Two Year Blog Review By Looper Buck Inspire
It’s me. I mean you, from the future. I know it’s hard to believe, but you are not crazy. You are about to embark on your blog journey. Congratulations and it’s about time! You’ve been looking for an outlet to express yourself since grade school. Your short stories, email updates, and journal entries were clues, but you were not ready to take action. You finally answer your life long question, “What am I passionate about?” It took you long enough, but hey, better late than never right? I’m not going to spoil your ride. What’s the fun in that? But I do want to highlight some areas that will cause you some grief. Hopefully when you hit these rough patches, you’ll remember this letter and not let it get to you or worse, derail you from lifelong passion.
Money Changes Everything
When you first start, it was all about the writing. But then a weird thing happened. You started keeping up with the blogging Jones. If everyone else was doing it, why shouldn’t you right? Wrong. Your comrades focus a lot of time and energy into monetization. Get your head on straight Buck. This is a nice to have, but it’s never been your main goal. Sadly, you almost quit because you keyed on money as a metric of your progress and success. Remember Adsense, Two Cents, Quit Blogging?
The good news is you will eventually make more than two cents. The bad news is you will not be making six figures. But how many folks really do? Focus on providing excellent content for yourself and more importantly, your audience!
Soon after, you will join forces with some of the best personal finance bloggers in the business. Led by Sam, the Financial Samurai, you and your fellow Yakezie members barrel through the blogosphere providing personal stories and expert analysis on saving, reducing debt, retirement planning, and generating income. During the six month initiation challenge, the camaraderie and support will be second to none. Not to scare you, but there will even be threats to the network and philosophy of selflessly helping others. There were times it felt like The Avengers fighting off enemies from another world. You cannot escape different mindsets and agendas, even online. They eventually got tired and moved on.
Big G will throw several monkey wrenches to monetization efforts as they constantly tweak their search engine algorithms. Many folks go into survival mode and manage to power through. Finally, the sad reality is not everyone will continue with what they started. Life happens and some of your favorite bloggers during the challenge actually move on with their lives. Don’t be naive in thinking everyone will continue marching along forever. You’re a hopeless romantic, but don’t let it discourage you. The reality is people sometimes move on to greener pastures similar to when we move on to college or return home from a vacation tour group. It’s just the way it is so don’t take it too personal.
Two years in and your Twitter followers are humming along nicely. However, this type of social media may be the easiest to gain because it is the least intimate. Your friends, connections, subscribers, and circles need some work. Sadly I don’t have an answer, but you need to improve your blog relationships to get beyond having a bunch of acquaintances. Your visitors and pageviews also hit a wall. Hopefully when you improve your relationships and content, your metrics will also improve. Don’t give up even though you feel like you are just treading water. Are you still enjoying yourself? That is the main metric you should follow.
Making The Leap
Besides income, another popular theme you will run into is making the leap from a regular 9 to 5 job into self employment / retirement. For a moment, you will get sucked in too. You seriously need to stop driving yourself crazy with that “everyone is doing it” mentality. The main question you need to ask yourself, “Is your life situation like the others who have made the leap?” Let’s take a quick look.
Jon from Affiliate Help, Gastric Band Hypnotherapy, and Hypnobusters said, “I made the leap a few years ago and quit my job and moved abroad to Morocco so I could live cheaper and spend all my time working on my hypnotherapy websites. My wife was working full time so I had little else to do but work most of the day. 18 months later I returned to England with almost a full time living from my websites. For a few months, I did some part time work to subsidize my income. However eventually I increased my earnings enough to quit and make all my income online.
It felt great, and still does! You need to work hard and work smart, as it is unlikely to happen overnight. It must have taken me about 3 years to get to that point. During those 3 years I had periods of earning little to no cash on my websites. It can be easy to give up. I was literally working 12-16 hours a day at times for very little financial reward. However I kept my faith in myself and what I was doing. I think it also really helped that I could quit my job for 18 months and really concentrate on my online businesses. I think it would have taken a lot longer if I was also working full time. The important thing I believe is to keep going.”
Jon definitely made the right move, but since I am the primary breadwinner and I don’t have a specialized niche like hypnotherapy, this path may not be for me.
Things are moving nicely for Andrea’s design business so she too made the right move. However, I really like my job and am not very creative so this path isn’t for me either.
Frugal Rules said, “I took the leap about six months ago. I left my job to help expand the business my wife had started about two years previous. It is a lot of hard work and can definitely be long hours, but it is worth the time and effort. It’s been a very rewarding experience so far and we love working together running our business.”
Looks like Frugal Rules is doing well as a husband and wife team, but Mrs. Buck and I may be more in tune for working for someone else. Besides, not sure if I can be attached to the Mrs. 24/7 as we may drive each other crazy, haha! 🙂
Joe from Retire By 40 stuck to his theme and actually retired early! “I quit this summer and it’s going well so far. Check out my 3 months update. We haven’t changed our lifestyle much because we were already frugal previously. The kid is getting harder to handle though as you know.”
I’m happy for Joe as his old engineering job was actually taking a toll on his physical and mental health. Like I said before, I really enjoy my job and since I don’t have rental properties and other income streams like Joe, this path may not be for me as well.
Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff had a plan and left her job. She’s turned into a blogging superstar and even has her own ebook, How I Make Money Blogging. For all the details, take a listen to her interview at Buck Inspire.
Crystal’s old paycheck was replaced quite well (and then some) with her online ventures. I don’t have that luxury so I will be continuing on my path.
Sam from Financial Samurai and the founder of Yakezie is the hardest one to figure out. He had a pretty sizable paycheck, was not getting physically ill from his job, but wanted more from his life. More power to you Sam! I wonder if he would have made the same move if he had kids. He also has an ebook, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye which he personally used to leap from his old job into retirement.
Like Joe, a fraction of his income was replaced by his other income streams and he seems to be enjoying ramen noodles and traveling the world. I don’t have other income streams and with extra financial responsibilities, it’s hard to pull the plug on my paycheck.
Buck, you are one step closer to living a fulfilled life within your means because you finally found your passion in blogging. Don’t get distracted by other people’s goals and stay true to your own priorities. However, don’t forget to re-evaluate your journey, in case your plan needs course correction, and celebrate your achievements along the way. Blogging is a way to express yourself and share ideas which you never had before. It is a valuable tool to improve and possibly help others with similar issues. If additional income, statistics, and opportunities come, that’s icing on the cake. But at the end of the day, don’t give up on your lifelong passion because you were waiting for certain things to happen.
For those of you eavesdropping, where are you with your blogs? Where do you want it to be and how will you take it there?