Post-FinCon14 Soul-Searching on My Hobby

How I Developed My Hobby

 

In the spring of 2008, I went on a handful of interviews for PhD programs in my field. The interview days consisted of meetings with potential advisors, information sessions about the programs, and social time with current grad students. While socializing, I fielded the typical getting-a-beat-on you questions like “Where did you go to college?” and “Where did you grow up?” I was also asked over and over again what my hobbies were, which was a very difficult question for me – I felt ashamed that I didn’t have any identifiable hobbies at the time. I was a typical well-rounded student in high school, but I lost all my hobbies by the end of college because it was super-intense academically and I couldn’t handle anything other than school, friendships, and going to the gym. I started telling the grad students that my hobby was sleeping, because it was the one activity I had ‘rediscovered’ after college that I was really enjoying (sleep deprivation and sleep debt is no joke, y’all).

 

In retrospect, I see that I was in the early stages of developing a hobby. When I graduated from college in 2007, I had no idea what to do with money. I had a full-time income for the first time, but it was ridiculously small in comparison with the local cost-of-living, so I, being a self-consciously responsible person, decided to start learning about personal finance. Around the same time, I started a blogspot personal blog just to write about whatever I felt like, and it was just for the private consumption by me/people in my life.

 

Launching EPF

 

When Kyle and I got married in 2010, we started grappling with our finances in a new way. We’d each been doing fine – being responsible – prior to marriage, but I got a lot more interested and involved in our finances when we started setting goals together. By 2011, I noticed that I was writing quite frequently about money on my personal blog, and I decided I wanted to stop inundating my readers with those types of posts and engage more with the personal finance blogging community. Kyle had always wanted to set up/manage a website, so we decided that he would run the back end of the site and I would handle the content. That was when we launched this blog, Evolving Personal Finance.

 

What Is My Motivation for Blogging?

 

The thing that makes EPF’s origin story a bit different from many in the PF blogosphere is that there was no big lack in my personal or professional life driving me to engage online. Kyle is very involved with our finances with me. I have wonderful friends who are also ‘good with money’ and willing to discuss it. Some of these friends appear regularly in the comments sections on EPF, but many more are willing to talk with me in person or through email. Kyle and I have never been super shy about exposing our real numbers online or in real life (though Kyle thinks it’s getting too braggy now that we’ve gained some traction) and we don’t have jobs that demand our silence on our salaries, forcing us to share anonymously. I don’t need the online world for those things, though as I’m probably the most enthusiastic about the topic among my closer friends it’s nice to have my online friends to really geek out with and share all the gritty details.

 

The other big factor that makes me different from other PF bloggers is my profession. I believe that any writing practice is helpful in developing communication skills, but the knowledge I’ve gained about PF really has been irrelevant to my training as a biomedical engineer and it’s doubtful I’ll be writing in this particular style in my future jobs. I have seen many examples of people starting blogs at least in part because they are dissatisfied with their jobs, and eventually some use those blogs to move on to other positions or start working for themselves. I have no desire to do this. Yes, grad school was challenging at times and I decided not to continue doing research, but I am excited about my ‘alternative’ career prospects that use my PhD.

 

I would guess that most PF bloggers had one of the two above influences when they started their blogs, or perhaps one developed at some point along the way and that helped motivate them to keep writing. The other big category I left out here is the documentation of a personal journey (typically getting out of debt or reaching financial independence), which also does not apply in our situation, but would certainly keep the blog going at least until the goal has been reached. By the way, I don’t mean to sound critical of any of your lives if you have chosen to engage online for any of the reasons I mentioned above. I only say that to explain that my motivation for blogging is different and probably weaker than yours.

 

Although I’ve shared with you how EPF started, I still need some clarity in my motivation for blogging. I love the engagement with people outside my IRL bubble. I have always been a writer at heart. I enjoy talking about PF because it is such an intimate topic that you really get to know the person you’re sharing with. But what does that all add up to?

