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.
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.
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?