January 28, 2011, 10:39 am

Financial Ramblings

by: MD    Category: Financial Rambling

We rented a vacation property this week and I can’t tell how great it was to read by the fireplace, go iceskating with the kids and relaxing in the spa. I have until Sunday….sooooo coooool!

1. Why Staying Organized Saves You Money @ Canadian Finance Blog.

2. Your Personal Rate of Inflation @ Oblivious Investor.

3. Credit Report Repair DIY For Dummies @ Wealth Pilgrim.

4. 4 Tax Effective Ways to Invest in Canada @ Do Not Wait.

5. The 5 Steps to Buy a House Soon @ GPT.

6. The Beginners Investing Guide @ Buy Like Buffet.

7. Are You Saving Too Much for Retirement? @ Gen X Finance.

8. Use The Web To Teach Teenagers The Importance Of Retirement Savings @ BMM.

9. Investigating My 275% Increase in Adsense Revenue @ SPI.

10. Keeping the motivation up for the CFA exam @ Smart Financial Analyst.

11. Paying The Bills As a Blogger @ PIN.

12. Why Young Entrepreneurs Should Hold Down a Job After College @ Frugal Dad.

13. How-to Have a Killer Business Lunch @ Studenomics.

14. Carnival of Money Stories @ My PF Journey.

15. Carnival of Personal Finance @ Living Richly on a Budget.

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January 27, 2011, 6:00 am

What I Wish I Knew About Blogging Two Years Ago

by: MD    Category: Make Money Online

Are You New to Blogging?

Are you new to the world of blogging? Are you fascinated about the whole idea of working online? Are you confused about getting started?

Mike has started writing more about his online business here on The Financial Blogger. The reason for this is simple. You guys demanded it. I figured I can try and do my best to cover the topic as well. This is why I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my last few years of blogging here today.

Please check out the following posts first:

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Blog
Why Your New Blog Won’t Make Any Money

Once you’ve checked out the posts above, you can get started with the rest of the article. I wanted to share what I wish I knew about working online/blogging 2 years ago. This should help out anyone that is new to the world of blogging.

You need a clear direction.

A niche is not enough. You need a clear direction for your blog. To be honest I’m not even sure that I’ve found a clear direction for my blog just yet. I’m pretty jealous of those of you that have. The point is that you need to have a clear vision for your blog in regards to the type of posts that you publish and the future direction that you plan on heading towards. You really don’t want to confuse your readers, and yourself.

I’ve noticed this shift recently here on the blog as Mike starts to write more about his online business. Finding your clear direction is not easy. When you do find it, you will know and your readers will become more engaged.

Others are willing to help you out.

Blogging is not a zero-sum game. Your peers don’t want you to fail or to get rid of you. When I first found out about personal finance blogs I was hesitant about emailing these bloggers. I knew that I wanted to get into the world of blogging about personal finance. I just didn’t know how to start and who to email for help. What if they don’t respond? What if they don’t like me? Why would they talk to me?— these were all thoughts that ran through my mind.

After a few months into blogging I was literally shocked by the amount of help available to me. Some bloggers were willing to get on the phone with me, others replied with long and detailed responses through email, and some even answered questions for an interview series that I ran. You really can’t do it alone. Embrace the help that is available around you.

These are a few of the blogging interviews I conducted:

Erica of Erica.Biz
Mike from this site.
Lazy Man and Money.

Writing consistently can be challenging.

When you first start blogging it feels like you can write about this topic forever. You have to stop yourself and force yoruself to go to sleep some nights at first. Many months in you’ll realize that writing consistently can get really difficult when real life gets in the way. Break-ups, family problems, crappy climate, emotions, stress at work, and boredom can all catch up with you real fast. You either won’t feeling motivated to write at all or you won’t be able to find the time.

What can you do about this? Leverage your productive times to produce extra posts. This way you’ll have a backlog of pieces ready to go when you’re not ready.

Writing quality content consistently can be even more challenging.

Okay so you can maybe get into the habit of writing consistent posts. However, is the quality there? I’m sure that I can put up something on a daily basis. It won’t be good and I know that you guys will tell me. You’ll either leave a negative comment or just not return. Both are a horrible feeling.