 

FinCon14

 

From Thursday through Saturday last week, I attended FinCon14, the financial bloggers conference. I knew that I would learn a ton during the conference, both through the sessions and through meeting my fellow bloggers, but I had no idea I would come away so rattled after just my first few hours. On the one hand, I felt very encouraged in my writing by the constant message of “tell personal stories” – that’s a great touchstone for any type of communication. On the other hand, meeting my friends from the internet gave me deeper insight into what it really takes to be successful as a personal finance blogger.

 

The great majority of the people I met at FinCon14 had some professional connection to their blogs – they were probloggers, financial advisors, full-time freelancers, business owners, or staffed writers at an organization. I met only a few people who plan to keep blogging as only a hobby. To be honest, the sheer amount of work and time and emotional risk that it takes to write well, promote posts, grow an audience, develop products, and earn any kind of money is totally daunting to me. If I had any lingering questions about why EPF’s audience has remained so small while the other blogs that started around the same time or later have grown, they have been answered and more. Even though I have put a lot of time into trying to grow EPF, I haven’t been working smart enough or hard enough to match the success I see in these other blogs. (But I know that their definition of success doesn’t have to be mine.)

 

Time for Reflection

 

As soon as the first night of FinCon14, I started considering giving up on PF blogging – even though I had just developed all these goals and plans to do even more in the online space. While I don’t at all think of other PF blogs as competition, I was feeling like I couldn’t even keep up with my colleagues even if I tried, so why bother? I want to sincerely thank Leah Manderson, Matt Becker from Mom and Dad Money, Stefanie O’Connell from The Broke and Beautiful Life, and Bethany from Ellie Kay for talking with me in depth during the conference to help me start to clarify my vision for EPF and our other websites. They were each very encouraging to me and brought me partway back from the brink.

 

When I got home yesterday, I had a long heart-to-heart with Kyle about the conference and how my hobby of blogging might fit in with our life post-grad school. Two years ago, I shared my five-year plan, which includes starting our careers as well as having children. I was struggling to see how I could blog as well as navigate my first real job and care for a baby. Even though I have more time than ever during my funemployment to work on our websites, I was thinking that I may as well stop now if I would have to anyway when I find full-time employment and/or we have a baby.

 

my scruffy love. I'm thankful to have him to come home to.

my scruffy love. I’m thankful to have him to come home to.

 

Kyle mostly listened and then responded wonderfully with the simple observations that 1) I love blogging, so I would find a way to continue it if I wanted to, and 2) we still enjoy playing tennis together even though we have no plans (or ability) to become professional tennis players. In short, there’s nothing wrong with having a hobby that enriches your life.

 

Even after receiving encouragement from my friends from the internet and from Kyle, I’m still feeling shaken by my experience at FinCon14. (I do not mean that to reflect negatively at all on the conference or the attendees, by the way – it was a very fun, informative, and well-run conference and I truly enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone I came across.) After all, the other attendees don’t run EPF and Kyle wasn’t there to see and hear what I did. I have to remember that even though I enjoy blogging, there is an opportunity cost for the time I spend on it, and I want to make sure I’m spending my time in the most valuable ways possible. Just as I anticipated the evolution of our finances when we named EPF, I should be open to evolving the blog itself in terms of the content, the posting schedule, and the intended audience.

 

I have decided to take a short period of time away from EPF and the PF blogosphere to process the conference and reflect on what exactly is gratifying to me about this hobby and what I’m willing to put into it. I had some posts scheduled for the next couple weeks but they have been deferred, and I won’t be reading or commenting on other blogs either. I anticipate coming to some decisions and posting again in about two weeks, but it may be somewhat sooner or later. I hope you’ll bear with me, and if you want to discuss all this further with me I would appreciate doing so through email or Skype (even if we’ve never spoken before). You can reach me at evolvingPF at gmail dot com. Thanks, friends.

 

How have you found balance between your hobbies and the other important things in your life like family, friends, and your career?

