September 11, 2012, 6:32 am

Do You Go All In?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business
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In the days to come, if you come across any financial blog, you’ll be reading a lot of stuff about the latest Financial Blogger Conference (aka FinCon12) that happened this weekend in Denver. I’m not going to tell you about how cool it was because it doesn’t mean much if you didn’t come or if you are not a blogger. However, I’ll be telling you about all the thoughts that ran through my mind during those three days. Going to FinCon is literally like injecting inspiration directly into my veins. And I really needed that lately. With the newborn and a new job this year, my batteries were kind of running low and I wasn’t so hyped about my online company. It’s actually going pretty well but I guess that I just didn’t have enough energy to keep it going. I just got the spark I needed to light the fire again.

 

Speaking of which, I met with a lot of passionate bloggers over the weekend that have that fire. But one of them particularly caught my attention. His name is Derek. He caught my attention because he was the “youngest” blogger of the conference. His blog has four entries so far. We were roughly 400 bloggers at the conference and obviously there is a great mix of experienced and new bloggers. But this guy just started up writing (his blog is not even all setup yet) but he decided to go all in.

 

Going All In After a Week of Blogging

 

Blogging is surely appealing and it becomes even better when you hear about million dollar stories such as J.D. Roth, Flexo, and Jim who sold their blogs (Get Rich Slowly, Consumerism Commentary, Bargaineering) for seven figures. But my guess is that well over 75% of new bloggers in the PF world don’t pass the 18 month mark of activity. So starting a blog thinking you are going to break the bank is not really what we can call a safe career path. Most people can’t make over $500 a month and that is after working 80 hours/month. When you look at how much you make per hour, you would better off working at Mickey Ds!

 

Regardless of the statistic, Derek has made his decision. After struggling with the fact that he doesn’t really like his job and that he is not where he wanted to be with his career, he decided to move forward and ask to work three days a week so he can concentrate on his new online adventure. What is even ballsier is that he doesn’t have an up & running blog; it’s currently showing five articles on a website with a layout that needs improvement.

 

So he doesn’t have a clue on how well (or bad!) his blog is going to do.

 

He has no clue of how much he will make (or even how he will make his money).

 

He doesn’t have a clue of how much work it really requires to get there (even though he has been reading several blogs (along with mine, Yeah!)).

 

But he really does have passion. He surely has a great story to tell. He’s definitely authentic and has a unique voice. I’m actually looking forward to reading what his boiling mind will launch into the blogosphere.

 

He’s ready to put his traditional career ambitions on the backburner to pursue an exciting adventure. He’s ready to reduce his workload significantly at a high paying job. He’s ready to take the risk that his employer offers him even better condition than 3 days/week… such as a 0 days/week position. He’s ready to go all in.

 

Why Someone Would Go All In? (Without Really Knowing What’s Waiting For Him)

 

That is actually the question that comes to mind at the moment: why someone who has a good job, a lovely wife and kids wants to jeopardize everything?

 

For the sake of freedom?

 

Because he can’t wake up and smile each morning?

 

Because he finds his life boring?

 

Because “quitting your job and following your passion” is trendy?

 

I can’t answer for Derek on this one (and truly hope he reads this post and replies back ;-)). I can’t seem to understand it either. Is it because I’m too much of a coward myself to quit my job and take a leap of faith? I’m definitely freaking out about the idea of leaving my job now as I’m far from being comfortable with my debt level if I don’t have my job to cover the bills. As for Derek, he’s better than me at managing his budget as he prepared his ballsy move by stacking 6 year’s worth of savings.

 

If I don’t understand exactly why someone would totally jump off the bridge without taking a good look at how his bungee cord is attached, I can relate to one of my theories: You won’t change if it doesn’t hurt enough.

 

There are a lot of things we don’t necessarily like in our lives. It could be our weight, our job, our morning routine, the person we live with (or the person we wished we lived with), where we live, some of our friends, etc. It could be literally anything. In fact, it’s pretty rare that you can say that someone likes absolutely everything about his life. There is always something we would like to change. But here’s the problem: we are lazy. So if it doesn’t really sting, we won’t do much about it. We will tolerate it until it really bothers us or until we accept the situation the way it is.

 

I guess this is maybe the point where Derek got to. He got to a point where there was something in his life that really sucks and he wants needs to do something about it. When you get to this point, then you make the changes.

 

Don’t Tell Me You Want But You Can’t – That’s BS!

