Everyone at BlogHer has one: the story behind the story.
What on earth first inspired them to share their story with the world, and what their blogging journey has been.
Sometimes it to extends to so many areas of my life, but it feels that my blogging adventure has been a unique one.
I was an early adopter to blogging. So early, that I barely knew what I was getting in to. I certainly didn’t see where I would be ten years on, but I am grateful for the adventure and the lessons that have been learned along the way.
I started my first blog, DINKs Finance, on the same day that I learned what a blog was, back in the spring 2006. On the eve of my first marriage, I felt that we had a lot to share about couples finance and money. I had just paid off a chuck of credit card debt. We had put our sweat equity into flipping our first property as urban pioneers in a then booming real estate market in Washington, DC. Despite being at the earlier stages of my journey, I had the feeling that I could offer something to others wanting to achieve their dreams.
We blogged diligently and daily, building our readership without a whole lot of thought. Within a few months we started to get advertisers reaching out to us and offering money. We were excited and thrilled at the possibility that our blogging might help to pay for our internet bill, which was a laughable $30 back then (I have a skill for negotiating with Comcast.)
My next blog, Vicarious Nomad, was created as I was headed to Afghanistan for a year. In the pre-Facebook era, I wanted to a way to share with friends and family about my adventures. Like many bloggers, I found it ironic that I was followed by perfect strangers and not actually by those who were closest to me. Over the course of seven years I’ve shared a great number of adventures, from Afghanistan to all over Africa. While my globetrotting is a bit more limited these (though my two year old son has been to three countries), I continue to be inspired to share my stories and inspire others to continue travel with families. Despite my interest, I have continued to be challenged with keeping pace with my adventure to actually take the time to share as fast as the journey unfolds.
Sustainable Family Finances was started by my identical twin sister, Darcy, back in 2010, when she was inspired by my successes blogging and dreamed saving up enough to take her young family to Denmark, where she had studied abroad. In short, she put a ton of effort into writing, but has never been rewarded for years of effort. We started blogging together on the site, two years ago, sharing our money stories. This was essentially a brain dump of all the stories and life lessons we have experienced about money. With a few other priorities last year, as a mother and entrepreneur, dealing with divorce and then falling in love and remarrying, the site has recently had less attention. Despite my desperate interests and expertise to write on, sharing about money and how to use tool to achieve your dreams still calls to me.
In short, I was successful financially with blogging. Within about a year we were starting to make several hundred dollars a month, and in less than two we were bringing in about $2k a month. Meanwhile I was still working my 40+ hour a week international development job, managing 2-3 rental properties we owned, and getting my masters degree. In short, when I left for a six month journey around Africa, we ended up selling our blog to JMoney with Budgets Are Sexy for $20k. Yes, blogs do have value and can be bought and sold. We took about a two year hiatus from blogging before we started missing blogging. We ended up buying the site back for $25k with a revenue sharing agreement for blog management and enjoyed the win-win partnership for a year and a half period.
When choosing to have a baby, we decided that I would take on managing our blogs (by then a network of 12 sites and 8 writers). I took this on one month before giving birth and was motivated to kill it with making money to replace my prior income. I spent my maternity leave breastfeeding over a laptop as I built up the business revenue.
Ultimately I ended up going through a divorce last year and essentially trade the blogging business to my ex in exchange for real estate. I ended up with our home and two rental properties in DC (not a bad deal if you ask me, though I’m sure the revenue is worth it).
Despite being an extremely busy woman (managing short and long term rental properties, building up a renewable energy startup, and being the mother of a fabulous two year old), I still continued to be driven to share my story with the world (even as I suffer from being overly ambitious and writers block from having life happen faster than I can share about it).
Darcy and I spent the first half of 2016 dreaming up Yippie Chicks, and will continue to spend the rest of the year working to flesh out the site to our ultimate vision, as well as actually starting to make some money to compensate for all of the effort and expense that goes into starting a blog. We continue to dream of how we can expand Sustainable Family Finances, Vicarious Nomad, and finally starting to blog on our vacation rental, Olivia Beach Camp Cabins, to share about resources to our guests. We also dream of even more sites than that, but they will take time to develop over time.
Just over ten years into being a blogger, it feels that I’m just at the beginning of the adventure. It is exciting to envision what will come about in the next ten years. It will be nothing short of a revolution.
Lastly, I’m also inspired and interested in following along with other blogger’s stories. Please share what your back story is.