My Blogging Journey: The First 6 Months

My Blogging Journey: The First Six Months appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness! This post may contain Affiliate links but all opinions are my own.
My Blogging Journey: The First Six Months appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness! This post may contain Affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

I posted my very first Goal Digging to Happiness post on July 27, 2015 and now it’s coming up on six months!  What started out as my accountable journey to becoming financially free, early retirement and overall happiness, just one goal at a time, provided opportunities to a whole other world of income generating opportunities and eventual work independence!

Blogging

I began blogging on Blogger, but soon purchased my own domain name and switched to a word press blog via Bluehost.  Once on WordPress, GDTH had a more professional appearance. I was able to add valuable plugins needed to grow an audience and begin building my brand.  Additionally, since I had no idea what I was doing, it felt good to be able to have backup to assist me with whatever I was having difficulty with.

Since having a wordpress blog, my page views per day have nearly doubled and are continuing to increase with hard work.  I’ve been able to build connections and market directly through the wordpress community.  Finally, Bluehost is conveniently priced and offers great support, which is a major plus since I have basic computer skills

If you’re interested in starting a blog, click my link here to get started right away!

Building an AUDIENCE

As mentioned above, once I switched over to WordPress, my page views per day nearly doubled although still not in the upper thousands.  I continue to build my audience by commenting on other blogs within my niche community as well as outside.  I build relationships with other bloggers and reach out to them for help.  In most cases, many bloggers are eager to help and will with little to know cost.  However, there are some bloggers who have become established and their time is money.  I understand this concept.

If you’re a newer blogger and need help but are on a limited budget and do not have much to offer, reach out anyway.  Shoot an email or reach out via the Contact me form.  I’m always willing to share my experiences thus far, for as little as a Twitter post share or a Facebook page like! Those small tokens go a long way.

My Blogging Journey-2

Earning income

In order to earn an income via blogging, building an audience is essential.  Right now I earn a very minimal income via Google Adsense and Media.net.  I’m also an influencer with Izea and Tap Influence.  However, my following is so little that I hardly receive gigs from them.

I also have affiliate links via Amazon and Target.  I’ve gained a little income via those affiliate links.  Most of my online income comes from freelancing.  You can check out my online income reports below:

Social Media

This is the most crucial part to blogging, building an audience, and building relationships.  Although, I hate being on social media because I feel like it takes so much of my time.  There are amazing widgets and plug in that will simultaneously post to your social media platforms.

In addition to simultaneous posting, it’s important to join Facebook groups like The Careful Cents, Blogging on your Own Terms, Social Hack and She Rocks Her Marketing to gain helpful tips from other bloggers, build relationships, network, and even market your work.  You can also find a plethora of helpful information via Pinterest.

Youtube and Google have helped out tremendously when I get stumped on something.  I can’t wait to see where blogging here at Goal Digging to Happiness continues to take me.  Thanks to all my GDTH valued readers, subscribers and Facebook and Twitter followers for being interested in my journey.

How was your first six months blogging? What did you wish you wish you knew then that you now know?  Any helpful information, tips, or tricks?

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How to Accelerate the Debt Repayment Process

 

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In my 2016 Ready, 2015 outcomes post I discussed my goal to fully fund a home renovation and immediately jumped on the mini goals to accomplish  for January.  However, after receiving some depressing news before even getting started, we’ve decided to alter the focus until we can get professional help in running numbers and making the best financial move for the family.

Even though that plan has been halted at the moment, the goal to become financially free will be a benefit despite the direction we choose to take and continues to remain a major priority for 2016.

In October 2015, I posted my goal to be less $17,000 of debt.  You can read more about that here.  The $17,000 of debt I planned to have paid off included ALL of my credit card debt and one car loan.  I posted my my most recent progress here. I try to stay on target but somethings have gotten in way.  Some not so minor setbacks included, paying car taxes, getting new tires, getting a speeding ticket, and Christmas.  The silver lining of paying all those expenses which totaled over $1500 in the span of 2 months allowed me to come to the realization that I paid $1500 extra dollars in 2 months.  In other words, I could accelerate my debt payment process if I really needed to and/or could be better on track towards meeting my goals.  

I’ve been listening to a bunch of different podcast between Dave Ramsey, His and Her Money, Smart Passive Income, and Problogger.  After listening to several “I’ve paid off $$$ amount of debt” stories on His and Her Money, a couple of “debt shouts” on Dave Ramsey, I’ve decided to accelerate my debt payments as much as I can.

