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I heard a sermon at church a couple of weeks ago, and the Pastor was talking about how often we try to blame anyone or anything but ourselves when things go wrong. Whether we blame others, our circumstances, our upbringing, or even the devil himself, he said that most of the time, none of these are the true culprits. Instead, he said, “You are your greatest enemy.”
This got me thinking, and I kind of tuned out the rest of that sermon. How often have I tried to blame others for the circumstances that I am in? From money mistakes I have made, to giving up too early on endeavors because of self-doubt, I started to realize that I really was my own worst enemy.
For years, I have read online about people with side hustles such as buying real estate properties and flipping them, refurbishing and reselling items from Craigslist, or even starting a blog online. I told myself that I didn’t have the money to put towards real estate, the know-how to refurbish items, and wasn’t a good writer, so I definitely couldn’t start a blog.
Meanwhile, I carried on with life and spent my free time watching TV instead of hustling. I found myself becoming more and more restless, as I wanted to make an impact but was secretly afraid at the amount of work that would be involved if I moved in that direction.
A Deep-Seated Problem
How could I start a blog? My second grade teacher basically led me to believe that I was a terrible writer. She gave me a grade of “Unsatisfactory”, which was essentially a D, in writing. My mom even signed me up for a creative writing class after school, which she happened to teach. Even with all this additional help, my writing still stunk. I felt hopeless. So I held on to that experience in second grade to solidify my inability to achieve in any area in regards to writing.
Despite my limitations, I began to have this burning desire to start up my own financial blog, despite my lack of confidence in my writing skills. I told my wife that one day that I would do so. My mind was set. The terrible thing is I had been talking about starting one for the last four years. Why did it take me four years to pull the trigger?
I reasoned with myself at times that because I was an amateurish writer, I wouldn’t be able to effectively communicate what I want to convey. Plus, I didn’t feel like I had enough time to pursue it like I wanted to. Tons of excellent financial blogs already existed– what else did I have to add? You know what all these were? Excuses preventing me from reaching my goal.
So, right as my son was turning one and as I was busier at work than I had ever been before, I began the process of starting up this blog. It definitely did not seem like the right time to do this. But, I’m not sure it would have ever felt like the “right” time. I’m so glad I took the plunge, though. It’s been a fun ride thus far!
When I first started, setting up the website completely overwhelmed me. Everyone says it’s super easy and that there should be no problems. I paid $100 to get my site hosted and to own the domain address for a year. That was the easy part.
As I was trying to get everything set up, a funny (well, scary at the time) thing happened. Within the very first hour of working on the site, it got hacked, and I was locked out. It was incredibly frustrating calling customer support asking why I got hacked and how to resolve it. We had even paid the extra fee for hacker protection… But once we finally got everything straightened out, running the website became easier as I became more comfortable with everything.
I don’t know what my real expectations were when I started the website. As much as I was hoping that it would be a Field of Dreams moment, “If you build it they will come”, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. But what happened that first month still came as a rude awakening. Nobody came. Well some people like my mom stopped by. But for the most part, it was a pathetic number.
The Personal Finance Blogger Community
Then I started to interact with the PF community. People started to stop by and provide great feedback. People were actually reading what I have to say. You know what else, I’m becoming a better writer, or at least I feel like my posts are coming together more naturally the more I write.
You know what also helps? An amazing wife that helps with editing and the final product. So while I would love to be able to take credit for everything, I have to give a good amount of credit to my wife as well.
With that said, readership has continued to trend upward each month. Most recently in the month of October, I had over 10,000 page views in only my third month. I know there are a ton of bloggers that do way more than me in a much shorter period. Let me first say congrats because I feel like I’ve been busting my tail to get readership to where it is now. But the awesome thing for me is it’s not a competition.
I can only control what I can control. I’m extremely proud of where I am especially in light of my goal for the end of December was 6,000 page views. Having surpassed that, I now hope to have 20,000 page views by the end of December.
Is there a lot that I still need to learn? Absolutely. Most bloggers say it takes a year before you start making money. To date, I’ve made a whopping $1.11 from Amazon affiliates. Some would say I’m ahead of the game 🙂
Admittedly, I have not spent enough time trying to figure out how affiliate marketing works. I was able to quickly get approved by Amazon. But since then, I have tried to get approved by Google AdSense, but sadly I was rejected. Additionally, I have applied to numerous advertisers through CJ affiliates and have gotten rejected by all of them. So clearly, I the research that I’ve done has not gotten me on the right path. If anyone has any good tidbits or things that I can watch/do, please share.
Search Engine Optimization
Additionally, I feel like a neophyte when it comes to optimizing the website’s SEO. I have run the programs, but I haven’t been able to crack the formula in order to be optimized past 69 out of 100. I’ll continue to work at it because isn’t that half the fun of learning something new?
Finally, when I see bloggers that get selected to be featured on websites like Yahoo, Huffington Post, etc., I can’t help but be a little envious. Each day I apply on HARO and have only been selected as a contributor once. So if anybody knows the formula for that, please do share.
With all that said, I hope that you as well will put away the excuses and run after whatever it is that you want to achieve. I know that I wasted precious time waiting for the “right” opportunity to create a website. I wish I had started earlier. But alas, I’ll press on and Carpe Diem.
Are you lacking motivation to achieve? What excuses are you telling yourself from reaching your full potential? Share your thoughts below.