I will make an argument why you need to start your own website today. I’ve had my own website, Financial Samurai, since 2009. It has been the best financial investment I’ve ever made.
In a post pandemic world, you should own a website that can never be shut down. If you can keep spreading your message and making money online, you will be in a much happier and more secure place.
Ever since college, I’ve been planning for my financial future. The path was always pretty straight forward – get a job I hopefully like, don’t fall into the consumerism trap, stay in shape to not die young, save as much money as possible, work hard, get rich, and retire.
But one thing happened I did not anticipate. The internet started becoming more mainstream. I’m part of the generation that knew what life was like before the internet and smartphones. As a result, I very much appreciate how much better life is now with the internet! Starting your own website is a no-brainer. Let me share with you so many reasons why.
Why You Need To Start Your Own Website Today
We tend to only do things when there’s enough agitation to change. For me, I felt like working at an non-ideal job was like a test of endurance. Originally, I thought I’d be able to last 18 years until the age of 40. But I failed.
Instead, I harnessed the internet to start this site in 2009 because I needed an outlet. I never anticipated just running a website would allow me to be completely free, but it has. If you’ve been reading Financial Samurai for at least a couple years, you’ve witnessed the progression as I’ve been pretty open during the journey.
Here are reasons why you need to start your own website today.
1) Connect with new people in a tailored fashion.
The internet is all about connecting with people who share your common interest from all over the world. You can make new friends with people all over like I’ve done since 2009. There are literally dozens of people scattered around the world whom I can grab a meal with or stay with during my travels.
Having a community of friends can help you better achieve your goals. You’ll still need to go out there and meet people in real life, but the social aspect is pretty wonderful once you’ve found your people.
2) Do what you love.
Once you have a website, you’re free to test the platform out on things you love. There are sites about music, cars, sneakers, movies, electronics, travel, food, dating, fitness, real estate, and money that have gone on to create large audiences because it is evident the owner loves what s/he is doing.
I love to write finance-related articles without compliance committee oversight. I love to come up with an idea, formulate a plan, execute, and watch the idea grow. Having your own website allows you to test out so many things without much downside.
3) Make a little or a lot of money.
Creating a large enough site that makes you at least $1,000 a month takes work – at least a year for most people. But as you can see from the millions of sites out there, it can be done! Start with a smaller goal, like making $100 a month, and work your way up.
Remember, if you can create a $10,000 a year additional income stream, that’s equivalent to owning a $400,000 asset that yields 2.5%. A website is scaleable, costs little to run, and is very low maintenance. Compare an online business to a bricks and mortar retail store and there is no comparison! Income upside is unlimited!
4) Legitimize the existence of your new business.
You can tell people you’ve started your own business, but if you’ve got nothing to show for your business, does it really exist? Since you’re not down to spend thousands of dollars a month on office overhead, the easiest and cheapest way to establish your business is to establish your site online.
You’ve now got a virtual place for everyone to go to check out your product or service. Once you’ve set up your business online, you’ll discover a myriad of ways to earn money, save on taxes, help loved ones, and blend work and fun much easier.
5) Leave a job you no longer enjoy.
In 2012, at the age of 34, I negotiated a severance from a job that no longer interested me after 13 years. It’s been four years since I’ve last had to report to anybody, do something I didn’t want to do, play office politics, and endure an unpleasant rush hour commute.
Not a day goes by where I don’t thank my lucky stars for having freedom. Financial Samurai was the main reason why I had the courage to leave. I had something fun to do that had some momentum. I just didn’t know how far I could really take it.
6) Own your own brand online.
The reason why sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc have grown so large is because millions of people have decided to create their brand on their platforms. Instead of playing by another website’s rules and enriching them, why not play by your own rules and enrich yourself?
When someone Googles your name, it’s much better to have your branded site pop up first rather than LinkedIn. Have both if you must, but definitely have your own at the very least so you can tell your desired story.
7) Get a new job more easily.
Every single employer Google’s your name before they hire you. If you are one of the very few people who have their own branded website vs. just a LinkedIn profile, you will instantly stand way above your competition.
I’ve been able to get consulting gigs at four financial technology companies with relative ease because they recognize my work on FS. I know plenty of examples where individuals who’ve carved out their little niche have gone on to get plum jobs at places like AirBnB and Uber.
A potential employer will see creativity, hustle, and initiative from those who’ve spent the time to create their own site. A website looks fantastic on your resume.
