It was the end of October in 2011, right before Halloween, and I just found out that I had passed the bar exam. I was officially going to be a licensed attorney (the only thing left to do was get sworn in by the Supreme Court of Ohio a few weeks later). It felt amazing. I felt accomplished. All of my hard work had paid off.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I had the exact opposite feeling – fear. I learned that I owed $206,000 in student loan debt. My payments would run close to $2,000 per month. Graduating in 2011, with the legal economy not recovered (and arguably still not recovered), this would be roughly half of my paycheck.

I was an attorney. I was supposed to make bank!

I went into survivor mode and started reading personal finance books and learning everything I could about money. Not just budgeting – I wanted to know how I could make it all the way through law school and become an attorney without knowing anything about money. That’s when I realized I was actually among the majority of people who I know that were – in general – bad with money.

After perusing the finance websites and blogs, I found a lot of information, but didn’t find a site specific targeted toward people like me – young professional women. After all, I wanted to know how I would manage to build wealth and go on girls’ trips, bachelorette parties, and shop. I wanted to know about relationships and money.

In May of 2012, I decided I was “going to start a blog”. From there, I bought my domain but did not start blogging until nine months later, in February 2013. I wish I could say I was as diligent as I should have been with respect to starting a blog. Truth be told, I was not. I actually registered the wrong domain name out of excitement. I had to call and get it changed. I stayed up all night trying to figure it out. I have crashed my site several times.

I only created a child theme within the last few months. I have spent enough hours blogging to have earned thousands of dollars at a minimum wage job, yet, I haven’t even earned $100. My excitement certainly gets in the way of my progress sometimes (more research is better than less research when it comes to blogging, in my experience).

But with my mistakes and lack of monetizing come the greatest feelings I have experienced in my career since passing the bar exam: the feelings of success and accomplishments; the feelings of motivation and passion; the feelings of ambition and satisfaction.

Through my blog, Financegirl, I have learned so much about personal finance. I have also learned how to write. It is truly amazing how much “practice makes perfect”. I write more than I ever did in law school or as a lawyer. I created an eBook about intentional living. I am now a part of the Huffington Post Blogger community, where I get to publish blogs on the Huffington Post. This led to a recent interview on a popular podcast for lawyers. The opportunities are ongoing. I am growing more than ever. Not only do I experience personal growth from my blog, but also I feel so good spreading knowledge and helping others. I hope to not only help other people understand personal finance, but also to inspire them.

From my blog I have found an outlet for my newfound passion of personal finance AND a way to help others like me. I know of no better way to spend my days (really my nights because I do work full time).

Yet, the best part about blogging is something I did not even know existed when I started – the community. I have been welcomed into the personal finance blogging community with open arms in a way that is truly admirable. From guest posting to mutual tweeting, to collaborating, to giveaways, to emails, to being included on blog rolls. The community has been so welcoming and more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. I have undoubtedly learned as much in the past six months as I did during any given semester during law school.

I am so excited to see where my blog goes in the future, but more importantly how many people I am able to help and inspire through my blog. Thank you to every blogger who has helped me along the way. Thank you to Yakezie for the challenge that has pushed me further than I would have gone on my own. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. And thank you to my readers, because without you, my blog is nothing.

All the best,

Natalie Bacon