Still Struggling To Find Your Niche? Here’s Why…

Still Struggling To Find Your Niche Here's Why

“I’m struggling with finding my niche”

“I’m still struggling with narrowing down my niche.”

These are just some of the emails my readers have been sending me, asking if I could help them out.

How do you find your niche? And after you’ve found it, what is it that’s going to make it actually work?

Well, firstly, let’s look at why you’re struggling with finding your niche…

What’s Causing You To Struggle With Finding Your Niche?

It can be confusing:

People online talk a lot about “finding a niche”. They divide into two main groups, each with their particular take on why you need a niche…

SEO and Keyword Research

One group tells you that if you want your blog to be successful – get traffic, readers, subscribers and make money, you need to find a niche that’s profitable.

A niche that makes money is the key to success online. That’s their theory. For that, you need keywords. Search engine optimisation (SEO) because you need money-making keywords and phrases. So they say. They look to popular niche bloggers like Pat Flynn for example and his Niche Site Duel.

Is it right though? Is choosing a niche all about finding profitable keywords? Well, I’ll come to this in a moment.

Find Your Passion

The other group tells you that you need to choose a niche based on your passion. They cite people like Gary Vaynerchuk when promoting passion as a basis for growing your blog. If you don’t absolutely love what you’re blogging about, your doomed.

Which group has it? Keywords or Passion?

You know, choosing a niche because some statistics make something look like it will be profitable (and make your blog profitable too) or focussing on what drives your passion, can – and does – work for some people. The emphasis here being “for some people”.

But it leaves a lot of people, especially, beginner bloggers or those of us who’ve blogs have failed to make it, struggling to find a niche.

The reason is this confusion around what works – or should work – when looking for your niche.

Keywords and SEO didn’t work for me in helping me find my niche. I hear from readers and list members all the time that these tactics didn’t work for them either.

Neither does following passion…

“I’m still struggling to find my niche.”

Let’s look for a moment at what niches usually focus on.


They tend to focus on categories such as Personal Finance, Writing, Parenting, Self Development … or sub-activities within these main activities, such as Curing Procrastination or Writing Novels.

What talking to readers highlights to me is that it’s trying to fit into one of these categories is a big cause of their struggle.

They struggle to fit.

They feel they don’t just fit into one but two, or three, or that what they know about or want to blog about straddles several categories.

This Whole “Find Your Niche” Thing’s Keeping Them Stuck

They feel they can’t fit into any one niche. Or that they think that not fitting into one niche, is wrong.

Not being able to choose one category out of several possible choices, keeps them from moving forward.

I hear this so often from readers struggling with this problem: not being able to choose, or to narrow down, their possible niches to one final one.

People tell me that this is their major reason for thinking they’ll never be able to blog successfully. Or make any income online. Or grow a blog into a successful, profitable business platform.

I know where they’re coming from because this is what I struggled with too. I wanted to teach Copywriting to help people sell online but I wanted to teach people to write novels too. And I wanted to pass on what I discovered and had developed as I worked successfully on my anxiety to overcome a lack of confidence.

What should I choose as my blog’s niche? Should I start one blog. Or three – one for each topic?

What happened in the end was that I chose one niche for one blog.

Three times.

As each blog failed because I couldn’t really get to grips with that “one niche blog”, I thought it was me who was at fault, rather than the method of finding a niche.

If this rings bells for you then you’ve probably been through, or are going through, this same scenario:

You can’t quite get to grips with that niche you’ve chosen.

Because you’re not comfortable with just one. Or with that particular one.

But, what if you chose your niche by what a particular group of people are interested in doing, or having, or being?

What if you forgot about keywords and phrases and instead, focussed on a group of people who wanted to know what you already know and can pass on to them?

So, What Should You Do To Succeed?

“Try to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client, and the kind of client who’s hired you in the past. Are you convincing them that you’re able to solve problems that are their own, or similar to their own? Or are you giving them a technical smorgasbord of options, and leaving them to independently determine whether or not you can help them?” –Brennan Dunn

If you want to stop struggling to find your niche and get unstuck and start move forwards with your blog then…

Forget about keywords and passions and focussed instead on a group of people who had a deep desire to know what you know already and can pass onto them in your skills and know-how…

Preferably, packaged into a product or service.

Instead, find a specific group of people that you can help because you understand them. You know their “deep heart pains”. You’ve been in their shoes and understand the problems they’re facing and can help them out.

How I (Finally) Found My Niche

I went through failure with the 3 blogs before finally finding out what niche I should blog about.

Before this, I’d tried blogging about how to create Blog Content and Copywriting.

That failed.

Then I tried blogging about Writing Fiction.

That failed.

Then I tried blogging about Personal Development, namely Confidence.

That failed.

Reasons why they failed include a mixture, at one time or other, of all those fears mentioned earlier.

But most of all, I failed because I wasn’t specific enough in WHO I was blogging for. Or who I wanted buying my product and service.

I hadn’t spent time thinking about my answers to these questions which meant that I couldn’t get specific enough about WHO I was blogging for.

