Earlier in November, I wrote a piece about how to crush it at work while watching Lost . In that post, I told you what I have done with my life for the past 8 years and how I got where I am today. Once you have learned to crush it at work, you need to free up some time to start thinking about working 4 days a week . Climbing up the corporate ladder is great, earning more money is even better but this won’t get you out of the Rat Race.  However, if you are able to do this in 4 days, you have an opportunity to build your own money making machine on the 5th day.
As an example, I told you how to build a niche website  last week and what kind of return you can expect from it (about 25% per year, on a conservative basis). The less money you have to build the site, the more time you will have to put in. This is why the 5th day is important ;-). You can basically build a niche site with only $10 in your bank account (thas a minimum to buy a domain). Then, you just have to hustle hard and you can make it happen.
But wait…. Building a niche site is not that easy…
Yeah… I would be lying to you if I told you that you will make a 25% return on your first site. I didn’t. And to be totally honest, so far, my niche website adventure has been a great hole where I drop money into. If you look at my blog income report , you’ll see that I made a few thousand so far with all my niche sites. But if I factor in how many hours I’ve put into them, I’m not making money at all. As a matter of fact, it is true for niche website creation, but it is also true about any type of business you want to start. Yeah… sorry to whack you in the face with a baseball bat again… but chances are that you won’t make money with your first idea!
This post is about finding the right idea for your sideline business. It can be a product, a service, a blog or a niche site. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is having the right idea to make some cash!
I still think that niche sites will become a lucrative part of my business as they help my diversification and my latest sites (What is Dividend  & Canadian Dividend Stock ) are showing way more potential (and they are built differently!).
There are a few differences between these 2 sites and my previous ideas. The one I want to put emphasis on today is the idea behind the site. Dividend investing is a great topic to talk about. And, more importantly, it is a lucrative topic! Selecting the right idea upfront for your site, product or service is definitely the most important step if you don’t want to fail.
All the criteria your idea must meet
Don’t worry; this won’t be an exhaustive list. But the point is that your idea must fit ALL the criteria. If it doesn’t, then it’s not a good idea. Plain and simple. You can always convince yourself that you are still right but then, I’ll have to ask you “where is the money?”. So here’s the list:
Find a sizable market
The first thing you need is people that could possibly be interested in your idea. If you narrow your offer too much, chances are that your market will be too small and you won’t be able to scale your expertise and transform it into money. The personal finance is a highly competitive niche but it is because it is quite large too.
Find people ready to spend
Have you tried to sell something to frugal people or people with huge debts? You need to find out if people are willing to pay for your product / service. In order to find these people, your idea must generally solve a problem, protect people from fear or add value to someone’s life. But the problem needs to be pretty big, the fear important and the added value tremendous to convince people to pull the wallet out of their pockets. This is one of the main reasons why I have chosen the dividend niche. People don’t see buying a book or a service as an expense, they see it as an investment.
Find the benefit(s) of your idea
If your idea can’t compete with a 50 inch TV plasma, chances are that people will prefer to waste their money elsewhere. For example, the main benefit of Canadian Dividend Stock  is that it provides CANADIAN information on dividend stocks. People who want to read about Canadian banks, telecoms, REITs, energy stocks will go to this site. Another benefit is that CDS will offer information based on the Canadian reality (like discussing the type of account). Since there are not many bloggers who cover the Canadian dividend market, the benefits are bigger too.
Find how you will make money from your idea
This sounds pretty stupid and obvious but most people skip this step. Don’t just stupidly think that you will put your product up for sale and you are going to rake in tons of money. It’s not gonna happen.
Yeah I know, your product is the best in the world.
And it is unique.
And it has been tested and this is an emerging market, and blah blah blah…
This still doesn’t tell me how you will make a sale! This part of your idea must be incredibly detailed. If not, it will fail. I promise… ‘cause I tried the other way around many times! Lol!
Here’s how you should do it:
For example, I work in the financial industry. I am a financial planner by day. So basically, I do “my job” when I meet clients and transfer their money under my management. I’m a great guy, I’m smart, I know about the market, I have an MBA, I offer great investing solutions and blah blah blah. People don’t care about that. It will definitely help, but it’s not how I close my sales.
This is how I’ve built my business to make money:
How do I sell?
I need a client in my office that will sign the transfer.
How do I get the client?
I need to call a bunch of them and convince them that I have some great investment ideas to show them.
How do I call?
I need lists of clients (my employer provides me with existing clients that have no investments with us, for example.)
So, how do I sell again?
I need to make 20 calls, to get 10 appointments, to get 5 people interested for 3 to sign on the dotted line.
If my average sale is $100K, I need to call 60 clients a week to bring in $300K per week.
NOW I know how I can make money out of my job. Not because I’m a great planner, not because I work for a great firm but because I have a streamlined process.
Then, you can also go deeper for each step (for example, you need to figure out what will be the biggest objections or excuses to not buy your product/service). Once you have done all this, you will have a great idea with a great plan and will bring you a lot of money ;-).
So stop day dreaming and start working (really working) on your idea!