Well, here we are! It's been six month since the original challenge was announced and I want to congratulate all of you for making it this far! The network has grown to be a powerful one and now it's up to us to harness it for the greater good This is where the 2nd challenge comes in, which officially starts on August 16th when Yakezie.com is launched.
The 2nd challenge is simply to use the power of the Yakezie network to help others through monetary means or donations of our expertise, while at the same time grow our online revenue by various rates (i.e. 25%, 50%, 100%). The good thing about percentage increase targets is that we can all challenge ourselves whether we have a $100/month site or a $10,000/month site. More will be explained once Yakezie.com is launched. The first challenge of getting our Alexa rankings below 200,000, and now below 100,000 still stands. As long as we are part of the network, we should strive for progress or at least a steady state of satisfaction.
Some of the most interesting types of posts around the web are voyeuristic posts about what goes on inside the mind of the blogger. Part of the reason why DVDs are such a hit is because of the “special features” section where you can watch outtakes and behind the scenes featurettes. Many have asked whether I had a grand plan all along for this group, and the simple answer is no. It was because all of you that the group flourished. I'd like to share with you some of my thoughts as The Yakezie grew. Perhaps you'll do the same and post your own write-up as well!
DECEMBER, 2009 – BEFORE THE YAKEZIE. Alexa Ranking 94,000.
Gosh, blogging is hard. How do some people stay consistent for so long? It would be great to be able to blog full time, but only a few are so lucky. But then again, as someone told me, as soon as you start depending on your hobby for income, it stops being fun. I won't know until I get there, but hanging on the beach blogging somewhere sounds like a good life to me! I'm making progress but getting another guest post rejected is demoralizing. Forget about being a “staff-writer”. Nobody seems to want to read what I have to say. Blog networks tell me to “check back later” after I've had more experience.
At least the advertisers are listening. I'm surprised how many people come out of the wood work to offer advertisement dollars. Where do they all come from? OK, thanks for contacting. It's chump change still, but hey, that's a selfish way of thinking. Maybe someone else could use the several hundred dollars a month. Let's give it to those who need it more. Blogging only for money is uninspiring. But, blogging and knowing money is being diverted to help someone else is inspiring. Stay consistent. That's the only way you're going to get anywhere.
JANUARY, 2010. THE LAUNCH. Alexa Ranking 78,000.
New year, time to reflect. Six months went by fast since launching Financial Samurai in the summer of 2009. Despite the road bumps, this is some of the best fun I've ever had! The Alexa ranking keeps going lower, which helps me stay the course. Meanwhile, I've seen a couple blogging buddies disappear over the same time period (Five Pence Piece and Gen Y investing where art thou?), and I wonder if they'd have stuck around if they started tracking their rankings as well?
I've got a feeling there are lots of us out there who've been rejected and just need a chance to be heard. But, how am I supposed to be a scientist if I can't get an “A” in biology? In other words, this blog needs to at least have some good fundamental traffic and get up there in the rankings before I can do something greater.
Let's start our own darn group. I'm sick of rejection. I went to college, I know how to type and so do many other people. But, what should I name it? One word, thematically Japanese perhaps? Yakuza? Nah, that's taken, and it has bad connotations. Yakezie, pro-nounced Ya-Kay-Zee? Yes, I like the sound of it. Good, it's a word that's never been created before either. Write the post. Maybe someone will read it and join.
FEBRUARY, 2010. GROWTH. Alexa Ranking 70,000.
Maybe there are people reading? 30+ members already, nice. TAKE THAT you exclusive blogging networks! Us little guys can create our own too!
How do I help galvanize action? Some are so gung ho, some aren't as much. We each have our own busy schedules to lead so it's impossible to have some kind of set standard. Can't force anybody to do anything, and people have got to put in the time themselves. The more they put in, the more they'll get out of the experience. Need to lead by example.
Oh drat, Wise Bread changed the rules on us and included blogs from major mass media publications in their list. Our progress is temporarily stalled as we all dropped two spots, respectively as a result. Time to write an update post (“Progress Through Adversity”). Neat, a week later, the rules are back to normal and the piggy back blogs are gone. We do have a voice. Stay humble, but stand strong.