Eventually, I did though. And here’s how it helped me find my niche (and is helping me grow this blog you’re reading now into a success)…

I looked at myself and listed what problems stopped me from making it online.

Here’s some of what I included in that list…

Setting up a blog.
Discovering how to set up a hosting service.
Worrying about getting scammed.
Worrying about making costly mistakes.
Putting myself out there.
Working out how to get people to my blog.
Not knowing if anyone was interested.
Wondering why no one left comments.
Not knowing why everyone online except me, seemed to know each other.

And so it went on!

It all boiled it down to one real, burning, “deep heart problem”

Most blogging advice misses out a vital step, or steps.

Without that step you can’t succeed because you’re missing the vital piece.

Without that step, you’re like a driver in a vehicle without wheels.

Yes, everything else might be just right, the interior plush as you like, the engine turbo-fuelled, the vehicle capable of 0 – 60 in some unearthly minimum of seconds.

But you have no wheels.

You’re not going to get anywhere. Unless you get some wheels and fit them, you’ll stay stuck where you are.

Missing these steps I failed. But more than that, I got frustrated. Disappointed. Dispondent and discouraged. I had dreams and goals I wanted to enjoy but couldn’t get passed the fact that none of that blogging advice worked because of those wretched missing steps.

Then I found them.

It took 3 years of searching for real advice, learning, watching, investing in courses and training that actually delivered. But I found them. And when I did, everything slotted into place. I got my wheels. And the highway was my legacy at last.

And how did this discovery help me find my niche, my specific group of people who I wanted to become my readers and clients?

I chose people who were going through the same frustration and disappointment at finding out there were steps missing from the blogging advice they were getting that I had.

I chose my niche from amongst people who were:

Frustrated with trying to get traffic to their blog.

This is the niche I focus on.

These are the group of people I want coming to my blog, reading my blog posts and buying my product and services.

The people for whom SEO doesn’t work. The people whose links on social media are never clicked.

The people whose blog posts are hardly ever read.

The people looking those steps most blogging advice leaves out.

And they come.

And when they come, I help them find their niche and work with them to find one that’ll bring in the traffic, readers, subscribers and income they want. That moment when they tell me, “This is great Tom. It’s all starting to make sense.” is worth so much. And when they follow-up with examples – that’s the best feeling ever!

“…one of the most important steps you can take is to segment your audience. If you can divide them by their interests, then you can craft a message that’s perfectly targeted at the group you want to pursue. It makes it much, much easier to grab their attention.” –Brian Clark,

When you find your specific group of people put your efforts in to crafting “a message that’s perfectly targeted at the group you want to pursue.” as Brian Clark advises.

After spending time to find this group and crafting your message into one they want to hear – do you think you’ll find getting their attention, standing out, getting traffic, readers, building your email list and creating clients easy?

It’s going to be a lot more easy – and rewarding – than struggling, getting frustrated and failing.

How Do You Find Your Specific Group (and How Do You Craft A Message They’ll Want To Hear?)

I’ve written about this very topic. You can read about ithere in this blog post and I’ve gone into the 3 steps that it takes for you to succeed.

But to give you a flavour here of what these steps are, here they are in order…

Step 1: Find People Who Want To Read Your Blog Posts.

Step 2: Find Out What Their Frustrations And Disappointments Are.

Step 3: How To Turn Their “Deep Heart Problems” Into Blog Posts They Want To Read.

Ultimately, the closer you get to providing that crafted message for your group, the better it is for you because you’re making your job easier.

You’ll also be making it better for the people in your group. We all want to feel that someone understands us, someone finally gets what we’re about. That somebody cares and has gone to the trouble of making something just for us.

The Powerful (and Wonderfully Simple) Way To Become A Trusted Authority

By finding your specific group of people you can help, based on what you learn about them from their “deep heart problems”, from spending time listening to them, you’ll be succeeding in another way too…

Your group will see you understand them. They’ll be more likely to trust you, more likely to look to you as an influence, someone who can help them, give them what they need to move forward. And you’ll be showing them how you’re solving their problems.

As you become more trusted and useful to your audience, they’re more likely to read, subscribe and buy. And ask you to help them.

Ready To Stop Struggling And Make Your Blog Work?

If I’ve done my job, you should see why you’ve been struggling up until now to find your niche. Why it’s been eluding you till now. And, most importantly, why you need to focus on finding your specific group of people so you can help them. And – why you can stop struggling to find your niche and what to do instead – and breathe free and start getting that traffic, those readers, subscribers, clients, you want.

Want more help finding your niche? Let me help you stop struggling to find your niche and start getting clear about who your specific group of people should be to get the traffic, readers, subscribers and clients you want to make your blog work successfully.

I’m offering you a free 30-minute consulting call via Skpye so we can discuss this and get you clearer on what you should be doing. I really want to help you succeed. It’s often just a matter of re-focussing with someone like me giving you the steps before you discover exactly what you need to be doing to succeed.

