On Passion for Blogging and Burnouts

January 8, 2013

Its 11:48 pm on a Monday night. I’ve had the last 4 weeks off, and spent it with family and friends, went snowboarding a lot, worked out a little, and did my best to quietly relaunch Chic Darling from a blog into a magazine. We have some fantastic team members who have come on board, and its starting to feel like a real magazine.  The last 2 hours of tonight was spent on a Skype with two of my favorite blogging friends, S from American Debt Project, and LaTisha from Young Finances. We try to get on a call every week. We lay out our plans for the following week; not just for blogging, but life in general.

This is what blogging is. When I started writing my first post/blog back in May of 2011, I didn’t think I would last this long. Heck, I took a leave for 3 months because life got in the middle of it. But that didn’t stop me from coming back. I write because the accountability of announcing public goals motivates me further.  I also write because I feel like this is my platform. The fact that I have people come by and read still humbles me; regardless of if I have 10 people stop by of 2000. Someone somewhere took precious time out of their schedule to come by and read what I have to write.  Sometime I rant, sometimes I confess to mistakes in the past, sometimes I want to share things that amaze me, but through it all, I’m still humbled that people come by and read.

Blogging is not a get rick quick scheme. I would make more money working at McDonalds on a per hour basis. And to be quite honest, I don’t know why I keep writing on here, but I keep doing it. Part of it is the fact that I’ve created a small little oasis for myself where I have control over the editorial content.


Source: ordinarycourage.com via Jessica on Pinterest



PF Bloggers are Real People

The first time I met someone who knew my blog was a bit shocking, and I was a bit embarrassed. I didn’t know how to act around them since they started talking to me about stocks. I gave them the same speel that I give everyone who wants to talk about investment strategies; consult a professional. Just because I decided to pay $6 bucks a month to host this site and call myself a Personal Finance Blogger, doesn’t not make an expert in the field. Some people forget that fact.  As you may have noticed, I don’t talk that much about shares and stocks, because I don’t believe that everyone has the same risk tolerance. While I am a high risk investor, others may not be, so sharing strategies is not something that I want to do. My brother, on the other hand, will talk your ear off about anything and everything. So can Nelson actually.

Contrary to popular beliefs, PF bloggers, at least the ones that I’ve met, don’t count every penny. We have lives, we travel, we splurge, we buy things that aren’t really the best value for our money, but we budget, and pay attention to what we spend.

As you may have noticed, I don’t talk about how much I make either. This is for 2 reasons: 1) I don’t actually know as I work on contract and 2) its none of your business. This is the same reason why I don’t disclose how much I make off this blog either. While I agree that transparency is great, I don’t think its part of why I started writing.

Building a Business

That’s how I look at it. Of course, I’d never want to work in finance. Math and me don’t get along very well. And working in that arena as a career would be torture. That doesn’t mean that I don’t understand numbers, and work with them every day. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I am the most metric driven person they know. I’ve worked with that mentality for so long that its a natural part of me.  What I meant by building a business is that we’re building/creating our own little platforms. This could used for anything. If I wanted to advertise my services, and allow myself to be hired as a operations consultant, I would write more about that topic. If I wanted to known in the PF world as an expert, I would write more about finance. The truth of the matter is people earn their living from their blogs. There are speakers, and panelist and strategiest, and marketers, etc. But its not easy. There is a lot of time that goes into building an audience. A LOT. We have no concept of weekends, and routinely find ourselves in front of the computer at midnight coming up with post ideas. And just coming with post topics and writing on them isn’t enough. There is networking, commenting, social media, conferences, site management, oh the list goes on. Some people hire help. They want someone to share the load with them, because the bigger the site gets, the more work there is.

The kicker is that we do almost all of it for free. There is no guaranteed revenue stream. There is no sure way of knowing if advertisers are going to come knocking on our door. And its not like we can sell shares in our blogs.


It takes a while to find your ‘Voice’

When I first started writing, I was free to share my income, spending habits, stupid money mistakes, and everything in between. But as time went on, and I began meeting people in real life, and reading more PF blogs, I realized that spending reports were boring for both my readers, and myself.  To me, finding the balance between writing things that I like to write about, and what people want to read is key. There are certain personal things that I don’t feel belong on here, and I get really bored, and lose my passion for writing if my topics are SEO how-tos. So a few months after I started writing, I decided that I would only write how-to posts if it was something that I would actually google. And I google EVERYTHING.  There are very few people that have the same interests that I do, and writing the same things as everyone else isn’t really using the platform that we have.

I love everything about entrepreneurship, business, travel, and sports. And I want  to write about those topics. We are a product of our interests and experiences, and that is what makes every single blogger unique. Pretending to be someone that we’re not, or copying others is what makes people lose the passion for writing.

Experts or Not?

