You may have heard us talking about using our Unfair Advantage on our recent Sweet Profitable Justice podcast episode. Funnily enough, I had an unpublished post in my drafts covering exactly that topic, so decided to post it as a follow up.
Hopefully it gets your mind ticking about business ideas that you can launch, based on YOUR Unfair Advantage.
One of the hardest parts of starting a new business is knowing where to start. In the business retreat I held in May, I suggested that people start with their passions – as it is easier to validate when you already understand the problems in the sector, the solutions that exist, and often have the relationships necessary for validation and hustling.
Starting with passions didn’t come easily to everyone. So I’ve revised this to simply be, start with an Unfair Advantage. This advantage could be your unique set of skills, it could be relationships you can hustle, it could be some byproduct of another business you have, it could be a user-base or community that respects you. To illustrate, here is a recent real-life example.
At the time of writing (June 2014), I have hundreds of niche sites that are collectively bringing in close to a million visitors every month across a very wide variety of topics (and regions and languages). Greg and I scanned over a bunch of sites we worked in partnership on to look for keywords that might make good lead-gen businesses.
While looking at the keywords we were ranking for, we hypothesized who the customer was, and what problems they were trying to solve while searching these terms into Google. We found two good candidates that were each getting close to 10k+ visitors/mo, had low RPMs (therefore meant we could purchase traffic cheaply) and that Greg happened to also have unfair advantages in.
One of these two sites is in the same industry Greg’s wife works in. Because of this he understood it intimately, and knew exactly how it was being monetized – plus he had a first customer to sell to immediately.
The other site happened to be in the same industry that Greg has spent most of his adult life working in. He has a list of potential clients, as well as a huge number of people to hustle to help him promote this business if he chooses to.
In both cases, VERY FEW other people on the planet that are either doing the same businesses, or considering starting the same businesses would be able to compete with Greg due to his Unfair Advantage. We’re about to start both of these business in the coming weeks and look forward to covering them in more detail on podcast episodes along with on the blog.
So, if you’re just starting out, think through all the unfair advantages you have, the relationships, work experience, passions/hobbies, customer lists, etc. and plot out the potential customers there.
Short post today, but if it helps even just one person reading it to come up with a business idea that eventually evolves into a flourishing business, then it’s been a successful post in my view.
4 thoughts on “Want to Start an Online Business? Start with an Unfair Advantage.”
That is how I started my first niche site – picked a hobby of mine and dug around until I found something I thought would be profitable. It has worked well so far, and I’m continuing to expand the site and increase top-line revenue.
It makes it easier for me because I dont have to outsource (all) my content to the Philippines and then spend a ton of time editing it. I can talk like the readers of my site, and make it sound like im one of them.
Certainly makes life easier when you are familiar with the niche. Thanks for taking the time to comment Jeff.
Gary Kirwan says:
Loving your thoughts on how to think like a full-time internet marketer guys. I need to brainstorm my unfair advantage in my profession. This is just one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to starting my internship in September :)
Well we look forward to working with you too Gary. Bring on September!