I did a webinar for eHow Money a year ago. It was a great opportunity to share my story about how I became a financial writer. I never really thought about it before but it was somewhat of a transition. My entire work history is in corporate finance and now I spend quite a bit of my time writing on personal finance.
So, today I figured that I would take sometime to go through my journey and retrace my steps of growing my blog from virtually no readers (except my family!) to a solid readership size.
I Started Out Blogging!!
I had a solid background in finance considering that my undergraduate degree was in Finance. My first step was to start my blog, Buy Like Buffett. I started Buy Like Buffett in November of 2008. I created the site as a way to share my thoughts on personal finance and to answer any questions that people may have had. I never really saw blogging as a big money maker. I knew nothing of Google Page Rank, Alexa ranking, Search Engine Optimization, or any other rating services. I just thought of blogging as a way to express my thoughts on any finance related topic.
Contacted Sites About Guest Posting
I contacted a few sites about writing a guest post for their site and often never heard back. It is difficult to get guest posting opportunities when you do not have any content out there. It’s like applying for a job fresh out of college. Companies would always say you don’t have any experience and I would always wonder how am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me? Getting a guest posting job on a respected site is not easy. The blog owner has to trust you and believe that your content is something that will benefit their readers. I did not have much online content when I started blogging so that was quite difficult.
My Blogging Career Is Over?
I started off writing consistently day after day and figured that my readership would grow rather quickly. Well after blogging for a few months in anonymity, I grew tired of waiting and slacked off. I would write a post once a week and then once every two weeks. I even had one month where I only wrote one post. These were not long posts either!
Lots of bloggers burn out after a few months because they get discouraged. You feel like you are writing content that no one will ever read. You start to feel like you are wasting time and that your site will never be recognized by mainstream publications.
This was the point where I almost gave up but fortunately I did not.
Blogging Take 2!
I recommitted myself to blogging and determined to stick with it for the long haul. I started writing 3 to 4 posts every week regardless of how I felt. I wrote content consistently despite my low readership. I knew that eventually more people would read my blog so I stuck with it.
Finding My Voice
One of the toughest things about writing starting off for me was finding my voice. I didn’t want to duplicate the writing style of other bloggers. That’s copycatting and I am sure they would not have appreciated that. I didn’t want to steal other people’s ideas. I wanted to have my own unique take and write about whatever I was thinking about that week. Scary, huh? No need to worry. I do keep the topics to only finance. Sometimes I will throw in the occasional sports reference.
Applied For Freelance Writing Jobs
After I had one year’s worth of content on my site, I started looking for financial writing jobs. I visited a bunch of different job boards looking for writing jobs. I was willing to take any financial writing job as long as it increased my exposure. Some of the jobs were very low paying but I saw it as an investment in building my name and the Buy Like Buffett brand.
Sold My First Ad
You read that correctly. I made my first ever ad sale. A site contacted me about buying an ad for $10/month. I was so excited that I leaped at the offer. It was the first ad that I had ever sold. I realize now that I sold myself way too short but I was happy for any income. When you aren’t making any income blogging, you appreciate every dollar.
Networked With Other Bloggers
I started visiting other financial sites. I must have visited thousands and thousands of financial websites from the very good to the not so good. I almost always learned something from visiting a site. I begin to email bloggers whose sites that I enjoyed reading. I didn’t ask them to link to my site or promote my site. I just wanted to let them know that I enjoyed reading their sites and out of this I built some pretty solid blogging friendships.
I Got Hired!
I ended up getting hired by a couple of financial sites and started building my portfolio as a financial writer. Over the next 10 months, I wrote hundreds of articles for different financial sites. I wrote articles on everything from investing to shopping to taxes. If it was in the financial arena, I wrote it. At its peak, I was writing 20 articles every week.
More Exposure For Buy Like Buffett
Myrate of pay for articles increased and a few of my articles were picked up by national publications and I was on my way to becoming a professional writer. I had a few articles that were run by Forbes, New York Times, and a couple of other large sites.
Emails, Emails, Emails
I am not sure what changed but after about 18 months of blogging I started to get bombarded with offers. I started getting a bunch of advertisers contacting me about buying ad space. I have gotten ad requests for electronic cigarettes, tennis shoes, pornography. I get about 25 book review offers a week, tons of article submissions, guest post requests, and speaking opportunities.
Networking Part II
I stumbled across the Yakezie Network in June of 2010. I met a ton of great financial bloggers and found some new blogs that I never knew about. That network taught me a lot about Alexa Ranking and Page Rank. I had no clue what those things were until the past 6 months.
Since then I have written a book, an e-book, and I am working on a second one. I have cut down on the number of sites that I write for because it just became too time consuming. I spend more time now writing articles for Buy Like Buffett now. I still write for a few sites because I enjoy it.
I plan on writing for Buy Like Buffett for a long time. I may add a writer next year to bring additional expertise to the site. I plan on spending more time developing the BLB Forum. Hopefully, the site will continue to grow and I will look to cover more of the financial stratosphere in the future.
The fascinating part to me is that the same people who are reading this post now would have never seen these if I had written the same thing just 2 years ago. It’s proof that persistence does pay off!
Photo by Bakingforgood