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It can feel pretty devastating when you put a lot of heart and soul (not to mention time and money) into starting a new business, only to find out it’s not going to work the way you’d hoped. Here’s a way you can figure out if your idea is likely to succeed without going through all that.

Video Transcript and Relevant Links

So last night I had a close family member come to me with an idea for an online business. And I thought it was a pretty good idea, and so I had sort of informal coaching session with this family member. And I’m not going to tell you what the market was, but it was for a membership site. Let’s just pretend it was, let’s say scuba diving. It wasn’t scuba diving. Let’s just pretend it was for an example.

And so it was an idea to create a membership site that was really very community driven. That might or might not have some content. And she wanted to know what I thought of this idea. And people come to me with all kinds of ideas just all the time. And a lot of them… some of them are good, some of them are bad, some of them are in between, some of them I’m not sure.

So this is a market that I know just this much about. Not very much about. But I went through a thought process. I walked her through a thought process of how to go about attacking this market. How to go about thinking about, and getting started. And that’s when I thought you might be interested in hearing about the thought process.

So the first thing wasn’t to worry about product. It wasn’t to worry about list building or positioning, or anything like that. It was to research. And so we did just a little bit of research. And then I said, your marching orders, go forward and do all this research. And then you can come back to me, come back to me in a day with this research done, and we can come up with a plan from there.

And so the idea was basically, you need to know the landscape before you jump into a market. And I’ve been successful in a bunch of markets, and my students and clients have been successful in thousands of markets, and every market is different. Every market has different dynamics. And so we started with YouTube. And we just typed in… I’m like, give me the most common search term you could ever have for this.

And we typed it in. And we found that (we looked at the top videos), and the top videos had anywhere from 500,000 to 2,000,000 views for a single video, for a single how to do this thing in this market. Let’s just pretend it was scuba diving. How to put on your scuba tank or whatever. Two million views. And I was like, okay, this is a big market. Right off the bat we know it’s a big market. I exist in a market (and I do very, very well in a market) where many of the top channels get 5- or 10,000 views. And so a million views, that’s a big market. So, okay, we know we’ve got a viable market.

So the next thing we do is just look at the top channels, and some of those top channels, and then take a look at their actual website. So just look in their little about in their channel. First, like, wow. This person, they not only have 2 million views in their videos, but they’ve also got 300,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. That’s impressive – it’s a lot of people.

So then I click through their website. We get to their website, and the website wasn’t awesome. It looked nice, but when you got to the website, you couldn’t tell what’s this website about. Who’s it for, and what’s it going to do for… This was not obvious. When you just looked at the top of the website, it wasn’t obvious.

Then there were these… lots of ads, like across the bottom there’s this sort of semi-transparent ad from one of these big ad networks. And then on the sidebar there’s other big ads for the ad networks. And nowhere on the page was there a place to subscribe to an email list. So this tells me something right off the bat. This is one of the top people that gets the huge following on YouTube. And their website, it’s by someone who doesn’t know how to market. You can’t tell what the website’s for. They don’t have a good headline. They don’t have any real benefit in that top page for why you’re at that website. It’s got images, but you can’t even tell why you’re supposed to click on those images.

They’re not collecting email addresses, and they’re running these big, ugly ads that are really just going to torque off anybody coming to this site. They’re going to hate having these ads. You can click a button to make the ad go away, but then if you load another page, the ad pops up. It’s a horrible user experience, and it tells me that their revenue model… I mean, they did have some things for sale, but it was hard to find the things for sale. There are images. It was a horrible sales process. They’re not collecting leads, they’re not collecting email opt ins.

So that means they’re being driven just by ads. By ad revenue. And ad revenue, especially from ad networks these days, it’s almost impossible to make a living doing that. I mean, five years ago, 10 years ago you could do that. Nowadays you can’t. So then I went, so basically this is a market that gets lots of traffic, lots of interest, but one of the top players here in terms of a YouTube channel. It’s like almost a hobby for them.

