Top 7 Niche Business Ideas: What’s Working Right Now?

Top 7 Niche Business Ideas: What’s Working Right Now?

I love business ideas.  And even more than that, I love niche business ideas!  I of course was able to quit my full-time job over a year ago because of the niche business that I had built (of creating small keyword targeted websites).

However, since then I have both launched and observed several other niche businesses that have also been successful in their own right.  I now have a software business, WordPress plugin and theme, and as of yesterday, I also have an iPhone app business!

So, I certainly have some experience in a few different areas, but I am also aware of other niche business ideas that people are trying out…and some are quite successful.  But obviously some things that worked a couple of years ago may not be as good an opportunity today.  Overall, I want to dive into the question – What’s working right now?

To start off, I am going to list the top 7 niche business ideas that are “hot” right now.  These are ideas that people are talking about, trying, and overall appear to be what people are pursuing in 2012.  This by no means is an indication of what will make you most successful.  These just appear to be the ideas that people are trying most right now.  If you have a unique idea that is not listed here, even better!  The unique ideas that people are not trying can often have the most upside potential.

Now to clarify, the types of ideas on this list had to meet some very specific criteria.  I am not looking at all small business ideas as a whole.  For the most part, I am concerned with the business ideas that could be started by ONE person and could all be done online.  So, in reality these are small internet based business ideas.

So, here is a list of the top 7 Niche Business Ideas in 2012 (in no particular order):

1. Small Niche Sites

Building small niche sites is how I was able to build a nice income for myself and quit my job.  I still think this is a great business venture.  Even with all the changes that Google has made recently with the Panda and Penguin updates, there is still plenty of money to be made here.  In fact, I still have sites that I built years ago that are bringing in a nice passive income.  The idea for the business is still the same.  Find a keyword that has at least 1,000 exact match searches a month and has low competition in Google.  Build a site around that keyword and rank in Google or other search engines.  Then you can make money when visitors click your ads or buy affiliate products.

I will say that you can indeed still make money with these small niche sites, but its less “hot” than it was a year or 2 ago.  Google is making it more difficult (but far from impossible) to rank, and there is also a lot more people building these types of sites than there used to be, so its very competitive.

2. Blogging (or “Authority” Sites)

Blogging has been a great online business for a long time.  But guess what?  Its still a great venture!  I’ve been able to do quite well with my blog here at NichePursuits.com.  In addition, as I have mentioned a couple of times recently, I am in the process of building a large “authority site” (just a big blog really) outside of the internet marketing niche that I hope to build into a viable business over the next year.  (I actually wrote a 15 page guide sharing the exact strategy and plans I will be using to build this branded site, I discuss how you can get it here).

Essentially, the idea is to build a large brand or at least a site that is looked to as a destination location in your niche.  Rather than relying solely on search engine traffic, the idea is to build up and audience that will keep coming back for your take on whatever subject you are covering.  Now search engine traffic is still a big part of this, and you will still want to target lots of long tail keywords in your posts, but this is very different from small niche sites that essentially target 1 keyword.

If you are passionate about a particular subject, then blogging could be a great way to go!  The potential to earn a six figure income is definitely there as many others have shown already. You can make money from advertising, affiliate marketing, creating your own products, or doing joint ventures.

3. iPhone Apps

With the popularity of the iPhone and Android phones over the past few years, mobile phone apps as a business is a very real possibility.  Many entrepreneurs have hit it big with iPhone apps already.  In fact, I’ve interviewed a couple of them recently on my podcast: Benny Hsu and Pat Flynn (and I have one more coming this week!).  And of course, I have been documenting my process of building my own iPhone app for the past several months right here on my blog.

The draw of this business is that for a couple of thousand dollars (sometimes) you can completely outsource the creation of your app.  All you do is come up with the idea, hire a developer, and manage the entire process.  The reality is that more and more people are using mobile phones and so the market is a fast growing one.  Yes, its a competitive marketplace, but there is still plenty of room for original ideas and useful apps.

