Blogging Away The Income Gap For Financial Freedom

by in Personal Finance on Nov 16th, 2015

The great thing about a blog is that it’s always on. Unlike most of us, who run out of energy after 12 hours of work, a blog can keep working for us 24/7, 365 days of the year if our hosting company doesn’t crash! Good thing the data shows most sites are up 99%+ of the time.

Creating a money making universal soldier is one of the key points from showing income profiles of financially free people over on Financial Samurai. For some reason, there is so much pushback from folks who do not believe it’s possible to make a good living beyond the 9-to-5! Read More

Why Bloggers Still Don’t Get Much Respect

by in Lifestyle on Jul 28th, 2015

For the past month I’ve been driving for Uber anywhere between 5 – 15 hours a week. It’s been a very insightful experience, learning about the different types of passengers, as well as the reaction I get when I tell them I’m a blogger. I encourage everybody, rich or poor, to work a minimum wage service job if they ever want to regain some appreciation for what they have!

Most people react with indifference when I tell them I’m a blogger, with nary a follow up question asking what I write about. For those who do ask, I tell them I write about everything personal finance related. Some find it interesting, while most kinda let out a gruff of acknowledgement before looking back down on their iPhones.

The most common question I get is, “Can you actually make money blogging?

I always respond with something like, “Yeah, a little bit here and there. It’s not easy because you’ve got to build up a lot of traffic, and that takes many years.

The conversation rarely continues on the topic of blogging after I tell them it’s hard. I can hear them internally thinking, “Oh, this poor Uber driver who’s trying to make a living as a writer. Sucks to be him!Read More

The Wall Street Journal Layoff Implications For Personal Finance

by in Personal Finance on Jun 19th, 2015

The Wall Street Journal announced on June 18, 2015 that they will be laying off roughly 100 staff and most of their personal finance journalists. The news isn’t a huge shock given Dow Jones’ results were down 11% YoY in the third quarter of 2015. But it was a surprise to see that most of their personal finance journalists will be let go if you follow the #WSJperfi hashtag on Twitter.

In a world where there’s not enough good personal finance education, it’s sad to see that there will now be even less by one of the best publications in the world. I’ve personally reached out to some of the reporters if they want to do some freelance work, but no responses as of yet. Here are some thoughts about the layoffs. Read More

How To Get Bloggers To Write About Your Company Or Product

by in Lifestyle on May 20th, 2015

The larger your site grows, the more inundated you will get with requests to highlight a product, company, or service. It makes sense given your sphere of influence has grown. And as your sphere of influence grows, so does your revenue.

But not everything has to be about making more money online. I write mostly because I enjoy writing and interacting with people. If I didn’t, there’s no way I would have gotten through the first several years earning minimal income. There’s also no way I’d keep going after six years on Financial Samurai if money was the main object because I’ve turned down multiple seven figure offers already.

Selling an income producing asset when rates are this low is a suboptimal financial move. Once you sell, you’ll scratch and claw to try and replicate your business success to no avail. Besides, valuations for online media properties are skyrocketing with the bull market. We’re talking 10X or greater annual revenue multiples now compared to 5X or lower before 2012.

Enough about the joys of blogging. If you’re a publicist or marketer, I’d like to provide some tips on how you can get influential bloggers to write about your product! This post is a way to help you, and also help us bloggers who get inundated with uninspiring requests every day.  Read More

Feed The Trolls To Grow Your Website’s Traffic, Rank Better In SEO, And Make More Money!

by in Lifestyle on Apr 27th, 2015

The larger your website grows, the larger your website will likely continue to grow. It’s a virtuous cycle that makes blogging easier the longer you survive. You just need to get past that first two or three year wasteland, that most all of us go through where we wonder whether it’s all worth it or not.

If your website gets big enough, even 1% of your community who hates your guts will engender a lot of comments. For example, let’s say each article you publish garners 5,000 pageviews, 5% of your readers comment (250), and 1% of your commenters hate you. That’s 25 really nasty comments that when added together can probably combine for another full post! Read More

Are You Correctly Predicting The Future To Maximize Your Online Revenue?

Pick The Right Companies And Flourish

by in Lifestyle on Apr 16th, 2015

One of the big surprises to come out of blogging was not the realization that I could one day leave my full-time job in finance. That epiphany came when I received an advertising request on my iPhone while chilling at a bar on top of Santorini in the Fall of 2011.

The biggest surprise about blogging is its ability to be a dynamic resume to allow people to pivot into a new career!

One of the big reasons why I wanted to get out of the investment banking industry was because there was a loosening correlation between performance and reward. One would work harder, generate more revenue, and get paid less! That’s demoralizing. Ever since I left the banking world in 2012, there’s been report after report about how XYZ bank is downsizing its departments. I’ve also heard from old colleagues how their compensation continues to get squeezed.