Then you go and look back, and I don’t know, they’ve done 20 million views on this channel. So rough rule of thumb, I think these days is you can make about $2,000 in YouTube ad revenue per million views. So if this person’s got 20 million views, maybe they’ve made $40,000, but their channel’s five years old. So over five years, they’ve made about $40,000. It’s not horrible, but it’s still, we’re looking at probably more or less a hobby channel. Right?

And so this is just looking at one channel. So what I told my family member here is, you’ve got to do this for the top 20 channels. Look at the top 20 YouTube channels. Then go find the top 20 forums. Then go find the top 20 Facebook groups. And then the top 20 Instagram channels. And maybe Pinterest. Every market is different. So where people hang out is different.

So in this market, those channels that had 300,000 YouTube subscribers, they only had 30,000 Instagram subscribers. So that tells me right there, this is not an Instagram market, this is a YouTube market. Different markets are different. So your market’s going to be different.

And so then, go to the forums. Look at the forums and find out, assuming… not all markets, not all niches have forums, but many do. If there is a forum, go there and see what the sticky topics are. See what the hot topics are. You can sort in most forum softwares to see which threads had the most views. Which threads had the most replies. So that can start to tell you about the really hot topics in that market.

Then you want to go find out if there are people that really know how to market in whatever this niche is, that are selling stuff effectively. So go do some searches on Google, and find the top 20 sites that are listed and do that same analysis.  Go there and see – are they collecting email addresses? If they’re not collecting email addresses, unless it’s a pure eCommerce play, then they don’t really have a business. They don’t know what they’re doing. Anyone who’s serious in this business is making serious effort to collect email addresses and build an email list.

Join the email list, set up a special email address that does nothing but… You set up a new Google email address. Go to Gmail, set up a new email address, and just join every list you can. And watch what they’re sending in terms of emails. Watch who they’re promoting. Figure out where their revenue is.

So really, I’m going through a lot here. And I know I’m spending a lot of time doing this. If this is useful, let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll do another video on the next step behind this. But this is what we’re talking about, is some forensic intelligence. Some covert intelligence. But learning about your market – it’s learning about the size of it. It’s learning about the hot buttons. It’s learning about the revenue channels. It’s learning about the relative marketing skill of the players in your market.

So this is the first step in starting this business. It’s not about right now what product you should get. It’s not about how to build a list. It’s not about how to build your authority and your positioning, it’s about figuring out what the playing field looks like. Who are the players? How are they running their businesses? Are they making money? Are they people that could possibly be partners? Is this a market that’s driven by advertising? Is it a market that’s driven by joint ventures? These are the things you need to figure out before you can go anywhere. And it will inform everything you do in your business. Right down to whether you should start your business or not.

So, I know I covered a lot of ground. You can watch it again. Like I said, if you’re interested in this type of video, if you’re interested in what are the next steps beyond that… scroll down, leave a comment for me, and let’s go get ‘em this week.

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134 Replies to “How to Tell if Your New Business Idea Will Work”

  1. Researching the validity of your “BIG Idea” and competitive research isn’t a particularly sexy task and is often overlooked by many entrepreneurs, especially new marketers but it is an absolutely critical part of the process!

    If you don’t do the research how will you know how to serve your audience.

    Great video with some very important points to note and I hope people do take notice!

  2. YES! I’m VERY much interested in further information/lectures about how to learn if my product/service idea is highly viable . . . or not?
    Cheers — Rod

  3. Beatrix Willius


    Sounds like the beginnings of a new product! Very interesting stuff.

  4. Hi Jeff!
    Great video and very relevant topic. Certainly interested in know more about this.

  5. Steve Etherington


    Hi Jeff and everybody. I just wanted to say you that all you say in this video is the truth.

    And that’s why I’ve purchased PLF training and I’ve been to the PLF live in April 2018 to Phoenix Arizona.

    6 years ago I’ve made the exact mistake as you say in the video. I’ve choose the wrong and baddest business model for my website. That’s mean the most bigger part of my website revenues come from ads and you can’t make a living.

