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Happy 2019 Everyone!
2019 is the year of the Pig, which just so happens to be my Chinese Zodiac sign (1971).
For those not familiar with how the Chinese assigned rankings to the 12 animals in the zodiac, this is a fun read to catch you up to speed, “The Great Race: The Origin of The Chinese Zodiac.”
The jade emperor essentially assigned rankings based on how the first 12 animals in his empire crossed the finished line.
And guess what?
The pig came in last (although I can’t fault him as he apparently got hungry, ate, and promptly fell asleep (an animal truly after my own heart)).
With a new year comes new hopes and dreams, some of which is formulated in our New Year’s resolutions.
Last year I took a gigantic leap out of my comfort zone and decided to start a blog (the fact that you are reading it now some 8 months after its birth must mean I did something sort of right).
For at least two years I had been toying with the idea of being a blogger.
I love to write and I was passionate about finance after “seeing the light.”
Colleagues I used to discuss financial topics with had also urged me to pursue this endeavor.
So the next several posts to start off the new year are aimed at those viewers who have contemplated starting a blog of their own but face similar mental blocks
Hopefully I can inspire you to take the plunge into the “blogosphere” and perhaps knock off a new year’s resolution in the process.
As with any endeavor there are always aspects that are good and aspects that are bad.
Blogging is no exception.
It is your duty to weigh the good versus the bad and make an informed decision if blogging is indeed right for you.
So as not to frighten you off of blogging right off the bat, I am going to start out with why blogging can be a tremendously positive impact in your life.
Beneficial Aspects Of Blogging:
It is a wonderful venue to let your creative side be free and perhaps provide a spark of passion in your life.
As the owner of your own website/blog you have free reign to put your ideas to virtual paper in any way you see fit.
Depending on how involved you want to be in the process you can design your blog from the ground up and let your artistic side loose.
It was an incredibly satisfying feeling when I pressed the button that made something I created go live for the world to see.
You will enter an incredible community of fellow bloggers who all share a common bond and want everyone to succeed.
This really is one of the vastly understated benefits of blogging.
Fellow bloggers in your niche will become your friends, whether in the virtual world or in the real world.
Honestly one of my favorite things since I have started blogging is to get comments from fellow bloggers as well as my regular readers (this is an unabashed attempt at getting everyone to comment on my posts).
These back and forth interactions inspire me to continue to pour my heart into this blog.
You will keep your mind sharp.
Your brain, just like any muscle, needs to be challenged and stimulated.
If you don’t use it you lose it.
Prior to blogging I thought I was adequately exercising my mental muscles by reading a handful of my favorite bloggers daily.
In reality I was just scratching the surface.
As a blogger you want to be up to date on all the information available so you can put out a good product for your readers.
Since I have started blogging I have expanded the amount of blogs I frequent several fold.
[Want convenient access to the latest post by every physician personal finance blogger so you don’t miss a thing?
Visit “The Hospital,” which is a news-feed aggregator that is updated hourly]
I am constantly on the lookout for material I can put in my Grand Rounds series from any source available.
You will become more observant of your surroundings.
One of my biggest fears (and it would be safe to say that a lot of bloggers feel similarly) is that I will run out of ideas and the well will run dry.
This fear was the biggest culprit in my hesitation to start a blog.
In the never-ending quest to find topics for a post it is amazing how your brain responds to the challenge by finding inspiration from common routine activities.
My post, “How Mowing The Lawn And My Finances Intersect,” is a perfect example of a “lightbulb moment” that happened during a mundane activity I had done 100s of times before.
I look at my environment now much differently.
I am always assessing in the back of my mind whether I can transform something I just witnessed into an impactful post.
Maintaining a blog fulfills a sense of purpose as well as something to Retire TO.
It is a common saying in the FIRE community that one needs to RETIRE TO something rather than RETIRE FROM something.
It is not enough to retire from a job you dislike.
If you do not have something to occupy the newly formed void, you can start to decline physically and mentally.