 

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50 Responses to "Post-FinCon14 Soul-Searching on My Hobby"

  1. Hi Emily

    I’ve just recently started following your blog. I must admit I’m struggling with balance too, so I certainly understand your sentiments. I was disappointed to not be able to go to FINCON, but at the same time accepting of it. I wish you well in your time away.
    debs @ debt debs recently posted..Frugal FinCon Fiesta – Ask me Anything

    1. Emily says:

      The struggle for balance is so common today, whatever our careers and hobbies. We all seem to want to take on a LOT. FinCon was a great event and I encourage you to attend in the future if you are/become ‘serious’ about blogging, whether as a hobby or something more. I am grateful that it has pushed me to clarify my intentions, and of course I had a wonderful time getting to know my friends from the internet even better.

  2. Alicia says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I love blogging, and I enjoy the catharsis of writing, but my PF blog isn’t going to help me with my day job in physical sciences, and I don’t intend on becoming a problogger/freelancer. I’ve been grappling with the same issues myself in that I love what I’m doing as a hobby, but I am hard-wired to succeed, and I feel like a failure next to the big PF blogs that rake in many thousands per month. It is also taking a lot of my free time, so I need to figure out a better balance, especially since my evenings are realistically much better spent finding another job I don’t despise.

    I hope you find an answer in your reflections on what to do with the site. You’ll likely be getting an email at some point in the near future.
    Alicia recently posted..My Rental Unit Formula

    1. Emily says:

      Comparison is the thief of joy, right?

      I will look forward to talking with you more in private.

  3. J. Money says:

    All I know is that it was nice meeting you in person finally 🙂 Sorry we didn’t get to chat more!

    1. Emily says:

      It was wonderful to meet you as well and I’m going to follow up with you by email on what we talked about in the next few weeks. Thank you for commenting. 🙂

  4. Gretchen says:

    Hi Emily,

    I just wanted to come here to say that I really enjoy your blog. Of the 30 or so PF blogs that I follow, you’re one of my favorites, if not the most favorite.

    I think it is because I identify strongly with you, particularly in age, your values and financial priorities. I also just like your writing style and what you share with us. I know this is just a hobby for you, which is what is appealing to me. You don’t regurgitate content that is already out there and you are truthful and honest to your readers. I mean, the fact that you even posted this entry is so very vulnerable and that is what makes you awesome.

    The bigger bloggers don’t do this because they are concerned about writing headlines and content that will get them the most hits. They’re dedicated because it is their main source of income.

    I’m not saying this because I am trying to convince you to continue blogging (although I do want you to for my own benefit). However, I know that you probably have a lot of readers who do not comment and validate the work that you do put into it. I know this because I am one of them. (Though I have commented once or twice in the past!)

    Best of luck with your decision, whichever one you make will be the right one for you. Enjoy your time away 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you very much for your kind words, Gretchen. I am very touched. I am glad to know that I have a reader who feels she has a lot in common with me, particularly one who does not blog on this subject. One of the things I thought about a lot this weekend and will continue to is how to write more for readers who don’t blog than for my fellow bloggers. It is difficult because the bloggers are the ones commenting and interacting with me the most and that is very fun, yet the larger and more gratifying impact of my writing is likely to be found with readers who don’t blog. And, like you voiced, it may even be that I have more in common with readers who don’t blog because this is not my profession and my and Kyle’s goals are somewhat middle-class (by that I mean having a balanced life and not early FI as is so popular among PF bloggers right now).

      1. Gretchen says:

        Emily, thanks for responding. You’ve brought up a really great point regarding readers who don’t comment. You as a blogger are not receiving anything out of the community you are trying to create if there isn’t two-way communication or a conversation. (At least that’s what I read between the lines.) I’m definitely going to try to actively post comments when I feel like I have something to say – not just on your blog, but on other similar hobby blogs. Considering how much I enjoy reading these blogs, it’s the least I could do!