MARCH, 2010. CREATIVITY. Alexa Ranking 65,000.
I love everybody here! There are some amazingly talented members with a lot of unique skills and insights! Thanks Forest and Beating Broke for creating the Yakezie random post widget! Thanks Greg for creating the badge! Thanks Joel for creating the Yakezie ranking list and to Daniel-san at Sweating The Big Stuff for coming up with the original Google Docs list! Thanks Greg again for starting the Yakezie Google Groups with tons of discussion every single day! Thanks Elle from Couple Money for giving the Yakezie a shout out in her guest post on ProBlogger! Thanks Monevator for also highlighting the Yakezie on Remarkablogger.
The Yakezie is like an open source platform where members are free to do whatever they want with it. Good for them for being so creative. I wonder what members will come up with next? Oh nice, we're talking about potentially an eBook, a Carnival, and a giveaway. Neat. The possibilities are endless!
Hmmm, I guess one of my new year's resolutions of getting to know 3 new people a month is going to be pretty easy. We're already at 50 members!
APRIL, 2010. CONFLICT. Alexa 58,000.
Uh oh, growing pains. A couple bloggers don't want to put the badge Greg created up on their sites. They've voiced their frustration in Google groups. I, along with several other earlier members are wondering why they bothered joining in the first place since their sites are already pretty popular.
I never created any official requirements for joining, but I guess some guidelines should be in place since the group is getting quite large and the Google spreadsheet system we use to track our members only holds 50 spots. The discussion gets heated within Google groups, and I know people are wondering where I stand.
I jump in, head first with a proposal for a vote. Vote passes that members should follow a set of rules which are later added to the original Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge post. This ain't no hit and run. We're in it for the long run. Hmmm, maybe I'm being too vocal.
The two bloggers decide to leave. Unfortunate, but fine by us, as there are many others who want to join. Looking at one who left, he's almost dropped to page 3 from page 1 on WB's list. The other, I donno, he seems to be an angry person. He doesn't like me, oh well. I'm bound to collide with some. He's far more advanced than us in the blogging world in terms of SEO etc. We don't care at this point. We're just having fun and building relationships. Good luck to them.
MAY, 2010. STAY TRUE. Alexa Ranking 51,000.
Hmmm, I have a lot of controversial posts which might agitate some readers and Yakezie members (Pro Flat Tax, The Dark Side of Early Retirement, West Coast Is The Best Coast , The Emergency Fund Fallacy etc). Am I supposed to write in a more agreeable way, or should I just continue being myself? The group has grown to 80 members from all sorts of backgrounds: women, men, rich, not so rich, foreign, local, religious, non religious etc. I'm bound to piss someone off. What to do? I want to write about stuff I want to read. I've gotten this far just being myself, it doesn't seem right to change too much. I won't. This is what running your own site is all about.
Hopefully people can still respect my thoughts even if they don't agree with my thoughts. Looks like people are getting along quite well, and relationships are being formed between various members on their own. Good, that's what I was hoping for.
It's really hard to keep track of everyone now, and a lot of members have said the same thing. Dr. Dean comes up with a neat survey for us to fill out. The number one concern is how big we've grown Let's see, if I make sure to read five new sites a week and interact, it's only going to be a matter of time before I get to know everybody. I wish everybody would just come visit me here and comment so I can get to know them. Oh, stop being so lazy.
JUNE, 2010. THE FINAL STRETCH. Alexa Ranking 41,500.
We've got something here. Best to register Yakezie.com and create a true home base for the entire team. Yakezie.com is where the list will be, as well as a place all members can showcase their writing talents. Furthermore, members should use Yakezie.com as a launching pad for whatever projects they are personally working on at their respective sites. Examples include a giveaway, invention like Little House's Frog Cap, ebook, and so forth. I can see how the Yakezie.com platform can launch ideas in a hurry!
Maintaining one blog is hard enough, how will I maintain two? I really won't, because Yakezie.com will be for everyone. I want to be a participant in Yakezie.com, where I can comment and help promote other people's stuff. I'll be your biggest fan! I'm happy to pay for all the start up costs (hosting, design, content) and see where this goes.
