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Why I Write Here — The BFS Way

As I was getting together my last roundup post, I came across Frugal Portland’s Why I write here — the Frugal Portland way. I was inspired to write out my blogging philosophy as well.

The Start of BFS

I started Budgeting in the Fun Stuff (now widely known as BFS) because I was enamored with personal finance blogs.  Seriously, I had an addiction.  I didn’t even know they existed until the last part of 2009, but by the time I started BFS in February 2010, I was hooked.

I was reading more than 50 sites a week and checking back in to all of them to see if my comments were replied to in any way.  And my comments kept getting longer and longer like the posts themselves.

I started thinking of starting a blog of my own when people like FMF (blogger) and MikeS (commenter) over at Free Money Finance suggested that my voice was special.

Then I was pushed over the edge by commenters at Get Rich Slowly that were picking on a self-made millionaire for outsourcing chores and lawn care.  I hate bullies.  And I seriously can’t get behind telling people that they shouldn’t use extra money to outsource things that they don’t enjoy.

That actually pushed me into starting a blog about the fun parts of life.  I never carried credit card debt and didn’t have any big story to motivate people into saving, but I am a stubborn redhead with a ton of opinions and I figured I could at least write for myself.

I had no idea what BFS would become.

Readers and Money

In a year, readers like you were literally pouring in just to watch the progress.  Your comments keep me going in case you didn’t know.  I could have 1,000,000 readers, but a comment-less post is sort of worthless to me.  It means that I didn’t inspire anyone enough to take a couple of minutes to add their two cents.  I want everybody’s two cents.  I love that.  I read every single comment and try to reply to them all as well (either in the comment section or in a direct email).  I also love the interaction between commenters in the comment section because it means my blog is an actual hang-out and not just a bunch of posts thrown together.

With the blog growing and my first money coming in, I realized that my addiction wasn’t fading like it does with most hobbies.  I was more fired up than ever.  It then dawned on me that I finally found something I enjoyed enough to pursue as a full-time career.  But I didn’t really know how to make that leap or keep growing enough for it to be realistic.

The Start of My Career

Kay Lynn asked for my help negotiating a deal in March 2011.  Then Dr. Dean at The Millionaire Nurse and Andy at Tight Fisted Miser heard about it and signed up with me too.  Within a month, I had 10 clients, then I quit in July 2011 when I had about 40 clients overall.  By November 2011, I had 100+.  That meant that in early 2012, Mr. BFS joined me at home to help since my brain was about to fry with my 100 hour work weeks.  It’s now early 2013 and we have more than 325 clients.  It’s just freaking amazing.  There is no other way to describe the journey thus far.

Ups and Downs

There have been haters and Google slaps.  I’ve had happy dance moments and mini-breakdowns.  I have those days where I am walking on sunshine and days that I want to reach through the screen and strangle a few people.  But overall, my life is better than I ever could have expected.

Be Inspired

The funniest part is that this is coming from someone that never was too excited about the idea of entrepreneurship and just wanted a little stable income for 30-40 years while she saved for retirement.  I really never, ever thought in February 2010 that the online world would ever be my career.  I didn’t even know that I had a skill like negotiating that others would happily pay for.

Please, when you look at my story, don’t immediately think that I just got lucky.  Luck was a little part of it, but absolutely everyone can do something they love and at least make some money with it.  I am not crazy special in a way that no one else is…I just found my thing and am holding on as tight as I can.

It does take a little luck to find that perfect thing for you, but then it’s just a matter of effort and time to grow it into a job.  Lots of effort and lots of time, but you won’t mind because it kicks butt.  Nothing feels like a waste when you are having fun with it.  Please, please, please, take my story for exactly what it is – proof that anyone, even a girl that was too lazy to leave a crap job in 6 years, can grow something and call it their own just by reaching out to others and finding a niche.

The BFS Way

Overall, the financial BFS Way is to pay your bills, save for your future, and budget in the fun stuff along the way.  But the reason you probably started reading – BFS is my way of trying to connect, make friends, and develop a place to hang out.  This is my journal, my life stories, and some of my humor (I leave the dirtiest stuff out, lol).  You are my friends, my accountability partners, and the observers of my life.  You are the reason I love BFS and I can never thank you enough.  The true philosophy of BFS is that life is what you make of it and who you surround yourself with.  So thank you for making my life better just by reading, commenting, and sharing here too.

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27 comments to Why I Write Here — The BFS Way

  • Great post, Crystal. Congrats on all your success!

  • Great post Crystal. Adding my $0.02 as requested :)

    I think you are lucky. Lucky to have the forum of the internet to put your talent & skill where we are lucky to be able to read it!

    Thanks again!

  • I didn’t know that was how you got started. So glad that you’ve kept loving what you do and are able to be a success (and have fun!) along the way.

  • “Booo!” to leaving out the dirtiest stuff, lol. I enjoyed reading about your journey, Crystal, and you really have worked your tushie off to reach this point. I wish you and Hubs continued success in the future.

  • Crystal, I have been to the blog quite a few times, but haven’t really commented much, but congratulations on the success. I know that luck has a little to do with it, but it is mostly a lot of hard work. Great Job!

  • Awesome! I’m glad you were inspired — what a fun thing to do from time to time. I’m glad you’re here!

