I have some exciting news….well at least exciting for me. No, I did not celebrate my fiftieth birthday today. I already passed that milestone. Today our website and blog “Just One More Year” is celebrating its 50th post! We turned 50 today!
About eight years ago I had the idea to start our own blog. For whatever reasons life, work, family, [please insert excuse here] kept getting in the way. Certainly I would make a good case study into how to find reasons not to begin a blog!
Then seven years ago, I came up with the brilliant idea that we could launch a website called “Retire by 50”. This was a spin-off of a “Retire by 40” partnership I was in with a family member. Dianne and I both got motivated and dedicated a month to writing one article each per week as a test of our abilities and dedication to writing. A couple weeks into this exercise, we found several excuses, along with writer’s block, as we attempted to create new content. We did buckle down and completed the entire month (since we are stubborn), however that content made it no further than a file folder in our computer.
Meanwhile, I became an avid reader of the blogs Financial Samurai , ERE, MMM, Retireby40 , and Dividend Mantra. They of course have deservingly become wildly successful with years of effort, building their own loyal community.
What changed for me? Now I am typing my 50th article about topics that are of importance to me, feeling compelled to share with the entire universe. I thought it might be interesting to share my perspective of blogging after nearly six months and reaching this 50-article milestone. I will also review the benefits and some downsides to blogging.
There are some great benefits to blogging
I have noticed that as I write about a subject I attempt to have a beginning, middle, and end to the discussion. It is easier for the reader to follow when the ideas flow naturally and are related to the main point of the article. What is the message I am trying to send? This experience has forced me to organize my thoughts and create an outline for each article before I start to write. The side benefit is this seems to have carried over into my personal life, helping me to organize my thoughts when discussing a point. Granted, I don’t claim to have achieved perfection with this in my writing!
When you begin to organize your thoughts, share your vision and goals, and project your voice into the PF community, a weird thing happens during the process. Unless you are a complete hypocrite, you become accountable to yourself and to the community who reads your blog. I know that ARB , Financial Velociraptor , Steve, Kraig , and others will call me for “BS” if three years from now I am still working full time in my present position. I have to be sincere in my articles and in the comments I make for this site and others. It is best to be honest and transparent in your writing.
This great PF blogging community supports each other. I have had some great conversations with folks on their sites, on our site, through email, and over the phone. This really surprised me once I started to engage with others in conversational threads. They are not your competitors!
If you have a passion that you can’t seem to contain, blogging is an excellent way to share your ideas. You have a blank canvas to discuss what you want, where you want, and when you want. You have your own “soap box” to preach your words and message. When you have others commenting on your articles about your passion, that is icing on the blogging cake!
Should you become the next Warren Buffet or Steve Jobs, your blog posts will provide a nice historical journalized snap shot of your life. This becomes a virtual diary for everyone to discover and read. I recommend that you better not curse or throw too many people under the bus. I am curious how it will seem to me reading my posts ten years from now. What will my daughters think when someday they find this site?
There are many small milestones that happen when creating a blog and website. This includes the day it goes live, your first comment, your first subscriber, setting new records on page views, being added to someone’s blogroll, a post going somewhat viral, and a mention in another’s blog article. I have also enjoyed direct email conversations with readers and other blog writers this year. Finally, the day you make your first penny of revenue from your blog is great milestone. These simple milestones help me to stay motivated.
There are of course some drawbacks to blogging
The first thing that comes to my mind is the amount of time it takes to write articles and administer a blog. When you add responding to comments, reading other sites and commenting, conducting research, and the many other details, you realize how much work and time it takes. Blogging while you are working full time coupled with the other demands of life sucks up much of your free time, so you better be motivated and have some extra energy reserves. While everyone else is playing, you are on your computer creating new content. I don’t know how many of my fellow PF bloggers are able to crank out as much quality content as they do.
Ok, so you have decided to start your own website and blog so that you can make your first million dollars. My best advice is to already have the million dollars and not put all your dreams into hitting it big with blogging. It is possible, and many have done it before. JD Roth comes to my mind as an example from launching and selling the Get Rich Slowly website. To make money you need to be in it for the long haul, working for years for much less than minimal wage. It is not impossible to accomplish, just really hard!
There are plenty of disappointments along the way with building a website and blog. How do you get readers to find you? How do you get people engaged enough to comment and help build your own community? I have often found myself stuck with writer’s block and not able to communicate my thoughts when writing a draft article. At other times, the ideas and words flow like water. There is a steep learning curve, and I am still in the introduction stage of my blogging life. How do you write for certain key words, SEO, to attract readers, and to monetize the site in a way that works for both you and your readers?
Question: Would I start a blog again knowing what I know now?
The short answer: Yes!
The long answer: Yes, it has been an amazing experience for me. I have made many contacts with fellow PF bloggers and I feel like we are sharing in each other’s journeys. As I mentioned, we thought about this for the last six years and did not begin until earlier this year. I think the timing finally was right for us to create this blog, instead of six years ago. We are financially set and near the end of our careers. We know we will have more time once we leave our employers for good.
I knew there could be some income potential from our site in the future. That was not the primary reason why I launched this blog. It is great to have my own forum to discuss money and random topics that are important to me now. I knew this would not be a shortcut to make extra money without a lot of hard work. However, I do have the ability to stick with something for years for the potential reward. My real estate business is a good example.
The rewards for our blog may not be monetary at all in the end. Who knows how this will develop in the long term? No matter what, I plan to enjoy the journey. I appreciate everyone who has visited our site, the loyal readers, and all of the comments. Thanks!
Photo Copyright : Marianne Oliva