    But lucky I’m, I collect email address and have some email list. I have also identify now the best and the most popular topic and research who drive people on my website. Now I’m on my way to change my business model. My new goal is to launch a product and stop the ads model income.

    Thanks a lot Jeff for your help.


    STEVE from France

  6. Hi Jeff, Great info at just the right time for me. Thanks so much. This comment is for the first of the four.. Now I am listening to interactive designing product. This was an idea I Knew but I would have forgotten and forged ahead alone. Now I will be tuning everything.

  7. Thank you Jeff. I’ve been playing with an idea that I’m very passionate about and your research strategies have inspired me to take the first real step in building my business!

  8. Good ideas Jeff. I’ll be researching a topic soon based on what you suggested.

  9. Jeff- Your best applicable, empirical and useful message you have given from your heart and product launch super mind! Very simple and masterful. Like most great works a Zen teacher allows their student to have constant and consistent success comes from the fire hose of authenticity of who you are and about. Teachers learn, give and serve their students the most with 1 successful stoke practiced 1,000 times, not 1000 different strokes only practiced 1 time.
    Jeff -God Bless you and yours every heart beat and breath. Well done my friend!
    Coop- PLF Alumnus

  10. Hey Jeff! Would love to hear you talk about what to do when you have learned the playing field. Would you suggest different strategies if your market has mostly hobbyists versus some real professional players?

  11. Hi Jeff, I found your information on Will your Idea Work very interesting, especially how and where to do research to find players in our fields hot buttons.
    Thank you.

  12. Hi Jeff,
    thanks for this interestion insights, I’m very interested to hear more of this.

    Best regards,

  13. Hope Butler


    This was a very helpful and timely video. I am in this stage of business research and your research idea were very helpful

  14. Thanks for that pep talk. It’s very easy getting caught up in everything you want to do when starting out marketing your product. There always seems to be this desire to skip over the basics to get where your going, I have found myself doing this and realize it does not work. If you don’t do the ground work, the basic research, you can spend a great deal of time going nowhere.

    This information is very useful, so please, keep it coming!

  15. Incredibly valuable analysis. I know I speak for many who would love to hear you go a couple of layers deeper.

    Thanks Jeff for terrific content.

  16. Hi Jeff,

    Yes!! I’m very interested in this topic. I have an idea, but I’m not sure if it’s a good one. So this was a very helpful video and I’m going to do the research/steps you lay out here. Thank you!!

  17. Awesome advice yet if it’s a huge market and people in that market don’t know how to market and I do, then it seems I should have a great advantage. Of course if those big players aren’t open to learning how to work with me in jv relationships or other partnership options I wouldn’t be able to piggyback off their audience. If the ppc costs are sky high that could hinder my startup too in building my email list with paid traffic. I really am glad I purchased your PLF book. It showed me how to get in tune with my niche.

  18. Hi Jeff, I’ve been listening to your videos for many years and enjoyed them all. I have to say this one is possibly one of the most important yet for where I’m at. I took your seed launch course 3 years ago and have been working since on developing my own product/site. While I didn’t skip the step you outlined this morning, I certainly didn’t approach it as thoroughly as you describe. So YES… more please. I was so disappointed when it ended. I want so badly to know more… So the scenario you described would seem ripe for your family member to be successful in. Is that right? Please continue the story.

  19. Hi, Jeff. Thanks for this new video. Yes! A whole follow-up series with next steps would be great!!

  20. Robert Duval


    Excellent coaching session Jeff. Watched a second time and took some great notes. If people will look back into history the first Internet crash and the businesses that were destroyed were pretty much based on the advertising revenue. I worked for a reasonably sized telecomm in those days and watched a lot of these business startup and fold within a few months. It just a matter of time before this model crashes again. Certainly looking forward to more videos like this.

  21. Hi. Always love listening to you. Thank you for your direction. My market is predominantly a Jewish market. Within that market, I teach 2 things. Firstly how to pray. The prayers from the Jewish prayer book. I also teach people who want to study the Talmud, the decision-making system of the Talmud. So, I want to be a hero to people who want to connect with God, who want to expand their perspectives, either through their intellect (Talmud) or through their heart (Prayer). I’m a PLF member. Thank you again.