8) Learn how to hustle and sell.
There is no better “sink or swim” test than starting your own site. To get people to visit, you’ve got to build relationships with other influencers in your niche, write good content worth reading, create a product worth buying, guest post, leave comments, and do things differently.
If you don’t, nothing much really happens, or the growth you were hoping for doesn’t materialize. There’s no better way to learn than by doing. The great thing is, if you fail, it’s OK, especially if you are side hustling. You simply try again.
9) More easily help others.
People often wonder how they can better give back to society, especially if they don’t have much money to spare. I firmly believe all of us have some knowledge to give that will help others avoid pain, suffering, or wasted time if we take the time to share our experiences.
If you have a website, you can share your knowledge with anybody who wants to listen. Google will help those seeking your help find your content. There’s no need to game the search engines because Google has had a decade to perfect their search results.
10) Focus on what you can control.
The global pandemic has thrown billions for a loop. With a website, you can better control your destiny since it can’t be shut down.
I know with high certainty that if I write more I’ll garner more traffic. With more traffic comes higher revenue. Being able to do things that can positively affect your future is one of the best feelings ever. Do not simply accept your situation with no way out!
Being able to be in control is so important for your happiness and mental health. Many of us lost our ability to control things once the pandemic hit. With a website, you are more in control of your own destiny. There is a high correlation with effort and reward.
11) Free swag.
Are you ever amazed by how much swag attendees at the Oscar’s get? Supposedly, the latest goody bag is valued at over $200,000! Well guess what? Your dear author also gets some pretty amazing free swag as well.
Most recently, I got a $800 free Fluidstance level balance for those who like to work standing up. If you start a site with a good reputation, you’ll also be approached with a lot of free offers. If you love to read books, you can build a whole library of books for free from authors who hope you’ll promote their stuff!
12) Crowdsource knowledge.
I’m always looking to invest in commercial real estate around the country to diversify my real estate and investment holdings. What better way to make more informed investment decisions than to take the collective wisdom from your website’s community and synthesize the information?
Here’s a good example of crowdsourcing knowledge where I asked the community to share their thoughts on Conshy, Pennsylvania. The insights in the comments section are pretty amazing!
13) Leave a legacy.
I’ve never thought about my legacy, but those who’ve gone through mid-life crises or who are older have consistently told me about their desire to leave a legacy. They worry about what other people will say, or whether they’ve contributed enough to society to make themselves and their family members proud.
I guarantee you that if you do what you love every day while helping others along the way, you will leave a fantastic legacy you will be proud of. It is incredibly satisfying to help someone without an expectation of anything in return.
If you subscribe to the Legacy Retirement Philosophy, owning a website that lives on long after you do is congruent.
14) Make a lot of money
Of course, if you have a website, you can make a lot of money online. When I left my job in 2012, I was making about $5,000 a month from this website. Today, I make enough to comfortably provide for my family of four in expensive San Francisco.
This post describes how to make a lot of money blogging. You’ll be surprised at all the possibilities. The earnings upside is unlimited!
Have A Website, Develop A Platform
For those of you who’ve only known the internet, I’m not sure you appreciate how good you’ve got it. Us older folks used to have to go to the library to research information and painfully reference each source and wait for results. Nowadays, everything is instantaneous. Thus, it would be a missed opportunity if the internet generation did not fully leverage the web and create their own websites.
FinancialSamurai.com is my X Factor for financial freedom because from 1999 – 2012, I prepared for my exit by methodically creating my Passive Income Portfolio. My online income is a byproduct of sharing my journey towards financial freedom. I never anticipated that what I’ve been writing about these last seven years could morph into a meaningful online income.
You can register your domain for under $20/year and get hosting for $2.95/month through BlueHost within a couple minutes. You’ll also get a free domain name for a year. Connect your WordPress site (what I use) with your domain and host to get started.
That’s what I did when I first started seven years ago. Click here to follow a step-by-step guide on how to launch your own site in under 30 minutes.
Every day, I’m thankful for the internet. It has allowed me to break free and live life on my own terms. Along the way, I’ll continue to have setbacks. But at least I know that worst case scenario, I’ve got Financial Samurai and my passive income to fall back on.
Updated for 2022 and beyond. It cost me $1,500 and a week back then to set up my site. Now you can set one up for less than $50 bucks and in less than an hour.