Looking forward to talking to you soon and getting you started on the right track to achieving your end result and success.

end of blog post pic2 Tom Southern


  • Peter Beckenham

    Reply Reply February 1, 2016

    Hello Tom,

    As always you have created an extremely valuable and thoughtful post.

    Over the last 6 months I have really battled to clearly define who my target audience is as I wanted to avoid my previous mistake of making assumptions about what my blog readers wanted.

    This assumption proved deadly for me and the result was very little traffic to my blog and even less engagment. I just couldn’t understand why folks were not interested in posts that I spent a heck of a lot of time and effort creating.

    Lesson learned!

    But still I faced the challenge of really fine tuning my niche – my target audience.

    I knew I had to be much more specific. In my posts I wanted to address one particular person with one specific problem and provide my very own solution to that specific problem.

    But to do this effectively I had to make sure I was talking to the right audience.

    Tom, you took the words right out of my mouth when you said we should “focus on a group of people who want to know what you already know”

    When I came to that very same conclusion it was so much easier for me to come up with blog content that was much more relevant, more engaging and hopefully more valuable to my readers.

    As a relatively inexperienced blogger, the only way I could judge the success of my efforts was in the traffic I was getting and the engagement levels on my posts.

    I spent quite some time in forums using a neat little site caled FAQFOX (Google it) that could quickly provide me with the latest trending hot topics in my niche as well as all the frustrations and challenges folks were facing.

    Social media groups also gave me some real clues re not only the “deep heart problems” people were facing but also potential blog post topics that could address these specific challenges.

    Then I took a leap of faith and simply starting sharing my experiences (good, bad and often ugly) on these topics in my blog posts.

    Feedback from people told me I was heading in the right direction. My traffic and engagement levels have significantly improved over the last 6 months.

    However, despite the fact that my chosen target audience is prepared to pay for solutions to their prblems, I am yet to successfully monetize my blogging efforts.

    I am not achieving a large influx of new blog subscribers and the results from any relevant affiliate offers I provide has been a little disappinting so far. Maybe I could be more direct in my offers?

    Thanks as always for your excellent share Tom.

    Best wishes from a remote Thai village “niche marketer”


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 1, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      Another great comment with lots of extra points included, which is great. Thanks. Your experience is an excellent example of how making assumptions about what our potential readers want can damage our blog’s chances of survival.

      Like you, pinpointing exactly who they’re blogging for, even if they’ve picked a niche, can confuse people. Or they don’t quite feel they’re talking to the right people – or that they’ve chosen the right people, or right niche.

      Yes, feedback is so important. You’re right, social media can be a great source of “deep heart problems”. Thanks for the heads up re:
      FAQFOX. I’ll check that out.

      Are your products directly related to your readers “deep heart” problems? Have you laid the ground work that lets them know how much their pains will be removed with your products?

      There is the case that sometimes readers need a while before they feel the time is right to buy from you.

      Also, how targetted is your CTA when inviting readers to sign up to your list.

      Converting readers into buyers is a common problem for people – even if they’re getting a lot of readers and positive feedback on their content from them. I’m planning some posts about conversion to answer your same problem coming up.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience so fully and honestly. It’ll help other readers too. Wishing you well in your remote Thai village, sounds great!


  • Kim Willis

    Reply Reply February 1, 2016

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for you informative and helpful post on finding your niche

    I can identify. In fact, I’ve been struggling with this issue in recent months. My new blog was originally purposed for coaches but have now changed it to include solopreneurs etc.

    But recently I’ve come to a view that industry targeting is not the be all. Sure the gurus say we should pick a specific industry or specialized niche, but I no longer think that is the only option.

    So I’m thinking now that instead of offering a broad-based marketing consultancy service, I should narrow my offerings to just a few core things, and provide those particular services to the general business community.

    Or to put it another way – don’t narrow the focus re THEIR industry niche, instead narrow the focus re MY service offerings.

    You were talking about pain. My experience is that main street business owners have more or less the same concerns, irrespective of their industry.

    The preceding doesn’t mean that I won’t have favorite industries to target. I will, but I don’t think I want to restrict myself, to say the blogging niche (most bloggers are broke anyway!), or the coaching niche.

    I know this may look a bit muddled at the moment, but hopefully, clarity will prevail real soon!

    I’m still thinking about this issue, so I welcome your valuable contribution on this topic.

    Thanks so much


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 1, 2016

      Hi Kim,

      Good to see you here again.

      Brennan Dunn’s advice as I’ve highlighted it here in this post is key here: “put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client”. This is not just any client who might want your services but one you want to work with. Do you have a certain criteria for who you want to work with? It’s not just about what you can help them with.

      Also, you’re right about main street businesses having more or less the same concerns – but this is only a general similarity.

      The key outcome of getting specific in who you reach out to is that you want to have a good trust foundation to start with.

      If you know your potential client base because you’re one of them, you know their problems, you can speak their language. You’ll have a stronger chance of them listening to you because they know you’re one of them.

