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How to Choose an Online Business Niche and Make Money From Home

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Choosing an online business niche belongs at the top of your to-do list if you want to be your own boss and work from home.

Only, deciding on a niche for your business?

It isn’t always easy.

You might have a million ideas that sound amazing. But you can’t do all of them.

Or, you might have exactly zero ideas. You just know you want to start a business and you want to do it from home.

Or, maybe you have an idea that you think could be great but you’re not 100% confident you can make it work.

It’s a little intimidating, right?

You want to pick the right business to start so you can reach your goals. And your business needs to be something you’re passionate about that will make you money to boot.

Finding your online business niche can be tricky in the beginning.

I knew my business was always going to be freelance writing–but for a while, I was a Jill-of-All-Trades when it came to what I wrote about.

I didn’t have a niche, per se, beyond writing. But once I found mine, things started to click and my business really started to grow.

If you’re trying to break into the work at home mom, figuring out your online business niche is a great place to start.

What’s a Niche and Why Does It Matter?

online business nicheHere’s a simple answer:

Your niche is what your business is focused on.

You could be a freelance writer, like me, or you could be doing something totally different, like being a freelance proofreader or managing Pinterest accounts for up-and-coming bloggers.

(And if you’re thinking about becoming a blogger yourself, check out my step-by-step guide to starting a blog. Or, if you’re ready to launch your blog, head straight here and sign up for hosting with Siteground starting at just $3.95/month!)

Bottom line, your niche is your specialty; it’s what makes you different from everyone else. It’s who you serve in your business.

Having a specific niche for your online business matters because it allows you to target your services or products to a specific type of customer or client.

And it’s a lot easier to grow a successful business online if you know exactly who you want to help and what problems you want to solve.

That’s where finding your niche comes in.

How I Found My Online Business Niche

When I first started working from home, I never planned to have a full-scale business.

I was a newish mom looking for something creative to do when I wasn’t busy taking care of my babies. Basically, I kind of fell into freelancing by accident.

My first foray into working from home was as a virtual assistant. I was making $10 an hour putting together slideshows for a local church’s Sunday morning service and editing listing flyers for a commercial real estate company.

Not exactly glamorous but I was making money and I was doing it from home. From there, I decided to try to turn my hustle into a real business.

Freelance writing seemed like a good choice, based on what I knew at the time about making money online and my existing skill set.

So I jumped in.

At first, I just wrote about anything. But then something happened: I started focusing on writing articles about topics that genuinely interested me.

At the time, I was struggling with budgeting, saving and debt so I gravitated towards personal finance. That’s been my main beat ever since.

If you’re looking for the TL;DR version, the takeaway is that I didn’t choose my niche so much as my niche chose me.

That might happen for you too. But sometimes, figuring out what your jam is takes some digging.

Choosing Your Profitable Online Business Niche

The sooner you pick a niche, the sooner you can start building your online empire, right? 🙂

But if you’re stumped to come up with an online business niche idea, here’s what I recommend:

1. Start with what interests you

A lot of people might say that if you’re going to start an online business, you should be letting your passion lead you.

On one level, I totally agree. Starting a side hustle or launching a business takes work and you don’t want to spend your time doing something you hate.

But what if you don’t really know what your passion is just yet?

Or, what if you have multiple passions and you’re not sure which one you want to pursue?

This is where you want to do some brainstorming and make one big list of everything that piques your interest. The goal here is to explore the possibilities and tune in to what you’re most drawn to.

Once you’ve made your big list, go through it item by item and ask yourself: Is this something that really gets me going?

If the answer is yes, then keep it on the list.

But if there’s something you feel more lukewarm than fired up about it, cross it off and move on to the next one.

2. Weigh your strengths and weaknesses

There are some things I’m good at as a freelancer.

I can write pretty well, which is obviously the most important thing. And I’m good at following directions and delivering what my clients and editors want (most of the time).

But…I’m a huge, HUGE procrastinator.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disorganized. I know exactly what I’m working on for any given week or day and I always hit my deadlines on time.

But I don’t always get an early jump on things like I should.

That’s my weakness and it could be yours too. Or it could be something totally different and you might be awesome at something I suck at.

The key is knowing which is which. This may not seem like important but don’t skip this step.

Knowing what your strengths matters for finding your business niche because you ideally want to specialize in something that won’t have a steep learning curve.

And being aware of your weaknesses makes it easier to head off problems that could sidetrack your efforts to grow your business.

3. Take stock of your skills

Sometimes finding your online business niche is all about knowing what you’re good at (or what you’re not so good at).

Start a new list and this time, write down all the skills and expertise you have in your toolbox.

Your list might include things like:

  • Writing, proofreading or editing
  • Coding and web programming
  • Graphic design
  • Marketing and sales
  • Photography
  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Teaching or tutoring
  • Translating
  • Transcription or word processing
  • Microsoft Office
  • Data entry
  • Verbal and written communication skills

Now, look at the skills you might have picked up naturally, outside of a career or any formal education and training. For example:

Are you great at organization or getting all the things done when it seems like you don’t have any time to spare?

Put it on the list.

Have you mastered the art of pinning while scouring Pinterest for dinner recipes?

Put it on the list.

Are you a pro at knitting, sewing or just making crafts with your kids?

Put it on the list.

Do your friends use you as their go-to source for finding things online?

