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Be the ONE In Your Niche: Unique Strategies for a Successful Online Business

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Be the ONE In Your Niche:  Unique Strategies for a Successful Online Business

I've been thinking a lot about being the ONE lately.  And by extension, I have been thinking a lot about whether other people are thinking about being the ONE as well.

In other words, are you thinking about whether your business is different enough to stand out from the crowd.  Do you have a unique selling proposition?  Do you have a unique product offering that is going to help your business thrive?

I feel like I need to write about this subject for 2 reasons: First, I can easily look back at my own business and see where the majority of my income is coming from, and it's directly tied to the uniqueness of my business; and second, I know that many people reading this blog are just getting started in their online business and they NEED to hear how important it is to not copy other people's business.

If you want to make real money, you have to be the one.

What does it mean to be the ONE?

Well, let's look at a quick example.

Let's say you are looking to open a Burger restaurant in Mesa, Arizona (where I grew up).  How many restaurants are in Mesa?  Oh, probably several thousand.  So, you are not the ONE restaurant.

How many of those sell burgers?  Easily still hundreds.  So, you are not even the ONE burger restaurant.  Unless, you can make your burger restaurant unique you are going to struggle to make money most likely. (This is a HUGE reason that most restaurants are failures…they are just a copy of what already exists).

However, what if the interior of your burger restaurant is surrounded by huge aquariums with all kinds of aquatic life and the tables move throughout the restaurant on a moving belt?  Suddenly you become the ONE restaurant that has moving tables with amazing aquariums that happens to serve burgers.

Now you might have a business.

Throughout the post today, I'd like to dig a little bit deeper into making your online business unique and why that's so important.

Oh and if someone wants to steal that burger aquarium idea, be my guest.

Not the ONE…

My passion for this subject runs deep.  I've seen so many people try and fail with their online business and it's heartbreaking.  However, when I look at many of the online businesses I see out there, I have to simply think, “Well, how was your business any different?”

In fact, if I were able to go in the past and talk to myself 4 or 5 years ago, I would have warned myself of the risks associated with niche sites.  Since, I can't go back in time, I want to warn you if you are putting all your eggs in the niche site basket.

Niche sites are not unique.  Yes, you can make money from niche sites; however, they are more like a loophole, rather than a real business.

I mean, I'm still making money from niche sites…but I KNOW it's a loophole and won't last forever.

Be honest with yourself and think about it.  Let's say you have a niche site that is about the best BBQ grills.  Even if your articles are “unique”, you are really no different than thousands of other websites that provide information on BBQ grills.

When I do a search for “best bbq grills” on Google, I get 1.9 million results.  You are 1 of nearly 2 million, definitely not just the one of one.

bestbbq

Sure, you might be able to rank #1 in Google if you play your cards right and make good money.  But it's a loophole, it's a marketing play (more on this later), not a real unique business.

In general, any site that makes money strictly from affiliate income is not unique (yes, there are exceptions).  You should not bet your future on something that many others are already doing (providing great information on bbq grills).

You should do everything in your power to be the one.

In this example, instead of writing about BBQ grills, maybe you can actually manufacture a unique BBQ grill or a tool for a BBQ.  And I do NOT mean just private label a BBQ tool…that's not really being unique either.

It's time to step up your game.

Yes, I still have niche sites and I still try to take advantage of these “loopholes”, but my real effort and income comes from unique businesses that I have.

In other words, you should start with a business where you can truly be unique (be the one), then if you want…chase other less unique opportunities like niche sites or affiliate income.  But for most people, the real money is always going to come with the unique business.

3 Examples From My Life…

I want to share 3 examples from my business to hopefully drive this point home.

1. Long Tail Pro

About 4 years ago I created a software product called Long Tail Pro. This business wasn't an overnight success, but I've stuck with it and it's grown consistently.  In fact, after a couple of years the business had grown tremendously, and is currently an EXTREMELY successful business that is able to employ several people.

Long Tail Pro has the advantage of being the ONE.  Let me explain.

First of all, how many keyword research tools are out there?  There are lots, but let's say there are 50 keyword research tools.  Already my odds are 50 to 1 versus competing against 1.9 million webpages.

