Turning a Hobby Into a Passive Income Stream

As ads and content continue to blend eventually there will be some type of blowback where websites that are driven by passion will keep taking marketshare from sites that lack passion. If you have a hobby the odd are you are passionate, spending a lot of time on it, and may also be spending a lot of money on it. Why not align work and play?

If you turn your hobbies into businesses at the very least you get a tax write off, but on the upside you might create a sustainable profitable business model.

Published: March 23, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


March 25, 2007 - 10:59pm

Hi Dave
Your site has no active call to action in the content area. It does not seem to provide significant information sharing online, and it also has spurious noise, like ads right in the content and a shoutbox on the homepage.

March 26, 2007 - 1:34am

Thanks very for the comments.

I agree the front page got a little cluttered. Time to do some house cleaning :-) What do you mean "It has no call to action?"

March 30, 2007 - 3:54am

Passion brings you a "Passive Income Stream" only if your passion is wide accepted.

If you are really excited and passionate about blue elephants (well, what if you really are!?) and would like to share your passion with the whole world through the blog, "Passive Income Stream" is not something to expect.

However it all comes down to finding the right audience, so "blue elephants" still have a chance :)

March 23, 2007 - 7:34am

I've done this a few times however after I start generating a decent income from the site it tends to change how I see the site. The site changes to something I'm doing purely for fun to something I'm doing for money.

Blake Kritzberg
March 23, 2007 - 8:47am

"The site changes to something I'm doing purely for fun to something I'm doing for money." Yes. Also, some people's hobbies are a lot more monetizeable than others. Hobbies that involve lots of expensive tribal toys or business associations are good (sound equipment, extreme sports, foreign languages). Hobbies that involve frugal backpacking-type travel, crocheting, cheap activities for kids are harder.

March 23, 2007 - 9:05am

If you're into numbers and KPI contextual ad income is a pretty good indicator for how things are evolving. I like the idea of being able to measure the impact of changes.

Sure, it's not as easy as 'more income -> my site's quality has improved' but in general income and quality will move in parallel. So, as long as you are keeping your SEO effort constant, your income reflects the changes in quality of your site (relative to your competitors')... and provides beer money to celebrate the improvements.

March 23, 2007 - 4:14pm

I have been preaching this to people for quite some time now. Turning a hobby (or at least a passion) into a profitable business is a lot easier than trying to jump on the "get rich quick" bandwagon, or just looking for a profitable business to start up.

If you are passionate about what you are doing and truly enjoy it, your reward isn't just monetary... and will help you get through the pains of starting a business.

March 23, 2007 - 5:07pm

By creating a website driven purely by passion and not by profit you build an important relationship with an audience who love you for who you are and what you say. Once you have that audience and community of like mindeed people also sharing your passion it is a small step to begin to monetise and get a little something back from all the love you give out!

No one is going to make money from day 1. Build a relationship and only passion, honesty and integrity will make people trust you enough to give you money!

Steve Robson

March 23, 2007 - 5:41pm

I'm actually not going to add adsense to my blog. I think that if you add advertisements right away, people will think poorly of your site and think that you're only doing it for the dough. When time passes and people get the hang of my site and I get a the page rank juices flowing, I might consider selling ads to specific businesses.

Dario Manoukian

March 23, 2007 - 7:12pm

One of my sites started as a photography portfolio, now that it makes money from traffic I look to photograph the bands that are going to make me the most cash, as a suppose to the bands I want to see the most as used to be the case!

March 23, 2007 - 8:36pm

Hi Aarons. I like business, golf, travel, food, fashion (back in the day but I should get back to it), video games, cool new gadgets, and other things I can't mention on your blog. If I have a site that will mirror my interests, that basically turns work into play!!!

I like this Interwebs.

March 23, 2007 - 9:28pm

I did a "passion-based" website last year and it was all over the map! I have so many interests! I eventually retired it and now I've started a new one that's more focused. I find that using all the appropriate marketing tools sometimes dampens the fun of the project but it also adds a nice challenge. It is a challenge to deliberately set out to make an income from my passion.

We shall see. But, in no way can it be considered "passive" income!

March 23, 2007 - 9:29pm

I agree, which is why I wrote The IRS Paid Me $500 to Create This Blog.

Not all hobbies align well with pro blogging, though. I only earn pennies per click from Adsense.

March 23, 2007 - 10:26pm

I like many others here have been passionate about something I have done in the past - I actually turned that passion into a bloody good living - but pissed most of it away ;)

I sold a portal in 2001 for a song and see that the new owners seem to be lacking passion and more into their selves than others.

I am seriously toying with the idea of going back and monetizing a similar site with all the latest stuff Wiki, Blogs, Bulletin Board and such - I would, to be perfectly frank, love to have a blog that looks a little like this and have topic managers....mmmmmmm

Any ideas ????

March 24, 2007 - 5:25am

I have been toying with the idea of turning my hobby site into something that could bring revenue but I am still on the fence. I have had many people tell me I should do it but still not sure.

What would be other good determining factors?

March 24, 2007 - 1:34pm

Hi EMCEE. I think the detirmining factor should be your audience. To they trust you and like you enough to give you something back? If you have thousands of visitors every day then it makes sense to have a go. Serve up some ads and ask them what they think! You can always change your mind at any point.

If you have built up a relationship then that relationship is worth something to both parties. They are worth eyeballs to your site and you are giving them some worthwhile content. Just make sure you stay passionate to the end. As Seth Godin says create something remarkable that people seek out. This is a much more viable way of looking at it.

Steve Robson

March 24, 2007 - 1:40pm

And another thing. No income stream is ever passive in my opinion. If you want money for doing nothing then your only hope is the lottery.

March 24, 2007 - 5:25pm

I totally agree, when you involve your passion about something is is much easier to create quality content.

It is still possible to create great content about a topic you are not passionate about, but it is definitely alot more work.

March 24, 2007 - 5:30pm

Aaron you are right on point with this. Tie in an Non-Profit organization in your field of interest. You atleast double your exposure, help the NP and also get more traffic. The old saying do what you love and the money will follow applies for sure.

Aaron H
March 25, 2007 - 3:39am

Totally agree with the points made here. I started a site last year about something I only had a passing interest in hoping to make some ad money, needless to say this mini adventure died after 6 mths not because of the money but because I ran out of ideas for the site so either way it wouldn't of made much cash.

On the other hand I started another site, based around a hobby of mine that I've been involved with for the last 20 years and I've got more ideas and content than I know what to do with and I'm aware it's early days but I know if it develops a healthy revenue stream it won't come to a grinding halt through lack of content, ideas or passion.

March 25, 2007 - 6:40am

I think websites that are driven by passion have *always* been taking marketshare from sites that lack passion. The websites that lack passion are the same ones where the owners are desperate to ferry users away via PPC ads or affiliate links. There is no stickiness; users share links with friends and return again and again when a site kicks ass.

March 25, 2007 - 9:14pm

If this is bad taste feel free to delete this post.

This blog brings up a question I have had for a little while. One of my sites is exactly what Aaron speaks up. I have put up some Google adds to see if I can cover the hosting for the club, but so far not much luck. It just got ranked 4\10, not bad for a local club of If this is bad taste feel free to delete this post.

This blog brings up a question I have had for a little while. One of my sites is exactly what Aaron speaks up. I have put up some Google adds to see if I can cover the hosting for the club, but so far not much luck. It just got ranked 4\10, not bad for a local club of < 100 members. The club has had the domain for a while but this is the first site that is SEO. If anyone has ideas please e-mail me.

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