I’m excited to feature one of the great bloggers in the personal finance world – Jeff Rose, a Certified Financial Planner who blogs at Good Financial Cents.
I like Jeff’s style a lot – he’s got a great personality, and really knows how to communicate the sometimes-complicated personal finance topics in a way that the rest of us can understand.
He’s also an accomplished (best-selling) author, a family man, and produces an excellent podcast. What more could you ask for?
Let’s jump to the interview.
(As always, questions from The Daily Interview are in bold.)
Jeff, I’ve watched your blog at Good Financial Cents evolve over the years (the current design is amazing, by the way), and it’s awesome to see your podcast now in full swing. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey. How did you get into blogging, and what impact has it had on your overall business as a financial planner/investor?
Prior to 2008, I didn’t even know what a blog was. I seriously thought it had something to do with MySpace and I wanted nothing to do with it. When I finally realized the potential that a blog offered with the ability of reaching thousands if not millions of people, I was definitely intrigued. Upon further research, I learned that there were very few Certified Financial Planners that were blogging at that time. When I realized that, I knew that I had found a niche.
Since I knew nothing about blogging, I spent countless hours researching everything I could about the topic. I read books, I read blog posts. I absorbed as much information as I could. Finally, after learning the basics of SEO and how to write a good article and market myself, I landed my first client nine months into the mix.
That one client was a catalyst for many good things to come because of my blog. Because of my blog, I’ve gotten countless referrals, major media mentions, and also have found ways to monetize my blog in other fashions. Blogging has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to myself and my business.
You’ve achieved a lot throughout your career from what I can see – you’ve helped numerous clients with their financial situations, you’re a published author with “Soldier of Finance” – but what has been your greatest success so far with your blog?
It’s hard to narrow it down just to one single success I’ve had from the blog. As I mentioned in the previous answer, the first client that I got from my blog was the largest client that I ever had, and is still the largest client to this day.
That one client contributes between $35,000 to $40,000 a year of recurring revenue, all because I started a blog.
I’d have to say the second success I’ve had from the blog is becoming a published author. Without my blog and the traffic numbers that it has been able to generate through the years, I never would have gotten a book deal to publish my book, Soldier of Finance. I’m thankful that the book is out there that can help other people reach financial freedom.
It sounds like you’ve had a lot of great things come as a result of your blog. What’s on the horizon for your business in 2014? Are you planning to just “stay the course,” or do you have anything in the works that you can share with us?
Right now my big project for 2014 is Operation: #investNOW. My goal with this project is to inspire 1 million people to start investing in themselves. This can be through traditional investing (stocks, mutual funds), personal development (coaching, MBA), or starting a small business.
Over the years I’ve invested in myself through all three of these and the returns have been exponential.
Even the most successful people stumble along the way. What do you consider to be your biggest failure in your business, and what did you learn from it?
By far the biggest failure I had was investing into an online business venture that I thought would be a strategic extension of my blog and offline business. I invested $8,000 into a program that was going to show me the A to Z steps to build this supposed profitable venture.
I hastily bought into the program without doing more research and fully understanding all it took to get the business off the ground. When I started to realize what it really took, I became more disenchanted with the business venture where I ended up dropping it altogether.
I’m sure that throughout your blogging journey, you’ve tested and optimized different forms of monetization – what has worked the best for you? Is there something you thought would work well that ultimately fell flat?
What’s worked best for me is the diversity of the monetization strategies.
I currently use Google Adsense, CPM ads, direct advertising, and affiliate marketing. In the personal finance space, credit card conversions are very attractive and can pay out huge numbers. Knowing this, I spent quite a bit of time having some article writers write about different credit card products.
As it turns out, my audience and readers couldn’t care less about credit cards and I had very few conversions because of it. I would have been wiser to poll my audience to find out what types of products and services they wanted reviewed before diving into something just because of the money.
Let’s take a step back and look more generally at blogging. If you had to take your best advice and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
You can’t change people’s lives writing five blog posts a week.
Pour your heart into epic content that changes people’s lives. [Click here to tweet this]
[Side note from The Daily Interview: Hopefully we’re an exception to this tip when it comes to five blog posts per week!]
What are your favorite online resources?
Right now my favorite online resource is LeadPages. I’ve been consumed with the fact of needing to increase my email subscribers.
By utilizing LeadPages and their awesomely designed landing pages, I’m creating lead magnets (free give-aways) to entice people to join the Good Financial Cents community.
For someone who is just starting out creating a blog, what advice would you offer? What do you wish someone told you about when you first started?
Don’t write for SEO. That’s something I became disenchanted with as I was so focused on generating more traffic so that I would be ranked higher in Google search results. When I put more time into focusing on the story and helping the reader, that’s when the magic really started to occur.
Finally, where can people find you online?
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Jeff! It was a pleasure featuring you here.
What did you think about the interview? Leave a comment below!
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