Author Topic: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour  (Read 11874 times)

Sam

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The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« on: February 05, 2019, 11:18:37 AM »
Hi Folks,

I just thought of something for all you bloggers and side-hustlers out there looking to make money to accelerate your financial freedom or simply do something different from your jobs.

I remember when I first started Financial Samurai in 2009, I got hardly any love when it came time to guest post on other sites or become a staff writer. I applied and got rejected from everyone.

Even after a year of writing diligently about personal finance as someone who worked in investment banking and got an MBA, I still didn't receive any love. It was disheartening.

The established bloggers all had their cliques and wouldn't let anybody new in. They hardly ever gave the smaller guys props either. Therefore, I decided to blaze my own trail with Financial Samurai and create the now defunct Yakezie Network to help other bloggers out.

I always told myself that if Financial Samurai ever got to a significant size, I'd remember where I came from and do more to help other new bloggers out.

Well, after reaching my 10th year anniversary writing in 2019, I'd like to formalize a way to do more for others through the Financial Samurai Underdog Tour. I've been publishing the random guest post here and there over the years, but this is a better system because it'll help people who truly care instead of those who just want to do a drive by.

Three conditions to enter the FS Underdog Tour:

1) Be a regular participant in the FS Forum for at least 3 months. Goal is to help build the community and get to know you better. It's important to cultivate the habit of sharing.

2) Have a website up for at least 6-12 months and promise to operate it for at least another year. Goal is to encourage you to stay consistent and never quit with your side hustle.

3) Tell me why you're an underdog. I'm looking for folks who faced some type of above-average struggle. Maybe you have a disability. Maybe English is your second language and you came to America late. Maybe you had to overcome abuse. Maybe you grew up poor. Maybe you got in trouble with the law. Maybe you are a minority who faced a lot of discrimination growing up. I'm always rooting for the underdog!

Upon meeting these three conditions, I'd like to invite you to do a guest post on Financial Samurai. The benefits are many: traffic, domain authority, link backs, fame, and perhaps fortune and love one day if you keep at it!  :)

I enjoy posts that tell a story, provides answers to problems, and is inspirational. My goal is to publish one FS Underdog post a month starting in the summer of 2019.

Because Financial Samurai is relatively widely read, there's a good chance you'll hit the radar of big media reporters and other sites. All you need is one big break. So make your post awesome.

My break was getting a mention in the LA Times in 2010, and pretty soon other media outlets came interviewing because they thought, "Well if the LA Times mentioned Sam, I guess he's better than a poke in the eye."

If interested in participating in the FS Underdog Tour, feel free to let me know in this thread and tell me your underdog story. I might create a Google Docs application page as well.

Example of an underdog story: English is my second language and I still struggle with grammar all the time. It’s pretty embarrassing that I haven’t mastered the language yet, but I fight on with editing help from my father and wife because I know I'll always struggle with language.

I faced plenty of racial discrimination growing up in Virginia while attending public high school and public university as a minority. But I fought back because I didn't want to let racism defeat me. I knew one of the best ways to break free was to study hard, get a good job, and save as much money as possible. So that’s what I did.

It took me seven rounds and 55 interviews to land my first job out of college. Why?  Because I came from a non-target public school and the employer clearly didn’t think I was as qualified as the other candidates. It took a month after I graduated from college to actually get my offer letter.

Although things are better now, I still view myself as an underdog online because I don't do public TV or go on public tours. I'm also kind of allergic to self-promotion. Maybe it's a cultural thing, so I'm doing my best to do more as I now have a little one to provide for. The main way Financial Samurai can grow is through content quality instead of through public self-promotion. Therefore, each article must be more interesting and more thorough than the average article in the space. I love the meritocracy of the search engines.

Fight on underdogs! Whether you think you can or can't, you are right.

Sam

« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 06:19:22 AM by Sam »
Regards,

Sam

SteveAdcock

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 06:02:04 PM »
I love underdog stories! Though I'm very new to the forums, I'm definitely not new to blogging. I've been blogging for almost 20 years, but my personal finance blog has been around since late 2014.

Growing up, I suffered from what my public school system labeled a "learning disability". Basically, I've always needed extra time to learn concepts that many of my classmates seemed to instantly pick up. Every year, I was forced to take a "Basic Skills" class, which more or less meant I had extra time to get my homework done with the help of a dedicated teacher that could cover virtually any topic. I was never considered all that bright or intelligent going through grade school, which is probably why I don't have a particularly high opinion of our education system in general.

