Your turn: Analyze these businesses

Ramit Sethi

OK, let’s roll up our sleeves. Two days ago, I wrote one of my favorite posts of all time: Win Win Win.

And since starting this series on 2015 being the year of MORE, I’ve gotten thousands of emails about how inspired you are.

I suddenly realized what life coaches must feel like. When you talk about getting more, you get emails with words like “motivated,” “inspired,” and “spirit.”

Um…I trust inspiration about as far as I can throw it. Anyone can talk about how “motivated” they are. It’s another thing to take action. This is where you separate yourself from the other dreamers. Today, I’m going to show you how.

Here is a recent sales report from my business just a few days ago.



That’s $11,000 in a day.

Or to put it in terms of MORE, that’s a personal chef, flight tickets for my parents, and a personal trainer to help me look great and feel amazing.

What would it be for you? A round of drinks for your friends without worrying? A sparkling clean house on Sunday evening to start the week off? Not having to commute to a job you don’t love?

How do you get there? What about even just getting $11,000 a MONTH from an online business? Or even $1,000?

When I started building my online business, I had no idea where to start. Like you, I read a few random business blogs, and each had some angle I “absolutely needed” to do: Learn copywriting, email marketing, pricing, productization, SEO, SEM, social media, upsells, segmentation, process mapping, ideation, A/B testing, and on and on.


We need one thing to start with: THE IDEA.

And in fact, that’s exactly where we all tend to get stuck:




I happen to know a little bit about finding ideas for online businesses. I HAD to learn this, because I wanted to avoid being a one-hit wonder. I wanted to build a system, a process, for generating ideas, filtering through the bad ones, and finding GREAT business ideas that were fun, impactful, and profitable.

As a result, I’ve rolled out over 15 successful products. That is not an accident.

GOOD: Learning how to find an idea for your online business and being able to replicate it
NOT SO GOOD: Milli Vanilli one-hit wonders who come up with one idea and milk it for 20 years
REALLY BAD: Getting paralyzed by not knowing how to pick an idea at all

My assessment is that most of you are in the REALLY BAD category. ‘Oh, I don’t have an idea…therefore I’m going to sit around for years and wait for the idea to magically fall from the sky! That will do it!’

No. We do not want to be that old dude who looks back with a mouthful of broken teeth and mumbles,

“I wish I’d found an idea and started my own business…my life coulda really been different.” (Sucks on a piece of hay and turns to you.) “You should follow your passion, boy. That’s all there is in this world.”


Ideas don’t just get rained on you from the heavens. When people say, “I don’t have an idea,” what they’re really saying is, “I have taken zero action to learn the process of generating, filtering, and identifying a profitable idea.” IT IS A PROCESS YOU CAN LEARN, PEOPLE.

Also wrong: “You should follow your passion.” Most people do the exact same thing with their passions: Wait around, as if they’re just going to magically discover it some day. Don’t you think after 30 or 40 years, you would have found it already? The truth is this: You find your passion by (1) getting really good at something, and then (2) you become passionate about it. That is a totally different way of looking at passion — and it works.

Today, we take the first step. I’ll teach you the entire system of starting a successful online business, but today — let’s start together.


Finding an idea for your online business

Let’s have some fun.

I’m going to show you a few examples of real online businesses and get your opinions on them. Then I’ll show you how to apply them to finding your own business idea.

Below, look at these two different businesses and tell me what the major difference is between them. You can scroll down for my thoughts, but I encourage you to work on it yourself first!


#1: Fitness businesses


What do you notice about the two? Go beyond the obvious. Write your answer down before continuing.


#2: Stationery businesses
I love stationery. What? Don’t judge.

Take a look at these two businesses and tell me the differences that you notice.


Write your answer down before you scroll down.


#3: Personal finance books
What are the non-obvious differences?

ramseyvramit_500The Total Money Makeover by Dave RamseyI Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi


Write it down!

Now, for my thoughts…


What makes a good idea? Key insights about these examples

Let’s start with the fitness example:

#1: Fitness


One is targeted to men, the other women. What else do you notice? If you get stuck, use this for a hint.

Not only are they targeting different audiences, every single aspect is customized for the audience. For example, they use different language, different goals (generically, men want to build muscle, women want to get lean). The two companies are serving radically different markets. And it’s not just “marketing” — the actual product is different.

Many people make their business ideas so generic — like “nutrition tips” — that they’ll appeal to nobody. When you get hyper-focused, you speak to your market so clearly, they can’t ignore you.

KEY TAKEAWAY: It’s good to focus. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.

#2: Stationery


The obvious answer is that one is high-end, classy, very expensive, and custom. The other is cute and affordable (some would say “cheap”).

Notice that one isn’t better than the other — they’re serving completely different markets.

The mom who buys LoveIt! stationery isn’t going to buy custom party invitations from Bernard Maisner.

If you apply this idea to our nutrition example, you could build a business around a low-end offer — like cheap meal plans — or go the high-end route, like custom nutrition guidance for busy executives.

Interestingly, don’t assume that high-end means more profitable. Think of McDonald’s!

KEY TAKEAWAY: You can choose whether your idea is focused on affordable vs. luxury. You set the price based on the market!

#3: Personal finance books
Ok, this one is good because it involves me.


If I hear from another god damn reader who says, “But I can’t do that…there are already too many other companies doing it! Why would anyone listen to me?” I’m just going to send them a huge picture of me holding my New York Times best-selling book with a gigantic middle finger up.


There are literally thousands of books on personal finance. Most of them came before mine. Yet my book still became an instant bestseller and sold out on day 1. Why?

Because of what we talked about above.

The market is different! First, the age of the people you’re serving is another way to focus your business idea: Dave Ramsey is talking to Baby Boomers. My book is aimed primarily at millennials. Do other people read our books? Yes, of course. But they’re successful because they focus on specific groups with specific needs.

More importantly, you don’t have to be the first to be successful. I was sucking on a pacifier when Dave Ramsey started talking about money. But my approach (and my market) is different, and my material works.

Put it another way: Just because someone is already there doesn’t mean you can’t play. When you were a kid and someone was on the playground, did you just look at them and turn around and leave? NO!

In fact, if there are other people doing what you want to do, that is a GOOD SIGN. It means there’s a market. Your challenge is to refine your idea to make it different and better, which I’ll show you how to do.

Here are some other ways to vary your idea:

  • Fast vs. slow (think P90x vs. T25)
  • Location (think local mom-and-pop package service vs. FedEx)
  • What else can you think of? I have a list of over 20 differentiators

Now it’s your turn

Do you see how you can take a common idea like fitness or stationery and change it from a generic idea into a focused, profitable one?

This is the fun part of finding an idea. It’s not drudgery and it’s not waiting for the perfect idea to fall from the sky. It’s a systematic way of looking at the world and taking your unique skills, experiences, and knowledge…and turning it into a successful online business.

I’m just scratching the surface here, but I wanted to show you how this is a PROCESS that you can learn.

In just this post alone, we learned how you can take an idea and focus it based on who you’re selling to, how much they earn, how old they are, what they care about, and how much experience they have. And that’s just a fraction of the number of ways you can focus your idea.

We’ve done it for over 15 successful products, and I’ve helped tons of my students do it in over 30 industries. I want to help you, too.

Now, a challenge for you

First, pick a business idea. You’re not marrying this idea, so don’t freak out if you’re not sure. We’re just practicing the process of developing business ideas.

If you’re not sure, pick a passion you have. Teaching people how organize their homes, how to train your dog, whatever! No idea is a bad idea at this stage.

Next, think of at least 3 ways you can narrow down that idea.

Example 1: Dating advice…for men…who are high-powered executives…and want a long-term relationship.

Example 2: Interior decorating…for women…with kids…who are into feng shui.

Share your ideas below. Remember to incorporate what you learned above!

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  1. Christina Deaver

    This is good… I’ve realized the dog training blog I’m working on is not specific, I’m too general.

    So step by step easy dog training for new dog owners who don’t know what they’re doing, don’t want to pay for a useless petsmart trainer or are too far away to access one.

    A guide for stay at home moms who want to make their MLMs successful without losing all their friends.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Go deeper.

      For pets, what kind of dog? What kind of training?

      For MLM: No stay-at-home mom wakes up and says, YES!! I REALLY WANT TO START AN MLM! What do they really want? Also, I hate MLMs

    • Christina Deaver

      Wow, it’s really uncomfortable for me to try to get specific. What if no one is interested? What if no one wants to buy stuff related to that? But in any case it’s better than being buried under every other general blog out there, right?

      So a dog training blog. Step by step, easy instructions for German Shepherd owners who want to train their dogs for pet therapy. Keyword planner tells me this is an awful idea… a whole 70 people per month use that set of search terms. 🙁

      As far as the MLMs go, I too hate them and have never touched one myself. Good post on that.

      Here in Provo, Utah, it is the MLM capital of the US. There are a ton of MLMs based here and they are all making money off of my friends… the stay-at-home LDS moms that want basically passive income where they can socialize and get “free” stuff off a product already developed for them that “sells itself”. It makes me throw up in my mouth a little, but they latch onto those things time after time like a crab onto a sewer pipe… so I thought maybe I could teach them how to at least sell effectively without everyone avoiding you (I know a few moms who are pretty good at that.)

      So what to do instead?

      How’s this sound? An online business focusing on teaching young moms that haven’t been to college how to make money on the side through (blogging?) while putting in minimal effort because they have kids at home. Kinda get rich slowly, for moms who either hate MLMs or are recovering MLM-aholics, I guess.

      Thank you for pushing me. It’s good to refine this stuff so I can stand out – even if it means I might have to throw out 30 blog posts (noooooo.)

    • Lisa Dent

      What about for new dog owners of “mature dogs” who may seem untrainable. Or dogs who have behaviour problems already. They will be at their wits end with their dog’s issues and be needing guidance. Supplying a form to fill out so they can go into the issues and then you help to solve. You can also create a forum where owners help each other. As the expert you supply products (books, ebooks, certificates of achievement, nutritional advice to help behaviour of dogs, links to other experts in this field for affiliate/referrals etc etc etc)

    • jennifer ann walsh

      Training dogs for pet therapy roles sounds interesting. Well, not to me personally but as a niche. I did a quick Google search for ‘train your dog’. The top 4 suggested completions for that phrase are: train your dog, train your dog not to bark, train your dog to come and then … train your dog to be a therapy dog.

      MLM’s – why get involved with something you despise? There are so many options, choose one you at least like.

    • Christina Deaver

      Good point, Lisa. I ran that search and realized there’s nothing focused on at-home training your dog for therapy, nor any checklists or real in-depth guides – despite the number of searches being run and the high number of ads placed. I think I will move it that direction.

      As far as the MLM thing goes, it’s more I want to help my friends/family not lose money to that stuff (nor drive away their friends.) So I think I would put together an easy guide to setting up a stay-at-home mom online business that’s related to something they like doing, so they dont have to rely on MLMs.

      Seriously, thinking about how many times I’ve had to turn down MLM party invites and feel bad about declining offers for overpriced products makes me want to cry.

    • Christina Deaver

      Oops, I meant Jennifer (though I appreciate Lisa’s idea as well.)

  2. Ryan F

    Weight loss course for those who “knows” how to lose weight, have tried to lose weight successfully for a while. Losing weight is not hard, building muscle is hard. But there’s a lot of blocks, overwhelm, mental blockage on people’s mind when it comes to this topic. I can write a one sentence instructions and people won’t do it or won’t believe it.

    It’s all in their mind believe it or not, and I have the tools to make it work for these people. It’s not for those who wants to lose weight the very first time, or who had never tried to make it work before. It’s not for those who wants a magic pill or something. This is about losing weight with proven methods that aren’t sexy.

    Ironically, I have the same blocks with earning money online but not with losing weight. Now, I just have to transfer my weight loss skills to my make money area of life.

    • Lisa Dent

      What about a before, during and after community for people who are wanting change with their weight. They join by uploading a photo of themselves as they currently are and fill in a form where they talk about what they have tried and what other issues they may have. Creating a community with group support. Helping the newbies as a group. Using some practical goals that every one participates in like trying on a piece of clothing that no longer fits as a first photo and then photos of progress in that pice of clothing. I also think that overweight families could be a good focus. Reward programmes could be good for this. You could develop affiliate/referral links with other experts in the field. The rewards could go up in value for the progress. The reward programme could be monetized.

  3. David Friedland

    marketing for osteopaths who are starting there own practice, and are strapped for cash.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Why target this audience when they’re strapped for cash?

    • Lisa Dent

      An Osteopath who teaches other osteopaths how to add online products and services that will add to their one on one consultations as ongoing passive income. The problem with osteopaths( and all other practitioners is that your client needs you when they have a health issue but gradually stops seeing you when the issue is resolved or finances get in the way or they move area.) Developing/sourcing some products that they will be devoted to for many years. The products must be products that really make a difference. You teach other osteopaths this system. (System to be developed)

    • Justin

      Lisa, sounds like you would be better served making the site / product line the de-facto post (and or pre) Osteopath visitation place to go, to maintain bone… Health… Or whatever.

      Alternatively, go with the plan of teaching them how to set up the site, but get them selling your product. You should be able to white label good products.

  4. Delmania

    All right, here goes, be gentle. (I’m a programmer, so most of my ideas will be focused on technical people).
    1.) Training courses on helping software engineers move into management/leadership positions.
    2.) Effective website creation and management for non profits who are trying to increase their visibility and improve donations.
    3.) Training course to help developers change technologies (This isn’t the most focused version of the idea, but that’s because the technologies are domain specific).

    • Phillip

      I’ll comment on #1 as a programmer who entered a leadership role: most programmers do not have a clue when it comes to power relationships or politics. I think that’s the most limiting factor that I’ve observed.

    • Jordan

      Going the other way, training courses for managers trying to understand what their programming staff does all day could be helpful as well.

    • Seb

      As a web developer looking into moving into management, I’d be curious about #1.

      It seems at times like moving up in management just means a full-time job PLUS extra responsibilities, like tacking on a second job to the first.

      I don’t shy away from work, but from my less-informed point of view it seems overwhelming.

    • Rudolf

      #1 is a very good idea, something I would pay money for. Again though, be more specific, maybe differentiate by the experience level of the software engineers or focus on a particular industry or sector. For example, a frontend web developer who started coding in JavaScript/HTML/CSS might become a manager or take a leadership role; what can you teach them so that they aren’t brought down by their lack of backend/devops technical knowledge or their lack of political skills?

      #2 already exists, add one more layer of specificity, like non-profits that focus on one area, like environmental nonprofits or health-related charities. they have more specific needs such as a certain theme or style or the number of pages related to their board or compliance or whatever.

  5. James

    Idea: A website that teaches landlords how to manage their properties professionally: to maximize long term cash flow and minimize headaches.

    Target: for landlords… who own 1-4 units (small in number, so each unit is a big % of their portfolio) … as part of ther retirement plan (long term thinking)… and work at a full-time job (want efficiency) … in the US.

    • Daniel

      I know I would be interested in this. Particularly, how to make the jump from owning a single home to owning a second and making it profitable.

      One particular hurdle is dealing with down-payments, differing rates, etc. due to it being a second property. There’s tons of information out there, but I don’t have the time or energy to sift through it and nothing I’ve found provides a straightforward, step-by-step process to get there.

    • Casey

      +1, What Daniel said

    • Ted

      I’d pay for this.

    • Ergest

      This idea is so clear! The value proposition, the market, even the headline is very clear and concise. I wish I had this type of clarity with my ideas.

    • Jill

      Please! I would absolutely pay money for this.

      Struggling to make spreadsheets and worry about what I might have “missed” when looking at cashflow for multifamily homes (owner-occupied or rented duplex/triplex), value vs. effort of basic reno’s/updates to get the most from the investment, etc.

    • Nathan

      What Daniel said! 😀

    • Quanisha

      You have four customers already!

    • Bill

      Great idea, James! Go for it!! Don’t hesitate.

  6. Kristin

    Hey Ramit,

    Off topic here but this seems like a good way to reach you. Would be interested in a post about finances while living abroad (ie. How to manage accounts, credit cards to span both countries, retirement planning as an expat, etc.)

    Would you consider doing such a post in the future or point me to a great reference for figuring all this stuff out? I am new to personal finances and read your book. Got the ball rolling on your advice and now my husband and I are moving to Switzerland. Grrr. Throws a wrench in some things like that great credit card you recommended–its got a foreign transaction fee 🙁

    • Rachel

      I wouldn’t give up the idea of getting it, Kristen. You’d be surprised how useful a U.S. credit card can be when you’re (like me) an expat. And once you move, it will be almost impossible to get another one with the same terms, etc as you can get now.

      The foreign transaction fee is worth it when you think of the bigger picture.

    • Adnan

      You should look into the Chase Sapphire credit card. It has great travel benefits (points that can be used on many airlines and other places) and also has no foreign transaction fees

    • Ramit Sethi

      Not interested

    • Jessica

      There is no single resource online for expats and finance, at least besides the internet. You have to dig for your personal situation. Start a blog about that.

      the MMM forum has some decent info on this, if you do need guidance from people that have been there done that.

    • Amy

      While this might not be ideal for Ramit, I’m sure there is someone else out there, reading these threads who might be able to offer that kind of info. It is far too complex to tackle on a broad basis as each country has their own rules.
      I relocated from SF to Berlin in 2000 and while I have managed to get up the curve for coordinating international finances (to a point), the laws change all the time, so the curve changes and you slide back down and have to crawl up again. The latest change is the brand new rule for collecting VAT for online sales (read info products, digital downloads etc) which affects all of us digital entrepreneurs here in Europe (though not Switzerland I believe).

      Yes, keep a US credit card and, once in Europe you will also marvel at the different philosophy about money / savings / credit – which informs the way credit cards work on this side of the pond.

      My advice, find a good tax advisor / financial planner who knows the US and Swiss system and can help you navigate the laws on foreign investments, reporting foreign bank accounts to the US (a biggie) and many other ever-changing rules of engagement.

    • Kristin

      Thanks for the friendly feedback, guys. And LOL @Ramit’s terse response. I’ll move along to another resource.

  7. JoAnne

    Idea: personal development tools (coaching?) for people who have tried everything but nothing works.

    More specific market: women (early 20s-mid 30s) who what to be successful personally (happy, good relationship, healthy, confident, better self-esteem, fulfilled in job, etc.) and have tried everything (yoga, meditation, retreats, reading books, crystals, etc.) but are still unhappy, dissatisfied with themselves, stressed out, and don’t feel their life has direction, clarity, and purpose.

    My site/product/business will be life improvement tools that really work, I feel like the Ramit of personal development. I’m sick of the “gurus” and self-help/spiritual teachers with their affirmations and “think positive” and “be the light” and all that woo-woo stuff that just doesn’t work. I’ve been down that road and know firsthand that it won’t get you anywhere. Sure, there’s something to it, but that’s not the whole picture. I’ve put in time learning, reading (over 100+ books), taking courses, and working on myself to learn what really creates change in your life and I want to share that with people so they can get real results.

    • Egis

      What are those tools exactly?

    • misha

      Oh my- I have the same idea- except a localised version targeted at young women in Saudi Arabia where i am located. I would specialise further in helping them develop small at home business using thier exisitng talents. I am vocational education instructor in Marketing and Management and I have done this as activity with my students in the past and received great feedback and I want to scale it. I want to be something like small business consulting as well as self-esteem/ life coach, given the culture and education here such services are severely lacking but the client can afford to pay.. I just don’t how to start advertising it?! People here don’t read, tbh, so I would also need online video webinars, I would like to do a ebooks, as well to target the itnernational you can see too many ideas..