As I was entertaining thoughts of early retirement I always was worried what I would do to pass the time as a fairly young retiree.
Sure I said I want to travel more, but there is only so much traveling you can do a year.
There have been studies published with results that initially seemed counterintuitive, suggesting that those who retire early have a higher mortality rate.
At first I was perplexed by these findings.
How could this be?
I thought leaving a stressful work environment should have the exact opposite effect and actually increase your life expectancy.
After further consideration, I realized that there are indeed several factors that come into play which can indeed be detrimental to the early retiree:
- a loss of social interaction
- a loss of purpose/identity
- diminishing cognition due to lack of stimuli
- “letting oneself go” which may be the result of minimal physical activity or no longer maintaining proper hygiene.
Being engaged in blogging can therefore be seen as an effective countermeasure for at least some of the perils an early retiree can face.
You become socially engaged by interacting with people who take the time to comment on your site (Hmm. A recurring theme I see here. So please do your duty and comment to help prolong my life).
For me blogging has indeed given me a sense of purpose.
My girlfriend has mentioned that she can see the spark in my eyes and the passion I have for blogging whenever I talk to her about my latest post.
Blogging has essentially re-lit a fire that was slowly being doused out from a medical career burnout.
The act of blogging is portable.
Given our high tech society, you can conceivably blog from almost anywhere there is access to data.
The portability of blogging has allowed me to make much more efficient use of my time.
Several of my already published posts were written with a laptop on a couch waiting for my tires to be changed or my car serviced.
In the past I would idly waste my time in the waiting area, forced to watch a TV show I didn’t care to watch or read outdated magazines.
Armed with only a laptop and cellular data the waiting time flies by (sometimes too fast) as I become enthralled in the developing post.
The cost of starting and maintaining a blog is not prohibitive.
Unlike many startup businesses that require 5+ figures to get off the ground, starting a blog is a bargain.
With less than a couple of hundred dollars you can entire the blogosphere with almost reckless abandon.
- Registering Xrayvsn.com as a domain chews up $12/yr.
- I bought a 36 month Prime web hosting plan with Bluehost for $5/mo ($60/yr).
- Update: For the new year I am going to try another hosting plan called SiteGround
- After reading several articles that extolled the increased speed that SiteGround offers, I thought that I would try and improve my website loading time by going with a faster host as my website is quite graphic intensive.
- I hope that the improvement will be noticeable by the end user (give it a week just to let the migration of the website and setup happen as I just started the process today)
- Tack on $3/mo for security upgrade ($36/yr)
There were some other additional one time, as well as ongoing, expenses that are not necessary but helpful which I will detail in a follow up post.
By having such a low cost entry point into blogging, you won’t lose much sleep if you indeed tried this venture but found out it was not a good match.
- There is no “sunk cost fallacy” that will force you to continue this endeavor should you not like it
There is a potential to monetize the blog and supplement your income while doing something you are passionate about.
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Mark Twain
We have all heard success stories of blogs that make it big and pull 7 figures/year.
Does this mean you are going to become wealthy by blogging?
The million dollar blog is the rare exception and certainly not the norm (otherwise everyone would be doing it).
The odds are stacked quite high against you even if you have more modest goals of a five figure income from blogging.
Anything can happen of course.
You may very well end up being the next big thing.
But temper your expectations from the get go and if your blog does bring in significant income, consider it a bonus.
That concludes part I of the “Become A Blogger” series.
Stay tuned for subsequent posts that will continue to shed some light on the world of blogging and possibly inspire you to join our ranks if you haven’t already.
If you can’t wait to start blogging and want to jump in before next weeks post, consider getting a domain and website from Bluehost (which hosts my platform).
If you do click on the link below or right sidebar I do receive some compensation.