      Getting specific like this helps you hone your message. You’re right about narrowing your service offerings, not your niche. I’d like to suggest you also narrow your message. Look at yourself, your background, industry, etc. Think of the end result your otential clients want.

      Then define clearly what it is you will do for them that’s going to get them to that end result.

      This is how you’ll get clarity.

      Once you get clarity, you’ll find potential clients start showing up.

      Thanks Kim. This is a topic I’m going to be writing more on so feel free to pop by again soon. I’ll be notifying members of my list when I do so, so keep an eye out for those emails.

      You’re welcome, Kim and glad you found this post useful.

      – Tom

  • Don Purdum

    Reply Reply February 1, 2016

    Hi Tom,

    I would say this is one of the #1 issues out there and it’s the cause of so many struggling and preventing businesses and entrepreneurs from creating messages that are relevant, meaningful and compelling.

    A niche is partly knowing who a specific audience is and what their specific problems, needs, wants and desires are.

    The keyword is “specific.”

    Many never discover it and when they do it can be by accident many times. They stumble into it.

    I recently worked with a Fortune 1000 company that stumbled into a niche but didn’t even know it and they were struggling to gain traction with their blog and content marketing.

    I may have said this before in your comments section Tom, but one has to be able to get out of their own head and answer these questions (I have clients who have had over 100 pages from answering these questions and they got hyper clear):

    1. Discover the “specific” problems they are passionate about solving.
    2. Discover the tangible values customers experience and how they feel about the experience.
    3. Discover the “specific” problems they solve for each tangible value
    4. Discover who they “specifically” solve each problem for (in detail)
    5. Discover how their product or service is “a” part of “a” solution

    Here is the cool part… once you’ve done this it is easy to access major databases that give extreme information on both consumers and businesses.

    It’s not enough to assume. Niches are found in the details and the numbers don’t lie. There is an incredible amount of public information available even down to a local community and sometimes even a household.

    It’s in the details you find a niche and the problem is the majority of us have never even done the questions I mentioned and they end up staying too broad.

    Lack of detail is a killer when it comes to discovering niches.

    Fantastic post Tom! I appreciate your experiences, thoughtfulness and insights.

    Have a great week!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 1, 2016

      Hi Don,

      “It’s in the details you find a niche” – you’ve hit the nail on the head with this statement. Except that too many people don’t know what details to look for. Your example of that Fortune 1000 company is a prime one here.

      I think the answer for beginners struggling to get traction is to start off by looking at themselves. This even works for small businesses, or companies. Look at themselves and take stock of where they’re at, where they want to be – And what they’re good at, or know how to do. Then find their potential clients among people, businesses, or companies like them. For example, if you’re web designer
      who also restaurant ownership experience, offer web design to restaurant owners. You know what they’re going through. From there they can start forming answers to those 5 points you’ve laid out so thoughtfully here, Don. Do you agree?

      It beats being a web designer and thinking I’ll design websites for small businesses.

      Always a pleasure to have you add your thoughts, Don, because you add so much. Thanks.

      – Tom

      • Don Purdum

        Reply Reply February 1, 2016

        Hey Tom,

        I would agree that you’re right if one is trying to do it by themselves. In my ten years of experience though that is virtually impossible.

        For one, you don’t know what you don’t know. Second, it’s hard for people to get out of their own box and see their business objectively.

        Great companies bring people like me in because they know this and they need a different perspective and skill set to help them.

        Hope that makes sense?

        ~ Don

        • Tom

          Reply Reply February 2, 2016

          Hi Don,

          Yes, I can see how this might be a possibility. In my experience, when an “outsider” comes in, the thinking is: “What do you know?” Maybe the crux is your description of them as “great companies”. These might be far-sighted enough to be willing to listen. This goes for all types and sizes of business, of course.

          Thanks for coming back on this one, Don.

          – Tom

  • Jennifer Giacoppo

    Reply Reply February 2, 2016

    Hey Tom,
    Loved reading your recent blog. Yes it is something many struggle with, trying to find their niche. I too struggled with trying to merge two different niches together, but it seems to be working.
    Life is like that, figuring stuff out. When something fails, it’s not really failure. It’s just figuring out what you want. All those so called failures are just taking us to the right path. Not giving up is the key, that is true failure. When we keep trying , something sooner or later has to prevail. That’s been my experience anyway. I think all those things you did helped you to define what you were looking for. And now look at your post. Well done Jennifer

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 2, 2016

      Hi Jennifer,

      Welcome! It’s great to have you pop by and leave your comment.

      Yes, you’re right, it’s all about taking time to figure it out. Your way of looking at failure as a way to finding success echoes what a lot of successful people say. They put their success down to how they managed, or regarded, their previous failures.

      I think the key is to re-assess what’s gone wrong, back up and then try a different route. That’s what I did when I decided to look at those real successes online and watch what they did, instead of listening to those so-called experts.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and looking forward to having you pop by again.