 

I actually need to apply this line to myself; it’s not that I want to quit my job but I can’t. It is not true that I can’t quit because I have a family to take care of and a mortgage to pay. The reality is that I’m not doing so bad at work and do like my job. I would prefer to have the freedom of running my own company and doing whatever I want whenever I want. But this need is not strong enough right now to sting. It’s not bad enough that I have to make a change. One day, I might take the same leap of faith that Derek did this year. But it won’t be because I have paid all my debts or because my kids have grown older and no longer have to worry about them. If I ever quit, it will be because my situation sucks so much that I need to do something about it. This is and will be true about every single move I make and will make in my life.

 

In the meantime, enough with excuses and let’s get real. Assume the fact that I’m not quitting. What about you? Are you satisfied with where you are in your life? Do you have excuses or are you taking action to make something better happen?

 

By the way, check out Derek’s blog: Freeat33.com. It’s just starting but the story that he will tell on this blog definitely worth it!

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Comments

I am content with my job and like that my blog keeps me busy in my free time. Prior to blogging my free time was spent trying to find my current job and escape my old job. After that I had a ton of time where I would just sit bored at home. Maybe one day my blog will make me rich but I am not counting on it. It would be a major plus though. I have made it 4.5 months and have no plans of quitting!

Sometimes we make changes because the current situation is too painful.

But I’ve noticed that a lot of good moves have happened when I decided that something good was taking up time I could use to do something great.

If you would prefer to be running your own business, why not move towards that instead of settling for the 2nd option?

I know you don’t hold back when you need to buy something, and maybe a bit of the same thinking with your work would help too :)

by: Financial Samurai | September 11th, 2012 (9:53 am)

Thx for highlighting Derek’s story! I think we met walking over to happy hour on Saturday.

Six years of living expenses saved up sounds good to go all in on blogging no? I think his wife blogs too.

I’m bullish on blogging, so I’m confident he will succeed if sticks with it!

Sam

by: The Financial Blogger | September 11th, 2012 (11:12 am)

@Lance,

it’s a good thing that you like your job :-). The first “wall” you will hit as a blogger is between 12 and 18 months. This is where most bloggers stop. I’m sure you can make it!

by: The Financial Blogger | September 11th, 2012 (11:14 am)

@Simply Rich Life,

That’s a pretty good point! I usually don’t think twice when it comes down to treat myself. Maybe I should use this habit when it comes down to my job!

by: The Financial Blogger | September 11th, 2012 (11:15 am)

@Sam,

It was really cool meeting you!

I think that 6 years is very solid! I was very impressed by Derek and how he built his move.

Definitely bullish on blogging! I think there is a great window here and it’s only the beginning!

Sounds like he has the drive and passion, and 6 years’ savings in the bank should help keep him afloat. I started my blog, borne out of a passion for helping people see the difference having a budget can make. My favorite moments are when people see their future on paper and realize they have a lot more potential than they ever imagined. Will i quit my day job? Only time will tell. I give it at least 2 years before I can start looking at that decision. But I definitely still have a passion for this, and I hope to carry that on for a long, long time.

Hey Jacob,

back in 2006, I’ve started this blog based on the same idea: helping others to understand their finance. Today, I want to help my readers to make more money (and hopefully they understood more their finance by now, hahaha!)

BTW, someone needs to ping Derek and tell him his site is not running. Donno what it is.

Mike, I think there will come to a point where perhaps you will get a little bored of your job, or at least not love it as I once did. Meanwhile, your online endeavors continue to grow until one day, you decide to go all in.

That day for me was when I just turned 35. I can very easily see you doing the same, if not sooner.

There’s a fine line between bravery and not-so-smart. ;)

I think Derek should have waited a minimum of three weeks to make this move. Maybe even four weeks, just to be sure. ;)

How was the game? Looked pretty exciting in the highlights.

I give Derek props. I met him at the park during the charity event (where most of you guys weren’t present — shame!). He seems very intelligent and ambitious.

I just want to add one thought though — just because you don’t like your job, does that mean that you should get into blogging? Blogging isn’t exactly the best job in the world.

Forgot to add that I met him as well. Very nice guy.

by: The Financial Blogger | September 11th, 2012 (2:57 pm)

@Financial Samurai,

My bad, I didn’t put the right link! haha! it has been updated, thx for notifying!