However, Long Tail Pro has some unique features to help it stand out from the competition.  The software is easier to use, it's faster (see comparison to Market Samurai), and it allows you to search multiple seed keywords at once.

In fact, this one feature of searching for multiple seed keywords at once was perhaps the main unique selling proposition for Long Tail Pro when it was first created.  How many other keyword research tools at the time allowed a user to search for multiple seed keywords?  None that I was aware of.

Long Tail Pro became the ONE tool that had this feature.

So, instead of playing a marketing game against 50 other established keyword research tools, I was able to simply showcase my one feature that they did not have.  When you have no competitors, business becomes much easier.  (Obviously there are always competitors in a broad sense…but when you narrow it down to features you truly can stand out).

I wish I was willing to share the monthly income of Long Tail Pro to really drive this point home to you.  I will just say that the net income from the launch I shared a couple of years ago are no longer the biggest net income month that the business has ever had.

The business continues to do well each and every month, even though I haven't done a “launch” in over 2 years.

2. Kindle Books

Another business I'm currently involved in is Kindle books.  This is a tough business.  I will simply say that on the uniqueness scale, writing books is only slightly above creating niche sites.  It's extremely competitive and very difficult to be unique.

Yes, our books are unique titles and may cover some slightly different angles on a topic that other books don't, but overall, our book will just be another book in a pile of thousands of other books on the same subject.

amazondiet

Writing books comes down mostly to marketing.  If you want to be a successful author, you will probably have to get good at marketing.  No matter how unique you try to make your book, there are probably going to be MANY existing books on the same subject.

This is why Perrin and I are doing so much to build our email list and build an audience.  Once you have an audience, this because your unique angle to selling books.  You know more people than the next guy.

Sadly, the best written or most interesting books don't usually win.

The author with the best marketing strategy does win.

I'm not trying to steer you away from writing books, but I am saying that it's extremely difficult to stand out and be the one when you are an author.  The success of your business will probably rely more on your marketing efforts than your writing efforts.

3. Amazon Physical Products

Another business that I've recently become involved with is selling a physical product on Amazon.  If you want to hear more about the Amazon FBA business, you should listen to the podcast interview I did with Chris Guthrie a couple of months ago.

This is an interesting business.  You can either take the copy-cat approach (similar to niche sites and kindle books) and just create a “private label” of a product that already exists on Amazon.  Or you can create a unique feature or even a completely new product, get it manufactured, and sell it on Amazon (and other places too).

For example, during the podcast interview that Chris and I did, we walked through an example of a pet carrier.  The unique feature that we discussed adding was a better shoulder strap, one with better padding if I recall correctly.

How many small dog carriers are there out there?  Likely dozens.  How many dog carriers are there with a comfortable and well padded shoulder strap?  Maybe only one.

You can truly stand out from the crowd and be unique with a physical product.

If you are at all interested in the Amazon FBA business, I would STRONGLY advise you to create a new product or a unique feature…rather than just private labeling the exact same product that is already on Amazon (this could be a simple as adding more padding to a product, creating it in a new color, or some other minor tweak that customers are looking for).

Either way, you will have to do some marketing.  However, when you have a unique feature you will most likely have to do less marketing!

Now let me give you some insight into my own Amazon business.  I'll give a more in-depth report down the road, but for now I just want to make a point.

Before I had a product manufactured in China, I searched and searched on Amazon for how I could make my product unique.  I actually came up with the product need out of my own life experience.  I will just say that I had something similar to what I eventually manufactured, but could never find something similar on Amazon.

I also read lots of Amazon reviews and so I KNEW other people wanted the same feature I was looking for…but it simply was not on Amazon (at least that I and other reviewers could find).

I didn't create a new invention or a new product, but I did create a unique feature (think about the padded shoulder strap for a dog carrier…something like that).

Well, I had my product manufactured and shipped to Amazon.  I listed it, but I immediately went on vacation and have essentially had no chance to do any marketing (promotions, getting reviews, etc.) since I listed the product 3 weeks ago.

