I was listening to The Millennial Money Minutes Podcast the other day – specifically the interview with J. Money.
For those of you who don’t know – J has been blogging FOREVER.
(OK, only nine years but that is super old in personal finance blog years).
This means that J has seen the coming and going of many personal finance blogs.
Not All of Us Make It
If you haven’t noticed, not all of the shiny, new personal finance blogs make it.
New bloggers typically start out with a bang, pumping out content multiple times per week.
Then life happens and some of them lose their steam and fizzle out.
Then a rush of new bloggers come in to fill the void and repeat the cycle.
New Blogs Are The Realest
J made a comment in the podcast episode about how new blogs are often the realest.
It seemed he attributed that to blogs jumping into money making enterprises as they mature.
It’s a bummer that some of the realness is lost in the desire to make money and bring in more traffic.
(I highly recommend you check out that podcast episode if you are a blogger. J is awesome and has a great perspective on blogging).
Why I Stopped The #RealTalk
I remember when Millennial Boss first launched.
I had that new blog steam but also that new blog confidence.
I was a completely anonymous, tiny blog, so I put my heart and my uncensored opinions out there, in every single post.
I remember some of the first few comments I received from other personal finance bloggers, who lauded my openness on difficult topics.
Their support encouraged me to post more boldly and more often.
I was hooked by the energy.
Instagram Outed Me to My Friends
My blog wasn’t growing rapidly but it was growing steadily. I still didn’t use pictures of myself or my first name. I was small and had the freedom to write about whatever I wished.
Then one day, Instagram outed me to a few Facebook friends. They found my blog.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook purchased Instagram and now they are completely linked.
This means that if you make an Instagram account for your blog, your Instagram will be promoted to your Facebook friends – unless you actively choose to turn off this setting.
Something like “your Facebook Friend Sally Joe is on Instagram” shows up in their feed.
This happened to me and suddenly Facebook friends from all stages of my life – college, after-college, high school, were now following my blogging Instagram and reading my blog.
For three reasons –
- Personal finance bloggers tend to have opinions on money that 99% of America does not agree with and consider normal.
- Some of my “best posts” were about very sensitive and difficult topics that I probably wouldn’t talk to other people about – especially my list of Facebook friends.
- I had a very humble upbringing and I’m very drawn to down-to-earth, non-materialistic friends. Now, these friends know that I write a blog dedicated to money and perhaps that casts doubt about how non-materialistic and down-to-earth I really am. I don’t blame them.
Reactions to My Blog By Friends and Family
Reactions to my blog have been all over the place. Some people absolutely embraced the blog and they loved it.
I’ve heard that I’ve inspired people I know to push themselves in their careers, negotiate their salaries, or get their finances in order. Those responses have been completely uplifting and supportive.
On the other hand, I’ve heard that my blog has offended some dear friends and family. I feel terrible.
I share bold opinions on this blog, opinions that I would likely never share in person.
Blogging is weird in that way.
Your Overshare Has Helped Me So I Overshare
Have you ever googled something specific – got to the page – and then realized it was the most generic article ever and you didn’t get any details or actionable advice?
I’ve done that many times and I never wanted this blog to be like that. I wanted to provide readers step-by-step instructions on how I do different things and also provide my unfiltered thoughts and emotions about money so others can relate.
I know whenever I’ve found a real article where someone has openly shared the nitty gritty details or put their emotions and opinions out there – I’ve really appreciated it.
In fact, my first-ever personal finance blog discovery was the debt payoff blog nomoreharvardebt.com and it’s written like a diary of this guy’s life over 10 months of paying off debt. It was real and it was super actionable for me.
My fellow financial bloggers – your overshares allow me to set realistic financial goal posts for myself and motivate me to achieve big things. I like the Glassdoor nature of personal finance blogs. (Glassdoor is a website where salary and interview details are shared by company and job title).
Now, as I mentioned in my last post about taking radical responsibility, sometimes we can’t handle other people’s realness and bring our own biases into the mix but that’s up to us to address.
One Reason I Share Is To Help Women
One reason I share details such as my net worth and compensation over the years, is to help and encourage women.
I’m not sharing complete specifics but enough to be actionable and hopefully help people.
In the past, women I know have shared details with me that have encouraged me to ask for more, negotiate my salary, and take career risks.
Heck, at my first job out of college, the person leaving the position told me her exact salary in the interview and told me to not accept anything less.
(There is a backstory that she was paid unfairly compared to her peers and it took her two years to even it out).
I took her advice, asked for more, and got the money. Thank you to her!
I’m Not Ready To Share Everything
Here’s the thing though – I still work full-time, so I can’t share everything with you.
It was cool to use a few pictures and my first name when I was a tiny blogger but now my blog is becoming more popular and it’s less cool. People in my life have now found my blog organically and have expressed mixed opinions on that openness.
(I also relaxed a little bit over the past few months and started sharing the state I lived in, more details about my personal life, and clearer pictures of me. I’ve been trending less anonymous over time).
Even though I’m trying to help people by sharing my personal story, not everyone finds that endearing.
There are also crazy internet sleuths out there who will try to out bloggers (I’m calling you out, Redditors) and that makes me nervous.
It also certainly doesn’t help that I’m a FIRE blogger and the entire concept of FIRE is amassing enough money to potentially be able to retire early.
Even though I’m clearly ambitious and driven about my career, I could now be labeled a flight risk by people who don’t really understand FIRE (or atleast what FIRE means to me).
So I’m Going Back Into the Blogging Closet
I’m sure you’ve noticed the pictures of me are now stripped out from my site and my first name is gone.
If you know who I am, please keep it to yourself.
I’m sure there will be a point where blogging and full-time work will coexist for me but the time is not in 2017.
I’m not making enough money on this blog (only $1500 per month right now) to take the risk with my career.
Trust me, I love blogging – It’s one of my favorite hobbies – But unless 1000 of you sign up to track your net worth with Personal Capital this month, I can’t put all of my eggs in that basket.
In all seriousness – If you’re not tracking your net worth with Personal Capital yet, you need to get on that. I check that app on my phone almost daily and it’s free.
So in short, I’m not going anywhere and this stripped down period of the blog may be temporary, but I wanted to share why I’ve made these changes.
You can also still chat with me 1×1 about the following topics:
- Career hacking
- Debt payoff
So Why Are New Blogs More Real?
Going back to J. Money’s comment in the podcast – I think another reason that new blogs are more real is that they are anonymous.
New bloggers don’t have concerns over who will read the article and what they will think and how they need to approach the subject next time they see that person.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m typically someone who readily shares my opinion in the real world – but I also have the EQ (emotional intelligence) to know that you don’t just drop your net worth at the dinner table.
Until I figure out what I want to do, I’m going to blog slightly more anonymously. I still want to be on podcasts and grow the site – I just won’t have my face plastered on the second page of Reddit next month (I hope).
For those of you who manage to use your complete full name on your blog and have a full-time job – tell me your ways.
I’m looking to hear from bloggers and readers alike. Do you think it’s possible to grow your site and stay anonymous at the same time? Do you feel conflicted when posting overshares?
Also – if this article somehow inspired you to start a blog, check out my tutorial on how to start your own site. Even though the anonymous-part has been hard for me to navigate, I still love blogging more than Oprah loves bread. It will change your life, I promise you that.
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