In October 2015 this was my original plan:
  1. Continue with my side hustle and bring in at least $350.00 a month.
  2. Establish at least 2 freelance clients to generate an additional $200.00/month.
  3. Complete over time at least 7 hours which should produce $220.00
  4. Apply my income tax refund to at least two credit card balances.
  5. Continue with the snowball method to pay of my credit cards.
  6. Develop a budget and stick to it!

January 2016 Accelerated Repayment plan

  1. Comb my budget and find extra money
  2. Earn at $400.00 in side hustle income/month
  3. Work overtime at least once/month and apply to debt payments
  4. Work to continue increase my freelance income and apply to debt payments
  5. Purge my home, attempt to sale items monthly and apply to debt payments.

Having credit card debt and brining it into 2016 has, for some reason, began to weigh heavily and be a more unbearable burden enough to drastically make me want to change spending habits to get out of debt much faster!  As a result be prepared to see significantly lower balances month to month so that I am able to reach my goal on or before October 2016!

Have your goals changed already?  Have you already discovered that a goal is not going to get achieved in 2016?  How are you adjusting?

2016 Ready! 2015 Outcome

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Hello!

I hope you guys enjoyed your Christmas and got everything that you hoped for.  My Christmas was great and I’m so excited that it is over and 2016 and a day away.  I’ve got plenty of catching up to do so lets jump right to it.

My vacation began Sunday December 20, 2015.  I was fully prepared with post topics and rough drafts for my vacation but then my computer got a virus.  To fix the virus was $50.00/hour which was not at all in my budget since Christmas completely drained me….like completely.  I just got my computer back but was on a social media fast this last week of the year to gain clarity and direction for my 2016 goals.

I recently came to the conclusion that my blog is less social media since I earn an income from it (or attempt to) and logged back on today.  I even commented on some blogs.  I was surprised to see that even on my nearly two week hiatus, I still managed to get nearly 20 page views/ day and a couple of comments.

2016

In 2016, I’ve decided (for now) on main goals and then decided to break those goals down into mini goals to make achieving them more successful. these goals include:

  • Fully finance our home improvement
  • Establish and build an emergency fund
  • Stop using all credit cards and be out of credit card debt by December 2016
  • Earn or exceed $1,000 blogging income by December 2016
  • Lose 10-15 pounds
  • Generate or exceed $5,000 in side hustle money
  • Increase my income my 10%
  • Increase my financial knowledge
  • Self improve
  • Eliminate overpayment loan

January 2016 goals

  • Purchase materials for the Mister to lay the floors
  • Get a builders permit
  • Pay half of my AM credit card balance
  • Earn or exceed at least $400.00 side hustle income
  • Work out at least once/week
  • Blog at least twice/ week and begin building my email subscibers
  • Save $50.00

I discussed some of my 2016 plans in this post.  I’ve already removed that CF credit card from my wallet, opened the Christmas fund and scheduled my first draft, and plan on opening that savings account on or before Mid January for my car fund. I also purchased this Purpose Driven Planner from Amazon and immediately begin tracking my goals!

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2015 Outcome

December 2015 debt progress

Card August September October November December
Target $36.10 PAID
HHG $457.02 $280.90 PAID PAID
AM $703.92 $699.27 $693.89 $639.12 $660.08
PP $1232.14 $1215.20 $1197.02 $1144.35 $1136.65
BML $827.70 $1093.39 $1097.26 $1076.36 $1157.99
WF $2716.12 $2679.26 $2714.26 $2588.49 $2562.76
CF $1811.83 $1802.87 $1901.30 $1867.19 $1925.70
CP $579.36 $561.89 $296.08 $194.45 PAID

TOTAL           $8364.19    $8051.88     $7899.81    $7509.68    $7,443.18

I began 2015 with $9,850.45 in credit card debt and I’m ending with $7,443.18, a difference of $2,407.27 and four less credit cards, with the majority of my progress beginning in July with my journey to financial freedom.  Check out previous debt payment progress below.

I’m also ending 2015 with a total debt number of $171,792.33.  Check out my total debt number here, from when I began my journey to financial freedom.  $171,792.33 does not include my student loan debt since I have not intentions of aggressively paying them off because I’m on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Side Hustle Income

I do hair as a side hustle.  I usually work about 2-4 hours on Friday and about 5 hours on Saturday during the winter months.  In the summer months, while the children are out of school, I work Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  In 2015 I generated $3,980.05 in side hustle income.

 December 2015

I earned $707.55 in side hustle income for December 2015. The break down is below.  

  • Doing hair side hustle                                $480.90
  • Milage reimbursement                              $127.19
  • Shopping reimbursement apps              $84.46
  • Selling items online                                    $15.00

December 2015 was my first month tracking all my additional income in order to set realistic goals for 2016.  I’m sure I’ll be able to make more money selling items (mostly my children’s clothes) online now that Christmas is gone.  Also the shopping reimbursement apps is the amount earned the entire year but cashed out in December for Christmas.  I did online (freelance and a review) work but have not received payment for them due to me just being able to turn them in.