        1. Emily says:

          I do enjoy the craft of writing and looking back over the body of work on this blog, so even without any commenters I would have that. But the engagement with readers (commenters, emailers, FB- and Twitter-responders, and those who talk with me in person) is the most gratifying aspect of blogging to me. Even with only a day of reflection I can say that with confidence. So yes, please, comment more frequently on EPF and other hobby blogs you read – it’s nice to know that real people are reading and processing what we post. Looking at traffic really doesn’t tell me very well the difference between real people reading and search engine bots crawling, and it definitely doesn’t tell me if I have regular readers or a bunch of one-time visits. While I appreciate every comment, I really really like the regular commenters because I can get to know over time as they are getting to know me. I hope that if you do comment more here and elsewhere you will find greater satisfaction as a reader as you develop a relationship with the blogger.

  5. Leah says:

    I thought about you a lot during my long drive back, actually 🙂

    I wouldn’t want to encourage you to quit something you’ve poured a lot of time and heart into.

    At the same time, you’re 100% right about opportunity costs. We’re all forced to pick the things that matter most.

    I think you’re right to take a moment for soul searching.

    And remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You could post less frequently, or only once per year when you’re CRAZY inspired by something, or even just save blogging for another season of your life. You literally cannot make a wrong move on a website you own.

    I’ll leave you with a quote a friend told me, “It’s my blog, I do what I want.”

    Cheering you on no matter what,

    Leah
    Leah recently posted..50 Fun Things To Do That Don’t Cost Money

    1. Emily says:

      I had that “I’ll do what I want” thought several times when starting to process what I learned from FinCon14 (except it usually included an expletive). Just because I know what I’m “supposed to” do to have a “successful” blog does not meant that I have the capacity or willingness to do those things. And it’s not like I would be excluded from the community, either, by posting less frequently or whatever.

  6. Genevieve says:

    Emily,

    I wish you well on whatever path you decide! Have you read Wandering Scientist? (http://www.wandering-scientist.com/) She’s a biomedical professional who blogs as her hobby. Her blog has evolved as she has, but it still is very interesting.
    Genevieve recently posted..Weekly Updates & Sunday Links #3

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you. Yes, I have been reading Wandering Scientist for a few months since she lives in our target city. I haven’t gone back through her archives, though, to see how the blog has changed over time. What have you observed?

  7. Brooke says:

    Reflecting on how you spend your time and your priorities can never be a bad thing. If it helps to know this, I did read your blog *before* I started my own blog. I just didn’t comment : ). Since I have started my own blog, I have noticed a change in behavior. I want to comment now because I appreciate comments on my own site so much. Also because there is more of an incentive to get to know someone vs. just read their post.
    Brooke recently posted..Weekly Updates & Sunday Links #3

    1. Emily says:

      I started out similarly to you, with just reading, then commenting on a few blogs, and then starting this blog and commenting on a lot more. I also agree that having your own blog and receiving comments makes you so much more likely to comment. I’ll even leave comments on just plain really great posts telling the blogger that they are great even if I’m not contributing anything to the discussion because I know I would appreciate that feedback.

  8. Leigh says:

    Blogging is completely a hobby to me! Nothing more. I’ve really lowered my time spent on it since my boyfriend and I started dating last summer. I have also had a really hard time figuring out how to tell him about my blog. He does at least know how much money I have, make, and spend, so it’s not a big deal in that sense, but it’s still so much more laid out there than how we discuss things since he’s not very detail oriented. StackingPennies also clearly only does it as a hobby. That’s why I like just being at .wordpress.com rather than hosted – no costs as a hobby. I only post once or twice a month now and I still get visitors! So I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It all depends on what you want to get out of it.

    Best wishes! You can always email me! 🙂
    Leigh recently posted..August 2014 net worth update (+21.1%)

    1. Emily says:

      I was thinking about you and a few of the other bloggers I know in the space who have satisfying FT jobs. You’ve solved the balance issue by just posting less frequently and it’s great that people still want to read what you put out when you do – I know I’m still subscribed to your RSS. I might email you to talk shop a bit more next week – thanks!

      One of those first pieces of advice that bloggers receive is to self-host, but to me it does add the pressure of being able to at least pay for the hosting from blog earnings. Even if I decided to largely de-monetize, I think I would want to keep some Adsense up just for that reason.

