The thing I enjoy the most about being an online business owner is this: Nobody can take away what I have built with SBI! - John Shank, SBI! member since 2003

The Solopreneur’s #1 Lifeline to Success

The Solopreneur's #1 Lifeline to Success
Passionate about a niche? Know a lot about it (or willing to learn)? Congratulations — that takes you a looooong way to building a successful online business!

It does not take you all the way there, though!

The next thing to get right?

You may love one particular aspect of your niche. You may even believe it’s what your audience most needs. Slow down…  

You are not the boss of your visitors and customers. You’re there to serve. And who serves what they like? No one, not if they want to be loved!

What you think customers need is probably what YOU like. It isn’t necessarily what they actually need.

A Real-World Example

Meet successful SBI! owner Suzanne Vennard of DanceClass.com

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Suzanne was crazy about ballet, long before she built her successful dance website. She often took her ballet bag to work so she could rush off to class in the evening.

People inevitably asked, “What’s in the bag?” When Suzanne told them, she learned three things…

    1. They were not only curious…
    2. Their attention showed her that they wanted to learn to dance themselves.
    3. They were afraid of dance classes!

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Suzanne could have taken the topic she knew and loved (dance) and “positioned” it in any number of ways that she “felt” were right. Many of those would be wrong. She knew the right way because she had talked to her prospective audience.

Getting these type of decisions correct, before you even name your domain, is critical. As a result, DanceClass.com’s traffic has been growing, exceeding 99+% of solopreneurs.

Don’t Be Lucky – Be Smart!

It is amazing how many startup online businesses depend on “gut feel” or  “intuition.” It starts with data from sold keyword research. That reveals the content opportunities and that demand vs. competition is a “just-right” niche. Enough demand, but not too much competition!

Talking to your prospective reader/follower/customer tells you even more if you ask the right questions, and if you listen!  Don’t hear what you want to hear. Listen!

By focusing on a specific group (Suzanne’s work colleagues who didn’t dance but wanted to) and discovering what was really holding them back (lack of confidence), she could build a website that she knew people needed… rather than guessing and trusting to luck.

Have a big decision to make? What kind of business to build? What kind of product to develop?…

Ask Your Audience First!

Suzanne was lucky – she had easy access to a real-world audience for her market research. But you can do this online, too…

Hang out on social media. Join a niche forum, a Facebook group. Tell them you are thinking of starting up an online business and the ask what you need to know.  Simple!

More techniques…

  1. Read customer reviews on Amazon. Terrific needs will emerge, no need to ask.
  2. Already have a business, but are struggling? Ask your subscribers (if you have an email list) and/or social followers.
  3. Taking it offline can be the most useful way to get to the bottom line.  It takes a bit more courage to visit tourists who are visiting your destination site, but you’ll get sheer info-gold back…

Talk to people face to face. Do not put words into their mouths. Ask and then listen…

Prepare to be surprised! It’s like Suzanne said…

“Go in the direction that the research tells you. It’s often not the one you think.”

Read more about Suzanne and what else contributed to her success story here.

Bottom Line Takeaway?

This incredibly simple piece of advice is practiced by few, yet can make or break the success of an online business. This is also a growth hack technique, one of several new steps built into the Solo Build It! Action Guide.

Remember…

No matter how clever you believe your gut to be, the collective wisdom of your audience is your #1 Lifeline to Success.

Ken Evoy (CEO, SiteSell)
Ken Evoy is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of SiteSell Inc. He is the creator of SBI!, SiteSell's comprehensive Web business-building system. Ken is also a successful inventor, author, and emergency physician. He feels strongly that solopreneurs can be empowered by leveraging their income building potential online.

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