FIRST BLOG ANNIVERSARY: THE STORY SO FAR & PLANS AHEAD

My Blog Baby Is One Year Old.

Last week was the first blog anniversary of my baby! I can’t believe it has been one year since I launched this blog. Woah!

They say time flies when you are having fun, and boy are “they” right! And what a year it has been. I still remember the feelings of trepidation and excitement I had when I published my first blog post just over 365 days ago. My heart was pounding so fast it could have jumped right out of my chest.

And now as I look back that first post is kinda cringe-worthy. I am not ashamed of it but I know I have come a long way since.

Why this blog?

I have shared the story of why I quit my job as a banker. What I haven’t told is what led me to this blog.

Even after I was no longer working full-time something bothered me about my life, about how I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. I found my life to be hollow.

I was not sure about what I wanted to do or what my ‘Ikigai’ was. What I knew was that it had to have 3 characteristics:

#1. Something I am passionate about

I wanted to do something where I would be happy to work tirelessly at giving without thinking too much about what I get back in return.

Okay, not really. For some time, yeah sure.

It had to be something I felt passionate about.

Whenever I was asked a question about what I would like to do if money was not a constraint my answer would always be to teach and help people learn. I always imagined creating a community of people who had common goals, who would help each other learn and grow.

#2. Use the skills I have

And it had to be related to something I was good at – which were things like

  • things related to money and personal finance,
  • writing and written communication (I had done some freelance writing gigs by this point of time)

Do you see how the idea of a blog started to form?

#3. Be my boss

As I wrote blog posts for other blogs, I realized that having my blog would allow me to use my voice to help people in the way I wanted to. I would be in charge to implement the vision I have.

Besides, this blog would provide me with a creative outlet that I have never had but always wanted.

Combining these 3 characteristics and I knew that I wanted to start my blog relating to personal finance.

The first task was to find a name. I had a few ideas in my mind and a short poll on a Facebook group for bloggers. Cate and others in this group were the walking stick on this hike I had begun. For any doubt or query, I knew they were there.

I won’t go into the details of how to set up a blog. What I will say is that it was hard work, a lot of learning and very fulfilling.

And Pennies For Cents was born.

That was just the beginning of hard work, learning, and a sense of fulfillment.

Each day I am grateful for having the opportunity to work on this blog. I am grateful for each one of you that has come and liked what I have written, found it useful. Your feedback has been so amazing and reinforced my conviction in this blog.

Let me dive into the details of how the first year blogging has gone.

πŸ“ŒPIN THISπŸ“Œ

first blog anniversary bouquet of flowers

First Blog Anniversary: The Joys

Jumping In

One year ago I took a giant leap of faith… not knowing what would come of it. I was terrified. I wondered if this blog was a good idea or just a silly thing that would end up being a failure. Doubts!

I took the courage to go for it. Though I wish I had more conviction in myself. Somewhere a voice inside my head said ” Bhavna! You need to do this!” Thankfully, I heard that little voice.

I am happy I pushed that button. I am glad I took that leap of faith and jumped into this world. Stepping out of my comfort zone and allowing myself to grow has been so fulfilling.

Being Productive

This is the 50th post on this blog. Yes! Another reason to celebrate!

Before starting this blog I knew I liked writing. But running your blog is so much more than typing a few words out on a laptop screen.

There is blog design, marketing, strategy, admin, graphic design and so on. And of course, all these are handled by moi, and without really knowing anything about them when I started.

To learn and do all these jobs means that I often spend hours at a time either locked away at my desk or in a cafeteria close by. I put away all my devices and read, understand, think, create, plan and write.

Zero interruptions. Complete focus. Great output and productivity.

Collectively putting out these 50 posts have been a big win for me.

Finding The Sweet Spot

Last year when I began this blog my plan was for it to be a place to share more about the fundamentals of personal finance to help women (and men) manage their money better.

I thought I knew what I wanted to write about. I could not have been more off the mark.

Writing a blog is not about what ‘I wanted’ to write about. It is more about what my audience wanted and valued. It was about providing something that they wanted to read.

