Hello, I’m Roshawn, but I often go by Shawn. I write at Watson Inc. I’m in the pharmaceutical sciences, have been in college since last millennium, and know way too much about entertainment news. My foray into writing about personal finance stemmed from my frustration with my own mistakes and ignorance. Here’s my story.
I always have been interested in self-improvement. I find it powerful and liberating to know that if I can control myself, I can effect meaningful change in my life. I think losing 40 lbs in 10 weeks 15 years ago gave me an even stronger affinity towards personal development. Regardless, of whether it was professional or personal, I was pretty intense (hopefully I still am).
I read a lot of books, went to motivational seminars, listened to tapes and cds, etc on self-improvement. However, after I graduated professional school, I had to face an inconvenient dilemma. All this school had wreaked havoc on my finances, and I was already committed to going through more. I knew there had to be a better way to improve my finances, but I didn’t know what to do.
The Dave Years
This dilemma stimulated my interest in learning some of the mechanical aspects of personal finance. I was already motivated, but I needed the tools necessary to fix my financial position. During this period, I listened to Dave Ramsey so much that I quoted him all the time. It was “Dave says this”, and “Dave says that” continuously. To say that I was a zealot would have been a massive understatement. But the intensity worked. I committed to doing my own debt-snowball (or at least a version of it) and eliminated all my debt (excluding mortgage, and if I wasn’t moving, I would have cleaned that up too) very quickly and began to aggressively invest. During the process, some of my successes (i.e. paid off car, credit cards, student loans) gained the attention of many of my friends and acquaintances, so I decided to start writing a monthly post (similar to Joe Taxpayer).
Because I wrote so infrequently, it was very hard to build any momentum on my site. Fortunately, my friends obliged me. Some were even kind enough to allow me to sign them up for my monthly email update, so I wouldn’t have to email them my posts directly anymore :) That’s pretty much how things persisted for a while. I finally decided that I wanted to write a little more frequently, but I still did so inconsistently. I had some highs (like two post going popular on Digg within a week) and lows.
After a while though, I began to suffer from hedonic adaptation: I became acclimated with writing every week or every other week (or every three weeks). My interest was also fading because traffic and interaction on the site would wax and wane so much. Being so inept at blogging frustrated me to no end, so I seriously considered stopping. I gave myself a deadline whereby I would quit if the site didn’t meet certain goals. After all, I certainly had more than enough to do and plenty of interests, and there are plenty of great resources out there.
Prior to my deadline, I came across a post by Frugal Zeitgeist. I think the essence of the post was: “I already have plenty of traffic and have met the Yakezie Challenge goal, but here are some links to other bloggers in the challenge who could use your help.” I just thought that was so selfless, that I was inspired to join (mid-April). Things went well, and right before the first challenge ended (July 3rd), I decided to finally change my domain from a .blogspot.com to a custom domain.
At this time, my Alexa was ~220K, so it was kind of sad to lose the Alexa and other progress I made. Essentially, I had to “begin” the challenge again in July, except this time instead of starting from 500K (old domain), I started from 1.9 million (new domain). However, I enjoyed interacting with other bloggers so much that other things (i.e. Alexa) became secondary and tertiary. I thoroughly enjoy discussing the concepts, the challenging questions and the relationships built. I also love the diversity: there are non-financial professionals like me, financial advisers, tax experts, young bloggers, older bloggers, technical bloggers, etc. It has been a very positive experience and an education.
I am very excited about how things have been going and am optimistic about our future. It’s a fun journey that I get to take with my online buds. It’s really hard to beat that.
A Few Sample Posts on Watson Inc
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