  8. Zak Katz

    IDEA: Operations & Systems design for businesses

    Narrower: Operations and systems design for small businesses

    Narrower still: Small businesses run by students/new graduates who are bootstrapping

    Think I can segment further based on the type of business, not just who’s running it (the customer). Perhaps develop product variations based on if it’s a service business, e-commerce, information product, etc.

    • Rudolf

      Go as narrow as possible. The advice that Ramit has here is similar to Peter Thiel’s about becoming a monopoly in your small part of the market. You want to be #1 for operations and systems design for small businesses run by students/new grads in industry X who have revenue above Y and target Z demographics and who have gone to 1 of your choice of 3 universities, preferably ones you or your friends have gone to, easier to relate to). That really narrows it down and your market will be likely under 100 potential leads.

    • amina

      that is better idea

  9. Konrad

    Idea: selling low-energy, prefabricated houses in Poland, but built under supervision to Swiss quality standards, to upper-middle-class people aged 30~45.

    There are tons of cheap house projects and cheap architects in Poland, but little good architecture gets built. “Green housing” is becoming popular and the market is getting larger every day. There are other companies starting to propose similar prefab projects and construction, but they still fail to produce high quality.

    One problem that I am facing is that the added quality makes my product cost to be above average. Cost is always an issue even for upper-middle-class.

    • Malaika

      Focus your market Konrad. A thirty year old likely has never bought a house, might have limited cash, and probably just wants a starter home.

      A 45 year old will look for space, garden, kids bedrooms, and a proper kitchen.

    • Jordan

      If you sell small houses, you could also cut out the market that has kids living at home still. This would be a big win for older people that don’t want to maintain a lot anymore, now that the kids don’t live with them (I assume kids move out by around age 20 in Poland).

    • Lorna

      How did you go with this idea – we have just bought land in Sydney and am interested in well designed, low-energy, prefabricated houses – but they are so expensive here.
      Just wondering

  10. Lisa Milbrand

    I’ve started a digital content firm targeting small- and mid-sized businesses, so that’s pretty specific—we’re doing reasonably well, but want to kick it up another notch.

    1. Digital content coaching for small and mid-sized businesses. (We give you advice and strategy targeted to your company, you do the heavy lifting.)
    2. Online courses on specific aspects that most small and mid-sized businesses need help accomplishing. (Improving Google rankings, writing FB posts that sing, etc.)

    But I really love party planning for my kids—we do some really elaborate themed parties for them, with lots of activities, etc. I could see it as:

    1. Party planning blueprints for DIYers. Save the legwork on finding great ideas. The client sends me their child’s theme, party locale, number of kids, and budget/crafting ability, and I send them back a party plan, with detailed descriptions of activities, links to decor they can buy or DIY, and ideas for the party menu.

    2. Party planning concierge. They tell me what they want—I create a bespoke party box for them, shopping for decor on Etsy or creating items for them, a detailed party plan including instructions, favors prebuilt and ready to go. They’ll just have to put up the decor, order food, and follow the instructions. (Favors high-end clients)

    3. Cool favor builder. No plastic crap, no junk. I take their party theme and budget and search out and build a great favor bag with items that the guests will love (and their parents will, too).

    • Mel

      *raises hand* Count me in for the party planning blueprints idea! I’m the party thrower in my family, and with 12 nieces & nephews, my creativity is just about tapped out. I would LOVE a service like that.

      Also, I like how you scaffolded your party planning ideas for different budgets and needs (bespoke all-in party, just the favors, blueprint to DIY).

    • Lindsay

      Ditto on the party planning DIY. I always want to throw a nice party and have ton of Pinterest boards but run out of time to find/buy everything. Would love to just order something delivered to my door but look like I did it all 🙂

    • Isi

      Absolutely love idea number 2. Can see alot of people wanting that, especially the less creative folks.

    • Erica

      Ditto for #2. Love it.

    • Bill

      For your Digital Content coaching, I wonder if you are specific enough. small and mid-size businesses make up for 90% of all businesses in America! What industry? What geography? What type of ownership? Retail or Services? You can get much more specific in targeting your market. Seems like it is still very broad. A small busines (<$10M in sales) has significantly different needs than a mid-size business ($10M to $100M). I encourage you to get more specific. Perhaps start by describing your ideal client. When you sit across from this person, what do they tell you about their company? That would be a great way to start.

    • Tracy

      I love the favor builder! I’ve combed the internet trying to find favors that are not “plastic crap/junk” that people will throw away in five minutes after they leave the party! I would totally use that service, and I know other moms who would, too.

  11. Doug

    My idea is a set of inline training courses to teach people how to build firmware. You have heard the buzz about the Internet of Things. There is a whole world of software that is not for the web. If you have ever been interested in programming, but want to make the hardware work with the outside world, Embedded Apprentice can show you how. (Linked above)
    What I want to teach are the things a programmer should know when I interview them for a firmware job. So many come out of school knowing “programming” but not the hardware->software interface.

    Ramit, my problem is narrowing down the focus. I have done this sort of work for 20 years. When I start creating a course it grows huge and broad and all over the place, plus gets ridiculous long. I wrote the script and I would not sit through it. Any ideas to help?

    • Mukhya

      Without knowing much about firmware here are some ideas anyway:

      1. People looking for work at a specific hardware company
      2. People that want to work from home (Freelance)
      3. Graduates with no work experience
      4. Software programmers that would like to make a switch to firmware
      5. How much money can be made? That might narrow your niche.
      6. People that love to solve puzzles.

    • Nils Davis

      1. Focus on one platform at a time. (I.e., Arduino – don’t know if that’s a good choice, but it’s the only IoT thing I know!)

      2. Sell not just a capability, but knowledge. The difference between “don’t forget to check for an end of file when doing the read” and “here’s the code to check for an end of file in this situation.” (Again, made-up example.)

      3. Focus on people with specific existing skills and how to transfer them.

      4. Focus on a niche-y, yet important, function – such as integrating the IoT to big data, or developing IoT systems for the home, or developing IoT systems to integrate with wearables or phones or exercise machines or whatever. (e.g., a course on using this device –

      Each of these levels of focus enables you to create multiple short courses, much of them reusable. Create a landing page, throw some of these ideas out there with some Google Adwords, see which is most interesting to the market, and do that one first.

  12. Jeremy

    “Legacy planning” (trusts and estates, but not financial advice–“what do I want my assets to do after I die?”) for GenXers (you know, the ones all of those personal finance books IGNORE COMPLETELY, Ramit) who don’t have or aren’t interested in having children. And who have given up/been cut out of the traditional “work until you retire” schtick.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Interesting. What makes you different?

  13. Ross

    Throwing a few things at the wall:

    Cloud-computing technical deep-dive… for managers at technology companies whose technical skills are 10-20 years behind… but who want to understand and stay engaged in current relevant technologies.

    How to architect a cloud solution… on AWS… for developers… who are not comfortable running their own servers but want more control than they’d have on a PaaS.

  14. Pete Hodge

    Area/Idea: Soft skills management training (material)
    Narrower: … for IT Project Managers
    Narrower: … new to the role
    Narrower: … in small companies (<500 employees)
    Narrower: … who want specific help (small bite-sized) at the right time

    The last part is me thinking about how to deliver the material – user choice of what and when. Also thinking of an ongoing relationship rather than "classroom" learning and then no support in the real world…

  15. Shannon

    I’m an in-house recruiter for a consulting firm and I give advice to friends & family all the time on how to perfect their resume and interview skills. I’ve been told I’m better than the headhunters they’ve worked with in the past. I’d love to start on online/virtual business where I first perfect someone’s resume and then use Skype or real-life meetings to do mock interviews and work on it until they’re a good interviewer.

    I struggle with what target audience to market to. I know I’d want to work with people who are salaried professionals/mid- to high-end professionals (not blue collar jobs). I’m a millennial, but I also interview people who are in their 40s, 50s, and sometimes even their 60s.

    Perhaps I could target kids out of college? But they typically don’t have a lot of disposable income. I could also target people who are in their late 20s, like me, and 30s who do have more disposable income?

    • Christina Deaver

      As my husband is 30 and we are just now realizing that he needs to be good at this stuff after getting laid off his job, I think 30ish is good. You could definitely start with simple prewritten stuff with mock questions. You could do practice phone interviews (phone interviews are a weird beast… they happen a lot, but there is very little good advice on how to nail a phone interview) paid by the hour. Also resume review (not just rewriting it, but commenting on it so they can improve). Then most expensive would be one on one guidance through a course focusing on those two things, perhaps.

    • Lindsay

      You can also target people in mid 30s who want to change industries. It might difficult for someone 10-12 years into a particular industry to change, especially if they have worked up to management.

      You could even focus on a certain industry. People in their mid 30s trying to break into ______ industry.

  16. Michael

    Idea: Help people improve their personal IT security

    Where to focus:

    – Families with children (concerns about online safety)
    – Multiple devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc.)
    – Professional parents (more likely to have experience with real IT security at work)
    – Annual household income >$100k

    • adam

      I would also lean towards this but for small businesses / medical offices. Problem being that it is still labor intensive, harder to make into a ‘passive income’ type business.

    • Dave

      This sounds like something lots of people need. You could work in the word “Privacy” too. Security has been an actual problem for a long time, but people don’t care much. I think with the recent push for more privacy in regards to NSA and all that, maybe it’s becoming more of a public issue?

    • Ramit Sethi

      They might need it. But do they want it?

    • Lindsay

      Focus on parents with 8-15 year olds. I have a 10 year old and am scared to death of him on social media. Maybe a course to educate parents? It could focus beyond the basics of social media but how to set up security settings for each channel, how to monitor accounts while still fostering independence, etc.

    • Michael

      Thanks for the feedback. I think the only people that would have enough interest would be parents, especially those who might not be very tech-savvy themselves. This has been a great exercise to get me thinking about the idea more seriously.

    • Adam

      I’m going to answer with the assumption that you were asking me (RE; Do they want it). The main difference with my idea is to protect a small business network from intrusion, but mostly to keep their systems secure to ensure they don’t have any downtime from viruses or insider threats. It would be very easy to explain why a customer should be security focused (plenty of recent examples), but like most things with computers, if the customer just doesn’t understand, then I can see why they might not thinks its very important. I’m not sure they wouldn’t WANT to be more secure when the choice is no security vs some security.

      With medical offices it may be even easier to explain because of potential HIPPA violations. Basically part of the pitch would include the amount of trouble and scrutiny they would be under if their network was compromised and patient information was exfiltrated. Of course I don’t know what kind of liability that would put me under if there still was a breach…

      My original comment stands though, either case would require significant labor, at least up front. If it was easy though, everyone would already be doing it and the idea would be a non-starter anyway. But there is money to be made there I think.

    • Reeta

      This is probably too niche and I only mention since it’s a need I have at the moment so it’s on my mind.

      I can’t be the only expat in a foreign land who has trouble finding decent IT support.

      Could you do security walk-throughs and set-up training remotely to help people expats who need in-depth IT help from someone who speaks their language? Can it even be done remotely?

      I would snap this up for my small business network if you could convince me you were supremely competent AND generous with sharing your knowledge so my IT background feels satisfied that I’m dealing with *someone like me but much much better.*

    • Nicole

      Why would people care about this though? Why specifically people with kids who are $100k+. I don’t have kids why don’t I count?

  17. Robin

    Young professional couples (age 30-35), without children moving into a new city bcs of their careers. They do not know anything about the city (how to navigate, where to go, where to eat, where to have a drink), but have a desire to feel at home in their new location. They do not have a lot of time, so exploring without a plan is not an option. Also, consulting tourist guides is out of the question, as they are clearly “better” than tourists. These people need a guide to give them all the informal information that you can usually only get by actively living in a city for 5+ years.

    • Gaelle

      I had the same idea at a time! My problem was picking a city – you can’t do it for every expat-attracting city… Which place would you choose? My second issue was figuring what kind of expats. Where I lived in Malaysia, you had 2 : the kind who wants to replicate their western environment and the one who wanted to dive in like a local.

    • vivian

      @Gaelle, think about what’s driving their wants. Those who want to dive in like a local do it because they’ve traveled before and feel confident they *can* dive in — which usually means they’ll just do it and aren’t likely to pay someone to help. However, the kind of expat who wants to replicate their western environment might be in a place of fear — they’re in unfamiliar surroundings, uncomfortable, maybe afraid of being taken advantage of, and they just want something that is familiar and manageable. This latter group is much more likely to pay someone to show them how things are done.

    • Sandy

      When I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast without knowing anyone, the main problem was having a central place to receive mail, receive boxes, and to manage getting driver’s licenses and knowing all the paperwork needed for that location. In other words, it would help to have an online home base that takes care of all the stuff while you are planning or are in transition.

      As part of that service, you need to know about neighborhoods, rentals and anything about the job market, transportation. The other issue was figuring out what to take as we drove across country and what to leave behind. It would have been cool to know the costs of furniture(starter) in that locale and even to have all that stuff arranged before we got to the location.
      I think you have a good idea and all you need to do is ask some people who have moved to a location where they knew no-one what they wish they had to make the move smoother. I’m not sure what you’d call this service, but the idea is to have a home away from home online that is the central place for taking care of everything. You may be able to hook the person up with someone else who is doing the move or have moved there already.(They could keep in touch from this home on line service)
      Good luck with this idea. Most corporations help to take care of all this stuff, but think about those who move because they want to and they just don’t have the time nor money to go back and forth to that location( like we did which turned out to be a real problem)
      Hope all this helps you flesh out your idea.

    • Erica

      I could see this being a concierge-type service, where you are sort of available for guidance as needed. You can have itineraries, discounts on local events that are insider favorites, etc. as needed. Plus what Sandy mentioned about actual physical relo assistance.

      Sounds very interesting!

  18. Tony

    I’m looking to start an online business selling lessons to learn computer software, specifically Autodesk Products, even more specific, Civil 3D and AutoCAD and eventually branch out to more and more programs. My target audience would be recent college grads or senior level students looking to get an edge in the Engineering industry or Engineering Technology Industry.

    My concerns are the rights of teaching the material and what all I need to be aware of for copyright and legal jargon that I should know before I start parading around teaching Autodesk products to anyone. I’d appreciate any help or areas to start looking. Thanks!

    • Elaine

      As part of your research take a look at if you don’t know of it already. They supply a whole host of tutorials on autocad and many other programmes.

  19. charissa

    Super-vague: yoga/wellness/health

    Less-vague: Personalized in-home yoga class + healthy meal prep for new mothers (child < 1 year). Possible restriction that no other children (ages 1-5) be at home during service.

    Not sure if that's un-vague enough.

    • sandy

      Just want to add that there is a need for yoga classes for those who are disabled(past broken wrist or bone) or have some other special issues( like weight, health problems) baby boomers( they have money and are often ignored by those starting businesses)

    • Tracy

      That would be hard to restrict kids being at home during services, and turn people off, IMO.

  20. Learner

    I have 3 ideas:
    1. Produce user documentation for mainframe software companies that are too small to have staff writers.
    2. Provide email templates to programmers to help them write quick effective emails to project managers, customers, and other stakeholders.
    3. Offer a DIY kit for an Independence Summer Camp for the parents of 8-14 year olds to teach self-reliance skills like grocery shopping, simple cooking, and banking.

    • Rivka

      I would buy #3 (going to google for such a curriculum today, never thought of doing that) and I know several programmers to whom I’d totally recommend #2. Beautiful.

    • Tracy

      I know that in our area where there are “year-round” schools, people are looking for what they call “track-out camps” because the parents work but the kids are off of school for a week or two. They usually find some kind of camp to go to, as well as in the summer if they’re not in a year-round school. So, I think the camp idea is great! Especially if it’s a thing that people can buy and then put on their own camps. Kind of like selling a money-making idea to people and they don’t have to develop it themselves, if I’m reading that right? I think people would like that camp for their kids.

    • Heather

      I like #3, Learner. Some school districts have after school care or clubs and might be interested in purchasing a curriculum or resource like this.
      Recent high school graduates or those on their own for the first time might be interested in an email course with this same information. This could easily become a passive money maker.

  21. Kate

    Idea: End of Life Life Coaching

    For active men and women in their twilight years who want to get the most out of the last decade of their lives, who have some big projects on their bucket list that they want to get to before they can’t do them anymore (clean out their house or storage space, make photo albums for their children or grandchildren, etc). This could also be for caregivers and the family / loved ones of people who have terminal diseases (cancer, etc) and who want to help the patient be more active and/or take some worries off their mind in terms of projects and things they want to do before they die.

    I know this idea might seem depressing but … it isn’t. I live this. I am the primary caregiver for my Mom who has stage 4 cancer. I am basically her life coach/personal assistant … helping her do things that she wants to get done before she really starts going down hill health wise. I’ve helped her rid out the house and storage spaces, make photo albums, get in touch with old friends, organize her letters and papers, go on little trips when she is feeling well (to NYC etc). I help her do all of these things. I hire VAs and outsource some of the stuff so she doesn’t have to worry about it and it all gets done.

    • Daniel

      Hey Kate,

      I think that is a fantastic idea. Would love to talk to you more about it and see what specific actions you can take to get things going.


    • Gina

      Excellent idea. I would imagine there are many people who would pay for something like this. People who are losing someone else, or are themselves facing a terminal illness, are often at a complete loss as to where to start stopping. Might be some grant funding available for this type of startup, especially locally.

    • Sandy

      I second this proposition. Had a parent who passed recently and I was too far away to get some of this done. Excellent idea and not at all depressing: it’s part of life. Cool. Glad to read how you handled things.

    • Deborah

      Kate, great idea. Just hone in on the specifics and think about how you would promote this. Been through the process and it is stressful and emotional. Especially for someone with a demanding job on the other side of the country. Aging and declining parents are hitting boomer women particularly hard. This is worth thinking through.

    • Ian Nagy

      This is awesome. Brings a tear to my eye.

      What a way to give back to our elders, who are so often ignored!

      (That reminds me, I need to call my grandma…)

      It sounds like you have quite a system in place, using VA’s & outsourcing & excellent planning for very exciting, creative activities for your mom.

      If I were your target market (you’d have to test, of course, but I’m thinking caring baby-boomer children AND the actual end-of-lifers themselves (who I’ve heard are the fastest-growing online demographic…)) I’d be VERY interested in seeing the nuts & bolts of how you’re able to maximize your Mom’s enjoyment of life.

      Now, humor me for a moment…

      But here’s one quick idea on how you could test/monetize this pretty quickly:

      [Big picture View… Pardon my French, but… FUCK IT DO IT LIVE!]

      STEP #1 – Sell a “pay what you want” webinar where you do an over-the-shoulder walk through of what you do (how you outsource, what you plan, how you deal with the ups and downs of illness, etc.).

      STEP #1A – KEY POINT – in the week leading up to your webinar, ask your buyers what they’d like you to cover on the call, in addition to what you already have planned. Incorporate their questions into your presentation.

      STEP #2 – At the end of the webinar, you’re going to pitch a higher-priced, 6 week LIVE training course where, each week, you’ll go more in-depth on one of the important topics you touched on during the first webinar.