What’s the cure for this? Don’t post crap. You’re better off with an idle blog for a few extra days as opposed to inundating your readers with crap.

You need to be patient.

I’m inherently an impatient guy in every area of my life. Blogging was no different at first. I wanted to make a fortune and to have lots of readers. Sadly this didn’t happen. I can write about patience until I’m blue in the face but you have to figure it out on your own.

Burnout happens to the best of us.

You’ll eventually get burned out and feel like giving up. Relax and step away for a bit. Don’t quit just take some time off. You’ll come back re-energized and ready to go!

Readers– what do you wish you knew about blogging/online work before you got started? I don’t want the typical responses. I want to hear something new!

(photo creditr: gaobo)

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January 26, 2011, 5:00 am

Costs of Running My Online Business

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Alternative Income,Make Money Online

Since I have opened up the doors to my online business, several readers have asked me about the cost of running online business. Since I run a different business model than most bloggers and internet moguls, considering all the costs of this venture is important. Making 125K in revenue in 12 months is amazing… unless it cost 100K to run it, right? This is actually a good exercise since I haven’t done it for a while now 😉

Are you ready? Here’s the list of my business costs (on an annual basis):

Accounting: $3,200

My accountant charges me $180 per month to take care of my books, filing sales tax reports and to make sure everything is in order. Then, it costs about $1000 per year for my income tax report, updating the company’s minutes and producing my financial statements.

Virtual Assistants: $35,000

This is not a “real” cost in my financial statement yet since we just hired a full time VA 2 months ago. So I am obviously expecting to make more money in the upcoming 12 months in order to cover these costs ;-). You can basically see it as:

–          Being a huge investment for not working more while assuring the company’s growth

–          Being the start of something a lot bigger

In fact, $35K per year seems pretty high. Especially since I expect to make about the same income in 2011 (125K). The difference is that I won’t be selling any web properties and  in 2010, I benefited from a one time opportunity by brokering 2 advertising deals. However, when my company income increases from 125K to 200K, I will pay about the same thing in salary while putting 75K more in my pockets and not working any more. This is the plan ;-).

Writers / Editing: $9,800

This has been stable for the past 6 months. We have a great group of writers and we will probably add one or 2 writers for other projects in the upcoming months (so if you are looking for a freelance writing job, contact me 😉 ). I like having several writers so I am not left with a big problem if ever one of my writers moves on to other things. I’m looking for high quality content so I don’t mind paying for it. I am also paying someone to go over my own articles. Since English is my second language, he helps me big time to correct grammatical errors.

Banking and Interest Fees: $6,000

We pay roughly $30 per month for our banking operations along with access to a line of credit. We also have to pay for wire transfers when we purchase web properties. Along with that, we just contracted another loan to make another purchase (I’ll keep it hush hush for now ;-P ). While it seems like a lot in fees and interest, then again, we do it for growth. Last year, we paid less than $1,000 in this category!

Hosting and domain renewals: $1,500

We currently have 3 servers and a huge load of domains to renew from time to time. For security and efficiency purposes, we are going to move all our sites to our own server in 2011. In the meantime, we are using Phatservers, GoDaddy and HostGator services.

Software investments: $1,000

This is the first time ever that we are investing in specific software to grow our business. I don’t know how much we will actually spend this year but I’d say it will probably be close to $1,000. So far, we have bought the following:

Market Samurai (we should have bought it a while ago!)

The Best Spinner (to create more articles)

Instant Article Wizard

Article Marketing Robot

Telecommunications: $7,000

Internet, Cable, Blackberry, Landline…. all times 2 since we operate from 2 different locations. Definitely a must for our company ;-). The good news is that we can use Internet and our Blackberry for personal use at the same time. So I am actually taking those expenses off my personal budget to switch it over to my company’s budget.

Prizes and Promotions: $2,000

We spent about $2K in prizes and promotions annually. This is good for contests, visibility and to gain readers through our newsletters and RSS feeds. I don’t know if this expense is necessary but I like saying thank you to my readers nonetheless ;-D.

Life Insurance: $1,200

This is one of the most important expenses we have: protect our partner’s value. Starting in 2010, we have a universal life coverage of $250,000 first-to-die insurance policy.