      – Tom

  • Yusuff Busayo

    Reply Reply February 3, 2016

    Hi, Tom,

    More and more, it keeps proving stronger that the web isn’t about anyone but readers, customers, and buyers. They determine how things are done and the level of results every online entrepreneur gets.

    Except one is looking to become a hobbiyist blogger,then a wannabe successful beginner had better be searching out who needs his message, why and their frustrations.

    While there seem to be audience for almost every niche you can ever think of (including potty-training cats, imagine), it’s important to define one’s niche around his audience’s needs and seek to meet those needs with relevant contents and offers.

    I’m finally glad to be out of that hole for now.Trust me, I had to start and quit truckloads of blogs before I got it right.

    Thanks for this, Tom.

    Enjoying the week so far?

    – Yusuff Busayo

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 4, 2016

      Hi Yusuff,

      Good to hear from you. Yes, you’re right on the mark with what you say. Imagine! Potty-training cats, who’d have thought? I’m surprised the cats co-operate. :)

      As for failed blogs along the path to success, you’re not alone. People have failed before they succeeded. In fact, some say you can’t know success until you’ve known failure – and embraced it.

      Week’s going fine so far. Hope yours is too.

      – Tom

      • Yusuff Busayo

        Reply Reply February 8, 2016

        Don’t the cats now, uhn?

        True, Tom, and there’s always so many lessons one can learn from failure.

        For example, I blog better now (at least, I think so)because of the lessons I learned from my failed blogs.

        I sort of skipped making the same ole mistake and this blogging thing is getting better by the day.

        As for my last blog, it was hosted by a friend and managed by her. When it crashed and I needed to revive it, she was not in the country. And guess what? She’s not been available since then.

        And it’s been six months or so now.

        So what lesson did I learn from that?

        Because she’d launched the first and second, and I had lazied to learn how to do that myself, I tried this last one myself and….shoot me, but I got it off the ground real good.

        And it’s been one good blogging lesson after another. The first being, “learn to take the hustle yourself”.

        Dunno, there are loads of mistakes to fix but it’s better that i’m off already.I’m so glad I worked up the gumption to try it myself last December, not waiting for some friend, and it’s better now.

        So, yes, failure does have loads of lessons to teach us.

        Thanks, Tom. My week is going on well.

        – Yusuff Busayo

        I definitely love the turn of event.

        • Tom

          Reply Reply February 8, 2016

          Hi Yusuff,

          Too right! Sounds like had a rough start to your blogging experience. But now you’re on the right track, keep it up. There are always lessons to learn and things that don’t go quite so well now and then. But all in all, things sound like they’re looking up for you, right now. Here’s wishing it keeps on the right track for you and brings you success.

          Have a great week, Yusuff.



  • Dee Ann Rice

    Reply Reply February 4, 2016


    I have been going through the same thing as you went through in really finding my niche.

    I hired a coach to help me figure it out. I was all over the place. I wrote about all kinds of things but nothing in particular. I really felt like I was lost and my blog was going no where.

    Then I hired Don Purdum and he explained it in a way I finally understood. The way he put it we needed to address one person with one problem and have one solution. We worked on what the problem was I wanted to solve and then what the solution was I was going to offer. After that I could come up with the people who would have the problem and I could offer a solution to.

    I like the way you have explained it though. Your explanation makes sense to me also and I am sure it is making sense to lots of other people.

    I think we are all at this point at some time on our blogging journey and need to hear this information in order to mover on.

    Great post that is so important for people to hear.

    Dee Ann Rice

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 4, 2016

      Hi Dee Ann,

      Great to see you here again.

      I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out with your first coach. But it’s good to hear that you’ve found a good coach in Don Purdum. His way of helping people get success with their blog sounds a lot like I teach too.

      I’m also pleased you say that you liked my way of explaining things. Simplifying and making it as easy to understand as possible is my goal, so it’s good to hear you think I’ve succeeded.

      Yes, you’re right, it always helps to hear people have had to go through struggle as well to get to where they are.

      Thanks for stopping by to add your thoughts. And btw, I like your blog. How’s it going for you so far?

      – Tom

  • Edward

    Reply Reply February 7, 2016

    Hello Tom,

    Seeking Help…

    My name is Edward from Chicago, ILL I stumbled across your site by accident…hopefully you or your community might be able to help me or at least direct me in the right direction.

    Tom, I see your forte is blogging…the waters I am entering is offline – online direct response marketing and eventually coaching…hope you can help.

    I am a newbie, inexperienced and have never made one dollar online or offline.

    My #1 issue, problem is “narrowing down a niche” and “how to research a market-niche” to see if it’s even worth going after a market-niche.

    I was laid off in 2011 then my wife was laid off in 2012. I just got back to work and have been working for a little over 2yrs but my wife is still laid off.

    I am sick and tired trading hours for dollars and being laid off…I have been trying to phase myself out from working for someone for a long while now.

    I know who Dan Kennedy, Rich Schefern, Eben Pagan, Jay Abraham and so on are. I have been exposed to them and to a point know what direct response marketing is.

