15 Unique Entrepreneurs Share How They Turned Their Passions Into Profits

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by David Garland in David's Blog

Smarter, Faster, CheaperDo you ever take a look at the folks that seem to be “everywhere”, the people who have successfully built a business around their personality and knowledge, and wonder how you can do it too?

You know who I’m talking about. Not fluffy “experts” who talkjo down to people, but a new breed of trusted resources that are taking the business world by storm by building community, influence, and business models based on educating, entertaining, and/or inspiring. Approachable trusted resources that aren’t hidden behind expensive PR companies, but interact at a one-on-one level (thank you social media!).

People living their passion and making money from it.

To be “known” for something back in the day (pre social web or Internet in general) you had to be discovered. A Hollywood agent hit on you at a bar and signed you. Perhaps you just “got lucky” or bought your way to success.

Now you can create your own platform for pennies on the dollar and genuinely make money talking about/writing about something you are passionate about, directly or indirectly. Maybe your weapon of choice is a blog. Or perhaps an online show. Or a digital magazine. Perhaps you monetize it through advertising, sponsorships, or affiliates. Or you create your own product to sell (virtual or physical). Or you sell yourself (no, not as a prostitute…well not THAT kind of prostitute) as a consultant, speaker, or coach.

Does it take a lot of hard work? You bet your butt it does (along with drive and creativity). But, it sure takes a lot less money, which was the biggest barrier in the past. And that is a good thing. Because this breed of entrepreneurship values three things (besides a platform to get your message across):

  1. Passion
  2. Personality
  3. Knowledge

Sounds like three things you already possess. Am I right?

Time to unveil the curtain and tap into the interview archive of people who are doing this. Why? Because there is nothing better than lessons and takeaways from people actually walking the walk.

So sit back, grab a pen, and enjoy this inside glimpse (and also feel free to reach out to them, since they are all very active online) as to how these leaders built, marketed, and promoted their businesses by being as opposed to dumber, slower, expensive.

And keep in mind some questions:

  • What are the similarities?
  • What are the differences?
  • How can this apply to you?

I hope you will be the next success story – whether you build your business around your love of ducks, or the St. Louis Cardinals.

Chris Brogan

Chris BroganNiche: Social Media/Entrepreneurship/Marketing
Weapons of Choice: Blog, Speaking, Book(s)
Monetization/Business Model: (services), affiliates Chris promotes on his blog, (private community for marketers…affiliate link), speaking engagements, private consulting, book deal and new businesses: and (educational products), several investments in companies
Connect With Chris

Ali Brown

Ali BrownNiche: Women Entrepreneurship
Weapons of Choice: Events, Blogging, Magazine, Articles, E-zine
Monetization/Business Model: Events, speaking, digital products, consulting, mentoring group, (clothing)
Connect With Ali

Kevin Cottrell

Kevin CottrellNiche: Real Estate in St. Louis
Weapons of Choice: Information-packed website and resource
Monetization/Business Model: Via selling real estate
Connect With Kevin

Sarah Evans

Sarah EvansNiche: Public Relations & Social Media
Weapons of Choice: Guest articles/columns
Monetization/Business Model: Speaking and Sevans Strategy consulting firm
Connect With Sarah

Steve Garfield

Steve GarfieldNiche: Online Video
Weapons of Choice: Video blogging, events, book
Monetization/Business Model: Book deal, consulting, teaching & speaking
Connect With Steve

Scott Ginsberg

Scott GinsbergNiche: Approachability & Sticking Out
Weapons of Choice: Blog, online video tips, articles, books
Monetization/Business Model: Speaking, books, “Rent Scott’s Brain” coaching/consulting
Interview: The Nametag Guy: Scott Ginsberg
Connect With Scott

Joel Libava

Joel LibavaNiche: Franchises
Weapons of Choice: Blogging & articles
Monetization/Business Model: E-courses, consulting, digital products
Connect With Joel

Alexis Martin Neely

Alexis Martin NeelyNiche: Law
Weapons of Choice: Articles, blogging
Monetization/Business Model: Speaking, consulting, products, books
Connect With Alexis

Dan Schawbel

Dan SchawbelNiche: Personal Branding
Weapons of Choice: Blogging, magazine, awards, book(s)
Monetization/Business Model: Advertising, speaking, consulting (Millennial Branding), book deal
Connect With Dan

Peter Shankman

Niche: Public Relations & Social Media
Weapons of Choice: Speaking, blogging, books
Monetization Model: Speaking, , consulting
Connect With Peter

Josh Shipp

Josh ShippNiche: The youth market
Weapons of Choice: Blogging, articles, online TV
Monetization/Business Model: Speaking, events, products
Connect With Josh


“The Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger

Patti StangerNiche: Dating/Relationships
Weapons of Choice: Blog, TV show, radio show, book
Monetization/Business Model: Paid by Bravo TV, radio show on XM, private consulting, Millionaire’s Club Matchmaking service, licensing, book deal
Interview: Million Dollar Brand
Connect With Patti

Timothy Sykes

Timothy SykesNiche: Finance & Investing
Weapons of Choice: Blogging, online TV show, newsletters
Monetization/Business Model: Products, membership site, private newsletters, consulting, DVD’s, side projects
Connect With Tim

Vanessa Van Petten

Vanessa Van PettenNiche: Parenting
Weapons of Choice: Books & blogging
Monetization/Business Model: Advertising, speaking, workshops, consulting, books, digital products
Connect With Vanessa

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary VaynerchukNiche: Wine and Web
Weapons of Choice: Online TV show, video blog and upcoming radio show (Sirius), books
Monetization/Business Model: (selling wine), (consulting services), speaking engagements, angel investing, book deal
Interview: Uncut With Gary V
Connect With Gary

The big question: Can you do this for yourself? Perhaps fill it out for your current situation and where you would like to be.


David Siteman Garland

Niche: Marketing/Creative Entrepreneurship
Weapons of Choice: TV show, online show, blog, events and
Monetization/Business Model: Sponsorships, speaking, “consulting”, book deal…and future products

Bottom line is that right now there is an incredible opportunity to carve out your niche. Are you ready to jump (dive, swan dive, etc.) in?

This post was inspired by my upcoming book, (Wiley Publishing) –  out this December and .

Unlock Enrollment in Create Awesome Online Courses 2.0

The #1 Program in the World for Turning Your Expertise & Experience Into a Successful Online Course & Dream Business got a complete overhaul. Welcome to CAOC 2.0.

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