Wow, how time flies! As they always say, “time flies when you’re having fun!” I guess I can agree with that, but blogging hasn’t always been so much fun. This is a hard process for sure. Today, Debt Roundup turns four. It doesn’t seem like much, but in blogging, even a year is an outlier. Most new blogger give up after six months, so getting to four years is pretty awesome!
I could’ve never imagined what my life would be like four years after starting a blog. Heck, I’ve been “blogging” in some capacity for over 12 years now. My blog ideas came and went, but this one had a lot of personal meaning behind it. I didn’t start this site to just talk about money. I started it to show other people in debt that getting out is very possible. Not only is it possible, but it can be life changing to the utmost degree. I know it changed my life in ways I still can’t comprehend. Just one simple blog with a simple message.
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An Idea, Hard Work, Endless Connections, and Success
These all describe what has happened to me over the past four years since I put up my first post on Debt Roundup. Over the years, I have shared details about my life, my debts, my struggles, and my victories. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what I’m doing and the content being produced.
The focus of the site has morphed over the years, but we’ve stuck to the money concept. Now, we focus on a few main areas of money. We want you to fight debt, save money, make money, and invest. This is really it. This seems to be where most people focus their time and attention. These concepts aren’t difficult to comprehend, but there are so many ways to destroy debt, thousands of ways to save money, and even more to make it.
Truth be told, I see more and more asking about how to make money and it excites me. I’ve always said that saving money has a floor (or ceiling). You can only save so much before you just can’t anymore. While I’m a huge “saving money” advocate, I realize the key to getting out of debt and changing your financial situation is to make more money. It’s true no matter what anyone else says. I’ve seen it, I’ve dreamed it, I’ve lived it.
I started this blog after I just finished paying off over $50,000 in credit card debt. I had over $75,000 total, but it seemed that most resonated with the $50,000 number because it was all credit cards. It was all mindless spending and not tracking my money. I started a business, shut it down, then bought stupid stuff. I was a typical consumer with a big credit limit. It was bad. I did pay off all $75,000, but the credit card debt still gives people the most shock.
While I was going through the journey, I started reading a lot of personal finance blogs. They really helped me understand a little more about money and where I could go. After paying off that last credit card, I took a month to figure out a plan and started my blog (it’s so easy to do by the way).
Obviously the focus was going to be on my previous debt journey and where I wanted to go with my money after digging out of the debt. The concept stuck and here we are four years later still going strong.
So Much Work
If I told you blogging was easy, I would be doing a disservice to you and anyone else thinking about sharing their thoughts in an online forum. Blogging, along with many other things is not easy. It’s not just writing a post and then getting traffic to your site.
[pullquote align=”normal”]If you build it, they don’t come! Trust me. [/pullquote]
Days, nights, and weekends went into this blog. It took a long time to gain readers, followers, visitors, and all the stuff that comes with it. It took a long time to make money, but the money did come. There are a number of ways to earn money from blogging, but one of my favorite ways is by affiliate marketing.
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I still work hard on my blog every day because there are always things that can be done. I have some assistants helping me, but the content creation, promotion, and expansion never really stop.
Don’t ever assume that if you start a blog, you will make money from it. In fact, most people make very little money or just enough to pay for their small expenses. If you’re making money, or even a living from a blog, consider yourself very lucky. Sorry for the bold truth, but I like to be honest.
Blogging is hard work, plain and simple. I love it, but it can be stressful at times. The good news is you can do it from anywhere!
The Blogging Connections
I never could’ve imagined how many people I would have met by starting a personal finance blog. I’ve been in other niches before and most site owners wouldn’t talk with you, help you, or interact with you. Not the case in the personal finance space. This community is one of the most generous I’ve ever encountered and I’m happy to be in it.
I connected with a few bloggers in the beginning, but it wasn’t until I joined FinCon, when my connections exploded. I consider these people a part of my family. I would do a lot for them if they asked. Many have become good friends that I talk with regularly.
Beyond just friends, these connections have given me the ability to grow and expand my other business. Since I know WordPress very well and have worked in it for 12 years, many ask me for help. I love helping people with WordPress issues, fixes, and changes. I love solving problems. Because of this, I created a WordPress support company, which now has clients all over the world and is my full time job.
None of this would be possible without the awesome connections from the personal finance space and the FinCon group.
A quick action tip is to connect with as many bloggers you can. Find those succeeding and try to interact with them regularly. Networking is the most powerful thing you can do for your blog. Trust me!
Success Can Come and It Did For Me
We all define success in a different manner. I used to define it by how much money I made. I’ve since changed my tune. Having gone through paying off debt, becoming a father (twice), and building a business, I can say that I feel successful. No matter what anyone else might think, I think this site is a success.
Here are the cold hard facts of the matter. Eight years ago, I was in over my head with debt. I owed multiple creditors a lot of money and my minimum monthly payment was more than our mortgage. It took me four years to pay off the debt, but it was done. I even was able to save at the same time, so that was cool.
I started this blog back in 2012 and it’s slowly grown year over year. I’ve been featured in countless articles on big publications, I’ve been on the radio, and I even almost got onto 20/20 (declined after realizing the segment hook). People reach out to me on a daily basis thanking me for the content I produce. I get asked questions and people lean on me regularly for help. That is awesome in my book.
[pullquote align=”normal”]I started my blog to share a story. I could’ve never imagined how far that little blog would take me![/pullquote]
All the money tactics I’ve learned over the years have changed my idea about how I use and interact with money. I’ve started to track my money better (I love, use, and recommend Personal Capital), I use better tools for everything I do, and I’ve been able to save a ton of money. In fact, I realized I’ve saved over $120,000 in the four years since starting this blog. Yes, that is a lot of money in my opinion. I was even able to use some of it to build a custom basement office without getting into debt. That was very powerful for me.
Best of all, this blog has allowed me to quit my full time job of almost nine years. It allowed me to build a thriving services business where my customers rave about what I do and recommend me to others. Not saying the business wouldn’t have been possible without this blog, but without the connections I’ve come across, I think it would have been a huge uphill battle. My business is what supports myself and my family. It’s our main source of income.
All of this wouldn’t be here without sacrificing my time in the past four years to build something I’m proud of. Trust me, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see where the next four years take me.
So, What’s Next?
You know, everyone always asks me what is next in my journey. I honestly don’t know since this journey is still in progress. I would love to grow this blog to a bigger base. I would also love to expand my WordPress services to help more people. I love blogging, but my passion is the technical side. Heck, I even offer free WordPress blog setup. Along with my services, I will be offering some blogging courses to help people understand a little more and bundle my twelve years of experience into a simple to use course. I don’t have an ETA on the completion though…
More importantly, I want to keep this as my job. I broke away from the 9-5 structure almost a year ago. While it hasn’t been a long time, I’ve blown my projections out of the water. I couldn’t be happier right now. Is this a tough business to be in? Hell yes it is! You have to constantly work toward goals. Get better, get help, meet new people, and never stop learning.
As for our money, my next goal is to pay off the mortgage. It’s our only debt left and one we really didn’t focus on because the interest rate was so low. Having said that, if this blog and business continue to improve from a revenue standpoint, I can see the possibility of getting rid of our mortgage and being completely debt free. That will be awesome.
I will always be on the lookout for new money management tools, investing tools, and ways to make sure my net worth increases. I’m not retirement ready by any means, so I have a lot of work to do there. It’s time to focus on saving more and investing more. The fighting debt part of my journey is over, but I will continue to help those still in that battle. That’s what Debt Roundup is all about.
Thank you all for being with me for the past four years. Let’s continue this great ride into the future. Here are your ride tickets!