      STEP #3 – To give yourself an ongoing, regular income stream, you could easily upsell your buyers to a $10/mo private FaceBook group where they’ll get ongoing live support/guidance/community. I think this would be a very helpful community to be in, if I were in this position, and I’d expect people to be VERY active and stick around for a long time, if you do it right.

      STEP #4 – Sell the recording of your first webinar as a lower-ticket, “front end” offer – let’s say anywhere from $27 to $47

      STEP #5 – Upsell the buyers of your Front-end product the recordings of your 6 week LIVE training, at let’s say $197

      STEP #6 – Ask your audience for feedback – what ELSE do they want to learn from you?

      STEP #7 – Taking into account your info from step #6, repeat steps #1 thru #5, again and again!

      STEP #8 – Books? Oprah? etc? who knows…

      [Nitty-gritty View – step-by-step how to do this]


      1. Set up account w/ Gumroad (easy)
      2. Create new product in Gumroad, name it what you want, add the details of what you’ll be covering on the call, etc.
      3. Set price for product to “Pay what you want”, which just means they’ll pay $1 or more. *WHY THIS IS IMPORANT* – Just the fact that someone is willing to open their wallet for you is HUGE, b/c if they won’t, even for a $1, then you know you have a flop and can fail fast and move on to another idea, or seriously work on your message and test again/test targeting/etc
      4. Buy WebinarJam (It’s $297 per year, but you have 30 days to get a refund, so if your idea doesn’t work, you won’t lose a penny…) It’s easy to use, integrates with GoogleHangouts and instantly records your live webinars, so you can then turn around and sell your LIVE recordings as products…
      5. Run FB ads to your gumroad sales page. (I’ll leave it at that for now, but if you want a few quick pointers just email me)
      6. Buyers get a link to sign up for your webinar.
      7. The Webinar itself: just make a few powerpoint slides, deliver the content you had planned, and the other items your audience wants, and then…


      1. Email your buyers and ask them what they want to learn on the webinar.
      2. Incorporate what they want into your presentation.

      STEP #2 – UPSELL

      1. Close out this live webinar with a quick run-down on what you’ll be covering in your 6-week course, and a Call-To-Action for them to sign up. (you’ll send them to another Gumroad product page for them to buy the 6 week course) Finish up with some live questions and answers, and you’re done.

      STEP #3 – CONTINUITY – Facebook Group

      1. Set up another product on Gumroad, $10 month recurring.
      2. Set up private FB group.
      3. Post stuff
      4. Interact
      5. Each month, politely boot the people who cancelled their membership to the group

      STEP #4 – Sell Front-End

      1. Sell recording of 1st webinar, using the same FB ad to Gumroad page process as outlined above

      STEP #5 – Upsell 6 week course

      1. Give your buyers from #4 a chance to get access to your recordings of the 6 week course


      1. Email & ask what they want to learn NEXT


      1. Develop new products based on what your audience wants

      #8 – GET ON OPRAH

      1. Sorry, can’t help you there!


      Ok, that’s ONE way to approach things… Too complicated? Maybe.

      But the MOST IMPORTANT THING is step #1.

      Get it live, test it, and as they say…

      If you’re gonna fail? Fail fast.

      Good luck whatever you decide to do, (and do get in touch if you want any clarification on this)

      Ian 🙂

    • Kate

      THANKS for all the feedback … And thanks to Ian for planning out my next steps! 🙂
      I will be in touch … and I will iterate this idea. I’ve mentioned it to psychiatrists and psychologists and they all immediately said it was a good idea … that there is such a need for someone other than the Doctor or the family member to help out with end of life issues — basic stuff, like what to do with stuff and more heavy stuff, like do I have all my financial affairs in order, where are all those docs, have we talked about the funeral and what the person wants, etc.

  22. Jeff V

    Financial Planning for Engineers (I’m told we can be difficult / demanding to non-engineers)

    • Jen

      That’s an awesome idea. Anything that engineers need and want to buy, from someone tailoring to and expecting to deal with engineers, is a very clever thing indeed. Maybe have some filter marketing to the wives to encourage them to send him there, with a freebie he will want to get and when he gets there it is written in abrupt, succinct engineer-speak!

  23. Delmania

    Another idea popped into my mind:
    1.) Training courses on how to take “legacy” applications and upgrade them to modern standards.

    • Gretchen

      I have a web developer/administrator friend who really needs a product like this. So there’s a little encouragment for you.

    • RCole

      Probably a good part of this idea should be to do an evaluation first on the “expected shelf life” of said legacy item, to determine whether the investment of time and money returns an ROI above and beyond the expenditure itself. And in today’s world of hacks, another element is that of security and opening oneself up to risk by hanging on to legacy elements.

  24. Thimas

    I do EdTech consulting for schools and have started to offer professional development to teachers interested in integrating technology more into their regular flow of teaching. This isn’t just buy iPads and the world is different. Step-by-stepThe difference is that they are treated well with good food and humor and are not forced to attend so every attendee is a willing participant.
    To move online I want to target veteran teachers and offer courses to slowly integrate tech by following steps 1-5 and offer coaching to those that can afford more.
    Teachers themselves don’t know a ton of money but my experience as an administrator has shown me the large budgets dedicated to professional development that no one uses because they don’t know what to use it on. Since I work with so many schools I see what is needed and offer courses in just that.
    Now if I can only get it built and marketed.

    • Sandy

      Many teachers want and need how to learn technology and apply it to their lesson plans. I wonder if you could narrow what you offer first from showing them “how to apply the technology to a specific lesson.” It seems they would be more motivated. They could then keep these lesson plans for future classes and build up a portfolio of technology based lesson plans for their students.

    • ingmar


      i am an educational marketeer. i would love to hear more about your idea. maybe i can help. sent me a mail at

  25. Liston

    Guide to eating healthy…for families…who are short on time…that need to take small steps to change instead of the “get rid of everything in your pantry approach”. Focus on long term, sustainable change in eating habits.

    • Sandy

      How about a site where people can find recipes for either lunches or all family meals by price? Of course you’ll provide the grocery check list.
      Just thought I’d throw this out in case you’re looking for ideas on narrowing your topic.

  26. Tulio

    35 – 45 year old male, married, with kids, that lives in the Northeast (US) that wants to be productive and still enjoy family time . They know they have to network, deliver high output at work, exercise, eat healthy, but are overwhelmed and do all of the above poorly.

  27. Winson

    1) Marketing blog for small businesses that operates a B2C brick and motar store, with less than 20 employees, and is looking to expand

    2) Climbing coaching for young and successful executives, with little time and enjoys an adrenaline pumping exercise 2-3 times/week.

  28. Amanda B.

    Two ideas
    1) Resource for new mother’s the first three months after childbirth when they are overwhelmed and feel alone.
    2) Target parents who want their high schoolers to learn basic financial skills before going off to college

    • Sandy

      Usually in the first three months there is a feeling of isolation as you’ve stated and a need to connect with people with similar interests. I’ve seen many sites that target moms, but none that I can recall that give mom a chance to pick who she’d like to interact with.( example: other new moms who had corporate jobs, new moms in the same geographic area)

    • Nicole

      I like both ideas but think #1 might be more successful if you can get in with them while they are still pregnant. I think some of this is merely setting up an awesome community for them to talk among themselves. Structuring it similarly to Ramit’s Brain Trust could be really powerful.

  29. Penny

    Small batch, gourmet confections for “foodie” millenials who are middle-upper middle class

  30. Tim Barber

    Habit Change/Productivity/Lifestyle Design…for geeks… who love video games… and are tired of the same old corporate-sounding advice.

    • Fiona Taylor Gorringe

      I like this one, taking fairly common advice and repackaging into a different format to appeal to a niche.

    • Ian Nagy

      Sounds like a great idea, and as a side-bonus, you probably could get relatively cheap, targeted traffic with in-game ads.

  31. Zain

    Idea: Selling an online Content Management System as a service (meaning you don’t have to worry about writing, hosting, and maintaining your own website, I do it for you)…to start ups or other people new to selling their products online…

    Not sure how to focus this more narrowly. Possibly limiting it to people selling a particular type of product (like ebooks) and optimizing for that

    • Zain

      I know, the third focus is on people who are trying to actually sell products. (i.e. wordpress is a content management system, but not necessarily designed for people to sell stuff online)

      This is starting to sound a bit like Amazon and Ebay, but more customized to the individual startups. It even opens up opportunities for integration with those sites. Good sign?

    • Sandy

      How about starter management system with the added value of the website as part of the package. They could choose a site and package for 10 to 100 pages. They also get a starter video and consult for how to take over the package and run it on their own. One of the main things new people get stuck on is presentation and trying to do the site themselves which delays the process of getting other things done.
      Sounds like you’re moving towards something interesting.

  32. Casey

    Several ideas related to reading, since it’s a focus for me lately.

    1. Reading for professionals who want to boost retention and have systems in place to support quick refresh reads.

    2. Reading for professionals who want to gain more actionable insights from the books they read.

    As additional offers sell questions that highlight and prompt deeper thinking on particular passages for popular and classic texts. Something like a $0.99 PDF that asks you to write out what action particular passages allow you to take, what ways of thinking they enable. Purchasing a particular book’s reading guide could give you access to a forum / community specifically for that book where you can discuss your findings with other professionals interested in improving their ability to generate effective action (that is, action that enables them to achieve their goals and long term ambition) with the books they read.

    3. Reading retention who want to have the answers at their fingertips and ace the rest.

    4. OneNote for business professionals who want to be able to access their notes from past meetings at a moments notice.

    This was a fun exercise, thank you for prompting it.

    • Sandy

      I know of a similar successful site doing a self help take on this: google Brian Johnson Philosophy Notes.

      I love books and like the idea of having some videos on interpretations of books in different genres.

      As an aside, one of my friends is in the accounting arena and I don’t have to tell you how busy he is during tax season, but he needs to keep up on the books and magazines in his field as well as for his online business needs ( a synopsis service for professionals(find a niche you love) would be excellent)

      Like your idea.

  33. Carmit

    This is a business that my partner and I have launched and are struggling to grow. She and I complete in body-building / fitness competitions. The business is creating and selling custom bikinis for these competitions.

    In a market filled by prom-colored bikinis (pink pink pink!) we’ve decided to appeal to an “edgier,” more rock-and-roll flavor, a gap in the market that ultimately made us decide to make our own competition suits.

    • Nathan

      I love this, especially since I’m in the midst of a transformation with a goal of becoming a professional fitness competitor. I’ve already been pretty unimpressed with the options out there since I am definitely more of a punk-rock kind of gal. I’ll be interested in the feedback you get on this, and seeing how it goes.

    • Sandy

      Love your idea ! Fashion in sync with health and fitness is a field needing an infusion of energy and creativity.

    • Kim

      Where do competitors currently buy their competition suits from? Can you wholesale your bikinis to them? Or license your designs to be manufactured by the big name brands who make these? How do other businesses in this niche market their products? Can you buy a list of female competitors and mail them a catalog or a promotional deal? Are there trade shows you can participate in? Can you hire sales reps in different areas of the country that go to competitions that are in their local area and market your bikinis (Paid on Commission). Or offer a free bikini to different competitors in different parts of the country in exchange for handing out catalogs or marketing materials while they are there. Other competitors see your cool design, and ask the competitor who is wearing it where they got it from. You are probably doing all these things at the competitions you are competing in, but think about how you can scale this to be seen at more competitions nationwide.

  34. Lisa

    Passion : commercialize university technology (research discoveries) . . . by transferring it to biotechnology companies . . . to develop it into human therapeutic products . . . by pharmaceutical companies . . . to help people

  35. Fabian

    Help self-employed people…who pursue entrepreneurial careers…beat procrastination and increase productivity.

    • Sherita Carthon

      I could really use this service …

    • Minnie

      This is interesting. I’ve fallen into doing this! I have three clients already.

    • Hillary

      Interesting starter idea. BUT: due to the procrastination and low productivity you’ve identified, why would these people have any money to pay you? And what makes you think their procrastination and low productivity to will lead them to find, engage, and capitalize on your service?

      This doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but you’d probably need to niche down to figure out who is willing and able to pay you, and determine how you get them out of their slump and working with you.

  36. Kelly

    Two main ideas:

    1) High-quality t-shirts made from sustainable fabrics, with beautifully designed positive messages, for women 20-40 who care about aesthetics, positivity and social responsibility.

    2) Online wellness course, delivered week by week, for busy women who want to outsource the organization of a more healthy life. (Ie. First 20 days, the task is to drink 2L water per day.. next 20 days is warm water with lemon when they wake up while continue the first new habit..) + bringing experts on board.

    • Lindsay

      I think you’re on to something with both. I would narrow the age gap. Women are very different in each decade. I am in my mid 30s and having a very hard time finding work out clothes that aren’t skimpy or frumpy. They tend to be designed for those in their 20s or 50s not someone who is still youthful but who has kids and a career so has to dress a little more conservative but still wants to feel good.

  37. Erika

    A travel blog then book on extended travel for single parents with multiple children

    • Heather

      This idea is interesting. As a single parent I have considered traveling with my children but the thought is overwhelming as I haven’t even traveled on my own!
      I worry about: Safety, activities that work across multiple ages, travel tips to prevent boredom, medical care while abroad, lodging that allows all of us in one room or suite so I don’t worry about some in a separate room, food options – especially portable options, saving money while traveling, packing for travel and much more.

  38. Jason

    A site which connects college students or recent college grads to non profit organizations in need of website / branding help. This allows students to build their portfolio, and non profits with small budgets to stay fresh in the modern web.

  39. John

    Care packages…for professional men…who are in long distance relationships…and are too busy to spend the time to craft something special

    • Mateeka

      This is a cool idea, but I think you could use it even for couples that are in the same geographic area…”business” affects everyone, even when you see your partner everyday!

  40. Oby

    Never done this before, but here goes.

    Large framable photos of scenes from urban Africa for African immigrants to the U.S. (or afrophiles more broadly?) who want a visual reminder of their roots in their homes.

    • Sandy

      I like the idea of large scenes from urban Africa and wondering about screens that can be used on the green board (background of videos) I’ve noticed that some people would benefit from having nice visuals on their you tube videos and they’d probably pay for this.

      I also can see offices who would want these super large images in their lobbies.

      I like this idea. Just narrow it down to the market.

    • Tiffanie

      This sounds like something people would buy.

  41. Bunny

    I have been working on an etsy store sewing upcycled clothing. I wasn’t having any luck with the smaller sized clothing. My son suggested I make clothes for plus size women. So I have been focusing on that as a niche. Not doing too badly as most of my sales are plus size.
    There are other upcycled clothing stores on etsy making anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 a year in sales. I just can’t figure out how to increase my sales. There is an incredible amount of competition for upcycled clothing and it increases all the time. How do I stand out?

    • Barbara

      I might suggest focusing on professionals. Women who need to look good at work. Maybe want to move into mgmt or just want to be taken more seriously. You could maybe work with the Dress for Success org.

    • Nessy

      Besides being plus sized, what kind of clothes are they specifically? Are they for sports? Fitness? Casual wear? Work attire? A night out? Be more specific.

    • Bunny

      These are funky artsy clothes for mostly casual wear. Some could easily be for work, but mostly for wearing something fun and unique.

    • Nathan

      I’d bet that if you could focus on the professional side instead of the fun/funky side you’d have some serious success. Though the fun/funky side is, well, more fun to create, it is also completely saturated. Plus, many of the women who are into upcycled clothing make it themselves.

      Have you experimented with professional/crossover clothing? Also, who exactly is your target market EXACTLY? Figuring that out will help you get into their heads and create what it is they are looking for.

    • Sandy

      I’m familiar with this demographic(plus size) and the major complaint is not being able to find clothes similar to the ones that their smaller counterparts. The key is to identify the style you’re going after. One of the problems with some upcycled sites is that they are selling to many things. For example, dramatic work wear is a lot different from creative artsy. Look at what you’re selling the most of.

      Offer a small incentive (discount) for a survey to find out what your demographic is looking for.

      If it were me: you can’t lose with accessories and basics standard wardrobe items(denim, white shirts, skirts, pants) clothes.

    • Kim

      Hi Bunny,
      I would suggest using Pinterest as a starting point for market research. Which items of yours are the most popular, evidenced by the number of repins, and clicks. I searched pinterest for the words “by CuriousOrangeCat” because that language is in every item pinned from your Etsy store, so you can see the pins other people have pinned too. One jacket style has a lot of repins, both on the pin you shared, and also when other people have shared it too. What is it about this style that people like? Can you make more of these? When you see someone repins one of your items (in your activity feed on Pinterest), I would comment on their repin, telling them “thanks for repinning my item….what do you love about this item…do you need it in a different color…etc” Engage them in dialogue and find out why they shared it on Pinterest. And tailor your products offered for sale to what the market is telling you. Fashion and apparel do really well on Pinterest. Use it to your advantage. Good Luck! 🙂

    • Jo Jo Fildi

      Hi Bunny

      I have an etsy shop , where I sell fruit inspired crocheted hats to a mainly vegan audience. I have a YouTube channel where I wore my hats in videos, and I picked up a lot of interest when I sent a few of my signiture designs to top youtubers. They wore them on their vids, and I got loads of orders….I actually want to write a etsy bjz course for independent artisans.

      Your shop and niche sounds incredible. I would recommend researching your audience further, and youtube is great for this.

  42. Nathaniel

    A time management course…for parents…who work full time…and have multiple children.

  43. David

    First comment ever (I’m so nervous).

    Idea: Practical IT security training advise.

    Market: For Stressed out business owners. Who are not computer savvy.

    • Michael

      I agree that there is a need for this, especially in the SMB space.

    • beowuff

      Ha, I’ve been contemplating a similar idea, except specifically targeted to AWS. Basically, securing an EC2 instance, securing communication to your VPC, securing S3, etc.

      I think most Devs are savvy enough to figure it out from the AWS docs, and larger businesses would just hire people. But I’ve got good experience showing small business owners can be clueless to the security needs of cloud services.

      Another add on might be… What to do when you receive an email from AWS Security about a compromised instance…

  44. Chelsea

    I want to help seniors and their families transition into assisted living. Resources to make it easy – downsizing from their current homes (packing/sorting etc) and then finding the right facility for them. Step in and help the family members with all of the stress involved.

    • adw

      great idea! Coupla questions

      What kind of seniors? Upper middle class? Low income? Non-English speaking?

      In what city/state/region?

  45. Jean-Michel

    A website to teach middle/high school students how to code using web programming languages (php, javascript, etc). Building off of interest started by the Hour of Code campaign.

    Target market: middle/high school students who belong to upper middle class families with parents that will do whatever it takes to give thier children a leg up when it comes to education.

    • Sandy

      How about a summer program for these students? But you’d need to seek out grants or funds from mentoring programs or the government. Otherwise, parents with larger budgets may buy in.

      Great idea.

  46. Chelsea

    I’d also like to start blog templates for dummies so to speak.. Give me $100 and I’ll start your blog, then you just post.

    • Mateeka

      Good idea, Chelsea! But you’re definitely undercharging for a service like that…I have written single articles for 3x that amount, I couldn’t imagine building an entire site for that much. Good idea!

    • Sandy

      Good service. One of the biggest headaches for a blog, for a complete newbie, is designing a basic wordpress into something with a nice headboard. You could charge more.

    • Gloria

      Could certainly use this service.

      Please send me contact info.