Total Expenses: $66,700

I must put a small comment on the total expense. First off, when we made 125K from July 1st 2009 to June 30th 2010, we didn’t have most of those expenses. We had no VAs, half of the budget for writers and very low interest charges. However, we had several expenses in computer equipment (which won’t be part of our expenses this year). We can also amortize the value of our websites in order to reduce our company income for income tax purposes. The last point we included last year is that I was giving myself an income since I am working 1 full day a week on top of my normal hours in the company. This is how we went from 125K revenue to 40K net profit and 9K to pay in taxes.

We now forecast significant expenses (67K) in the upcoming year but also expect to bring our monthly income to more than 10K without considering any one time deals or the sale of a website. I could technically sell one of my big blogs and bring my company income to 200K easily this year. But we are seeking long term growth right now, not short term results. It’s a good thing to be privately owned, isn’t?

image credit

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January 25, 2011, 5:00 am

Top 5 Of What You Should Do With Extra Money

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Pay off your Debts,Personal Finance

Hey! You know me by now; I always think about how to make more money. I’m trying to get as many raises as possible from my day job and always looking for a way to make more money through my online company. After using my extra money to buy a lot of stuff, I am now calming down and started to think seriously on how to spend my extra income. Here’s my current list:

#1 Pay off my debts

This is the first time since I started working (back in 2003) that paying off debt is part of my priorities. Only a year ago, I was still trying to make more money to cover for my lifestyle. But I realized something in 2010; nothing is eternal. What if I can’t make a huge bonus at work next year? What if my online company starts crumbling down? What if interest rates hike big time? (I’m in variable rates on all my debts).

While these 3 examples are less likely to happen in 2011, I want to pay off my debts for another great reason: I want to reach financial freedom at a young age. Financial freedom is a combination of 2 achievements:

#1 Being debt free

#2 Having a recurrent income

While I have worked my way to building a solid income stream, I never looked at paying off my debts too much. It’s now time to clear the mark over my head.

#2 Invest in my house

I will use part of my bonus to make improvements to my house. I think it’s important because you spend most of your free time at home. This is why renovating or adding equipment to your home is a good idea. This year, I will work on my landscaping since it doesn’t cost much and I will also install central A/C. I know, I am talking about taming lifestyle inflation and simultaneously announce that I will spend a few thousand on my house…

But having A/C this summer is definitely a must. We had to sleep in the basement for more than 2 weeks last summer. I wasn’t super productive during that time!

What I also like about spending money on your house is that you don’t lose it entirely. When I renovated the basement of my previous property, I made back each dollar spent at the moment of the sale.

#3 Thinking of my kids education

With my 2012 bonus, I will fund my kids’ RESP. I have been neglecting this aspect of my personal finance for too long already. Now that my RRSP is maximized and will be paying off a few debts this year, I will be able to use the 2012 bonus to make sure my kids will have a great future.

Education will definitely not be free and if you don’t save 15 years in advance, the bill will be pretty hard to cover when they reach University. In Quebec, we get a 30% subsidy from both provincial and federal governments. So if you invest $1,000, you automatically get $300 for free added to the account. Very interesting concept!

#4 Investing

A part of my extra income automatically goes to investing. It’s either by maximizing my RRSP or by not taking money away from my online company. While I want to drop my debt level in 2011, I’m still a firm believer that one should start investing before paying down low interest rate debts.

The stock market shows great investing opportunities (just look at my recent stock analysis over at The Dividend Guy Blog to know what I am talking about). I will see how the year goes but I might want to get back to my first idea of restarting a Smith Manoeuvre account…. We will see!

#5 Minimal rewards

There is one thing very important when you make extra money and it is to reward yourself. Extra money often means extra effort, extra hours worked and ultimately, extra sacrifices of time spent away from your family and friends. This is why it is important to reward yourself for what you do. In 2010, I went a little bit too far on the reward side of the equation (new big house, new sports car, new furniture and a huge load of clothing…). This year, I will do it differently!

What do you do with your extra income?

Are you traveling? Buying something? Saving? I’m curious to know what you do with your extra income?

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January 24, 2011, 8:40 am

6 Superheroes Bloggers I Admire

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Make Money Online

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. I wanted to find a way to pay tribute to the guys who inspire me on a daily basis. Instead of making a simple list, I have made a comparison between each Blogger I admire and a Super Hero.