My goal is to reconsider my situation at 35 (unless I start to dislike my job!). You are definitely an inspiration for doing it such at a young age!

by: The Financial Blogger | September 11th, 2012 (2:59 pm)

@Mike, Martin

The good thing is that he has 6 years worth of saving. But I agree with you. I was surprised to find out that he decided to quit for blogging while he didn’t experience it. Worse comes to worse he will get his job back but I think that it would be nice to quit for something that you like. Blogging is not for everybody.

I’m very curious to see how his blog will evolve in the future. He gained me as a reader for sure!

Wow, I wish I’d met him — never would I have been so brave, but it makes me feel silly for hemming and hawing, I’m an old salt, by comparison!

by: The Financial Blogger | September 11th, 2012 (3:31 pm)

Hey Kathleen,

I guess we didn’t meet the same person! hahaha! It’s so funny to be at the same place for 3 days but not able to meet everyone!

Comment 1

“my guess is that well over 75% of new bloggers in the PF world don’t pass the 18 month mark of activity”

Sad but true, just came across an excellent blog that ties in beautify with the Dividend Monks new investing book, as matter of fact his latest post ties right in with page 124 shareholder yield – his post helps to explain it. And to boot he deals with CDN stocks, but guess what……

LAST POST A YEAR AGO very frustrating.

Yes blogging is a lot of work for little or no return.

Rob

comment nr 2

“But here’s the problem: we are lazy”

That is soooo true and I see it all the time, people on change when the pain of staying the same is too great, I appreciate your honesty, too often people are slammed as lazy or stupid for not wanting to change. Change is difficult and painful.

So as to your question for me my wife and I stumbled into happiness, when the pain of debt got too great I found Trent Hamm’s site The Simple Dollar and to a lesser degree Get Rich Slowly, both allowed us to climb out of the abyss and get our finances in order WHILE at the same time enjoying life to the max (important)

Second was the sudden realization that my wife is turning 50 next year (in Europe there is intense pressure to get rid of older workers) and the realization that she is only one corporate restructuring away from permanent joblessness and that scared the bejeebers out of me, and unlike America where you can work till you drop, once you retire here, ready or not, that it. No more work, just a small pension to survive on. (often illegal to work after retirement) It was at this time that I, again, stumbled upon Mr Money Mustache he left his high paying corporate job 10 years as he had saved enough money to retire. Problem is that he did it by saving between 65 and 70 percent of his pay for 10 years, something I can’t do. Anyways but long story short I realized even starting form almost zero we can be ready in 10 years to retire. Huge relief!!!!!

So yes to use a religious term my wife and I have been very very blessed! And to me that is something that money can’t buy.

Comment nr 3

couple of suggestions

1. can you add commentluv

2. add in a way of editing comments, very frustrating when you hit comment only to find a typo or some weird formatting that can’t be corrected

comment nr 4

How do you manage to run a series of successful blogs work almost full time and still have time for family and friends????

The business side of blog building is hugely time consuming. Conventional wisdom is to comment on other blogs but that is very time consuming (for example I spend a good 30 mins plus on this comments), then add in all the SEO stuff along with technical stuff, especially word press (I use blogger because word press is way too complicated, spend more time on tutorials than anything) than suddenly 80 hours a month is about right, and that’s all before you make any money.

Rob

PS in case you didn’t notice your post today really touched a nerve.

by: The Financial Blogger | September 12th, 2012 (5:56 am)

Hey Rob!

Thx for taking the time to add all those thoughts :-)

The worst part is that after 12-18 months of blogging, this is only the first wall you will hit. There is another one after 3 years where your blog seems mature can’t go anywhere else anymore (but that’s only an illusion).

I like Trent’s blog, he was one of my inspiration when I started mine.

I feel sorry to hear that retirement is so hard in Europe. In which country do you live?

I’ll look at your comment suggestions (I can actually edit my comments but that’s probably just because I’m admin.).

I think I’m just really good at optimizing my time. I’m spending a lot of time with my family and work about only 10 hours ad week on my sites. However, I have huge costs related to outsourced work to make this company runs. The good thing is that it barely runs by itself now!

“I think I’m just really good at optimizing my time”

That is something I’m still working on. My wife on the hand is brilliant at it!

rob

Oh BTW I live near Madrid and not working after retirement is more a cultural thing than anything.

