Finding Your Passion: Getting Started with Internet Business

Finding Your Passion: Getting Started with Internet Business

finding your passionLast week, we talked about how to choose the right internet business model for your unique personality. To this, I described a number of different scenarios and shared options for internet businesses that best suit each particular situation.

But what if you don’t fit neatly into one of those categories? What if several of them interest you, or what if you have the skills to run a number of different business models but want to find the one you’re particularly passionate about?

Today, I want to talk about the role passion should play in your internet business, as well as share a few strategies on how to ensure the business model you wind up with is one you’re particularly passionate about.

So for starters, let’s look at the issue of passion versus profits. It’s a question that comes up a lot of times with beginning affiliate marketers – “Should I choose a niche that I’m passionate about or one that looks profitable?”

Obviously, choosing either of these extremes isn’t a good idea. If you choose a niche that you’re passionate about that has no profit potential, what’s the point in setting up the business in the first place? Or, if you choose a niche that’s very lucrative that you have no interest in, you’re going to burn out and lose motivation pretty quickly.

The thing about running a web business – whether as an affiliate marketer, an ecommerce vendor or a blogger – is that websites suck up your time. They’re constantly demanding new content, more visitors and frequent updates. So if you have no interest in your chosen niche or no way to make some money to recoup your time investment, you probably aren’t going to make it very long with your internet business.

Of course, the exact balance of profit versus passion that makes sense for you is going to vary. Heck – for me it even varies from site to site. If there’s a high profit potential, I’m willing to put in more effort even if the niche isn’t something I’m super interested in (ask me about my old paintball site someday…).

To do a quick check on whether or not there’s enough profit potential to invest time in, I recommend running a simple “estimated profit” check to get a feel for what your earnings would be. Basically, take the number of exact match monthly searches for your target keyword and multiply by 10% to estimate the number of clicks you’d receive if you were able to get your site into one of the Top 3 spots in the Google SERPS.

Then, take that number and multiply by 1% to estimate the number of visitors who would convert into buyers on your site. Finally, multiply your number of estimated buyers by your affiliate commission rate to estimate your monthly earnings.

For example, say I decide to target the keyword phrase, “organic dog biscuits” which gets 2,000 monthly exact match search results (I’m making this up – don’t quote me on it…). If I’m able to get my site ranked well, I might be able to get 200 of these searchers through to my site and convert 2 of them to buyers. If I’m selling a product that gives me an affiliate commission of $30/sale, my estimated monthly earnings would be $60/month for that keyword.

Obviously, there are a lot of different variables that would affect this estimate, but right now, all I’m looking for is a baseline income estimate to determine if it’s worth my time to pursue this niche. And while your results may vary, I’d have to be pretty passionate about organic dog biscuits to pursue a niche with such a low income potential!

So that answers one part of the question of how passion should play a role in your business, but what if you aren’t even settled on a business model yet? What if you aren’t sure if you’re passionate about the idea of running a website in the first place?

Let’s back the train up a little bit and talk more about choosing your ideal business model. Go back for a second and read through last week’s list of business models or my Guide to Internet Business Models. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with all the options available to you, answer the following questions:

1. What are my unique skills and strengths?

I am a writer. In first grade, my very kind teacher took the stories I had written and had them laminated on construction paper (very fancy for a first grade student!) and in fourth grade, another good teacher encouraged me to do a year-long project on working as a writer. Am I totally passionate about working as a writer? Not always – but it’s where my biggest earning potential is, which is why it plays a major role in my current business model.

Your results may vary. If you’re passionate about data analysis, you’re going to love building websites, tracking SEO metrics and other analytics, and making decisions based off of this information. If you love to design, there’s plenty of potential for you in online graphic design or website development.

And even if you aren’t sure what unique skills you bring to the table, go back and read through that list of business models one more time anyways – chances are at least one of the options is slightly more intriguing to you than the others.

2. How much do I need to make?

Again, profitability can be just as important as finding your passion. If you need to make a certain amount of money from your internet business to justify your investment of time, then don’t pick a business model that doesn’t have the income potential you’re looking for!

Personally, I’m a big fan of balancing active income and passive income opportunities. As a writer, I take on projects that guarantee a certain payout for the time I put into my work. But at the same time, I’m building up my affiliate website empire, which will provide passive income without my direct involvement.