  • Mel

    I have caught the blogging bug at the most inopportune time – the only income maker in a house of 4 (with two pre-schoolers) PLUS full-time school to finally get my Bachelor’s. I had to put blogging on the back burner but find myself sneaking posts here and there when I can. Reading your site every day keeps me motivated and inspired for both a blogging and financially smart future! :) Thanks Crystal!

  • Your last paragraph is EXACTLY how I feel about my very loyal group of readers.

  • You have definitely changed the personal finance blogging sector in direct ways. Very few can say that! And yes, I would say most assuredly for the better!

    Congrats on your success and I look forward to seeing where the next 3 years (and beyond) take you. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey.

    I also had to point out how much I agree with you on comments. They are what keep me going, and it boggles my mind that there are bloggers out there who insist on closing comments, forcing readers to use a system (whether it be Facebook, Google, or some other ‘tie to an account’ method) in order to leave a comment.

  • In your case, it was definitely not luck. You put in a lot of hours before your blog became a success. I continue to love and be inspired by your story even though I’m not blogging/commenting as often as I used to.

  • Jon

    Great post, thank you for sharing it all! I knew bits and pieces of the story from reading for the past year or so, but it was good to see it all in one place! I agree with you… finding what you love and being successful takes a little bit of luck, but then a lot of hard work. Kudos to you for all of your successes!

  • ODWO

    Luck is one thing … anyone successful has had a little luck involved in “no matter what they are doing, if they are financially successful.” (but) Timing is (IMhO) everything.

    Making the move
    Taking the chance
    Putting in the hours (days, weeks, months …)
    Suffering from mistakes and mishaps

    People only get so mamy easy chances in life …. and if they didn’t take the leap, it is gone. (and then) Others have to make them happen, like you did. (again IMO) Timing is knowing when to make the best of a situation. Before the opportunity either closes, or others pursue their own chance(s).

    Find the sweet spot.

    One things for sure … before you ever started doing this, I’ve never heard you complain or say anything negative about [someone/anyone] elses success at blogging. The way I see it, you were more interested in making your own company …. not someone elses.

    WTGo BFS. :)

  • It was really fun to read through your journey and now I realize all blogs should have something like this. Definitely makes the connection stronger between reader and blog.

  • Thank you everybody for chiming in today! The heater at our rent house isn’t working and I was over there all morning with the ac/heater repair guy (friend of my husband’s grandpa) figuring out the issue. The breaker inside of the unit is fried so I’ll be back over there in a couple of days as soon as Jack (the ac guy) receives the correct part. He’s a big sweety, but it was a long morning. Anyway, seeing your comments pop up on my phone made me smile every few minutes. :-D

    @NoTrustFund, thank you!

    @Joe, awww! :-)

    @Mrs. Pop, I keep forgetting that all of you may not have been reading me from the beginning in 2010, lol. I’ll do some more backstory over the next few weeks.

    @Jennifer Lynn, hey, you visit me in person, and I won’t hold back. ;-)

    @Grayson, thank you! And thanks for commenting!

    @Frugal Portland, thank you for inspiring, lol. It’s been a while since I wrote something directly from the heart for no reason on here…

    @Mel, inopportune times seem to be when I start everything, so good luck! Glad I can help in a little way!

    @Mutant Supermodel, yeah, I figured that’s how all writers feel about their readers and feedback. :-) It’s why we write, right? :-D

    @Money Beagle, I also have no idea why a blog wouldn’t have a comment section. It seems off. Thank you for being one of the stable bloggers too…it’s amazing how scary it feels to watch everyone fall off the map, but you always seem to be going strong. :-)

    @First Gen, I miss you!!! Where oh where has Sandy gone? ;-)

    @Jon, thank you!

    @ODWO, you are one of the few readers/commenters that not only know me in real life, but knew me before I started. :-) You, Ivy, and Mike M. :-) No, I never bad mouthed the famous bloggers…I was in awe of them (still am). I still want to be Pat Flynn when I grow up…

    @Lance, ooh, let me know when your blogging philosophy post goes up. :-D

  • I love reading/hearing about how you started. It sounds so natural yet improbable. How in the world do you stay organized with 325 clients? Is it because you have one who is so ridiculously awesome that he balances out the rest?

    But seriously, congratulations on all of your success! :-)

  • I love reading about your financial journey, and I too have found that I have a lot to say about finance, even though it’s not the topic of my own blog. I guess it’s a newly discovered passion for me!

  • Great post, Crystal! It really is great reading about how someone started from scratch, and then worked hard to build something meaningful for themselves.

    Here’s to continued success in 2013 — I’ll be reading!

  • Thanks for mentioning me in your post. I didn’t realize I was one of your very first clients. Keep up the good work.

  • Congrats on the crazy journey and success with the blog. I now feel like I know more about you because the way you wrote this post.

  • Your journey is definitely interesting. My blog GDI has been in action for a year. Comments are definitely fun to get. We do not get nearly the comments you do. It would be nice to see that improve…not sure how. I think what we write about it interesting, maybe that is just my ego that thinks that LOL. A journal approach my be more engaging…

  • It’s inspiring to read about other people’s successes with their personal finance blog! I hope I can achieve that sometime soon!

  • I tell people all the time about you when they ask why I wanted to start a blog. I don’t really want to fully quit my day job, but it’s nice to know that someone made it.

  • I already knew some of this but it was nice to piece it all together!

  • Congratulations to you on your success so far! You and Len work extremely hard and no one deserves the success more!

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