@the financial blogger
Mandy here, although quickly becoming known as Derek’s wife in the blogosphere. Your blog is very timely as Derek and I have had some heated debates about the all in approach since he first presented it to me. I’m like you! I like the security of the job that covers expenses. I like the track record of what Derek calls the status quo. We’ve gone from a net worth of $30,000 when we got married in 2005 to a net worth of over $650,000 in 2012. Thats a good record, I’m happy with the record. Unfortunately with each dollar our net worth grows change becomes scarier. Change is a heck of a lot scarier when you have something to lose.
Jacob described Derek well when he said he has drive and passion. His job isn’t utilizing these qualities. While most people are constantly feeling pressure at their jobs to do more in less time Derek is feeling the opposite. Despite all his efforts to be a rockstar the message over and over is that they’d prefer mediocrity.
So I have a choice: Do I be the supportive wife and safe “Follow your dream honey” or do I got the safe way and keep encouraging him to stay because we’re getting decent results, keeping in mind the latter plan may be killing him slowly.

@the Financial Blogger Thanks for calling me lovely. Derek, the financial blogger thinks I’m lovely!

@Lance You mentioned you like that your blog keeps you busy in your free time. Unfortunately it seems that working a full time job, spending time with the wifely (I can be high maintenance at times) and three little liabilities as Derek playfully calls our kiddos there is little free time to be had.
@Mike Holman Derek has hasn’t made any requests that can’t be undone. He hasn’t passed the point of no return to going to less time. He has a few weeks before he has to make a decision
@Martin You’re right blogging isn’t for everyone and Derek isn’t starting the blog to be the next JD Roth. We know the ROI on blogs is poor. Our good friend Kraig at YoungCheapLiving.com was super excited to be getting his first Google Ads revenue after 9 months. The blog isn’t about the possible income. It’s about documenting the journey. It’s about inspiring and reminding people (including me) that you can go beyond the status quo. It’s about that you can be more then what people expect from you. Derek probably should of articulated better at FinCon he wants to work less to start his online projects other then his blog. Going to FinCon was the learn how to blog. If you’ve been to our baby blogs you’ll see we have lots to learn :) Be patient it’s a crazy learning curve, Derek has a story worth hearing :)
@Financial Samurai – thanks for the vote of confidence
@ The dividend Trader – I noticed you posted that Mr Money Mustache saved 65-70% of his income “something I [you] can’t do” If there is one thing I’ve learned being married to Captain Inspiration it is the power of limiting statements. Instead of saying you can’t do something tell yourself “I can do better” and perhaps you’ll see positive progress. Who cares if you aren’t at 65%-70% if you can improve a little you’re better off then where you were. Oh, and living near Madrid sounds pretty cool :)

Wow. Thanks for the thoughts everyone.
I want to start by asking a question. Why is it that a bunch of bloggers are suggesting that starting a blog is not worth the ROI? Because they are likely doing it for deeper reasons!
The purpose of the blog I just started is to document my journey towards early retirement, and further to motivate others to demand more from their lives. I intend to do this by being brutally honest about my finances, my fears, and the frustrations that this journey has caused me and my family. Deciding to set an unbelievable goal like financial freedom at 33, is not achieved without upsetting people along the way. I am guilty of pursuing this desire more than anything else in my life. This achievement continues to cause stress to myself and those I love. But I cannot be contained any longer. I want to explode when I think about people stuck in a life they are not satisfied with. I literally tear up when I imagine forcing feelings deeper and deeper away inside. I cannot allow this to continue any longer.

@TheFinancialBlogger – It was great to meet you also. I learned a lot from our talks. I want to clarify that I technically haven’t gone all in on blogging as suggested in this post. I am negotiating a 3 day a week work week. One that would probably become 4 days. Also , I am not all in on Blogging, but instead life. I intend to use the time off to pursue many new things. To go to the park with my three children when they want, not when my job allows, and also to experiment with other forms of income. I understand that Blogging is not perhaps a financial goal, but I think people could relate to my story and journey. I imagine others are like me, and are tired of hearing home run stories from people who started on 3rd base. I started with everyone else, staring down the pitcher. Scared of the next pitch.

@Mike Holman – On Bravery and not-so-smart. Fear is a dangerous thing, one that can cause people to make decisions that are not rational. Fear can also cause people to stand still. Think “scared stiff”, like an animal playing dead when faced with a threat. For me the threat was becoming insignificant. It was real, and impending. My fear caused me to take action. This action could definitely delay my goal of 33. By how much, I do not know. One thing I have learned about setting stretch goals though, is that if you aim for a realistic amount, it is all you can achieve. But by setting a seemingly impossible goal, even if it is not reached, the outcome is always better than the norm.