    • Heather

      I like it! I’d do $100 but I honestly think you’re underselling yourself. But I’ll take the $100 fee. 🙂

  47. Louis

    A personal finance course for those that are starting their first job or have never invested before and are feeling overwhelmed. The first part (free) covers the basics of different assets and asset allocation, the second part (paid) shows you how to apply that to your situation and gives you an action plan.

  48. Aaron

    A guide to help florists understand Yelp (they don’t)

    A guide to help people who want to become professional meadmakers.

    • Sandy

      I like this. For that matter, many businesses don’t get services like yelp or the customer service end of things.

      I sent some flowers recently and never found out if they even got there. Please. Basic customer service.

  49. Lesley

    A hands free minimal wallet for women who like to go out, don’t want to carry a purse or a clutch and want to make it home with their keys, credit card and phone.

  50. Tracey

    Teaching people to make cocktails from scratch in their homes, focused on women, who are eating “clean”, who want to hop on the craft cocktail wagon.

    • Erica

      This would be a fun workshop, even a series, in anyplace with a sink. I love it.

  51. Mel

    IDEA: Teaching people how to build, grow and maintain a fansite/fan community.

    TARGET: passionate fans who want to build an online community…with some money to spend on training/information materials.

    This is something my partner and I launched a few years ago, after we met with success running fansites ourselves. We wrote several posts, including a series that’s still quite popular 2 years later, but between real life and running our other sites, we let it slide. I’m ready to revive that site and monetize it.

  52. AJ

    Helping adults (specifically post college-40s, single or married, without children) to prioritize and plan their budgets, with an emphasis on living a life to be enjoyed, not just getting by. Especially geared for those who feel they can barely get ahead, and feel guilty every time they do something “fun.”

    General information in a blog format, personalized information, budget assistance, and advice in a more one-on-one format.

    There’s plenty of information on how to cut things out of our lives when we’re on a tight budget – there’s not much out there about learning to live an abundant life while on a tight budget. Everything is about cut, cut, cut – and I want this to show people how to do more than just sacrifice!

  53. Mini

    Helping to navigate the system in DC – home of red tape! Helping newcomers to and residents of DC register and title their car at the DMV and get their car tested for emissions. Also line sitting for Driver’s License transactions.

  54. gwendolyn

    I went through the profitable idea course. My problem is I’m a CPA and think in terms of billable time which eats up all my time so I’m trying to develop an actual product. Tax seasons are wearing me out and I need to adapt.

    Everything I’m learning through the earn1k course (which I bought over a year ago and am actually trying to do it right this time) I’ve applied to the firm I work at. So far I’m testing out the need for my services. People trust me and my advice (so much rides on it) that I’m trying to create a system because I get the same questions over and over again. So I’m trying to make a product from that. From those things that I know I get asked and help with. I keep getting stuck. But I’m going through earn1k and hope to get my head out of my ass.

    • Sandy

      Maybe you could do a line of booklets. Check out Paulette Ensign online ( the queen of booklets) Those booklets can turn into a profitable side business, get you interviews on the off season, be the foundation for articles in newspapers.

      Great idea.

  55. Jason

    IDEA: In-season fantasy baseball projections that focus on short-term performance.

    TARGET: Guys like me who have been in fantasy leagues forever and find themselves with a wife and kid(s) and very little time to dedicate to this any more, but still want to be competitive. It would take a lot of the thinking and analysis out of playing. The projections can be emailed each night/morning and provide a cheat sheet of sorts for executing transactions or trades.

    The hard part is creating an automated projection system, but I have ideas and would keep it as simple as possible. Plus, I can be the guinea pig for testing.

    • Ben

      Jason, have you considered focusing on the daily fantasy sports industry? Seems more relevant for your information as roster options and transactions can be very limited for season-long formats. Would love to hear what you are doing with this idea. Email me… fantasydraftwin @

  56. Lindsay

    dating site based on your astrological sign, for example you are a libra, here are available aquarians in your area….company also ran by all women BAM

  57. Michelle Kalisz

    I want 5-6 more private clients in either yoga or Pilates (I teach both). My current clients pay me $100-$150/hr

    What I noticed: although my website is female-friendly, my best clients are (1) male (2) working in finance/biz (3) were basically mandated by their psychotherapist or physical therapist to start doing yoga.

    These men would never step into an open yoga class, (theyprobably don’t tell anyone they are doing it,) and don’t flinch at the cost. Further, they are super type A and never miss appointments. The fact is once they start the practice they see improvements in other areas of their lives and thus are motivated to continue.

    I want to attract more clients like this,
    Yoga & Pilates market is completely saturated in NYC, but luckily everyone really sucks @ marketing. I find it challenging to relay the message, as everyone assumes yoga teachers are super flighty and have their head in the clouds and “shouldn’t” be interested in $.

    Even Andy Warhol said “Making money is an art.” Word

    The clients I’ve gotten have been through an agency (who takes HALF), word of mouth (1), and a former colleague.

    Need a way to access this market strategically for my own direct clients.

    • Nathan

      Great observations about your current clients!

    • Alice

      I hear you about the “shouldn’t be interested in money” scripts in the alternative health world. I’m a nutrition consultant (and yoga teacher in training) and oh boy are there a lot of people who haven’t thought it through financially.

      How did you find those reliable clients in the first place? Could you work with therapists whose clients have seen awesome results with you?

    • Sandy

      What about taking the yoga to them and businesses?

    • Kim

      “(3) were basically mandated by their psychotherapist or physical therapist to start doing yoga.”

      Can you build relationships with the psychotherapists and physical therapists in your area for referral purposes? These professionals obviously see the value yoga provides, otherwise they wouldn’t recommend it. But maybe they don’t know which yoga instructors offer private instruction, like you do, which are perfect for your ideal client which you’ve identified.

    • Barb

      Yes, link up with local therapist, but go one more step. Offer them a free class upfront (so they can personally speak of your expertise), and then offer them additional free classes for every new client you get that was referred by them. Win,win, win!

  58. Adam

    One of the biggest roadblocks to using our skills for profit is that we incorrectly assume that other people have those skills already.

    For example I just assume that everyone currently age 30 – 40 knows how to use mobile technology. They don’t.

    IDEA: Customize users smart phones based on a short online profile. To start with let’s stick to 30 – 40 year old professionals with kids who (1) have a smart phone, (2) feel overwhelmed by its home screen, and (3) commute 30+ minutes to work.

    • Sandy

      Yep you’re right. I have a relative in that demographic and she only knows facebook.

      I wanted her to set up some older relatives for skype and or hook up laptops and she didn’t know a thing.

  59. Em

    Small to mid-sized businesses have small things they can work on that would help their businesses run more efficiently, more organized and provide better customer service (customer = employees, vendors, customers). My business would help these companies set up systems, make changes and provide training to improve business operation, resulting in higher income and less waste (be it $$ or time waste, which = $$ waste). Areas can include all areas of office/administrative processes, manufacturing processes, employee training from answering the phone to (a big one) how they respond to customer questions and complaints (no, apologizing a billion times without addressing the issue is not good customer service) to safety procedures and training.

    Targeting small to mid-sized businesses that are growing or have the potential to grow, that have $$ to spend and are willing to part with it to make improvements, but don’t want to hire someone for this, and can learn to see the value in making these changes. (I am not targeting small companies operating on a shoestring.)

  60. Dennis

    I’m launching a women’s fashion site in a couple months, but I’m a little stuck on how to differentiate.

    Our target is women in their 20s-40s. We had an idea to include a series of posts where recreate classic fashion ads from the 80s and 90s with a modern twist, but we don’t have the budget at this point to make that the sole focus of the blog (we would need to buy the clothes for our models).

    • Nathan

      20s – 40s isn’t anywhere near narrow enough for fashion. Think about the 20 year olds you know, and now think about the 40 year olds. They are in completely different spaces in their lives with different ideals and demands. Most (sensible) 40 year olds would never wear something that a 20 year old would wear and vice versa. Think about it – you are talking about people who could be each other’s mothers/daughters.

    • Katie

      A site that has been fabulously successful in that crowded space is Their differentiator is being able to shop by body type and occasion, and also provide outfit ideas. These are the way women shop! They have grown from nothing to over 80 staff in 5 years.

    • Sandy

      If you do fashion, make sure you know about it.

      There is a trend towards by one segment of that market in thrift shopping. I recall one site that makes quite a bit selling good looking thrifted items online. But they really know fashion. You’ve got to get a good buyer.

    • Lindsay

      As I mentioned in a comment above and others also mentioned, narrow your target further. What kind of woman do you want to sell to? A new college grad getting her first professional job, a newlywed trying to get that next promotion, a new mom that still wants to feel good about her body but cannot wear what she did in college, a young executive, etc. Really try to visualize who that woman is, what she does, if she is married, dating, single, if she has kids, etc. Then decide what type of clothes you want to dress her in–work, play, workout, etc. I would say that I have to buy work clothes so that is where the majority of my shopping budget goes.

  61. Lisa

    Managing/dealing with gender discrimination . . . for women . . . with STEM degrees . . . in the tech and biotech industries . . . who are early career . . . in the SF Bay Area

  62. Charlemagne

    English-speaking (and writing) for Filipino elementary and high school students. Modules will be posted for free, personalized tutorials and other premium material available for subscriptions. 🙂

    • tom

      In the Philippines? Can the parents afford it?

    • Charlemagne

      Economy might be tough here, but there are several families who spend several thousands a month (our currency) on private tutorials. And the service I have in mind won’t be that expensive.

    • Phillip

      You could also flip flop the idea and teach Tagalog to English-speaking expats. My wife is Filipino but moved to the US at age 4 and doesn’t know Tagalog well enough to teach our kids. Someone in our position might be interested in an online Tagalog course as well. Just a thought.

  63. Bret S.

    Vague idea: “How to Write Your Next Book”

    Target audience: age 45+; college graduates (at least); have steady jobs that they find boring; no children living at home

    Reasoning: Older folks are more likely to have life experience(s) that they want to share with the world; educated folks are more likely to know basic writing skills already; people with steady jobs are more likely to have some disposable income; people who find their jobs boring are more likely to want to spend their free time on something creative, for contrast; folks with kids at home are less likely to have that free time in the first place.

  64. Jason Martin

    Training course for suburban mothers on managing your teen age daughters moodiness

    Training course for dads to manage their son’s ADHD without medication

  65. adw

    I’m a screenwriter and truly love breaking stories and helping folks outside of the industry tell their stories in interesting ways. I used to be a reporter, so as much as I love making up my own stories, I really love digging in to other people’s lives as well. So here goes:

    Script writing for actors/singers/other non-writer entertainment industry folks who want to turn their story ideas into scripts.

    College essay help for students who over-achievers who need to add something in their essays besides lists of achievements.

    Writing for non profits who want to increase their donor base through compelling storytelling.

    Writing coaching for mid-career non entertainment professionals who want to tell their stories in creative ways.

  66. Steve

    not sure what to pick for an idea. “pick a passion you have” Also stuck on this one

  67. Amy Crank

    One idea I have: Creating and selling birthday party kits for young kids to full time working moms who want beautiful, hand crafted decorations but don’t have the time, energy, or ability to to it themselves. One stop shopping for birthday decorations.

    • Amy Crank

      Target: Full time working moms ages 30-40 with kids ages 0-8.

    • Jessica

      I am a full time working mom and would absolutely spend a bit more for a beautiful invitation that I didn’t have to take the time to create myself. I think this is a great idea and serves a niche market. Your prices should be competitive with etsy sellers. You could also up sell by providing decorations and goodie bags that match the theme of the invitation and party.

  68. Katy

    I am so tired of listening to girls, or women complain that they are single. I feel like if they could find a different mindset in that period of being single, then they would probably make better decisions when faced with finding a mate. The worse they feel about themselves, the worse decisions they make. Not only the decisions they make but how their negativity or low self esteem affects other aspects of their lives. I want to teach women how to tread against the world of instant gratification and lay down the work of creating a better well being for themselves.

    • Sandy

      Catching this demographic when they are in crisis is the best thing. Many people after a major breakup are looking to re-invent themselves and that’s the time to increase their awareness of the world.

      Great idea.

  69. Emily Hicks-Rotella

    Idea: Teaching Excel
    NarrowDown: Teaching Excel…to techno-phobes…who are entry-level in their career…and who prefer to learn through personalized support.

    • Craig

      I’d sign up for your first webinar asap. Aspiration: to be able to create macros and time-saving spreadsheets in the workplace via excel.

    • Kristen Vanderwerff

      This is great! I have thought of similar ideas. I love how you added “to techno-phobes”! Personalized support could be a great way to hook someone who is ‘scared’ of technology, yet they know they need to learn without having to enroll at a college or bother a family member who doesn’t have time to teach them. The part is you can keep expanding this business – Word, Outlook, PPT… expand more into programs such as Photoshop, which might be more difficult. Build a whole new branch for Mac users. What’s the difference between you and youtube videos who teach people step by step though? How do you capitalize on that personalized support?

    • Sandy

      If I had that course years ago my life would have been different. Excel is a great program but many refer to it as the program from hell.

      You’ve got a winner with this one.

    • Emily Hicks-Rotella

      Wow, thank you so much for the responses to my post, I never ever expected any, and definitely didn’t expect such positive ones! In my day job I have a role that sort of straddles the deeper technical side of things and also training users who have widely varying levels of technology skills and knowledge. I’ve found through my work that when we do generic recorded videos, the concepts don’t really land with people, they disengage, and they come back again and again with the same questions. But when we do personalized trainings that deal with real-life topics, people learn A LOT better. I’m not sure yet where this idea is going, but I do know that I absolutely LOVE teaching this stuff and seeing that spark when someone “gets it” so hoping I can help more people if they want to learn more! Thanks again for your comments – they are very inspiring to me!

    • Kristen Vanderwerff

      It sounds like you would be a perfect high school Business Teacher. That’s what I have my degree in, but am not teaching. At this point, you’d be better off teaching to adults and having your own business to make money than teaching at a school. Good luck! You can do it!

    • Erica

      I love this idea as well. Maybe you could do this through a community college evening class, at least to start.

    • Sandy

      One more thing: I think you’d be a great teacher on sites like udemy or skillshare. Check those resources out.

      If you’re teaching someone in person perhaps they’d be willing to be in one of your videos. This way you can leverage what you’re teaching and also make income showing other people throughout the world.

      Videos for Technophobes in the beginning of their career. I know for sure that excel, database management are problem areas.

  70. Johannes

    Adventure planning tools, more specifically f

  71. Andrew Nguyen

    Teaching pre-algebra and algebra for elementary or middle school or high school – where students can get help on math. interactive?

  72. Craig

    The hotel/lodging industry is changing at breakneck pace right now… 2 trends in particular present a lot of promising opportunities – mobile technology & large hotel brands withdrawing from the operation of the business to focus on real-estate & brand development (management companies pay most of the staff you meet, not the brand with a logo on the top of the building).

    I’ve observed that in an effort to minimize costs these management companies do a really poor job of training their employees to create the culture that the hotel brand is working so hard to devise & implement through various initiatives (design, welcoming programs; rewards programs; attire; etc.). There’s an opportunity to present myself as a seminar coach & liaison between the big daddy brands, and the much smaller management companies operating their businesses.

    A second product to would be to develop market research to provide to hoteliers and corporate-side managers/directors to show how front-loading technology is absolutely essential to maintain a competitive edge right now…a focus on manufacturing additional guest experiences with the brand through mobile apps that add ease and pleasure to a guest stay would drive such a service. Building relationships with existing app-developers would be important, since this is not a technology product but a strategical business product. Statistical correlations between the technology and boost in demand and or average daily rate (ergo…boosted revenues) would be essential. (it’s theory to me right now).

  73. Johannes

    Adventure planning tools/kit, specifically for group (more than 1) adventures. Primarily outdoor/complex that will require lots of gear (personal and shared), transportation, group spending, menus, lodging. Things that often a guide service would handle but for trips where one will not be involved.

    Target: 25-35 yo male and females, active lifestyle, professional, middle class, short on time(think 2-5 weeks if vacation a year), seeking incredible trips (something people will be amazed they pulled off), do not have unlimited budgets, those looking to be leaders, the doer in their group of friends.

    What do you guys think?

    Btw: on phone sorry for typos.

    • Katie

      Love this! I am about to start organising a joint family trip to do the Larapinta trail.

      I would suggest as a starting point, use the national geographic Top 50 adventures (or something similar) and then a do a ” how to to this trip” pack, for youth, families and one for the 65+. You could also link to bloggers who had already done the trip etc etc, get advertising from accomodation and various product providers. The experiential product is only going to grow.

    • Sandy

      Sounds excellent.
      Infotainment is big and so is traveling.

    • Hillary

      Yes yes and yes. I am looking for this right now.

      My specific thoughts/priorities:
      – I love the outdoors but I feel intimidated by the physical and organizational aspect of adventure tripping (eg multi-day hikes, camping, canoeing, etc.)
      – because the trip itself doesn’t have high costs attached, I’d be willing to pay more for a planner-type service than I would if I were, say, planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro which is higher $
      – I want so much to take on some of the mini-adventures like segments of the john muir/pacific trails, Appalachian trail, Grand Canyon, etc (like I see netflix docs!) but I have no idea where to start – I just know that I want to, and soon.

      I don’t know if that’s helpful or not. I know many others around me who are on the same page — urbanites, have time and some $, willing and able to pay, don’t want to feel boutique or pampered, do want to feel safe and adventurous.

    • Johannes Ariens

      Hillary, Katie, and Sandy thanks a ton for the feedback. I’m really excited you were able to capture the theme of what my plan is and that is would appeal to you, start of some great testing for sure! Would you be interested in helping out with some beta testing and continuing feedback? I’d do my best to make sure it’s worth your time as the more I can get the better. Let me know!

      Thanks again!

    • Gigi

      I think this sounds like my future dream vacation.

  74. ko

    Assisitng people with the mental skills required for my chosen sport, and if needed acually gettign them to create their goals in my chosen sport.

  75. Carridactyl

    A online, personalized menu and grocery list planning service… for vegans…for singles or couples.

    • Michael

      Great idea, check out

  76. Kristen Vanderwerff

    Idea: Advice on goals, resumes, efficiency, finances, self-improvement, and productivity. Possibly in the form of a blog, youtube channel, e-mail, or book/e-book.

    Target: For young adults… who want to improve their life… and want an easy tool to encourage them to make it happen.

    I could use a little work on how to make this specific, and I really want to pursue this.

  77. Chanty

    Data analyzing… For businesses… That handle national accounts or multiple clients… And need graphic representations of their company’s data

  78. David

    I have a fairly successful blog and am currently testing some ideas on how to monetize it so that I can continue putting in the effort. If I don’t, I’ll have to scale back how much I’m putting into it.

    So, idea #1: Selling magazines written specifically for and about motocross racers in central Alberta who are aged 30+, probably with a family, who are pursuing the hobby despite being older than the average moto enthusiast.

    I had ideas #2 and 3, but can’t seem to narrow them down so maybe they aren’t as worthwhile as I thought.

  79. Pouneh

    Unfortunately my passion lies in providing career advice to study abroad alumni who want to continue traveling (post graduation) without jeopardizing their professional future, family planning, etc. (even if they have debt).

    I say unfortunately because typically these wanderlusters don’t have a lot of money…so I’m not sure how to make it into a profitable business.

    Any ideas, Ramit?