Meanwhile, the consumption of online content continues to explode! Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have come out of nowhere with mega valuations based on aggressive funding. Meanwhile, every week a new blogger is quitting his/her job to blog full-time. I’m bullish on blogging for the next 10 years, and I just wish I started Financial Samurai in 2003 when my father first suggested the idea instead of dilly dallying until 2009.

Financial Samurai now generates enough to put food on the table, without having to aggressively sell anything, work in an office, or report to anyone. It is a dream come true, and every day I thank my lucky stars.

What I’ve discovered is that to grow your revenue online, you’ve got to make educated guesses about the future. Read More

How To Write The Whale Post And Gain Lots Of Website Traffic

Creating Memorable, High Traffic Content

by in Lifestyle on Nov 17th, 2011

One of the reasons why public writing is so addicting is because there’s a chance somebody important out there might read what you’re writing and highlight it to somebody else important.  Your traffic starts to surge and your site might even crash due to server overload.  If this happens, congratulations!  You have found your Whale Post!

The Whale Post is elusive.  You think you’re writing interesting stuff, but most of the time nobody really cares, as reflected by the lack of comments.  You can have a site with thousands of subscribers with only 10 people motivated enough to leave some thoughts.  How demoralizing is that?  It’s only demoralizing if you think you’ve written something good.

Whale Post definition: A post which contains over 100 comments or 5X your average number of comments and accounts for at least 25% of your monthly traffic.  This is a new term that I’d like to introduce to the online writing community.

Here’s a case study of how the post, “How Much Do The Top Income Earners Make By Percentage” became a Whale Post on Financial Samurai.  If you search the term “top income earners“, you’ll see this post come up at the top of all major search engines.  Because of this, the post has received over 60,000 page views a month for the past couple of months.  Meanwhile, there are more than 700 hundred comments, hundreds of which could be stand alone 800-word articles themselves!


If You Want To Get Rich, Stop Messing Around!

Why Be The Worst When You Can Be The Best?

After three open houses and a couple hours of analysis, I thought I picked the top 5 rental candidates with the best financial records, but I was wrong.  All was fine until my fourth and last open house when a 28 year old single guy who graduated from CalTech came in and applied.  He is a software engineer at Google and makes $450,000 a year!  What the……

In addition to his eye-boggling income, he has $400,000 saved up after 6 years of working.  Perhaps some of that is 401K or Google stock, but whatever the case, I was blown away.  The 35 year old cardiologist who makes $300,000 has nothing on this Google guy, partly because the doc is in so much debt and also because he is so anal!  After 20 questions, you’ve got to give a person some breathing room buddy.

When I went to business school, a third of my classmates were engineers because they were the smartest people who were “stuck” making $150,000-$200,000 a year.  They saw their less smart colleagues in sales and marketing move up in the firm and make $300,000+ a year and were envious.  These guys all got 730+ on their GMATs out of 800 and 3.8+ GPAs out of 4.0.  It seemed obvious to me they had a chip on their shoulder and felt like they should be running the place.

The Googler’s applicant simply shattered my belief that engineers face a ceiling.  If you are 28 years old and making $450,000, you are absolutely crushing it.  Only in industries such as private equity, money management, and banking do 28 year olds with 6 years of experience make this kinda dough.  Even if you went to Yale Law School and joined super prestigious Wachtel Lipton, you start off at around a $200,000 base (vs. $160,000 base for the other top 20 corporate law firms) and a potential $100,000 bonus.

The war for talent is on!  So what about the rest of us?


You Might Be A Blogging Addict If ……

Confessions Of A Blogoholic

by in Lifestyle on Feb 4th, 2011

I love blogging.  I love blogging so much that sometimes I forget to eat dinner because I’m busy responding to comments, writing posts, and socializing online with friends. If I was a high school student again, I think my parents would worry about my health and offline social life. I can hear my father now, “Sam, how about going outside and meeting some nice girl or something?”

We have three main verticals on Personal Finance, Lifestyle, and Writing Contest.  What I’ve come to realize is that we might very well be missing one of the most important verticals… Blogging!  After all, the Yakezie Network is a network of bloggers who are all trying to figure out how to improve our respective sites.

Writing is a lot about self-reflection.  How do I feel about this situation?  Why do things happen the way they do?  Will I ever be able to get ahead?  I think about things constantly and if I didn’t put anything down in writing, I’d miss out on so many things because thoughts come and go in a flash.

One evening, I was reflecting on whether or not I have become a blogging addict.  Spending an extra 20-30 hours a week in front of the computer seems kind of excessive frankly.  I want to make sure that I won’t be checking into rehab soon and came up with a list to check my pulse.  Won’t you have a look and share your thoughts?


