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Arigato gozaimasu to Financial Samurai for his hard work organizing Yakezie and creating a strong, positive force in the blogging community. I’m honored to be involved in any way I can. My first encounter with Sam was during a time I was looking for a staff writer for Consumerism Commentary. In organizing all the responses, I regrettably didn’t respond to Sam’s email, and he rightfully called me out for my negligence. I’ve been working at improving my communication habits, but I know I have a long way to go.

That was my primary reason for joining the Yakezie. Although the goal of this network is focused on Alexa ranking, my motivation for including Consumerism Commentary within the network is to work more closely with a group of financial bloggers. Here’s a little of my history.

I started building online communities as a kid in 1991. I ran a dial-up bulletin board system that friends and strangers called with their modems in order to chat online about… well, I don’t remember the content of the messages, but I do remember getting to know a lot of people whom I wouldn’t have known just by socializing within my own high school.

While in college, the World Wide Web was born and I left the BBS behind. I ran a web server from the computer in my dorm room hooked up to the college’s wide area network. I learned HTML, and besides teaching professors how to maintain their own departmental or staff websites, I began updating a personal website, a manual process that once mostly automated would come to be known as blogging.

Personal finance never entered the picture until I was out of college. With my degree in music education and a minor in music management, I eschewed the public school system in favor of working for a non-profit arts organization. After a few years of a long, expensive commute, 80-hour work weeks, and a paltry salary, I realized my finances were in trouble. I had an “a-ha” moment and started learning about managing my own finances, thanks mostly to the message boards on The Motley Fool.

I decided to start a new blog in addition to my personal blog to focus specifically on keeping myself accountable for my financial decisions and learning about personal finance. I randomly picked the anonymous moniker Flexo, influenced by a cartoon that happened to be on television when I made this decision. I never thought anyone else would be interested in reading the website. There was no community of personal finance bloggers at the time, no role models in the niche, no mentors. Consumerism Commentary was one of the first blogs to be dedicated to this topic.

There was also no thought of earning money from Consumerism Commentary at that time, but after a few years, it became clear that advertisers were interested. Now writing for the web is not only something I love doing, but I can make a (good) living doing it.

The Next Step

At this point, I am strongly considering writing full time. I’m still holding down my day job — a job that I don’t love, but it continues to surprise me almost every day. I’ve been earning more from Consumerism Commentary than I have from my day job for the past three years or so, so the two remaining questions are whether quitting the day job will allow me to further enhance my online projects while keeping my sanity and whether I would be able to quickly recover if the income were to disappear overnight.

While these are my issues to consider, while I’m figuring my life out, I will continue to make myself and my collection of experiences available for anyone who would like to discuss writing for the web. I’m hoping to continue getting to know more of the members of Yakezie and to find more ways to work together for the benefit of all our projects.

For a taste of what I write about at Consumerism Commentary, take a look at these articles.

This post is part of the Yakezie Member Post Series.  See all member posts here.