  22. Great video Jeff. Thanks for the reminder that we need to be doing the research and what the market wants, not just what we want.

    I’d love to see more posts on this!

  23. Jeff Great and timely video. I have been thinking about changing up a commodity business but I do not know if it will fly. I’ve done a small amount of “looking around google” to see if anyone is also doing it and have only found 2 people trying this out. Your idea of checking out the other sources ie utube , instagram etc. is great. Comparing the views to to understand the size of the market is a great idea. I will be doing that soon and look forward to hearing about the next step in this process of understanding if you have a viable idea!

  24. Hi, Jeff, excellent topic! How do you compare an “big idea” for a digital product with its not digital competitors? Let’s say an online course with a regular course?

  25. This video is incredible. I know exactly what to do this morning. I love research, and your suggestions are spot on. Please do tell us more about this kind of process!!! I just discovered a very dynamic website doing PLF in my very market – inspiring teachers to rethink the way they do business in their classrooms. I panicked. But now I see how this validates my work. I need to find out who else is out there. My emerging abundance mindset allows me to remember that there is plenty of business out there for all of us. Thank you!

  26. Great video, Jeff. Extremely helpful. Best eight-minute coaching session I’ve ever had. Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter so quickly and providing over-the-top value. Much appreciated. Casey Demchak

  27. Awesome. Research isn’t sexy and it’s not necessarily fun but, it’s crucial to success. Thanks for sharing your strategies.

  28. Great content. Some of this is what I’m telling my clients. I definitely want the next video to check that I’m giving sound advice.

  29. Jeff, yes please continue on this thread.
    This video was packed with great stuff, greatest 8 minutes of guidance on the subject ever — you rocked this one.
    Just fantastic thanks Jeff!

  30. Tiffany Cooper


    Hi. Admitted step skipper here. I didn’t do Enough research (out of fear of doing too much & getting bogged down). I wasted months & months in Instagram only to later do my research & realize it’s the absolutely worse place for my business. Lol! D’oh! I abandoned course & found YouTube & Blogs to be my best use of marketing time & $$.
    Listen kids- listen to Jeff. I heard him say this before & I didn’t listen! What a waste of time. Don’t make my mistake! Research!

  31. Thanks for giving away this valuable content and strategy, Jeff. (Some people sell it!) Yes! I would love to hear your views on the next steps.

  32. I’d be interested in hearing practical tips to avoid becoming overwhelmed by all this research.

  33. Great video! You’ve talked about how important it is to research the market, but this video teaches us HOW to do it. Yes….give us more content on the “how to” behind the “what” we need to be doing. Thanks, Jeff!

  34. This was one of the most instructive videos I’ve seen you do and the first one I’ve ever commented on. Really fantastic! I’d love to hear about the next step, especially about how to gain authority in a market. I also would love to know what kind of research results would indicate that you may have a bad idea. THANK YOU!

  35. Hey Jeff

    Thanks for the video. Whats the next step after that 🙂

  36. Jeff,

    You have a knack for bringing people back to basics. Always useful to get re-grounded.

    Would love to know YOUR next-level thoughts — please drill down deeper

  37. Fantastically valuable Jeff – “wish I’d had this” before I spend MONTHS developing an online business that went nowhere.

    Yes, please DO another video on the next step. And then another… 🙂

  38. joe scoglio


    Excellent Jeff. Very timely for me and some others who I’ll be helping with their businesses.

  39. Yes, Jeff, in about 8 minutes you covered a lot of valuable information on how to quickly research a new business niche — would love to hear more!

  40. Jeff, This is one of your best… An amazing recap of how to approach a new business idea. Thanks, Jeff for continuing to push our this great content, so helpful. Thank you!

    Jeff S ~ Durango CO.

  41. Gloria Hamilten


    Yes, please, more of these types of videos. I can’t believe all the research that has to go into choosing a niche and then how to siphon the information, that’s the part that really got me. I would never have known that except for this video. It’s almost daunting the work requited. But, hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes.