But, I think my situation helps to prove that you don't need to earn straight As or graduate at the top of your class to accomplish your goals or even retire early. Motivation and determination trumps education and innate intelligence, every time.
Steve

LittleSeedsOfWealth

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 09:12:02 AM »
What a great initiative Sam! Thank you for your nonstop efforts to give back to the blogging community :)

My blog is very new but I hope the tour will still be there in 5-7 months when I can apply to join per your requirements. I consider myself an underdog. I speak English as a second language and am suffering from a terrible period of unemployment, which inspired me to build more income streams and join the league of FIRE bloggers. 

Sydney

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 11:40:51 PM »
Love the initiative Sam! Writing has helped me in so many ways. It's an incredible outlet. It helped me get through some emotional times like when I lost out on a promotion I really wanted and when I was dealing with crazy amounts of stress at my day job.

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 06:19:46 AM »
What a great initiative Sam! Thank you for your nonstop efforts to give back to the blogging community :)

My blog is very new but I hope the tour will still be there in 5-7 months when I can apply to join per your requirements. I consider myself an underdog. I speak English as a second language and am suffering from a terrible period of unemployment, which inspired me to build more income streams and join the league of FIRE bloggers.

NP! My plan is to keep the FS Underdog Tour on for as long as I run FS.

Regards,

Sam

kgschnyd3r

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 08:00:12 AM »
I think growing up without a lot of money made me appreciate it more. I have never felt poor but looking back on my family's financial situation, we did not have much discretionary income.

My dad could fix anything so we didn't have to spend a lot of money on car repairs, home improvements or maintenance. My mom could spice up and create a great meal from the most inexpensive, bulk products at the market. We never missed a meal because my dad would do anything to make extra money. It taught me to look at the big picture, don't focus on where you are at this moment but dream about where you can be in 3 -5 years. We were also taught that education is the key, it's the one thing no one can take away from you.

I struggled to get through college because I was impatient. I didn't want to wait four years to get a job and make money, I wanted it now. After about ten years of working without a degree, my career stalled so I went back to college and graduated. It was probably one of the most difficult things I accomplished, working full time in a very stressful environment and then trying to read and finish homework assignments at night. I should have listened and finished right out of high school but sometimes you learn these lessons the hard way.

This leads me to the point of this post - I want to start a blog and I'm hoping your Underdog Tour will motivate me. I enjoy writing and think I have some great stories to tell. I've worked in Africa, I've traveled to many countries around the world and now I've started my own business. I'm not a very good self promoter but hoping to learn how I can help others while also promoting my business.

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 09:11:22 AM »
I think growing up without a lot of money made me appreciate it more. I have never felt poor but looking back on my family's financial situation, we did not have much discretionary income.

My dad could fix anything so we didn't have to spend a lot of money on car repairs, home improvements or maintenance. My mom could spice up and create a great meal from the most inexpensive, bulk products at the market. We never missed a meal because my dad would do anything to make extra money. It taught me to look at the big picture, don't focus on where you are at this moment but dream about where you can be in 3 -5 years. We were also taught that education is the key, it's the one thing no one can take away from you.

I struggled to get through college because I was impatient. I didn't want to wait four years to get a job and make money, I wanted it now. After about ten years of working without a degree, my career stalled so I went back to college and graduated. It was probably one of the most difficult things I accomplished, working full time in a very stressful environment and then trying to read and finish homework assignments at night. I should have listened and finished right out of high school but sometimes you learn these lessons the hard way.

This leads me to the point of this post - I want to start a blog and I'm hoping your Underdog Tour will motivate me. I enjoy writing and think I have some great stories to tell. I've worked in Africa, I've traveled to many countries around the world and now I've started my own business. I'm not a very good self promoter but hoping to learn how I can help others while also promoting my business.

Thanks for sharing! Don't want, do. And do it again. I've had so many people tell me they want to do something over the years, but never end up taking action.

Let's go!
Regards,

Sam

Young And The Invested

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2019, 06:29:34 AM »
Sam,

Reading about this initiative made my day.  I'd like to submit my underdog story in response.

I've always seen myself as the underdog in my peer groups- be it at work, school, or friends.  I don't say this as a means to put myself down. Rather, I do it intentionally. 

I always attempt to surround myself with people I deem more intelligent than myself. People who work harder and smarter and want more for themselves.  Having these people around forces me to reevaluate my decisions and attempt to learn from their actions.  I see it like buying the least attractive house in a nice neighborhood.  Their collective property values make mine higher if I can put in the work to improve.  By myself, I wouldn't be able to accomplish as much as I have. Therefore I rely on the examples of others to help me improve.

The way I see it, much like the wonderful people of Lake Wobegon, I see myself as above average in areas I choose to focus on but only because I put in the effort.  I don't feel I possess any amazing talent- I choose to spend my time where I feel it will be best put to use. 