However, I was surprised to find that my product is selling pretty well!  In fact, take a look at these numbers:

amazonsales

How is my product able to sell well despite the fact that I haven't done ANY marketing?  Because my product is the ONE.  I have the one product on Amazon that people in my very narrow niche are looking for.

When you have no competitors, business becomes much easier.  Yes, this is a very small niche…but I believe with a little bit of marketing I can get my sales up to at least $10,000 a month with this one product.

The product really didn't start selling until about April 1st, so the “30 days” number should end up closer to $2k to $2.5k.  I know this is nothing to get overly excited about…however it DOES show what can be done with very little marketing effort if you create a unique enough product.

Also, I purposely removed the number of units sold to make it just a little more difficult to find for people that still want to copy-cat others…even after reading this post!

To say the least, I will be trying to scale the sales of this product, but I'll also be thinking of other unique products that I can sell.

I really like being the only fish in the pond.

Strategies for being different

I'd like to cover a few traditional ways that business try to be different.  You can call this a unique selling proposition, you can call it strategy, you can call it standing out from the crowd, or competitive advantage.

1. Lowest Price.  Wal-mart is known for this strategy.  It works for one company, but that's about it.  I would strongly advise you not to be the low cost leader.  You will simply eat away at your profit margins, and as soon as someone prices their product lower then yours, your complete strategy is toast.

2. Highest Quality.  A higher quality product is also usually the highest priced product.  This is a great strategy if you can truly create a better product that is higher quality.  This is an excellent strategy (think of high priced products for examples: Apple, Chanel 5, designer clothes, etc.).

3. Original Idea.  This is really a first mover strategy, because copies will come quickly.  If you really can think of an original idea and get it out into the market quickly, this is also a great strategy.  This is often why tech startups seek venture capital…so they can scale their business quickly even if it's not profitable at the beginning.  By moving/growing fast enough, they become much more difficult to knock off (think Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, etc)

4. Focus or Go Niche.  This is actually directly from Michael Porter's generic business strategies.  Basically it means if you can focus on a specific market segment rather than the general population, this can be a great business strategy.

5. Add Unique Features to Existing Products.  This is a combination of having an original idea and going “niche”.  However, this is a strategy that has worked very well for me (Long Tail Pro and Amazon product).  If you can find an existing product and simply make it better or appeal to a new audience with a new feature, then you suddenly have a unique business with less direct competition.

Marketing Can Be Difficult…or Easy

If you don't have one of the above 5 strategies in your business, the only thing you have left is marketing.  The good news is that marketing can be very powerful.

So even if you have the exact same business as thousands of other people you can still be successful, you just have to be better at marketing than your competitors.

The downside is also that you MUST be better at marketing than your competitors.

On the other hand, if you create a unique business, you should still try to be better at marketing than your competitors, but you don't necessarily have to be better to have a great business, because your business will be meeting a market demand that others simply aren't meeting.

Marketing is much easier when you have a unique business.  When you are the ONE people want to talk about you all on their own.  Press comes easy because you are unique.

Instead of searching out guest post opportunities or podcast interviews, they come to you.

Long Tail Pro has been mentioned hundreds of times on blogs and very well known online publications…all without my involvement or knowledge.  My product is unique enough and the small amount of marketing that I have done has allowed it to continue to grow organically.

This doesn't usually happen with niche sites or Kindle books.  It's extremely difficult and almost impossible to be unique enough with a niche site or Kindle book; so marketing is still required.

Niche sites are a marketing play.  You have to build more links or create a content piece that will get shared on social media.  All of this is marketing.

The exact same is true of Kindle books.  You can share your books on free sites, pay for promotions, and get people on your email list through marketing efforts.  The book is rarely unique enough to sell itself.

Overall, marketing is still essential for any type of business that you have.  However, it truly does become easier when you have a unique product offering.

How is your business different?

I hope I've made my point.  If your business isn't unique enough, you are going to have to rely heavily on marketing.  In addition, a business that isn't unique probably won't stand the test of time and any success you are experiencing today, will probably be gone tomorrow.

So, take a good hard look at your business.  Are you the ONE?  Or are there hundreds (or millions) of competitors doing essentially the exact same thing as you?