      Is it just the blog that your BF doesn’t know about or is it also your level of detailed analysis when making plans and decision? If the latter, maybe break that to him first? But you really don’t need to, probably, until you’re talking about combining and figuring out who would manage what. I don’t know him or you obviously but I think people generally take it well when you are sort of self-depreciating about it, like, ‘I didn’t know how to tell you about this because it’s really weird of me, but I…’

      1. Leigh says:

        One of the problems with finances is that at a certain point, once you have your systems set up, they’re mostly a solved problem. That’s, I think, why you see so few people blogging when they’re at the stage of finances I’m at. I mean, at this point, I have a plan and I’m mostly just executing on it. I’m not making big decisions that often any more, so there isn’t that much inspiration for posts. I’d rather post higher quality posts than a higher quantity of posts.

        My boyfriend just doesn’t know about the blog. We talk about savings, graphs, spending, and income, so I’m not concerned about him seeing the numbers at this point and he also already knows that I really care about the details 😉 I’m just a bit scared that he would not be okay with my blog like Meg of World of Wealth who shut her blog down when she started dating her now-husband. I’m reasonably doubtful that he would be and there’s not much he can do since it’s all my money now anyway, right? So I just try to not really talk about him at all. Haha I absolutely doubt he would think it was weird of me to blog about money! He definitely knows how often I think about it 🙂
        Leigh recently posted..August 2014 net worth update (+21.1%)

        1. Emily says:

          I can see why you don’t have the inspiration to post more frequently than you do since you do have a smooth system and the income to more than cover it – until you change goals or have a life transition. I don’t see finances being a solved problem for us, though, for many many years to come because of the transitions were are anticipating and having to constantly adapt our system.

          I’m thinking I might go for higher quality than frequency in the future. I really haven’t forced myself to post hardly at all recently so I don’t see it as a big issue for me.

          I haven’t know any bloggers to shut down because of a SO’s objection. Is that just a privacy thing? I wouldn’t expect your blog to be an issue for your BF because you have maintained your anonymity well, but I guess you never know.

  9. I can understand where you’re coming from. It’s such a time and energy consuming process to write and maintain a blog. I really enjoy reading your pieces and I’ll be sad if you’re not posting anymore, but, you’ve got to do what’s right for you. Best of luck as you reflect and think about the future!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted..The Zen of Vacuuming

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you. I really appreciate your regular comments here and if I continue to read any PF blogs yours will definitely be on the list.

  10. E 2 says:

    I think your being a “hobby blogger,” rather than a professional or aspiring professional, is really a strength for readers like me (even if we don’t hit the numbers you’d like in comparison to others!). I feel like a lot of easy-to-find PF blogs are so focused on organizing life around money that I can’t identify or find much to take from them, because I have no interest or ability to become a freelance writer/entrepreneur/high-earning professional banking toward FI. Reading about someone whose interest in PF is PART of a life full of a bunch of other stuff, not the main factor in it, is more interesting to me. (Also of course reading a grad student perspective has been a draw, because you deal with even more familiar issues that are unusual in the PF blogosphere, like delaying the start of a career and not earning huge amounts, but even aside from that….)

    Also, if you’re doing this as a hobby, you don’t really need to compare yourself to people who do it as a job. It would be like me comparing my half-marathon time to a Nike-sponsored athlete’s (or, more realistically, a good college cross-country runner’s – we’re not talking Olympics of blogging here). Yeah, I’d come out looking pretty pathetic, but if I’m running for fun and health, it doesn’t matter how I stack up competitively.

    Of course, you’re going through a major life transition right now, and if it turns out this isn’t where you want to put your time and energy going forward, that is totally understandable. Those are finite resources, after all! I just wanted to leave a note of encouragement, and an honest account of why I value your blog a lot.

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you very much for these comments. I’m glad to know exactly what you like about EPF because it is a bit different from how I think about or have tried to write things here, but I think you characterized it well.

      Even more so than just this one comment though, you’ve shown your support and encouragement for me/EPF over your many regular comments over the years, and I really really appreciate it. I feel I have gotten to know you somewhat, particularly because we can relate so well on various aspects of our lives like grad school and marriage, and that is really the fun part of blogging for me – connecting with people.