As for NYE plans, I’m looking forward to dinner and a movie with my love. By dinner and a movie, I mean our favorite take out and a Red box/ Netflix movie and off to bed looking forward to a prosperous 2016!

In one word, how would you sum up 2015?  What are your 2016 goals? What are your NYE plans?

2015 Money Mistakes

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This post should be titled 2015 Money Tragedies. I’ve made and continue to make serious money mistakes.  I’ve probably made more detrimental money tragedies in previous years, but I’m focusing on 2015 since that is when I committed to my financial freedom journey.

I began my financial journey in late July early August of 2015.  Since beginning my journey I’ve developed an ongoing changing budget, cut some expenses, and paid off four of my nine credit cards using the snowball method.  In some opinions, I’ve been very successful in a short time, however financial freedom is a journey, not a destination and I have much farther to go.  To gain a better understanding of where I am financially check out my debt totals  here.

Some of the money mistakes below are obvious mistakes even before committing to a financial freedom, gaining more knowledge, and making changes.  However, old habits die hard, and making adjustments that have “gotten me by” have been difficult to change, stop or both.

2015 Money Mistakes

Continue to use/ depend on credit cards

One of my biggest mistakes (in my opinion) is continuing to use and depend on my credit cards while trying to pay them off.  What usually happens is I stop using the one credit card that I’m applying extra payments to and trying to pay off, unfortunately I continue to use one or all of the others.  As a result, at the time that I begin applying additional payments to pay them off, I have a larger balance to pay and more interest.

I know this habit continues to slow my success.  I thought developing a budget and sticking to it would help, but again “old habits die hard” and in situations where I’m facing a financial deficit because we ran out of Ziploc bags or one or all of the children have to contribute to a holiday party, I find myself whipping out my credit card.

In 2016, I will be removing all my cards (paid and unpaid) from my wallet.  This should definitely prevent  my habit of relying on them once at the store.  I will also be more diligent in following my budget. Successfully doing so, should allow for some money to be available between pay days to prevent me from having to depend on the cards.

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 Saving

If you’ve read my November Budget Review,  you will see where I budgeted to save only $25.00 and was unsuccessful.  You will also see where I had unexpected car expenses that resulted in a partial car payment being made, a balance carried over into December even after having my December 2015 car payment applied to the end of my loan or being skipped (also not good).

In 2016,  I plan on paying myself first.  I will still only be saving $25.00 per pay period totaling $50.00 a month and more if allowed.  Additionally, I will be setting up two additional accounts.  The first account will be a Christmas fund to offset the money spent during this time of the year and the financial arrangements I make to accommodate that spending.  The other account, as discussed in November’s Budget Review will be an account to set aside money for car expenses, unexpected and expected like car taxes, fees, oil changes and tire rotations.  These two accounts will also have the money automatically applied to them so that they receive the money first, before any ongoing bills come out.

Overspending

In 2013 I was making about $80k per year, brining home about $5k/month.  Since then, my income has reduced drastically, however I think my family (myself included) still lives off that budget.  At the time my hubby stayed home with the baby and I worked two jobs.  Now we both work one full time job and hustle on the side and although we probably make more than the $80k together, we continue to drown in the financial mistakes of 2012 to 2013.

Also what happens is  I write down all my anticipated bills and financial obligations and total them up.  Usually that number comes below my paycheck.  I then become fixated on the excess number and ball out of control.  Although lately, I’ve been applying the entire or most of the amount on my credit cards.  I then forget a bill or have an unexpected expense and no money for it.  OR, I have no money until next payday which results on me again depending on credit to get my through.

In 2016, I plan on being diligent with my budget.  Specifically, I will first pay myself (or savings), then my bills.  Once all bills have cleared, I will transfer the excess, if any, to another account (but not my savings).  Either at the end of the month or once more money is deposited, I will then decide where to spend or apply the excess.  This seems realistically unrealistic to even myself because of how simple it sounds, but I’m going to at least attempt it and hope that I’m successful.

Different Financial Goals

My hubby and I have similar long term financial goals but do not have the same plan to accomplishing them.  In the long run, my hubby and I would both like to eliminate consumer debt, pay off our home early, purchase some rental property, retire early and travel.  My plan to accomplish those goals is to make wiser financial plans, save money, avoid additional debt, and relying on credit.  His plan is to hit the lottery!

