My Honest Thoughts After Six Months of Blogging

My Honest Thoughts After Six Months of Blogging

Once, I found myself so bored at a group dinner, I started falling asleep at the end of the table. Like literally nodding off.

But then I overheard someone across the way talking about credit cards.

It was like somebody dumped a bucket of water on my head.

I came alive. Nobody had asked me for my opinion, yet I sat up in my chair and barged into the conversation, sharing my thoughts on which credit cards were best and why. All of a sudden I couldn’t stop talking.

And after helping a few friends with some money questions they kept asking: “When are you going to start a blog?” That planted a seed in my head. And then it started to sprout.

When I think about it, blogging combines many of my in-real-life interests: digital marketing, design, photography, writing, and most importantly, coming up with random ideas and then seeing if I can make them happen.

Being creative is my favorite thing ever.

Six months ago, I pushed my blog live. I planned to launch with five posts, but after two months of writing and putzing around on Twitter, I only had two that were done-done. I wasn’t ready to launch, but would I ever be? So I said to hell with it, and launched with only two posts and an About page. Start before you’re ready and iterate later, right?

The Luxe Strategist Blog Launch
I was so nervous to tweet about the blog launch.

And now we’re at the six-month mark, and that “I’m not ready” feeling still hasn’t gone away. But somehow I’ve made it this far. I’ve managed to write 44 posts, with most of them being over 1,500 words. Forty-four posts is nothing for most people, but for someone who could barely complete her two-page college essays on time, I’d say this is a massive achievement.

I thought about whether I should write this at all. Would anyone really care? Because that’s the thing: I care a lot whether or not readers care.

But part of my blog’s mission is promoting transparency and authenticity. So, here’s me sharing with you my thought process for why I’ve made certain decisions, my struggles, and where I want to go in the future.

In case one post wasn’t enough, to celebrate my six month milestone I have TWO more things to share today:

  1. If you missed it, my husband’s bonus blog post is hilarious: a ‘behind-the-scenes’ take on how I create a post from start to finish, because no, it’s not the streamlined efficient process that everyone wants to pretend it is. I’m totally biased, but I was crying so hard from laughing while reading it.
  2. A giveaway for my email subscribers! I’m so excited to be able to put together something fun for you guys. I’ve been thinking about it for months, actually.

My Goals for the Six Month Milestone

Most bloggers have monthly goals they want to achieve. My goals had nothing to do with page views, or social media followers, or email subscribers. Nope, mine were answering two stupidly basic questions:

  • Can I write one post a week consistently?
  • In an oversaturated market, will anyone care about a voice like mine?

I started out writing one post a week just to see if I was capable of blogging. Some people start out sprinting out of the gate with 3-4 posts a week, but I knew if I did that I’d burn out fast. Around the second month I ramped up to writing two posts per week and have generally stuck with it ever since. Right now I can’t imagine writing more than two posts per week without the quality suffering. So until I find a better writing process, this is going to stay for now.
Goal #1: Check!

Let’s face it, there are over 1,000 personal finance blogs right now. Does the world really need another voice? Before blogging, I read a few personal finance blogs and while I learned tremendously from all of them, I felt like there wasn’t a voice for people quite like me. I’m not ultra frugal. I like things that cost a lot of money. I’m not a born saver. I didn’t have a high-paying entry-level job. I grew up with little guidance on life and money. I don’t believe that saving money and enjoying life are mutually exclusive. So I’d sit at a bar with my friends, who were dressed head to toe in designer clothes yet rocking their money, and wonder: surely there had to be other people like us, right? Or would I be laughed out of the personal finance community?

So far, four of my posts have been featured on the Rockstar Finance front page, and I’ve received a few really sweet notes from readers saying they’re excited that I have a different point of view, or they can relate to me somehow.
Goal #2: Check (I think)

Five Lessons Learned After Six Months of Blogging

1. Blogging Is Really Hard

Blogging is exceptionally hard for me, for three reasons:

  1. I have high standards for well, everything. I get really disappointed in myself when I end up having to publish a post that I don’t feel is good enough. And yes, that’s happened more times than you think!
  2. Writing with parameters has always been a struggle, and still is. I was so bad at newswriting in college my teacher asked me whether or not I planned on continuing on with it the following year. And I was definitely that kid who was bumping up the font size to 18pt so I could fulfill the five-page requirements for papers.
  3. I care a lot about adding value for other people. I figured out how to do money from cobbling info from a bunch of blogs. If I hadn’t come across blogs, I probably would still be a chump paying ATM fees. So I feel a responsibility to pay it forward by sharing my experiences, in hope of helping someone else out. Wanting to add value is why a lot of my posts end up with major scope creep! I can’t figure out how to do it with those really short, pithy posts.

