Now that I’ve retired from my corporate job after 13 years, I’ve had more time to reflect on what has transpired over the past three years since I started blogging. Three years ago, the financial crisis was in full blown meltdown and I had just begun to feel the tug of doing something else after 10 years of work. Blogging was a catharsis to help me deal with financial loss as well as to connect with random folks with similar interests.
In these three years I have:
* Learned about the nuances of online search, HTML, wordpress, and the internet in general.
* Kept myself accountable for the promises I’ve made.
* Implemented what I learned in graduate school.
* Recovered my financial losses and then some.
* Kept in touch much better with my family.
* Had an incredible amount of fun.
* Attracted a handful of blogemies.
* Met a great many online friends.
* Found solace in disappointment.
* Learned new ways of thinking.
* Tested my limits of endurance.
* Improved time management.
* Developed leadership straits.
* Honed negotiating skills.
* Improved patience.
* Lost some weight.
The main thing that kept me going was the interaction with the community. Finding brothers and sisters from all parts of the world, from all types of ethnic backgrounds who shared a similar, but different commonalities. The basic wording in my About page of “finding balance” has not changed since day one!
With the blogging community, I felt transported back to my days growing up overseas, attending international schools and meeting all types of people. As a person “stuck” in America for the past 20 years, I longed to experience that diversity once again.
ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY
Do you know the excitement you get when you book a vacation several months away? The excitement begins to build and build until the day finally arrives! Yes! But then, the vacation is over, and it’s back to the grind. I feel the same way with my three year journey, except that there’s no grind to return to. There’s just a vast pasture to do what I want, which is absolutely foreign to me. I’ve got to create some structure to utilize my time wisely. I sometimes miss the days of struggle where there was only one way to go but up!
I remember back in 2009, when starting my site was just an idea. I was on the bus back home from work and wrote down about 20 different blog title names I could think of. It took 16 tries before I could finally find a name that wasn’t already registered. From there, I had to come up with a tagline, a color scheme, and a gravatar. I had no idea what I was doing, so I hired someone to launch it for me. Thankfully I did, otherwise I probably would have never gone ahead at all.
Starting from nothing was exhilarating! Nobody had any preconceived notions of who I was. Being the underdog and getting slapped around like a prisoner of war gave me motivation to work harder. I currently feel the exact same way again with the launch of, “How To Engineer Your Layoff,” a new book that teaches people how to make money quitting their job. Nobody knows about it and few will buy unless I tell them why. It’s not enough I think the book is the best thing for employees who want to quit their jobs since slice bread. Nope. I’ve got to start from scratch and tell the story all over again and that’s exciting!
We need to focus on the journey because we can never get our time back. How much would you pay to rewind your life three years? Or put it a different way, how much would you pay to have three years longer to live? Time is like a train. We can put as much or as little onboard as we want. Either way it will keep on chugging a long. Hence, it’s important we not only enjoy the ride, but utilize our time in the best way possible.
BLOGGING WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
A colleague laughed at me in 2009 for starting a blog. We were at a team dinner, and he made a nerd face and pretended to type in the air when I told him. I guess to him, blogging is for dorks who sit in a cave all day and do nothing else. That perception might have been more relevant in 2009, but that perception is not true today. Thanks to work, he looks like he’s 45 instead of 34.
Blogging is for anybody who is creative, motivated, and has something to say. Blogging has become mainstream with the multi-million dollar purchases of sites such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch. Internet users of the world are looking at blogs for opinions, not just mass media who just report the news. Yakezie.com has just as much right to be online as Yahoo.com.
If you want social proof that having a blog can improve your life for the better, just read the following posts of Yakezie Members who quit their jobs. I’ve linked to all their “I quit” posts.
* Joe from Retire By 40.
* Jeff from Money Spruce.
* Kevin from Invest It Wisely.
* Suba from Wealth Informatics.
* Shawanda from You Have More Than You Think.
What is more proof that blogging will change your life for the better than seeing people achieve freedom to pursue their interests? Maybe blogging might make you some money, although everybody should know that making money from writing online takes time. But, when I read the stories of people who’ve quit, making money through blogging is not the primary reason for quitting at all!
Blogging allows us to map out our plans and keep us accountable. Blogging helps us learn from our readers and discover new things our closed minds miss. In my case, blogging helped me start the Yakezie Network, motivated me to save ~70% of my after tax income for the past three years, build various income streams, write a book, and plan for the future!
Blogging encouraged Joe from RB40 to track his income and expenses, live off one income, and grind it out for the remaining couple years of his 16 year career to spend time with his son. Blogging allowed Jeff to work as a freelancer SEO and move to Portland. Meanwhile, Kevin is building Android apps!
BLOGGING IS HERE TO STAY AND WILL ONLY GET BIGGER
There’s no doubt in my mind that blogging will continue to grow in popularity. Nobody wants to just read the news anymore. They want to understand a viewpoint. No employer just wants just your resume and cover letter anymore. They want to get to get to know you online. The leverage affect of having a blog is incredible!
I hope my parents continue to follow along, no matter where their travels may take them. I hope my kids will get to know their father better through my public journals, even well after I’m gone. I’m excited about my newfound freedom and I hope to hear other bloggers in the coming year share with the community how blogging has positively affected them.
It’s 2016 and it’s been four years since I published this post and left Corporate America. There’s not a week that goes by where I’m not thanking my lucky stars for starting my own website back in 2009. As a professional blogger, I’m making more than I made as an Executive Director at a major investment bank. You can make money online. You just have to stick around long enough to see the flowers bloom!
RESOURCES FOR A BETTER LIFE
Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best way to build wealth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where I’m spending my money.
Start a blog today: I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with Bluehost. Who knows where your new adventure will take you in 2015 and beyond!
Negotiate A Severance Package: Don’t quit your job, get laid off and negotiate a severance package instead. Negotiating a severance enabled me to receive six years worth of living expenses from a company I dedicated 11 years of my life to. If I had quit, I wouldn’t get any severance, deferred compensation, medical benefits, job assistance training or unemployment benefits and neither will you. I believe so strongly in the message of never quitting that I spent a couple years writing this 100-page book entitled, “How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye.” I’m absolutely certain this book will help you recognize your rights as an employee and break free from the corporate grind to do something you truly want to do.
Updated for 2016 and beyond
Photo: Infinity pool, Sheraton Waikiki, 2011. SD.