Happy Saturday and welcome to the 32nd episode of the ‘Blogger Confessions’ interview series on the blog. Today, I’m bringing in Jackie from JackieBeck.com to talk about blogging and how they’ve managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger. 

Jackie, take it away.

I’m Jackie Beck, and I’m a Gen X empty nester who lives in Arizona with my husband and our high-energy dog. Luckily, my son lives nearby. I’ve been strictly self-employed for about the past 4 years. Before that, I worked for a local startup in a pretty wide variety of roles while also running my own business on the side. I love, love, love traveling. My favorite place is Antartica, where I went after my husband and I paid off our house.

Blogger Confessions with JackieBeck.com

1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.

I write for Gen X women who are in debt and struggling to get out. Basically, my target audience is a previous version of me. 

I feel like Gen X really gets ignored, and that’s definitely sad. There ARE other people in the world besides Millennials and Boomers, although you’d never know it reading the news. 

So many of us are struggling with debt (our own, our children’s in the form of Parent Plus and co-signed student loans) while also trying to support kids, help out aging parents, save for fast-approaching retirement years, deal with our own issues, and live life too. 

People often feel alone and ashamed. I want them to know they are not alone, that they’re doing the best they know how and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. There IS hope for the future, and it is possible to get out of debt at all kinds of ages.

2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?

I think it’s that people can really identify with me. I’m not just someone spouting off personal finance concepts that people “should” do. I’ve actually been there, done that, and come out the other side with a bunch of lessons learned and a positive result. I actually care, and I hope it shows. I try to provide a whole lot of motivation during the debt payoff process, along with actionable information. 

3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?

Writing-wise? Headlines. My headlines are still not where I’d like them to be, but at least they’ve improved a whole lot from their spectacularly awful starting point.

Headlines are critical because if you can’t get someone to read the headline, they’re not going to read the first sentence of your article. If you can’t get them to read that, they’re not going to read the next one, and so on.

If you want readers, you’ve got to get their attention with something that interests them.

4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?

No, I don’t publish my net worth on my blog, although do I track it every month. I don’t think publishing it would help any of the people I’m writing for, really. Also maybe I’m paranoid 🙂

5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?

I did finally start heavily monetizing it this year with ads through Mediavine. (They are GREAT to work with.) Prior to that, I had a few affiliate links that brought me little or nothing. I still have those, and they still do nothing much.

I’m not very good at affiliate marketing, but that’s ok.

I guess I also technically had monetized my blog from the get go, because I talk about my Pay Off Debt by Jackie Beck app on it. I also sell my Destination Debt Freedom course.

As far as why goes, I like to be able to pay my bills. Also, I do think you should get paid for your work, even if that work is helping people.

6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!

Wouldn’t everyone rather be loved? I would, at any rate. It’s kind of human nature. Publicity-wise, it’s probably better to be controversial in that it gets people talking about you or whatever your topic is.

7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?

I really struggled with this question, because I can’t think of anyone. 

When we were getting out of debt, I literally told everyone I knew that we were in debt and paying it off. I told total strangers in person too. I could not stop talking about it. (Which definitely helped us succeed.)

If I was ok with announcing my debt to the world and blabbing about it non-stop, I’m sure not worried about anyone reading my blog. The more the merrier, and please tell two friends 😉

8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?

Let’s start with the worst first. My REAL most embarrassing post is long gone, and it was on a previous iteration of the blog. It was basically me whining about whhyyyy wasn’t I succeeding as a blogger.

Good thing pretty much no one read it 🙂 

The most embarrassing post that’s still published is probably “How to Stick to Your ‘Get Out of Debt’ Resolution This Year”. It’s trying to be helpful, but is likely too boring to keep anyone’s attention or be memorable. You gotta remember things if you’re going to do them. It’s also short on detail and actionable steps, so that makes it a tie for least favorite too.

My favorite post is the 12 Truths About Getting Out of Debt. It’s easiest for me to write when I’m frustrated or annoyed, and I definitely was both when I wrote that post. My passion definitely comes through, and it has a ton of ideas and information in it that can completely change peoples lives if they take action. 

9: Explain your writing process

My writing process usually goes like this: write down random ideas daily, finally pick one to write about, write a pretty crappy post about it, edit it a few times, proofread it and miss lots of errors, create a pin & Facebook / Twitter images for it, publish that post even though it’s still pretty crappy, promote it and try out multiple headlines for it, go back and re-write huge chunks of the post & add a whole lot more, republish the post, fix still more typos, find an even better headline, and promote it endlessly once I think it’s ok.

I can’t tell you how long that typically takes, but it’s not unusual for me to spend 8-10 hours the second time I publish it. I have a lot of posts that need republishing.

10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?

Can I tell you a secret? I don’t read any particular PF blogs regularly. I read design and DIY blogs instead because that’s what I like to do in my spare time, and sometimes I need a break from all the money talk. 

But of course, I DO read a ton of random posts by many, many PF bloggers, because I want to share the love with others on social media. The ones that stick out for me most are Budgets are SexyAmanda Page, and The Luxe Strategist.  J$ is super entertaining, I love Amanda’s stories, and the Luxe Strategist is great at weaving interesting things together.

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