      You are so right on with your race time analogy. I think I just need to determine what my standards are going to be for EPF, which I haven’t deliberately done in the past.

  11. Kim says:

    I think you and I are probably a lot alike in wanting to be at the top of whatever we do, and it’s hard to see others have so much more success in terms of money made or traffic or whatever guidelines equal internet success. I am somewhere between a hobby and part time job, but I will ever make as much money in a month of blogging as I do in a few days of being an optometrist and that’s OK. I never started as a means to replace my income. It is a creative outlet for me and helps me stay away from the things that got us into debt, so that’s why I’ll keep doing it until it isn’t fun. I don’t always look forward to getting my posts done or commenting, but I miss it when I’m away for a while. Good luck with your decision. Whatever you decide will be the right choice.
    Kim recently posted..My 2nd Grader Asked For A Phone!

    1. Emily says:

      I don’t think I need to be at the top of the blogging heap, really – I am realistic about this being a hobby rather than a big-time business. But I just don’t like being so so so so so far from the top, I guess, even after all the hours I put in. I agree that blogging is wonderful as a creative outlet and accountability.

      Thank you for your comment, Kim. I appreciate you sharing your approach.

  12. Great perspective and thoughts. Kudos to you for taking a step back to re-evaluate things. There are a ton of pressures (whether intended or not) on bloggers to take their blog from a small thing to this big money making site. So consequently we tend to compare stats (a ton) with everyone else and wonder how fast/soon can I make money off this thing?

    That puts undue pressure on you when in reality you just want to write and share some thoughts on whatever topic you enjoy writing about and helping others.

    I’ve been blogging off/on since 2003. Probably have made $150 bucks the whole time. It’s just not that important to me. For me it is an exercise for mental discipline (in writing) and for the fact that I’ve been down some dire financial straits and my heart hurts when I hear of people in the same boat as I was in and they are without hope or plan.

    My goal is to make sure that every person that reads my posts or engages with me over email or in person comes away with a little stronger knowledge of investing, the importance of a budget, why debt is bad, etc.

    Best wishes as you take time to mull and rethink on things!
    Allen @ The Daily Cent recently posted..You’re Broke. Not Poor.

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you for sharing your goal for your blog, Allen. I think it is great and congratulations on your longevity! I too want to inform and encourage people in their finances. I didn’t start blogging for money and I still don’t, but like you said it is difficult to keep from comparing.

  13. Michelle says:

    Wow I had no idea this was coming! I wish we would have been able to talk more at the conference. It was nice seeing and talking to you when we did 🙂
    Michelle recently posted..How I’m a Work-Life Balancing Master

    1. Emily says:

      It was pretty hard to find people at the conference since there we so many attendees! I also went back to my room by 11 PM or midnight each night so I didn’t socialize quite as much as other people did. It was lovely to meet you and I’m sure we’ll continue talking through email. 🙂 I’m looking forward to responding to the comments on my post on your blog on Friday, even though I’m not visiting other blogs for a bit.

  14. First, I just have to say I really enjoyed meeting you the first night! I wish we had seen each other again in a less noisy environment. =) I really enjoyed reading this post. I love that you took something else away from the conference, and it’s made me think as well.

    While I am documenting my financial journey, I’ve also struggled with how to connect with others that aren’t bloggers. I love all my blog friends, of course, but I want to know that I’m having an impact on those that really need it. That is ultimately what would be the most fulfilling to me, and I get a little sad when I see other bloggers who receive questions from readers, as it’s rarely happened for me.

    I also struggle with pacing myself. Quite a few blogs have taken off more than mine, and quite a few more bloggers have been successful with their side hustles and freelance endeavors. I’ll be honest and say I’m not 100% sure I’ll stick with freelancing for the long haul, but it’s good for where I’m at in my life right now.

