3 Niche Business Ideas We Thought Would Fail… But Actually Crushed It

3 Niche Business Ideas We Thought Would Fail… But Actually Crushed It

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Alex received an email from someone who thought his mouth taping business was a bad idea.
  • Alex clarifies that running a mouth taping business is not always easy.
  • Alex introduces the podcast "My First Million" where they discuss under-the-radar businesses that are successful.
  • Alex and Sam discuss three niche business ideas that they initially thought would fail but ended up being successful.
  • Alex's mouth taping business involves selling tape to people who want to stop mouth breathing during sleep.
  • The business started as a joke but gained popularity through word-of-mouth and social media.
  • Customers reported improved sleep quality and reduced snoring after using the tape.
  • A man started a beard oil business after struggling to find a product that worked for his beard.
  • The business grew through positive word-of-mouth and eventually expanded to include other grooming products.
  • The owner focused on creating high-quality products and providing excellent customer service.
  • A woman started a business creating custom pet portraits after realizing there was a demand for unique pet art.
  • She used social media to showcase her work and attract customers.
  • The business grew through word-of-mouth and repeat customers.

Jenni AI’s rise from $2k MRR to $300K MRR (00:01:00)

  • David pitched his AI startup, Jenni AI, to the investor when AI was trending in 2021.
  • Jenni AI was a writing tool similar to Jasper, which was gaining popularity at the time.
  • The investor initially dismissed the idea as unoriginal and having weak traction with only $2,000 in monthly revenue.
  • David shared his entrepreneurial journey, including a failed t-shirt business at age 16.
  • David and his team discovered the potential of GPT-2 and decided to focus on it.
  • Despite financial constraints and living with his mother, David persisted in pursuing his venture.

The zoom-in pivot (00:04:00)

  • A college student developed a successful writing assistant tool that generates $300,000 in monthly revenue within two years.
  • Despite an initial offer of $3 million, the founder rejected the offer and the company's value has since grown to an estimated $10-15 million.
  • The founder used HubSpot's landing page tool to create a survey for business founders, collecting valuable data and growing their business.
  • The founder uses social media to track website visitors' origins and analyze conversion rates into paying members, allowing them to optimize marketing strategies and maximize revenue.

First 100 customers (00:08:00)

  • David and his team struggled initially but moved to Malaysia to reduce expenses and conserve their $100K investment from Jason Calacanis.
  • To gain traction, they focused on acquiring the first 100 customers through the "influence the influencers" strategy.
  • David joined Facebook groups related to his target audience, provided valuable content, and reached out to admins for feedback and product demonstrations.
  • He waited for genuine interest and excitement before promoting his product to ensure it resonated with core power users.
  • David conducted customer calls to understand pain points and built a product that solved them.
  • He engaged with the community, listened to feedback, and made improvements based on user suggestions.
  • This approach resulted in a positive response, increased trust, and a significant customer increase.
  • The entrepreneur emphasizes the importance of actively listening to customers, taking action based on feedback, and building relationships within the community for success.

Fortune favors the bold (00:13:30)

  • David Park, the creator of the AI newsletter, has a charismatic personality and a unique style that makes him stand out.
  • The newsletter gained significant attention and a boost in revenue after a viral Twitter thread by Zayn, the founder of the AI newsletter "Superpowered," received over 365,000 likes.
  • The newsletter's popularity further increased when Jennifer Lopez mentioned "Jenny AI" in a commercial, leading to increased organic traffic and searches.
  • Creative TikTok marketing strategies effectively engaged the audience and contributed to the newsletter's growth.

How to do a TikTok ad right (00:17:30)

  • Jenny AI, a writing assistant tool, has achieved remarkable success despite initial skepticism, generating $350,000 per month or $3.6 million annually.
  • The ad for Jenny AI effectively engages viewers by presenting a relatable problem, using an approachable spokesperson, maintaining suspense, and optimizing its length for the TikTok algorithm.
  • Despite its potential, Jenny AI may not be a sound investment due to the dynamic AI landscape and the limited market for college essay writing.
  • Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has secured significant funding, underscoring the rapid progress in AI development.

Sam's mea culpa: Hostage Tape update (00:25:00)

  • Alex, the creator of Hostage Tape, reached out to Sam to share his business idea.
  • Sam thought it was a bad idea and told Alex so.
  • Despite Sam's skepticism, Hostage Tape has been very successful.
  • In year one, Hostage Tape made $2 million in revenue.
  • In 2023, Hostage Tape made $14 million in revenue.
  • Alex is projecting $40 million in revenue for 2024.
  • Hostage Tape is now advertising on Joe Rogan and sponsoring the UFC.
  • Sam admits that he was wrong about Hostage Tape and that Alex has proven him wrong.

Shaan's $500M L (00:28:30)

  • The founders of Flow, twin brothers from Belarus, achieved success with their women's period tracking app, Flow, which boasts 192 million in ARR and 60 million active users.
  • After initially teaching themselves to code and writing books to make money, the brothers pivoted to app development after the launch of the iPhone app store in 2008.
  • The founders believe that success is the sum of one's attempts and that their previous failures contributed to the eventual success of Flow.
  • Flow has evolved from a period tracking app into a women's health super app, offering various health-related services beyond tracking.
  • The company behind Flow, based in Lithuania, owns other successful apps like Zing and Prisma.
  • The company has a competitive advantage by hiring talented European coders at a lower cost compared to Silicon Valley.

How to pick the right market (00:35:00)

  • The founders of a successful business chose an underserved market (women's health) and started their business at the right time (when apps were becoming popular).
  • They focused on hiring good people to execute their idea rather than solely focusing on the product or the market.
  • The key to success in business is finding the right market and catching the right "tidal wave" of opportunity.
  • Avoid highly competitive markets and look for underserved markets or emerging trends with growth potential.
  • Leverage global talent by hiring skilled individuals from overseas to enhance your business operations.
  • Shephard (shephard.com) is a platform that connects businesses with international talent, offering significant cost savings and access to highly skilled professionals.
  • Latin America (LATAM) is a great source for hiring MBAs and operations personnel, with individuals having consulting experience and earning around $3K per month.
  • The Philippines is an excellent location for hiring customer service, design, data marketing, and marketing assistant roles.

Jason Kelce v Travis Kelce (00:45:00)

  • Jason Kelce, the Philadelphia Eagles' center, has gained popularity for his genuine personality and down-to-earth wife, Kylie Kelce, who stands out for her authenticity.
  • Jason's recent actions, like jumping into the crowd during a snowy game and dressing up as Allen from The Hangover for the Super Bowl, have further endeared him to fans.
  • In contrast to Travis Kelce's high-profile relationship with Taylor Swift, Jason and Kylie's relationship is seen as more genuine and relatable.
  • Three niche business ideas that initially seemed unsuccessful but became highly successful include selling handmade wooden sunglasses, creating and selling custom pet portraits, and a subscription box service delivering high-quality coffee to customers regularly.

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