    I am a where of Aweber, GoDaddy, Host Gator, Optimize Press, lead generation, sales funnels, copy, squeeze pages, it’s all about the WHO, their emotional language, market first…product second, deep understanding of the prospect ect…

    Like I said I know of this…I’m kind of up to par with marketing.

    I am not only doing this for myself I am doing this for family, my kids. I want to be able to teach my boys this skill and to hopefully create a family business so we can spend our time working, being together. I want them to be independent and to pass this skill on to their kids and so on.

    I want to spend more time with my parents and move them close by me.

    And, to help as many people as I humanly can so they can achieve their dreams and goals.

    These are my aspirations, desires, dreams, and goals.

    I don’t have a market or niche yet. That is what I have been trying to do is to uncover a piece of a market and a small piece of a niche or sub-niche.

    I have my eye on time-management…how do I break this down? Narrow this down since my brain is not wired like a person who has been doing this for a while?

    Ex: I would like to pursue small businesses or entrepreneurs in business for 2 -3 yrs who are looking for more time for them self and their family.

    That’s my narrowing problem…then the other big problem…how to do step by step research.

    There has to be some kind of basic standard step by step methodical, systematical process on how to research any kind of market/niche by going step by step a,b,c,d,e,f. to see if there are any problems or if it’s even worth going into.

    As an inexperienced newbie…

    How do you use your computer and the free google tools to narrow down and research?
    What up to date current sites do you look at?
    What free up to date current tools and paid tools do you use?

    No one talks about this subject “research” in step by step detail that I could find everyone talks about the “what” but no detailed specifics step by step methods…I know the “what”…But…How Do You Do It step by step…and “Where” do you look in detail ect…

    These two areas narrowing down and research are my challenges, demons, thorn in my side.

    I also want to be careful to who I listen to because I found out fast that there are a lot of people out there in the internet world that are giving advice on how to do marketing online-offline, how to get traffic, Seo, research, list building and so on… that never made one dollar but give all this expert advice. Also all the shiny objects that will make you millions over night.

    I hope that I’m not over thinking this…

    I hope that I made sense…

    I apologize I did not intend for this post to be this long…

    Thank you!

    Struggling soon to be entrepreneur…


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 8, 2016

      Hello Edward,

      Welcome! Thanks so much for taking time to share your story here. Your plans for how you want to make a life and income for you and your family is excellent. I know what a struggle it can be to have plans like these and not really know how to reach them. You’re not alone here.

      You’re right about everybody talking about the “what” and not the “how”. Sometimes, it’s also the “why” not the “how”. It was also my beef when starting out, that no one ever talked about the “how”. So, I’m into talking about the “how” as well as the “what” and “why”.

      My advice to you is to start slowly and take it step-by-step. I always recommend people start off by looking at themselves and what they’ve done to reach where they are. This is because you know what steps you took to get there and what your struggles, frustrations, plans, etc were along the way to get there.

      Time management is a good subject. Also so is your idea for pursuing small businesses or entrepreneurs for 2-3 years who are looking to for more time to spend on themselves and their family. Question: Is this a group you belong too?

      You need to look at any potential market, or group of people you want to attract, and ask yourself:

      1. What do they want?
      2. What are they struggling with now that keeps them from that thing they want?
      3. How can I help them get over their struggle and get that thing? – What do I know that they need to know? – What can I teach them that will get them to their goal?

      You can answer these questions offline to start with. Then move online.

      Here’s how I would advice you to start narrowing down – and what research to start doing:

      I would recommend that you don’t use SEO or keyword research to start answering these questions. Instead, I recommend:

      1. Ask yourself those questions I’ve given you above.

      After you’ve got at least an idea from your answers, then:

      2. Read blogs in the field of Time management, entrepreneurship and small business. If you can, also listen to podcasts on these topics.

      3. Your answers to #1. will give you an idea of what blogs to read first.

      As you read them, get a feel for the “voice” or “message” of the blog and the blogger. Do you like it. Does it fit with your mind set, ideas, etc.? If not, move on. If it does, stick around and:

      4. Read the comments and get a feel for what readers of these blogs are saying and asking.

      This helps you build up a picture of what people are looking for in your field.

      There’s more I can recommend for you but this should help you start. Remember, it’s those first questions above that are important to start asking yourself. You don’t to know instantly what the answers are. The right answers are only what you feel comfortable with.

      Great to hear from you, Edward and I hope this answer helps and gives you a base to work from in simplifying all this.

      Check back with me, won’t you, and let me know how you’re getting on with answering those questions. Also, you might find some more help here in the posts on this blog. By the way, where was it you stumbled across me? Was it on Twitter?

      How’s it in Chicago at the moment?


      – Tom

  • Adrienne

    Reply Reply February 8, 2016

    Hey Tom,

    I can definitely relate to this post as well, I think we’ve all struggled at times. Back when I started I was given the same advice although there weren’t a lot of places to go back then to find what everyone’s issues really were. I went based on the bad advice I was given like you suggested in the beginning of this post.

