Blogger Confessions #29: Andrew from WealthyNickel.com
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Happy Saturday and welcome to the 29th episode of the 'Blogger Confessions' interview series on the blog. Today, I'm bringing in Andrew from Wealthy Nickel to talk about blogging and how they've managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
Andrew, take it away.
Blogger Confessions with Andrew from WealthyNickel.com
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
My target reader is someone probably in their 20s or 30s. Some event in their lives has caused them to start thinking about their financial future and security – maybe they got married, or just had their first child, or they see their parents’ retiring without much money to live on.
They want to learn more about money, and realize that if they want to end up better off than their parents, they need to do something differently.
From this starting point, I hope to take the reader on a journey through debt payoff, increasing their savings, and toward financial independence (which I believe should be a goal for everyone).
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
Unlike a lot of other bloggers, I am fairly far along in the financial independence journey.
My family of four lives on a single W-2 income, but we have managed to add about $1M to our net worth over the last 5 years primarily through real estate. I want to share what we’ve learned in our journey and help others who don’t have a large primary income find ways to make extra money.
To that end, I also tend to focus more on earning more income than pinching every penny.
I advocate “reasonable frugality” – cutting expenses where it makes sense. But you won’t find articles about rinsing and reusing paper towels, or extreme couponing to stock up on 5 years’ worth of deodorant.
I haven’t gotten the chance to write about real estate on the blog yet (other than pretty much every guest post I’ve done), but since that has been a big part of our investing strategy, it will be heavily emphasized as well.
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
I have a baby blog, only a few months old.
I think in the beginning my two biggest struggles have been driving traffic and finding my voice in my writing.
There are a million ways to generate traffic, and I tend to suffer from shiny object syndrome chasing them all at once. While I think I went in with realistic expectations, it’s still a little depressing to put your heart and soul into an article, market it every way you know how, and get 5 page views on release day.
For anyone out there who didn’t already know this – gaining an audience is HARD and takes A LOT OF WORK.
On the content creation side, I think I am still trying to nail down my writing style. I tend to be a bit (ok a lot) sarcastic in person, which doesn’t necessarily translate well in writing.
I am also an engineer by training, so I often find myself getting too technical and in the weeds and have to bring it back up to a higher level. I’m sure I will find a way to strike a balance that works for me and my audience, but I think it will take longer than I initially planned
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
I have gone back and forth on this, but I do not currently share my net worth on my blog. I have shared it other places though, so it’s not exactly a secret.
What I find interesting about net worth statements is the story it tells of the journey from zero (or negative) to positive and the hard work put in to grow it over time.
Since we have been on that journey for several years now, it doesn’t seem very helpful to readers to show the destination, but not the process.
Not to say we have achieved our net worth goals, but we are certainly past the early (and hardest) stages of growth that I think are most instructive for others.
As a compromise, I do share our Extra Income Report, which shows the various ways we make money through side hustles and passive investments each month.
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
I haven’t joined any ad networks yet, but I have experimented with affiliate marketing for products I use and would recommend. One of my goals with the blog is to make money (a strangely controversial goal among some bloggers).
To date, I have earned $21 (early retirement here I come!)
I think now - while the blog is young and there isn’t much traffic - is a great time to find out what works well and what I feel comfortable doing.
While I want to make money, I don’t want to be an affiliate spam site like so many others out there. I want to build real relationships with my readers, and point them to products that either I use myself, or I have researched thoroughly and think would be a good fit for my audience.
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
I think controversial. If you are universally loved you aren’t challenging people to truly evaluate their ideas, and if you are universally hated you aren’t doing a very good job communicating (or I guess you could just be a terrible person).
Being controversial means you are challenging the status quo and putting new ideas out into the blogosphere. That said, very little personal finance advice is going to be true for all people at all times.
Being contrarian sometimes means being willing to dig into the nuance and tell people it’s ok to not follow the standard advice if it doesn’t fit their goals or lifestyle.
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
I currently blog anonymously because it is somehow easier to share intimate financial details with strangers on the internet than those closest to you. I would be slightly horrified to find out that my family and friends connected the dots and knew everything about our income and investments
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
Since I’ve only been doing this blogging thing for a short time, I don’t have a large library to pull from.
My favorite article is one I had been thinking about for quite a while before starting the blog. In it, I discuss treating your charitable giving like an investment.
My least favorite article (of the ones I’ve published at least – I have trashed a few I couldn’t figure out how to salvage) is probably the first one I put on the site – 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid. It’s not a terrible article, but it’s pretty derivative and reads a bit like a high school research paper.
The most embarrassing post is probably one I wrote purely to test out monetizing my blog. It’s not that I’m pushing products I don’t believe in – it’s a review of a few cashback apps I personally use to stack on top of credit card rewards. It’s just that this article, out of all the more substantial ones I’ve written, is the one and only article that went viral on Pinterest and has generated the most traffic to my little corner of the internet by far.
9: Explain your writing process
I am a slow writer. I mean slooooooow. My engineer brain constantly second guesses every word I write. That does have some advantages, as by the time I finish writing it’s already been edited a hundred times already.
I tend to get an idea for an article and ruminate on it for a week or so while my subconscious works out what I want to say. When I actually sit down to write, I need a few hours without distractions (which is very hard to come by with a 1 and 3 year old running around).
Once the article is written, I’ll often try to get my wife to read over it, and then work on images (for the article and for Pinterest). The day it’s published, I’ll share to social media and start promoting it wherever I can (like the great group over at the Rockstar Forums).
10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
One of the first bloggers that inspired me to start my own blog was Joe over at Retire by 40. He has a very no-nonsense writing style and is extremely honest and transparent with both the ups and downs of financial independence and early retirement.
As I get closer to my FI number, it’s a good reminder that early retirement doesn’t solve all of life’s problems. Having money only solves money problems.
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