Make Money

How to Find Your Passion and Take It to Market

By Aug 24, 2011May 13th, 201230 Comments

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The discussion last week about monetizing was amazing. It’s awesome to see how open bloggers are to monetizing. Not too long ago monetizing was heresy. It’s great to see that tide has turned because, let’s face it, we all have bills to pay.

If you’re standing on the “not making any money yet” side of the ravine, making the leap to the “paying your bills with online income” can seem impossible. A recurring comment goes something like this:

I’d really like to make some money, but my blog is (insert favorite adjective for small and inconsequential) and there’s just not the same opportunities as (insert name of hugely popular, money-making site).

True, monetizing opportunities aren’t going to just fall from the sky. You have to search around for the right method. Not many blogs are going to bring in enough traffic to make the mortgage from GoogleAds. That’s why I’m hugely biased toward blog-based businesses. They need much smaller audiences and are usually much more lucrative.

Ten or 15 years ago it wouldn’t have been possible to build a sustainable, solopreneur business in a blogging niche. But the rules have changed thanks to the handy-dandy Internet serving up a worldwide audience.

One little person can have as big a reach as a multinational corporation, which means you you can start a business based on practically anything.

What Is Your Passion Worth?

Bloggers are know for being passionate, so you probably already have that nailed down. If you did last week’s exercise on how to find a niche, you already have a list of monetizing options. If you haven’t, it’s time to start thinking about how you can package your expertise and sell it. Could you:

  • Write an ebook?
  • Offer consulting?
  • Teach an online class?
  • Perform a professional service?
  • Sell handmade items?

Any passion, whether a professional skill or hobby, cultivates a level of mastery. There will always be people better than you, but there are also people not as accomplished who are looking for a guide. Why not let it be you?

Ensure Your Passion Is Viable

I truly believe there is a market for most passions. The key word is most — there are some exceptions.

Sonia Simone of Copyblogger uses the example of a naked mole rat. They are fascinating little creatures and you might be incredibly passionate about them. But business angles for the naked mole rat are pretty scarce.

Before you transform your blog into a blog-based business, it’s smart to check to see if there’s a market for your passion.

The quickest way to find out if other people are interested in the same thing you are is to check Google AdWords. The number of monthly searches for your keywords will give you a good indication of interest level and the amount of competition.

To use it, hop on over to the keyword tool and type in keyword phrases that describes your area of interest.

If you are a photographer, you could type in terms such as: photographer, photography, the name of your city, Photoshop tutorials, your specialty (outdoor, wedding, baby, family, events, etc).

google keywords

The top line of results will show how many people search in Google using that exact key word or phrase every month. The green bar will show either low, medium or high competition.

Make a tally of the number of searches for each key phrase.

While there is no hard and fast rule on the numbers, my rule of thumb is to look for something that gets at least 100,000 searches a month with medium competition. If you are in a highly competitive market, look for something with at least 500,000 searches per month.

Carpe Diem

Go! Be empowered. Think hard and then make a page on your blog offering your new service. When I did this, I had my first client request within 48 hours. And my readership is awesome, (but also) not that big.

More On How to Find Your Passion & Monetize:

If you have monetizing ideas, share them in the comments and get feedback from your SITStahs. If you’ve made the leap – tell us your store and give encouragement to those standing on the sidelines waiting to take the leap.


  • Hey there this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if
    blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with
    HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Hi Natalie, I’ve been a bit of an errant SITS girl recently but really enjoyed this post and am loving the series so far. I am determined to move towards making at least a part-time income through all the work that I do on my blog, and considering various options ranging from sponsorship to ebook/city guides. I saw you mention you took a look at someone’s blog, and was wondering if you might have time to scan mine and give a little feedback?

    I’d love to see if we think on the same page or whether you have any lightning flashes for me!

  • Denise says:

    Love these suggestions. The point you made about there always being someone better than us is a good one. That can hold us back from making money or being successful. I think people don’t give themselves enough credit for what they have to offer or contribute, but we have to remember that our experiences make us unique… and they are worth something.

  • Marie Cole says:

    Great resource, thank you for sharing.