I’ve learned that I’m not one of those people who can bust out a post in an hour or two. A few posts, like this one and this one have taken over 20 hours to create. For just the one post. And I have no idea if it’s even worth it to even spend that much time on one blog post. So I feel a pang of jealousy and admiration every time I see someone else who has a reserve of blog posts banked for months ahead.

Another common theme is driving my poor husband crazy: writing a post three times, changing the strategy at the last minute, or changing the editorial calendar five times in half an hour.

Every completed blog post feels like a Christmas miracle.

2. Having a Blog Is Like Having a Baby

OK, I don’t have a baby, but it’s what I’d imagine having a baby feels like. Pre-baby you’ve got your act together and a set routine. Post-baby you’re struggling to find a time to do basic things, like taking a shower or going to the bathroom.

With blogging, there’s always something you should be doing that falls to the wayside, because there aren’t enough hours in the day. While I’m a great planner in all other aspects of my life, I can’t seem to use those same tactics to get ahead when it comes blogging. The work doesn’t stop with creating content. There’s the SEO, and the Pinterest graphics, and the newsletters to write, just to name a few. If you want to grow your blog, the list of things to do just never ends.

3. I’m Never Going to Be the Amazon of Blogs

You know those blogs that get millions of pageviews a year and make six figures every month? Yeah, that’s not gonna be me. I’m like that unassuming storefront with a tiny sign you probably passed by once or twice without noticing. But the few people who were curious enough to step inside the store are obsessed. And I’m OK with that. Here’s why:
I know everybody always says they “want to stay true to who they are,” so nowadays that’s just an empty phrase. But my one superpower is that I’ve had a strong sense of identity since I was a kid. Here’s who I’ve always been: Quantity has never driven my choices. I don’t have a ton of clothes, I have a few that I love. The brands I identify with most aren’t the household names, but more under the radar. I don’t have a million acquaintances, I have a few forever-type of friends. Instead of fighting my natural state, I’d rather work with it. The blog is no exception.

4. Sometimes You Need to Ignore People

Like when you bounce the idea of writing a salary negotiation article to your husband and he responds with, “I don’t know, honey, aren’t there a million articles like that?” The truth is, no one sees the world exactly the way you do. If you share your personal experiences in your posts then there’s always a way to add unique value. And the negotiation post is one I’m still really proud of today.

When I first decided to blog, I sent three friends a list of 20 names I’d brainstormed and asked them to pick their favorite, based off a set of questions I came up with. Well, they all chose a different name from the list! Then I ignored them and went with my gut instead.

Fun fact time! In an alternate universe, what this blog could have been named:

  • The Frugal Frillist
  • The Well-Kept Wallet
  • You Can Have Nice Things

I figured if there was a list of 20 blogs or so, and they all had some kind of money pun in it, the one that didn’t (mine) might stand out. It’s also fun that I have a built-in moniker (“Luxe”) even though I blog anonymously. Can you imagine people calling me Miss You Can Have Nice Things?

5. I Care More About True Fans Than I Do About Page Views

I’m not going to lie: when you see your page views trending up it feels pretty nice. But numbers aren’t everything. I might get great pageviews because of a feature on a major news site, but is that the right traffic, and do those people actually come back?

I’m not saying that page stats aren’t important to me. They are, especially if you want to make money off ads.

But what really gets me going is this idea of having 1,000 true fans versus many casual ones. The real fans are the people who come back to the site when there’s no new post, who subscribe to my emails when I have no cool freebie to offer, and who choose to not only follow me on social media, but to comment and send me direct messages. I would say that right now I have about 100 true fans. If I want to be a successful creator, then all I need is 900 more.

Right now focusing on the real fans is what feels right.

Sidenote: Anyone a Google Analytics expert? I’m really interested in trying to identify the real fans by the data. The below are the binge readers, am I right?
1000 True Fans

So if you like my blog, do me favor: tell a friend about it, share your favorite post on social media, or link it on your blog or wherever else you hang out online. That would mean so much more to me than having a million bots follow me on social media.

My Strategy for Growing the Blog

There’s no magic-pill strategy that works for everybody, but here’s what I think has worked well for me.

Pre-Blog Research

The first thing I did was define my target audience and researched where they hung out online. Then I looked around at other blogs, noted what I didn’t like, and set my blog up as the total opposite. I also was active on Twitter for two months before my blog launched, getting to know other bloggers and sharing their posts. So when I launched the blog, I already had some Twitter friends as readers.

