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How To Shine At Your Job And Build A Side Business At The Same Time

6 June 2008 No Comment

You’re young. Your career is your focus and your priority. Good, it should be. What about a second stream of income, like I always talk about. Is it possible to build up a side business or a second income stream while focusing and excelling at your main job, your career? Well, if you are creative, motivated and have certain skill sets, I may have a suggestion for you to accomplish both in one task.

Ask Yourself A Series Of Questions

Does your company encounter any challenges or obstacles that are frequent in your daily operations? Would work be easier for yourself and your co-workers if there was an automated or simple solution to such a challenge?

If you are confused, stay with me, I will get to a real example shortly.

Continuing this exercise… do you have a unique or innovative solution to such a problem? Lastly, is this problem a problem that your competitors and other businesses like yours encounter? Would other companies possibly pay for such a solution?

It’s Time To Shine

If you found a problem that passes the questions above, you might have a great opportunity. If you come up with a unique or innovative way to solve such a challenge, then it’s time to take action. Talk to your boss and others in the company about spearheading a solution to this problem. Find a way to maximize your productivity to be able to work on this side project while resuming your normal duties.

If your boss gives you the green light, it is time to shift part of your focus to selfish interests. Find a way to build the solution in a generic enough way that it would be implementable at both your company and other companies. If you can succeed, you can implement a solution that makes everybody’s lives easier around you while keep your focus on a product or solution that you might be able to sell to others. It’s a win-win situation.

My Real World Example

In the company I work for, we have a number of part time staff that work on various projects for us. Staffing a large number of resources onto a large number of programs based on availability and skills can be a complex scheduling task.

When our company was smaller, we were able to accomplish scheduling with some simple Excel spreadsheets, track hours using spreadsheets, and have sufficient communication with our part time resources through phone communication. As our company grew, however, it became pretty tough to stay on top of everything.

Being a web-developer, I embarked on a journey to develop a web-based portal to accomplish scheduling and tracking hours for billing. Furthermore, I built the portal to allow the part time staff to login and see for themselves the hours they have worked and the projects they are scheduled for in the future. This created automatic communication and helped reduce phone calls to answer the simple question of “When Am I Working Next?”

While this solution was truly a benefit to our company, the real magic was in the fact that from the beginning, I designed it to accommodate multiple companies. All of our competitors and other companies like ours in other markets have the exact same staffing issues. With the research I did, I could not find any other companies like ours that have an staffing portal that integrated such functionality with internal operations staff and external staffing resources.

Scalable And Profitable

My staffing solution has minimal costs that our company pays for to have the added functionality that the portal brings to our operations. By adding additional companies into the system to let them use the same functionality, the only added cost is to slowly ramp up the amount of traffic the web-based system can handle. In other words, the profit generated by selling the service to other companies vastly outweighs the incremental added costs.

My Own Solution

The staffing solution that I developed helped our company out significantly. It simplified certain internal work flows and improved communication with external resources. Furthermore, I have a potential product to sell to other companies that has awesome profit potential.

Currently, I have not taken the solution to other companies. As with most software solutions, we have gone through numerous iterations of improving the functionality and fixing small bugs here and there. My current focus is on improving the product for our company and other potential customers while developing a marketing strategy in my spare time.

What Does This Mean For You?

It is my hope that my example helps you find an area of business in your industry that needs improvement. Be proactive and creative by attempting to find a unique solution that would be marketable to your company and others like it. You don’t have to be a software developer to develop a solution. However, software tends to be an easy way to implement a better, efficient solution to common obstacles.

If you work for a smaller industry, you have an advantage. My company is in a small niche of the overall hospitality industry. Simply put, no software companies target our industry for solutions unique to our challenges. My company and other companies in our industry are too small to purchase large-scale, expensive software solutions.

If you want to look into developing a software solution, research the concept known as SaaS (software as a service). SaaS allows you to build a web-based system and scale up the system to multiple customers. Because it is a single system handling many customers, it is a product or service that you can offer at a low price to potential customers. As an example, Salesforce.com is one of the largest SaaS companies.

Good luck. I hope you find a niche that can make you shine in your company and potentially make you boat loads of money. If you have any questions or want to run some ideas by me, I’d love to discuss it with you. Email me at kevin (at) 20smoney.com.

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