Evaluating the Real Cost of Buying a New Car

by in Personal Finance on Nov 1st, 2015

To a lot of people, owning a new car represents many important things in life: independence, adulthood, convenience and a validation of success. But in addition to the many wonderful aspects new cars bring, they’re also quite the expenditure, and we’re not even talking about their initial price tag.

Let’s break down all the costs and fees many people don’t realize buying a new car brings below.  Read More

How To Find Your Niche In The Vast Caverns Of The Internet

by in Lifestyle on Oct 12th, 2015

Blogging reminds me a bit like cave exploration. Both were once unusual hobbies but have been gaining popularity amongst all sorts of people. Neither requires a lot of equipment or experience to get started. Plus, both blogging and cave exploring take creativity, organization and perseverance to be successful. Finally, perhaps most importantly, both involve finding an undiscovered space you can call your own.

However, there is one crucial difference between writing and publishing a successful blog versus exploring a massive network of underground caves. With caving, the end goal is finding a niche, whereas with blogging, you want to have a distinctive niche before you even get started. Easier said than done. Finding a niche for your blog can be as hard as searching through a dark, craggy, unknown cavern, but I guarantee having your own unique voice and calling is much more profitable. Here’s how to pick your way through the labyrinth of blog topics to discover a niche that is right for you. Read More

How To Survive The Rise Of Ad Blocking

by in Lifestyle on Sep 13th, 2015

I recently went to a independent publishers only conference in San Francisco hosted by Sovrn (Lijit Networks). Sovrn is an ad network company that was purchased by the once mighty Federated Media. I remember trying to join Federated Media’s ad platform in 2010, but couldn’t get in because Financial Samurai didn’t have enough traffic at the time. I was looking for Google Adsense alternatives because Adsense wasn’t cutting it.

For the past several years, I’ve run a Sovrn skyscraper banner ad on the right side of Financial Samurai to help monetize some of the empty space. It’s below the fold, and I haven’t played around with the spot much since it first went on. It generates somewhere in the vicinity of $0.50 to $1 RPM, which is very low, but not to be unexpected for a banner ad below the fold. But I figured, making several hundred bucks a month to fill up white space is better than making nothing at all. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve been too lazy to test things out until now. We should always be testing!

One of the presentations at the Sovrn conference by Pagefair was about the rise of ad blocking. Supposedly, there are some 250 million people who’ve now installed ad blocking software to create a faster, better web browsing experience. The number is only going up with the new iOS mobile software allowing for more ad blocking functionality in Safari. In the world where everybody expects everything to be free online, this is another invention that might further push independent publishers out of business.

It’s very hard to survive off banner ads., one of the original blogs that started 14 years ago has given up regularly publishing on her site. She doesn’t want to publish sponsored posts where she and her children pose in front of products because it just felt wrong to her. Instead, she’s turned towards consulting and speaking instead. Read More

How To Survive A Stock Market Correction As An Investing Blogger

by in Personal Finance on Aug 24th, 2015

Let’s say you’ve quit your job to be a financial blogger, more specifically, a blogger that mainly writes about how to make money in stocks. Or maybe you’re planning on quitting your job to be an investing blogger. Please reconsider! With a 15%+ correction in the Dow Jones within three days, things are looking dicey.

We’ve seen a proliferation of stock market bloggers who’ve never worked in the industry and who’ve only seen an up market since they started within the past five years, give advice to thousands of readers. Some might not even have any formal college education. This is a very precarious situation for readers and blogger alike.

If you are an investing blogger, you’re going to face difficult times if you don’t diversify your content because people will just stop visiting your site if all you’re talking about is your latest stock purchase that is going down. When you’re losing money in the stock market, the last thing people want to do is talk about the stock market! Read More

How To Negotiate A Severance Package
  • Ramona: I was ‘lucky’ to jump on my web design business after losing my job. While I am being a bit...
  • Richard @ Frugality Magazine: I couldn’t agree more about working hard now to benefit later on. As they say...
  • Jamie: I’ve been working on several different gigs while I’m in between jobs – painting, fixing...
  • Jack: Sam, great way to look at using blogging as a way to take one step closer to freedom. Everything takes work,...
  • Untemplater: I’m working what feels like double duty recently because I’m striking while the iron is hot....
  • Shawn: i got banned from adsense. will try thank you for your post.
  • Luke: The Millionaire Next Door changed my spending habits because I now understand that financial independence >...
  • Elise Xavier: I have no idea why it was so hard for me to find this information online by searching but I’m...
  • Youthful Investor: I’m with so many others on this article and I’m glad I found it because it reinforces...
  • Scott: I would add underneath your heading of dangers: SEO and gurus. SEO and the people that push it through their...
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