On Starting A Personal Finance Newsletter
Personal Finance ...
from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
started July 2019
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On Starting A Personal Finance Newsletter

Hello, my name is Erik Tozier and I’m one of the founders of Personal Finance Blogs, a personal finance newsletter and content curation website for the personal finance community. With the help of two other personal finance blogs, I started Personal Finance Blogs in July of 2019.

Content curation is not a unique idea, and for a number of years, there was 1 curation website in the personal finance space. However, 2 years ago, this original curation site shut down, we saw an opportunity to pick up where they left off.

Also, something which was never successfully created in the personal finance space was a visually appealing and comprehensive way to view the latest posts from the nearly 1,000 active personal finance blogs.

Some personal finance bloggers had feeds running on their site, but they were displayed just as a list of links – hardly visually appealing.

When we started Personal Finance Blogs, we wanted to do two things:

  • Feature the best personal finance content through our daily newsletter and features, feeds pages, and weekly blogger interviews
  • Provide a visually appealing resource to view the most recent personal finance blog articles from around the web

We have accomplished this and have become one of the top websites to view the best personal finance content daily.

While right now we don’t make money, we just hit 500 email subscribers, have averaged over 15,000 monthly pageviews through the first half of 2020, and are currently sending over 50 people daily to each of the 3 links we feature in our newsletter.


What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

Around the age of 20, I started thinking about how I could grow wealthy and become successful to help those around me.

Start today and take that first step. It will be worth it!

While I wasn’t quite done with college, I started thinking about ways I could start to make more money on the side of my day job and grow wealth for the future.

Through my studies, I was acquiring the knowledge of analysis and programming through my education in Math, and during my free time (outside of the usual college fun with sports and friends), I would read about real estate, the markets, and business.

During college, I did start to dip my toe into entrepreneurship with a blog, but this was short-lived after getting burnt out.

However, once I started a job in Corporate America, I had more free time and also some income to start exploring other avenues of providing value to make more money.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

The first few months of my job in Corporate America were fine, but as many of you reading may know, around month 3, the excitement of the new job wears off. I was 22 and staring down another 30 years of working.

I was still thinking about ways to improve my financial situation and build wealth and had the itch to do something entrepreneurially.

I definitely jumped in the deep end with my side hustles.

During the next few years, on the side of my day job, I bought a house and rented it out to friends, started a personal finance and self-improvement blog, and also tried my hand at a subscription box company.

For me, I like experimenting and figuring things out for myself. The things which I’ve found success in our endeavors that aren’t necessarily new, but an idea I can take and make it the best I can do.

While some of these were successes (I’ve since sold the house for a profit, and still have the blog), and others weaknesses (the subscription box was definitely a failure), I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed my journey.

Then in the summer of 2019, I decided to start another project with friends, Personal Finance Blogs - the reason for which I’m talking to you today in this interview.

Currently, I still am working at my day job and while full-time entrepreneurship would be amazing, I’m not quite ready to make the leap.

For me, I want to create a life where I do the things I want and be with friends and family. I’m still building this life and hopefully, soon I will be able to accomplish my goals.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Right now with Personal Finance Blogs, we are very excited about finishing our first year and continuing with strong momentum into the second year.

Currently, we don’t make any money right now - however, we are focused on growing traffic and our email list.

As I mentioned above, in 2020, we are averaging between 15,000 and 20,000 pageviews monthly, and each day, we send (on average) 50 clicks to each of the 3 featured articles in our newsletter.

As time goes on, we are hoping to grow this average into the 100’s - it would be incredible to be able to help others through our work by sending over 100 people in a day to their website.

If you are a new blogger and you write something unique, how amazing would it feel to get 100’s of people to your site? When I started out, 100 page views in a day would have nearly doubled my monthly traffic!

For that reason, at Personal Finance Blogs, it’s not about us, and we want to be able to spread the love around the personal finance community.

So for now, we are focused on growing traffic and the email list. We want Personal Finance Blogs to be a community site, and while eventually, we will monetize it, we need to gain trust and followers.

To increase our reach, we are trying to stay consistent and experimenting on social media to see what message resonates with others.

Something we are doing is exploring Facebook ads to grow our email list. With this, we can speed up the time to achieve our goal of helping others get more exposure.

In terms of what things look like on a day to day basis, the website is automated, and finding articles to curate is the only thing that takes significant time (5-10 hours a week).

Other than curation, creating posts, scheduling the posts and newsletters, interacting with people on social media and email, and doing Facebook ads does not take that much time.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

First, there are a few questions which need to be answered before starting a business:

  1. What’s something you are so passionate about which you won’t get bored after spending hundreds of hours around?
  2. Do you have a unique angle and perspective on the niche you want to enter which could potentially differentiate you from your competitors?
  3. Do you believe over time you could become the best in your niche – or do the major players have the advantage to guard their business?

The answers to these questions can shoot down ideas or give you the confidence to continue.

Second, are you going to go alone or partner with others?

Partnering is just like getting married - it can either be amazing, or it can be the worst thing ever.

If you don’t have the skills to complete a certain piece of your task, partnering with others can be beneficial, but you have to be careful.

Likewise, if you have the right partner who compliments your style and knowledge, you can get a lot done.

Third, consistency is so important for continued success. It’s not just enough to implement your product, create your marketing campaign, and get a few sales.

It’s going to take time and effort to perfect your product, sales process, and continue to expand.

For Personal Finance Blogs, what started off as just content curation and our feeds has grown into including weekly interviews with personal finance bloggers.

With each new piece of content, we will continue to grow traffic, build a following, and spotlight other amazing bloggers in the personal finance community.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Personal Finance Blogs are built on Wordpress, and all of the customizations have been through standard PHP. We bought a plug-in to help with bringing in the articles from around the web (WP RSS Aggregator - link to myinterview there), but everything else has been implemented through well-thought-out web design (HTML delivered via PHP, CSS, and Javascript).

For email, we use Mailerlite, and for social media, we use Buffer.

In terms of other productivity tools, we use Trello and Google Sheets.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

One of my favorite books on entrepreneurship is The Millionaire Fastlane.

One key concept which has stuck with me for a long time from The Millionaire Fastlane is “the law of affection”.

Essentially, “the law of effection” states if you want to create a successful business and grow your revenues to huge numbers, you have to create something which has a large effect.

This effect could be small and reach a lot of people, or it could be big and reach a smaller number of people.

My takeaway from this law is that if I want to create a successful business, then I need to focus on creating a product that is HELPFUL and IMPACTFUL for my followers.

Anything less will not lead to success.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

There are two things I want to touch on here.

First, the focus is so important. What do I mean by the focus is most important?

When starting out, there are so many different avenues you can take with your business.

“Should we do t-shirts? What about setting up Instagram? Have you let your friends know about our new half-done website?”

Really, at the beginning, and even now, I have to continually tell myself to focus on what’s important at the moment, and just take little steps at a time to get to the next task.

The main point here is I would tell myself to not try to do too much. You cannot multi-task, even if you think you can.

Second, consistent actions and looking to take action each day is so critical at any stage in the entrepreneurship process.

Let’s be honest here: no one created anything sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

While you most likely will not be a huge success in a month, 3 months, or even 6 months, over time, you can achieve so much.

I’m 5 years into my entrepreneurship journey. I’ve had some failures, but also, some great successes. I’ve learned a ton and grown as a person.

None of this would have happened if I didn’t take bold action.

Start today, and take that first step. It will be worth it!

Where can we go to learn more?

To learn more about Personal Finance Blogs, you can check out our website, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or get in touch via email.

Thanks for reading!

Erik   Founder of Personal Finance Blogs
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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