Sell Study Material (the exam prep niche)
Write, publish, and sell study material to help people pass their exams and earn certifications. This is my absolute favorite niche business idea. I used this idea to create a small, but incredibly profitable business. I call it, the “exam prep niche”. In the exam prep niche, you are creating a business to sell study material, guidance, and advice to those pursuing a particular set of exams, designation, certification, or licensing.
If you’ve been following along with the niche site ideas case study, then you already know all about the exam prep niche, my website AssociaePI, and how I’ve generated over $280,000 in passive income in the past few years with this one simple niche site idea.
There are THOUSANDS of niche exams, designations, certifications, and licenses with hundreds to thousands of people taking the exams each month. Off of the top of my head, I think of the CPA, CFA, CNA, Real estate license, underwriter licensing, Fundamentals of Engineering (FE), and CLU. And those are just the big-name designations and licensing that I could think of without doing any research!
Use your day job, use your college exams, use the designations you earned five years ago, use any exam you have taken to create exam prep materials that you can sell online. It’s such a simple, small, profitable business idea that not enough people take advantage of.
It is the perfect opportunity to leverage the niche nature of these designations to create your niche business that generates tens of thousands of dollars in passive income per month. It’s possible. I’m doing it now.
Exam Prep Niche Site Idea – Pros
There are six reasons why this is my favorite niche side idea, and why I strongly believe you should take advantage of this opportunity:
With the exam prep niche site idea, the market is validated for you. If people are searching for this designation and studying for these exams, then there is a clear need for study material.
Easy to Niche Profitably
These sites are easy to niche. There is typically not much competition (depending on the designation that you choose) and even if there is competition it’s easy to differentiate yourself and find a niche within a niche. Compared to something like the hobby niche, the exam prep niche is much easier to differentiate and monetize.
Easy to Differentiate
Creating a niche site is all about providing a unique product with a unique value proposition that differentiates you from the competition. In the exam prep niche, this is easy. There are a number of ways you can differentiate yourself. Just think about how you can differentiate yourself by offering a different type of study material. You can offer textbooks, online courses, study guides, flashcards, 1×1 coaching, practice exams, etcetera… You can pick one product and become known as the go-to resource for CPA flashcards.
Easy Email Opt-in
With the exam prem niche site idea, it’s easy to create an email opt-in to collect those valuable email addresses of potential customers. You can do this with a free course, free practice exam, free study guide, or free exam tips. Personally, with the AssociatePI niche site, I offer a free practice exam as my email opt-in lead magnet. I generate around 300 new email leads every month just by giving away a free practice exam. I
Exam prep material is expensive. Just look at the competition. Typically, you can sell study material for around $500 per course or around $200 for practice questions. Some of the bigger courses, like Bar exam prep and CPA study materials can go for over $1,000. Personally, I sell AssociatePI courses for $425 for the full course. At $425 per course, with a required eight exams to earn the CPCU® designation, that’s $3,400 from one person if they take all eight exams with me. Not bad for one lead!
This is one of the major benefits of the day job niche.
Free Study Material
If you want to sell study materials, you need to study and take the exam before you can begin creating study material. But, there is one added bonus to the exam prep niche site idea. Your employer will pay for your study material. Exam prep material is expensive (as we covered above), but if you are employed in the industry your employer will probably pay for you to pursue a designation or training. Meaning your employer is literally paying for you to start a business!
Exap Prep Niche Site Idea – Cons
There is one major con to the exam prep niche. You have to actually study, pass the exam, and THEN create the study material. Starting a business is never easy.
So, like any business, with the exam prep niche you need to put in the work, study, and create a better (or different) study material. For me, it took me one month to study and about one month to create the study material. During these two months, I was talking to prospective customers, building a following, and driving pre-sales. You can do the same.
Exam Prep Niche Site Ideas
Below are a couple of niche site ideas for the exam prep niche. Remember, these are niche site ideas that I have actually researched. I strongly considered creating a website in the below niches, but unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to start a new niche website every day so I’m sharing my niche site ideas with you.
If you’ve read my book Step One, you know I set a strict criterion for the types of niche businesses that I’m willing to pursue (based on my experience starting 8+ businesses). I want to see a MINIMUM of 10,000 searches for my niche, along with dozens of opportunities for subtopics, content topics, and products. The niche ideas laid out here will follow the same criterion that I set in the Step One process.
For reference, I am using Long Tail Pro to conduct a lot of this research. This is my favorite niche and keyword research tool. It is extremely powerful in gauging a niche, reviewing competition, and seeing how you can drive traffic to your niche website.
Exam prep niche site ideas:
- Actuarial Exams
- Information Technology
- CIA Certification
- Six Sigma
I considered earning my actuarial credentials, a lot of my colleagues in the insurance industry earned their credentials and they HATED the study materials. There is a clear need for better actuarial study materials.
There are a couple of actuarial designations and something like fourteen actuarial exams. There is the SOA, ASA, and CAS actuarial designations. For reference, 1,600 people per month are searching for the term “SOA Exams”. Each exam has a couple of hundred people per month searching for the exam.
Using Long Tail Pro, I see lots of opportunities here to rank for keywords like “ASA Designation” and “CSA exams”. There is very little competition here, someone could easily go in and create content to outrank the competition to begin driving organic search volume to a website.
There is a clear need for better study material here. Go out there, pass the actuarial exams, and sell study material to help others pass their exams.
This is one I strongly considered pursuing and creating a niche site for. In fact, I’m still considering it if I have time within the next year.
6,600 people per month are searching for “CAPM Certification”. Hundreds more are searching for “CAPM Exam” and “CAPM Training”. People are searching for this exam and there is little competition in the space.
