Update: How Investing Time Outside Of My Personal Finance Blog Has Helped Me Grow As A Person

Published: April 25th, 2023
Ling Thich
Founder, Finsavvy Panda
Finsavvy Panda
from Toronto, ON, Canada
started November 2017
Discover what tools Ling recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Ling recommends to grow your business!
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Thank you for having me back for another interview since my last time here!

For those who may not remember me, I’m Ling and I’m the blog owner behind FinSavvy Panda, a personal finance blog about finding ways to save and make extra money. Additionally, I offer my Ultimate Power Up Budget Binder, which is a comprehensive resource designed for beginners who want to learn how to budget and save their first six figures.

Apart from FinSavvy Panda, I own two other blogs, an anonymous lifestyle blog that covers everyday topics, and Blog Savvy Panda, where I share tips and insights for new bloggers who want to start a profitable blog. I also offer my range of flagship products, which include:


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

A lot has happened since we last spoke! Like many other businesses, I've been affected by the economic slowdown and the ongoing increase in inflation rates. Navigating these uncertain times has been quite the challenge.

At the end of the day, it's all about taking calculated risks and trusting your instincts.

On top of that, I've been focusing on some great new things outside of my business, such as taking better care of myself and spending more quality time with my family.

As a result, my income experienced a slight shift, going from $216,000 in 2021 to $182,000 (after expenses) in 2022. But you know what? I wholeheartedly embrace this change because there's no price tag on work-life balance, and I'm genuinely grateful for the income I continue to earn.

Here is how much I recently earned from one of my affiliate streams in January and February 2023, not including other revenue sources like products, display ads, or income from my other websites.


Right now, I'm not necessarily concentrating on growth, but I'm always learning and adapting to changes in my business.

One significant change I made was bringing on a few people to help with the daily operations of my website, which has allowed me to have more time on my hands. This opportunity has enabled me to learn more about outsourcing and devote more time to personal growth. It's been a real blessing, and I'm truly thankful for their help.

Having this extra time and energy also led to a huge milestone for me. My readers have been requesting a guide to Pinterest traffic for years, and I finally released it last year – The Golden Compass to Pinterest Traffic. It's been incredible to see the positive impact it's had on my readers' businesses, and I'm excited about what other amazing things the future has in store!


What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

One of the biggest challenges last year was hiring and training new people on the team. With the economy not exactly thriving and income taking a hit due to inflation, it was a risky move that left me feeling a little uneasy.

At first, I thought: “There’s a trend of falling revenue and I’m thinking about increasing my costs? Like, what? That’s a double whammy!”

But I decided to bump up my budget, and I'm happy that I followed my initial gut feeling. It has almost been a year working with my new team members, and I can say it was worth it. The transition was smoother than I expected, and I'm looking forward to seeing the positive impact they're having on the business.

At the end of the day, it's all about taking calculated risks and trusting your instincts. And while the past year felt a bit uncertain (let’s face it, every month feels uncertain), I'm proud to say that I've come out stronger and more confident in my decisions.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The past year has been a journey of self-discovery, and I'm not gonna lie - it hasn't been easy. One of the biggest lessons I learned was how to deal with imposter syndrome, which has been a constant struggle for me since I started my blog five years ago.

I don't know if it was the toxic online communities for bloggers and business owners I was a part of or just my insecurities. But I used to get so caught up in what others were negatively saying about other people’s success that I would start feeling imposter syndrome. That doubt made me hold back on projects I was excited about, and it was like I was constantly second-guessing myself and my abilities.

But here's the thing - I realized that if I kept letting people’s negative words get in my head, I would never be able to move forward and grow. So, I invested time in self-care, self-development, and mental wellness, and it was a total game-changer.

I learned to let go of the negative energy from others and focus on my journey and my audience. I mean, why waste energy on people who don't even matter in the grand scheme of things?

Whether it's taking courses, networking with others in your industry, or hiring a coach or mentor, investing in your growth is key to achieving success.

Instead, I listened to my readers — who are positive, encouraging, and uplifting — and created The Golden Compass to Pinterest Traffic guide, which was something I had been putting off for years. And you know what? It was a huge success for me!

I also learned that simplicity is key. People don't need complex tips or advanced strategies to find value in your work. Sometimes, it's the simplest things that have the biggest impact.

