4 min read
I was recently searching for cool museums to check out in Cincinnati when I stumbled upon one that I could hardly believe was real: The Lucky Cat Museum.
It’s a small museum that is home to over 2,000 waving Lucky Cat dolls that are often seen at the entrance of Asian restaurants. There are literally walls, shelves, and glass cases packed with these tiny waving cats of different colors and styles.
Tall cats, short cats, fat cats, skinny cats, gold cats, red cats – you name it, this museum had it all. Thousands of cats sitting upright waiting for a simple push on their arm to start waving.
I couldn’t help but think to myself: “How is this place able to stay in business? Is there really enough interest and demand in these dolls that they’re able to earn enough income to pay the rent?”
Further research revealed that the museum has been around for almost a decade and that it’s actually completely free to visit – they only accept donations. So yes, there clearly has been enough demand to keep the place in business, despite having a donation-only business model.
As I researched more, I found other niche museums around the city: one dedicated to the history of ventriloquism, one dedicated to the history of firefighting, another dedicated to the history of trains and railroad tracks. Each museum was focused on a highly specific niche. Each was profitable.
This brings up an important point: any niche idea can be profitable – even a lucky cat doll museum – if it provides value to an audience.
Niches Get Riches
Beyond physical businesses like museums, there are thousands of niche businesses online that generate real income despite being focused on a highly specific topic.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article from Niche Hacks that shares 23 highly specific niche websites that generate revenue through a combination of courses, e-books, coaching calls, physical products, affiliate links, and ads. Here are a few sites on the list I couldn’t believe were real:
Attorney Rankings: A firm that provides SEO services specifically for lawyers.
ProChurchTools: A site that provides tools and digital marketing strategies that leaders of churches can use to spread their message and their church presence more effectively online.
52Kards: A site that sells accessories to magicians along with digital courses on how to perform various magic tricks.
The Math That Explains Why Niches Get Riches
There are two facts that explain why niche businesses can generate a surprising amount of income, despite being focused on hyper-specific topics:
- There are a lot of people in the world with access to the internet. (4.5 billion according to Statista)
- You only have to capture a small percentage of people looking for your specific niche to generate a healthy income.
As a real-world example, consider my statistics educational site Statology. It’s a site that has written tutorials on how to perform introductory-level tests and functions in statistics. When I tell people that I run this site, most can’t believe that it’s profitable because it seems too niche. But it is profitable because of the two facts mentioned above.
Let’s run the numbers* to prove it:
1. According to Statista, there are around 20 million college students around the world.
2. What’s fascinating is that even though most of these students will not major in statistics, about 60% of them will have to take one mandatory introductory stats course to fulfill an elective requirement, or 12 million students.
3. Let’s assume that 90% of these students have access to the internet, or 10.8 million.
4. Suppose just one in four will search on Google for help with some statistics topic during the semester, so 2.7 million students.
*These numbers are based on a combination of real-world estimates and made-up assumptions, but you get the point.
With 2.7 million students searching for help with statistics each year and only a handful (I’ve checked) of helpful statistics sites out there, my site doesn’t even need to capture a majority of these readers in order to make a decent income in the form of banner ads and e-books.
Granted, my website actually needs to be helpful or else it won’t get any attention on search engines. But the point is that a massive audience exists for this highly specific niche! I simply have to do the work to create something valuable that can earn money from this audience.
And on a broader scale, there are millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) of people out there looking for resources related to all types of niches.
Lawyers looking for SEO services.
Churches looking for digital marketing help.
Magicians looking for tutorials.
There are almost an infinite amount of niches that are just waiting to be monetized.
How to Attract Money: Create Niche Value
Someone recently asked me, “Do you have any advice for attracting money in your life?”
My answer was, in a nutshell: The best way to attract money is to create value for a specific group of people.
Most people do this by providing value to a single employer. For example:
- A data scientist for Company X creates algorithms that help the company earn more money.
- A social media manager for Company Y publishes content on social media platforms to grow the company’s online presence.
- A software engineer for Company Z writes code to help a company reduce expenses or increase revenue.
By providing value to an employer, people attract money. The more value they provide, the more money they attract.
Another common way that people attract money is by freelancing – providing value to different individuals in the form of specific services: coaching calls, SEO services, web design, social media management, strategic consulting, etc.
However, thanks to the internet, there is now a third way to attract money into your life without working with anyone face-to-face: Create online businesses. This is my preferred way to earn income and it’s how I currently make a living.
By creating content on various websites focused on specific topics, I’m able to find people out there online who are searching for help related to the topics I write about. Then, when these people visit my site I’m able to earn income through selling digital products, through ad revenue, and through affiliate links for recommended products and services.
Best of all, once I write an article for one of my websites it will exist online indefinitely for potential readers to find. In this manner, I’m able to earn recurring revenue for work that I only have to do once.
If you’re interested in creating your own niche business, you can follow these basic steps:
1. Identify a potential niche. Consider what specific skills or knowledge you have. Do you know a foreign language, know how to write code in a specific programming language, know how to create custom graphics online, know a great deal about a certain subject? No matter what specific skills or knowledge you possess, the odds are good that you can monetize your skills and your knowledge.
2. Create a site. Set up a simple website where you will sell your product or service.
3. Create something to sell. You can sell a variety of things that are focused on a specific niche. For example, on my stats site I sell an e-book that teaches people how to perform basic statistical functions in Excel. I also sell advertising placements to advertisers, which I put along the sidebar of my site and inside the articles themselves. You might decide that some other form of monetization makes sense like selling online courses, physical products, or paid monthly subscription plans.
The best way to attract money into your life is to create value for a specific audience. The more value you provide and the larger the audience you provide it for, the higher your income.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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