    You definitely have to find out what issues people are having and then help them resolve those issues. Share with your audience how you can help them one by one and that’s how the traffic will start to show up.

    I know there are a lot of very impatient people out there and they still might not get a lot of traffic quickly from doing this but it’s the only way it will truly work.

    You have to speak directly to them and help them solve their issues and only then will they be more interested in taking that next step with you.

    Wonderful post Tom, thank you for mapping this out for everyone. I hope you have an amazing week my friend.


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 8, 2016

      Adrienne, Hi! good to have you add your thoughts here again.

      Yes, it seems a common experience that I’m hearing more and more from people. Some of their experiences make you think and realise how much real, honest help and advice is needed.

      You’re so right about how finding those issues people are having, helping them resolve those issues being a way of getting traffic. This is definitely my experience. Since discovering this same strategy I’m getting new people showing up on my blog daily. The number of “returning readers” are increasing – which means people are coming back for more (which is great. I love that!) and my list is growing more. Also good.

      Yes, people can be impatient. But I think that’s partly because that bad advice out there leads them to think getting traffic is simple, you just add in some keywords and phrases and they’ll come flocking. Not so, right? It takes work.

      It’s all about finding people who want what you can give them. Right? That’s the real key.

      Cheers for stopping by, Adrienne.

      Have a great week.

      – Tom

  • Edward

    Reply Reply February 8, 2016


    Thank you very much for your kindness and for your help.

    In 1999 I walked away from my job to pursue residential construction. The first year was good but after four months of the second year it was a roller coaster ride. If I only knew about marketing then instead of relying on yellow pages, val-pak, word of mouth ect…

    I’m in this for the long haul. I defiantly will take this nice and slow.

    The answer to your question is NO…I do not belong to any groups.

    I just hope I intrepid everything in your response…I tell you it is really frustrating being inexperienced at the moment.

    I’ll be talking with you very soon (probably with more questions).

    Thank You Again!!

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 9, 2016

      Hi Edward,

      Good to get your reply. We all start out as beginners, knowing little about what we want to do. But this doesn’t stop us keeping on going till we get there, right?

      When I talked about being in groups, I didn’t mean groups like memberships, or clubs, etc. What I mean by “groups” is other people like you who are facing similar experiences to you. Like the same crowd. But online.

      For instance, your experience of being in residential construction and it being tough, getting laid off from your job and being unemployed for a while, then getting another job, but your wife still looking for work – these are experiences that other people like you maybe facing too.

      They may also have similar goals for starting blogs, etc. to you. Hope this clarifies this for you.

      Take things slowly like you’re doing. Re-read things if you have to, like my replies to you. Also, you might find useful help for how to get started blogging here on this blog. So feel free to sign-up to keep returning to read the posts (articles) here.

      Sure, feel free also to ask me more questions too. Also, you might find this post useful:

      – Tom

  • Edward

    Reply Reply February 9, 2016


    Thank you for more of your input.

    I clicked on the link to your post but there is some kind of glitch…it says that page is not available.

    Also sorry for not answering your two questions at the bottom of your first response to my post…

    I was looking in google on narrowing down niches I can’t recall the exact wording that I put into google but that’s how I came across your blog. I do not use social media.

    Monday was overcast around 30 degrees it flurried after 7:00pm. Through the night is snowed it accumulate about an inch – inch and half. It was 17 degrees today and it’s going to drop down to 9 and high of 16 Wednesday. For the rest of the week it’s going to be cold in the teens.

    So far we were lucky… we dodged two storms the one that was South of us about a week and half ago that hit the East coast and the one last week that hit Wisconsin.

    So far it has been a mild winter for us.

    Talk to you soon…

    Thanks again!!


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 10, 2016

      Hi Edward,

      Thanks for returning here to answer those 2 questions, it’s really useful information. Appreciate your time. Good to know you missed the storms.

      Sorry to hear the link didn’t work. I’ve checked it out and seems to working now. Thanks for the heads up on that.

      Thanks again.


  • Edward

    Reply Reply February 12, 2016

    Hello Tom,

    Its Ed…

    I was wondering would it be possible for me to talk to you on the phone say tomorrow (Saturday) morning like 9:00 am central time?

    If that does not work out what about Sunday morning?

    You’re in the UK…right?

    If its OK here is my contact info email me your number but explain how to call you from the states…do I dial 1 or is there an area code ect…


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 13, 2016

      Hi Edward,

      Yes, we could schedule a call but unfortunately this weekend is a little bit too short notice for me.

      I always schedule calls. I use Skype for these calls and, just to let you know, I record these calls too and Skype makes this fairly easy.

      I’ll email you with more details on scheduling a call and using Skype.

      Yes, I’m in the UK, which is 6 hours ahead of US Central Time, I think.

      Just to ley you know, I’ve edited out your email address you included in your comment as you may have got a lot of spammy emails otherwise.

      Thanks for your comment and hopefully, we can schedule a call for sometime soon.

      – Tom

  • Edward

    Reply Reply February 13, 2016


    Lets play it by ear for now maybe we can talk next Saturday morning if that is OK with you.