11 financial habits of successful women (people) that will change your life. Increase your wealth. Start following these tips for financial success.

11 Financial Habits of a Successful Woman was kind of a turning point for this little blog of mine.

I realized my audience wanted to read about self-improvement and finance.

As soon as I started writing about similar topics, (like this one, this one, and this one), the blog started to take on a life of its own.

Having said that, can I be 100% sure that I have found the sweet spot between my voice and want my audience wants. Nope! I have come a long way. It is fair to say this is a journey and I will get there.

Sense of Accomplishment

Through this blog, I can write about topics I enjoy and freely share my thoughts with you. The more I write, the more I realize how much I enjoy writing to share and connect.

Blogging isn’t just about writing my diary. It is about sharing stories and thoughts that will add value to your lives in a way that you, my readers, love and enjoy.

And YOUR feedback gives me a sense of accomplishment – that I am on the right path. Every message I receive telling me how much you love using the printables from the free resource library, or which of my Christmas Saving Challenge you are doing makes me smile from ear-to-ear. Your feedback is my shot of endorphins It gives me the fuel to continue.

pssst… Get your exclusive access to the resource library using the form below.😊

Collaborations

Maureen and I discovered each other’s blog via a facebook group that we are both a part of. I love her blog’s message of sustainable wellness and her style of writing. Both of us agreed that our audiences would find value in what the other person has to say.

I am delighted to do two guest posts over on her blog. (check them out here and here).

Maureen wrote the following valuable articles over on my blog.

First Blog Anniversary: Challenges

Life Takes Over

My 15-year-old daughter is in grade 10, which is a critical school exam year in our education system. I spent all two and a half months of summers homeschooling her on subjects she needed extra help in.

This meant the blog took a back seat. It did not get the love, care and attention it deserves.

I wished I could have been more consistent but I don’t feel guilty about the choice I made.

Also, I know that this is not the only time when I will need to make choices between my blog or other aspects of my life. It is all about prioritizing. And that is okay.

Showing Up Every day

When I ask myself if there is anything I would do differently, there is one thing. It is this:

Be consistent, girl. Show up every day.

I have worked hard, but I can do better. As I scan through the past year, through all the statistical highs and lows, the blogging successes and challenges, the efforts to understand social media and their algorithms, what shines through is the efforts I have put in.

Yes, there is no substitute for hard work.

So keep your head down, continue to do beautiful work and stay strong, Bhavna. The results will show for themselves.

Monetary Returns

People often ask me if I make money blogging. The simple answer to that is no. I haven’t looked at monetizing my blog just yet.

Though I intend to. I started this blog with the idea of it being an alternative to a job that I was fed up with. Which means this blog needs to bring in the moolah.

Which is what I will be focussing on this year.

Stats

Before I give a sneak peek of my plans for the next year, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of the stats from this year.

No of posts published:

50 (this is my 50th post)

Top 3 Most Visited Posts

What’s Next

I want this blog to evoke a sense of community, encouragement, and passion.

I have seen other people have done with platforms similar to what I have. They have created real communities where people talk about their problems, open up about their fears, and most of all, inspire and encourage one another to change their lives.

One thing I have realized over the year is that I need to invest money in this blog for it to generate returns like a real business.

I am looking at doing an SEO course and a Pinterest Marketing course in early 2020. So far I have been reading up everything I can on both these aspects and implementing it. I think it is now time to get more structured learning in to take this blog to the next level

If you have any suggestions about which course I should take, please do let me know in the comments below.

I would like to touch 10 thousand views a month. I know it is a vanity metric. However, this benchmark also gives legitimacy to a blog and opens up certain opportunities to make money. So that is the number that I am targetting. My efforts will be directed towards this.

Thank You (and A Question For You)

Before I sign off, I have a question for you. On my first blog anniversary, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this blog.

How would you describe this blog? What do you look for when you come to this blog?

I would love to know as it would help me to figure out the direction I want to take this blog in.

This blog has grown into so much more than I could have imagined over the past year.

I feel so grateful for each one of you. YOU have inspired and motivated ME.

You have fed my soul in more ways than you will ever know.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

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