@Martin – I actually do not hate my job. I hate that it is acceptable, and possibly preferred to be mediocre. I fear more than anything else, that my flame will go out, and I too will eventually strive for just okay.

@ Dividend Trader – Laziness is sometimes just your rationalization for fear making your decisions. A persons mind is incredible. When I was fighting addiction, I can remember being aware, that the physical pain I felt was created by my minds hunger for more drugs. Making this thought came from a different part of my mind. How can I both be for and against quitting drugs? The mind is a powerful tool. Sometimes you have to make a move that forces your hand. For me, I want to use this instant of bravery to commit myself to what I know is best for me in the long run. Before I get too comfortable and do nothing. As for Mr. Money Mustache, I have been at my high paying, six figure job for three years. Last year my wife and I saved 78% of our earnings.

@MoneyMasterMom – My Wife. I know it’s not easy being married to me. Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

It was mentioned by many, that my “blog” is nothing more than a few comments on a poorly set up WordPress theme. The email button doesn’t work, Neither does RSS, or many other functions. I do have much to learn, and would appreciate any advice from people who could offer. I intend to repair my site by hiring someone ( any recommendations? ) or purchasing a better theme.

by: The Financial Blogger | September 12th, 2012 (11:44 am)

Hey Mandy!

here’s my advice: be supportive as long as the project stays away from madness ;-). When I first remortgage my house to invest in my online income, my wife supported me even thought she was scared as hell. Because of that support, she is now staying at home with our three kids and we live the life we want (for the most part anyway!). Kuddos to building such a high net worth in so little time! this could be an awesome series to write about on your blog!

by: The Financial Blogger | September 12th, 2012 (11:48 am)

Hey Derek!

most people will tell you that you won’t be making money with your blog. that’s human nature ;-). Back in 2007, I’ve been told that the day I reach $100/month, I’ll be a lucky blogger… So don’t believe them :-).

I’ve written that you would go all in as you were not too sure about what you would do if your employer doesn’t affect the 3 or 4 days a week schedule. It is still putting your day job at risk. The thing I like about your strategy is that you have planned it money wise. However, I’ll be curious to hear about what you think of blogging in 6 months :-D.

There is nothing more important than kids and a wife in life. kuddos to you to realize that at a young age!

by: Financial Samurai | September 12th, 2012 (12:08 pm)

And there it is, a $650,000 from $50,000 seven years ago at their age ! Bam!

I think they’ll be alright :)

Mandy, are you working or going all in blogging too?

Derek – from Mike’s post it sounded like you quit your job to work on a one week old blog which I think we both agree is probably not that smart.

Given the information you have since provided, your decision makes a lot more sense.

Mike, I’m glad someone said your name I couldn’t remember if you blogged anonymously. Our youngest is still 9 months old, and thanks to the generous 1 year maternity leave in Canada I have some time before I’m supposed to go back. I also have an option to take a one year job protected leave of absence from my job I’ll probably take advantage of that as well. It’s the ultimate have your cake and eat it too. I’ll be able “to go all in” on being a mommy and blogging for the next 15 months all while I have a job to go back too if I want. I’m also thinking about an internet start up that I feel really passionate about. For all the days that it drives me bonkers to be married to Derek he really has taught me to dream. I’m definitely a girl who likes to play it safe but with his encouragement and overwhelming support I’m making a move from mediocre to (hopefully) magnificent :)

@: Mandy Knight: no you’re right I must have written than when I was in a funk or something, because in another post he detailed his super frugal spending for one year (30 grand of so) and I compared numbers and realized, that even with rent, I wasn’t that far off. It helped pull me out of the “slough of despond” and gave me motivation to keep going.

So yesterday I told the wife that I set a goal of getting her out of work in 10 years (age 60) or taking longer leaves of absence then so we can peruse our dream of traveling around the USA in an RV.

As TFB said, “we don’t change till the pain of staying the same is too great”

That’s my buzz word for the day:)

very very true!

@The Dividend Trader – It’s a good quote – perhaps worthy of the bathroom mirror :) Although soon we won’t have a bathroom mirror, and instead a wall of quotes!

I’m still surprised nobody is talking about a $600,000 increase in NW in 7 years by the age of 30.

This is crucial guys and points out several things:

1) People are much wealthier than you think
2) Everything is rational (you don’t go all in if you don’t have lots of savings)
3) People against going all in aren’t focusing on the big picture.

Making money is straight forward. Mandy/Derek, hope you can write about your path to $650,000 by 30!

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