Patrick Saxon from Seoish.com has asked top names in the SEO industry a very useful question. What most have missed is that Patrick has actually answered the question himself by writing the article.
First, he created a very useful piece of content, and second, he has received a large number of authority links from his peers.
He recently won a conference pass to SMX in Seattle from Arron Wall and he frequently comments and writes posts in the Youmoz section of Seomoz.org. I can only see him moving up. Congratulations Patrick on this cleverly created linkbait!
What would I do with $100-$500 if I had to start over again? I hope I am allowed to keep my knowledge and experience and at least have the means to support myself for several months.
Give and you shall receive.
I would choose a topic I know a lot about, am passionate about, and invest the money in a domain name and creating useful content. If I create the content myself I would pay a professional to make it look better. I would host the content on a hosted blog such as wordpress.com or blogger.com.
After 20 or so posts I would use them as source for an ebook to be sold from the website.
To build buzz I would leverage social media sites and I would start helping and offering suggestions to others in popular forums and blogs. Readership will build up.
Patrick has pretty much done most of this. My only suggestion to him is to find or create a useful product for his audience. If he decides to stick to Adsense, I would definitely move those ads above the fold! Check the Adsense guidelines for better placement.