Spiderman Aka Pat Flynn From Smart Passive Income

As Peter Parker became Spiderman after an accident, Pat Flynn became an Internet Mogul under similar circumstances. While Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider, Pat Flynn got bitten by his boss who laid him off. This gave him internet super powers. He developed a spider sense for internet marketing and developed his own products (a LEED exam preparation handbook). He surely read Spiderman comic books when he was young and learned from Uncle Ben’s great quote: “With great powers, come great responsibilities”. Pat has developed a huge internet business and makes a lot of money online. However, he doesn’t brag about it on his website. Instead, he shares all his knowledge, produces highly informative podcasts and writes step-by-step guides to achieve exactly what he is doing to earn a living. I have never seen someone share that much info on how he makes money with such devotion and clear instructions. Of all the super heroes, Pat Flynn is one of a kind.

Professor X Aka Sam from Financial Samurai

As Professor X has a lot of knowledge and wisdom, you can feel while reading Sam’s posts that he has been through a lot of different situations. He is now using all his knowledge and resources to guide young bloggers to grow with the creation of his own “School of Gifted Youngsters” for bloggers (and not for mutants 😉 ) called the Yakezie. He is welcoming everyone as Professor X even welcomed Wolverine. But you have to merit your status among the Yakezie group. Those who contribute the best will earn more benefits from this interesting group of “new” bloggers. I was astonished to see the Yakezie group offering scholarships. While thinking about his future projects, Sam keeps it quiet and keeps most of his plans secret… as Professor X always did!

Batman Aka Andrew Schrage from Money Crashers

Back in 2009, we had already started to buy websites. For the very first time, we lost an auction on the Money Crashers website. A few months later, we lost another auction to the same guys… Just like Bruce Wayne owns all of Gotham City, it seems that Andrew is building a huge blogging empire. In fact, he is the first guy I encountered who sees blogs like me; blogs are small money making machines. Andrew seems to have a double life just like Batman. He keeps his past in a mysterious blurb and also doesn’t mention where he finds all this money to buy these websites ;-). As Batman, Andrew continuously works and tries to improve his skills. He is truly a great entrepreneur!

The Beast Aka Baker from Man Vs Debt

I’m not saying Adam is hairy ;-). In fact, what I really appreciate of Adam is 2 great things; his intelligence and his motivation. Two things he has in common with The X-Men team member Beast. Adam always comes up with original solutions and has his own way of solving a problem. As Beast, he doesn’t miss a chance to be funny. If you have read Marvel’s comic books, you know that Beast is fairly flexible as his main power is super agility. Well Adam’s main power is similar since he is always moving around and has the ability to twist his situation to surprising outcomes. This guy sold everything he had to leave with his wife and young daughter to travel the world. Then, when he came back to the States, he didn’t search for a job; he just created his own through his website and coaching abilities. He is now on another crazy project; touring the USA with his RV! He is quite a phenomenon!

Superman Aka Frugal Trader from Million Dollar Journey


Just to show you how Superman and Frugal Trader are alike, I have known this guy for the past 4 years and I don’t even know his true identity! It is probably obvious (as taking off your glasses!) but I have no clue what his real name is. Frugal Trader seems perfect just like Superman: he has a great job, a great wife, a great kid (maybe 2, not sure!), almost no debt and he was able to create a huge blog (probably the biggest Canadian finance blog with Canadian Capitalist). Everything he does seem to lead to a great success. On top of this, he is always there to help out others even if he is a very busy individual. He always takes the time to save the day for other bloggers. I guess this is due to his great sense of responsibility!

Robin Aka MD from Studenomics

Hey MD, I hope you like Robin ‘cause this is a great compliment I want to dedicate to you. This Toronto kid is learning from everyone around and he is already kicking some ass. I remember a while ago when MD came to me and other bloggers seeking advice. He took everything we gave him and started his own blog. He has demonstrated great writing abilities and he is also has a lot of entrepreneurship. He just finished his bachelor degree and instead of looking for a job, he is looking to create his own. I’m glad that I have the chance to work with him on several projects right now.

So that’s it, these are my Superhero Bloggers. Do you have any you want to share with us?

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