I plan on working on additional iPhone apps in the future because I think there is a lot of potential here.

4. Kindle eBooks

This is a business that is growing in “hotness” right now.  I’ve personally never published a Kindle ebook, but apparently its very easy to do and making money here has a huge passive income potential.

When I first heard about publishing Kindle ebooks, I thought people were trying to write best-sellers and essentially becoming a full-time author.  But after doing some research, I found that some people are essentially treating this opportunity like small niche sites in a way.  Essentially, they are finding a niche topic to write about – usually in the non-fiction category.  This could be anything from cooking, gardening, or a how-to guide.

But essentially they write a short (often less than 50 pages) book, effectively title the book, and then upload it to Amazon.  People find the book by doing searches right on Amazon and their book shows up that targets the niche topic extremely well.  Kindle ebooks are usually priced in the $0.99 to $4.99 range, so each sale won’t bring in very much, but the idea to have lots of books.  If you can have a dozen books that each make 5 or 10 sales a day, then it really starts to add up.

Anyway, I haven’t tried this, but from the chatter going on, its a pretty hot business right now.  I don’t know if people are actually making very much money doing this (some claim to be), but its certainly an idea that lots of people are trying right now.

5. Software development

Developing a niche piece of software may seem daunting, but the reality is that you can outsource the programming portion of it.  I own Long Tail Pro, but I’m not a programmer.  This piece of software has done very well for me, so I would be leaving out a great business idea that I am personally familiar with if I didn’t mention software development.

The great part about owning a software business is that the return on investment can be very high.  If you are able to come up with a small piece of software, you can often have it outsourced and developed for only a couple thousand dollars (bigger ideas can cost much much more of course).  Once its developed, you can sell the product over and over again – there is no marginal cost for selling an additional unit – its essentially all profit.

So, if you can think of a niche market that might be able to use a simple piece of software, don’t let the fact that you are not a programmer scare you off!  You might have the opportunity at a great business.

6. Information products

People selling eBooks or other information products on the internet has become so popular, that their is even a name for it: infopreneur. I have to admit that some of the people selling ebooks or other information products in the internet marketing space can be pretty shady.  Many of them rightfully get a bad rap.  However, there is also A LOT of great products out there that are nothing more than an ebook, video recording, or audio recording.  Many millionaires have been made from selling information products.

Of course if you have an existing audience perhaps through your own blog or authority site, then selling an info-product will be much easier, but it can also be done in other ways.  You can form a joint venture with someone with an audience, pay to email someone’s list, or pay for advertising.

Even if you are not an expert in your field, you can create an information product by interviewing experts, paying experts to write content for you, or in many other ways.  These expert interviews or other information can be combined into a series of podcasts, video tutorials, an online membership site, or basic ebook.  Lots of different formats exist in which you can sell information, but the key is to provide true value and find a willing audience.

7. Freelance Services

This may be less passive in nature, but doing freelance work can be a great way to bring money in the door.  You can offer your freelance services by writing (article writer, ghost writer, copywriter), programming, design work, proof-reading and editing, Fiverr gigs, and much more.

With the advent of freelance sites such as Elance.com and Odesk.com, you can often find work doing some sort of unique task that can perhaps be your first official business.  Sure, you are still trading time for money essentially, but it might be better than having a full-time boss!

So there you have it, 7 great niche business ideas to choose from.  Some of these are clearly working better than others right now, and maybe they are not all for you.  However, perhaps reading through some of these sparked an idea that you can then take and create something completely original on your own.

Are there other niche business ideas that are working well for you right now that I didn’t mention?  If so, I would love to hear about them…let me know!  I look forward to reading any comments or questions that you have below.

 


How Long Tail Pro Can Help You Capture Way More Search Engine Traffic

If your business could benefit in any way from getting more search engine traffic, I have some good news.

Search engines are in love with long tail keywords! If you are able to provide relevant content targeting these long tail keywords, then you can see a dramatic increase to the amount of traffic Google and other search engines send you.

