It was a little over 15 months ago that I started my plans for my first personal finance blog. I had been reading more and more personal finance blogs in the months leading up to the decision and I finally made the leap. It was certainly a leap of faith. Spending over $100 without any guarantee of building anything successful was a huge step for a person who was barely making ends meet. That $100 was more than my wife and I spent eating out in an entire month, so that says something about how much spare money we had to throw around.
Over the past 15 months, my life has slowly changed. It’s overall been a great experience. I’ve had ups and downs, but as I look back on how it has changed my life, I couldn’t be happier that I made the decision to start blogging. Below you will see the major ways that my life has changed. I imagine all of you who currently blog will also share some of these things. If you haven’t start your own blog, you may want to start.
Another Revenue Stream
There’s very few things that can help a young married couple living in the north east more than an extra revenue stream. While my income from blogging is still years away from replacing my day job income, if I make an extra $100 per month, then that is $100 more than I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Most importantly, while blogging may not be the best hourly rate for money, it does offer extra income without having to get another job. When I am home, I can either waste my time by watching sports (which I do occasionally) or I can invest my time into my blog. I’m not desperate for money, nor do I need to get a second job waiting tables or doing some other low-paying job, but if I can earn a little extra money from my living room, why not?
A More Willing Investor
As a result of making a little extra money from a blog (who would have guessed, right?), it has led me to explore new investment opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. As many young adults are also guilty of, I used to be afraid of investing too much of my money. As a result, I had a large (and probably unnecessary) emergency fund that was going unused and extra savings that wasn’t being invested.
Blogging changed all of this. Remarkably, making money from a blog did not seem like real money. It was in separate accounts and often never in real, hard cash. This meant that losing this money would not mean a lot emotionally to me. If I lost all of my money the next day, it wouldn’t be the end of the world because it was extra cash. It was hard-earned money, but because it was a little money earned from doing something that I enjoyed, I was willing to put it in higher risks in order to continue to increase my income.
As a result, I now have almost half of my net worth invested in various investment funds and a rapidly-growing retirement fund. While I was already starting to save for retirement through my Roth IRA’s and employer’s 403(b), I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am without blogging. Now that I have started investing and am working to build passive income streams, I am starting to generate even more revenue and am excited to see how fast I can produce large amounts of dividends.
Thus, not only will I generate more revenue from the dividends, but it will make a huge difference in how it expedited my personal process for overcoming my reluctance to invest aggressively. In other words, I would have missed out on the returns that I am receiving right now (and the few years to come).
Another side-effect of blogging has been an increased ability to write. While I am still years away from considering myself a professional writer (if ever), I can now formulate my thoughts much easier than before. While in grad school, I always struggled with the flow of my papers. I was great with coming up with big ideas and/or concepts, but being able to flesh these out fully was always a struggle. That is why some instructors despised my writing style. It was choppy and lacked flow. Over the course of the past year, I have written tens or hundreds of thousands of words spread out over the number of my blogs. As one would expect, with practice I have improved my writing.
Lastly, I have also seen a huge increase in professional skills. Just recently, I started looking for new positions available in the area. I recently applied for a position that I was only qualified for with my blogging experience. In case you are wondering, no, the job description wasn’t asking for people with “blogging experience.” Instead, it wanted someone who is experienced with website management as well as marketing experience. These are just two of the many professional skills that I have developed as a result of blogging. While my interview was postponed because of Sandy, I expect to have good odds of getting the job (but who can say for sure). Getting this job would mean another pay increase, with the more job opportunities years to come.
While I could go on and on about the many ways that blogging has changed my life, suffice it to say that there has big changes in my life solely because of a decision to start my own financial blog. Perhaps most importantly, is the big changes that WERE UNEXPECTED. I never would have imagined that managing my own blog would help me get a new job. I never would have imagined that I would be investing this high of a percentage of my income.
If you have been blogging for a while, in what ways has it changed your life?