I wondering if a system based on honor could work where we have enough administrators on Yakezie.com who will write, edit, and post at will based on a loosely defined regular schedule.
JULY, 2010. LOOKING FOR YAKEZIE LEADERS! Alexa Ranking 40,500.
We've got roughly a month until the site is launched and I'm looking for leaders who want to gain administrative access to help get this puppy off the ground. Each leader will get their own bio, with a special color coding that identifies them as an administrator. A leader's responsibility is simply to find talent in their respective categories, help edit their stories to the Yakezie standard, and allow people to flourish. A leader will also have priority in publishing their own stories on Yakezie.com which will in turn help promote their own sites and projects.
There's little doubt in my mind that Yakezie.com is going to be a win-win-win scenario for everybody. Can you imagine if it becomes big one day, how neat it would be to have “Yakezie Leader” under your resume? To be a part of something great from the ground up is a wonderful thing. I just get excited thinking about being a Yakezie Leader myself!
If you are not one of the Yakezie Leaders, that's quite alright too. You are a Yakezie Ambassador and a great representative of our group!
THREE MAIN VERTICALS
There will be three main verticals on Yakezie.com, the most intricate of which will be Yakezie Personal Finance due to the various sub categories such as: career, education, frugality, and retirement. The other two verticals will be Yakezie Lifestyle where the focus is on living the life you've always wanted, and Yakezie Writing Contest, which is about giving back our services and money to people in need. I will elaborate further on the new site.
From previous discussions, the following members have stepped up to take the challenge as a Yakezie Leader:
Public Relations: Neal at Wealth Pilgrim – West Coast Representative
* Looking for an International Representative, which can be divided into Europe, Asia, Latin America if necessary. Canadian rep is open if anybody would like to do that.
Yakezie Personal Finance (Family Finance): Jesse at Personal Finance Firewall
Yakezie Personal Finance (Debt Destroyer): Jeff at Deliver Away Debt
Yakezie Lifestyle: There's a whole world out there of new lifestyle bloggers to get to know. This is where financial freedom and life converge! Looking for that Lifestyler out there.
Yakezie Scholarship: Looking for folks who are especially passionate about education and charity. Teachers are especially a great fit. I'd like to help work on this angle.
Some Key Positions Open: Social Media Leader i.e. Twitter & Facebook, Podcaster, Interviewer, SEO. Bucksome Boomer mentioned working on a Yakezie Blog Frog page which could be neat.
To make things manageable, I'd like to get a total of around 10 Yakezie Leaders to help run Yakezie.com. Each Yakezie Leader is responsible for their own slice and is given autonomy to create and develop as they see fit. Ideally, the leader can be one for at least a six month time period, if not longer. Once you see the giving back aspect of Yakezie.com in the Yakezie Scholarship vertical, I think you'll want to be a leader for quite a long time.
JUST REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN
What I do want to highlight is that if as soon as you stop having fun and don't feel like we're going in the right direction, speak up and share your thoughts. You should never feel that being a Yakezie Leader is a burden, and too stressful. If you do, you can simply ask one of your fellow Yakezie members to sub in, or completely take your place just like how we did with the Yakezie Carnivals. I do believe that if you're like me, you believe in purpose and the joy of helping others.
All Yakezie members should think about things of their own they would like to promote on Yakezie.com. Hopefully many of you can show case your talents through a “Yakezie Member Post” (as opposed to guest post) where you'll get a fantastic concentration of eyeballs. Many of us have built wonderful relationships with others on their own and this is what I'm most proud of. Friendships are what give life meaning. The Yakezie, first and foremost is about selflessly helping others!
Members, feel free to throw your hat in the ring if you want to be a Yakezie Leader and identify which vertical or sub category you are most interested in.
All suggestions, questions, comments welcome. I know I'm probably missing something inadvertently, so please feel free to remind me below, and I'll add it to the post!
* UPDATE: Yakezie.com is now live!
Related: The Samurai Alexa Ranking Challenge
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
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