    I need to watch this multiple times.

    I’m so glad I’m part of your “family” and can receive this type of information. Many thanki, Jeff.

  42. You are right you blasted through the story Might yo have a check sheet handout for downloading?
    The research step is basic so one can find out what to say , how to say it and what to expect regarding revenue
    More info would be great Jeff

    Frank Clemente
    I sell face to face and the strategies that I have learned from your videos have gotten me increased sales
    Some one after another Of course prequalifying is key as well as using the Ask formula—Survey Monkey

  43. This is wonderful information – just what I need right now!! Thanks – Bring on more!! So glad I have PLF and went to PLF Live! Joan McManus

  44. Pete Moring


    This was a keeper Jeff, (it’s a great idea to keep’em’comin – if you’d be so kind 🙂

  45. Great video, exactly what I need right now. Please more videos about that topic!!!! Thank you Jeff.

  46. Very useful Jeff, still trying to figure out my market! Thanks for sharing.

  47. Pete Leckemby


    Very helpful…would love to hear more. Research is very useful. I recently got a specific email for subscriptions. So helpful to not get sucked into the vortex of my inbox! Haha.

  48. Fantastic! I have been trying to figure out for quite a while if either of my proposed 2 online business ideas are really valid, and how to go about researching them to determine this. In a few short minutes you gave us an overview of what to look for and a plan of action. Yes please give us more info on this. The initial and single most important question for me or anyone wanting to start an online business is do I have ideas worth pursuing or should I move in another direction.

  49. Being that I am just starting out and a new PLF owner, this is wonderful advice and initial step of action. I am sure I will learn so much from each of these platforms — all of which I need to begin to heaps. Thank you and I would love to hear more.

  50. Great info! And yes, what is next thought? How to interpret the research we uncover? How do we look at forming joint ventures and what to propose? Thanks so much!



    What a “Master Class”!! Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  52. Jeff, a jammed packed value added video! Job well done! But one question remains – what did you advise her to do next?
    Thanks, Matt

  53. Once you’ve done all that research and have the information. You know it’s a big market with lots of people in it (buyers and sellers).
    And now that I’ve got a hefty dose of feeling intimidated… How do I go about differentiating myself from the pack?

  54. Renea Walker


    More please – that was awesome!!! Thank you for this post, Jeff!

  55. Excellent place to start! There’s so much it can be overwhelming, but this gives a great way to get the lay of the land in your potential market without spending any money! Cool concept sir, thanks!

  56. I’ve found that research (head) about ‘if’ my idea has an audience is valuable. Though feeling an inner intuitive gut reaction (heart connection) for the product or project is even more important. It will see me through the hurdles to success which certainly will come.

  57. Julie Morton


    Thank you, Jeff. I just listened to all 4 videos in this thread. Following your advice in the 1st video, I went on YouTube to find the big players in my area of interest. Women Baby Boomers and Money. There weren’t any that had more than a few 1,000 views. I tried different words and combinations of words and didn’t hit on any combo that generated highly-viewed videos. I’m a baby boomer woman and I”m conversations about money all the time with lots of other baby boomer women, so I believe the topic is important. I’ll keep trying different searches to see if I can determine what searches people actually do. Thank you for your excellent videos.

  58. David Bronson


    I loved the video, thanks so much Jeff! It’s right where I’m at. And I’d be thrilled to hear next steps! Very best, Dave Bronson

  59. peter mutaftschiev


    Your content on how to analyze a target market and its players is hugely interesting.
    We definitely would like more “such videos” 🙂
    Thanks so much.

  60. Cameron Miller


    The top video of this series I have seen thus far (15+ videos watched).

  61. Jeff, yet again you have outdone yourself. Great info, great inspiration, perfect timing. Would love to hear more on this.

    By the way, very effective lighting and tone! 👍



    This is what I need–simple steps to follow. I can follow step by step, but all those diagrams and flow charts confuse me, so I walk away

  63. Nofar Lasri


    Hey This gave me a greater understanding on how am I supposed to think now when I’m searching my market and what should I pay attention to while I’m doing. For me this kind of mindset shifts makes all the difference in whether I succeed in a task or not. I would really love to hear more on what you do next and how to do it. Thank you!