I AM NOT AN EXPERT. Real experts are boring. Trust me, I spent a lot of time with science and math nerds. And people don’t really want to read investment strategies, or about 401K or RRSPs all the time. That’s boring. Some of my most popular posts have been ones were I’m extremely personal.

There is something about human connections that can’t be found in any SEO book.

Two of my favorite sites to read are L Bee and Mr Lady. They give us honest, unfiltered access to their lives that make us invested in their well-being.

My point here is write about what you know. And know what you don’t know. And you’ll be surprised at how many people find you, and support you. 

What is the most personal post/story that you’re shared online? What was the reaction?





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  • Jacko January 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

    What! Your telling me Blogging is not a get rick quick scheme?

    Dang it, I’ve been looking for that mofo, LOL

    Yeah burnout is inevitable when you don’t have a plan on how you will progress to the next level.

    You have to define ultimate success first and then make a commitment to continuously move in that direction.
    Blogger > Author > Film maker > life changer

    Last year I started sharing my political views like how Abortion is Eugenics.
    I was very pleased with the response it seemed to work well, even my followers who disagreed with me participated in the debate. Lesson learned: Keep it real.

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      I pretty much want to take over the world.

  • Budget & the Beach January 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I’ve had my moments of burnout where I don’t feel like either writing or reading and commenting on other blogs. But I always come back somehow to this community because it’s ALL MINE. No producer or client or friend has a say on what I do on my blog. It’s perfect autonomy. I think the most personal things I’ve shared is how much I have struggled financially as a freelancer these last four years. I’m a positive person, but I’ve had my moments of frustration and breaking down, and I find people to be very supportive. So I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing until I no longer want to do it…whenever that may be!

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      I remember reading those posts right when I launched my freelance career, they were sobering, but inspirational.

  • Michelle January 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Chic Darling looks great! I didn’t notice the new design until now.

    And I agree, I’d rather read personal posts instead of the same boring personal finance articles over and over again. Almost all of my posts on my blog are personal, or they are about improving yourself.

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Thats most likely why your site is doing so well.

  • Eddie January 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    As someone who runs three blogs, while trying to convert one of them into a local newspaper, a directory and so on. My hourly rate is atrocious, but blogging is like a drug, I can’t get enough and keep coming back for more.

    The fact that I keep going is not the money, but I have something I call my own and someone (the readers) that is willing to listen. Like you said, whether I have 2000 or 200 daily visitors, someone still took the time out of their day to stop by.

    Finally, blogging allows me to vent and put my own thoughts out there. It gives me an opportunity to exchange views with others. I enjoy keeping it real, and being an opinionated person that I am, I’m not afraid to voice it – whether the readers like it or not.

    Great post Marissa!

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      I like and appreciate the you set outside the PF bubble. Most people are afraid to rock the boat.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules January 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Very well put Marissa! I could not agree more. Building a business and finding your voice does take a lot of time. But, in my opinion, anything worth while does take time and it is worth it. The most personal story I’ve shared was about the loss of our first son and the response was phenomenal and overwhelming. I love talking about finances and investing, but those topics can be dry to discuss at best so I like to sprinkle it in with personal stories.

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Exactly. I’m so sorry to hear about your son. I lost a brother at a very young age, and it still lingers.

  • Fig January 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I def prefer real posts to the same old boring personal finance advice. I love to read blogs like yours so I hope you keep it the same. What you are doing is great!

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      Awww. Thank you. That made my day.

  • Kathleen, Frugal Portland January 8, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    What a great post, Marisa! I hemmed and hawed about posting a pro/con list on online dating, and it’s one of my most popular posts. I’m not a finance expert and I don’t claim to be. But I do have a voice and I like this space. Could I make more money? Certainly. It would be challenging to make less! But I’m not here for the money. I’m here for the friends.

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      I people find things outside of pf really interesting, esp when they show up on the reader.

      PS. You’re awesome.

  • eemusings January 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I am the same – a creative professional with an interest in money but no desire to work in finance and really, no aptitude for numbers. I think spending reports are boring, though I do find it interesting to read about online income reports (inspiration and jealousy both!) I don’t consider myself a PF blogger – about half the blogs I read have nothing to do with PF but I really engage with their writing. Just because you blog doesn’t make you a good writer, and as a full time writer, I love seeking out and reading good writing.

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      You know, its always intimidating to have someone who writes for a living read my posts. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Jacob @ iheartbudgets January 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Sitting here in a Vegas hotel, trying to cram in a post before dinner, dealing with super heavy extended family issues and I come across your post that tells me to just keep it real. I love this. You know what? I probably won’t have a post out tomorrow. I’ll be diving head first into working out issues, getting out to have a great meal and skype my 1-year-old son before he goes to sleep, because that’s real. That’s what I want to be doing right now. And no “top 5 ways to save money” post is more important than that. Thanks for the breath of fresh air.