Creating the Best Content I Can

There are very few posts I can write without doing some type of research. I spend a lot of time, sometimes more than the writing phase, trying to figure out how I can make my post different from others on a similar topics. So if I see a post that has good advice but no images, I’ll add images to mine. For my fall shopping post, I stayed up embarrassingly late to Photoshop the collage, because I thought it would make the post stand out more. Spending extra time on the content has helped me grow significantly, as content that stands out tends to be organically shared and linked to from other blogs that are popular. About 40% of my traffic has come from referrals so far.

Doing Things That Don’t Scale

I recently watched an interview with Joe Gebbia (a really inspirational video, btw), one of the founders of Airbnb. He said that in the early days, he flew from California to New York to actually meet hosts in person and show them how to improve their listings. His advice to other entrepreneurs is to “do things that don’t scale.” This line really resonated with me, and I realize I’ve been doing some “counterproductive” things all along:

Insisting on using my own photos. Well, at least at first. I much prefer to use my own pictures as the post feature photos and thought that was going to be part of my “brand.” Awesome idea in theory, but NOT a scalable idea. I do think my own photos are more personal and engaging, but right now, taking my own photos takes up a lot of time and it’s not feasible to have a real photo that makes sense with every single post. So right now I’m using a mix of my own photos and stock photos.

Manually promoting. I’m on the social networks I feel most comfortable with, and don’t use auto-scheduling tools yet. For a while, I was asking my husband to nudge me awake in the morning to tweet. I don’t have as many posts as other bloggers do, so if I was auto-scheduling a tweet every few hours, the same posts would come up again and again, which I worry would annoy people. I like it a lot better when people show their personality on Twitter, so I don’t just promote blog posts all the time.

I love Instagram because that’s the one social network I use in real life. Instagram is also the network where I feel “closest” to readers and I’ve found some people who I think I’d have a lot in common with. And instead of only posting when I have a new blog post, I’d rather share real pictures and stories from my everyday life.

On Pinterest I’ve just pinned the things I like despite the fact that everyone says Pinterest is the way to explode your traffic. But I’ve been overly picky about how I want my pins to look so haven’t attempted trying anything there yet.

Engaging with people. I try to be very giving when it comes to promoting other people’s content. I spend a decent amount of time reading other blogs I like and commenting on them. If I liked someone’s post I’m more than happy to share it on Twitter. As for my own blog, right now I’ll respond to every single thoughtful comment and e-mail. As a reader I’ve been frustrated when I took the time to write a comment and got no response, especially if it was a smaller blog. The bloggers I admire most are the ones that have made it big and still make the time to respond to reader comments and email.

And instead of the one-time setup of auto-emailing new posts to subscribers, I’m crazy and set up a new campaign every time there’s a new post. The reason I do it is because readers are showing they trust me by forking over their e-mail address. Writing a little note in each e-mail just for them feels like the least I can do.

At some point doing things that don’t scale will morph into plain old inefficiency. But when you’re starting out, you can afford to do stuff like this.

My Biggest Fears

The driving sentiment this entire time has been fear and uncertainty.

At first I was afraid of being “seen.” For months after the blog launch, I told myself I was in “beta” mode. I promoted my posts only to my blogger friends on Twitter. I felt safe hiding in my cozy corner. I wanted to build up content first before promoting to the outside world. I worried that people would come to the site, see two posts, and never come back.

Well, that didn’t work. Somehow non-bloggers found me anyway. I felt exposed. If I kept on hiding then I’d never end up disappointing anyone. But now that was no longer an option. The personal finance community is amazingly supportive, but regular readers? Way less forgiving. If there are “real people” reading my blog, I thought, SHIT, I really gotta get my act together.

And now?

Now there are even more fears!

I’m afraid that all the extra things I do are just a waste of time.
I’m afraid that I’m doing everything backwards by focusing on content first, and promotion second.
I’m afraid that maybe I’m a terrible business person for not monetizing since day 1.

But my biggest fear?

That I won’t know how to grow the blog and still stay true to who I am.

If you’ve been reading blogs for a while, you know what I’m talking about. A blogger gets more popular, starts making money, and then the content totally changes. Where there used to be engagement is now a pale shell of a comments section where people chime in just to promote their own blogs. So, if there are any seasoned bloggers who know how to grow without feeling like a sellout, hit me up.

My first priority has always been to get content up and see if people like my stuff. I’ve been purposely avoiding monetization efforts, like ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, etc. So much so, that a few months ago when a fellow blogger DM’ed me on Twitter and asked me for a “link” I didn’t understand they were asking for an affiliate link. So I sent them a normal link to a Japanese vegetable scrubber I recently bought and thought was a good buy. Oops.