In sum, much like you observed in yesterday's post and as Steve noted above, motivation and determination trumps education and innate intelligence.  I've got plenty of the former to help overcome my underdog status on the latter.  Because of my deliberate life choices of who to associate with, I am inherently an underdog in most areas of my life.
https://youngandtheinvested.com/

Deanna - Ms. Fiology

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2019, 10:40:14 PM »
Hey Sam,

You are very generous. I'm eagerly jumping in the FS forums.

So I first starting blogging for Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI in January of 2018. Then my blog launched in April of 2018. I love it and feel like I was born to write my story. It takes a lot of work but I'm in it for the long haul.

I'm the underdog, the comeback kid. I celebrated 9 years of sobriety on February 1, 2019, and as you can imagine there is a story behind all of that. It's been a journey to heal and I don't simply mean from addiction but rather from the wounds of my past. For me, it stems back to childhood and mostly due to the relationship (or lack thereof) with my father. Moreover, what we did have was volatile. In my young adult and adult life, I found myself constantly searching for security in things outside of myself. Unfortunately, drinking and drugging filled the void for many years.

Upon getting sober, I vowed to go deep and uncover the roots. in the process, my family has undergone a lot of healing and my relationships are rich today.

it's through overcoming this adversity that I developed the grit to pay off my debt. I've learned I can do hard things and so saving for financial independence is now my big goal.

I'm new at investing but I have a high savings rate so I'm going strong. I'm happy to be here to share my story and glean from others.

Peace.

 

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2019, 03:19:44 PM »
Sam, glad to see this post. In January 2019 I finally decided throw my hat in the ring and start my side hustle: ForgingFinance.com.  Yep, another personal finance blog.  In about 2 months’ time, I’ve generated over a hundred ideas for individual posts, and have uploaded 7 posts since starting my site in early February.  Taking inspiration from yourself and others, I’ve made my goal upload 1 to 2 posts per week, and keep this pace for at least the next two years.

I would definitely consider myself an underdog in the blogging space.  I am 44 and have been working in the engineering consulting industry for just over 20 years.  ForgingFinance.com is my first ever website. It has been a humbling experience starting something like this from scratch. After a couple of months figuring things out, I’d probably put myself up there with the average 4 year old when it comes to web design. My goal with the site is to first get a simple and clean design, upload content regularly, and work on learning a new aspect of web design every week. Next I would like to get better at social media. I’m pretty far behind the times there too.

I have been a fan of Financial Samurai and other FI blogs for years. I have been inspired by the financial independence community and used many of the ideas to my benefit. Now I would like to join this community, give back and contribute what I can. I am curious to get your thoughts on ForgingFinance.com and look forward to the opportunity to work with you if you decide to add me to the underdog tour.

BW

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2019, 05:45:53 PM »
Hi Sam,

Thanks for starting this community. I look forward to post comments as much as the posts themselves so this is a great addition. And thanks for opening up this opportunity.

I'm an underdog because I grew up in the least educated US county of more than 500,000 people that was rife with ugly local bigotry and clear incentives to not get educated (refinery jobs at high wages, low skill, HS diploma) or leave. I'm an underdog because I turned that into working in technology and software and spending time living on both coasts.

I'm an underdog because I wanted to learn sales after becoming a successful software engineer with no sales experience or talent. My answer was to try everything and eventually write a book about cold calling from an engineering perspective for prospective entrepreneurs.

I started a personal finance (budgeting, to start) app last year and I plan to use content to sell.

Happy to share more if anyone is interested.

Cheezus

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2019, 03:19:13 PM »
Sam,

I love this idea.  I do think you need to add "FORUMS" to the navigation at the top of the FS site.  There is no link to it anywhere but in a blog post that is increasingly getting buried.  Would get a lot more action here I think.  We all want to see this community grow as well.

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2019, 07:56:51 AM »
Sam,

I love this idea.  I do think you need to add "FORUMS" to the navigation at the top of the FS site.  There is no link to it anywhere but in a blog post that is increasingly getting buried.  Would get a lot more action here I think.  We all want to see this community grow as well.

I will by this summer, but I'm taking my time as I like slow growth. It helps weed out folks who have less patience and keep the ones who really want to stick around for the long term.
Regards,

Sam

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2019, 07:58:57 AM »
Great to have some new submissions for the FS Underdog Tour folks! As I wrote in a recent post (https://www.financialsamurai.com/how-to-plan-for-your-retirement-the-second-time-around/), I'd like to retire from FS this July 2019 after 10 years and do new things or simply downshift.

One idea is to have more guest posters share their stories and have one or two staff writers continue writing while I pop in once a week or two.

Either way, the FS Underdog tour will start this summer 2019! I hope to hear more folks share their stories of hardship and triumph.
Regards,

Sam

Young And The Invested

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2019, 08:20:49 AM »
Sam, after hearing about your wife's decision to go back to work and you remain at the helm for another 12 months or so at FS, has this Underdog Tour been put on hold? 

