ASK SARI! Vol. 2 – Turning Your Passion in to a Business


Hey there friends!

Another week, another question!

Got one too? Send yours in to if you dare 😉


Would it ever be possible to turn my website into a money generating site? I have been running the site now for six or so years and never really had any expectations for it to ever make a penny. 

Now, if the site were to start covering some of my costs for upkeep and not really worrying about my time do you think bands/musicians may avoid participating in my site due to the profit factor? Also, same question goes towards PR companies as well, when it comes to mailing albums or guest list privileges, would they ignore me?

– Matt H.


Thanks so much for asking Matt, great Q!

I’ll give the readers a bit more context – Matt runs an online music magazine and does a lot of hard work to support great rock artists in Canada!

To answer your question – No and no. Lots of great businesses started out with a goal that was a bit more passion-infused than “I want to make a shitload of money” and much like every entrepreneur in that position (myself included), you have to cross the very rickety bridge from hobby to business. And that is a scary path to take. But it’s a totally necessary one if you want to grow what it is you’re doing and reach more people.

So what I’m saying is… sell some ads! That is a business model that works for many magazines and I can promise you it does not get in the way of any of their free music and ticket perks. If the work you do is good, the writing compelling, and your reach always growing, then that should not change.

However, be weary… you will often see lots of magazines draw a Chinese wall between their editorial and marketing/sales teams and I always very much respect this. As a journalist you must be honest and critical. The very real reality is that sometimes that conflicts with advertisers’ interests. Where I see some smaller publications get stuck is when these two things cross hairs too liberally and with that type of business practice, you can pretty much kiss your credibility good bye. For example – if Justin Bieber’s label buys an ad on your website and then the next day you have Bieber on the front page and you call him “the golden god to save pop music,” well then your readers are likely going to catch on that there’s something fishy. You get what I mean?

If you maintain your integrity and strong relationships with your readers by delivering great and thought provoking content, then you have nothing to loose. Sell ads to those who will help support you doing what you do and sell many!

It feels weird to turn your passion into a business and start sending invoices off but it’s an awkward feeling we’ve all had to face – musicians, publicists, interpretive dancers etc. I like to call it a backwards cat pat. It doesn’t feel nice at first but then when you realize what you can do with just a wee bit of money and the great impact you can make, you see it really isn’t that bad at all. That is, if you make wise decisions and don’t let it change what it is you set out to do in the first place.

Am I making sense here? Gee, I hope so. Basically… you’re not selling out, you’re just buying in. We all do it. And you will still totally get hooked up with free albums and tickets along the way.

Best of luck building your business, friend!

– XO Sari

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