    – Pouneh

    P.S. I also have this weird ability to find anything on the internet and organize data onto templates, spreadsheets, etc. Again, not sure how this translates into a business… :-/

    • Hillary

      What about something like international job coaching/consulting and placement support – like how to keep travelling AND build their career, how to keep travelling AND earn/save some $, how to get not sketchy international jobs, how to find useful and profitable shorter term placements, etc.

      Something where you’re linking them into money, not helping them sidestep the issue.

      Also a service for resume and cv writing for international travellers settling back at home who don’t know how to make their travel experience work for them, when it comes to getting a job.

    • Justin

      You can find and organize information on the internet? Not only does that mean you have all that you need to find amazing business ideas, but if you go out of your way to make a list of common problems / complaints, explain the demographics that go along with them… That’s a product itself.

  80. Josh D

    First, I’m a Mechanical Engineer and recovering introvert.

    A few Ideas:
    1. Communication improvement for young (20-30) Male introverts, in a technical field (such as engineering), who are starting a career.
    2. Concepts of mechanical design/design for manufacturing for young engineers (again 20-30) looking to extend their skill set.
    3. Ways for people with a technical background to apply principles of critical thinking to other areas of daily life.

  81. Zach

    Recipes that are healthy, quick and affordable to make for young professionals (millenials) who come home from work and don’t want make something from scratch and spending an ass ton while doing it.

  82. Doug

    Idea: Teaching Amateur Recreational Golfers how to add 20 yards to their driving distance through online swing analysis and a simple stretching and exercise program.

    Problem I solved: My brother lives over 600 miles away. I had him send me 3 videos of his swing. I sent him recommendations and drills to practice. This past summer he played the best golf of his life, and hit the ball 20, and sometimes even 50 yards further than ever before.

    Lead Magnet: 3 basic movements golfers need to perfect to add 25 yards to drive

    Talk about a competitive market, I can’t wait to go head to head with Golf Digest!! Looking forward to tomorrow’s email.

  83. Nathan

    Lessons in urban homesteading and sustainability…for wanna-be farmers…who live in the city…age 25-35…who are “caught” in the urban, corporate environment.

    I’m thinking of a series of 52 “magazines” with recipes, techniques, tools, resources, an interviews that would be automatically delivered to the subscriber’s inbox each week. I used to be one of those people, and now I am an urban homesteader so I have intimate knowledge of the needs and feelings of that subset.

    I really enjoy (and am very good at) brainstorming with folks and assisting them in refining ideas for businesses, marketing, and outreach. If there is a way to make a successful business out of being an “idea consultant”, I’d be in seventh heaven. So…I’m thinking an idea would be: Marketing consultant for 40-50 year old small to mid-size urban entrepreneurs who are struggling with reaching their target market and creating physical spaces and business logos that attract customers and generate sales. Note, I do not have marketing “credentials” so that has been something of a negative invisible script for me.

    • Alice

      There is such a market for urban homesteading right now — that’s a great idea. How would you monetize that? A paid subscription service? Premium content for members? Advertising?

    • Sandy

      Both ideas are good. I remember once when I was contemplating getting a place with a balcony and was deep into figuring out how I could turn it into a garden.

      Also, I like brainstorming ideas with people. Faith Popcorn called it forecasting.

      I loved her books. I think more business people and potential business need to brainstorm.

      Good luck.

    • Ian

      Urban homesteading sounds interesting. I’d probably spring for a $27 dollar course on that.

      What about urban permaculture?

      Btw, if you can somehow tie it in with the prepper/survivalist market, you’d be aiming at some big $$. It’s impressive how much money some of these info-product-based survivalist websites generate.

  84. Shannon

    A course on getting a 4.0gpa….for college sophomores….who never had to study in high school to get good grades….who got bad grades their first year of college.

  85. Joe H.

    Money management blog/course teaching college bound teens how to independently manage their finances. Target market parents of teens who intend to help pay for their child’s education.

  86. PamP

    Weekly meal plans with shopping lists that are grain free, gluten free, paleo/primal… and taste good… for busy, fit professionals.

    • Mateeka

      I am in need of this service!

  87. Shay

    provide career advice to women in their 40s and 50s who are in the sales profession and are concerned with ageism and are looking for career options that allow them to work on their own terms.

  88. Owen

    Urban gardening/growing your own food. I’m an ex commercial grower of 25 yrs experience. There’s a whole generation who have lost the art of growing food and eating healthy,
    -Thinking web video blog style, low subscription. How to build. plant and manage easy small urban gardens.

    • Ian Nagy

      This sounds awesome. There’s a big-selling information product right now called the “four by four farm”, and it’s sort of in line with what you’re talking about.

      They use it as a lower-ticket front end and sell a bunch of survivalist products on the back-end. Very profitable business, 8 figures plus per year from what I’ve heard.

      btw, how much food could you actually get from a small space, in the 4’x4′ range?

  89. Katie

    Photo editing… For women… Who want professional retouching skills.

    Do I need to go deeper? I’m not sure if I can.

    • Mateeka

      Hey, Katie…this is a cool idea! I need to work on my skills for sure. One thing to remember is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client. What are these women looking for? A flawless Instagram page? Beautiful shots for their recipe blog or their business website? Impeccable family photos? That’ll help you narrow down even more!

  90. Kate

    Teaching independent retired baby boomers… aged 65-80, say (not limiting for capacity just likelihood they’ll be at home and not in care) … who are childless or without children nearby… To use social media (probably Skype, Facebook, Instagram)

    • Sandy

      Great idea.
      I had a similar situation and I as a distant relative was looking for this. I searched craigslist and the web and couldn’t find anyone. Go for it. The payer will usually be someone else who would benefit from them learning the skill.

    • Colleen Moyne

      I work with this age group and there is definitely a need for this. Seniors want to learn this stuff from someone who is patient and non-patronizing.

    • Barb

      Age group is appropriate, but don’t forget to market to Adult Living centers, local senior clubs, libraries, etc. as a service that they can provide to their clientele.

  91. VCA

    Excel training – for Mid to Senior Level HR Professionals.

    You’d be surprised (or not) about how many of these HR folks don’t even know how to do the simplest things in excel, like how to filter data!

  92. steve Kobrin

    My idea it would be a consulting business to help millennials get into the life insurance business and sell the product to other millennials! Lots of win-win-win here!

    • Ian Nagy

      Steve – I’m not familiar w/ your industry, so this might be dumb quesiton, but… do you get passive income on life insurance policies that you sell?

      Also, just curious, but do you have a proven sales process you (or someone else) have used to consistently land millennials as life insurance clients?

      Would be interesting to hear which benefits you emphasize to millenials vs. boomers, and how the pitch changes.

      This could be a very interesting project, and I’m sure if you spun your marketing the right way, you’d get some takers. I have a friend who’s 30 and sells life insurance. I’ve always thought he had a boring job, but he does make a ton of cash!

      Good luck!


    • steve Kobrin

      Hi Ian,
      Thank you so much for your support!
      You ask really good questions. Here are some answers for you:

      Passive income does exist in the life insurance industry, in the form of renewal commissions. The main commission for the sale is paid in the first year; thereafter, a smaller commission can be paid for as long as the insured keeps the policy in force. The amount of this renewal varies according to the product and the company.

      I actually do have a proven sales process that lands millennials, as well as people who are older, as clients. The process is based on getting an approval at the rate quoted as quickly as possible. Integrity is all-important.

      Life insurance can have both survivor benefits, in the form of an amount that is paid when the insured passes away, as well as living benefits, in the form of a cash account that is available while the insured is alive. Millennials who are married and have family and business responsibilities typically appreciate both sets of benefits. Millennials who are single certainly appreciate the cash value, and if they look down the road a bit, see the wisdom of locking into a survivor benefit before they get older and the price goes up.

      I have to tell you, Ian, that the money is indeed good in this business, but it is far from boring. When you think about it, people buy life insurance because they want to take charge of their lives and their finances. It is very exciting to help them “launch!”

    • Erica

      Steve, I think this is a huge idea. I’m a marketing consultant for a couple of major life carriers and as everyone knows, the average age of a producer is something like 57 now. It’s a huge problem. Not only are millennials not buying life insurance as much, millennials are not entering the business. It’s a lucrative and surprisingly interesting business that desperately needs new blood. Americans are increasingly underinsured and not taking advantage of what can be a powerful financial tool — and part of the problem is that no one they can relate to is talking to them about it.

      I’ve had lots of half-formed ideas of my own about reaching millennials. Would love to get in touch if you like.

  93. IB

    Consulting business aiming at european video game companies trying to sell their products on american market. Help them out with preparing on-stage presentations for the press, retailers and consumers.

  94. Shanti

    Big idea: Planning a trip to Disney World
    Narrowed down: Helping first timers to Disney World by giving them a step by step guide to planning a WDW trip.
    Narrowed down: Helping families with toddlers/small kids plan a trip to WDW.

    We have visited WDW many times and I have my planning down to a science and people ask me questions, so I know I know more than the “average” WDW visitor, BUT it’s a very crowded niche and I want to find a little piece of it to provide value.

    Thoughts??? Thanks!

    • Mateeka

      My family needs this site to exist Shanti! There will never be a shortage of Disney park newbies, I think it could work!

  95. Erin M.

    Something I am good at: saving and helping people start to save and get on track. My husband and friends and family ask for advice all the time. I had the idea that I would like to be sort of a… coach, for lack of better word, to help people of low-moderate incomes get started learning how to take control of savings, and act as an accountability person for them to check on them (say once-twice a month). But the people I’d want to help would be the people who wouldn’t necessarily be able to pay for that service, so that’s what I struggle with.

    I haven’t thought of any other ideas, yet. I have things I am interested in, but not sure where what I am in interested in turns to a marketable idea.

    • Barb

      How about new divorcees? Both men and women who are divorced need to learn to live on one income (possibly also needing to pay child support or alimony), while budgeting for expenses. Generally speaking, married couples will experience a decline in their financail health after a divorce.
      Along the same line…focus on men and women who lost a spouse. Happened to my 39 y.o. neice…spent nearly a month working with her on how to pay bills on-line, understanding what was coming in, what bills she had, saving for retirment, saving for children’s college, etc., because she had relinquished this task to her husband.

    • Erin M.

      You have an interesting idea there. Especially those whose spouse handled everything. That’s me in our relationship. I am gradually trying to teach hubby things for that very reason. He survived on his own before me, and he can find a way to survive if anything happened to me (pay bills, etc.), but as we set up investments (401k, etc) he needs to know how they work. Since he has to take it in small, digest-able chunks (he’s not the type that would read books/blogs about it), that could be an idea to think about for other people.

      Now, I wonder how this could be turned into something that can help people all over, and not just local to me. (Obviously start local if that’s what it takes.) I’ll have to reflect on this and see if my brain can think of the next step.

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Barb.

  96. Jason Barber

    Teach companies how to source STEM talent from colleges and universities
    Equip recent college graduates in finding jobs or how to become an entrepreneur

  97. Emily Calle

    Information and advice for moving and living abroad … specifically for “trailing spouses” … with kids … who are new to being expats.

  98. Jorge


    How to mentally lose weight. Exercise is more of a mental battle than a physical one for those who struggle, the worst thing is that they don’t even know that…. a little something with excellent psychology involved. How to tap into unused potential. Thanks Ramit!!!!

  99. Sonia T

    Poise, etiquette, makeup, fashion, confidence
    for stay at home moms, single moms, work at home moms
    who want to feel like a woman again

    • Fatima

      I love this. 2 suggestions:
      Go to them. Stay at home moms have become lazy bodies. Once they have the clothes n makeup then they will go out.
      Offer to have babysitters that u can call and have worked with. Stay at home moms don’t have access to good babysitters as much as people think.

  100. Maureen

    Mens cologne – target market 35-45 age group. They typically spend more
    write a book – subject is health – Vegetarian in 10 weeks. Target market 30+ age group both genders
    Mens underwear – target market – 20 – 35 age group

  101. Brian

    Creating an ebook that teaches fine art wedding photographers about sales and marketing

    Creating a film pouch that wedding photographers can use when shooting events to keep track of used vs unused.

  102. Andrea

    Idea One: A workbook (and possibly subsequent workshops) for entrepreneurs (mid 30’s to mid 40’s) and their spouses/partners on surviving and thriving through the start up years and beyond. Emphasis on spouses, as they are often the forgotten side of things and more critical to success outcomes than most people suspect.

    Experience: I’m the child of a serial/successful entrepreneur.

    • Athena

      I would pay for that Andrea!

  103. Ian

    I’m working on a business that focuses on out of touch 20ish and 30ish parents (mostly but singles too)who want to learn how to cook without investing a lot of time. It will mean a series of easy to access 30 second videos that demonstrate basic food preparation techniques. Need to learn how to dice an onion real quick? learn in less than a minute. The basic skills videos will be free in order to build a relationship with my audience so that they are willing to buy more indepth online courses later.

    I could also change the dynamic and focus on industry professionals looking for an easy way to add continuing education hours.

    I could focus explicitly on singles who cook mostly for themselves and the dynamics involved in cooking so little food.

  104. Alex Bodensieck

    Idea#1: Live-time option on how to pay student loans. Marketed towards those that want to rid themselves of debt quicker and have the extra money. Contrary to what every bank tells you, consolidating all student loans into one payment does not save you money unless you pay it back faster. A website where one could link or input their loan info, if they’d like to make an additional payment, it could calculate the amount that should be applied to the principal of which loan.

    • karim baig

      Hi, I like this idea.I would love to work on this product. Contact me on

    • Ian Nagy

      I’d definitely check this out. Sounds like a great service.

  105. Dani

    Meditation to Get High – a powerful guided meditation that uses NLP, hypnosis, and fantasy imagery to help the person relax into a subconscious state to work out issues holding them back —- and makes the person feel high 🙂

    For 20 somethings who are bored by their current life existence (dead end job, possibly single, wanting to find an escape, who like superheros and fantasy) who are looking for more purpose, meaning, and fun.

    Also offer this to Rehabs (for Teens) as an after care program to give recovering addicts something to turn to instead of drugs.

    With a different name – offer the very beginning relaxation part of the meditation as a 10 minute audio for 40-50 yr old working women who hear that meditation is good and just want a 10 minute relaxation/decompression from their day.

    • Ian Nagy

      Do you actually get high when you meditate? That’s nuts!

      How does this work?

    • Erica

      If you can actually help someone meditate to the point where they feel high, you’ve got a no-brainer on your hands.

  106. Alex Bodensieck

    Idea#2: Tax advice, for self-preparers, that make less than the free-file amounts (50k). Steps on how to produce a tax return and compile the source documents and reference to tax code that allows for deductions.

    • Erin M.

      I think this is an interesting idea, but could be a hard sell since services like import and save documents and give guidance and alerts and electronic filing, all for about $10-20 (depending on if it’s just federal or fed and state). What would be something that would add value for someone so that they would use your service instead of a service like taxact?

  107. Nathan

    As a software developer, target other software developers developing with WPF (UI – Windows Presentation Foundation) using the MVVM (model-view-view model) pattern to effectively use the newer multi-tasking paradigm that Windows 8 encourges.

  108. Sabrina

    Passion and idea — make-up artistry. My market for a long time has been brides but it has been quite competitive and harder to get new clients. Just recently started to explore offering my services to ballroom dancers during competitions but I’m not sure whether that is a good audience and how to market myself.

    • ADW

      I love that idea – to niche down to ballroom dancers.

      Some other niche ideas:
      Corporate executives who need to be filmed or photographed; or who are delivering big presentations or speeches.
      Ballet or other dance or theater companies
      Headshot photographers who want to recommend another service with their photography

  109. Kate

    A health coaching service for 15-60 year-olds who recently received a chronic, potentially life-threatening diagnosis. Those who are looking to transform their health via nutrition and personal coaching to coincide with their western medicine treatments to maximize positive outcomes.

    • Jessica

      I think this idea has merit, as my relatives all seem to have tumors and cancer and are just shooting at different eastern and western methods to help cure themselves.

      *trying ton condense answer, not making light of the situation.


    IDEA:- Customize website to represent all the exclusive offers and all the IN’s and OUT of night clubs and happening parties of town.

    My idea is to bring the entire party goer’s and pub goer’s to one place,like a social media designed entirely for the party animal and occasional fun lovers.Its about bringing the information of all the pubs and disco to one place , where any random users can browse through and pack a place to chill with there friends without actually going to that place to check it out, we bring it to them via our website.

    And it has other features too.


      our website is

  111. AD

    I’m trying to help a hair stylist niche down, so I’m going to use the example of hair stylist.

    Broad: Hairstylist…
    Narrower: specializing in older women (40+)…
    Narrower: with thinning, color-treated hair.

    I picked this because this demographic typically comes to the salon every 4-6 weeks for grey coverage (they can and will pay), and thinning hair is a super painful pain point.

  112. Olivia Z.

    I’ve been told a lot that I have neat handwriting, and when I try particularly hard, I’ve gotten a lot of, “That looks typed.” I’m really into arts and crafts, and I used to make handmade cards for my friends and family for thank-yous, birthdays, or holidays.

    Idea: Handmade, handwritten cards for assorted occasions for other college students too busy/lazy/broke to buy generic cards from the supermarket/stationary stores but still want to add a more personal touch to their gifts.

    • Saima

      Have you also thought about making your handwriting into a digital font that you can sell online? Custom fonts can be sold for anywhere between $20 and $150, maybe even more, depending on how detailed they are, how many characters they cover, etc. This opens your market to designers, and makes for a good passive income.

  113. Fatima

    I’m having a hard time getting narrower + can pay.

    Communication training to…..Muslim stay at home moms….who anger easily & are struggling with setting boundaries & want to do it all.

    That’s all I got. Seems like a flop as far as business goes but it’s a real passion I have.

    • Sandy

      Anger management crosses all cultures; but if you want to work with a specific clientele, that seems fine.

      How about stress management lessons unique to your population’s issues. Maybe set up skype and meetings right online for networking also.

    • Fatima

      Thanks Sandy. I’ll take those into consideration.

  114. Ashley F

    Idea: Tutorials for updating WP plugins, releases, and content that are visual and in layman’s terms. Also guides to hiring designers and social media managers.

    Target: For published authors who don’t have the knowledge base to maintain their own websites or to understand what they need to look for in a finished product when they hire a designer, social media manager, or content manager. These authors are also generally wearing as many hats as they can to cut down on costs, but also understand the need for easy to use, updated sites. Many of these authors likely hire out for these services currently, but would do them on their own if they understood how and why.

    • Ian Nagy

      Cool idea.

      You could have a subscription, “done for you” service where your clients pay a fee every month for you to handle their website maintenance, social media management, content, etc.

      After you’re up and running and managing 2 or 3 clients, and have a good idea what tasks are consistently involved, you develop systems (checklists, video tutorials etc.) showing exactly how you do what you do.

      You then hire and train outsourced workers to do these tasks for your clients, while you manage.

      (Note: this last step is way messier than it sounds, but don’t give up)

      From there, you could scale it and pretty much not have to do any hands-on tech work yourself (assuming you have good systems in place).

      After you’ve sufficiently trained/hired your team, just sit back, collect checks, and sip mai tais.

      Really, it’s that easy. 😉

  115. Mulanga

    Hi, I’m really good at styling hair & making wigs/weaves. I’ve been doing it on myself for over 10 years & it’s one of my passions. I want to create an online business where I make/sell wigs & weave (high end quality) to businesses such as Cancer centers or funeral homes, and individuals. I’m stuck on the next step after this idea haha. I have a plan B business which is design — web (taking a web design class this spring), business cards, menus, flyers. I want to market to apparel stores, food/cooking sites, & restaurants, to name a few. Also, I’m quiet & talk low ALL the time…I’m working on breaking that lifelong habit this year because I KNOW that has hindered my success.

