Today we have another ‘Small Victories’ interview with blogger Jeremy Vohwinkle of Gen X Finance.
These small victories interviews are with members of ProBlogger.com and are all about highlighting some of the small wins that real bloggers have – our hope is that they’ll inspire other bloggers at similar stages to not only celebrate the ‘big wins’ and those that have already gone pro – but to focus upon the smaller things that take us forward as bloggers.
This video only goes for just over 9 minutes so sit back and enjoy.
Transcription of Interview with Jeremy Vohwinkle
For those of you who prefer to read than listen – here’s a transcription of the video by The Transcription People.
Lara: Hi ProBlogger readers, this is Lara Kulpa again, the Community Manager from ProBlogger.com and I have with me today Jeremy Vohwinkle from Gen X Finance. How are you Jeremy?
Jeremy: Hi, I’m great thanks.
How Jeremy Got Started
Lara: Wonderful. So, tell us a little about your blog and your background and why you started.
Jeremy: Okay, sure. I’ve been working in finance for a number of years and, through my course of, you know, helping people with their finances, I would spend a lot of time researching different financial topics and what happened is I noticed a lot of times I would stumble on sites that weren’t necessarily big media sites or official finance sites and I kind of wondered, “Who are these people and why are they writing about finance?”
So I did a little research and I noticed that most of these people were running what I guess people called blogs at the time; this was back in 2006, and I was clueless. I had no idea what a blog was. If you asked me, I would have said it’s what some teenager writes when they get home from school or something. So, I had no idea this was the same sort of thing.
So, I researched Word Press and just kind of how the whole process goes and I figured “Okay, I’m pretty good with computers. I bet I can set this up myself.” So, I had sat around thinking about what I want to write about and obviously finance was at the top of my list because that’s what I do for a living and I pretty much am borderline Generation X myself and I worked with pretty much the same people in that demographic, so it just came to me “Let’s do Generation X Finance”. Not very inspiring, but that’s how I came about it. And, to be honest, it was just a part time thing after work. I just wanted to kind of hone my skills in, in terms of what’s going on in the world of finance because things are always changing; the laws and the stockmarket and
things like that, so it really was a way for me to just stay up on what’s going on in current events.
That being said, you know, I just, I really got kind of sucked into it and the more I read other blogs, the more I was excited to write about my own and it just kind of fed off itself.
Lara: Yep, that happens.
Jeremy: Yep. So, I mean that’s kind of where I got started and I went from being completely clueless to now this is my full time job and I make a living writing about finance. So, it’s been a pretty amazing journey.
Jeremy’s Small Victory #1
Lara: That’s fantastic. So, what was the small victory you shared with us in the ProBlogger community?
Jeremy: Well, there is a couple of them. One of them actually stemmed from ProBlogger itself. When I first got started – this was probably 2007 I think, so I was only a few months into my blogging career I guess you could say. He, you know, Darren hosted a group writing project and I didn’t know what this was but I thought ProBlogger’s a big site so if I can somehow maybe get a link or something on the site, that would do wonders for my blog.
So I sat down and I kind of, you know, I hammered out a post in maybe an hour. I just, I submitted it and, you know, that was it. I didn’t expect a whole lot from it but I wanted to take part in, you know, what other people were doing.
What happened after that was kind of amazing because it, over the coming months, I received a lot of other sites linking back to my site. So that, the fact that I was mentioned on ProBlogger really evolved into getting dozens if not hundreds of links to this one post and, as I watched my stats, I realised that now this post was my most popular post on my entire site. And it was with this a light bulb kind of went off and said “Okay, if I can write one post that gets so much interest and in turn has started making me money, I bet I can take this blog to the next level.” I was doing it just as a hobby at the time but this was a real turning point where I decided that I have to look deeper into blogging and what I can do to actually get more popular, get more links and maybe turn that into some money. So, that was probably my biggest small victory.
Jeremy’s Small Victory #2
Jeremy: But the other one, which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, was meeting, kind of not meeting, but interacting with other bloggers in the personal finance kind of blog space. There were a number of us that kind of got started right around the same time, we all had similar subscriber bases, we had similar traffic levels and we kind of just informally reached out to each via email and, I don’t know if it was 2007, 2008, but someone came around and said “You know, maybe we should form sort of a blog alliance or maybe we should kind of unofficially form a blog group or something like that.” And we kind of said “Okay, let’s do that.” And, being as original as we are, we called ourselves ‘The Money Writers’, which again not too exciting but we write about money, so it just made sense.
We set up a site ‘themoneywriters.com’, we just kind of pooled all our feeds together into one handy location and we set up an email group so that we could just communicate easily back and forth with each other. And, essentially, early on it was just kind of a virtual water-cooler. You know, we would talk about what people are talking about on finance blogs, what, what’s going on in terms of advertising, we’d bounce ideas off each other in terms of you know “How are you making money on your site?” and “What are you writing about that’s successful?” and things like that.
But eventually it kind of evolved into a more official group where we were pitching advertising to, you know, the whole group. So someone might come to us saying “I want to place an ad on your site” and we’d say “Well, you get a discount if you place ads on all of our sites.”
Jeremy: So, this kind of collaboration allowed us to, all of us take part in advertising that we may not have had an opportunity to in the past. So that was a big stepping stone in terms of starting to propel our blogs into the pro-blog status.
Jeremy: But I think more important than that was simply having a group of trusted bloggers that you can, you know, talk about things with because, when you blog on your own, it’s kind of a solo job for the most part. You’re writing, you’re just trying to get links, you’re trying to do some social media stuff but you don’t really have a close connection with a lot of people, so having this kind of network where you can confide in people and you can kind of vent or, if you’re, got writer’s block, you can kind of get ideas from people. That was a huge, a huge benefit and to this day, if I didn’t you know kind of become part of this group, I don’t know if I would’ve had the energy to keep up with this for the past four years. I don’t know if my site would be making as much money as it is now. So the simple act of, you know, joining a small group of other bloggers has done wonders for the long run.
Lara: That’s wonderful. I know Darren has talked about blogger alliances before in the past.
Lara: And it’s always been a really great idea to find people that are in the same niche as you and working together is clearly, it definitely gives you some level of victory together.
Jeremy: Oh yeah, for sure.
Lara: That’s great. So, last but not least, do you have any words about the ProBlogger community that you’d like to share with the readers of Problogger.net?
Jeremy: Yeah, certainly. Probably to kind of feed off of what I just talked about, which was forming that kind of blogger alliance. If you don’t have that personal alliance, I think the ProBlogger community is the, probably the next best thing because you have a group of people that all basically are sharing the same sort of goals. These bloggers wouldn’t have signed up if they’re not serious about taking their blog to the next level and if they’re not serious about making more money or propelling their blog to a new status. So, if that’s kind of what you’re looking to accomplish, you might as well sign up because you’re going to have people that you can bounce ideas off of, you can get people to, you know, share links, you can expand your reach by joining other social networks. It’s just, it’s a great way to kind of meet other people and really get the support that you need as an individual because, you know, it is hard work, there’s a lot of competition and every little bit of help you can get is going to make all the difference in the world.
Lara: Awesome. So I will cut this off here and thank you so much, Jeremy, for doing the interview with us. We’ll see you in the forums.