Affiliate Link Twitter Conversation

But it’s getting harder to justify to myself the number of hours I put into the blog without making some sort of side income. So here is my very first affiliate link to that same Japanese vegetable scrubber!

It’s technically meant to scrub vegetables, but we use it as a gentler way to scrub pots.  It also comes in a cute package, and you know how I’m a sucker for that stuff. If you want to support the blog, clicking the link and buying something (doesn’t have to be the linked item) within 24 hours will yield a commission for me at no extra cost to you.

Your Turn to Talk + The Giveaway!

Leather tassels
Subscriber perk alert: I’m giving away two leather tassels I made.
Leather tassel on Away suitcase
My favorite use case for tassels is jazzing up your suitcase.

If you’ve made it down this far, congratulations for not having the attention span of a goldfish. I’ve wrote a lot about myself so far, but like I said before, the blog is about helping YOU. So that I can write more engaging and relevant content, I’d love it if you could fill out a short, three-question survey to let me know your feedback. I know that some of you prefer not to comment on posts (confession: I was totally a silent blog consumer, too), so this is a great opportunity to let me know what you think.

I also wanted to say a special thank you(!) to my subscribers. Many of you recognized some sort of potential in my blog when I had only three measly posts. Seriously, I am so grateful for each and every one of you. For the subscribers who fill out the survey by October 9th, you can enter to win one of two leather tassels I hand made. The only extra thing you have to do is make sure to fill out your e-mail address in the form. Then I’ll use Random-ize to randomly pick an e-mail. The giveaway is open to those who’ve subscribed prior to the publishing of this post. Those who aren’t on my list yet, don’t worry–subscribe now because I have some big plans for the one-year mark.

The Stats

Alright, so I know some of you are numbers nerds and want to see the goods! As I mentioned before, I like to see page views trend up, but I don’t have measurable goals or anything. Below is the six-month view. I also wanted to show that everyone has a different path for where they want to go. What works for you won’t necessarily work for me, and vice versa.

I want to note that I got really lucky with some features on big sites, in particular:

And a special shoutout to J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy who followed me on Twitter even though I had 0 followers, three lame tweets, and no blog.

The Luxe Strategist Six Month Stats

I hope this post was insightful in some way. Blogging has been a lot like how I approach anything in life: if I don’t have a clear path for how to do something, I’ll just try a bunch of things and see what happens. I don’t have a perfect process, and I don’t know all the “right” things to do, but I’m always up for the challenge. It might be a bumpy road ahead, but I hope you come along for the ride.

If you’re a blogger, what did you learn after six months of blogging? Non-bloggers, does any of this surprise you?

PS: Don’t forget to read my husband’s mostly-true take on how he learned to stop worrying and love the blog.

Image: The Luxe Strategist

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  • Ying @ Navigating Adulthood

    Congrats on hitting the 6 months mark! I love how your content is always so original and true to you. Your flat lay photos always look great- for a while I thought you were only using stock photos, haha.

    • Hi Ying, it’s great to hear from you again! Hope you are doing well. There was a period when I was using stock photos because I ran out of time, and the photos were the first thing to drop. But if you thought ALL the flatlays were stock, then I’ll take that as a compliment!

  • Erin @ Reaching for FI

    Congratulations on 6 months of blogging, Luxe! (And for remembering the date. I just realized yesterday that my 6 month anniversary was on Friday, oops…).

    You’re totally right, Miss You Can Have Nice Things (or Miss YCHNT for short) definitely doesn’t roll off the tongue. Also, given how engaging and friendly Twitter is, I think it’s genius that you started there and built a presence before you actually launched your blog.

    Like you, I’ve also got a lot of fears about blogging, and being able to grow without compromising my reasons for writing or selling out my intended audience is definitely a big one. I doubt you’ll have a problem with that though, especially since all of the time and effort you put into each of your posts really shows. I look forward to seeing what the next 6 months bring!

    • Hey Erin aka Blog Birthday Twin! Re: Twitter, I actually never used it before the blog, but yes, I definitely think it’s the best place to network with people you don’t know, as opposed to Instagram, Facebook, etc. I was so amazed that people would follow me even though I had no tweets, friends, or blog. If I had to do it all over again I’d actually create a landing page with an email opt in so people could sign up to be notified upon launch. Kind of like what Spotify did.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with these kinds of fears! Since many of our fellow bloggers use ads and affiliates since Day 1, it can feel like you’re doing something wrong if you don’t do that stuff.

  • Kara

    I also make a new campaign for each email. Automated stuff bums me out. These people have subscribed to hear from me, the least I can do is give them me. I’m glad you’re in the pf space now!