Long Tail Pro is a powerful keyword research tool that makes finding these valuable long tail keywords a breeze.

What are “long tail keywords”? Essentially, these are words or phrases that people type into the search engines to find very specific things. Rather than searching for “dog training” a user might search for “how to potty train a pitbull”.

This is an example of a Long Tail Keyword. To visualize how Long Tail Keywords work...

Click to Continue Reading


32 Comments for this entry

  1. Hey Spencer,

    This post is really bringing out the “entrepreneur’s curse” in me! Not good :P In all honestly though, I do really want to explore quite a few of these (and already am in a few of them as well). Just have to focus on the few I’m in right now and make good use of outsourcing so I don’t spread myself too thin!

    Great post!

    Thomas

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Yep, I guess its a “curse” we all deal with. Just make sure you have a “main” focus that you can see through to completion. Don’t worry about other ideas too much until you’ve completed the first project. Best of luck!

  2. All 7 are very viable sources of revenue. I always suggest to use more than one of those for revenue (diversification of course). For me, I’m in 4 out of those 7 categories.

    Kindle books are super easy to do – literally takes about 2 or 3 hours of total time per book. I’m doing 1 to 2 books per week and doing pretty well. I’m also writing non of the books myself.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Hey Shuck thanks for sharing your experience with Kindle ebooks – sounds a lot like niche sites in a way…I may have to try it one of these days…

      • It’s exactly like niche sites…without the hosting and costs…and website design…and backlinks…and facebook and twitter…and the rest of the junk I could live without, lol.

        • stefan says:

          Hello Shuck,

          If I’m not to daring can you share and bring some informaions about how you build your amazon books.

          Thanks

  3. Clayton says:

    These are all interesting ventures but I am pretty sure most will all be over saturated in the next six months and everyone will be looking for the next best quick money opportunity. I like your idea of software development, mainly because it takes some serious creativity and work, probably the things most people don’t want to pursue due to the time involved in both the front and back end.

  4. Jenni says:

    Excellent post as always Spencer :)

    Did you know you can actually publish your existing blog to Kindle and make money from that? Might be worth trying as an experiment.

  5. Adam says:

    Spencer,

    Out of all 7 of your ideas I have done 5 of them. I recently started writing a kindle ebook and I hope to release it later next month. Like you said, it is similar to a niche site as the ebook targets a small niche. Essentially, people could create a kindle ebook by looking at an authority site and taking the ideas behind the posts and creating subsections.

    Adam

  6. I have two of the niche business ideas that I am looking to pursue next. One is app development and the other is selling Kindle ebooks. I think it’s much easier and definitely cheaper to get a ebook done than an app.

    I’ll set a goal that in the next two months I’ll publish a Kindle ebook. Must diversify as much as possible.

    Spencer, you are known as the adsense niche website developer, but actually you have your eggs in many baskets – sites, different software, plugins, themes, now apps. Really-really smart.

  7. James says:

    Hey Spencer – some great ideas as usual coming from you. I think my main focus right now is #2 – Blogging / Authority sites. They seem like they can work VERY well if you write enough content that people are interested in. I am still impressed with Fraser’s story and want to accomplish just a fraction of that and I’d be super happy with those results!

    I think then once you get success in one of these opportunities you should try another and diversify the income as much as possible so that you don’t get stuck putting all your eggs in one basket. However you came up with a lot of great ideas. Thanks for sharing again!

  8. nice list Spencer,

    software development is something i will likely get into next. I’ve tried the rest (in progress with a couple). what i like most about the post is that is presents alternatives to further diversify one’s portfolio of online businesses which i am a big proponent of…

  9. Marek says:

    Hi Spencer.

    I must say this here, THANK YOU FOR LONG TAIL PRO :)

    I already grabbed 17 exact match domains with it, and it took me like 30 minutes. I does help a lot, no need to check domains manually is a big time saver!!
    The software is worth every dollar I paid for it.

    If I were you :-) I would just add proxy servers to it (so I can run it for more keywords).

    Once again thanks for great blog and great software.
    Take care!