Hi Sam, you were the inspiration for creating my own blog. I’m pretty sure I used your bluehost link as well. I hope it really helps people in the same way your site has. Cheers!
Financial Samurai says
Nice and good luck! It’s fun blogging. Just got to keep at it.
Luong Nguyen says
Thanks to the author for a very good article, I have found the author’s name in a famous magazine in Vietnam, since then I have been browsing this website to learn.
Great read and I can relate. I’ve been in IT for 20 years and created over 300 websites. It’s funny that I’ve only begun my own personal site just recently. It does have benefits but the hardest part is keeping up with content. While we have so many other things going on, blogging can be difficult. You have to commit and people need to know that. Thanks for a great post.
Wow so glad I stumbled on this I’m getting my first site opened tomorrow after a year on blogpress , wish me luck guys xx
Nick Bland says
I work in the finance industry. After reading many of your posts, you have convinced me to start a blog and my own personal website for branding. My question is this: Should those two be separate things? I am on the path to be FI, but I still have many years ahead of me. So I could see how a blog for writing about interests and a website to promote yourself should be different things. For example, if you were still working, would you use Financial Samurai to help you get another job in IB or would you use a site like SamDogen.com for that purpose? If the latter, would you recommend your name for simplicity or something with more style, but less obvious and formal, e.g. ProfessionalBanker.com (I know that name sucks but i couldnt think of anything better right now).
Financial Samurai says
Best to use yourname.com if you want to get another job. But you can always grow your brand and your site as a business/blog under yourname.com as well.
I used FS b/c I liked the name and didn’t want my employer to know everything I was writing about. I also can scale FS easier away from myself.
Thanks Sam! I agree with your comment. I was already thinking that way as well. Plus to your point, once you are free of corporate employment, there is no reason you can’t link the two together.
These are notes from someone who went through all of this before. Here is what you may find useful:
1). It is easy to start a blog/website but it is very hard to maintain and keep it going FOR MONTHS and YEARS consistently. If you are not sure you could do it AND if you still want to succeed my advice would be the following: think of something that you have enjoyed doing for many many years? What is it? If it is gardening – then here is your answer – start a website about gardening. Do you like cooking? Have you been collecting recipes for years? Again – this is where your passion lies and this is what will keep you going. Create a website about cooking and I guarantee you won’t get burned out after several months of blogging and little to no visitors.
2). It is a statistical fact that the most profitable niches/websites are about ‘how to make money’, health and beauty, and relationships-dating. These 3 niches are highly competitive niches but are also very profitable.
3). It was easier to succeed before 2005. It was not as crowded back then and it was just a matter of days when you could show up in searches on the page one. IT IS NOT THE CASE ANYMORE. Google became more sophisticated, a lot of SEO tricks that used to work do not work anymore, more and more algorithms are being rolled in almost every day. I can see their effects on my traffic pattern – one day you are fine and the other 50% of your traffic is gone ( and I swear I do nothing to anger the Google). I used to flip out over it but then I became philosophical about it. I assumed that I may never succeed or it may take 10 years to succeed oh well. The main point – I love what I do and I have some readers. My niche is relationships/breakups and in case you have relationship issues or suffer from a breakup – beluckyinlove.net
4) Consider your personality. I find that it is easier to be an extrovert to succeed online. Here is the thing: to be successful with your website you need’ll to be 4 of these 1) A good writer (to produce content) 2) An IT person to handle technical issues with your website 3) A marketing specialist to understand how to market your content. 4) An eye for detail and have a sense of colors/styles etc. This is to make your website looking food. Failing in any of these will delay your results. I am already failing the #3 – marketing – because honestly I am tired of knocking on closed doors. I have contacted so many ‘right people’ and popular bloggers to only get silence in return. I am done with this. I’ll keep focusing on creating my website, keep it look beautiful, no annoying ads and if someone finds me and likes what they read – fine, if not oh well.
Having a website is a life long journey. It will test your character, your level of commitment, devotion, persistence, and endurance. To succeed you will have to keep going when it feels like no one EVER reads what you write or like you are about to give up. It is a painful, lonely road to travel and all bloggers went through it. Remember these words when it feels hopeless. It will work out if you just stick with it. Thanks for reading.
Ammar Ali says
Yay! So happy that I started my own personal blog. Do you think I should limit it to posting stuff about me only? How about writing about my experiences?
Fortune Cookie Millennial says
Been following your blog since last August, and I just decided to start mine because of your posts on blogging. Thanks for all the great content!