If you are just realizing that your business really isn't that unique, perhaps it's time to get those creative juices flowing!  What unique idea can you come up with?  How can you improve on an existing product?

If you have a niche site or a Kindle book and your marketing efforts aren't really taking off; perhaps it's time to pivot and try become a bit more unique.  This could mean creating a software product, a new training product, a physical product, or perhaps simply tweaking the idea of an existing product.

Overall, if you are looking for a long term business that has the best chance of helping you reach your financial goals…you should really be trying to create something unique.

You don't want hoards of competitors.

You want to be the ONE.

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68 Comments for this Post

  1. Jon

    Jon

    Great thoughts Spencer. I have been thinking about this a lot too. You will end up spending as much time and effort on a business in a crowded market vs being the ONE but in the end you will make more money and have more fun being the one and devloping a strong following. For some reason, even as entrepreneurs we seem to have fear about being the ONE and innovating a market rather than just playing copy cat. Thanks for these thoughts and encouragement.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Jon! I agree that you could end up spending just as much time in a crowded market, but with a unique product your profits could be 10 fold…or more. The barrier to entry and often monetary investment is a bit higher when you are the ONE, both reasons that your business is likely to have less competition.

  2. Josh Shogren

    Josh Shogren

    love it! This post comes at a good time as I am about to place my first order for my product I’m selling on Amazon.

    I did exactly what you mentioned and improved upon everyone’s pain points with the current products in my market. My product isn’t that much different but by having that one feature that everyone else lacks gives me a huge advantage. Can’t wait to start selling!

    And impressive results already from selling on Amazon!

    -josh

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      That’s great Josh! Glad to hear that you were able to find a unique angle to your product…that’s a great start.

  3. Yaro Park

    Yaro Park

    Finally post about amazon FBA.
    I was waiting when you will show the progress. You did pretty good without marketing.
    I am interested to start doing FBA as well and i did research for products and found that one of the private label companies did exactly the same as you described. They found people complaints, suggestions. They improved existed product with high quality, made different packages for different people . And after a year they are #1 product in category.
    I am looking how to beat them and make better product and my advantage is: my niche website which is number 1 in bing and in yahoo for main keyword.
    And Spencer it will be cool if you can add to monthly reports your FBA business. For example: What did you do in last month for FBA business marketing and here is the difference in ranking, sales and etc.

    Cheers,
    Yaro

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Yaro! I think that strategy is just fine…find small ways that you can improve products based on customer feedback. Having a niche site with some traffic is a good way to drive some initial sales to your product.

      I’m not sure what type of income I will share on a regular basis for the FBA business, but it’s very possible that I’ll start sharing it on a monthly basis.

  4. Tung Tran

    Tung Tran

    Great article Spencer! I agree with everything but this:

    “Niche sites are not unique. Yes, you can make money from niche sites; however, they are more like a loophole, rather than a real business.”

    Niche sites CAN be unique. How?

    1. Organize information differently

    Anyone can build a website and add 20-30 pages of content. But what if you have a filter or search function to help people find the right content easier?

    That’s how sites like lenshero.com or snapsort.com dominate a very niched market.

    2. Produce exceptionally high quality content

    Content is not hard to create. But high quality content that created by niche experts is expensive and hard to create. That’s how you make it unique.

    For example, thewirecutter.com is just a site filled with “Best product” type of content and affiliate links. Why it’s still alive and thriving? Because every piece of content they publish takes weeks & thousands of dollars on testing to create. It’s not really to replicate by anyone at all.

    3. Proper branding building

    Take nerdfitness.com for example. The site teaches nerds to get fit. And according to Wikipedia definition, Nerdfitness is a niche website.

    But it’s a million dollar brand now. And thrive in a very competitive market. It’s a combination of niching down+ high quality content + brand building + right marketing.

    Just my 2 cents. I’d love to know your feedback on this too.

    • Matt

      Matt

      Great points Tung. I like to build “niche” sites to test the market first. If I get traffic and can make some money, then I develop my own product. Also, if you create an FBA product similar to a niche site with good traffic, etc. that you own, it’s pretty easy to get eyeballs on your amazon product.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Hey Tung, great points to add to the discussion!