  • Hope Easter says:

    I do an inspirational blog, because I want people to experience the type of “hope”(which is oddly enough my name) I do in everything! Even in this tough economy you can still succeed if you’ll only think outside the box.
    I want to do an e-book, and maybe some of my own line of products. I love putting inspirational pieces of my walls. 🙂

    No luck with monetizing my blog yet, but it’s coming! I don’t take no for an answer sometimes, especially when it comes to my dreams. 🙂

  • I have a personal blog about my own journey to personal growth and productivity. I’m not sure if I should monetize it as of yet- well, I have some google ads on the bottom of the single posts. I’m at a place of self discovery right now. I have a few things I’m passionate about, but my most core passion is to help women be the best they can be. I’m not sure where this will lead, so I’m just taking it one day at a time.

    Be Your Best YOU!

    – Seleema

    • Natalie says:

      I can see you going in a life coach direction. Have you cycled out Britt Michalian? She’s at WorkSmartLifestlye and does amazing coaching there.

  • Interesting article! I’m not ready to monetize my blog, but it is something I’ve considered. I will most likely offering consulting services through my blog eventually. I’m one of those well-researched individuals that enjoys sitting with an idea for some time before taking action, which is why I love reading posts like this. Thanks!

  • And there are some of us (*ahem*me*) who have promoted their site, written quality content, honed in a few topics, and have a well designed blog and still get nowhere. It’s all too easy to provide posts like these but where are the answers for those of us who keep struggling no matter how much we do? People say, “promote, promote, promote” or “Just sign up with these 10 affiliate links and in no time you’ll be making $500 a month!” Right.

    Can ya tell I’m a bit bitter and disappointed by a lot of this?

    • Natalie says:

      I hear what you are saying Kim! I don’t believe in the make quick money blogging systems. The best plan is the long term one even though it is frustrating trying to gain traction. You are in the right place because the whole series is going to dive deeper into the actual business building strategies. I took a peak at your blog and have some ideas for you – I’ll email and we can chat.

  • Charlotte says:

    Great advice as always. I also think that networking is by far the most useful tool in getting your blog out there. I was able to link up with a NYC-based social media company and they have since offered me all kinds of services that target single women in my area. I have written paid reviews for new dating websites, meals plans catering to single men/women on the go, and jewelry companies.

    I really should try the Google keyword search though, to see what else is “trending” these days. Thanks so much!

  • Thanks for going over the keywords again. It has been a while since I have done this. Thanks for reminding me!

  • Luci says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t stick it in my last comment. If you’d like to take a look at my product, here’s the link: http://mindbodyblast.com

  • Luci says:

    This is PERFECT timing. Thanks!

    I hold a 6 week, online course called Mind Body Blast designed to help people build up their skills on eating right and exercising in 6 short weeks. Each week, I give just a couple of goals to focus on in nutrition and exercise, so it’s really simple. And, by the end of 6 weeks, people end up making some giant strides in their health and fitness, creating some great healthy habits, and some even lose weight (the record holder is 16 lbs in 6 weeks).

    Just today, I was toying with writing a blog post on it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I’m going to go and start working on it.

  • I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately – Thanks for the encouragement!

  • awesome advice. i love it 🙂 thanks for sharing!!!

  • Great resources, thanks for all these great posts!!!
    Still working on affilitizing, then building up my boutique, then an ebook perhaps. So many options .)

  • great ideas, i’m hoping to monetize more from my (love how you put it) awesome and not that big readership.

  • I love your optimism and then the realistic look at the mole rat.. turning your passion into profit also take dedication and keeping a positive attitude. Every day is different. I’ve been trying to at the very least take some action every day.

  • I love this! I’m still deciding if I’d like to build my readership 1st then venture into other services or carpe diem as you mentioned. It’s tough because I don’t want to put the cart before the horse but you never know until you try. Thanks for helping me to think outside of the box!

    • Natalie says:

      I think you should monetize from almost the very beginning. If you are all free all the time for too long, you risk cultivating a culture of freebies…that can really bite you when you decide to monetize.

      • I’m monetizing (barely) via adsense now but debating on if I should start from the the beginning offering other services (ebook, t-shirts, consulting,etc) or focus on building readership or both. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Kimberly says:

    This is incredibly uber helpful! I’ve been struggling with your typical statement for as long as I’ve been blogging. My favorite bloggers are some extremely successful bloggers and still maintain a fabulous blog without coming across as an ad. Thanks!

    • Natalie says:

      Yes! They give away a lot of great content so you feel like you are getting good value. Then when there is something that requires an exchange of money it’s not crazy pushy.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Writing an ebook really stands out to me. Writing a book is actually on my “bucket list”. After reading this it is something that I will start to investigate sooner than later. Thanks! 🙂