A few ideas I jotted down earlier this month – I’ll be adding to this list in the future (feel free to leave your additions in the comments):
1. Find gaps in your target market and fill them
Find the gaps between what people want and what the current market provides, and fill it. Some niches have gaps in community, others in news, still others in how-to, some in quality products.
Develop a Point of Difference.
2. Position yourself to profit from the future
Look at what people will want 5 years in the future as well as what they want now. Mobile tech is big, but not every niche exploits it. Personalisation and web 2.0 saturates some sectors, not others. And how will people interact with your niche next year? The year after that?
3. Look at other, unrelated markets to get ideas
Technology-oriented niches advance and develop faster than non-tech niches, so if you’re involved in a non-tech sector, your involvement and knowledge of trends in the tech world will give you an edge.
Non-tech niches are often good for finding old-school linkbait / promotion ideas – for example, I went to the PetLvr blog and checked out this article – and it immediately gave me ideas on how I could apply the same thing to my Soccerlens.com site in terms of giving buying advice to people looking to buy football shoes and shirts.
(Don’t know whose idea it was, but thank you for that article – it shows how you can target niches at different angles, different stages of the buying process.)
Always, always, find out what people in other niches are doing to promote / monetize / create content, and you’ll learn a lot (and thus stay ahead).
In and around your niche. Be the go-to guy who knows everyone and knows how to get things done. You know you’ve got it made when a TV channel offers you a chance to do a show, or aiming a little lower, when someone hires you to help them build a niche-leading website in your area of expertise.
Run your business as if you were in debt and had to increase your revenue / cut spending massively to break even. Force yourself to squeeze more money out of your blog than before (keeping your long-term goals in mind) and cut all unnecessary spending. Attach a monetary value to every action. If done right, this will give you more money to reinvest in your business, which, if spent wisely, will help you grow much faster than you would by blindly slapping linkbait on your blog.
6. Learn to admit that you’re wrong
A bit counter-intuitive, perhaps, but massively important. Often, we commit to relationships and bound ourselves to partnerships / deals that we later realise are hurting our chances. You might have made a mistake in hiring that new writer, or in giving that casino site a text link on your site because he paid 5x your asking rate.
When this happens, we need to let go and approach the situation objectively. The sooner we admit that we’ve made a mistake, the quicker we can rectify it.
7. Re-evaluate your processes and goals regularly
If the first step is admitting your mistakes, the second is to re-evaluate what you’re doing today and ask yourself – would you do what you’re doing today, knowing what you know now?
Too often, we keep doing the same things (out of habit) in promoting or monetizing or creating content that we did a few months ago, regardless of the news lessons learned along the way. By admitting that you made some mistakes and that you need to change, you can start implementing new, more productive habits and build more beneficial relationships.
How does this help you become successful? It’s the case of monkey-see, monkey-do. If you copy what others are doing, you soon get stuck in a pattern without understanding how it works. On the other hand, if you can break patterns and learn to innovate (do something different) AND do it better than anyone else, you will immediately gain an advantage over your competition.
8. Understand the lag time in a business
Success requires, amongst other things, lots of momentum. You don’t get to the top by working just one day a week, you do it by working for 7 days a week (even if what you do every day is different). The effort you put in today will repay in spades after a few months – similarly, the time off you take today will hurt your business in a few months, not today.
And it’s a lot easier to keep building momentum than it is to rebuild your momentum after you let it slip. Momentum and consistency is key.
Over to you.