      I still stick with my original statement however…For the most part with niche sites the key to success is marketing, not the points you mentioned. Don’t get me wrong, I think if people are creating blogs and niche sites (like I do), they SHOULD implement the 3 points you made.

      1. Organize information differently. I agree. However, you are still in the information business and like Kindle books it’s very difficult to stand apart from others when you provide essentially the same information. Organizing it differently will help…but it still comes down to marketing more than anything.

      2. Produce high quality content. Yes, people should be doing this. However, even with your example of the wirecutter.com, I would contend that they are not successful because of the high quality content, but more because the founder (Brian Lam) was a long time editor of a large publication (Gizmodo) and knew lots of people in the news industry. As soon as he put the site up, he had lots of people that knew him (large online publications) linking to him and sending him traffic. Yes, the quality content help his business stick around and helps generate more leads and sales…but it was a marketing play not a unique business. Most people don’t have that many connections like Brian did…it was more through his industry connections and networking (marketing) that the site is successful…not the content.

      3. Proper Branding. This is vital for any business. However, branding is 100% a marketing play…not uniqueness. Nerd Fitness got it’s early reading through outreach and marketing, not because it was different. If you read Steve Kamb’s story (owner of NerdFitness.com) one of his earliest breaks was getting mentioned on ArtofManliness.com, which he did through email outreach and marketing.

      I agree that Brand building is vital and there are LOTS of examples of blogs that were able to beat out the crowd through clever marketing, branding, and better information. I would contend that NerdFitness wasn’t very successful until Steve finally decided to create his own unique product and sell it. Yes, he had built up a huge blog with lots of traffic, but the real money came when he finally created a unique product and sold it to his audience. His real business is the unique product he sells (which I’ve purchased), not his blog. His blog is the marketing behind the business.

      I think it’s a great discussion to have! However, I still believe that Niche Sites are extremely difficult to create a unique business around. If you start selling a product on your niche site…now that’s a different story…

      • Tung Tran

        Tung Tran

        Great points!

        I also agree with you that Brian Lam was a big factor for the success of Thewirecutter. That site got links from Forbes and Lifehack from day one lol.

  5. izakh

    izakh

    Another great post thanks . I myself have been giving some thought in to this.

  6. Stephen

    Stephen

    Did you need to hire an industrial designer for your Amazon product? Also, did you find a manufacturer on Alibaba? If so, did the manufacturer sell these to other people as well? I’ve heard that can be a problem.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      No, I didn’t need to hire an industrial designer. Yes, manufactured on Alibaba. Yes, the manufacturer sells to other people, but they create several versions of the product I sell…and no one on Amazon is selling the version I’m currently selling, so not sure if or when anyone will try to copy me.

  7. Christian

    Christian

    Great article Spencer, thanks. I’ve got an webshop with my girlfriend where we sell a unique product in The Netherlands, so I totally get your point of being the one.

    One pitfall is that it takes a while before it grows and you have to investin the physical products, unlike for example a niche website where the costs are much lower.

    I also got an content marketing agency (way before content marketing became a buzzword), but the webshop is sometimes much more fun to do and see it grow.

    So I’ll be taking your advice and think about how to be better/unique from the competition with products.

    Do you think you can also realize this with a (news) website? For example, a website about investing in commodities?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      If you create a news website about investing…it needs to be more than information. You need to sell a product or make it unique in some way. For example, Matt Paulson does very well selling a monthly financial newsletter to investors. You could create software, unique newsletters, or other products…but a website that is simply information might not be enough.

      • Christian

        Christian

        Thanks Spencer, then we’re on the same page :). I’ve seen enough examples of such webites without a real extra/bonus.

  8. Quinton

    Quinton

    “Be Unique” that phrase has always made me uncomfortable. Because when you are unique, you have to be judge on your own talents (or those of your team/company) and the blame falls squarely on oneself… not on some formula or course you were trying to follow.

    Thanks for the reminder. Will be working on my company’s individuality.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, it can be uncomfortable! Best of luck Quinton!

