Problem Solving vs Hobby Niches – Which Are More Profitable?

The majority of profitable niches are divided into two main categories. Problem solving, and hobbies. The problem is, people have hard time deciding which they should enter into. This is understandable – it’s a big choice, and there are conflicting opinions everywhere.

One set of marketers will say that anything but problem solving niches are a waste of time, as buyers are desperate to solve their problems and are very willing to pay for an instant solution. Another set of marketers will insist that hobby niches are far more profitable, because the visitors that visit your site are more likely to return and purchase from you multiple times.

While both can be extremely profitable, problem solving and hobby niches are often tackled in drastically different ways. For this reason, we must dig a little bit further before we can decide which category would be more profitable for you.

Analyzing Problem Solving Niches

Let’s first take a look at the way problem solving niches are commonly tackled. An example of some common problem solving niches include weight loss for new moms, curing back pain, or dating for college males. The “big 3” markets (health, wealth, and dating) all fall into the problem solving category. Generally speaking, the more desperate the buyer is to solve their problem, the more willing they are to purchase the solution from you.

Depending on the size and severity of the problem, the sites trying to solve them are set up primarily in two different ways. Larger niches may merit a blog. For smaller, more specific niches, these sites generally consist of only a squeeze page. The visitor signs up for the website owner’s mailing list, and the product aiming to fix their problem is marketed to them.

Then one of two things typically happens. Either the product fixes their problem (so you have no further need to market to them) or the product doesn’t fix their problem, and they never trust you for purchasing advice ever again. Either way, they’re done purchasing from you.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. As marketers, we want to get the maximum amount of money possible out of our email lists.Depending on the niche, there are other ways to monetize the list further. One way to do this is by promoting related products for different problems. For example, if you’re promoting a product on picking up women, you could also consider selling a course on overcoming shyness or social anxiety. Later on, you could promote a dating site that offers residual payment. Way down the line, you could promote a “how to get your ex back” course or something similar.

Another way to make additional money off an email list in a problem solving niche is to plan on the fact that most people won’t actually utilize the product they’ve purchased. Take the weight loss market for example. The majority of people who purchase weight loss info products won’t actually put in the hard work and effort needed to make the product useful. They won’t take the action necessary to become successful at overcoming their issue.

That means that when they inevitably fail at acheiving their goal, you can sell them new ‘solutions’ over and over again. The fault isn’t with their product, it’s with them. They can’t get mad at you for promoting a “bad product” when the real issue is themselves. They’ll keep buying from you, as if money were a substitute for effort.

The thing is, most niches aren’t like this. Most problem solving niches don’t have closely related problems, nor can the purchaser be blamed for the lack of success.

Let’s see how hobby niches differ.

Analyzing Hobby Niches

Very different from problem solving niches are hobby niches. Websites involving hobby niches are often packed full of content, and the majority of blogs will fall into this category. Some hobby niches include cooking, playing piano, and golfing.

Hobby niches are often believed to be less profitable because in most cases, the visitor arrives on the site without an instant need to spend money. They don’t have a problem that needs to be solved straight away, and they don’t have any particular incentive to whip out their credit card and buy something from you. Therefore, you have to work a little bit harder to get the visitor into a buying mood. You have to create the demand for the product.

This can be a bit more challenging. People are far more willing to spend money to move away from pain than they are to move towards pleasure. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make a ton from hobby niches though. They can be incredibly rewarding. Far more rewarding than problem solving niches, in fact.

The thing that’s great about hobby niches is that you can sell entirely new products to your visitors time and time again, and still provide a ton of value.

Take golfing for example. It’s a huge sport, and ton of money is spent on it. If you get an audience and capture their email, you have a ton of marketing opportunities. You can promote high-end golf clubs to them. Golf bags, balls, and tees. You can promote travel opportunities to world renowned golf courses, or simply sell them courses on how to improve their game. As soon as a new improved version of X product comes out, you can promote that one to them. One visitor has the potential to make you a ton of sales. The long term potential for hobby niches is incredible.

Good example: James McAllister Sr.

My father. The man is a survival enthusiast. If he got some marketing skills and started a blog, he’d be an authority real quick because he knows the info inside, out, upside-down and backwards. Loves everything about it. I guess that explains the 3-4 packages from eBay and Amazon that arrive in his mailbox each day.

But let me tell you, he loves spending money funding this hobby. If I could find where he keeps all of the stuff he orders, this is what I’d probably see:

  • 521 knives
  • 50 pairs of hiking boots
  • 85 expensive backpacks
  • 723 mini LED flashlights
  • 200 mini survival kits
  • A large, unknown amount of random tools and objects that you or I have probably ever heard of.

Here’s the thing: my parents don’t have a huge income. Far from it. I’d say whatever guy is selling all of this stuff to him is probably taking a pretty huge percentage of it, because he literally never stops funding this passion.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, if you could find just 1 new person like my father each day and get him onto your mailing list, you’re well on your way to retirement.

So, Are Problem Solving Or Hobby Niches More Profitable?

