Well, here I am again. It wasn’t too long ago that I was lamenting that fact that I had let my blog lapse and made a solemn vow not to let it happen again. It’s funny how a person can be so sure of themselves in a moment and yet still manage to come up short.
I didn’t start writing this post to beat myself up, though. I’m old enough now to be a little more accepting of my faults and realize that they are something that I just need to keep working on in order to improve. What’s frustrating is how often it’s the same type of issue that I face over and over again. Just when I start to get traction on my blog and feel like things are starting to come together is around the time I start to drop the ball.
I did keep this blog going even when I wasn’t writing and occasionally I would guiltily take a look at the homepage and wonder if I should write a bit. I haven’t managed to do it until now but I have been thinking about some of the reasons that I stopped working here as well as doing a bit of self-reflection. Rather than simply start things back up like nothing happened, I thought it might be helpful to myself and perhaps others to talk through this reflection just in case someone else could relate.
Life is Tough
This probably won’t be a revelation to most of you but I have to admit that I sometimes forget that not everything in life will go according to plan. My family has been going through a rough patch recently and it doesn’t yet show any signs of letting up. There are some things that you just can’t prepare for ahead of time and the stress level has been high.
I’m not sharing this for anything in the way of sympathy but rather to highlight how priorities tend to reveal themselves when they have to. When the going got tough, I refocused my energy back inward toward my family. In a sense, I reverted to survival mode when my family was in crisis.
The weird thing about survival mode is that you really aren’t too concerned with anything that isn’t directly related to surviving and for me, that meant my family and my full-time job. Now that I’m starting to see a little farther than two seconds ahead I’m able to look at my big personal picture again.
Starting a Blog is Tough
Last year, before my hiatus, I felt things were starting to click here at Family Financier. I was getting comments from people that stumbled upon my blog and found some useful information. This was an incredible feeling for me and to be honest, it was also a little scary!
I started my blog mainly to help myself stay accountable on my journey towards eliminating my debt and becoming financially free. My idea was that if I was constantly learning about personal finance and improving my own situation other people might be able to benefit from my journey. When I was going through a bit of a budgeting craze, for instance, I learned about budgeting methods like the 50-30-20 budget and budgeting tools like YNAB that I am still using to try to keep myself on track. As I found out about them, I felt comfortable sharing that knowledge with others which in turn gave me further confidence that I was on the right track.
I learned though, that starting a blog is hard because in the beginning there is a lot of time and money invested and because I envisioned it becoming some sort of income stream at some point it would get frustrating to not have even made a dollar. I know that probably sounds selfish and self-serving, but it is a future goal that I hope to achieve at some point down the road. I greatly enjoy writing, editing, and tinkering with this blog but at a certain point, I needed to prove to myself that I could develop some type of income aside from my full-time job.
It turns out that taking a break from the blog might have been a sound financial decision for me and might also have given me the renewed enthusiasm I need to squash my debt finally!
I Can Make Money Freelancing
Around the time my blog writing started to dry up, I was also looking into ways to make money online through freelance writing. There may have been a little desperation. I looked at other blogs that paid for single articles, job boards, and even considering going back to the old content mill HubPages that I dabbled with years ago.
Ultimately, I decided that if I was going to be freelancing, I needed to find some high-quality gigs that could last for longer than a single post. I wasn’t really confident enough yet to reach out to individuals with a pitch. I needed something a little more structured. Eventually, I landed on Upwork.
For me, Upwork ended up being a perfect place for me to discover what it meant to be a freelance writer. Submitting proposals, setting prices, and sifting through endless jobs that offered peanuts was a great learning experience. I took a couple of jobs that did pay peanuts, in fact, just to get a feel for the process. Eventually, I managed to land a gig that paid a decent sum for a fair and straightforward bit of work. Over time, that gig turned from an initial $40 article into an ongoing gig that pays over $400 every month (I’ll go into more detail with this in a future post). Once I got those first few jobs out of the way and saw some success I managed to find another decent gig that pays for ongoing work as well. Between the two of them, I’m now averaging around $1,000 each month through freelance writing.
Making money freelancing helped me prove to myself that I could write and that other people might actually value my work more than I did myself. Really, my mind is still blown that other people are paying me money to write for them! I’m thinking that I will start to track and report this income here on the blog as a motivator for myself and others that money can indeed be made on the internet for those that are looking!
I’m Still in Debt
Despite some financial success, I’m still in debt. In fact, I’m in worse debt than I was when I started my blog. Some of it was out of my control, but then again some of it definitely wasn’t. We make choices every day about whether or not we are on the road to being free from debt or destined to stay trapped. Without my constant reaffirmation, while writing here, I definitely lost my way.
The more I think about debt, the more I realize that it controls my life. I could never walk away from my job, for instance, because we wouldn’t be able to survive without it. All the while that we have debt, we aren’t able to save for our future because our past debts will continue to haunt us. I’m scared of that future, and if you are in debt, you should be pretty scared too.
Something has to give, and I simply have to get some extra accountability on myself to make this happen. I’m really considering bringing out some debt numbers here publically to motivate me to get the total down to zero or risk shaming myself. It’s worked for others, and I think that it could work for me as well. In the beginning, it might be a mark of shame, but eventually, it will become a badge of honor once all is paid.
Having My Blog is Important to Me
I have really enjoyed expressing myself here on my blog, and I feel like it is critical for a person to get their thoughts out of their head and put them down on paper. If anyone can benefit from my thought purge, then that is pretty amazing too!
More than income or enjoyment, my blog is really representative of my strengths and weaknesses, and my ability to keep going with it will mean that I’m on my way towards conquering some of my weaknesses. It is a display of willpower as well as my own pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.
Hopefully, this will be a useful milestone for me on my financial journey. It’s clear that I’ve learned a few things over the past months and I’m more committed than ever to being my family’s rock and leading us to freedom!