3. What should I do if I still have no idea where to start?

The last piece of advice I can give you is to just start doing something. There are so, so, so many different money making opportunities online that it’s impossible to summarize them here or in any kind of report. As an example, I specialize as a web content writer – but there are tons of other ways to earn money as an online writer, including long form sales letter copywriting, email marketing message writing or even publishing PLR articles.

The thing is that I wasn’t able to find the exact specialty that suits me best until I started actually taking on writing work. And I wasn’t able to determine that affiliate marketing was a good fit for me until I tried it (along with paid surveys, mystery shopping, ecommerce and a whole host of other things).

If it isn’t possible to test out a business model before you invest heavily in it, email an expert on the subject with any questions you need answered to determine if it’s a good fit for you. For example, with ecommerce, you might not want to go to all the trouble of launching your own ecommerce store without knowing if you’ll like it or not, but you could email other store owners with your questions to clear up any concerns you have before investing in this business model.

When it comes to building an internet business, the worst thing you can do is nothing. Don’t get so caught up in researching and planning potential businesses that you never launch any of them. Start with the business model you think fits you best and correct course from there as necessary.

If you haven’t already launched your internet business, I want you to take one concrete step forward. Not just researching and planning, but actually doing something constructive. If you want to be an affiliate marketer, choose a niche to target. If you want to be a writer, put together one sample article for your portfolio or contact one potential client. Do it, and then report back here in the comments section on the action you took.

You can do it!

Image: Ingy the Wingy

13 Responses to Finding Your Passion: Getting Started with Internet Business

  1. It is very important to find a “financially efficient” and “love” balance. I know that personally I could never maintain a blog with all the work that this involves with a niche that doesn’t passionate me fully. I’ve tried and it’s hard. LOL

    On the contrary, I love to write for my favorite niches, but of course they’ve got to make money as well. what’s the point in spending time with what you love and not making any money with it, unless it’s a hobby!

    So, here is the challenge, finding that delicate balance between what you love and what make money too!

    • Sarah says:

      Sylviane – Couldn’t agree more ๐Ÿ™‚ There definitely needs to be a balance, although the disparity between profitability and passion I’m willing to accept fluctuates. Some days, I only want to work on projects that interest me, others I’d rather just make money.

      But it’s definitely important to figure out where that line lies for yourself if you want to have any kind of longevity online!

  2. Scott Mackes says:

    Hi Sarah, great article.. you are indeed a great writer. You’re right, running a website/blog is a big investment. I made myself write 3 articles before I launched my site and I set a goal to get 1000 visitors/ month before I invest any significant money into design/etc. The topic that I chose (leadership/personal development) is based on what I do at work, so my job and the website thrive off each other. At the very least, I will become better at my job by writing about challenges that I face at work. That’s my story in a nutshell. I believe that you can never go wrong by following your passion. Always choose in favor of your passion. -Scott

    • Sarah says:

      Scott – Thanks so much for your kind words! That great to hear that you’re able to bring elements of your day job into your writing – that must make it a lot easier and more enjoyable than picking a topic at random because it seems profitable ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Good to meet a fellow Tribe’s mate. I really liked this article because too often people rush into starting their websites and blogs without ever considering what kind of model is best.

    You did an excellent job of hashing this out. I’ve already taken notes myself and look forward to using them in the near future.


    • Sarah says:

      Bryce – You’re definitely right – it’s important to put some time into studying and understanding internet business models before committing to one. There are literally hundreds of different ways to make money online, and there’s no one out there who’s suited to all of them.

      Thanks for stopping by and please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with!

  4. Chas says:

    This ties in directly with your last article- another well-written piece. And you made me stumble across Wagatha’s and the Waggintrain(curiosity got the best of me). ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. […] Finding Your Passion: Getting Started with Internet Businessย by Common Sense Marketing […]

  6. Ralph says:

    You’re right, the best thing to do is “something”. Even if its not the right move, eventually, a person will find the right fit. Great advice.

    • Sarah says:

      Ralph – You’re right that sometimes it’s not immediately apparent what the right fit is. And I definitely agree that there’s no better way to figure out what works best for you than to actually try it.

      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kalen says:

    Thank you Sarah. I’ve been an Internet entrepreneur and always experimenting with different models. I work as a writer at the moment, but would like to start building informational products based on research I’ve been collecting. I am tied up with another startup at the moment, so that is getting put on hold briefly. something I intend to get to soon though.

    • Sarah says:

      Kalen – Thanks for stopping by! Info products are an awesome business model (one of my favorites), so I hope you get the chance to start working with them soon.

      Let me know if there’s anything I can help with when you get there!

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