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Howdy Yakezie! This is John from Frugal Rules and I am thankful to be able to say that I have crossed the finish line in the Yakezie Challenge! As those who know me will say, I don’t do things halfway. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun, but most of all, I am grateful to become a full-fledged Yakezie member today.

One thing I will point out is that I would not have made it to the finish line today without the help and support of other great bloggers within the Yakezie community. Frugal Rules was my first step into the blogging world and I did not know what to expect when I started this journey. After finding out about the community shortly into my blogging career, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

Ok, enough rambling, and on to the good stuff! J

The Birth of Frugal Rules

I’ve had a number of people ask me if Frugal Rules is meant to be Frugal RULES! or rules to live by if you want to be frugal. Honestly, it’s neither. I know the name would indicate that I am another frugal blogger, but really do not consider myself one. I saw the domain name and thought it was a good one to have and ran with it.

If I am not a not a frugal blogger, then what is Frugal Rules about then? I am glad you asked! ;-) The vision for Frugal Rules has always been to form a community focused on living lives of fiscal discipline by living below your means, avoiding debt like the plague, managing your finances wisely, and investing for the future.

Allow me to take a step back. As I indicated above, I had not run a blog prior to Frugal Rules. In fact, I can safely say that I really did not read much in terms of personal finance blogs before starting Frugal Rules. The passion for Frugal Rules was to be able to talk with others and help those in need when it comes to managing money. I’ve spoken about in depth about my financial past on my site, but I spent like a mad man in college. As a result, I graduated with just over $20,000 in student loan debt and nearly $25,000 in credit card debt (this was also 15 years ago). I had no clue what I was doing and found myself on the brink of bankruptcy. It was the kindness of several individuals who rocked my core and brought me around to the realization that something had to be done.

Fast forward several years and I had the pleasure of working in the financial services industry and spoke with countless people every day that were in dire need of help and either didn’t know it or had no idea where to turn for help. It is those people who I am trying to reach.

Moving to more recent history, I left my day job in the financial services industry about 18 months ago to help my wife manage her budding business. She had started it about two years prior and was needing help as it was growing. So, I switched from investing to the advertising industry and still felt the itch to talk with people about money. It was that itch that gave birth to Frugal Rules on September 11, 2012 and what prompted me to join the Yakezie Challenge shortly after on October 8th.

The Importance of the Network

Being such a newbie blogger, I had no idea what to expect when I started last September. What I learned very quickly about was that there was a place for people just like me to gain motivation and get help – the Yakezie network (and not the Yakuza, which is a Japanese crime syndicate J ). It seemed as if every other PF blog I visited I was talking about this network and I decided if it was that prevalent then maybe I should consider joining.

As I learned in running a business, you really can get nowhere if you do everything on your own. You need a network of people. You must reach out if you want to make a name for yourself, otherwise your business will die a slow death. This is very much the case in blogging. Unless you plan on blogging in a cave you must network, get to know others and help where you can. The Yakezie network is full of individuals who are at the ready to help out and the success of the network points back to that.

Grab Opportunity By the Horns

If there is one thing I have learned over my years it is that opportunity exists in many places – we just have to be willing to look for it. Once you find that opportunity, then you have a choice – you can either take it or you can move on. I am one who likes to find that opportunity and see what I can do with it, whether it be in blogging or running our business.

The problem with taking a chance on an opportunity though is dealing with failure. Ugh…failure…I HATE it! I hate it with a passion! However, as I’ve grown older…ahem…and hopefully wiser, failure is a great learning opportunity if you allow it to be. I have fallen on my face more times than I care to remember, but nearly each one has been a great lesson on what I need to do differently and shows me what tweaks are necessary to find success.

The problem with failure is that we’re afraid of it and therefore we let it hold us back. As someone who still deals with that, don’t allow fear of failing to hold you back. If you do, then you’re not only hurting yourself, but also those you could potentially help. Maybe it’s joining the Yakezie Challenge, maybe it’s learning more about investing, or maybe it’s stepping out of your comfort zone to learn something new or start your own business.

The point in all of this is to ask yourself what you really want. Determine that and opportunities will open up to you everywhere. Will they all be successes? Almost certainly not, but life is only enriched by stepping out and discovering what’s on the other side of those opportunities.

So, Yakezie community, thank you for all your support and encouragement over the past year. The bloggers in this community are among some of the best I’ve found and networked with. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with or chatting with some of you, and for those who I’ve not been able to do that with, please stop by my site or give me a shout out on Twitter.