Most people are passionate about something. Call it a hobby, or an addiction, or whatever. But it is something they spend a lot of time, energy and money on. Think about your passion for a minute. Now wouldn’t it be nice for you to actually make a little money from your passion, to offset what you spend on it? Maybe you could even develop it into a full-time career. Although it will take a lot of work, there has never been a better time to make money from your passion, thanks to the abundance of free, easy-to-use tools on the Internet. Here are three steps to get you started.
First, become a blogger. Think about it-where do you currently get information about your passion? Probably from the Internet, right? How many blogs do you read where you realize you know more about the subject than the “expert” writing about it? Starting a blog is as easy as creating an account on Blogger.com or WordPress.com. You’ll want to make sure you have the ability of putting ads on your blog, so I suggest buying a domain (e.g. rockhoundsecrets.com) and a hosting account from GoDaddy (less than $ 8 a month), and then installing WordPress from within GoDaddy (it is easy, and free).
Second, once you’ve got some posts on your blog, put up some ads. This is easier than it sounds. Think about the companies that sell products you use, would recommend, or might be blogging about. Go to their websites and search for “affiliate.” A lot of times you’ll see a link at the bottom of the page called Affiliate Program. That refers to you joining their affiliate marketing program (i.e. you become their affiliate), which is just a funny way of saying you’ll run their ads on your blog. If they run an “in-house” program, you’ll need to submit your blog information with them so they can accept you into the program. If they run their program through an affiliate network, such as Commission Junction or Share a Sale, they’ll require you to submit your blog information to those networks. Either way, there will be no cost to you. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be given some html code that you have to copy to your blog. That places the ad on your blog, and includes a script that tracks people clicking through your ad. Whether in-house or via a network, the program will track click-throughs and sales, so you get credit for (and paid a commission on) those sales.
Third, use CRM software to manage your efforts. CRM stands for customer relationship management, and is useful for recording contact information of people you are (or would like to be) doing business with, logging communications you have with them, and scheduling your tasks and follow-ups. There are a lot of CRM companies out there, but a few have a free tier, including freecrm.com, sugarcrm.com and esilverbullet.com, which is designed specifically for online publishers.
My dad used to sell pet food for a living. He once told me he knew more about dog food than anyone in the state. If he had had a blog, imagine how useful it would have been for all the dog lovers out there. Now imagine how excited the dog-food companies would have been to place their ads on his blog. If you know more about something than most people do, you could create the same situation for yourself by writing about it and placing targeted ads on your site.