    • Sandy

      This is a growing business. Sounds good. How about customized wigs? On you tube you’ll find that many people are making wigs and weaves for certain hair types and colors. There is a market for specialized custom wigs. Wigs are so cheap now, but there are obvious gaps in the industry: gray hair, extra curly, cute short ones. Also, there are a few sites that cater to those with cancer. Many people would like to meet privately for their wig fitting before embarking on chemotherapy. Sounds good. Start local and see what happens.

    • Maggie

      I’m impressed! Fabulous business, clear passion, and knowledgeable about your strengths and your “opportunities”. Seriously – if you want to create an online business, would you consider hiring someone to get the online presence going? Investing a little bit into your business may help you save time and gain expertise from someone who is as passionate about online marketing as you are about wigs/weaves.
      and ya never know, you could make a friend or even a customer. 🙂


      SANDY, thank you for the information you gave me. I did not know about the market for specialized custom wigs 🙂

      MAGGIE, I would like to talk more with you. Send me an email

    • Ian Nagy

      High end hair weaves/extensions etc. sounds great. Beauty/cosmetics and hair in particular is a ridiculously big market. With your web skills, sounds like something you could solopreneur at for starters, and then scale from there.

      Exciting stuff, good luck!


  116. Rufus

    A supplier service for professional artisan bakers where they can order hard-to-find french flour to create authentic french bread. Maybe home bakers too- I think they all ready same blogs, they’d just buy different sized packages of the flour.

  117. Shannon

    Building a six-figure real estate business using digital marketing and social media. Almost all of the real estate gurus sold real estate in the 70’s and 80’s and still recommend cold calling, door knocking and snail mail to build businesses.

    • Maggie

      very good idea! the snail mail really works because it targets a demographic local to the realestate. but you could use that for multi-channel marketing and direct folks onto digital.
      If you are going six figure, i would recommend using an angle. what about “fabulous kitchens” or “family friendly” or something? i think if you sold homes with “fabulous kitchens”, you would find a big market for that. but you would have to work hard to get inventory. you might even branch out to help home owners find a kitchen guru to make updates.
      people buy houses on the kitchen – that is why i picked this one. not everyone of course, but certainly a good number.

    • Ian Nagy

      Great start, and I think you could niche it down much further.

      Just as an example, a friend of mine makes mid-six-figures closing lease options, focusing ONLY on craigslist ads to get traffic/leads.

      Here’s his site:

  118. marx r

    my idea is to teach art to everyone. I can teach you to draw, sketch, and paint anything! its as easy as drawing a straight line. And yes I can teach you that too.

    • Ian Nagy

      Mark – where’s your site? I want to see some before & after stuff from your students!

      I used to draw a ton, and I intend to get back into it “one of these days”, but would be really interested to see how you do what you do.

      And btw, could be a solid business too… Remember those old “Art Test” ads on TV? (Still running here and there)

  119. Sandy

    I have some questions.
    The answer can help me define my interests:
    Is there any value to you for someone to talk to about your potential ideas and brainstorm with you?
    Would it be helpful to you to get preliminary research on the business idea that you’re interested in?
    What kind of information would you purchase upfront so that you could formulate your business ideas?
    Do you have a business idea that targets 50+ but you are younger and wonder if your idea has value? How would you go about getting information on that demographic? Would you be willing to pay to learn more about them?

    Thank you for comments.

    • Ian Nagy

      Hey Sandy-

      You WILL pay, in money OR time, to learn more about your potential audience.

      And I’d highly recommend you do this…

      …So you don’t WASTE time & money chasing an idea that no one really wants!

      (Don’t ask me how I know this 😉

      So, how can you go about getting info on your target demographic?

      Here is one way, off the top of my sleep-deprived head…

      One way to do it…

      A – Have a “free report” created that gives your audience valuable info on the problem they’re looking to solve (make it yourself or pay a writer/researcher on odesk to make one for you, should run under $300)

      B – Get familiar with Facebook’s “Audience Insights” here:
      Use this tool to look at your potential audience from all angles. What pages do they like? What kind of money do they make? Are they men? Women? Do they have kids? How likely are they to buy with Credit Cards? (A good thing for you) And much much more…

      C – Using those insights, dial in the “targeting” of your audience (you’ll get it once you play with Audience Insights for a bit) and find a reasonably sized audience of under 1 million users. Create a “custom audience” based on this selection.

      D – Put up a few ads (aimed only at custom audience), promising access to your “free report” that helps them solve their problem, in exchange for answering a few questions.

      E – When they click on ad, they are taken to landing page which asks them what they’re struggling with, and a few other questions you deem appropriate.
      (KEY POINT – the “what you’re struggling with / what’s your challenge” question should be OPEN RESPONSE – so you can learn how they talk about their problem IN THEIR OWN WORDS) – also ask for their phone # and/or skype.

      F- Look at… Did people click on your ad and take the survey? this is good. If not, re-consider either your idea or seriously re-vamp how you’re presenting it.

      G- Look at their responses. Learn WHO your audience is, and HOW they think about this issue in their lives, in their own words.

      F – For those people who answered the survey AND left their phone number, you my friend have received a gift… CALL THEM AND TALK TO THEM. You’ll develop an intimate understanding of your market – and you’ll realize that you aren’t in the business of “selling”, you are in the PEOPLE business – helping people live better lives… You’ll discover the KEY to long-term successful marketing – DEEP EMPATHY – to know your client INTIMATELY and be in-tuned to exactly what they want and need and be able to provide it to them…


      Ok, a bit long-winded… But hopefully you got an idea or two in there 🙂 If any of this is confusing (probably is , I just wrote it stream-of-consciousness, no edits) feel free to click on my name above and email me and I’ll do my best to help you out.

      Good luck!


    • Ray

      Ian, your really bringing us supper on a plate here with a couple of your comments. Thank you.

  120. Kristin

    I’d like to teach new parents how to take awesome pictures of their kids — just using their smartphones! I would also provide advice on tips for posting (or not posting) their kids’ pics online.

    My friends have the most adorable kids, and they are always posting terribly composed, fuzzy pics of their precious offspring. I will help them make priceless memories instead.

    • Leo

      I would buy it, but if I were the business owner I would think of narrowing it to a specific smartphone, I’d say iPhone, since the camera settings on Android, Windows etc are so different.

  121. Maggie

    blog about Fabulous things to do in Lansdale, PA area . . . for local people (within 25 miles) . . . who want extraordinary experiences in their back yards. . . and can afford to do them . . . and read blogs. mainly for women who are foodies and have money to spend and a little bit of free time. which is a demographic that is growing ( i believe ) in this area

  122. Carla

    Baby sleep training targeted to women retuning to work in 8 – 12 weeks.

  123. Saima

    For the new freelancer: How to automate your workflow so you can spend the majority of your time doing what you love. Email templates and spreadsheet systems that work (for generating client leads, gathering testimonials, etc).

  124. Christina

    Lifestyle website…for recently married couples/couples who are newly living together…who are in their late 20’s/early 30’s…and want a collaborative approach to wellness, domestic life/style, and entertaining at home.

    I enjoy visiting design, beauty, health, and entertaining websites, but often find ideas that are too precious, and that don’t fully represent the masculine side of our home and our aesthetic. At the same time, I don’t want the house to turn into a giant man cave. My husband and I like to make decisions together about what furniture/home goods to purchase, what food to prepare, what cocktails to make, etc. To save money, we also tend to select toiletries that we’ll both use (even if they’re higher-end, they serve both of us). As newlyweds, we like to spend a lot of time together! So we exercise together, share books, listen to podcasts together, music, etc. This site would serve those couples who are looking to maximize their time and their dollars together in ways that make them collectively happy.

  125. Jus

    Ever since I raised $8500 for my daughters small charter school with a Silent Auction, I’ve been wanting to teach others how to do it.

    My market will be small charter schools with around 180 – 250 students who are also looking to boost their applicants by marketing their school. My system is replicable and easy to implement and can be completed in 3 months. I’d offer the course for a basic rate with the option to upgrade to a premium service like weekly calls, facebook, sales pages, diy kit, etc for a upcharge. I can even help them pay for the course by running a quickie fundraiser.

  126. ACG

    I have three contenders, in order of my perception of their revenue potential. All can be expanded into other markets/niches easily.

    I’m nervous as I’ve never shared ideas publicly (to my detriment, I’m sure), but I really need feedback from someone who knows what the hell they’re doing…

    1 —
    An online, premium, express, beautifully handwritten Thank You Card service for:

    Job Hunters
    …who don’t have the time, supplies, or skill to write their own
    and/or…who are applying to another country so as to make sending their own cards difficult

    …and are applying for above-average-salary jobs

    2 —
    A video/product series giving a leg up on college Anatomy courses for

    Nursing students
    …who may have gotten or may be getting poor grades in Anatomy
    …who doesn’t have time for more long hours studying

    3 —
    A Coaching Package (and/or online course) for Dominating Customer Service for

    Medium-to-large businesses
    …with more than 1MM annual revenue
    …with average market share or plenty of competition
    …who have high churn or mixed customer satisfaction scores

  127. Ericka

    My niche down is 1) mid 20s-30s who want to take control of their financial future through real estate, how to buy a house, duplex, fourplex and rent out the other rooms and add to their portofolio. Even if they just left college or working one to two medium wage jobs. 2) creating niche service businesses that service commerical and apartments buildings/communities. the quick and dirty tips.

  128. Andrea

    Custom made clothing, for women, who have a professional career, and want something unique.

  129. Jan

    – a blog with information and digital information products on beer in general and Belgian beers in particular, focused on 21 to 35 year olds who are just getting into craft beer and want to learn more about craft beer (how it’s made, how to appreciate craft beer more, how to pair beers with food). I’ve been building this type of blog, but I have not been targeting the right market segment (i.e. 21-35 year olds who are interested in craft beer but don’t know where to start). I have a bit of content up, and I have been promoting the site on a couple of beer forums, reddit, etc, but I’ve only gotten about 150 views…

    – a website for non-English speaking banking & finance lawyers who are practicing law in an international setting and are consequently confronted with a need for decent English skills, and specifically, legal English language skills. I would offer online courses or digital information products to teach legal English to students. I have been trying to figure out if there’s any demand out there for such a course, but I’m not reaching the right fishing holes…

    • Julie


      I like your craft beer blog idea. I know people who would be interested in this type of blog. Curious as to how it would generate income…online classes, tutorials, etc.?

      My interest is in doing something similar with wine.

    • Leo

      I think the website for non English speaking lawyers is interesting. Maybe you could focus on a specific language, like Spanish speakers, or French, for example.

      About the beer blog, there are so many people from 21-35, what about if you niche, like men, married with kids, who also enjoy cooking?

  130. Vera

    Idea: a blog for young women (18-30) educating them about sex (not the general education but rather how to be good at it). Most blogs and books are either very vague and offer advice like “maintain eye contact” or really over the top and technical.
    The idea came after I realised that many of my friends and even some strangers ask me for advice on sex. I find that most of them are not sure where to start and are too confused by contradictory information they get.

  131. Kristen

    This is a new idea that I came up with so I’m not sure what the market is like for it yet- but meal planning for busy young professionals (mid-late 20s) who live alone and hate meal planning. Most of the info out there is geared towards families or couples, and meal planning in and of itself can seem daunting. Give them the flexibility for personal variety and multi-use meals, yet a framework that helps them build that muscle.

    A starter program that would give them the basics and set them up with the tools they’d need, with a chance to grow into more complicated plans as they get comfortable with what they’re doing.

  132. Liz

    1) A meal delivery service to provide women in their reproductive years (20s/30s ) with meals that balance hormones and preserve fertility.

    Why? Because a lot of women are putting off having children until they are more established in life (read: career stability/right partner) and this way they don’t have to worry so much about whether their body will be ready for pregnancy when they are ready to become pregnant.

    2) Working specifically with Saudi Arabian college students studying in the U.S. on the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission scholarship to improve their ability to write papers in an undergraduate academic setting. To get more specific, create videos/tutorials to address the common issues plaguing these students (Spelling issues, organization). 1-on-1 feedback on essays.

    3) A database to help people figure out what to cook when you don’t have much in the kitchen. You haven’t gone shopping and your ingredients are sparse. You also suck at cooking. You enter the foods you have (ideally a protein, a carb and a veggie) (example – 3 potatoes, 2 eggs, baby carrots) and then a database gives you a few different ways to put these things together with minimal work and easy ingredients.

  133. Julie

    Wine education/knowledge for men and women in their 20s- 30s who currently drink and enjoy wine but want to learn more about it.

    A more specific focus is to target restaurant owners/managers who want to educate their staff with wine and service knowledge but don’t have the resources or expertise to do so themselves. I think this focus may be TOO narrow though?

    • Tiffanie

      I have worked in a couple restaurants and also went to bartending school. I would say this is not too narrow of a market because from my experience, especially at the restaurants, they hand you a pile of papers or a binder that give information about wine and other liquors and you are just supposed to figure it out yourself. Many restaurants have a revolving door of employees and the management doesn’t have time, resources, or patience to educate everyone in the same way. Maybe you can produce some videos that can be purchased by the restaurant owners and managers on how to educate their staff on alcohol more effectively.

    • Julie


      Thanks so much for your comment–that’s great feedback! I love your idea about the videos. Much appreciated.

  134. Erica

    Handknit accessories…for high income wives or mothers…who want to give handmade gifts…without the time sink and frustration of learning to knit…


    catch them young , a mathematics teaching website for junior secondary school class 1,2 and 3

  136. Mark

    Process mapping service for single-dentist offices where the dentist is within 5 years of bringing on an associate/successor

    This is exactly the company I work for. We have so many processes that are just up in the air and we are saving more and more time for the dentist every day by defining the processes and putting them on paper so we can improve/delegate/eliminate/outsourece them.

  137. Tony

    Career coaching services with deep connections for older (40-50) mid-career contract employees that have broad experience and want a rewarding full time career.

    Teach the how to make connections that last and build a network of people that will recommend them in the corporate financial field.

  138. Shiri Dori-Hacohen

    Great post Ramit, and I loved the comparison! Here are my raw, unedited notes from before I scrolled down:

    Biz #1
    opt in — clear success stories in photos. Name is clear to goals (scrawny to brawny). bonus coz it rhymes. Very few navigation links / distractions.

    Biz #2
    ugh — too pink, too many places to click and follow, inspiration rather than action


    Biz #1:
    seems luxury, but no clear CTA. perhaps you would know them from elsewhere?

    Biz #2:
    very “flowery”/messy but it’s clear what you’re supposed to do there — buy stationary. clear value prop.
    colorful / family ish.

    Ramit vs. Dave Ramsey.
    Dave Ramsey big photo, he is in the center. Bestselling, his brand speaks for itself, etc.
    Cutting the credit card — i.e. he’s selling us a certain view of the world

    Ramit — small photo, it’s not about him but what he can teach *us*. Almost unassuming?? tagline of “no guilt, no excuses, no B.S., just a program that works” — quote / blurb which Dave doesn’t have.

    As for the business idea and qualifiers, here’s mine:

    Self-development and improvement… for smart people… who are unsure of their professional path going forward… who want science-based advice… and are in their late 20s to early 30s.

    I’m already working on this biz, but it’s very helpful to articulate the target market better.

    One qualifier that I didn’t put here, but I may consider, is people who have suffered from chronic illness or traumatic life situations. For some reason that I haven’t yet put my finger on, my writing seems to attract a lot of people with that description (probably because I have the same background of dealing with chronic illness and adversity, and emerging stronger). I’m planning to dive into market research to find out more about this possibility.

  139. A Yo

    Idea: Online Individualized fitness training/lifestyle coaching programs for 30-50s professionals who don’t have much time to go to the gym. They’ll have to complete a questionnaire so I know how to customize their program for injuries, goals etc. I’ll send them weekly fitness and nutrition programs with target muscle groups for strength, balance and flexibility, quick but effecting cardiovascular exercises and macro-nutrient breakdowns for meal prepping.

    Idea 2: Customized Daily meditations and lifestyle coaching for amazing heath and wellness… 1) for those who work from home 2) for retirees 3)busy professionals

    Working on the website now… Any thoughts?

  140. BSWFC

    My 2 ideas:.)

    1. A website for men’s style…that focuses on men shorter than 5′ 8″…and that gives advice on what styles and colors and cuts work for shorter guys and what don’t…and what brands have good sizing for shorter guys (many do not.) Focus would be on mid-level brands and up to appeal to more affluent guys which would be more appealing to advertisers.

    2. A hotel/hostel….that caters to Indian families…who are traveling for weddings/graduations/family events/pujas. In my experience most Indian families are cost-conscious, like to travel as a family, prefer their own cooking over restaurant food and don’t care too much about sharing rooms or being near ‘cool’ areas. So a hotel or guesthouse with large rooms with many beds, cooking facilities, close to freeways, situated in places with a high concentration of colleges and temples.

  141. Stephanie

    A resume critiquing service for mid to late 20 somethings or early 30 somethings who don’t understand how to spotlight their expertise and talents.

  142. Blake

    Website development for small medical practices / clinics that have less than 3 doctors in the family practice / internal med / pediatric / gastro / rheum specializations. I will specialize in 1 type of website that is highly aesthetic, easy to navigate and simple to use so that websites can be created quickly and modified easily. My services will help these practices grow their patient base resulting in higher profitabilty, as well as put new patients at ease with the practice since they will be able to research the practice AND their doctor before visiting.

  143. Eric

    Jewelry Cad Models for:
    1. Self-Employed Jewelry Store Owners
    2. Have Limited Computer Skills, and Time
    3. Want to Offer Custom Designs

  144. Trish

    My Facebook ad:
    Why do mlm? start a business with no money out of pocket, make 50% profit, and get free shipping!!!

    I’m a sales rep for a local fundraising company in AZ. We rep a chocolate company that has a sale where you take pre orders (hence no money out of pocket), you Pre-sell the chocolate, make 50% profit & get free shipping.

    This is my way of starting an online business by building up my sales…whacha think??

  145. Geoff

    Lifestyle Development Program for men (mid 30’s to late 40’s – maybe divorced or thinking of divorce, want to quit their life at the factory or the cubicle) who want to radically makeover their life. Help them determine what they really want out of their second half of life and go after it.

    Not so much telling them what to do, but how to discover the answers.

  146. Deborah

    Design, install and move in services to affluent retirees transitioning into high-end, assisted living apartments in my specific region. This is something I went through twice with my mother and it made her super happy to see her favorite things, along with some new, cheerful surprises in her apartment. The management used her apartment for tours. This service would remove a huge load from the shoulders of the family helping to arrange things, reduce stress, and offer the assisted living facility something another angle on the market.

    • Bill

      This is a great service! Moving into a high-end assisted living apartment would indicate a level of affluence that would allow them to afford an interior decorator. I like this! Keep us posted on it!

  147. Raizal

    Don’t know if this have been posted in the comments. Create multiple easy to follow “how to” video instructional courses in your expertise and sell it on Udemy or Lynda. Example: “How to be a Web designer from scratch” or “How to train your dog in 30 Days”. Would take a bit of effort but customer potential is limitless if the content is good. Find the pain and deliver the relief.