Whatever the decision, it's a great opportunity many here greatly appreciate.
https://youngandtheinvested.com/

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2019, 09:58:27 AM »
Sam, after hearing about your wife's decision to go back to work and you remain at the helm for another 12 months or so at FS, has this Underdog Tour been put on hold? 

Whatever the decision, it's a great opportunity many here greatly appreciate.

 Nope. I plan to keep the underdog tour this summer and for as long as I own FS.

Regards,

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2019, 06:46:15 PM »
Sam,

I'm new to the forums, but I'm excited to get integrated into the community. My blog is about 5 months old. I know I don't qualify for your requirements just yet. But I want to throw my hat into the ring as I should qualify eventually.  :)

I grew up in a very divisive family and suffered emotional abuse from my mom (she is bi-polar). I definitely didn't have it as hard as some people, but even to this day, I struggle with low confidence and low self-esteem. But I've overcome these hurdles (at least partially) to get raises and promotions above my managers. This is without a college degree and 100% self-taught.

For many years I was making 6-figures but would constantly purchase things I couldn't afford as a way to overcome my internal struggles. I would get debt free, only to repeat the cycle and rack up more consumer debt. We are finally at a point where our net-worth is increasing dramatically every month ($0 consumer debt) and our financial future looks bright. I love my wife and my two girls more than anything, and I'm motivated to give them the life I didn't have as a kid.

Out of my three sisters, I'm the only one who hasn't done a massive amount of drugs, including getting into bad situations like prostitution and other things I won't mention. I want to give hope to the people who feel hopeless and trapped. There are things that we can't control in our lives, but the best we can do is make smart decisions with the choices we have and work our asses off to achieve what we want out of life. I'm a highly driven person (some people would describe me as "intense" or "obsessive"). It's kind of a superpower and a curse at the same time.

I'm usually not the smartest person in the room, but few people can match my tenacity. I've gotten a job in the past with a programming language I didn't know and made it work (even though I ended up quitting that job). I'm willing to tackle problems that most people would give up on, and work it until I find a solution.

Some people would say that I'm too open about my struggles on my blog. I've talked about my marriage and internal struggles I'm still working through from my childhood. But getting these thoughts in writing is therapeutic and it's all worth it if I can give hope to one person to push on.

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2019, 07:33:51 AM »
Hi Chris - Welcome to the forum! Thanks for sharing your story.
Regards,

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2019, 11:36:47 AM »
Sam,

I wanted first thank you for being so real on your posts. Your SAT article caught my attention as my scores were also exactly the same as yours: 1040 (first attempt @ 16 junior year) and 1160 (second attempt). We are also the same age.

I was just curious if you remember what you scored on your GMAT?

My SAT scores were not good enough to get me into the School of Liberal Art and Sciences at the University of Michigan, so I applied to the school of Art and Design with my AP Art/Portfolio my freshman year. The college I wanted to attended was the Rhode Island of School of Design as a graphic designer, but my parents told me that I could not put food on the table as graphic designer and encouraged me to study business. When applying to the School of Art and Design at the U of M, they give 1/3 weight to your SAT score, GPA, and your design portfolio. I transferred internally to the school of LSA my sophomore year, then got accepted the BBA Program School of Business my junior year with a concentration in Finance.

Sam, seeing the success you have already achieved.. it clearly shows me that there is no correlation between how high your SAT scores are vs how successful you become as an adult.

Again, thanks for writing that article.

RWM.

Sam

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Re: The Financial Samurai Underdog Tour
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2019, 10:10:58 PM »
Sam,

I wanted first thank you for being so real on your posts. Your SAT article caught my attention as my scores were also exactly the same as yours: 1040 (first attempt @ 16 junior year) and 1160 (second attempt). We are also the same age.

I was just curious if you remember what you scored on your GMAT?

My SAT scores were not good enough to get me into the School of Liberal Art and Sciences at the University of Michigan, so I applied to the school of Art and Design with my AP Art/Portfolio my freshman year. The college I wanted to attended was the Rhode Island of School of Design as a graphic designer, but my parents told me that I could not put food on the table as graphic designer and encouraged me to study business. When applying to the School of Art and Design at the U of M, they give 1/3 weight to your SAT score, GPA, and your design portfolio. I transferred internally to the school of LSA my sophomore year, then got accepted the BBA Program School of Business my junior year with a concentration in Finance.

Sam, seeing the success you have already achieved.. it clearly shows me that there is no correlation between how high your SAT scores are vs how successful you become as an adult.

Again, thanks for writing that article.

RWM.

Howdy! I got a 600 or so on my first try for my GMATs and just left it at that. Good enough! I applied and go into Berkeley's MBA program part-time.

GL on your journey!
Regards,

Sam