Persist and Evolve – core traits for blogging and financial independence

Just over a week ago I was sitting in a room at Rydges Southbank in Brisbane with a brilliant bunch of bloggers at the ProBlogger conference.

I am a big believer in investing in yourself, so saw this as a great way for me to hear from people who have created a name for themselves in the blogging world. I wanted to learn all I could about serving my community and helping to get my money management message out to a wider audience.

As I sat in a room with over 150 other bloggers on day one of the two day event, Darren Rowse, the face behind the Problogger website, delivered his opening address.

He has been blogging for over 15 years and over this time he has learnt a thing or two about what is needed to remain a blogger over the long term.

The two core traits he identified were – Persist and Evolve.

As he was talking I could not help but jot down a note that these are also the two core traits you need on your journey to financial independence.

Let’s look at each of the traits in terms of how they relate to both blogging and money management.

Persist

Darren showed us a graph of the traffic to his website when he was first starting out. Like most of us, his page views started off quite low and he did not start to see decent traffic to his site for about 18 months.

He very well could have given up at this stage. But with persistence he has now been able to create two very successful businesses.

Simply because he stuck at it. He did the hard yards and is now reaping the rewards.

One comment in particular he said that really resonates with me was “Success is usually more about doing the things you know you should do rather than learning the secrets that you don’t yet know.”

I wrote the comment down and thought to myself that also applies perfectly to seeking financial independence.

Whilst it might be a nice idea to thing that there is a get rich quick idea or some secret to help us reach our financial goals sooner. The reality is most of the time we already know what we need to do, it is just a matter of being patient enough to get there.

It is actually quite a boring process to pay off debt, save a percentage of your income, invest it and build a nest egg for retirement.

And because it can be a long term process to get there, we can often rationalise why we might give up along the way. Have you ever found yourself saying “it’s taking too long”, “we will never save enough”. I think we all have these thoughts at times.

I am no exception.

I have set my early retirement date at 2025 but already I am impatient and want the date to come sooner. The reality is it is unlikely too.

So what I need to do is to continue to persist. Stay true to the course I am on and not give up.

Evolve

The next trait Darren spoke about at ProBlogger, and the theme for the whole event was Evolve.

He spoke of and shared images of his original blogs. Which where tiny text only blogs. He then showed us the progressions his sites have had over the years, as well as moving into podcasting and videos.

He has been able to stay relevant in an increasingly crowded market by continuing to evolve and change focus when needed.

The same goes for managing finances.

Our investment strategy started out purely with a focus on investing in property. From 2009 to 2013 we added a new property to our portfolio each year.

However in 2014 instead of buying another house we had a baby instead. Our investment plan needed to evolve to account for the change to a one income family.

Since then we have had another baby and for the past three years or so, our active investing has taken a back seat. We have seen good capital growth though over this period.

We are now in a position where we are looking to evolve our strategy once again. Having two kids in child care our cost of living has increased making cash flow a little tighter than it used to be.

As a result we are starting to see the benefits of balancing our portfolio more by diversifying into index funds for dividend income.

We know what our overall goal is, but we are comfortably evolving how we get there as time progresses.

Have you evolved your investment strategy over the years? Do you agree these are two key traits for success in blogging and your finances?

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12 Comments

  1. A great insight and interesting way to link the two together. I get very impatient at times and wish things happened sooner. I have to step back, know I have a plan and stick to it, looking out for opportunities to grow and evolve along the way.

    1. It is funny isn’t it. Most people just accept it as the norm to work until they are in their 60s and they don’t know any better so they just accept it. Where as those of us seeking financial independence I think putting a date on it can make us more impatient at times.

  2. Thanks for sharing Catherine. Wasn’t it an inspiring conference? And yes, you are entirely right that achieving financial goals requires persistence and evolution. If we invested in the same way as people did a hundred years ago we would be missing out on a lot of evolving trends!

    My own investment strategy has changed dramatically since I became a single parent. At the moment it is about selling assets, consolidating, reducing the (new) mortgage, making additional superannuation payments and – like you – investing in myself and my blog. Perhaps this is a conservative strategy, but I believe it is setting me up to be in a position to take more measured risks and soar in the not too distant future.

    1. Very inspiring! And so great to meet you in person too.

      I think once you have kids you tend to become a bit more conservative in your approach. Me and my husband certainly have.

  3. Hey Cath! Thanks very much for sharing your takeaways from Problogger. The quote in particular really resonates. It’s interesting that despite all the ‘get rich quick’ schemes and ‘explode your blog traffic with this secret’ Darren’s advice is just to persist. Like everything worth achieving in life I guess.

    1. Yep it was a simple take away but one that made me feel better about the pace I am taking with my blog.

  4. Great article Cath. It reminds me of the saying “we over-estimate what we can achieve in 12 months and under-estimate what we can achieve in 10 years”

  5. Would love to hear more about the event, Cath!

    My investment strategy has evolved from nothing to just starting 😉 It hasn’t been long enough yet to evolve into anything, but in the future as we get closer to retirement I expect it will change to a lower risk strategy.

    I totally agree with “persist”. Just being in the game increases your chances of success 100% over not being in the game. Practicing patience and delayed gratification can lead to bigger rewards both financially and in life.

  6. I really enjoyed this post 🙂

    I think similarly… that we should do what we know we should do… not what we feel like doing!

    It takes some self discipline, to keep repeating the process, even if it’s not exciting, because in the end it with persistence it will yield good results.

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