Money, Life, Friends, Food and Nola- That’s FinCon14. I spent some time last month attending a conference centered around financial writing, blogging, and financial media (#FinCon14). Conferences are typically pretty boring but this was one of the best. It was a pretty neat conference that had an interesting mix of fresh faces and fascinating people I’ve only mildly interacted with online. It can be a little awkward when you meet an author for the first time. Especially when you have read a lot of their work and often many of the personal details they have shared about their story. However, I found the experience to be quite entertaining and I came away with a better understanding of the group of authors who write in the financial blogging space.
One of the highlights was taking a few minutes to sit down with Phillip (PT Money) and Pete (Mr. Money Mustache) for a one-on-one brainstorming session for Simple Economist. It was a neat opportunity to speak frankly with two very successful bloggers, but also a great session to think and dream about the future of this blog. The simplest question was the hardest to answer: “What is the point of all your writing?” Or maybe it was: “Who are you writing to?”. I’ve spent a lot of time the past few weeks brainstorming about the future of this site. The great news is that we don’t need to have all the answers upfront to participate in the blogging ride. I’ve also learned you are always making “progress” if you are enjoying the process.
What’s the Point of Blogging Anyway?
For me, that is the true takeaway. What is the point of Simple Economist? Where is it going and what will it look like in the future? When I started writing I didn’t really have a specific direction. I had a lot of ideas running through my head and I wanted to get them out on paper. I still have a huge list of things to write (100+ posts and counting). And I plan on writing out most of them over time. I really enjoy helping people and addressing many of the inefficiencies I see in myself and others. In addition, I often get asked the same questions time and time again so the blog has been somewhat of a repository of topics describing solutions to different types of problems.
Here are some of the internal goals for Simple Economist:
- Show that living simply can be possible and enjoyable
- Addressing the inefficiencies I observe in my own life and others
- Draw people’s financial decision making into alignment with their values
- Help people waste less (often centered around money, time & relationships)
- Be a resource for addressing specific challenges we face on an inconsistent basis
I was surprised to find out that the reasons I write today are almost the same as the few I mentioned in my very first post. The harder question was coming up with: Who am I writing for? “Everyone” is the obvious answer but that is not really the case. In fact, the diversity of my audience is something that is hard to get my head around. Actually, my three most viewed articles are all in completely different genres: Athens, GA, Parkinson’s Law, and Healthy Eating for $200. If I could identify my ideal reader, I would have to say someone who is aware of their own inefficiencies and waste, yet working to continually make their lives better through mindfulness and simplicity. Young, old, male, or female- It doesn’t really matter to me. And I still have a long way to go before I am even included in my desired audience.
So, where will I be years from now? I’ll still be writing. I will continue to write for SE as long as the medium still exists. If something changes, I’ll adapt. And I will continue to enjoy meeting people who share a common interest of actively making their lives better.
You can certainly expect to see more personal articles and experiments related to my own life and our family’s personal experiences. It is pretty easy to write a popular post about the “22 Reasons to Invest in a Roth IRA,” but, moving forward, you will more likely see things like “We are investing $5k this year so we can travel the world in 2016”. In addition, the situations and advice we give will be a bit more specific. There will be specific articles helping those who want to minimize the nagging waste in their life. The goal will be to address anything that takes away from our budgets, time and relationships. I will often use specific stories of inefficiency I’ve noticed in myself and ways I have addressed (or currently addressing) to help streamline my life.
Am I being entertaining and unique? That is the differentiator between what makes a blog stagnate or grow. And I’m somewhere in between. I’m certainly not the most entertaining or unique, but occasionally the gem posts get thrown in with the rest. So, after almost 100 posts, 200k views, 150k words, and hundreds of comments I’ve decided I’ll be in this blogging space for a while. I’m not planning to get rich writing, but I have found it quite satisfying when I meet someone new only to find out they have read a little bit of something I’ve written. That is a cool feeling.
If it was up to you, what topics would be more frequently discussed on Simple Economist? Which topics do you enjoy? Any posts that have really hit home? Anything that you enjoy sharing or could use a bit more perspective?