Niche’s aren’t profitable

I want to talk about why your niche won’t be profitable. As we’ve talked about already, there is an idea that you’ll discover this magical tribe of people with cash in their pockets, desperate to buy from you.

As if a niche is something that’s waiting to be discovered. And as you’ve seen, you don’t discover a niche, you create a niche. If we’re being pedantic with the wording, yes, you could argue that you discover it through creating it.

But the massive difference between the truth and the fiction, is that the niche doesn’t exist until you label it. And you niche will be just as challenging and hard work as any other niche. It’s not the niche that’s profitable, it’s your dedication to that niche.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

Henry Ford

Too often new funnel businesses want all the benefits of trust, reputation and experience, without building it. You need to start carving steps. What does carving steps mean?

If you want to be recognised as someone who is responsible for a set of steps carved up to the top of a mountain, you’ve got to carve steps into the side of a mountain until you reach the top. There is absolutely no shortcut. No elevator. Everyone has to take the stairs. If you want the benefit of reputation and trust, you’ve got to start building it.

It’s a long journey and it takes time. At first it’ll seem like a massive effort to do one thing over and over. But eventually you’ll produce a reputation for getting results and you’ll be known for something. How do you get there? How do we carve those steps or build a reputation?

If you wanted to be known as the guy or girl who will carve a step into the side of a mountain every day, what do you think you’d need to do? It’s not complex. There’s no secret. If you want to be known for X, you have to do X every day for 1000 days. That’s the secret to building a reputation. If you want to be known for being the world’s best refund reducer or splinter product sales expert – do that every day.

You need to commit to doing something every day that proves you know what you’re talking about. Blog posts, video, podcasts, interviews, social posts, emails, whatever it takes. Your job is building a reputation.

Over time, you build a library of informative, valuable content that helps your audience. You haven’t quit on them. You’ve seen it through. If you’re going to do anything in your business, ask yourself “would I do this every day for 1000 days?”

That’s the gate. You have to be willing to do something every day for 1000 days. Your reputation is only built when you commit for 1000 times. At first, you’ll be unnoticed. But quickly, you’ll build a reputation as someone who does “the thing” and does it well.

When we first started, our blog posts were unfocused and had no clear audience. But I did them every day for a year. I wrote a blog post every day on marketing funnels for a year. Looking back now they’re not great, but they’re there. Now, we have the reputation as the sales blog for funnel builders. Same with YouTube. Small now, but it’s growing. The reputation is built on the past 100 or 500 or 999 times. It’s not built on the 1000 times in the future.

Imagine you’re standing at the base of the mountain. At the top of the mountain is your niche. The widest part at the foot of the mountain is the wider market. It’s undefined, easier to climb but also doesn’t offer the best views.

You know that you need to get to the top of the mountain. You’re surrounded by other funnel builders. Other marketers, web designers, developers. They’ve all heard about the riches and the views from the top. That’s where most people think they want to be. So, you all start climbing. However you’re taking a different route. You, are just going to start carving steps into the side of the mountain.

At first, within minutes, you’ll be all by yourself. Some people will have started ascending faster than you. They’ll try and sprint up, and a few will fall down straight away. Another group will insist that their new bike or machine will get them there faster. A few will laugh at you and tell you that you’re crazy for starting this far down.

“Start further up and get a head start” they’ll tell you. Others will tell you it’s a waste of time. A small fraction of people will also start to carve steps into the side of the mountain. Some because they want to copy you. Others because they believe they have what it takes to get them to the top.

Eventually, you begin to get into a rhythm and you’re carving a few steps a day. No matter what the weather is like, what the terrain is like, you carve at least one step into the side of the mountain. Some days people will overtake you, other days you’ll be ahead. But looking up, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

You even get to know a few of your climbers. Very shortly, people start giving up. “I’ve heard there’s an easier mountain over there. It’s faster to climb, you don’t have to carve as wide or deep steps because it’s easier. I’m heading over there” you’ll hear them say. You can’t believe people are giving up so easy.

Then more people start giving up. The sprinters who ran off ahead of you at the start are now climbing back down. “I couldn’t get to the top. It’s too difficult. I’m going to start climbing that mountain over there. I’ve heard its much easier to get to the top.”

You’ll also start to pass people who have settled on the side of the mountain. They’ll try to convince you to stop, to rest with them. They’ll give you every reason and excuse in the book “the view isn’t that great. I only wanted to get halfway up anyway. If you try to get to the top you’ll lose your friends.”

History is littered with unnamed people who never reached the top. On some days, you’ll absolutely want to give up. Your tools will break. Competitors will smash up your previous efforts and steps. You’ll be able to see people passing you on this mountain and others tempting you back down.

You’ll even be able to see other mountains. With tiny dots of people climbing them. “How are they doing that so fast?!” you ask. It’s demoralising and hard work. You look at your step count and it’s barely 500. You’re not even halfway. This is the great filter. The dip or trough that stops most people reaching the top. It’s what stops businesses from going past 5 years.

It’s what prevents great athletes from achieving gold. You’ll bargain with yourself and tell yourself that here is good enough. Or that maybe that other mountain, that other opportunity or niche is a faster result. That you should quit while you’re ahead. Don’t quit yet. Keep going. It doesn’t keep getting worse.

Eventually, you find yourself nearing the top. It begins to level off and is less steep. You’re better and faster than ever at creating these steps. The weather clears and you can see progress being made. You’ll still have people calling you crazy.

Telling you that you must have cheated or that “it’s easy for you because you already had 900 steps under your belt.” But eventually it’s obvious that this is where you should be. The profit and riches weren’t in the mountain, they weren’t in the niche.

They were in the steps that you carved into the side of the mountain. You’ll even old staircases where the owner just gave up, It’s covered in weeds and is crumbling apart. They were so close you think, as you begin to finalise your ascent and carve those final steps. The profit isn’t in the niche, it’s in your dedication to the niche.

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Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.