    • OMG, you’re me new favorite person, because I felt like I was the only one who did this. Thanks for confirming that I’m not totally crazy, but yeah I 100% agree with you on the reasoning.

      Didn’t mention it in the post, but my favorite part of blogging so far has been connecting with so many other bloggers. The PF community is so amazingly supportive.

  • Congrats! And I agree with pretty much everything here.

    Before I launched I had a plan to post twice a week and wanted to have three months(!) of posts lined up before I launched. I ended up launching with four posts ready. Eventually I just decided that I would never be truly ready and just went for it. I’m a little over a year and a 101 posts in and I still struggle to put out content that meets the high standards I set for myself.

    • Hey, thanks, Matt! Good to see you here.

      Wow, three months of posts was super ambitious! I found I started out strong with like, 50 half-written posts, but I just kept starting new ideas…and never finishing them. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with being my biggest critic!

  • Alicia McElhaney

    I love this! I’m still ~figuring it out~ when it comes to our audience so it’s helpful to learn from some of my favorites!

    • Hey Alicia,

      Thanks! You guys are doing really great, but let me know if you have any questions. Always happy to help others 🙂

  • Eddie

    Congrats Luxe !!

  • Congrats and this is seriously the cutest post ever!

    • Hi Heather,

      Thanks for the note! I guess if sending a random link to a Japanese vegetable scrubber is cute, then I’ll take it!

  • Lauren Howard

    The quality of each and every one of your posts is what makes you truly stand out in an over saturated market. Keep it up!

    • Hi Lauren,

      I’m so happy you’re a fan of the blog, and you choose to visit this little one in the sea of blogs! In a world of “more is better” it can be hard to go against the grain sometimes. Feel free to reach out to me if you ever need anything 🙂

      -Luxe

  • Congratulations on 6 months of blogging. I can relate to everything you said, as we just reached 6 months of blogging in September. I’m actually starting to wonder if the fear and doubt will ever go away, but I guess there’s only 1 way to find out… Keep on blogging! I found you awhile ago on Twitter, and I enjoy your blog and IG. So keep up the good work! – Kim

    • Hi, and thanks, and congratulations on your own 6 months milestone. I know that 6 months seems like nothing, but in the blogging world, it’s a huge deal! I agree that you just have to keep going. I’m excited to see what I’ll learn after a year (if I make it that long!) I’m so glad we’ve connected on social media 🙂

  • Lesley

    Congrats on six months!! I’m mostly a lurker, but I love your blog and wanted to say that the quality of your content is what makes your blog one of my favorites! Keep up the great work!

    • Well, delurking is QUITE the big deal. I know, because I’m the queen of lurking 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time out to comment and for reading!

  • Reading this really resonates with me because I have done personal blogging for years and had a very small following (even though I did zero promotion). Now I’m looking to delve into personal finance blogging and I have the same fears (is my content good enough? Why would anyone want to read what I have to say when there are a million finance blogs out there?) I’ve been putting together a few posts, and I will be finally launching tomorrow (!) I’m still working on building up my confidence, but I know if I wait until it’s “perfect,” I’ll never do it. Oh and I love your blog, by the way!

    • Hi Mrs. Wright,

      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad this resonates with you! I wasn’t sure if I should write this, but I figured there had to be others that had the same thoughts. Re: personal finance, if you have a unique point of view, show your personality, and add value, I have no doubt you will succeed. Congratulations on the launch! You’re right to just start instead of waiting until it’s perfect.

  • Congrats on 6 months! I’ve been a fan since the very beginning. Your content is always high quality (that much is obvious, look at all the features you’ve had!), and all your images are always so pretty! If one thing is clear, you don’t do things halfway, so you shouldn’t worry about not staying true to you.
    Looking forward to many months (and should I say years?) of great posts to come!

    • Oh hiiiiiiii. I feel a kinship with you because we both live in NYC and you were one of my first Twitter friends. I totally didn’t understand why someone would want to follow a newb like me. Anyway, I’m glad you did. Hope to meet up soon!

  • Congrats Luxe on six months!! I started reading your blog when mines launched in July and been reading it ever since.
    What I learned so far from this blogging adventure is to try to enjoy it as much as possible. I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with trying to read every PF blog possible and giving by feedback(which I tried to do my first few weeks which sucked because I didn’t focus on my own blog). Trying to have fun with this is best advice because it makes things more enjoyable whether it working on your content, interacting on social media or reading great content.

    • Hi Kris! I remember when you came on the scene! I have definitely been guilty of spending too much reading other people’s stuff, which takes away from my own blog. I’ve learned to set better boundaries about it. And I love how you mention that blogging should be FUN. Have I told you that creating stuff from scratch is like going to Six Flags to me? The blog is a big creative outlet and it’s neat to look back at the things I was capable of putting together.