There’s really no concrete answer to this, as both niche categories are handled completely differently. I’m currently working in both categories, and both have been working very well for me in different ways. The potential for profit is there for both categories – so you should choose the one that appeals more to you, not just now, but for the long term as well.

In my experience, most problem solving niches are easier to make quick sales in because people are more willing to pull out their credit card and make a purchase. However, most hobby niches will have greater long term potential because you’ll always have new products to promote to the same group of people.

The Key To Success In Either Category

Regardless of the niche you decide to go into, the key to make money lies in regular communication with your email list. Squeeze sites rely on autoresponders to send out their promotions, and regular email communication is necessary for retaining long term visitors. If you’re not already, you should absolutely be using a service like GetResponse to build an email list of loyal subscribers you can promote to. GetResponse offers a free 30-day trial, so you’ve got nothing to lose by signing up.

The money really is in the list – and this is true no matter what niche category  you go in to.

So which do you like better, problem solving or hobby niches? Why? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

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About James McAllister

James is the owner of Help Start My Site. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. Here on HelpStartMySite.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, like him on Facebook .

Comments

  1. Hi James,

    I must say that title of this article just caught me off guard. It appeals directly to the curiosity and this article does a great job in sufficing it.

    In my opinion, if you love what you do type of blog doesn’t matter much. And hobby blogs might take a lead there since they are created just for the love of it. Also, there is a little more growth potential in hobby blogging.
    However, problem solving blogs can attract quick customers in much less amount of time compared to hobby niche. but is a little more risky as well.

    Cheers

      (Quote)
    Navneet Teotia recently posted…Use Google Contributor for ad-free browsingMy Profile

    • Hi Navneet, it’s great to meet you!

      I felt this topic was a really popular debate so I decided it was time for me to get to the bottom of it. In the end, it really comes down to which business model you prefer.

      Still, I think it’s important to research the topic beforehand to ensure there is money to be made. While both categories can be profitable, that doesn’t mean all topics in that category will. I’d hate for anybody to waste their efforts building up an unprofitable website.

      Thanks for stopping by Navneet and I hope to see you again soon!

        (Quote)
      James recently posted…Are You Preparing Your Blog For The Christmas Season? My Profile

  2. James I started my Blogging from Tech site then thought to switch on blogging niche again switch to tech niche and once again planning to work continue on Blogging niche.

    This is what happens when you are not into a niche where you love to work, All I can say on this is money is on both the site all we need to decide where our main potential is.

    Hobby Niche is what we love to do, problem solving niche is where we see as a expertise on particular topic.

      (Quote)
    Andres Aprayor recently posted…Boom Beach for PC free Download (Windows 7/8/8.1/Mac)My Profile

    • Hi Andres! It’s great to see you again.

      You’re absolutely right – there’s a ton of money to be made in both the blogging niche and the technology market. It’s funny, because both could be focused on problem solving or as a hobby depending on which group of people you decide to cater to!

      My advice would be to choose the one that you enjoy the most (since they are both profitable) and focus on solely on one site for a while so you can see if it suits you. It’s better to have one site to really focus on than 2 that you can only devote half your effort to. Especially in a competitive market like making money online or technology.

      Regardless of what ends up happening, I hope it works out for you!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Do You ACTUALLY Need Passion To Make Money Online? NO!My Profile

  3. Hello James. !
    This is a great debate if I must say. More often people do get confused on the type of category to belong to but just like Nav said, both of them have the potential of making you money, you just need to follow what you can do best… Great post..

      (Quote)
    DOK Simon recently posted…How to uninstall apps on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 PlusMy Profile

  4. Thanks for sharing some excellent points James.

    I really like how you pointed out “how to” potentially build a huge back end sales funnel
    on one of your hobby sites.

    All of your examples of potential courses and products and etc, were logical and made perfect
    marketing sense.

    And a potentially incredibly profitable back end sales funnel could be built from any of your extended
    products.

    That was a great example of pro-active marketing at it’s best.
    And you’re probably right about your father being able to monetize his via a blog. Provided (I guess), if he doesn’t mind writing consistently and or getting writers to supply the content.

    Great post, and you’ve given me several ideas! Thanks!

      (Quote)
    Mark recently posted…Five Incredibly Sinister Ways Newbie Entrepreneurs Constantly Sabotage Themselves!My Profile

    • Hey Mark, appreciate your valuable comment here!

      Really when it comes down to choosing one of these, it all depends on which business model you’d rather take. It really comes down to how you’re going to tailor your marketing methods to your visitor’s buying habits.

      I suppose working in the business/marketing market we get the best of both worlds – people do it to make money but for enjoyment as well.

      Don’t get me started on my father. 🙂 I have a feeling his retirement is going to be funded by selling off all of the survival equipment he has when he begins to realize he doesn’t really need it… haha.

      Hope to talk to you again soon Mark!

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      James McAllister recently posted…Why Building A Business Around AdSense May Be A Bad IdeaMy Profile

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