I have not had any issues with Bluehost and think there are reasonable plans for anyone:
Although I can not speak from experience about SiteGround yet, everything I read makes me feel very optimistic that my website will benefit from the transfer. If you are considering a website from scratch, starting with them from the beginning could certainly be a valid option.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
If you find yourself enjoying this blog, please add to Xrayvsn’s superpowers by subscribing (your email will be kept private and you will get up to date emails regarding the latest posts and bonus material like the net worth spreadsheet template I created).
As my email subscriber list grows it validates my decision to start this blog and to continue to try and provide worthy content for your eyes.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN
[…] “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”-Chinese Proverb […]
I certainly don’t want to be the cause of your early demise or mental muscle atrophy!
I enjoyed this post. I’ve toyed with the idea of blogging as a creative outlet, but have yet to find where niche. Thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks Kevin for the comment 🙂 Honestly blogging has been even better than I could have anticipated and it mainly is with the social interaction aspects of it. I do have a couple of posts about blogging, including one that touches on the negative side next Tues but overall I would do this in a heartbeat. Well hopefully I inspired you to at least give it a go. As I mentioned in this post, the cost is very low (and you certainly don’t have to even buy a 3 year hosting plan, can get one even cheaper for a shorter… Read more »
I stopped blogging since I found that I enjoy my writing more without the website.
I am certainly more internally driven than outward.
Best part of blogging was the other bloggers. But I can enjoy this without a website.
I retired early to spend time with my family and to simplify my life. Blogging did not provide that for me.
Just another viewpoint. ?
I agree the interaction with other bloggers is by far the best. It’s a great community.
Running a website can put some pressure on you if you are not careful. I’m not there yet so hopefully I still can be in this honeymoon period
“If you don’t use it you lose it.”
Truer words never spoken. Let’s make maximum use of our brain buckets this year!!
Thanks Dave. Yes here’s to making 2019 mentally stimulating for all
You are reading my mind again! The community is by far the most surprising and rewarding part of blogging. I never got into social media and online communities. That changed with blogging And to find one that is so positive, supportive and all around friendly is quite nice. It’s as if FI-twitter goes out of its way to leave all those contentious parts of our discourse at the door. I was stifled by the limiting belief of being a bad writer. I held back for about 6m and then finally took action and challenged that belief. After wrpping up my… Read more »
I’m glad you were able to overcome self doubt and start a blog. The same thing happened with me with excuses to not try.
I am thrilled I did it and whether or not it becomes a success at least I can say I gave it a shot. Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms for the great interactions. Such a friendly community for sure. Thanks for stopping by
Me love this post. Couldn’t agree more.
Happy New Year Mr. Groovy! Yeah I am so happy I started blogging. It takes it to a whole different level rather than just being a reader. The community has been awesome to be a part of (however I warn that my next Tues post will speak of some of the pitfalls of blogging. 🙂 )
Great honest post xrayvsn! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am thankful to have you as part of my blogging community and as a friend.
Thanks Andrea. You were definitely one of the people that I inferred about in the post making blogging a great experience. Glad we met because of blogging.
This certainly captures why I started blogging a few months ago. I wonder if folks will want to read what I have to say. The answer is that some folks do, and that number has grown over the few months I have been at this. It’s wonderful. The most exciting thing to me is when someone likes or even better comments on my articles. They engage me further. That’s where the joy comes from.
I think would encourage more folks to blog. It’s fun.
It is definitely exciting to see more and more people visit your website and the comments are just icing on the cake.
We are definitely cut from the same cloth
You outlined a lot of the wonderful reasons to start a blog. Can’t wait to see what you come up with in part 2
Thanks DMF. I think the second part is my favorite so hopefully you will agree
The support from this community is certainly the highlight.
It is interesting where new post ideas come from. Some of my favorite posts to write were inspired by the most random things in my life. Writing helps me process my thoughts on medicine, money and life in general. Like Dr MB, I can see myself continuing to write even in the absence of a blog.
I have definitely noticed an improvement in my life when writing for the public eye. It holds you to a higher standard and makes you accountable for your product as well. Well hopefully you will continue blogging journey because yours is certainly a fun one to read