  64. Hi, Jeff. What about a B2B business? In that case, a research on social media isn’t really useful, even if it can give you an idea of the size of the business. So, how to know if there are potential clients out there or if the market is either saturated or just nonexistent?
    Thanks in advance.

  65. This is one of the best videos I watched from you (and you become quite prolific for a shy, introspect guy 🙂 one video per day series …)
    You are talking about me in your video
    I am the guy with 20 million minutes’ views on YouTube that has everything dissipated, foggy, unclear … (no forum, no clear site with good subscribing, ….) . My site with the products is in a different place and so on.

    I got here because I used frameworks of sites from different hosting companies instead of creating a new one only for me (even if I am a computer science engineer 🙁 ). It was easier for me to pay 30 and now 60 USD per month for 10 years for a mess – how stupid – I delegated the wrong things 🙁
    Every year the frameworks came with new features but never the real thing, frameworks will never be flexible – they have to satisfy the Gauss distribution of the market, not the specific recipe that you need, that is your company, that you need yesterday and the framework will have it in one year.
    So I got into Angular, NodeJS these days, to fix the mess
    (On the “The New Money Masters” series from Tony Robbins, where you are one of the main successful actors, there is a phrase “I employed Cristi from Romania to make a site with 50 USD” – guess what, I am from Romania, maybe I was a colleague of Cristi 🙁 )
    So I will rephrase the formula from your friend Eben “The Owner must look daily into the Marketing Operations” into “The Owner must involve himself into creating a completely new site, from scratch, with fast and flexible ways of adapting it (no prebuild frameworks), with easy and fast way of integrating his creations and implement daily Marketing Operations into this site”
    Thank you!
    Keep writing and creating videos!
    Keep jumping to create energy from inside ourselves (TR style 🙂 !


  66. That was the best 8:57 of my day! Solid information and well thought out. I would love to see a series or webinar put together on just how to research a market properly. You continue to provide value week after week.

  67. Very intersting, honestly that seems a little diffirent from PLF, why not and i agrre with the process, first ask always the WHO before WHAT, so having a serious search report for who to serve in a specific niche, responding to their problems with your personal touch and proved model.
    Thanks a lot Jeff for your genorisity.

  68. Yes! Exactly what I am looking for – some action steps! I would love another video, thanks!

  69. Donald Theiss


    Always great insights into online business. I am inching toward a business, wondering how I market my business,which is consciousness and although I know there are a lot of people interested in this topic, the how to part of this business is still not clear.

  70. Judith Davis


    This is wonderful information. It gives the nuts and bolts about how to do market research. It will be very useful to me. I hope you do more videos on this topic. Many thanks. Judith

  71. Pia Andersson


    Loved the video, more on this topic, please – and thanks, Jeff

  72. This is such a great help, Jeff! I’m looking forward to the next one. Thank you@

  73. Tariq Juneja


    You are providing very useful information – ty
    Please do a follow up on this and I will go build my list.

  74. Jeff, thank you so much for this video. I knew, from your masterclasses, that I needed to do this, but needed a bit more definitive guidance re: how the achieve this task effectively. I greatly appreciate your wealth of knowledge re: marketing and your willingness to share with those of us who aspire to do more on this front. Yes, please continue to share your valuable insights.
    Best Regards,
    Cynthia O.

  75. Spot on, Jeff.

    Watched it when you created it in 2018; got more out of it this time.

    Even when you are in a market, the market is going to change over time.

    This video is a great reminder of utilizing tactics that can continue to inform us of our market; information that may help us stay at the forefront of our market, or perhaps leave that market if it is generating diminishing returns as a result of the changes in that market.

  76. Very helpful and informative video. Thanks, Jeff and I’m interested in receiving more from you so please keep ’em coming!

  77. Thanks so much for these first steps to finding a great market. so good to
    hear someone say this outloud.

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