  9. Roger

    Roger

    Great Spencer!
    We must be following the news. Because I have watching a bunch of Peter Thiel interviews. This is his basic premise in his book, “zero to one” (no amazon affiliate link here- its banned in Minnesota).
    Thanks for sharing some more down to earth examples of this.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Roger! Yep, I’ve read the book a few months ago…maybe that’s why some of these ideas have been percolating for me.

  10. Matthew Redmond

    Matthew Redmond

    Can you help me find my niche market in leadership training?

  11. Hung Pham

    Hung Pham

    After reading this post, I know that what the business is. Business is very difficult, however, if we have five strategies or at least one of them, we will get archive, but that strategy must be unique.

    I have just step in business, very thing is new for me. What I do is just step-by-step learning from other persons. I don’t have reasonable strategy when join in business (Internet marketing), so I still get no succeed.

    My mind will be refreshed after reading this post.

    Thanks,

  12. Brian

    Brian

    Great post Spencer. Would you share with us what your profit was out of that Amazon product? Out of the 2K for the 30 days, what was your costs for manufacturing and shipping?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I will basically break even after my first 100 products sold. (No profit). This is due to start up costs like costs for graphics, pictures, and then the initial test order is more expensive than my second order will be. My next batch of product will be about a 50% profit margin.

  13. Joshua

    Joshua

    Spencer, Just want to say thanks for the timely blog post! Got me thinking on the ‘big picture’ before my new website is launched. I always thought that my unique story would put me ahead of the game, but everyone has a story online. I need to be much more than a story. To be truly successful the way I envision I need to become the ONE! This post is great motivation and provides insight for my monetization strategy in terms of leveraging what makes me unique and delivers something of value to my audience. YOU lead by example, YOU are the man! #Believe

    • Ricky

      Ricky

      Spencer, long time reader and listener of your podcast here. Lots to reflect on in this post. And in living right near Mesa, AZ, I agree that another burger joint isn’t unique or necessary but that would be cool if someone ran with the aquarium idea (won’t be me, but I would eat there though) haha. Definitely awesome to learn from your progression from niche sites to all the unique ventures that you’re part of today and have shared with your audience along the way. I second what Joshua said, and as his good buddy, I’d like to add that he is ONE, just like you, who people rally behind! Thank you for your ongoing guidance and for belief that all of us can success when we go about it the right way.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks for stopping by Joshua…glad this post helped out! Best of luck in everything!

  14. Bernhard

    Bernhard

    I follow you since years and you have been always an inspiration for me. I agree with what you point out, in my opinion fundamentals and marketing basics. I think the online marketing world is more challenging regarding technical things.

    I also share your opinion on niche sites. Long term perspective is always better ! You should work on real authority sites, with a real business. However, thanks to you and your niche sites I got into that !

    I had an enormous change in my SEO results. I started last year with several tests, and I was able to rank all of my web properties pages in the TOP 10 of google, even within a high competitive market. All 100% White Hat, all 100% Organic and NO Backlink building.

    I was running lot’s of tests / several case studies in which I show how I was able to get 5k visitors within 3 month. One of my pages has currently 20k visitors per month, and that after 5 month. I knew ranking is one of such technical obstacles that has to be taken and now I am actually very successful with that !

    And yes, I also tested and used Long Tail Pro and made last year a review about it. It is indeed hard work. Building authority sites and finally making money with them takes also lot’s of patience !

    That being said, keep rocking Spencer, thank you for all the info and experience you share with us ! You are a true rockstar !

  15. Alex Stern

    Alex Stern

    Thanks Spencer for this post, I have been longing to know more about the amazon product case study. One more thing; could you help us know how you lunch eBooks? what is the process of lunching an eBook?

  16. Virgil

    Virgil

    Hey Spencer,

    Thanks for taking the time out to share information. I’m a loyal follow and look forward to all the new posts.I know it’s a bitch to stay consistent especially when you could be on a boat somewhere with a Corona in your hand. Thanks again!

  17. David

    David

    Thank you for the post.
    I am going to incorporate your advices to my strategy

  18. Matthew

    Matthew

    What an excellent post! Your best in months. And I love that you’re really spending time and replying to comments—that is INCREDIBLY helpful. Thank you, Spencer!