  • This is an AMAZING post.

    Adding this repeatedly to my share queue. Seriously.

    Great review, and 44 posts is way more than I have 😉

    Oh, and I have my 4 month review releasing tomorrow. Quite similar takeaways actually 🙂

    • Oh, wait–I am worthy of repeated shares???? Not just a one-time thing? Well, that makes my week, dude.

      Also enjoy your recaps a lot because you have a way of making them engaging. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Lurker here. Admire what you do, and I appreciate you sharing this with us.

    • DFG, I expected more from you than lurkerdom. Just kidding 🙂 Thank you for reading and for temporarily delurking!

  • Great post. 🙂 I think your personal style (both in writing, Instragram, Twitter, etc) should help you build those 1,000 true fans fast. I know I’ll be one of them.

    • Hey Adam,

      I really appreciate your stopping by! Glad to know I’ve only got 899 more true fans to go 🙂

  • Congrats Luxe on your first six months! This is a wonderful summary, by the way. I love your transparency in admitting that you still have fears about it all. I enjoy your blog and writing style, keep up the great work!

    • Hey MMM,

      Thank, you friend! I was definitely nervous about ‘blogging about blogging,’ so I’m glad you liked it. I figured more of us felt the same way and were just being quiet about it. Any way, I appreciate the kind words and encouragement!

  • Loved this post! Congrats again!

    I’ve been planning in my head for the one year mark, but I realize now that six months is still something I should have paused to think about and celebrate. You have definitely inspired me to write a post like this soon because I have many thoughts…

    Every point, question, and doubt you talked about I felt and continue to feel. My first blog post was a dry shampoo review because I figured I should start somewhere…I did that instead of introducing myself because I thought-who would want to know about me… I still remember how excited I was to get my first genuine comment on my blog, which happened to be from you and it seriously made me feel like I’m not alone in my perspective …and even crazier that someone genuine and so talented found me on the internet and found something I wrote relatable and maybe even helpful.

    Your blog has really changed the way I think about having money, spending it, and saving it. Thanks for starting your blog 6 months ago! I can only imagine more and more blog success for you.

    • Hey Sophie!

      Oh, trust me, I already have thoughts about the one year mark, but I wanted to get some feedback from readers pretty early on. There’s no one right way to do it! Which I guess is what I was trying to convey in this post.

      “Who would want to know me…” Everyone who visits your blog wants to know who you are! Your About page is really important–I’m pretty sure it’s my most visited page. It helps people know whether or not your blog is right for them.

      I’m so glad I found your blog and made you feel a little less alone. And also that you’re thinking about money even if it wasn’t on your radar 🙂

  • Done by Forty

    Congratulations on hitting the half year mark. You’re doing incredibly so far!

    • Thanks, sir! it’s still a bit surreal to have a blogging friend who I admired pre-blog 🙂

  • Happy half a year and congratulations!!! Those tassels are sooo cute! I didn’t even consider things like scalability. I started at midnight with zero posts and zero plans (unless you consider “I’m going to talk about monies!!” a thought-through plan…) If TFG doesn’t work out, I’m making another one with more experience. This blogging thing is ridiculously tedious and indeed very saturated. If I didn’t like personal finance so much, I would have been long gone.

    The niche you pick is so important and so is staying true to yourself, all of which is not a problem for you!

    • Hey Lily, and thanks! I still remember when you came on the scene, and I was like, who’s this little spitfire? 🙂 I love how you are unapologetically you in all your blog posts. It’s so refreshing. And I agree that you should really love the topic you decide to blog about. If you don’t, it’s hard to get over the discouragements, especially in the beginning. Sometimes it seems like blogging is really a game of patience. And yeah, I think it’s hard for me to be someone else so I guess I’ll take the lazy way out and just be me instead 🙂

  • Caren Magill-Myers

    congrats on 6 months of blogging. You’re clearly putting a lot of effort in and it shows. PS… Love your theme 🙂

    • Hey Caren,

      Nice to see you around here! I’m happy to see that my efforts are visible to readers. Sometimes it seems like people think all you do is write a post in an hour and throw it up on the site. Well, it some cases that’s how it works, but not for me!

      Thanks for the compliment on the theme! It’s a free one because I don’t see a reason to pay for one just yet. #startsmall

  • Congrats on 6 months. We have touched upon this in the past, but I want to reiterate, your blogging style and posts are what I consider real value-adding blogging. I’m not a PF blogger, but I’m still a steady reader of your blog, because your posts and approach are original and I’m always curious on your take on the topics/issues you write about. So, keep it up!

