bigger without any sign to stop its growth we should definitely take a look at it.
If we decide to stay with our example, we will put in the most obvious hashtag into the search field: #straplessbra (you should also take a look at other niche related hashtags)
34.741 posts – pretty good!
Most of those posts are probably from other stores selling strapless bras, which gives us the confidence that this idea is good. If others believe in it, why shouldn’t we do it?
To get a more clear view on the demand we will take a look at the first nine posts. These are the most popular posts at the moment.
(At the moment I’m writing these lines) there are 21,042 likes and 484 comments in total for those nine images. Solid as a rock!
Twitter is just amazing when it comes down to see what people actually think (and talk) about your product. To get this extremely valuable information you just have to type in your idea into the Twitter search field.
You will now see one of the most valuable information you can get as an entrepreneur: People’s opinion.
With this one tweet alone you get a great insight. You now know one of the main problems with strapless bras. If you can solve this problem you’ll probably win.
That said: the more problems you solve, the more money you make.
Besides of finding points which aren’t that good in order to validate your idea, Twitter can also give you confidence:
More than solid!
Personal note: The above-mentioned tweets are a marketers dream! You could easily jump into a conversation and offer those girls a free strapless bra (for promotion) or a discount code. It’s almost ridiculous that no one replied to those extreme obvious sales opportunities.
Bottom line: there is a demand!
With all the micro validation steps we took it’s time to take a deep look at our personal assets…
End of this sneak preview. What will follow are the next 4 steps + amazing bonus material (for example a video about 10 free marketing channels) to finish this course.
END OF SNEAK PREVIEW
I hope you enjoyed this first part. If you want to get a short notification once this course is published, please enter your email below.