    I agree with what you’re saying about niche sites—that they’re a loophole, instead of a real business. They’re impermanent. That said, if you have a niche site with a dedicated mailing list that actively buys affiliate products from the emails you send, wouldn’t that make it more of a real business?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Thanks Matthew…glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, I do think if you can build up an email list and build a real following, that becomes a much more sustainable business. It can just be more difficult to do that if you don’t have a unique product.

      You CAN build a “real” business with or without a unique product or angle…it just become SO much easier when you become the “one” business providing your particular offering.

  19. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin

    Hi Spencer.

    Interesting post.

    I had a business on eBay at one point in my life. Being the ONE definitely helps push things along. Many times, I would be the one selling a certain product. The only product of its kind on eBay. Then the copy cats came and wrung all the profit margins out of the game.

    I think another key is diversifying your business. If you can’t innovate, diversify. Eggs not all in one basket as you say.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us here Spencer.

  20. Oliver Nguyen

    Oliver Nguyen

    Nice article. Spencer similar whether personality Steve Jobs 😀

  21. Mike J

    Mike J

    Although you make a valid point, Spencer, the average person could read your detailed instructions on making a niche site and stand some chance of achieving success with such a site at low cost. Being ‘the one’ though entails a much greater monetary risk and there is no real ‘blueprint’ on how to be successful – which means that many people could be inspired to be ‘the one’ but end up spending money and getting nowhere.

  22. Tashia

    Tashia

    I love what co-founder of Paypal and billionaire, Peter Thiel has said: “There are 2 kinds of companies in this world. There are companies that are competitive and there are companies that are monopolies. It should be the goal of every founder, of every entrepreneur to try to build a monopoly business. You want to be a monopoly, you don’t want to be in a world of competition.”

    Great post Spencer. I enjoyed and agree with your article.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Great quote! I agree. I really enjoyed Peter Thiel book…Zero to One.

  23. Jyoti Chauhan

    Jyoti Chauhan

    Hi Spencer,

    It is really awesome post. I totally agree with you and liked your point very much “be the one in your niche”. It is not easy to stand out from crowd but nothing it is possible if we have great strategies and great plan.

    Thanks
    Jyoti

  24. Joseph Ho

    Joseph Ho

    Great thoughts, I agreed with you that in order for an online business to be successful you have to be unique.

  25. Jimmy

    Jimmy

    It was a good detailed read spencer. Totally agree with you on the uniqueness part, its like a strong foundation for your business. More often than not ,the uniqueness is a specific pain point in the niche you are trying to solve and people are ready to pay for it. This principle applies everywhere. Be it niche sites, selling on amazon & even physical products. “Nest” thermostat is also a very famous example of uniqueness :).

  26. Mark Miller

    Mark Miller

    Hi Spence,

    Great article. This is why Domino’s Pizza was able to become a Billion-dollar icon in overcrowded industry in less than a decade ago. They don’t have the best pizza, not the warmest environment and don’t have the largest variety. It was by making ONE simple distinction in the market place – the need for fast hot pizza, 30-minute guarantee or it’s free.

  27. Holly

    Holly

    Spencer,

    This was a truly amazing read for someone like myself. I am constantly thinking about uniqueness and what I can do to stand out. It’s just so hard to come up with a new product or twist on an old one without quality market research. I fear spending a good deal of time and money only to find out that this ISN’T what the market was looking for..Oh the joys of being your own boss. 🙂

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Yep, it’s not easy…but that’s why the financial rewards can come when you figure it out.

      • Bill

        Bill

        I should have been more clear. I was wondering if there is training that you recommend for starting FBA using the process that you use. I understand that you say find a product that needs improvement, manufacture, then list on Amazon, but is there something available that’s more comprehensive.

  28. Bill

    Bill

    I really want to learn how to do this. Do you have a step by step guide on getting started or a course that you recommend?