Reading the study material reviews on Amazon, people are always complaining about the PMBOK Guide (the main study material for this exam). On Amazon, it is rated 3.3 stars. 27% of the reviews are one-star reviews. Check out the reviews here. People HATE this study material.
Someone can easily come in here, begin offering better study material, and carve out a nice niche website. Go ahead and sell study material for the CAPM Certification.
This one is very similar to the CAPM Certification, except it is more popular. Which means more competition.
Both the CAPM and PMP are issued by the Project Management Institute. The PMP uses the same study material as the CAPM. It uses the PMBOK guide. As I mentioned above, people HATE the PMBOK Guide. Someone needs to create better study material. Maybe flash guards, a study guide, an online course, a video course, or even 1×1 coaching. There are so many opportunities here for someone to create a website in the CAPM Certification and PMP niche.
60,500 people per month are searching for the keyword “PMP Certification”. 5,400 people per month are searching for the keyword “PMP exam”. That’s a ton of search volume and interest in the PMP! There are a lot of opportunities to create a niche website and sell study material for the PMP Certification.
Information Technology Certifications
There is a lot of opportunity in the information technology space. There are a lot of designations and certifications popping up. It’s an incredibly fast-growing and competitive industry. Here are a couple of the most popular information technology certifications:
- ITIL certification – 18,100 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CCNA certification – 12,100 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CISSP certification – 6,600 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CSM certification – 6,600 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CISA certification – 4,400 people per month are searching for this certification.
- MCSE certification – 2,900 people per month are searching for this certification.
In full disclosure, I haven’t done too much research into these certifications. But in doing my research for new exam prep niches that I could target I kept coming across the information technology niche. I couldn’t escape it!
So I want to make you aware of these certifications and the opportunities in this niche. If you work in IT, there is a TON of opportunity for you here. Go out there and sell study material in the IT certification niche.
The CIA Certification is the Certified Internal Auditor certification. NO ONE is taking advantage of this niche!
1,900 people per month are searching for the term “CIA Certification”. Another 1,000 are searching for the term “CIA Exams”.
And no one is targeting these keywords. Most of the blogs ranking on the first page don’t even put this keyword in the title of their blogs. I could go in right now, write a blog on The Entrepreneur Ride Along website, and rank for the keyword “CIA Certification” within a week. That’s how little competition there is.
And guess what, the CIA review course costs between $400 to $900. You could be generating $900 per sale from one online course. 10 sales per month for 12 months is $108,000 in annual revenue.
Please, someone, take advantage of this niche. It is just sitting there waiting for someone to come in, create a different product, and make thousands in passive income selling study material for the CIA Certification.
Six Sigma Certification
I give a full breakdown of this idea in Episode 14 of The Entrepreneur Ride Along Podcast. It is definitely a niche site idea I have considered pursuing. I found that over 18,000 people per month are searching for “Six Sigma Certification” and “Certified Six Sigma”. That is PLENTY of people searching for this type of certification, that is plenty of volume to create a profitable business selling study material and teaching people how to earn their Six Sigma certification.
People are also searching for:
- Six Sigma Green belt exam
- Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt
- Six Sigma online
- Six Sigma training
- Six Sigma Black Belt certification cost
Lots of relevant search terms here. It’s clear to see what people are searching for relating to Six Sigma. People want information about each “belt” of the Six Sigma! You can provide that. There are a lot of ways that you can differentiate yourself in this niche, even if there is other competition out there.
Other Exam Prep Niche Site Ideas
The above-mentioned certifications and designations are just a few that I’ve researched. There are a TON more out there. Here are a couple more ideas that I have done preliminary research on that I recommend you check out:
- Bar Exam (legal) – 33,100 people per month are searching for this certification.
- PE Exam (engineering) – 5,400 people per month are searching for this certification.
- FE Exam (engineering) – 14,800 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CFA (finance) – 18,100 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CPA (accounting) – 201,000 people per month are searching for this certification.
- PHR certification (human resources) – 9,900 people per month are searching for this certification.
- NRP certification (health) – 9,900 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CISA certification (IT) – 8,100 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CCM certification (contract management) – 5,400 people per month are searching for this certification.
- CDL license (commercial driving) – 60,500 people per month are searching for this certification.
There are thousands of designations out there. If you are still wondering how you can find your niche product idea, then I recommend you download my list of Five Niche Business Ideas – in this video series I walk through the process of finding opportunities in the exam prep niche.
How to Generate Revenue
There are a number of ways you can generate revenue in the exam prep niche. Personally, I use online courses. But here are a couple of revenue-generating ideas in the exam prep niche, these are ways you can differentiate yourself from the competition:
- Print books
- Online courses
- Study guides
- Live training
- Video courses
- 1×1 coaching
- B2B training
- Affiliate sales
- Membership site
- Sell ads
In this section, I won’t be going too in-depth into revenue-generating ideas. I’ll give you some ideas on how to make money from each niche, but if you want a full breakdown of how to generate revenue from this niche check out our blog on how to make money online without paying anything (for beginners). This is a full breakdown of all the ways I make money online, and all the possible ways you can generate revenue from your niche site idea.
I LOVE the exam prep niche idea, it is my favorite niche business idea. I’ve created multiple businesses in this niche, and I highly recommend you do the same. There is a ton of opportunity here. Whether it’s the actuarial Exams, CAPM, PMP, Information Technology, or CIA Certification, you can build a business in this niche.
Just ask, what can you study for? Check with your employer, ask your boss, or ask your colleagues. Choose an exam in your industry. Study for the exam, pass the exam, and create your own study material to sell through your online business.
This is a viable online business for you to pursue.
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