The Idea Machine: 2 Methods to Find Your First Online Business

Imran Esmail Validation Leave a Comment

So you've been dying to start an online business forever but you say

I don't have any IDEAS

Right…right. That's everyones first answer to me.

And yea, you don't – first of all – idea's are a muscle you have to build up. Like writing or working out, it doesn't just hit you overnight. You have to exercise this muscle.

Ok, let's get right into it – here's how to find your first online business

Your Why Factor

First off – why do you want to start a business. For some, they may want to keep their job (you came to the wrong site) and just want to earn some side income.

Others will want to help people and the world in general while spreading their message.

This is a CRITICAL question to ask yourself – just think – if you plan to keep a job then you aren't going to have time to go headlong into a business. You're better off freelancing in your spare time to earn the extra income during your nights and mornings.

Moreover, if you are looking to make a quick buck (again, you came to the wrong place) there are a thousand get rich quick schemes online but you won't find them here.

What I am going to share below is the first step of a LONG-TERM method to build a SOLID LIFE-LONG business around what I call the big 4 categories of human needs AND become a better person in the process.

The Big 4 Categories

You don't need the next big idea – I promise you – if you are just looking to have the freedom to set your own schedule while contributing to the world, just remember we don't NEED another butler service for millionaires or man-servants for women.

Man Servants

F*** are these people serious.

Get that out of your head. They are just gimmicks and will not last.

Nor are they fulfilling ideas to put your time behind.

Instead I'd say that you focus on the 95% of the population that is stuck on the first ladder of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

People need help with money, health, sex and time

Think about your own life – what frustrates you the most and keeps you up at night. Do you have money problems and struggle to pay the rent. If someone came around and walked you step by step through making $1000 per month in side income to alleviate your problem would you give them your time…perhaps some money as well.

What about health? We pay for health experts all the time – from chiropractors to doctors to physical therapists. Who says you need a college education in this discipline? The biggest field in the next 20 years will be PREVENTATIVE medicine – things like eating healthy, staying active, etc.

People struggle MIGHTILY with motivation and getting up for things.

This is well within everyone's reach.

Zooming in With Niches

But you say

Imran – This has ALREADY been done

Yes, absolutely but then why does everyone (including many of your friends I'm sure) still struggle with these things. These are problems that have not gone away and won't go away for some time.

The key is finding your niche to help target your advertising dollars more effectively.

Here's one niche – Nerd Fitness

Nerd Fitness

Instead of just general fitness, they've gone and zoomed in on the nerd demographic. They have unique challenges like say being really sedentary or feeling awkward at the gym. The owner, Steve Kamb, could speak directly to those issues and since the internet is a big place – there are tons of nerds he could find.

Now let's get tactical.

Using my own experience as a blueprint – I'll take you through finding your idea.

Method 1: Deductive Reasoning

Initially, I went with this method I discovered through Ramit Sethi.

Basically, you make a list of the 20 things from skills you have developed, knowledge you have acquired or challenges you have overcome.

So here is my list for example:

Twenty List

If you know me you'll laugh that fashion and cooking were included in my list but whatever – its hard to make a list of 20 things – just try it.

The next step was to map it on a grid according to whether people would be willing to pay for it and how large the market is. Like so:


At this point – Ramit would say you should ignore the bottom left and in the best case scenario – focus on the top right – lots of customers with lots of money.

This is a decent way of approaching it but…

Method 2: Inductive Reasoning

…I think a better formula is this:


Let me explain – your goal with this business should be to MAKE YOURSELF BETTER – learn how to swim, learn a new language – whatever you've always wanted to do and then SHARE YOUR JOURNEY.

When I started, I just blogged on about things that interested me – everything from de-cluttering your home to reducing your distractions to fitness.

Then I shared and looked for what stuck a cord with people.


As you can see my post on distractions and fitness really hit home with people and I enjoy those things as well. This would be a good category on which to build a business.

I've niched it down further to only speak to working professionals, like I used to be, to encourage them to put away the distractions in their life and build an online business for themselves.

Final Takeaway

I believe coming to your idea by just sharing your journey to becoming a better person arms you with stories that really strike a cord with people.

There are a few reasons why this is the best method:

  • You come across as authentic
  • You come across as vulnerable sometimes
  • You are able to celebrate your accomplishments with your audience
  • You are more likely to follow through because your beliefs are public
  • You will have a sense of daily accomplishment from either personal or business growth

It's such a challenge to go 6, 8, 12 months without much traction while building your audience but as you yourself become the person you want to be, that alone will give you a great sense of accomplishment.

So focus on sharing – right away…like today!

Track and respond to people who come to your content until you have that solid idea that solves a real problem for them.

Don't worry about marketing, customer acquisition and sales – follow this blog and I'll get you there easily.

The real challenge is having a product/service worth selling.

If you have an idea and need some help vetting it or are just starting your journey – reach out to me on Twitter and lets get you started.

Click here to message me now

Oh and join my mailing list because this is only step 1. 😉