  148. Hillary

    Have been working on this a lot:

    A 5 week online group coaching program for financially comfortable (but not wealthy) 24-34y.o. non-religious women engaged to be married who are struggling to plan the wedding they and their partners really, truly want.

    This will be a max. 10 person group, involve a weekly 1hr google video session covering a specific element of meaningful wedding planning (e.g. Communicating with family, values-based budgeting) plus one weekly email and a facilitated group forum.

    We are planning to price this at $189, and for the pilot program target a minimum of 5 women through friend referrals.

    • Tiffanie

      This sounds good. It’s very specific and the fact that the women pay for the service, makes it even more likely for them to make sure they attend each week.

  149. Kristin J

    Hypothyroidism tips and support…for women…with careers…who are struggling to stay independent because of their hypothyroidism…who aren’t receiving adequate care from their doctors

  150. Kate

    Here’s my idea: A mental wellness program for adults who believe they have depression (emphasis on “believe”).

    Potential clients are people who have been in therapy or on meds for years, and yet have no progress to show for it. They feel that they have tried everything, including hypnosis, but still can’t shake the funk. I myself have suffered a long period of depression, and conventional treatments, happy thoughts, and religion never worked for me; in fact, they made me even more depressed! I eventually developed skills that helped me beat depression and I think it would be exciting to share what I’ve learned with others.

    I don’t have a psychology background or anything that would make me an “expert” in the field. All I have are my experiences and years of observing people who are also depressed. My biggest hurdle for starting this business would probably be how to build credibility. Also, i tend to be a very private person, so having to share a lot about my personal life to a faceless public (through a blog) would make me very nervous. 🙁

    • ko

      I feel some of the psychology related topics woudl be really intersting to approach but as you mentioned without a psychology background it could be hard to be an ‘expert’. I too am interested in finding out more about how to buildcredibility in this area without having had formal training

    • Oby

      One way to build credibility is through presence. Do you have a blog or website already, with an audience interested in what you have to say?

      Check out this self-help blog –

      She is not a psychologist, yet people pay money for her courses, because she has been writing for years and speaks well to her market.

  151. andreina

    Ok ok.. Let’s see. I just had this idea. What about a membership site about the psychology of losing weight. Adding a forum where people commit to go to the gym or any other physical activity. Every time they feel like they don’t want to go, people from that community will motivate them to go and also learn about nutrition and the mental side of losing weight. Or better yet maybe make an app with a button and every time they don’t want to go they press that button and a bunch of people will write to them. Even better, maybe they would each have assign a personal “friend” or motivator that will call that person and make him go! That’s for people that can’t afford a personal trainer that push them to go!

  152. Victoria

    I share your aversion for “life” coaching (I find the title tacky) but at the same time see the value in coaching, plus I am so good at what I do… Ehem… I may even dare say I am “passionate” about “inspiring” people… I mean… I just realized I generated at least $350,000 for my company in 2014 because I am so good at selling 90k bachelors degrees (and I only brought home about an eight of that number). It makes me wonder why the hell I can’t do that for myself! }*%=]>#

    You’re making me realize 1) I’m valuable (quantifiably), and 2) I’m not being specific enough in my offerings.

    I am a mindset and productivity/performance coach for people who are stuck due to mental blocks (“I’m not good enough,” “I’m afraid to show who I am,” “I don’t think I can”) who are seeking to accomplish goals in their life that will bring them a more satisfied lifestyle.

    Dude. So glad I found you. Plus your ridiculous.

  153. Seth

    Idea: Online Proofreading Service (say website content)

    Focus Funnel: Non-English Market (Japan), SME Domestic Companies, Popular in domestic market, Companies whose product would also sell in non domestic markets.

  154. Paul

    Help Students age 12-18 on how to be better critical thinkers.

    • Tiffanie

      How to be a cog in the system… You’d have to expand this and that age range is too vast. What exactly would you be teaching them? What should they be thinking about critically? How would you get them this information?

  155. eric johnson

    great post ramit. thanks for making me think about this more clearly.

    my idea is to teach time-crunched husbands how to train for and complete their first Ironman triathlon.

    • Matt

      Go deeper.
      The sport is male dominated so that may not narrow it down much. Targeting husbands helps, a bit. Most males training for triathlons are Type A types biting off more than they can chew so there is a niche there. Also, anyone contemplating an Ironman has cash for all the expensive gear, entry fees, etc. What are you going to offer that they can’t get from say, Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Macca, etc? Tap into their chief concerns, worries and fears. If you have done an Ironman Eric then you likely have insights. Is it that their friends think they’re nuts? their wives? Their wife think they are taking up too much time with training?

  156. Angela

    Idea: Virtual wedding planning services…
    —For LGBT couples…
    —With moderate (10k-15k) wedding budgets…
    —That would like a pagan handfasting service
    I would sit down, gather ideas, and write a full day of ceremony and lead up checklists to hand off to the day-of-coordinator, with a full script for the ceremony if desired. I would also include a wedding website updated for the duration of the contract.

  157. Sung Woo Kim

    Idea: Interior decorating services
    -canvas/poster artworks
    -for wealthy people in tech/finance business who are nature-loving and spiritual.

  158. Sung Woo Kim

    Idea: I will teach you how to buy a car
    -targeting fresh college grads
    -teaching effective tips when buying a new/used car.
    -+20yrs of salesman experience in used car world
    -differentiation of products: ebook; personal consulting on the phone

  159. Hiro

    Home cooked meal in economy of sharing (airbnb for home cooked meal). There are a few companies in the space, but none of them are truly in economy of sharing in my opinion. As a customer, you would just pick up home cooked meal and get going. As a chef, you cook a meal and customers would come and pick up a meal at a designated time.

    The target customers would be busy singles who want to pick up food on the way home. The target chefs would be people who like cooking and would like to make extra bucks by cooking extra.

  160. Carosa

    Tiny house community. Not sure how to put this online.

  161. Angeline Viray

    I have 2. Both based off of your “idea Mapping” and “Demand Matrix” theory.

    1) Communicating and relating effectively with family members.. Specifically on conflicts/confrontations. Mostly for millenials who are weirdos and totally different species from their parents.. But should be working class (with money).. Around 25-35.. Totally put up walls against their parents because “they don’t understand them”. Apparently, based on my mini interviews with people I know, doing this can improve most other parts of their life. Business, relationships, work, and even on strangers. I’m just on a fence because I’m doubtful whether it’s a primary or a secondary pain. Also, I have no whatever on this. No knowledge whatsoever. I am just great at communicating and relating with people, and I handle escalations and complaints for enterprise/corporate clients.

    2) Relatives of a cancer patient in the family.. Specifically during the illness. Might touch on prevention later. But for now., more on the specifics. Hospital processes tips, fund raising, handling emotions, handling the patient, taking advantage of government grants, donations, taking care of the patient, food, environmental conditions, services and items needed in the house, etc! Everything and anything about taking care of a cancer patient in the family. I even thought of providing a service to accompany the patient when the relatives are busy to accompany them to the hospital or wherever they need to be. Mostly for millenials again because this is my group. 25-35. Working class. My issue is whether this is something the target market would be willing to pay for, since, having a cancer patient in the family really drains everyone’s finances.

    Would really appreciate your advice on these Ramit, as I am stuck. I’ve done preliminary research but I can’t get over the issues I have on both.

    Thank you!

  162. Deepanshu

    Idea : To guide students for their future by giving them Career Counseling after developing a report through their fingerprint analysis which gives insights of their brains (study called as Dermatoglyphics).
    Target audience : 10-17 years students and 30-40 years adults who are now parents of this age group of students.
    For 17 years+ students : Online sale and purchase of old books and blogs about various job and internship openings.
    Want your Comment 🙂

  163. Ian Nagy

    [Idea] Instead of paying to learn online marketing (buying courses etc.), why not get PAID to learn online marketing?

    Here’s how: I show you the “short-cuts” to getting the skills and contacts you need to get hired as a highly-skilled, well-paid remote online marketing assistant, FAST… So instead of flailing around buying bullshit “make money online” products that just waste your time, you get to learn how a REAL business gets run, from the inside out… All while you travel the world, work when and where you want, get paid better than most, and live like a boss from day 1…

    And when the time comes for you to launch your own business? You’ll have the skills, connections, and experience to CRUSH it, right out of the gate.

    This is what I do as my “day job”, and it’s changed my life. I went from spending 2+ hours a day stuck in LA traffic, to “working” from Europe, Thailand, Japan, Latin America, NYC, LA, SF, just this past year – all while learning first-hand from the best marketers in the business, and making more money than I did at my old job.

    I’m not sure if there’s enough interest in this idea yet to move forward, but just in case I threw together a quick WP site with some more info, if you’re interested:

    • Ray

      So interested… Opted In

  164. Mingshi

    Since I’m a graphic designer (between jobs) – so might as well build up a business plan if I am to stay freelance for long term instead of working for someone…

    Graphic Design service (eg. branding, promo/ marketing graphics)
    – Targeting startups, NGO, charities
    – who has limited budget (otherwise they would hire design consultancy)
    – who is into good design (not just someone who can operate photoshop)


  165. Erytc

    I would develop a website for trainers of door to door sales and door to door salespersons. I will teach them techniques of how to manage the territory. Plan according to time and types of neighborhoods according to their products. How to deal with permits. And the most successful ways to sell their products. Also teach them how to work in teams and how not to freak out the neighbors. Is that good? Descent maybe?

  166. Kerrie

    As a wedding photographer at the moment I’d love to branch out to product photography on the side. I love to support small business so thats the market I’d like to go for .

    So my idea is as follows…

    Send by post product photography for crafters/makers/small independent businesses with a lifestyle feel (i.e – not white background cut out shots) for use on their marketing materials, websites etc

  167. Daily Linkage – January 16, 2015 | The Dark Enlightenment

    […] Your turn: Analyze these businesses – I Will Teach You To Be Rich […]

  168. M

    But Ramit! But I can’t do that…there are already too many other companies doing it! Why would anyone listen to me?

    Now where’s my picture?

  169. Paul

    I’m working on a ministry to men. In today’s culture men are positioned to be rivals and competitors. We live in our own little bubbles and can get spiritually isolated. True role models today are rare. We have destructive vices that we are left to ourselves to deal with. I’d like to create find a safe online community for men to be able to realize their greatness and be able to safely face our vices and talk about our responsibilities as leaders in our families, businesses and communities. The old corner pub is a destructive setting. Men need to be able to connect at a spiritual level though. The business model would start with a book, a blog and a podcast. Do you think a supportive online community for men seeking healing and spiritual growth could succeed?

  170. Shane

    Starting a graphics services for new businesses. I.E. Focusing on building branding for new and upcoming businesses by designing logos, producing mockups for them, banners etc. Focusing on sending out newsletters that will have tips and other material can be beneficial to them.

    I have already started doing freelance designing but was not focused on a specific area of design but now I am in the process of focusing on that, it’s a bit tricky but I will get there and in the planning stages of getting a team to focus on other areas of design.

    As I have read the previous comments, yes, other people are doing it but what makes you different and standout is key. Who are you targeting?

    Ramit is awesome and his guidance has helped paved a way for me thus far and I will keep making the journey.


  171. Kuldeep Singh

    I’m really good at drawing portraits. I always gift portraits to women and people who help me in a big manner, i.e. people I appreciate for something.
    I want to draw portraits for people who want to gift it to their loved ones. I love this because nobody does this. People would buy something from a store and gift it, but what an idea to gift portraits to people on special occasions?
    I want to focus on
    -age groups : 15-35
    -people who are busy not to be able to buy a good gift
    -with a personal note from the sender

    • Tiffanie

      I suggest making a website or blog with samples of your drawings and get people who you gave drawings to previously to write reviews and recommendations. When you market yourself, you want to be able to tell people where they can find examples of your work.

  172. Mailu

    Many planes are equipped with WIFI services meaning travelers are now online while in flight. Airports can have a service that allows the traveler to shop online, pay for an item in the duty free store, then have it delivered to them when they land. So while on transit if you have a short stop over, you will already find the items that you have paid for waiting for you and as such you don’t need to rush

  173. Paul Stennett

    My idea is Success Coaching:
    1. For millennial men
    2. Who are in a slump/stagnant period in their lives
    3. And want to go in a new direction but are afraid or unequipped

    What I think would make me different is that I am also millennial and I have gone through a lot of the struggles and I can relate plus I have coached myself to success in many areas.

  174. amina

    my idea
    is to know how to design the different cloth and to send in on line and to earn more money and to be a success.
    and i think is to make my life in good location. i have gone through a lot of struggles after fail my form four examination. so i need a help of getting success.

  175. Bianca

    Health information, nutrition tips, recipes etc…. for upper middle class people from 18-30s….most often with well off parents or with a well paying job….who are undergoing jaw surgery…soon…..and want to recover optimally and make the experience as painless and enjoyable as possible

  176. Bianca

    I don’t know why but everytime I say your name I think of chicken wings, and then I cant stop thinking of chicken wings….yuuuuuuuummm mouth waterin…. ok Now getting to the point……

    So does this mean that if I want to work on two projects at the same time I can as long as I market them separately (like on different websites/places etc..)? Should I have a specific website for myself and then websites for each idea that is targeted to a specific group? What would you recommend the tone be for my main website if all my ideas are super specific and targeting different groups?
    Thanks Ramit I don’t even know if you’ll see this. Oh gawd I feel like Im tweeting Justin Bieber :’)

  177. Jenny Sanfilippo

    2 ideas, they are not related. The first is online landscape design services from my husband and I who are both horticulturalists with 15+ years experience in different parts of the green industry. This would not be your standard 2 people in a truck landscape company, our focus would be online. Customers from different regions could upload pictures of the area they want designed, and measurements, along with filling out a brief survey of the property (light conditions, favorite colors, amount of maintenance they are willing to do etc), we would provide a professional design as well as consultation services. They would install the plants and landscape themselves or find a company to do this for them in their area. We could also do virtual garden consultations where they would have tablet of some sort and we would connect through skype or some other type of virtual meeting service. They would walk through their yard and we would consult on what needs to go, and stay etc.
    The other idea I have relates to my hobby which is disc golf, the worlds fastest growing sport! Basically a company/website that caters specifically to the women disc golfer, carrying the discs in the weight and colors they like, apparel they like, bags they like with tips and tricks specifically for women. Currently there are a lot of disc golf companies out there, but none that cater to women only.

  178. Gwen

    Business accounting services, for ‘alternative’ businesses (tattoo parlors, self-employed artists, sex shops), whose owners don’t feel comfortable or taken seriously by traditional accountants, in Scotland.

  179. Evan Tarver

    Hey Ramit!

    I’m a huge fan of you and other’s in the online business space (i.e. John Lee Dumas, Dan and Ian from TMBA, Pat Flynn, etc.), and everyone preaches to “niche down.”

    While I think a focused and direct message is paramount as seen in the examples above (messaging is close to home – I helped start a mobile advertising company), sometimes I feel like we try to get too niche.

    For example, have been working on my own blog (linked to my name above), and for me, I enjoy reading from generalists. My enjoyment of reading more general blogs has, of course, caused me to write more generally. So although I write about self improvement and professional excellence, my articles range from actionable mindset shifts, to business advice, to personal finance strategies.

    Is this too general to be successful? My thinking is that there are 6 (now 7?) billion people in the world, 3 of which have internet access, and there has to be at least 0.0001% (don’t check my math) who would resonate with my more “renaissance” approach to article/blog writing.

    Is it possible to niche “out” by having your niche be self improvement in general and write to those who resonate with a wider range of advice?

    I don’t know, your examples of the fitness websites really got me thinking about that. Any info appreciated!



  180. Bill

    My idea:
    A training program (ebook or web-based)for Finance and Accounting Managers of small, US manufacturing companies (<$10M in sales) to show them how to analyze their Accounts Payable and Procurement records to identify and recover any duplicate payments and other accounting errors that cost them money.

  181. Dustin

    Hey Ramit!

    This is what I have from the top of my head based on my current experience:

    Ideally, it’ll be: A streamlined personal statement consulting guide…for high school students…who wants to get into an Ivy league school…strapped for time from school and crazy extracurricular activities…with parents that make over $100k annually.

  182. Ripken R. Holt

    Guitar lessons…for beginners…who like rock or pop music…and would rather pay a one-time fee online than pay a guitar teacher weekly.

  183. Iza

    Wow 🙂 Great article. At the beginnign I was at this point where I wanted to do something but I have no idea and there was so many others telling that one thing I should do is to start with passion. That the business with passion is the best match. But then I found another solution. I found that, like You’ve said, I don’t have to be first doing this, the market is so big that there’s always place to everyone and the second thing, if we learn something for longer time we’re almost an experts, and if we were able to learn it means that we like the topic, so why not to start with that.
    Now I have a problem, which idea to choose 🙂

    Thanks 😀

  184. Mayank

    I just want to make a platform called “URGE.COM” through which we can ask anybody to share their grievances, problems,challenges and other people on that platform will just provide a innovative and simple approach to remove their troubles.

  185. Amy

    Cooking plans…to help working parents…cook like a personal chef efficiently
    Meal plans…to make gourmet food for the week…in less than 5 hours weekly
    Cooking guides…for busy wannabe healthy eaters…that want to make their food ahead of time (on Sunday/non work days)

  186. Pao

    Fun article!

    Here is an idea. A consulting service/training program for young martial art students (<40 years old) with long-term injury who want to continue practicing martial arts without permanently damaging their bodies.

  187. Melani

    I want to add to my current business which mostly appeals to parents of young kids who want to enroll their children, by marketing to adults who want to learn self defense to feel safer when traveling etc.

  188. Helmut

    Series of retail websites that dropship products. Products are decided on by doing SEO-based keyword research that balances enough traffic with beatable competition.

    The idea is that the very fact that there are manufacturers are already selling their products mean people want them because they’re already buying them. My responsibility it to just find underserved, untargeted keywords to rank for and put those products in front of the people who are searching for them in a way that appeals to that specific market.

    • Helmut

      The value provided is

      1) I get smaller manufacturers access to big online traffic for their specific niche, and

      2) I provide customers with highly relevant products for what their searching for, usually giving them an alternative to walmart and ebay which tends to dominate these underserved markets (not because they’re relevant, but because no one else is bothering to target those keywords)

  189. Dillon

    Coaching For Personal Trainers…. Who Are Struggling To Add Clients…. Who Work At Gyms…..Who Are Within Their First Year Of Training….. NOT On Their Own.

    Seems specific enough.

    Basically, People like me. I barely had any idea of what I was doing and luckily the owner chose me to be trained and it’s worked amazingly well. I would love to teach new personal trainers within the age group of 20-26 how to add at least 10 new clients within the next 3 months.

    There are already people doing this so the market is there and I know it can be profitable.

  190. Jason

    Teaching Moms with kids how to rebalance their family’s microbiome (gut flora) to improve learning and behavior.

    • William

      Hey Jason, interesting idea. I just listened to an interview on Tim Ferriss’ podcast on the topic of microbiome. The two guests are experts in that field. Check it out:

      I had no clue what microbiome was until I heard this 🙂 very very interesting stuff (kinda scared me a bit too)

  191. Aaron

    I am starting Right Track Personal Finance, a business that focuses on providing the framework and system to get your financial life under control, so you have the ability to save money and invest for the future. I will be marketing to recent college graduates and young professionals that are between the ages of 20 and 32. I am able to relate to my clients because I have done this myself. Learned what works and what doesn’t and how to make it simple. We focus on building a foundation of knowledge and then working our way up.

