Every now and then, I receive a reader’s email, saying they love the blog, and they admire my success in the personal finance and blogging world. While those mails make my day and are always nice to receive (so keep’em coming!), I don’t think I am a big success at all. I am doing fine for myself, generating a solid income for a couple of hours of work a day, but in order to take it to the next level, I need to add many things to my belt.
I don’t have an oversized ego
I was offered a few times to appear on TV or online videos, and on major publications that would certainly have boosted my stats and grown my readership, and said no. I don’t think I am interesting enough to go there, and would feel like a fraud if I did. When other bloggers are able to jump from national press to podcasts to TV just to talk about a debt repayment journey, I wonder how they do it. More power to them, it just isn’t my thing.
In order to become a top blogger, you need to put yourself out there, sell your image to sell your products, like Ramit does when he sells his courses on I Will Teach You To Be Rich for example. I’ll pass.
I am a girl
Have you had a look around? Almost all the big sites that sold for, generate, or are valued at over seven figures (The Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly, Bargaineering, I will Teach You to Be Rich, Financial Samurai, etc…) are owned by men. Why is the industry so male dominated? I would start with a rough guess that only half the readership may be eager to hear about shopaholism and cupcake overdoses, and even that half will not always tolerate it. Women certainly write about serious topics too, but rare are the ones treating blogging like a business. And among the successful female bloggers, the majority I know are just looking for a comfortable income and stop there, while men tend to always look for ways to improve and grow even a successful business.
I won’t push affiliate products I don’t use
Most bloggers starting to make big bucks use a ton of affiliate programs, and seem to be selling you a different credit card in every post. I refuse to do that for a number of reasons, first because I am not a seller, then because once more I would feel like a fraud doing it, and third because I would rather watch paint dry than write post after post about credit cards.
Now some bloggers have very smart and almost non intrusive affiliate policies, which is what I try to do when placing some of the affiliate links for products I do use and recommend, and they manage to place a link in every other post. I just put them when I remember them, and when they fit well.
Another barrier is that my blogs are not based in the US so I have been denied by many affiliate programs. I could also write about my UK financial products, but outside Savvy Scot, my UK readership is too small to make it worth my while.
I don’t do politics
Just like real life, the blogging world is full of petty people, gossip, and politics. I prefer to live in peace and not engage in anything like that. If you are nice to me, I will be nice to you, even if you are “below” in the hierarchy, and if you are a jerk, I will simply stop interacting with you.
The same way I don’t write fired up posts about how mean someone was to me, I don’t brown nose, and end up generally giving back more than what I received in the first place to people who deserve it.
If you want to make it big, you’ll have to be friends with everyone, even the ones you don’t like, and I just can’t do that.
I am not nice
See above, if you are an a**, you are out of my good graces.
I don’t write crappy SEOptimized posts
I write about what I want, when I want, and I don’t care if the post doesn’t have keywords that will drive 10,000 clicks from Google each month, or will be bland enough to be featured in a generalist publication. I prefer to have a small community of engaged readers than waves of SEO browsers that will stay for 36 seconds and leave.
I lack the discipline
Just look at this site’s archives for the past couple of months, most posts are the investing posts from Troy, some guest posts and the blog income recap which is a template I just have to fill in every month. I haven’t been working much because I was traveling and didn’t feel like it. Great bloggers write day in, day out, plan their editorial calendars, make a yearly strategy, and try to be everywhere from social media to live platforms. If you want to make it big into the blogging world, you need some discipline. Something I lack since the day I was born.
My niche is weird
Frugal blogs, money management blogs, family money blogs, mommy blogs… have way more chances of success than an expat living, early retirement, personal blog. I get very targeted traffic which has brought me sales for my 90 acres land development or booking for my guest house when people travel to Guatemala or plan on buying land there. That should actually be added to my blogging income! But if I wanted to monetize only with adsense and affiliate, I should have a more generalist blog, with personal finance advice for people from 18 to 75.
I won’t do more
Serial hustlers in the blogging world have several blogs, staff writing gigs, they edit podcasts or video blogs, attend every conference, network, contact the press… I love writing in the peace and quiet of my little house, as a lazy introvert. What I get in exchange for the effort I put in (several thousand dollars for a few hours a day) is a fine balance and I won’t do 5 times more for a chance at twice the money. I am happy they way things are.
Considering all that, I haven’t done too bad from myself, but I guess that is as far as I could go without changing.