If you are passionate about something and know a lot about it, you can turn that expertise into income on your e-commerce website. It might take a while, and it will definitely take dedication and effort. But it can be done.

Not long ago I made a link to a story about Dean Pettit. Dean worked in the aerospace industry in Florida for many years. A few years ago, he was laid off. He decided to create a website about his passion: the outdoors.

His Space Coast Outdoors site guides tourists to trips and destinations on Florida’s Pacific Coast. I spoke to Dean and asked for some tips I could pass along to entrepreneurs. I’ll be writing about them in future articles and in a workshop I’m preparing for later in the year. Here’s one tip: Do everything you can to portray yourself as the “expert” in your chosen field.

“Even if you are selling Dog Food online you have to come across as the “Dog Food Guru,” Pettit says. “Being an active outdoorsman and serving on Boards and Commission related to the environment and attracting eco-tourism has been instrumental for me, giving me my ‘Edge’ I need to be taken seriously.”

Get in the news media any way you can, he advises. In his case, he knew the owner of a restaurant that is one of the best-known businesses in the area, Dixie Crossroads. When the media descended on the restaurant and asked the owner if she knew any aerospace workers who had been affected by the layoffs in the industry, she sent them to Dean. Stories on MSNBC and the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams followed.

Even if you aren’t part of a high-profile story, you can make connections and make yourself available to the media. Get to know your local Chamber of Commerce, and send out your own press releases to local newspapers and radio stations. All of these spread your image as an expert in your field. Then, back up your image with real, useful information on your website.

Here’s a link to the original news story I read about Space Coast Outdoors–by one of the local TV stations in Dean’s area.

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