Buying Blogs, Selling Blogs: How I Built My Blogging Business

This is a guest post written by Mike, a financial planner / web entrepreneur who is pursuing his dream of running his online business. You can follow his progress at The Financial Blogger (RSS Feed).

3 years ago, I was told by many bloggers: “You will never make money blogging. And if you do, $200/month will be your highest peak ever”.

Three year ago, The Financial Blogger was averaging 500 visits per month and I was ecstatic when I made my first deal of $10 for a link.

Three years later, I now run three financial websites, bought 2 of them and flipped a blog within a year. I am now able to work 1 full day per week on my online business (while I still have to keep my “day job” in the meantime). I really like buying and managing finance blogs as I think it is currently one of the best investing opportunities we can find.

When I asked Sam if I could write a guest post for Financial Samurai, he asked me to include more details on how I appraised blogs and how do I decide or not to send $10K over the wire (or more!) simply to buy a “.com”.

Look at Blogs as a Real Estate Investing Opportunity

Personal Finance Bloggers Cause US Retail Sales To Plunge!

May retail sales drop 1.2% or the most in 8 months as more and more people turn to personal finance bloggers for frugality advice!  I’m pretty certain nobody has ever come up with this statement, but think about it for a little bit.  Why is it that the public should take personal finance advice from BusinessWeek, for example?  The articles are written by relatively well-paid writers who are on a mission to report the news.  They do a fine job at that, but perhaps not as fine a job making things visceral like the personal finance community.  What’s more personal than a real person like Jeff delivering pizzas to get out of debt?  Not much!

It’s very hard for the mass media to compete against a team of personal finance bloggers such as the Yakezie.  We’re real life people responding to comments and putting ourselves out there.  There’s a two-way street with us.  If I were Editor in Chief of any mass media publication, I’d go out and hire an bunch of influential personal finance bloggers and put them on my payroll.  $75,000 a year will do or perhaps $150,000 a year if you want us to write an article a month exclusively for you.  By doing so, the Editor will inject new life, new readers, and therefore a wealth of new advertising dollars to the publication.

As evidenced by May’s retail sales figures, we are creating the news with our frugal ways instead of just reporting the news.  There’s a movement underway, can you feel it?  Maybe we’ll band together and talk about how we should never buy new cars again, causing June’s new car sales to dip.  Or maybe we’ll discover how amazing one person’s unsung journey is to fight poverty in Uganda and direct millions of dollars their way.  That counts for something.  Let’s make a palatable difference with the words we write.  Someone is out there listening.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Regards,

Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our RSS or E-mail feed.

Oops! The World Is Coming To An End!

Like clockwork, I top-ticked the markets when I wrote “The Good Times Are Back Again” this past April.  The markets have since fallen about 9% as the Euro Zone goes bonkers over debt problems.  But, at least the message from the post is that it’s exactly during the good times where we need to be more disciplined in our finances, because we never know when the bad times will return.  Now that the bad times are back, is now the time to party like it’s 1999 and spend counter-cyclically?  Nope, because with the amount of volatility, by the time you finish reading this post, the markets might be surging again!

With this market correction, it’s pretty clear that everything isn’t peaches and cream.  US leading indicators have turned downwards, unemployment figures have stopped improving, and people are wondering whether Europe will be like the US, but much worse.  If you’re American living in America, look at the bright side of things: the US dollar is strengthening, and the 10-year yield has declined to 3.1%, which is leading to lower rates yet again!  The 10 year yield and all its glory really is the most beautiful figure to watch.  It can tell the story of everything and anything.

The USD will always be a global safe haven currency, no matter how hard we try and mess things up.  It’s good to see that we aren’t the only basket cases as investors sell the Euro faster than they can say tapas!  What’s going on now is that money is shifting towards US assets, namely the property market.  Combine an asset shift with cheap debt, and rental yields above the current risk-free rate of return (3.1%), you realize why smart money is moving into the US property market again.  Only a minority will agree with the attractiveness of the US property market, and therein lies the opportunity.

During bad times, it’s always good to re-evaluate your finances.  I’m not convinced the bad times are back and am actually quite sanguine about the economy.  All the same, here are some suggestions just in case things get ugly for longer.

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO WHEN THE BAD TIMES ARE BACK AGAIN

Conventional Wisdom Leaves Much to Luck

Imagine two similar investors, Leslie and Bob.

  • They each retire with a $500,000 portfolio.
  • They each withdraw 4% of their portfolio in the first year of retirement, then adjust that amount upward each year to account for inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index).
  • Their portfolios are identical: 60% in Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund and 40% in Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund, rebalanced at the end of each year.
  • The only difference is that Leslie retired at the end of 1994, and Bob retired at the end of 1999.

The Result?

Charles Farrell of “Your Money Ratios” Speaks! Part I

Charles Farrell

As I wrote in my review of “Your Money Ratios”, Charles’ book sings to me. Charles has the ability to simplify complicated financial topics for the average reader to understand. His book is seriously one of the best books I’ve read on personal finance in a long while.

One of the keys to progress is learning from experts in their various fields.  Charles is gracious enough to answer some follow up questions I’ve been burning to ask after reading his book.  This will be a two part post due to the 2,800 word length of the interview.  In part I, we discover Charles’ motivation for writing his book, strategies for early retirement, and his conservative and debatable 50%/50% investment split between stocks and bonds.  In part II, we discuss the much maligned 401K, personal income taxes, why Social Security will survive, and why the flat tax is the right way to go!  Please enjoy!

WRITING “YOUR MONEY RATIOS”

Question: Was there a particular lightning bolt reason why you decided to write this book? For aspiring authors, what suggestions do you have to get your worked published in this ultra competitive field of business?

Answer: I wanted to write a book that would help average readers understand the most fundamental and critical relationships among one’s income, capital and debt, and how those things must be managed throughout your working career to build financial independence. So I took what are often quite complicated topics and figured out a way to present them in a very simple format that anyone can follow. I would like more people to enjoy the benefits of financial independence, and I hope this book does that.

As far as writing, all I can say is write about what you believe in. Hopefully, if you believe in it strongly enough, you’ll develop some expertise and then seek out ways to spread your ideas. Try to develop some niche that is reflective of your expertise. So I developed the ratios and they came out of my background in tax, finance and also working with individuals.

Think about what you do that is a little different and try to focus on that unique nature of what you do. It is a tough slog because the field is very crowded and often the least valuable information gets the most press. But you have to accept that reality and still push ahead. And then you need a little luck. Your message has to somehow get into the hands of people who appreciate and understand it. And that is hard to predict, which means you need a little luck to get it out there. So if you are going to pursue that path, I think you need to accept those realities of the marketplace.

EARLY RETIREMENT