The second of my blogging interviews features Rob from Self Employed Investor. He’s kindly answered a set of questions about him and his blog for us and our readers. Like me, he’s only been blogging for a short time – so hopefully this can make people out there more aware of him and his great blog!
Tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
My name is Rob, I’m 22 and have been investing for 2 years, the highs and lows of which I do my best to share in my blog. I want to be a good investor and ideally as good as I possibly can be, but it’s a long journey where I have already a lot of mistakes and learnt a lot through some harsh experiences. The main role of my blog is to mull over these mistakes and lessons to improve myself as an investor and will hopefully document my journey as I become a better investor. I do more beyond this core goal, but that’s the focus that drives the blog forward.
What got you started as a financial blogger?
I was brought up to be careful with money and to carefully consider how much value I would truly be getting from any purchase I make so over time I found myself accumulating more money than I was spending. I’d always kept this money in an instant access cash ISA that had done well for me in the boom years, but one day my statement came through to inform me that I’d only earned 0.1% interest that year on my money and so I starting thinking about better uses for the money, the first step of which was moving that money into fixed-term instead of instant access accounts.
From then on the idea that I could be getting more out of my money remained and after completing a management module where we were given the job of analysing the investment potential of a business, I started to consider investing at the same time that Lloyds and RBS were recovering from being nationalised. Seeing an opportunity I invested £3,500 in the two, earned a £700 profit from the trades and have been hooked ever since (even if it hasn’t always been that easy). This obsession has taken me deep down the rabbit hole and since I wanted to write a journal of the lessons and mistakes I had been making I wondered why I didn’t share these thoughts and lessons with the rest of the world.
How long have you been blogging for?
I officially started blogging in January 2012, but I only managed one pageview that month so I guess it doesn’t really count. March was a similarly slow month, but in April and May I would consider myself to have started blogging for the benefit of more than just my own eyes.
Is it a part time hobby or a full time job?
If it was a full time job I’d be in trouble since it makes me no money (I take that back I’ve earned 3p so far from adverts), but I take it seriously and it takes up a lot of time. Hence it is most certainly a hobby, but in my mind a crucial part of my personal development so maybe it is more akin to an education than a hobby. That said I certainly enjoy blogging and in that sense it is a hobby.
What is the best thing that’s happened to you as a result of your blog?
The most useful thing that has happened to me as a blogger are the interactions and advice I have been given by fellow bloggers that have given me more specific advice that might not have been shared with me had I just been a reader of those blogs. For me a key part of blogging is the ability to be able to interact with those other bloggers and readers, and develop through these interactions.
Have you followed your own advice?
I try not to give out advice, but more pass on experience, but if I have given advice I’ve probably broken it myself. For example, I’m a big advocate of cash ISAs though I don’t hold one myself, but in the long-term I will be following my own advice there, so maybe yes in the long-term, but no in the short-term.
What has been your most popular blog post, and why do you think it was so popular?
My most popular post was about Savings Accounts, followed by an Introduction To Investing. I think these two were popular because they provided something useful and practical that everyone could apply. Not everyone has my interest in P/E ratios or valuing innovative companies, but we all are likely to use a Savings Account at some point. Moreover, I’d like to think that this post offered a simple guide to making the most of your money placed in a Savings Account without wasting too much time faffing about.
How long did it take for you to start noticing – a. regular readers, b. a following.?
I’m still a long way from being anywhere near established in the blogging world, but I do have regular readers in the form of fellow bloggers who take the time to drop by and offer meaningful comments so I guess that counts as regular readers. Other than that it has been great to watch the pageviews curve grow over time and my reliance on referrals decline over time with most of my traffic now coming from people revisiting the site rather than being directed in by an external links. I imagine other bloggers might go on a quicker trajectory by commenting more on other posts, but I’ve taken the approach of trying to be part of a tight knit community of UK bloggers posting on similar topics that I like.
What would be your biggest piece of advice to anybody who wants to save money?
Find out why you want to save money and have a goal to achieve at the end of the process. If you just want to save money because you think you should save money, you will find yourself forever wanting to reward yourself which is counterproductive. There must be a reason why you want to save, else you wouldn’t want to do it. Find out what that reason is, find out what it will take to achieve that goal and highlight the role saving will play in putting that plan into action. The actual act of saving money will then take care of itself.
What is the most valuable freebie you’ve ever received?
Advice and shared experience. It won’t cost you a penny to ask the advice of a more knowledgeable or more experienced individual, but the value of it can be immeasurable. That individual will have learnt that knowledge through costly mistakes or by devoting a lot of time to the matter so to get that knowledge for free is highly beneficial.
Do you use voucher and discount sites?
No, I neither buy enough, nor have the space to store anything I buy so it’s not worth the effort. That said if I was buying a high priced item I might change that approach since then that use of time becomes more valuable.
Finally, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since becoming a personal finance blogger.
It has forced me to admit some personal mistakes and flaws that I have tried my best to ignore so what it’s taught me is probably just how much more I need to learn. It can be painful admitting mistakes to an audience so those mistakes have been more keenly ingrained in my mind than they otherwise might have been.
Thanks a lot for that Rob! You can check out Rob’s blog over at http://www.selfemployedinvestor.com/.
If you’d like me to interview you or you know a finance blogger that you’d like to interview – comment or email me.