The ingredients for monetizing your passion online



These are the EXACT same steps I used to go from $0 to over $1,000,000 in online course sales in less than 24 months (and used by over 2,500+ of my students)

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by David Garland in David's Blog

I get these two questions all the time:
“David, how do I monetize my passion online?”
“David, how did you get so damn sexy?”

OK, well that second one I made up.

But the first one, I can tackle for you.

Take these ingredients, mix ‘em, mash ‘em, boil ‘em, steam ‘em (don’t fry ‘em that is bad for your health).

What it takes to monetize your passion online:

#1: Some kind of amazing free content. A blog. Photos. Drawings. . A podcast. A webshow. Videos. An online magazine. Not behind a paywall. Not quadruple-triple-opt-in.

#2: A badass website. Yes, my friends design and usability matter. Show me someone that says “Looks don’t matter!” and I will show you a liar 🙂

#3: A subject matter other people give a crap about and are willing to spend money on. Your passion is organic pig farming advice for pig farmers in southern Spain. Awesome…your total potential fans/customers are  probably two people and they have .04 cents to spend (or like 1/10th of a Euro or something). Other people have to care about your subject matter and buy services related to it or your passion will be wasted. You might want to try The Today Show Test.

#4: Actually knowing your stuff (captain obvious!). Being passionate isn’t enough by itself. You gotta know what the heck you are talking about. How do you go about that? Read. Watch. Listen. Do. Find the leaders in your space. Learn from them. Develop your own opinions, thoughts and teachings. Keep going. Never stop learning.

#5: Credibility & social proof. Yeah, we are talking mad street cred, yo. From blogs, new media, traditional media, etc.. How do you get it? Many different ways. Guest blogging. Pitching yourself as an expert. Speaking anywhere you can on your subject. The list goes on. Check out how David Wygant built his credibility as a sex expert (no, seriously). Credibility builds trust.

#6: Building relationships with everyone in your space. You gotta know the players and the players gotta know you. The bloggers. The media sources. The influencers. The authors. The product creators. How do you get to know them? Here are four of many ways: 1. Get off your butt and get to events they are at and meet them (shocking!). 2. Buy their products and services and give them some love. 3. Talk about them on your blog/web show, etc. and promote them (and then tell them about it!). 4. Interview them.

#7: A business. I know, hold the presses. Who would have thought? You mean you have to have a business to make the bling? I’m talking about something awesome to sell. A digital course. A book. Yourself (not as a prostitute but maybe as a speaker, consultant, coach). Similar to Sir Mix-A-Lot it’s all about the backend. There are two ways to go about it. Start with a product/service or build a list of people who trust the heck out of you and then create your product/service to fill their needs (either something you pre-planned to do or takes shape down the line). Check out what the top 6-figure and 7-figure earners are doing online right now.

#8: A list of people who know, like and trust you. Cliche? Yes. Overlooked ridiculously often, yes. I’m going to put this all in CAPS. YOUR EMAIL LIST & YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PEOPLE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST IS THE #1 LONG TERM KEY TO SUCCESS. If you aren’t building SPECIFICALLY an email list and working on that relationship, start right now. Literally right now. Please? Pretty please? Trust me on this.

#9: Systems. I know…borrrinnnnnggggggg, right? Maybe. But, super important. Do you have systems in place for handling media requests? How about customer service? Emails, etc.? Write your own rules, but make sure you write them or you might drive yourself nuts.

#10: Personal touches and showing your personality. Some people are going to love your personality. Some people aren’t. That is fine. And that is the way it should be. Play to the people that love you and don’t be afraid to show your true self. The people that monetize their passions online show who they are. The good, the bad, ugly. Own it.

#11: You gotta work your butt off. This isn’t about overnight success. This isn’t about some magic software that does it for you. You gotta work and be patiently impatient (know what I’m saying?). In the word of Chris Farrell, it is simple…not easy.

Can I get an amen? Get started today.


PS: If you aren’t on the RISE VIP list, get you some right here 🙂

  • Great post David,

    I think what is very often overlooked is #3, a subject matter that people are willing to spend money on.

    This doesn’t mean your passion can’t be monetized but if you are trying to sell coaching to people who are broke, yes they might need it, but you aren’t going to go very far.

    Another way of looking at that is offering great free content (like you do here with i/v) and then monetizing from corporations. 

    It’s all about the business model people, get that right, the blog, the tweets, the social media will take care of itself. Well, almost 🙂

    • David Siteman Garland

       Absolutely, John. Great point.

    • rhys ludlow

      I have to agree . I had the top internet radio station for Chinese pop music ((with English track info) and could not figure out how to reliably monetize it. The royalties are enormous and I was not not interested in making news as the first American prosecuted for copyright infringement by Chinese record companies.

  • Well said David. #4 reminds me of some who start how to make money blogging blogs yet have never made any money blogging 🙂

    • David Siteman Garland

       hahaha totally know what you mean

  • Stephen Lahey

    That post illustrates why I recommend The Rise to all of my fellow entrepreneurs. You’re all about substance (not fluff) and you deliver it in an entertaining way. 

    • David Siteman Garland

       Thanks Stephen. Means a lot 🙂

  • This is MONEY!!!!

    • David Siteman Garland

       Bling bling 🙂

  • Omar Elbaga

    How do you think this all applies to news sites or entertainment sites? Say you’re not selling knowledge persay but aggregating newsworthy content of any popular category, entertainment, videos, etc whatever?

    Are people willing to spend money on news? not sure…

    • David Siteman Garland

       My honest opinion? No, people don’t want to spend money on news specifically. But there might be things related to the news that can be monetized.

      • I’m currently testing creating usefull informational products related to the news we cover and looking for other ways to monetize.

  • David,

    You should add a #12: All the ingredients listed above are optional. In other words, there are no rules.

    Everything you have listed above can (and is being) be violated and the web is full of examples.

    Decent guidelines though.


    • David Siteman Garland

      Agree there are no rules, however, after studying hundreds of people who have done this successfully, are ethical, happy, etc. they *normally* DO have these 11 things in common (or at least most of them). 

      There are of course unethical sleezy d-bags making $ online as well, but who would want to be one of them, you know?

  • Shelia

    Totally agree David. Great points. Also feel that you must be willing to recognize issues and be willing to make quick changes when needed. That’s the beauty in small business.

    • David Siteman Garland

      Absolutely! Being able to pivot, adapt, etc. is a HUGE. Great point. 

  • Thanks for this – I literally started working on my mail list as I read it _didn’t get to the bottom of the page until I’d finished.

    You can now get a free children’s ebook by signing up on for my newsletter at

    Thanks David – the list is growing already 🙂

  • Amen!

  • Awesome points provided through out the post.. and as you adapt to these you begin to make changes… i enjoyed reading the post… 

  • Relationships and Sweat Equity is an unstoppable force



These are the EXACT same steps I used to go from $0 to over $1,000,000 in online course sales in less than 24 months (and used by over 2,500+ of my students)

it's free!
100% privacy guaranteed, no messin' around!