  10. John says:

    Lol. Thank you, Spencer.

    At least now I know a couple business ideas to stay as far away from as possible. Stay as far away from ‘the herd’, as you can. Its so stupid how one guy makes some money selling kindle ebooks, then he transitions into ‘guru’ mode, makes a book about how he makes money selling kindle ebooks, and guess what:

    Now ‘the herd’ is moving on to the next ‘easy money’ bandwagon. Guess what happens a few months, a year from now? Thousands of people in the herd will mass-produce a bunch of BS from an indian writer that can speak english to save his life, then what happens? The ball drops and ‘the herd’ loses again. Sadly, in the process, all of the honest people who don’t believe in spamming will lose the opportunity to create that income stream.

    Its just like what is happening with google right now. The herd is ruining it for everyone else. All of the honest people are getting hit from these google updates as collateral damage because all the doushbags want to spam their way to the top of the SERPs. It is really ridiculous. You almost feel compelled go just dive into the warrior forum and rip off all of the idiots that are leading the spam revolution with some bs product that they have probably already created!

    godspeed. Thanks Spencer.

  11. Carl says:

    Hi Spencer…

    I am into small niche sites… I was wondering.. On another post, you mentioned in the comments that your keyword density is under 2%… When you calculate your density percentage, do you take images into consideration.. (alt, description tags)… I noticed I was well over 2% with the image tags, but under 2% without them… not sure what I should do… thanks in advance for your advice… :)

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Carl – no I wasn’t taking image tags into consideration. I would try to make sure that you in content keyword density (not images) is less than 1%. 2% is pretty high.

  12. Aqif Azizan says:

    I’ve tested most of them and find out it is awesome ways to make money and build online business empire.

    Some of them can be merge into one type of business. For example, blogging can merge with infoproduct, and freelance servis.

    This is a great post. I think I will start to develop iPhone Apps on 2012. Thank you Spencer! :)

  13. Btbuzz says:

    I actually feel sorry for people that spend their whole life just chasing a dollar, You should feel like a atom bomb went off in your soul when you get a great idea. Then build on it for the sheer satisfaction of it all, Yes the money will come, but it wont be half as fun as the journey getting there.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaU6wkh-d9M

  14. I’ve just been playing around with Kindle Books in the past week, Spencer. I have two books for sale at the moment.

    Just an adjustment to your article: the range is $2.99 to $9.99 for self published books.The commission rate is quite high, up to 70%. So it’s quite promising like you said.

    If you join the KDP select program you get 5 promotion days where you can list your book for free. I’ve listed both of mine free for a few days at the start to get people downloading it and have the book start to show up in the “Other’s also bought this” recommended lists.

    Will let you know how it goes!

  15. Amir Najmi says:

    I never realized the huge potential in earning money online. While I am trying to make it a full time income, there’s lots of ways to make part time money, especially with freelance work. I recommend it to all my friends who are looking for just a little extra money without having to work a part time job.

    -Amir

  16. Really there are a lot online business ventures that can be done to earn passive income. I believe in niche websites as i have ranked many of them just doing some basic onpage seo. i have some blogspot blog which are on top of SERP for the exact domain keyword. But as i do not have adsense account, i am earning some what less. But really making niche websites and selling them on flippa is a great business because it will never end.

  17. David says:

    Lol, I hate Google. I searched for “beste online niche business” and this article is Nr. 1. I checked “advises” – they are for someone who discovered internet only yesterday :) Yeah baby, wonna create niche online business – just create a website or be a freelancer. Thans, this advise saved my life

  18. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  19. Nicko | OBIG says:

    I have to say that when you combine niche sites + blogging + a online business (growing list, promote etc) you have the best online business idea of them all !

  20. Easy ABN says:

    There are many ways and many niches to make money online. The best thing to do is pick a niche that you have experience in and understand. Start with hobbies, things, and/or places you like. All of us have ideas about something that we could turn it into profitable business.

  21. smail says:

    hello! I think Iphone apps is a good niche business blog! ;)

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