Blogger Confessions #25: Adam from Minafi.com
Happy Saturday and welcome to the 25th episode of the 'Blogger Confessions' interview series on the blog. Today, I'm bringing in Adam from Minafi.com to talk about blogging and how they've managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
Adam, take it away.
Blogger Confessions with Adam from Minafi.com
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
The easy way to describe Minafi is Minafi = Minimalism + financial independence.
In addition to sharing my own story, I help millennials invest to reach FI sooner than they ever thought possible through a focused life. It’s easy to get off track from your dreams and goals - my hope with Minafi is for it to help course correct for others the same way writing does for me.
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
I love interactive storytelling. Using data, graphs and the reader stats to help shape the content. I’ve created some articles in this format and it’s been so much fun – I can’t wait to create more.
There’s something about reading an article where you can put in your own numbers and information then have it adjust that gets me excited. It reminds me of those old choose your own adventure books where your decisions would change what you read.
Aside from that, I don’t blog anonymously, I overshare personal and financial details and I dive into strategies that have helped me become financially independent at 36. I try to let authenticity and transparency drive what I write about and share.
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
The kind of content I love to create is long-form interactive – which differs a ton from much of the common wisdom for blogging which mentions “post 2 to 3 times a week”. Understanding what to spend time on that’s important for me vs what’s worked for other people has been a challenge.
For example, I could spend time publishing a few less-than-great posts, or put that time into 1 awesome post. While blogging part-time (and still being employed full-time) those are tradeoffs that have to be made on a blog. I can’t say I’ve always made the right choices there, but I am learning to better prioritize what’s most valuable for me
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
I do! Every quarter I do a full write up of everything I’m invested in, what’s changed, what I want to change, my quarterly spending, budgets, savings rate - everything. I’ve been doing this for myself for 8 years before the blog. It’s helped control spending, keep lifestyle inflation in check and be honest with myself about my progress.
It’s not always pretty either. I’ve seen my spending balloon from $40k to nearly $100k this year for our household! For someone who loves optimizing everything, seeing those numbers is a terrific motivator to change things.
By publishing those up on my blog I get the added bonus of feedback from others. Only recently I’ve gotten feedback on ways of lowering travel spending (by travel hacking) and recommendations for my portfolio that have actually helped. I would never have thought to try those approaches on my own
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
I had ads on my site for a while, but my traffic is low enough that it hasn’t been worth it financially. I’d consider adding them back later on when and if my traffic grows. For now, I have the occasional affiliate marketing link, but it’s not the priority.
For most of my career, I’ve been a software developer working at startups. In high school, I bought candy at Sams Club and recruited people to sell it across different local schools. I love hustlin’ - seeing something I’m working on grow is a huge motivator. Sometimes that growth is in $$$, but other times it’s in engagement, comments on posts, or the number of people who reply to an email. I live for that growth in things I put my time into.
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
Loved, without a doubt. If I can write the same article in these three ways (loved, hated or controversial), I’ll always go with the wording that comes off as motivational and aspirational. Motivation can still come off as a challenge to readers, but sooo many people love a good push – myself included.
A few years ago I went through a leadership training course at the company I worked for. One of the series of questions led to getting a rating from 1-9 on how much you wanted to 1) be liked by others, 2) be considered significant by others and 3) be considered competent by others.
For me, my desire to be liked by others was a 9, competence was a 7 and significance was a 3. For anyone who knows me, this is probably not a shock at all. I duck the limelight (significance), love deep relationships (likability) and strive to be great at whatever I put my time into (competence).
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
At the moment no one! I don’t blog anonymously, and even share the occasional post on my personal Facebook. There are topics I don’t go into though - like my exact salary (sorry coworkers).
I do plan to share these numbers out - including current and past salaries – and the thought of that does slightly horrify me. Even if I’m not working at the same company, releasing those numbers could cause a quite a few people to feel uncomfortable.
The more I share things the less I feel uncomfortable or horrified. I imagine shortly after sharing my salary it would become the new normal and I would no longer feel any butterflies and my stomach about it.
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
My favorite is An Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence. It’s the guide I wish I had read when starting down my FIRE journey.
I’ve recently deleted a number of old posts, but my least favorite posts are the ones that aren’t at all tied to the goal of my blog – helping people reach FI through investing, minimalism and mindfulness.
It took a while to develop that voice, and while doing it I wrote a lot of “here’s what I’m up to today/this month” type posts. While those have their place if your blog is about you, for the topic of my blog they were out of place and watered down the message.
Knowing what I know now I’d still try to incorporate things I’m doing with my life, but I’d tie it back to how it could help readers reach FI.
For example, instead of “I went to the museum this month”, I could write about “How a museum membership is a better investment than moviepass” or something equally catchy that still tells my story while helping readers.
9: Explain your writing process
I have a huge backlog of posts I keep organized in a Notion Kanban board. Whenever I have a new idea for a topic it goes in here and gets a category that corresponds to my blog.
From there I’ll do a first pass at researching topics to write about. This is similar to picking the h2 headers for the post and hits on the main points I’d write about. Sometimes I’ll do a little SEO research and include specific terms to include.
Each month I’ll select about 8 posts (2 posts a week) to write about. For each, I’ll set a publish date, and then it’ll go through the different columns on my kanban board. The different columns are:
- Idea - Placeholder for anything new
- Researched - Moved here after I’ve validated and through about the idea.
- On deck - a months worth of posts are moved here at a time.
- Post Setup - Creating the post in wordpress, adding tags, categories, URLs, etc.
- Writing - Most self-explanatory
- Editing - Every post gets a full read after it’s written. During this phase I’ll also add an image and setup a social campaign.
- Done - Everything is scheduled and nothing new needs to be done!
After that, I’ll write a manual email to my list every Monday where I introduce the posts from the past week and quickly touch on anything happening in my life. I have two mailing lists - all posts (automatic) and weekly posts (with a custom intro).
10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
It’s too hard to pick just one! For podcasts, I love ChooseFI and Afford Anything. For the unique take on data and analysis, I love Four Pillar Freedom. For great high-level, inspiration takes on financial independence I love Our Next Life. For tax strategies, I love The Mad Fientist. For comedy that always make me laugh: Bitches Get Riches.
The farther I get in my finance journey the more I’ve enjoyed reading blogs by others who write about their own growth story. There’s something inspirational about seeing someone else working hard at something. It motivates me to work harder and gives me that spark.
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