Yes, that’s right, this blog is now just past its 1st Birthday!
For the regular readers, you’ll probably remember how it started. Back in April last year, after a few refreshing months into early retirement, I decided to give myself a little hobby to work on.
I’d been happily scribbling down plenty of notes and post ideas, thinking “I may do it someday.” But after procrastinating for a while, I just realised I should jump in and get started. And here we are.
Now, I’ll let you in on a secret…
I was a bit scared I’d run out of things to say! But the truth is, there’s now more post ideas outstanding than when I first started!
Anyway, here’s my thoughts after my first year-and-a-bit of writing this blog…
Lesson #1 – Writing is super hard!
I know some bloggers make it look incredibly easy and they can effortlessly make us laugh, feel entertained and enlightened all at the same time. And do it with only a fraction of the words that some waffling bloggers (like me) do.
But it’s true. Writing is harder than I expected.
First, there’s the discipline to work on it regularly and avoid falling into a never-ending spiral of excuses.
Then there’s getting it to make sense. It’s like having a conversation with somebody, where you know what you want to say, but you can’t find the words. And it’s not sounding right, so the other person stares at you blankly or raises an eyebrow!
Same with blogging. Some things sound great in your head, not so good on paper (screen?).
I now appreciate books and bloggers so much more since being on the other side. This is a definite skill, and something I’ll continue to work on.
Lesson #2 – Everyone is different
What I mean is, everyone’s circumstances are different. We’re all coming from previous upbringings with different beliefs and attitudes toward spending, investing and debt.
So it goes without saying, that what’s on this blog, will most certainly not suit everyone. There’s no one-size fits all. But hopefully it suits some of you!
My ideas are just that, my ideas. And they’re not written in stone. I change my mind about certain things if I’m convinced strongly enough by new information. As learning is a lifelong endeavour, I hope you do the same.
Some readers will just take a few snippets or pieces from this blog, and apply it to suit their own situation. If it helps in some small way, that’s great!
This blog will never attempt to be all things to all people.
Lesson #3 – You never know what’ll happen once you hit publish!
This one is more entertaining than anything. It’s interesting to watch unfold in real-time, which posts get the most love and which get…less love.
Back at the start, there were a few posts which got slapped around a bit on Reddit. While I can’t remember which ones, I suspect it was because I had the audacity to suggest something other than 100%-global-index-funds-and-bonds-for-everyone-all-the-time.
The point is, you can’t know in advance what everyone will think of your posts, which is kinda scary but fun at the same time.
Nowadays things are a lot calmer. For some reason, the dividend growth approach, or my blog in general, is becoming more accepted as maybe not being complete bullshit, which is nice 🙂
The irony is this approach can also be applied with index funds, so there’s not much to argue about.
Going forward, I continue to cross fingers that each post receives more love than not!
Lesson #4 – Whatever you’re into, others are too
No matter what kind of crazy, off-centre, questionable things you’re into, the magic of the internet means you’ll find tons of people like you.
So it’s just a case of finding the right people to connect with. Just like in real life, finding your group of like-minded friends to hang out with, we can do the same with blogs.
I’m grateful that you guys come here to hang out and mingle with others who have similar goals and priorities. Hopefully you learn a little and have some fun too!
The Financial Independence space in Australia is really gaining traction in the last 6 months or so, which is incredible. It’s awesome that awareness is rising and hopefully this encourages more people, young and older, to take their finances more seriously.
Lesson #5 – Feedback is invaluable
It’s amazing to receive feedback and comments about your writing.
Even negative feedback can be useful! It makes you think whether you can deliver your message better. Most times the answer is yes.
Also it pushes you to think from another angle and question your views.
Nice feedback is better of course and I really appreciate all the positive comments here on the blog! Knowing that you’ve enjoyed a post or got something out of it motivates me to keep writing.
Lesson #6 – A blog needs a human
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a lifeless, monotonous, machine-like blog.
You know the ones, the mass media pump out tons of this nonsense daily. Each article with no real story, no opinion, nothing important to say. Just un-actionable, meatless articles, complete with click-bait title.
Promise the world and deliver nothing must be the strategy.
The lesson is this – a blog without a personality or human feel, is boring.
I know the books and blogs I enjoy the most, are the ones where I feel like I know the writer. And after a while you can almost guess what they’re going to say.
Maybe I’m strange, but I like an author with a repetitive message. The core principles of a blog or book’s message shouldn’t change.
And a blogger needs to be human, with flaws and mistakes, sharing with us what they’ve learned. This makes it a much more genuine, real-life experience.
Also, I like blogs with a balance of articles. So I’ll try to keep a good array of posts going forward. I know some of you probably want to read LIC Reviews or dividend posts every week, while others will want more personal stories and some will crave numbers or strategy posts.
To keep it interesting, we’ll just do all of it!
Lesson #7 – Readers are the energy of a good blog
No I’m not sucking up. It’s the truth.
This ties in with Lesson #5. Without a great bunch of readers who stick around to comment or offer post ideas, the blogger is pretty much lost.
Engaged readers are the ones who keep the discussion going, help create new ideas and let the blogger know whether he’s doing a good job or not.
Blogging before reaching this stage is a lonely existence. So I thank you for all the feedback, comments and emails, because it helps to (hopefully) make this blog better for everyone.
This post was perhaps a bit selfish, being more about me than it is about you. But I found it interesting to look back and see what I’ve learned over this past year or so.
As I said, there’s more ideas now than when I started. So far it’s been a lot of fun. And the best part is, we’re just warming up our financial muscles, here at Strong Money!
Remember, before you can build financial strength, you need to warm up and have your strength-building plan in place.
For us, that’s a sensible low-cost lifestyle, which is built on a life philosophy that happiness doesn’t come from uninterrupted consumption, but from far more important things. Next, is a simple and effective investment strategy to meet our goals. And finally, the discipline to stay focused and stick with our plan.
We’ll be diving further into these topics and many more over the next year. Again, thanks so much for reading, and stay tuned!