    Why don’t you email me today with your response just to make sure we are communicate with out a glitch.

    Thank you again Tom!!!


    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 13, 2016

      Sure Edward, let’s do that. I sent an email to your yahoo email address. Will wait to hear back from you. Looking forward to your response.

      – Tom

  • Mark

    Reply Reply February 15, 2016

    Thanks for sharing some awfully practical advice Tom!

    And it really helped the way you’ve chronicled your struggles to, finally finding your way out of struggle, and into some much deserved success!

    Congratulations!And I love your image with this particular post BTW!

    It really does fit your blog posts main theme exceptionally well.

    Also, I think we really do have (at least) some meaningful struggle, especially in the beginning, because (to me anyway), it helps us become far more sympathetic and responsive to others, in the exact same situation.

    Case in point; you have done such a fabulous job, laying out what the main recurring issues, struggles and challenges are, facing so many, that constantly struggle with a challenge, you’ve finally discovered a workable remedy to!

    However, had you not initially struggled with it, and overcome it, your blogging efforts and products and services probably wouldn’t be as customized as they are!

    Thanks for sharing another great read!And I’m currently enjoying your excellent free mini traffic course! Mighty good stuff there too!

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 16, 2016

      Hi Mark,

      Good to see you here again. It’s great to hear how useful you find this post. And glad you like the image too. Yes, is does illustrate the post well, doesn’t it? I didn’t realise just how well until I saw it in situ a couple of times.

      Yes, you’re right, being able to understand where our readers and clients are coming from helps us to help get what they want. And yes, if I hadn’t had this experience I wouldn’t be able to either identify, or know how to help my audience. That’s the beauty of using our experiences for picking the right niche for us.

      Glad to have you as a student, Mark. If it’s okay with you, I’d love to have a testimonial from you to add to the course information page. How about it? Btw, did you get the link to the new students private Facebook page? If not, let me know and I’ll email it to you.

      Thanks again Mark, for taking time out to leave another comment. Always good to hear your thoughts.

      – Tom

  • Maria

    Reply Reply February 27, 2016

    Hi Tom,

    Very insightful article – nice work! It gave me a lot of food for thought. It sounds like you really know what you’re doing, to realize to focus in on who is reading and why they’d want to read it – what their problems are and how you can help them, where you’ve already conquered that issue. I know this probably took a lot of trial and error for you and I appreciate you listing out your failed blogs because this helps me think about the path you went through to discover this. Sometimes I feel we are maybe on 1 or 2 steps ahead of our readers. Or maybe they are ahead but they still like our articles for some nuggets of advice.

    Ideally we teach our readers to soar. You clearly want your readers to soar. I hope to be one of your birds.

    Thank you,

    • Tom

      Reply Reply February 27, 2016

      Hi Maria,

      Welcome, great to have you here and thank-you so much for taking time out to leave your comment.

      It’s great to hear you found this post full of good points and that my experience resonated with you.

      Yes, you’re right, there have been a lot of trial and error in my journey to discovering what goes into really getting traffic. And the main reason why I share my journey is so you can be inspired to keep going and also to learn from me.

      You hit the nail on the head, Maria, my goal is to give you wings. Good to have you on board and look forward to helping you achieve your blogging goals.


      – Tom

  • Sherman Smith

    Reply Reply March 1, 2016

    Hey Tom,

    You sound like my brother from another mother.

    I went through the exact same thing. You know the noise from the internet doesn’t help at all.

    You read about one topic, but yet you get over 100 different opinions. That will leave you stuck and lost on the road.

    I can only imagine how many different tools and strategies you’ve tried with your 3 blog attempts. There’s so many them out there and we can have a hell of a time trying to keep up with them, or figuring out which ones to use.

    But the one thing you pointed out is focusing on yourself in order to figure out the type of people that can relate to you. This is anyone’s true niche. As you mentioned your true audience are looking for people that actually understands what their going through.

    When you can meet people on the same level, then that’s when the magic happens, and you’ll see a positive change in your blog and business.

    Thanks for sharing Tom! Have a great week ahead!

    • Tom

      Reply Reply March 1, 2016

      Hi Sherman,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a heartfelt and meaningful comment. Sharing your experiences here are a great help to others who might be going through now what you did then. It gives them more examples, not just my experience, but other people’s like yours, and see they’re not alone.

      Blogging is a maze – or at least, finding out what works is like being lost in a maze. Right?

      You’re right, it’s meeting people who you understand at the point where you can lead them to the place they want to be. You can lead them there because you know what they’re going through from experiencing it yourself.

      What makes working with clients and talking to them over Skype as I do, is that moment when, no matter how much they’ve been struggling and what ever tactics they’ve been using that haven’t worked, after 30 minutes talking with me, they suddenly see that they can do it. Their blog can succeed. They can succeed. And everything fits into place for them. That truly is magical.

      Thanks again for taking time out to add your thoughts here, Sherman.

      – Tom

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