  192. Pat

    I’m a professional museum curator trained to recognize authentic vs. reproduction, and to spot “good stuff” in peoples’ household accumulations, storage, etc. I have all this specialized knowledge, there has to be a way to monetize it (sure can’t do that working in museums, sigh). I have an etsy shop for mid-century modern home goods (authentic ones – not an area of conflict-of-interest with my museum work) and get asked a lot what I sold “item x” for by etsy shoppers and other shop owners. (but sourcing & selling one-off vintage items is not scalable and a tough way to make a living, already tried). I’ve been thinking about creating a product/service/ebook that monetizes my personal-Antiques-Roadshow abilities without getting into the time-sucking (and legally dangerous)area of appraisals. What about:
    1. An overview “tips booklet” or series of booklets for boomers helping their aging relatives downsize / or who face emptying homes after bereavement? A lot of great stuff winds up at Goodwill because the family/executor doesn’t know what they have.

    2. For milllenials, an online course detailing physical “clues” to what’s really old, what’s been manufactured-to-deceive targeted at 30s-40s wanting to furnish homes or collect?

    3. Totally unrelated: I see so many typos and grammatical errors in site content (blogs, sales, other sites ). Set up a service offering editing and/or proofreading services for busy bloggers and other content developers (how to market and price this?)


  193. Kat

    Cool, hip, easy-to-use but hard as heck monthly program for having a healthy, happy and strong UTERUS. This is a hard program to follow but gets results proven by lab tests, ultrasounds/MRI’s and photos. It is the P90X of women’s health. If you are having problems, it is time to get serious.

    The uterus is the key to a women’s energy, sexiness and health. Women 30 to 50 years old are experiencing many health issues that start in the uterus. 3/6/12 month plans including all the supplements and ingredients you need, group coaching, videos, webinars and group coaching. 3 month is CLEANSE program (for minor weight loss, heavy periods or general health), 6 month is CLEANSE and REBALANCE (for boosting fertility prior to or in lieu of fertility treatments or for low libido) and 12 month is a CLEANSE, REBALANCE and REBUILD (for fibroids and endometriosis or super health).

    Target audience is women 30 to 50, middle income to high income women who are serious about getting their fertility back, being as healthy as possible or trying to avoid surgery.

    The program is different because: 1. step by step, easy to use program with daily supplementation already pre-portioned 2. program, website and packaging is not foo-foo, alternative, hippie type detox but for the modern woman 3. Bold, in your face marketing and before and after photos of changes in weight, belly fat and awesome before and after uterus photos (uterus photos–how exciting) 4. All inclusive program including local access to uterus tests and results. No doctor required.

  194. Amanda

    Idea: A “project management in the real world” blog/product that address the key soft skills necessary to best coordinate the people working on your teams.

    Target: Middle-income, Millennial women working in non-projectized environments (i.e. they have no real authority over the people on their teams) who are struggling to get people to respond to requests, complete the work assigned to them or even participate peaceably in a meeting.

  195. BJ

    Idea: Helping former college athletes, age 25-35 transfer their talents from the athletic field to the metaphorical boardroom and start their own business in order to live the fast-paced, action lifestyle they have lost since they stopped playing.

    Their pain points: feeling like they went through a “divorce” after retiring, knowing they have the potential to do much greater things than rotting in a cube, but not sure how to really go about doing it.

  196. Danielle

    Business advice…….for (brick and mortar) small businesses……who are trying to scale a handcrafted food product and be profitable

    I have 8 years of business ownership building a profitable with a craft food business.

  197. Gemma

    Montessori education videos… for mums… who want to home educate their children… from birth onwards.

    Just writing that brings up so many ‘buts’ I’m breathing shallow in fear.

  198. mody

    I want to teach a foreign language let say “Spanish for French people”, assuming that i want to teach different aspects of that language (conversations, grammar, idioms, writing…), do I need to be more specific here ? (I think every one who is looking for this language will get benefit from my site !! please correct me if I’m wrong)

    • Gemma

      I went looking for an Arabic language course, I had to dodge all the Koran based ones, the ‘business only’ ones, the ‘basic tourist’ ones, the ‘spoken only’ ones, to find that even within the range I was looking for (grammar, script, written and spoken with native or native-proficiency teachers) there was still a huge range in pedagogy such as evening classes, correspondence with tutor support, correspondence using the latest voice recognition technology, one-on-one coaching, language immersion in a city near you… If I came across your site that just said, “English speakers learn Arabic here” I’d roll my eyes for the waste of a click off of Google. I want specifics on what, for who, and how.

    • mody

      Hi GEMMA, do you mean that “English speakers learn Arabic here” would be more interesting for you, right ?
      by the way I’m a native arabic speaker, i will be happy to help if you still need some help 🙂

  199. Elizabeth

    This makes perfect sense. These are very actionable steps to starting a business rather than making things very vague and “up there.” Your advice brings people back to reality to something that they can actually do and not just think of.

    Specificity is king. Thanks Ramit!

  200. Zach

    Idea for my mom:

    How to cope with “empty nest syndrome” (kids leaving home)… for Dads… who are single… and high-powered executives.

  201. John

    Idea: Service to help white-collar expats to rent a flat for first time in London

    What can be provided:
    – How the rent is calculated
    – Neighbourhoods vs work location vs interests vs budget analysis
    – Best form to contact real state agencies and see only the properties you want
    – What are the underlying costs (council tax, transportation, water, heating, eletricity, gas, etc.)
    – How to compare utility providers, broadband, cable, etc..
    – Do I use an Oyster card/car/motorcycle/bike?
    – Check-list for move-in
    – Negotiation tips (how low you can get from marketed prices)
    – How fast is the market and how to approach it

    • Gemma

      I like and will need in 1-2 years. Get working!

  202. Joshua

    hybrid online and offline business. Offline is a series of workshops and camps for children in the Bay Area focused on the problem solving, making, and persistence (huge ideas in the bay). The online business is around how to do these things with your kids anywhere (not in the bay? can’t come play with us? create environments at home that grow your kids capacity for creative thinking and persistence.

    Target audience are parents of kids ages 5-10 who are focused an increasing their child’s access to to fantastic learning opportunities. Ideally the kind of parents who are following TED and NYTimes and the Atlantic and their ongoing trend of recommending alternative education philosophies.

  203. Rachel

    Fantastic article! Thanks so much!

    Sharing now with my network 🙂

    I’ve struggled with the “being everything to everyone” for way to long and have realized it’s because I just can’t freakin’ get my head around defining my audience.

    Been working online and traveling for about 2 years now, and have started a website to help other people learn to do the same — and I know my target audience is WAY to vague!

    Would love to hear your thoughts/read an article about your strategy for defining an audience to get super targeted/specific — and how to eliminate all the stuff that doesn’t fit that mold.

  204. Kristine

    Personal styling services for high level male executives who are fat. Tailored suits, custom-made shoes, handcrafted accessories, etc. for men who find it difficult to find ready to wear clothing in retail or even specialized big and tall shops.

  205. Nicole

    Context: I’m a former career blogger and adjunct professor who taught a career development class for those in advertising/marketing/communications. I’m also a career changer who has found her home at an advertising agency after working in finance for 5 years. Working at an agency is a whole new world. It’s VERY tough to get a job at a top agency and very tough to stay alive once you get in.

    Idea: An online course for those who want to get a job at an advertising agency for the first time (or who want to reposition themselves to get a way BETTER advertising job than they currently have).

  206. Kurt

    Idea: A complete twelve week fitness training program and meal plan for busy, underweight, professional, single men between the ages 22 and 30. This would be a program focused entirely on building strength and muscle mass without the use of steroids or excessive supplementation. The idea is to provide a complete system (workout routine and meals) without a great deal of unnecessary background information. They don’t need to spend weeks learning why it works, they just have to follow the system to get results and more importantly make working out a habit.

    The target market consists of young professional men because (a) they can afford it and (b) they’re going to be most motivated to see these results. They want to look and feel better. The program will be presented as something that won’t require a lot of time and won’t be terribly complicated. Think of it as an online version of the system Ramit has described with his personal trainer and nutritionist. The meals will be simple to prepare and the instructions for preparation will be clear and simple.

  207. Brad Dias

    Thank You so much Ramit !!

    I was just planning on going through and read through your content, and answer the questions in my head. However I stopped and took the effort to pull out a piece of paper, and followed through. I immediately figured out I was going to differentiate with my business after doing this exercise. I’ve been stuck in this rut for ages…

    1. Functional fitness and life advice for young males, especially students or those newly starting their careers. To become the best version of themselves on the 4 dimensions, which is mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    2. Cooking healthy for one. A nutritional meal planner for students , to help them plan healthy meals for the week. With all the recipes and ingredients provided in an easy to use interface.

    3. A goal setting planner with, weekly and daily planning involved. For those at the starts of their careers.

    Number 1, is what I’m working on. The others are just some ideas I’ve thought would be really helpful.

  208. Marie

    Idea: A bar catering service that provides custom cocktail menus for middle- to high-income 25- 35 year olds who are celebrating life events (weddings, bridal showers, etc) in NYC.
    This is just one potential market that I’m testing. I think they have the interest in having unique, experiential events that they can brag about to their friends, but still trying to tease out the income area. Should I get more specific about how much this group makes?
    Would any of you be interested in this?

  209. Christian Newman

    Marketing for small, local businesses who feel like they have a glorified job and want to break free from their daily grind

  210. Janelle

    My service is researching and booking people’s travel itineraries who either don’t have time or hate to do this.

    Getting more specific, this is for people who travel either on average twice a month, or when they do travel, they go to multiple destinations. Other entrepreneurs or people who have to travel for their corporate career.

    Anyone who hates to spend longer in front of computer putting this all together.

  211. Andrew

    Business Idea: Human Performance Improvement – for small – medium businesses – who want to improve their productivity, staff knowledge, and bottom line.

  212. Douglas

    RE: Idea: A website that teaches landlords how to manage their properties professionally: to maximize long term cash flow and minimize headaches.

    Is there any software (preferable web-based and mobile friendly) developed specifically for managing rental properties that avoids spreadsheet headaches?

  213. Marco Koskinen

    I’m trying to launch the equivalent for a “real-estate agency” for +100’000$ watches. The more complicated, exclusive and “limited edition” watches are, the higher the risk of buing something faulty. If you buy a house or a super-car you will find out pretty fast if something’s wrong. Not so with a watch. Everything is so “small” and hard to grasp that people are happy to trust the seller and the marketing hype… and get shafted. I’ve worked with this type of watches for twenty years. So I know the product but I’m not kicking myself hard enough to go and find the potential clients.

  214. Dilys

    Nearly everyone as they get older starts to have problems with their feet – but why should that mean frumpy shoes?
    Therefore my idea is: SHOES for women over 40, with a level of income to be able to afford really well-made shoes, especially women with feet larger than average.
    “Beautiful shoes that don’t hurt your feet”
    ie elegant yet low-heeled, really well fitted, with shock absorbent soles, sturdy yet still stylish, in LARGE sizes!
    – but how can I translate that into a business, let alone an online business? All I can think of is a blog about shoes – dunno how that could make money. Can’t afford training in the techicalities of shoe-making especially specialist shoe sole research. So far, I’ve just managed a 2 day taster course on shoe-making, and a second 2 day taster course on shoe design. I don’t have any background in product design, retail, manufacturing or marketing.

    Any helpful remarks on how to take this further would be appreciated!


  215. Lauren

    First time posting. I’ve been kicking this idea around for a while…Here goes!:

    Making raw all meat pet food…for busy pet lovers…who are worried about the current state of the pet food industry…and want the food to be made of the best quality ingredients available.

    Getting specific (as others have mentioned) is a bit difficult! But basically my ‘passion’ would be nutritious pet food made of actual meat that has been minimally processed and hasn’t been compressed down into tiny unrecognizable kibble or brown smelly mush. I think of it like the health conscious crowd that is pushing back against overly processed junk food (just for pets instead).

    There are a growing number of companies that do raw food, but my angle would be the option to customize the food a bit to meet any special nutritional requirements for the pet. Also no ‘fillers.’

  216. Kate

    Idea: Teaching basic therapeutic massage skills
    Narrower #1: Couples class for married/dating couples, focusing on increased circulation and relaxation
    Narrower #2: Class for parents to bring these basic skills home to their families for in-home regular treatment. Includes the time and place for increased circulation and relaxation, and also the time and place for localized sports massage and treatment of minor common sprains and strains

  217. Parul Sharma

    So this is something new and finally something which I am starting out with a business mindset. I have another idea too which I will work on /execute a few months later.

    IDEA: A Resource for Vegan Travellers to India
    Target: Vegan travelers in their twenties and thirties who are planning to visit India and are looking to know where to eat in major cities, what are their options.
    Further narrowing it down: Age 20-40, Sex: Female, Location : USA

    Current Sitaution: put up a sign up page and social media account. Have not really publicized much which starts form first week of February followed by a Cookbook Giveaway along with a Famous Indian Chef.

    Goal: earn 500$+ by the end of the year from this blog alone

    Any comments suggestions are welcome and much needed.

  218. Rachael

    Here’s my idea: I like to cook and my friend is great at cleaning. I was thinking about a cleaning/cooking domestic service to men in their 20-30s who make decent money (let’s say 50k a year and up) who work long hours and live in the city and need someone to cook and clean for them.

  219. Andre

    ‘Be specific’. That and ‘be brutally honest’ are my two favourite Ramit nuggets of wisdom 😀

    The examples that stood out for me above are the ones where it is clear at a glance what you will get from it (e.g. “a free 5 day course that will take you from scrawny to brawny”, “we do notepads” and “a 6-week program that will make you ‘rich'”).

    Inspired by a previous commentor’s techie-related business ideas and my own experiences as a programmer, one idea that comes to mind is a guide/book/course for clients of high-end, Agile (as in the methodology) programming shops.

    I’ve noticed a lot of recurring themes that make it difficult for non-techie people to work with programmers, especially those programmers working on advanced (difficult to implement) systems that are not necessarily your run-of-the-mill website.

    A lot of times clients have specific misconceptions about software development which leads to them unnecessarily interfering with or constraining the programmers’ work which in turn leads to friction and more importantly, the client not getting their money’s worth out of the programmers (e.g. making tech decisions for the programmers instead of focussing on business decisions to name just one example).

    The most successful projects I’ve worked on were the ones where the ground rules and expectations were clear from day one and the programmers were not micromanaged by the client or layers of managers. Of course the programmers need to be aware of the typical fears driving some of their client misconceptions and how to deal with these. So maybe a two-part guide is needed. One part for the clients and one part for the programmers.

    Now that i think of it, not sure how many people would buy anything in this vein. Probably those who have lost a lot of money paying for failed software projects before 😀

    • Michael


      Just wondering who’s pain your are taking away; that of the product owners / non-techie people or that of the programmers? In my experience, as a tech-savvy business person and because I can affort it to think balck and white on this matter; I just want IT to understnad my business and deliver value-added solutions. I do nit care about Agile or waterfall. As long as the job gets done.

  220. Tim

    Idea: A website that teaches young professionals how to lose weight without counting calories or spending countless hours in the gym.

    Target: Young professionals that work a full-time job who sit a lot and have busy social lives.


  221. Phillip

    Audience: Landlords in Texas who manage older properties

    Product: Short online course about managing risk and costs when asbestos may be present in a property. Teach the knowledge I’ve gathered in my 10+ years as a licensed asbestos & mold consultant in Texas for saving money, keeping out of legal trouble, and staying out of lawsuits when asbestos is involved.

    Follow-up products: additional courses on mold and lead-based paint

  222. AK

    Idea: Developing an application to manage monthly expenses and creating budget for middle class families. App also will be able to extract details from an image of voucher.

  223. Sen

    Idea: Select products of art work (posters, paintings, ect), books, clothing accessories and home decor that blend tranditional African culture/design with urban contemporary flair.

    Narrower ideas: – Custom gift baskets. One for women, children and men.
    – Trend setter type blog highlighting new, different, and upcoming products

    Potential client: 30’s- 40 ‘s 2nd generation African or African American women, well travelled, college educated, has children. Interested in contemporary urban Africa. Wants build connection and/or learn about to African culture in a variety of different artistic ways. Wants to expose their children to positive black images.

    Any thoughts will help!

  224. AK

    Idea: Email Automation. This application will perform below tasks:

    > Redirect mail to another mail account
    > Save attachements to a folder on your computer or upload on your choice of cloud/web storage.
    > Create a task based on perticular key word in mail subject or from address.

    Any suggestion on narrowing down the idea and usability is appreciated.

  225. Scott

    Grief information for teens. The resources that I have found are by written by adults in doctorspeak. My teens desprately needed info when there mother passed away. My struggle is that it feels strange to monetize grief. Our therapist, their teachers, and other parents all agree it is sorely needed. thoughts?

  226. Sue

    Hi Ramit,

    Question on this. The businesses you show are super targeted, but you’re ultra-successful with a number of target markets. Did you start out with someone very specific in mind and then build out? Because your writing is helpful/ relevant to EVERYONE. This is what I’m struggling with in my own messaging because I know I could do well helping a huge range of people. Thanks!

  227. Michael

    I am a huge fan of the FIFA computer game series, specifically the “ultimate team” game mode where you can create your own dream team. To do this you need to buy players with in-game currency. You get in game currency via selling players or other items on an in-game market place.

    Currently there are illegal auto-buyers and sellers that disrupt that market a bit, leaving honest players with very little means to get their ultimate team

    Having a financial and credit risk background I have analyzed this market place and found a way to create in-game cash to buy my ultimate team. It does not make me the richest player but I am able to buy the players I want.

    Now for the idea:
    – provide daily trade information on what to buy and sell to get the money you need to create YOUR ultimate team
    – aimed at players aged 20 – 40
    – who do not want to cheat
    – are casual to mildly fanatic players
    – struggle with getting their ultimate team
    – and like to trade items but need guidance

    This could be done via a companion app to the game, quering the trade feed of the game. Knowing investment ratios and having create some of my own (e.g. The effort it takes to win an item, how many times you can win an item at what time of day, etc) I am able to provide valuable trade information that will make the life of casual, honest players happy

  228. Eliseo

    I read so many of these comments and sites and they have such great advice.I’m having trouble trying to figure out a way to direct market for my music. My product is my songs and I’ve narrowed down who I believe my customer would be, but the scary part is when I ask myself why would anyone buy it? I can’t think of any other reason then because they would simply like it. The same way they enjoy a Ryan Adams record and buy it they would like mine. It’s weird because I don’t feel like I’m necessarily solving a problem they may have. I just don’t know if I should focus on something else like showing how to record and hopefully have that lead into sales for my music.

  229. Busayo

    Children poems, stories, and articles….for school teachers, mothers, and teenagers….who want to recommend good materials for their pupils (teachers), home-school their kids (mums), and read children materials (teenagers).

  230. Darkstar

    Idea: Time-management services for busy businessmen
    Services: app to schedule priorities + teaching how to use time effectively
    Potential client: 30’s businessmen in IT field that would like to spend more time with their families or their hobbies.
    Any suggestion on narrowing down the idea and usability is appreciated.

  231. Hydresence Skincare

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  234. Richerd Miller

    Nice post..Thanks for sharing. Your challenge is to refine your idea to make it different and better.

  235. Will Chou

    DAMN Ramit.