Sam, thanks for all the great FREE content. You have inspired me start my own website/blog. I think the key for me is that I love to teach, but I am quickly becoming fed up with the way the education system is heading. I will stay and fight as long as I can, but I also realize that I may have to transition one day.
Thanks for all the great advice on this site and keep writing about tennis! (I’m a coach for a high school here in the midwest and it is great to “know” a 5.0 USTA player! Congrats!).
Fit Saver says
Thanks for the inspiration, I went and did it and started a site: fitsaving.com!! Now can you write a post on how to promote it?!?!?! No clue what I’m doing but I figured the best way to learn was to jump right in.
Thanks again for the new adventure.
Financial Samurai says
Sure, but before I do, I want you to write 2-3 1,200 word posts a week without fail for 6 months and check back in!
Let’s do this!
Fit Saver says
Yikes! I’m about a month in and thought I was doing pretty well with once a week and 1000 words. I guess I’m going to have to set the bar higher and become a more prolific writer.
I better get typing!
Either way, love your blog. I’ve been reading it for about a year and between you and MMM there is nothing better on the internet.
Hey a quick comment from me, sitting-on-the-sidelines, I personally have enjoyed your experiences and commentary as an uber driver, these “side hustle’ experiments are valuable and entertaining as well !! Also fall into the category of “stealth Wealth’ where you get to observe regular, unenlightened, fellow humans in their natural habitat, which is useful research and fodder for other articles! How about some other side hustle type jobs-barista, waiter at an upscale restaurant, check in desk attendant at the gym (usually comes with a free membership-a tax free perk…) Thanks for all the useful content-we in the “millionaires next door club ‘enjoy it, although you would never guess it-we are too busy leading unassuming lives, and practicing the things you teach!!
recently stumbled upon your website and I intend to become a regular visitor – you’ve got some great posts and it’s good to hear about someone else who has reached independence.
On the website point, One of the things that i struggle with is the issue that there are already hundreds/thousands of people out there writing about finance, real estate, careers, hobbies etc and I guess I’m afraid of not generating enough interest. Though I suppose that’s part of the struggle. Any thoughts on over-coming some of that self-doubt?
Financial Samurai says
When I started Financial Samurai in 2009, I had the same thoughts. There are already MILLIONS of websites out there, why should mine be anything special? But, good things come to those who try for a long, long time. Don’t suffer from the syndrome where you don’t want to ask the pretty girl out b/c you think you have no chance.
Success is a time and numbers game. Do some side hustling after your day job is over. Work on it over time and take calculated risks. I took my leap of faith in 2012 about 2.6 years after I started FS. It has been a great ride, and I have another “trick” up my sleeve in 2017!
Warren Franklin says
It is definitely a long term wait for the results type of proposition. Don’t get your hopes up that in one month you will have $1000’s of dollars of passive income, it will take time to build the content. If it is truly valuable content the people will find it. Dreams of quick Money or get rich quick is a problem many people have, and they give up. Think about it like writing a book, you will not get rich the first chapter you write, it takes time to develop but once the hard work and effort are put in, eventually it should have its rewards.
Solving people’s problems is a good approach, not everyone can write about.
I’d appreciate your thoughts on niche selection.
Is it OK to start a broad site if your interests are varied or do you think niching down to a single subject is still the best way to go?
Financial Samurai says
You’ve got to estimate the market opportunity and your ability to write continuously. Too niche, and you will burn out quickly. Wrong market, and you will never make any realy money.
Warren Franklin says
I have to start by saying thank you. This post along with a book I recently read – got me moving on my website idea and focusing my passive income stream.
Although I have a way to go since it was January 2016 that I started the site, I am happy to say it has given me joy as well as the opportunity to reach financial freedom. For me my passion is the insurance industry, and although it may sound bizarre there is nothing more interesting to me as risk, risk transfer and insurance.
I believe everyone should have their own websites, and focus on areas of their own expertise and interest.
Thanks Financial samurai for the advice. If I can ever help with additional advice to you, please see myinsuranceshark
What might you suggest to someone with no web coding skills starting on a financial shoestring?
You my friend have just inspired me! Today is day one of my journey. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but all the points you made above are valid.
I love side income/passive income. For many years I have done the eBay/Craigslist thing, but I never thought about my personal brand or own website.
Let’s see where I end up a year from now! Would love to read more about successful website/blogging from you.