Validating Money-Making Ideas: From Interest to Opportunity

It’s quite common to hear “do what you love” but few opportunities blend work and fun, together.

Affiliate marketing happens to be one of these opportunities.

Here’s the thing:

Creating a business around what interests you makes it easier to create Web content. It’s something you’re passionate about so you have a lot to say.

Over time, as the content fills out, you have plenty of chances to promote offers.

This is that post explaining how to do it.


Start by Brainstorming


An idea is quite worthless unless you put it into action.

Yet, it’s obviously still good to kick around ideas.

Do a brain dump.

This involves writing every idea that crosses your mind no matter how trivial it may seem. The point of the exercise is to keep the creativity flowing. One idea that may seem stupid could influence another that turns out wildly profitable.

We recommend using skills, hobbies, and interests as a “seed” when brainstorming.




Skills are a fantastic starting point when brainstorming affiliate marketing ideas. You’re likely already making money with a few of them based on your job. Others, that you don’t, have potential but haven’t been realized.

For example:

  • Writing
  • Video production
  • Skateboarding
  • Public speaking
  • Taxes

An easy exercise is to write down each of the skills you use throughout your workday. Keep a running journal as you go about your day. Before the day’s end, you’ll have several items.

Skills are one of the easier money-makers since these are already in demand.

The opportunity:

Think of an infoproduct you’d create or promote as an affiliate for others wanting to improve their skills.




Hobbies are our favorite way to get people into affiliate marketing because the interest and money are already there. There’s a starting point for learning and almost always a set of required purchases.

For example:

  • Model trains
  • Kayaking
  • Candle making
  • Drone videography
  • Baking

Hobbies require skill but hold a different type of interest. You normally don’t associate hobbies as money-makers, they’re more like something fun to do. But, plenty of people have made businesses out of their hobbies and that’s the point of this exercise.

Hobbies make money because you’re able to promote the necessary items to get involved.

The opportunity:

Think of how “deep” you are into the hobby, what you’ve personally purchased, and what’s on your wish list so you can explore it further – since there are many others just like you!




Then you have the broad interest category which is really anything that crosses your mind or something you like doing. The day-to-day type stuff that comes and goes.

For example:

Again, keep a journal of every little thing that passes your mind.

Some things you’ll find quite basic while others are really odd-ball and quite niche. Everyone has their quirks – these happen to be great money-makers.

The opportunity:

Look around your location and think of all the products and services. The things you’ve bought and services you’re subscribed to. Think about why you found them interesting enough that you bought or subscribed to them.


Then Validate the Money-Making Idea


Not every idea will make money (or at least to warrant the effort).

Yes, the Web has the wildest, niche communities that’ll let you talk about your interests but that doesn’t mean others want to buy what you have to offer.

Validating the idea is pretty easy – ask:

  • Is there a demand?
  • Is there competition?

The demand is fairly telling because if you have an interest then you’re already present in the community. If not, then you can obviously look on Facebook, Reddit, or do a general forum + interest search to find others like you.

The telling sign is the competition.


Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering

We’ve done some extensive coverage on reverse engineering the competition.

This would include their:

Working your way through each of these will give you a complete picture of the competition.

What’s the point?

To accomplish the whole measuring and validation part of it all.


If competition exists and they’re spending real money on these five elements, then you know people are buying the products and/or services.


Small-scale Ads

Small Ads

The second half requires a financial commitment but guarantees validation.

It goes like this:

  1. Gather data about the niche, community, and competition
  2. Create a landing page with great content and an offer
  3. Create and fund a small-scale Facebook ad campaign
  4. Measure interest and reassess your commitment

If the campaign shows interest and the stats from the landing page prove positive, then you’re looking at an interest that could be an affiliate money-maker!

How much should you spend?

That’s all on you but breaking even is obviously the best answer.

It could take $10 before the ad generates the first sale – it could take $100.

Either way, this will give you a baseline customer acquisition cost.

If this is leaning positive then you’ve got something potential on your hands.


Set It, Forget It


You could:

Work hard throughout the first year of the site’s operation.


Build a shell and check back in on it some months later.

This is a neat way to go about the idea because you’re building the site and allowing it to mature. It will collect visitor data in the meantime. Then, you can weigh in on whether you want to pursue the idea.

It has a couple of other benefits:

  • You could sell it if it’s a no-go
  • You could rent it to the competition

It’s a win/win all-around.

You’ll want to publish content about once a week to keep it relevant, gaining search rankings, and traffic. This is easily accomplished through outsourcing the content development.

Then, if it’s showing promise, you could revamp the site and add the offers.


Collect Emails

Collecting Emails at Computer

You should collect emails throughout the entirety of these business validation methods.


Because you can sell to those people.

It may not be at the time of their sign up if you’re not currently promoting a product. But, it could be down the line once you find an offer to promote.


  • Do a one-time promotion and move on
  • Sell the list to the competition

If the interest isn’t there then whatever – you tried – move onto the next idea. If it showed promise, then you have an email list to help grow the affiliate venture.


Don’t Do This


Don’t ask your S.O. or best friend…

…because, of course, they’ll tell you it’s a great idea.

These people aren’t your target audience.

They aren’t your customers.

Use real-world market research from the above techniques first and foremost. Else, you’ll spend a good deal of time (and money) chasing an affiliate business idea given the thumbs up by the wrong people.


The Next Steps

Affiliate Journey

The best part of affiliate marketing is also its most troublesome aspect – the sheer number of opportunities.

It’s very easy to come up with a dozen+ ideas in a short period of time.

Many sound great because they’re what you’re interested in.

But, as we’ve gone over, not every idea is valid.


What Needs to Happen

Take that big list of interests and business ideas and give them a cold, hard once-over.

Take the time to measure and validate each idea.

Remove the non-contenders.

What you’re left with are ideas that show potential.

Choose the one that interests you the most.

This isn’t a guarantee despite the idea looking validated. But, at least you’re starting off in a good direction. You’ll definitely have fun trying to turn your interests into a business.

Go for it.