A few years ago I got sucked in the world of personal finance bloggers. I was inspired and intrigued by the personal stories that were being shared about how to pay off debt, how to earn more money, and everything about people’s personal journeys.
The blogs I loved most didn’t have posts like X Ways to Pay Off Debt, but instead were filled with their budget updates, real numbers, and real advice about what worked, and more importantly, what didn’t. They shared the ups and the downs of getting their money in order and I loved reading their honest thoughts and opinions.
These blogs inspired me to start my own and share my journey. With my blog, I hoped to find accountability to help me get out of debt. But, I also wanted to inspire anyone else that might stumble upon my website.
In the beginning, I didn’t strive to get a certain number of page views, comments, likes, shares, affiliate sales, etc. I just sat down and shared my thoughts openly, honestly, and without judgement for myself. I didn’t self-edit and I certainly didn’t have anyone else edit what I wrote before I hit publish.
I’d venture to guess that many bloggers back then started out like me. But, somewhere along the way, I think we all lost sight of why we started blogging about personal finance.
We wanted to share our stories and inspire others, not just make a crap load of money spinning the same useless content over and over again.
New bloggers today have been lured in by the hype that is constantly being spewed out about how bloggers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars PER MONTH by sitting behind a computer and sharing their thoughts now and then.
I’ll admit it, I’ve gotten sucked into this hype too. It happened when I quit my job.
Suddenly the blog I had used as a hobby and a creative outlet turned into my main platform to market myself to clients so I could pay my bills. I also saw others making tons of money from their websites I wanted a chunk of that for myself. So, I started using my site to spin out that useless content with the hope that it would help me earn more money.
At what point is enough enough?
I made over $135,000 last year working for bloggers and businesses online. A small portion of that came from my efforts on this website, but most of it came from working for others.
Is that enough?
Looking at it by itself it sure sounds like enough for a single person living in a very low cost-of-living area. It’s enough to make me proud and make me feel satisfied by what I’ve done and accomplished.
But, then I find myself comparing it to others.
I compare myself to bloggers making hundreds of thousands per month from only their own website, courses, and products.
And to bloggers who’ve been blogging only as long as I have (or less) making way more than me.
These comparisons start to seep into my mind and make me wonder if I’m working hard enough, if I’m working long enough, if I’m putting in effort enough, and if I myself am enough.
“Maybe that’s why I’m not as successful as them,” I tell myself as I vow to work longer and harder than before. “Maybe then I’ll finally get ahead.”
Last year at FinCon17, I had this exact conversation with a couple of my friends over a tear-filled dinner.
We talked about “the good old days” when people were blogging to share their stories, to inspire, and to encourage.
This was back when bloggers actually interacted with each other with whole conversations taking place in the comments section. Nowadays most of us don’t even find time to read each other’s blogs, let alone comment on them and come back later to find out if our comments and questions got answered.
(Not that it’s all about who gets the most comments, but rather that the comments provided a place for our community to connect.)
What happened to our tight-knit and caring community?
Why are we still doing what we’re doing if we’ve lost sight of why we started in the first place?
What is our community now?
Are we really just bloggers who blog about how to blog to make money?
Are we bloggers who blog about how to pay off debt so we can make money?
Why do we blog only to make more money?
Somewhere along the last few years there has been a shift from being a community that cares to a community that is greedy for more. How is this serving our readers and how is this serving our own hearts and souls?
Wanting enough money to pay your bills is one thing (and is definitely not inherently evil). But, at what point is enough enough?
I don’t know if I have the answers to these questions. Plus, it certainly becomes harder when your blog is your business and your sole source of income. But, I know that I quit my job because I wanted to feel joy in my work. So, if our blogs and our community is no longer bringing that, it’s time for a change.