In an effort to bring the best of the best in blogging to our readers, we are presenting an interview series with Plutus Awards winners to highlight their efforts as well as share tips and tricks of theirs to the blogging community they serve. Since winning a Plutus Award takes a lot of hard work, these bloggers may share some insight that could inspire you to win your very own!
J Money blogs over at Budgets Are Sexy and is also the founder of RockstarFinance.com. He loves talking about saving, early retirement, getting out of debt, hustling, and his personal favorite – growing your net worth. He’s been in the game a long time, making personal finance fun and well… sexy.
1. Can you tell us about your blog and what Plutus Award you won?
I graciously accepted the Lifetime Achievement award last year for having been in the blogging game for close to 100 years now (every blogging year = 10 human years, right?). It was a cool award to achieve, and I only felt old for about a month afterward 🙂 I run the sites BudgetsAreSexy.com (created 2008), and RockstarFinance.com (created 2013), all around making personal finance fun and empowering, and had no idea these projects would change my life forever. I owe my career, my future, my healthy wallet, and most importantly my friendships to this community. Extremely grateful.
2. How did you feel winning the award knowing it was from your peers?
It felt really good, not gonna lie. I was smack in the middle of one of those “what am I going to do with my career?” type-moments, and receiving this gave me the kick in the ass I needed to keep going. I was literally contemplating selling all my projects and just taking a break for a while, but thank God I didn’t. Our new Rockstar forums, Community Fund, and Blogger Directory are all due to the recent fire this award help sparked. Thank you!
3. Where are you now? Are you still doing the same blog? How has it changed?
Yup, still blogging at BudgetsAreSexy.com every week, as well as curating for Rockstar Finance and managing all our new initiatives previously mentioned. I’ve also started to incorporate more work/life balance so I don’t get close to burn out again (what I realized was pushing me towards the edge last year). In fact, just this weekend I accomplished something for the first time since starting the blog 9 years ago – I didn’t look at work stuff *once*! I think we need Plutus awards for that! 😉
4. What advice would you give someone looking to grow their blog today?
Write about stuff you *enjoy* (you’ll be spending gobs of time on it!), do at least 1-2 guest posts a month (one of the best thing *any* blogger can do, whether new or old), and then above all else – HAVE FUN!!! The extra money/perks/exposure is nice, but I think we all get too serious at times and forget the reasons we started our blogs in the first place. The more I seem to just let go and do stuff I think is cool, the more the traffic usually happens to grow along with it. No SEO/marketing hacks required!
5. Blogging can be tough. How do you keep up with motivation?
Hah – see above! Another thing I’ve done since the beginning is always making sure to have a schedule and then *sticking to it*. For the first 5 years of my blog, I literally published an article every single work day, M-F, and then eventually switched to Mon, Wed, Fridays – but I’ve never missed a single schedule. It’s been my only real rule with blogging, and without it, I’ve probably have stopped years ago. People say this is stupid and you should only write when you have something “important/good/juicy” to say, and that works great for some people, but for me, it’s all about consistency. If I slip once, I know it won’t be too long until I do it again, and then again, and then again. Very much like exercising, which unfortunately I have yet to master 🙁
6. How have you seen the landscape of blogging change since you got started?
Oh man, 9 years ago it was all about telling stories and more “diary-like” with the occasional affiliated or sponsored post, but nowadays half of what I see out there seems to be more about “how do I make money off this blog?” type strategies than the actually *blogging about money* part itself. Which is fine, I’m all about making money off your blog as a self-employed blogger myself, but as a consumer of them, I very much prefer the raw and helpful stories/tips instead. And without all the Pinterest pics and splash pages that block half of the content I’m trying to read.
On a more positive note, there’s been a tooooon of great movements that’s come about over the years like the FIRE and minimalism niches, as well as a handful of other pockets all promoting financial freedom too (the Doctor bloggers are great at this!). And more and more people seem to be comfortable sharing their real-life numbers as well, which I find to be SUPER helpful. I remember maybe 5 or 10 people sharing their net worths back in the day (one of the things that got ME interested in blogging myself!) and now there’s over 300 who are doing so – almost a third of all financial blogs out there. We’re also seeing 2-3 new blogs show up on the scene every single day since tracking them, and that’s not accounting for any of the newer media over the years either, like podcasting and social media either.
So overall the industry is very alive and active, and by and large producing some good $hit out there.
You can get a fast sense of it yourself by checking out our /feeds page: http://directory.rockstarfinance.com/feeds . As a collective we’re now publishing over 200 articles a day, and my guess is that it’ll only continue as our world still needs as much help as it can get 😉 And we truly are international too!
7. Where do you see yourself going from here? Any plans in the works you can share with us?
I’m actually just enjoying being a blogger right now! For the past 6-9 months we’ve been building out all my ideas for Rockstar Finance that’s been brewing in my head forever, and now that a bulk of it is out the door I’m just trying to enjoy it and not get too sucked into the shiny object syndrome 😉 My inner-hustler hates it, but hey – he needs to be overridden sometimes!
8. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
My two beautiful boys!!! Now 3 and 5, they’re the biggest reminders that there’s a life beyond the internet. I would be completely lost without them.
Thank you, J. Money, for giving us such great insight into what’s happening with you! If you have any questions or comments, drop ’em below.