    Thank you,
    Bill

    • Phil

      Phil

      Hey Bill
      Spencer gave you pretty much all you need to know here. But if the burger restaurant doesn’t take your fancy, there are millions of other ideas. 🙂

      Great post Spencer. It’s clear how you set yourself apart from the others, and it’s paid off.

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Learn how to do what?

  29. Rahul

    Rahul

    Awesome post! As you have mentioned high quality products with cheaper price would sell a lot. I love the unique marketing strategy you use. To stand out from the rest we need to do something different.

  30. Zach Manning

    Zach Manning

    Hey Spencer, Great Post!. So excited to see you jump into FBA, I’ve been doing FBA for a company and make a % of Net Margin each month. Sold over 330,000$ worth of product last year (and I started going full blast in April)

    Currently thinking of a product to private label myself. So I can finally kill the 9-5, but Amazon FBA can be tricky, About to start an Authority site on all the Knowledge I have gathered over the last year. ( I could write literally 1000’s of pages of content)

    I have also developed many little excel software like programs for speeding up the accounting type work.

    I’m willing to show you the brand and product listings, just don’t want it out to the public, let me know whats the best way to Private message you. Also if you have ANY questions on sourcing from China (the hardest part of FBA) let me know. I have many many contacts in China that I have gathered over the years working at an E-commerce company, and now doing FBA here.

    – Cheers

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Hey Zach…thanks for reaching out! Feel free to use my contact page (in the header). This sends me a private email.

  31. Steve

    Steve

    This is a great post. I think it really gives validation to what pat Flynn started when he created his foodtruckr website. It all comes down to branding and setting yourself aside from the competition. Sometimes I tend to view my niche sites as money making but not really a business that I would count on due to the “loophole effect” that you have stated.

    Amazon FBA is a great entry into a “real” business. I think that moving forward we should be focused on solving problems and building business around that.

  32. Paul

    Paul

    Great article Spencer, and lots of valid points that make a lot of sense.

    I have continually tried to be ‘the one’ in my niche, not so much by offering a unique product, but by offering a better quality product, a better service, and better value than my competition.

    This has always worked well for me, however, I find that it does not take long for my competition to find out what I am doing, and then upgrade their own products to match exactly what I am doing.

    As the web has grown, so has the volume of competition, and I now find that within a few days, they have added the same features, which is tough sometimes, as this prevents me from standing out in the crowd.

    On a positive aspect, it does keep me on my toes, and I am always trying to think of the next thing I can do to be unique, and even trying to think of something that would be very difficult to copy – but this in itself is a challenge – and I am sure that I will soon be running out of ideas!

    Thanks again
    Paul

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      Great points Paul. I agree that competition certainly keeps us on our toes. Would be nice if it went away though 🙂

  33. Derek Smith

    Derek Smith

    Hi Spencer,

    Great read on the topic. These posts are so much more valuable than the typical posts I see from people on how they made thousands with no real background information. Seeing the nuts and bolts of how you think is what separates you from most others online. What are your thoughts on adding FB ads to the whole Amazon product process ?

    • Spencer Haws

      Spencer Haws

      I think adding Facebook or other advertising is a great way to scale a business potentially. If you can figure out a good funnel that leads to profitable sales, FB can be a great way to scale.

  34. Paul

    Paul

    Another great post Spencer. As someone considered to be a jack of all trades – master of none, transforming my business identity into being ‘the one’ comes with many challenges. But for greater long-term success it is definitely something that needs to be considered.

  35. Carlin

    Carlin

    Great article. Glad you are doing well with Amazon. I would also caution that while having your eggs in the Amazon basket you make sure to sell something with a low defect/return rate as Amazon can get pretty upset if there are a lot of returns and A-Z claims! Also, if possible, try not to just put your product on Amazon and then let Amazon take care of it.. we also have a Shopify store which does pretty well. It’s good to diversify your online presence I think it helps create credibility for your Amazon store to also have a Branded Website where you sell products. It helps to have social media accounts set up that get marketing attention. People want to see social relevance and validation. They want to build a relationship with the brand. Are new products going to be launched? What’s the next step beyond product #1 on Amazon? This is how one grows their bottom line – by creating context for the product, creating a relationship with the consumer, and creating the next step in the brand evolution.

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