That goes on the list too.

Get it all down on paper. You might surprise yourself at just how many things you know how to do.

online business niche

4. Identify the skills that have profit potential

So, there’s one thing you need to know if you want to start a business and work from home.

Not every online business niche or idea is a money-maker. 

It sucks but it’s the truth.

If you’re angling to find your online business niche, I’m assuming it’s because you want to make money. And if you want to make money, you’ve got to have something that people are willing to pay for.

Otherwise, whatever you’re doing is just a hobby.

What makes a particular skill profitable?

Two things:

  • It has to solve a specific problem.
  • There has to be a need for it.

Sometimes, your skills might fit a broad niche. Freelance writing is a great example.

From copywriting to blogging to technical writing, there are so many different types of writing you can do.

The goal is to niche down as much as possible and mold your online business to be an exact fit for your skills, knowledge and interests.

For instance, if someone asks me what I do, here’s what I tell them:

I write digital content for major brands and websites in the financial space. 

It’s super-specific, and you should be able to describe yourself the same way once you’ve nailed down your niche.

If you’re not sure whether you have a skill that you can make money with, there’s a simple way to find out:

Google it.

If other people are out there making money using the same skill you have or one that’s similar, you can too.

5. Connect the dots

If you’ve made it this far, you should have two lists:

  • What really interests you.
  • What you’re good at.

You should also have a grip on your strengths and weaknesses, and an idea of how you can make money with your skills.

Finding your ideal online business niche means putting it all together.

Remember when I shared that little blurb about my business earlier? Did you see the formula there?

Interests + Profitable skill = Your perfect online business niche

In my case, my interest is finance and my skill happens to be writing.

Look at your list of interests and compare that to your list of profitable skills. Do you see anywhere they overlap or complement one another?

For example, if you’re into crafting and you’ve got some decent writing chops, you could be a crafting blogger.

Or if you love taking pictures and you know your way around social media, you could make money with an Instagram blog. (Neil Patel has an excellent step by step guide on making money with Instagram.)

As you’re mixing and matching interests to skills, think outside the box as much as possible. Come up with several different potential matches, then research each one of them individually.

The goal is to find the magic secret sauce formula that allows you to do something you really love and make money while you’re at it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment With Your Online Business Niche

Finding the online business niche that’s right for you can take time. A good way to find your true niche is to cast the net a little wider to start so you have some room to narrow down.

After all, the great thing about running a business online is that you can always change it up.

And you probably will as you learn more about yourself and what you’re truly passionate about.

Be willing to test things out and explore new opportunities when you find them. And most importantly, listen to your heart and your head when they tell you which path to follow.

Have you found your perfect online business niche yet?

Hit the comments and tell me about it, then pin and share this post if it helped you!

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Hi there, I'm Rebecca, homeschooling single mom of two. I built a six-figure freelance writing business from home and now I teach busy moms how to save money, make money and master their time! Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter and don't forget to check out the Resource Library--it's packed with tons of free tools to help make the busy mom life easier!

Comments

  1. These were some great tips on finding your niche. This was something I had struggled with in the past but I used some action items you’ve mentioned above and was able to find what my niche was. It really worked. I also asked myself what is it that people always come to me and ask for help with. I took this information and created my blog content around it.

    • That’s a great way to approach it, Monica! I’ve found my niche with freelance writing but I’m still struggling to find it with blogging. My avatar right now is who I was four years ago — a mom just starting an online business who wanted to get better at saving money and time management. Hopefully we can both find our groove! 🙂

  2. I am so happy to have found this post! I am struggling to figure out how much I can manage without quitting my full-time job. I need my full-time job for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t make me love blogging any less. I’d love to do more of the things on your list such as freelance writing…that’s a long-term dream for sure.

    • Hi Ashley, glad you’re here! I hear from a lot of moms how hard the transition is from 9 to 5 to work at home. I was already a SAHM when I started freelance writing as a hobby, then it became my full-time business when I became a single mom. I wrote a detailed post about how I got started freelancing here if you’re interested in learning more about it. And I totally get the time management struggle. I still run my freelance business full-time, plus I homeschool so my kids are ALWAYS home! So I have to fit blogging into the cracks of my day. 🙂

  3. Really good tips! I especially like that you included a long list of examples. I hear a lot of people struggling with this. Honestly, I’ve been there too, but with the help of articles such as yours I was able to narrow it down.

  4. Great article. I’m struggling to figure out what to do with my retirement life. My husband retired after 20 years as a Police Officer. I closed my real estate brokerage down last year, packed up and moved to North Carolina. I had been in real estate since 1991.

    I am trying to have my blog be a resource for Sellers, Buyers and new Realtors. I have knowledge that I want to share. I would like to monetize my blog as well. I’ve learned that blogging takes time…lots of time!

    I have been thinking about how I could make a little money on the side while my blogging career takes off. Seriously considering bookkeeping. Your article was extremely timely for me…thank you.

    Karen
    itchingtoshare.com

    • Hi Karen, I’m in NC too! We’re down on the coast where it is HOT! I’m still learning the ropes of blogging (my primary business is freelancing) and I’m working on finding my blog niche. Have you thought about hiring yourself out as VA catering specifically to realtors and brokers? I did a little VA work for a commercial real estate company once upon a time and I know they always need help to handle the smaller things so they can focus on the bigger things!

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