    • I’m so glad we connected on Twitter. I think there’s value in reading blogs that are outside your niche, and I know you have high standards, so it makes my day you look at mine!

  • Has it really only been six months? For some reason it seemed like you’d been around longer! Probably because you’re putting out really good stuff. Congrats!

    • Yeah, it feels like forever, doesn’t it? I still remember you shared my Hawaii travel hacking post! I always love pointing people over to your blog to learn the basics on travel hacking. You have this way of synthesizing complicated concepts in a really clear, engaging way. Kudos to you!

  • Oh hey, fellow New Yorker. Man, this morning I had to switch trains because of certain smells – I’m sure you can relate! There are more and more money bloggers coming out of bigger cities, and that makes me ecstatic. Thanks for the well wishes and for being a reader!

  • Six year is so impressive. I so admire people like you, NZ Muse and Save Spend Splurge who have stuck around through the years. I love that you mention writing because this is another reason why I wanted to start the blog. I enjoyed writing in school but I found it hard to produce. Well, now that I’m forcing myself to produce, the fact that I’ve been able to write enough for a short book is an amazing feeling. And I never had the discipline to practice writing on my own.

    I bet it’s neat to look back at your old writing and see how far you’ve come. I guess if you don’t cringe then you didn’t really improve.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement!

    • I think I’m on Year 11 now, I just don’t have any more recent revelations. Except that writing for its own sake is well worth it.

  • Happy six months, Luxe! I love your viewpoint on blogging. With a blog myself (that you’re pushing me to get back into after a needed break), I can relate to so much of what you said. The picture of you asleep at dinner before jumping in to that credit card convo is hilarious btw! (And are you sure your husband’s post is only mostly true? 😉) Did the survey myself and looking forward to what’s next.

    I’ve only been following along since July yet you’ve already influenced me to make lots of changes. Money management used to scare me but now, it actually looks fun!

    • Daisy, hi!

      Re: falling asleep story. I’m a total introvert and after a whole day of group activities I was exhausted! And the only part of my husband’s story that isn’t true is the infinity pool part, haha.

      I’m so appreciative you did the survey! I love to hear directly from people, because I’m not a mind reader, you know? 🙂

      And I wish everybody knew that all the cool kids are saving money. Makes my day to know I helped even 1 or 2 people to see the light!

      Thanks again for being a loyal reader and for leaving thoughtful comments! And I hope you kickstart your blog again soon 🙂

      • This month, for sure! I’m being accountable by telling lots of people. 😁 Yes, I can actually afford my cool clothes and shoes now lol. Can’t believe all those years I saved up to buy new. Guess cause in my part of the world, buying secondhand used to have a stigma to it. Still does now actually but at least my bank balance + my designer clothes hobby are both happy!

        • Nice! Yeah, I feel like clothes depreciate so much once you wear them. Kind of like cars. To me, gently used is just a smart business decision. And I can see how it’s hard to go against the grain, especially if you live in areas where brand-new is the norm. But nobody ever got anywhere by doing what everyone else is doing 🙂 I’m so glad your bank account is happy and you got the clothes. Win-win.

  • Your blog is really refreshing, it’s really cool to read about all the hard work it takes to create a blog and actually keeping with it. So, about monetizing your blog, have you any ideas on how to start? Or is it something you still want to wait for?

    • Hi, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I actually wasn’t sure if non-blogger readers would care to learn about the process behind the blog, so I’m glad to know you got some value from it.

      Re: monetizing, I had an idea to start with affiliates as a baby step, although I don’t tend to include very products in my posts. But it’s a start. I’ve thought about writing instructions for how to start a blog because I’m good at tutorials but I’m self-conscious about using this space for that kind of stuff. I’ve also talked to my friend about starting a new Etsy store one of these days! Whatever I decide to do, you can bet I’ll do it my own way on my own timeline 🙂

  • GAL

    Congrats on the six months! I thoroughly enjoy your perspective on finances – that we can use our money wisely on the things we value and save in other areas. Your blog adds a lot of sophistication to the personal finance realm. I look forward to your posts and hope you continue for many years to come.

    • Hi, and thank you! Wow, “sophisticated” is not a word I’ve thought of to describe my blog, but that’s a huge compliment! I hope to continue for many years to come, too. So that’s why I’ve purposely started out quite slow and small so I don’t end up burning out. Slow and steady wins the race, right? 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know you enjoy my stuff. Means a lot to me!

  • Hi Amye,

    I’m glad you found me, too! And that my voice resonates with you. I wanted to create a blog for people who were more like me. And lol at the scrubber story. I was just trying to pretend like I knew what they were talking about when clearly I was a newb 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to comment–I really appreciate it!