So, my advice to anyone struggling with imposter syndrome or self-doubt is this - ignore the haters and focus on serving the people who matter. Your audience is your tribe, and they're the ones who will support you and help you grow. Don't let anyone or anything hold you back from achieving your goals and living your best life.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

The next 5 years are a bit of a mystery to me right now. But you know what? That's okay! One thing I've learned is that life can change in an instant, and you have to be open to new possibilities and opportunities.

Right now, my focus is on my mental and physical health. Because let's face it - if I'm not feeling my best, then my business won't be either. So, I'm taking things a bit easier and focusing on what matters most.

That means answering my emails from readers and businesses (with healthy boundaries), learning how to outsource effectively, and improving my processes and systems. It's all about increasing efficiency and making sure that everything runs smoothly.

And of course, staying up to date with changes in the world of Pinterest and Google is a top priority. You never know what new algorithm updates or trends might come your way, and I want to make sure I'm ready for anything.

But I'm also excited about the potential to help my husband with his business. It's something we've talked about for a while, and who knows? Maybe that's where my journey will take me in the years to come.

At the end of the day, it's all about staying open to new experiences and possibilities. Life is an adventure, and I'm ready for whatever comes my way!

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

The best thing I read in the last year was The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. While I had read it before, this time around, I felt like the message hit home for me.

As a blogger and business owner, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and forget about the things that truly matter without even realizing it - like our health, relationships, and happiness. But this book reminded me that success isn't just about achieving our goals, it's about finding balance and fulfillment in all areas of life.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was the importance of living in the moment and enjoying the journey. Due to society’s unrealistic expectations of success and what we see in the media today, it's easy to get so focused on the result that we forget to appreciate the small wins and milestones along the way.

The book also inspired me to adopt healthier habits both mentally and physically, which has had a positive impact on my overall well-being. And perhaps most importantly, it reminded me never to sacrifice my happiness for achievement.

From a business perspective, this book has inspired me to be more intentional with my time and energy, focusing on what truly matters and letting go of the rest. It's all about finding the right balance and living our priorities, both in business and in life.

Overall, I highly recommend The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari to anyone looking for inspiration and guidance on how to achieve success without sacrificing their well-being and happiness. It's a powerful read that will leave you feeling motivated and inspired to live your best life by finding your true purpose.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?

If you're struggling to grow your business, the first thing you need to do is take a hard look in the mirror and be brutally honest with yourself.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs who rush into things and expect overnight success, and that's just not realistic. Building a successful business takes time, effort, and a whole lot of patience.

But if you're truly committed to making it work, then you need to be willing to put in the work and be open to the fact that you might be making mistakes.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is when they allow their ego to overshadow their self-awareness. It's something that all humans struggle with to some extent, including myself, but it can be a significant hindrance to growing your business. They think they're doing everything right, but in reality, they're not being consistent, they're not implementing what they've learned, and they're not focused on serving their specific audience. They THINK they are but they’re not!

So, my advice to struggling entrepreneurs is this: be honest with yourself, be willing to take responsibility for your actions, and be open to learning and growing.

And don't be afraid to invest in yourself and your business. Whether it's taking courses, networking with others in your industry, or hiring a coach or mentor, investing in your growth is key to achieving success.

If you're struggling to grow your business, here are questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Have you spent enough time building your business? Are you consistent in your efforts, or do you find yourself fluctuating?
  • Do you need someone to constantly guide and support you? If so, you might need to learn how to be independent, or the struggle will continue.
  • Do you spend most of your time learning, rather than implementing? Remember, gaining knowledge is useless if it's not implemented.
  • Are you following the 80-20 rule (or even better, the 90-10 rule) in your business?
  • Finally, are you really focused on serving your readers and specific audience, or are you just blindly following what other business owners are doing in your niche without really understanding their strategy?

It's only by addressing these issues that you can identify and overcome the obstacles that are holding you back from achieving success.

As I always tell my readers, building a successful business requires a marathon-like approach, not a sprint. To achieve long-lasting results, it's essential to view the journey as a lifestyle change rather than a "get rich quick" scheme that is bound to fail after a short period.

This is comparable to trying to lose weight quickly with a short-term fad diet that ultimately fails after a month or two, instead of building habits and making lasting changes to their lifestyle (such as eating a balanced diet with real foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and prioritizing your mental health) for long-term success.

While all of this might sound like a cliché, I can't think of a better way to express these crucial points because they truly capture the essence of what it takes to succeed in business and overcome challenges.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!