2019: The Year of the Blog?
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.
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