  • Paige @ Fixing My Finances

    Congratulations on hitting 6 months! I am just starting out and I can relate to everything you were saying, especially worry about how your writing sounds and publishing a post that you feel isn’t good enough.

    • Hey Paige,

      Thank you! By publishing posts, especially personal ones, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable in a way–and that can be scary as hell. But I also know I’m my worst critic. Some of the posts I wasn’t as proud of actually turned out to be the more popular ones, so it’s funny how it works. I just looked at your blog. I would recommend putting up an About page so people can learn a little more about the person behind the blog. Good luck!

  • T

    I found you through The Financial Diet but I relate to your blog more! Thanks for posting.

    • TFD is such an amazing resource, this is a huge compliment! Made my day, really. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

  • Love your blog! Totally relatable for those of us that don’t want to save literally every penny. (I save a big chunk of my paycheck every month but I also enjoy going out to eat with my friends every now and then too or buying my dog a fancy new bed. Saving & frugality are important but I think splurging a little is ok if you can afford it and it makes you happy. Life is about experiences too!)
    Great post with some good pointers for me as a new blogger. & I was totally in hysterics over your messages about affiliate links! They CAN be so confusing at first 😉

    • Hi, A Millennial Spirit,

      Thanks for reading! Yes, I’ve always spent based on my priorities, even when I wasn’t making much money at all. One big way I’ve been able to do that is to keep my housing costs, something I care less about, as low as possible.

      Glad you found my newbie affiliate link story funny! I was just so confused why I was being asked for a link. Cluelesssss.

      I just looked at your blog. I love the quitting your job story, because I’ve done that a couple times myself 🙂 Life is too short to be stuck at jobs that make you really unhappy. Also, def add yourself to the directory here, if you haven’t already:
      http://directory.rockstarfinance.com/personal-finance-blogs

      Good luck!

  • 4n6

    Wow, great for you. It took me almost 3 years to get an article on Rockstar Finance. I am still trying to figure out all of this monetizing, SEO stuff, etc. I may never put that much into it. That is fine. It could be much worse. Congrats on your blogavesary.

    • Hey! Thanks for stopping by. I honestly was shocked that my post would be featured on the RSF front page, and I still feel worried the site is going to fall over on the days I get featured. I also feel like there is always something to be doing for the blog. I have a huge to-do list and everything keeps getting pushed back, because there’s something more important to deal with. But yes, blogging is totally a learning process! Thankfully, I like to learn..

      Also, maintaining your blog for three years is totally an achievement. I’ll be jumping for joy if I make it to the one-year mark!

      Hope to see you around more often 🙂

  • Serenity he

    just wanted to drop by and say happy 1/2 birthday. you blog is as old as my son lol

    • Awww, thanks Serenity! And how cute your son and I are about the same age 🙂

  • NotInIowaAnymore

    Awesome post! Very informative. My husband and I are on our FI journey and read tons of personal finance blogs, and your perspective resonates with me.

    I’ve also recently started a travel blog, so I was happy to find this post. I’m new to blogging and have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve written about a dozen posts, and am happy with the blog design. But now I need to publicize it and I’m stuck. Overwhelmed. For example, how do you use the various social media platforms to increase traffic? What SEO tips do you have, both for the posts and for the photos? Etc etc etc….

    I think it boils down to this question: What exactly does a blogger do in a day (on blogging related activities)?

    • Hi, and thanks for stopping by!

      I’m not an expert at blogging, but what worked for me was figuring out my exact target audience, seeing where they hang out, and commenting on similar blogs. You can’t just throw up a blog and expect people to find it by themselves. For social media, start following similar bloggers and people in your target audience. I’d also recommend getting onto Pinterest. I personally don’t do anything with it, but others have found massive success by joining group boards and making nice-looking pins. For SEO, you need to include descriptive words in the title of your posts, alt tags and in the filenames of the pictures.

      I spend a lot of my time reading other people’s blog posts, commenting on them, replying to comments, posting things on social media that aren’t just promoting posts all the time. Pretty straightforward!

  • Loved this post. I really needed to hear some of these points. I’ve been planning my blog for over a year and I think at times I’m paralyzed by the need to be “perfect” and do everything the “right way”. Blogging is dynamic and can truly be a full-time job. There will always be something to change/add/update…

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on your experience!

    • I didn’t know you were planning your blog! I just wanted to show the behind the scenes of a blog–it’s not all easy and glamorous. I would definitely recommend just launching with a few posts, but networking even before you launch (start an Instagram presence, etc.).

      Glad you liked this one!

      • Yes, I’m working on posts this week! Thanks for the tips 🙂