Our plans are completely different.  In most cases the how doesn’t matter and what is important is that we get the same outcome right?  WRONG.  The Mister seems to have less confidence or patience that the long terms goals can be accomplished and would rather focus on them when he or we have large amounts of money.  He does pay his balances and  save, but he is less focused on the long term goals because of the length of time needed to  accomplish them. As a result, we pull against each other, try it our own ways and in most cases lose money or take longer time to accomplish the goal.

In 2016, I’d like to work more as a team to accomplish goals faster.  I would like to start by having that very serious conversation about what needs to be accomplished in my opinion and his.  Then I’d like to get his opinions on how to accomplish it and see if we can come to a compromise while working together.  

This may be more difficult because I’m so used to taking the lead and working separately on task (at home and work).

Other money mistakes that I have made include:
  • paying my credit cards just to use them
  • applying for credit to get the things I want
  • deferring my student loans from 2008 until 2015
  • not checking my credit score or monitoring my credit

What money mistake(s) have you made and what did you learn from it or do differently?

 

Funny Self Motivating quotes to keep from quitting

Things I say to myself to encourage myself to (1)

It’s Monday.  I hate Mondays.

As the busyness of the holiday approaches, so does the anxiety of everything that needs to get done before my vacation. Holiday parties, never ending work assignments and documentation on cases, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, children fighting, lack of sleep because my brain will not calm down, and this is all in one day.

Thus far, I’ve worked eight days straight and have 13 more to go until vacation begins on Monday December 21, 2015.  Because I’ll be on a week long vacation, the pressure of getting work completed so things are in place while I’m out continues to nag at me daily, hence the weekend work getting things in order.

This morning, particularly, I just wanted to quit.  After dragging myself out of the bed 47 minutes after my 5:07 alarm went off and sitting in the shower for 30 minutes convincing myself that quitting my job today would not turn out as favorable as I’d like to think.  Afterwards I gave myself a pep talk.  Some of the things I said to myself this morning will be included along with somethings I say to myself in other situations.

When I want to quit:

I’m usually determined, especially if I’ve set a goal to accomplish.  However, that does not mean I’m super human and sometimes, for reasons known or unknown, the expected results are not the outcome I get.  It’s the times of extreme fatigue (like now) or disappointment that make me want to quit the most.

Winners never quit and quitters never win.

I’m not particularly trying to win anything.  I just really like the saying.

Just keep going.

This comes from Finding Nemo’s character Dory when she encourages Nemo’s dad to “just keep swimming.”

When the tough gets going, the going gets tough… and coffee.

I really say this.  It’s one of my favorite.  I did not say that it would make sense but it does self motivate.  The coffee is for energy, and I really feel like I really need an extra boost, I’ll even treat myself to DD coffee!

When the work is never ending.

Again, documentation from my full time is never ending.  Everything has to be documented from home visits to telephone calls to passed messages.  It becomes never ending.  House work, with 5 children is also never ending and the undone work can be discouraging.  Usually at the end of everyday work I’ll say:

“I’ve done all that I can do and that’s all I can do.” 

This really resinates with me.  We often beat ourselves up for what we have not completed instead of focusing more on what has been accomplished and giving ourselves credit for the work put into that.  As much as I would love to get everything done in a day, it’s usually impossible because of distractions or interruptions of some sort.  However, if I know I tried hard, prioritized my to list, and completed any of the list, I will comfort myself with the statement above and be content.

“My struggle is real so my hustle is hard.”

This alone reminds me often of why I’m even doing all that I am.  Real struggles (not necessarily financial all the time) encourage harder hustles or hustling/working to take that extra shift, post those unwanted items, write that guest post, or edit that last article/video.

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison Click To Tweet

 

When ish happens.

Ish that stresses me out doesn’t usually happen often but when everything is going good and BAM, here comes life with a speeding ticket, a busted pipe, and an extra work assignment or any of the millions of things that can go wrong, instead of dwelling over it, I usually find the silver lining and then tell myself:

When it rains, it pours. If I get wet in the rain, I won’t melt but it never rains is southern California.

Are you thinking WTH?  Well let me explain. What I’m saying is sometimes a lot of things happen at one time, but it won’t kill me, and if I get to tired, I could always do something to change my circumstances and learn from it.  Again, I never said it would make sense but it motivates and that is what is important.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” ~Winston Churchill Click To Tweet

Life can be so many things.  I am currently trying to have a positive view on everything and dwell less on the things I can not control, predict, prevent, or change.  Thus far, the above mini speeches have kept me going.  Sometimes, I have to say them all throughout the day to keep going, and other times, I don’t have to say any. The important thing is that I never quit!

What positive self talk do you do to keep you going? Will any of these help?