I made my first sale today on one of my gigs (“Install and configure SuiteCRM”) after several days of working on them. The order was executed smoothly in a matter of hours and I received a generous tip apart from a wonderful review and rating! So yay, I’m very happy to have taken that first little step towards what I hope will be a successful small business.
So, right now, I’d like to take a few steps back and think about all those changes I kept making to my gig content and what actually clicked and made this sale happened. And, I think I’ve found an answer to that!
Apart from being a Software Developer, I’m also an Economics graduate, so I’m well aware of the basic laws of supply and demand in the market. The concept of “niche” which is very well known on the Internet and social media marketing circles is based on these very laws.
The market works with the interaction of supply and demand, and with these two comes competition. In a perfectly competitive market, there are lots of sellers and a lot of saturation. When there are an infinite number of sellers with 5 star ratings and lots of good reviews, who is going to consider a new entrant like me? The failure to realize this fact was my first mistake when I placed this first gig on fiverr a few days ago:
> I can write a script or program for you in php or python or Java
(181 impressions, but zero sales :-()
Since day one, I knew there was something wrong with this gig title, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on that. The problem is that its too generic. Almost anyone can claim to do this and thus the overwhelming competition and market saturation! Then came my second attempt at gig again with zero sales:
> I can install and maintain Wordpress CMS on your server
(36 impressions, but zero sales :-()
This pretty much outlined my capabilities and what I’m able to deliver, but the problem with generality was still there. There are just too many Wordpress devs in the market and somebody new like me would be very much bottom of the ladder for even the consideration for a prospective client.
Then how do I make my first sale? Then, a few days ago I was thinking about this Economic theory of basic supply/demand and it suddenly hit my mind. I believe that the brainwave that occurred to me on that day was solely responsible for the gig order that I received today! You see, apart from perfect competition, Economics also talks about monopolistic competition. This essentially means that we, as sellers (aka developers, designers, writers or whatever) are not a homogeneous good or commodity that a buyer can bid for $5. Each one of us can bring something different and unique to the table and thus distinguish our own sale as a monopoly inside the noise of competition (hence the word, monopolistic competition). This unique thing, is nothing but niche!
Those among you who are professional bloggers or content creators will also be aware of niche keywords. If you write about popular things like Google, Microsoft, Wordpress, etc. then nobody will even read your articles, there is too much competition. But write about a less known niche topic and it will soon make it to the top of SERP. Because its a lesser known topic, you have an advantage that others don’t. In other words, its a slightly greener area which the competition hasn’t noticed yet.
Based on that logic, I thought about creating a niche gig in web development which isn’t as popular as Wordpress. And the answer occurred to me: SugarCRM. SugarCRM is an open source software which specializes in web-based CRM solutions, unlike Wordpress which tries to be the jack of everything: A blogging system with plugins for a ton of things like eCommerce, social media marketing, SEO and even CRM!
Besides, I was also able to micro-niche further. Those in the area of webdev know very well that SugarCRM has recently turned from open source to a proprietary solution. The recent versions of SugarCRM are only “enterprise/professional” ones, so the open source community shifted development to a lesser known product called “SuiteCRM” which was originally forked from SugarCRM. And since on fiverr.com, most clients arrive with a low budget in mind (~$5-10), what this means is SuiteCRM can be an ideal implementation for them and a very niche prospect for me! Thinking along these lines, I created my third gig for SuiteCRM:
> I will install and configure SuiteCRM
(21 impressions and one sale!)
And voila! I made my first sale on SuiteCRM today. So, this niche thing actually works here, its not just a theory. That’s what I’ve learned and would like to share this with all my fellow sellers who are looking forward to their next gig order.