The Day Job Niche
The day job niche is a big part of my book Step One. The day job is one of my absolute favorite places to find business ideas. You are an expert at whatever you do in your day job. You are literally a professional; you are paid to do what you do every day, forty hours a week, fifty-two weeks a year. That is the definition of expertise. You spend over 2,000 hours per year focused on one particular task in one specific industry. You have an immense amount of knowledge on this subject, knowledge that other people will pay to access. If you look, you will find a topic you have mastered in your day job that you can turn into your first business.
Day Job Business Ideas
In Step One, I pose the following questions to help readers find a business in the day job niche. In the book, I call it the “brain dump”.
The process is simple. Just answer the following questions. Try to provide five answers to each question.
- What do you do in your day job?
- What careers have you pursued?
- What jobs and positions have you held?
- What qualifications or certifications do you have?
- What software programs do you use in your day job?
- What programs are you an expert at (Tableau, Excel, Citrix, etc.)?
My Business Ideas
When I answer these questions, I see a lot of business opportunities on my own list. Every career I have ever pursued could be its own business. I could start a corporate training business, selling workshops to corporations teaching employees how to write effective stock reports, how to analyze a 10-K, or how to be an effective product analyst. I know there is a need for these skills because my past employers spent thousands of dollars to send me to workshops on precisely those topics. I could start my own business selling these corporate trainings.
Any of my certifications or qualifications could be a business. I did this with the CPCU certification, creating my own study material to help people pass the difficult CPCU exams. I could do the same thing with my experience in Agile by creating a business selling training guides, courses, and one-on-one Agile coaching. Selling study material is a viable niche business idea.
Any of the programs that I have mastered, such as SQL Server or Tableau, could be a business. I could create training guides, courses, or provide corporate training. DJ Eshelman did just that; DJ is a Citrix Consultant. He travels around the United States from business to business, teaching and training people about Citrix. DJ took his knowledge and expertise of Citrix, built his own business, and became one of the go-to resources for Citrix training and coaching. He is now one of the most respected and sought-after consultants and teachers in the Citrix industry. He has turned the expertise from his day job into a profitable business that has resulted in numerous paid speaking engagements, a prosperous coaching practice, paid mastermind groups, and a number of highly regarded books on information technology, including his book Be a Citrix Hero. You can write your own book and self-publish it on Amazon. Amazon KDP is part of the print on demand niche, you can self publish your book and sell it directly through Amazon without holding inventory.
Chuck Marting is another great example. Chuck spent twenty years in law enforcement, eighteen of which he spent as a drug recognition expert. With the help of his wife Stacy, Chuck took his expertise in that highly specialized field and created Coloradomobiledrugtesting.com, a business that specializes in employee drug testing and workplace safety audits. The idea for Chuck and Stacy’s business came from Chuck’s day job. It actually came when a man Chuck was arresting for a DUI complained that he would miss his pre-employment drug test. Claiming that drug testing companies were not flexible, he would not be able to reschedule his test. Chuck saw an opportunity. After some research and validation, he found that no one in northern Colorado offered walk-in drug testing, and no one in the entire state offered drug testing on the employment site. This meant that an employer that needed an emergency drug test had to schedule it weeks in advance and pay the employee to drive hours to a faraway testing center. Chuck saw an opportunity, recognized the pain point, and created the solution. What started as Chuck and Stacy going business to business to perform on-site employee drug testing has grown into a nearly $500,000-a-year business with multiple physical locations, walk-in testing sites, and full-time employees. Chuck took his expertise from his day job as a drug recognition expert in law enforcement and turned it into an immensely profitable business. Thanks to Chuck’s day job, his years of expertise, and one irresponsible driver’s offhand comments, Chuck has built a half-a-million-dollar business in less than eight years.
There are countless examples of entrepreneurs turning their day jobs into their first businesses, many of which later quit that day job because of their new business (myself included): I did it with the CPCU exams I was studying for; Pat Flynn did it with the architecture exams he was studying for, Tom Heffner did it with his innovation training workshops, Michael Tanner did it with his leadership workshops, and Steven Foust did it with his expertise regarding climbing the ranks in the Army. There is boundless opportunity sitting right in front of you, right where you are paid to spend forty hours per week. You can turn your day job into your first business. There is something there—a certification, program, or subset of your job—at which you are an expert. You study, train, and work at it every day. There is something at your day job that you can turn into your first business.
Conclusion: The Day Job Niche
Use your job to start your online business. This is my favorite niche site idea. Look at your job for business idea inspiration. There is an opportunity here, you just need to find it. Whether it’s corporate training, software education, or exam prep courses, there is something there, within your day job, that you could turn into your first business.
Don’t overlook the day job niche. Use your job to find your next business idea.
Ready to Start Your Business?
If you find yourself saying “I want to start a business, but I don’t know what to do,” this is the book for you.
In Step One you will come up with over one hundred and fifty business ideas, you will conduct market research to narrow your list of ideas down to one viable idea, and you will validate the idea so you can hit the ground running and launch your business.
Ready to start your business? Pick up your copy of Step One today, and get started building your business.