    • Marissa January 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Jacob, you are amazing! I hope things work out, and yes. Its this is not as important.

      • Jacob @ iheartbudgets January 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        Thanks Marissa! Things worked out well, and I didn’t even post another article the whole week! Needed the break. But now I’m back on the horse and going strong 🙂

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank January 9, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I’m the same in that announcing my goals help to motivate me. I feel that if I don’t complete them I might be letting down those 20 people that read my blog.

  • Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin January 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I agree 100% with everything you said. I’m challenged by friends almost weekly when I tell them I blog. There instant reaction is “Do you make any money off of it?” When I tell them no they are almost flabbergasted and act as if I should be put in a mental asylum. I try to explain to them that I have made numerous personal connections online that I would have NEVER made in my normal day to day life. But they still scoff at it.

    Blogging has been one of the best investments of my time that I have ever made and will continue to make!

  • Andy Hough January 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    I blogged for a long time before I ever made any money at it. I mostly just blog when I feel like it so any money I make is just a bonus.

    I actually like reading people’s spending and income reports, but I am a numbers guy. People seem to like my monthly spending and income reports, maybe that is because they are a little unusual.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money January 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

    “Someone somewhere took precious time out of their schedule to come by and read what I have to write.”

    This is an important thing for bloggers to remember. I actually think most bloggers aren’t humble enough. I’ve been guilty as well of thinking “I should have more hits,” but I’ve also seen people brag about their “stats” and never thank the readers. There’s so much content out there that most bloggers are lucky they have ANYONE coming to their site, regardless of how much time they sink into it.

    I really appreciated this post. I don’t share my income, how much I make off of blogging and blogging-related jobs, or much other personal financial information I never understood the whole sharing your website statistics, sharing your income, or sharing your net worth. Not to be mean, but I could care less how much traffic your site gets, how many people are following you, or how many facebook likes you have. Some of my good blogger friends do it and I’m not trying to bash them, I just don’t find that content interesting or relevant to my life.

    • Marissa January 10, 2013 at 11:59 am

      I’m not going to lie, sometimes I feel a bit curious to how people are doing, but mostly I like knowing that people like what I wrote.

    • Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin January 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      I can’t speak for everyone but I believe they do it to establish credibility. Nobody wants to take advice from someone who’s not doing it themselves and successful.

  • LaTisha January 10, 2013 at 9:19 am

    CD looks amazing by the way! I enjoy our calls as well. It helps me stay motivated an get sh*t done!

  • Todd @ FearlessMen January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Congrats on moving Chic Darling forward! I just visited the site-very sharp. Are you aiming to bring it to print??

  • Miiockm January 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    It’s scary how I agree with almost everything you just wrote about blogging.

  • KK@Student Debt Survivor January 10, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    My biggest reason for blogging is to have an outlet to tell my story and to learn about others’ stories. A lot of my friends and family don’t really get why I do what I do (my mom gets uncomfortable when I try to talk “money” and savings with her). I don’t care if I ever make a dime with my blogging. I like having a record of my day to day life that I can look back on, and I like it that my blogger friends keep me accountable for staying on track financially. Great post!

  • Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals January 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I used to have a parenting blog (“used to” as in I got burnt out after 3+ years of writing there), and I remember the first time someone stopped me in the grocery store because they recognized my face from my blog profile. I felt like a mini-celebrity and, like you, I was more than just a teensy bit embarrassed at the attention.

  • Mikhaila January 12, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve found my desire to write (and even read other PF blogs) kind of ebbs and flows. When you feel like you’ve covered all of the typical PF blog topics, it can be difficult to figure out how to proceed. However, I feel like that’s a necessary step in order for a blog to evolve. I think the best thing that’s come out of blogging for me is that I’ve had a few friends ask me for help with their finances (but again, I’m not an expert), and I’ve gotten some wonderful opportunities and friends out of the deal.

  • David January 16, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Building a business like bulding a house.Most of the people have their own blogs and they earn money from it.What they are doing?They are doing their own business and increasing their business through their blogs.

  • Courtney February 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    We have no concept of weekends, and routinely find ourselves in front of the computer at midnight coming up with post ideas. And just coming with post topics and writing on them isn’t enough. There is networking, commenting, social media, conferences, site management, oh the list goes on. Some people hire help. They want someone to share the load with them, because the bigger the site gets, the more work there is.

    The kicker is that we do almost all of it for free. There is no guaranteed revenue stream. There is no sure way of knowing if advertisers are going to come knocking on our door. And its not like we can sell shares in our blogs.

    I totally agree with this! It’s a labor of love for so many of us, and yes, there have been so many sleepless nights for blogging.

  • Bridget April 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Great post — but you’ve always been one of my favorite human PF bloggers 😉

    • Marissa April 11, 2013 at 1:01 am

      Awww. Thanks!