    If you want to talk, definitely feel free to email me! I wish we were a little closer to each other to make a coffee meetup more feasible. For what it’s worth, I think you have a great thing going here, and you certainly have a knack for writing, so I hope you continue to blog in some capacity!
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted..Being Grateful: Forty-Forth Edition / FinCon

    1. Emily says:

      I am in the same boat of wanting more engagement with the readers who don’t blog, whether it is through comments or email. All these blogger already have set opinions and plan. 🙂 I also only get occasional email, but perhaps that is because I don’t really advertise that I am open to being emailed questions? That was another FinCon14 takeaway for me – make your ‘services’ obvious.

      You are also in the midst of a big transition – ahead of where I am, really. I hope that FinCon14 was encouraging for you in your freelancing efforts, even if you feel behind some others right now. Just make your own goals and try to keep from comparing yourself even as you look to others for best practices!

  15. Blogging is a hobby for me as well and I somehow find out time to write a new post or put some affiliate links in. When I get few more extra hours I spend on promoting and writing more. I don’t thin about quitting as I like writing and I earn handsomely though my blog. Just hang on there and keep blogging, don’t quit
    One Cent at a Time recently posted..Saving Money On Supermarket Shopping

    1. Emily says:

      It seems like you’ve hit the sweet spot! I’m glad you’re enjoying what you’re doing and profiting as well. Thank you for commenting.

  16. So far, I haven’t found the balance between my hobbies and the career I am envisioning myself to be in. But, I am still searching for what I want to do in my life and know that I am heading to the right direction. By the way, everyone seems to have fun at the FinCon, which makes me kinda envious.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..5 Financial Tips for 30 Somethings

    1. Emily says:

      Do you think your balance is tipped too far toward hobbies or toward your career?

      You can get a mini FinCon experience by having a local meetup of PF or other types of bloggers!

  17. Kelly says:

    I would also be sad if you stopped blogging – you have interesting topics and I really like your perspective on them. Your blogging “voice” is also great – not formulated or generic (or repetitive) like some other blogs the are clearly in it just to generate traffic or income.

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you very much for your encouragement, Kelly. 🙂

  18. Erin says:

    Mmmm admittedly I didn’t read through all the comments here. But my knee jerk thought is it sounds very Lean In, stopping doing something before you must stop, utilitarian focused (discounting the enjoyment reason of doing it). On a similar topic a blog I follow posted about how female theology blogs in particular don’t post as often/dry up (http://www.challies.com/guest-bloggers/blogs-gone-cold#keep-reading) and that link is a response that initial post. But ya know, pot kettle I used to keep a blog for fun until I just didn’t.

    1. Emily says:

      You know, as I read through my post the day after I wrote it I thought of Lean In as well! I’m definitely not going to quit NOW because of possible future conflicts, especially ones that are so far off. But I will consider a plan for what I want to do during my funemployment vs. after. The baby thing will just be what it is when it is, I think. I might find it even more necessary to write as a creative outlet at that time.

      Thank you for linking to that very relevant post. Men = probloggers and women = hobby bloggers in the analogy, I think. And it is more evidence that hobby blogs don’t “have to” do anything, even follow a regular posting schedule.

  19. This is actually one of the reasons I have a blogspot blog and didn’t self-host. I knew that I was not going to put in the time to monetize — I have lots to do in my “day job”! — and I wanted to be clear to myself that it was something I was doing because it was personally satisfying. I wouldn’t mind having a few more readers/commenters, so I might try to do a couple of guest posts elsewhere soon, but staying with a “free” site that I couldn’t put adsense on was a way to reign in my competitiveness 🙂

    I think, of course, that if you are not monetizing, you should feel very free to do this as long as it’s personally satisfying and then fade in and out as you like. That said, I really enjoy reading you; my favorite blogs are all hobby blogs, really, where people just write about what’s going on in their personal/financial life as it comes up. I enjoy some of the bigger, more pro blogs too, of course, but honestly my favorites are all written by people that have other jobs and are just kind of writing about their lives.

    Anyway — good luck as you think all this through!
    Cecilia@thesingledollar recently posted..Wednesday Food Post + FFFFollowup #2

    1. Emily says:

      When we first started EPF, making money was not on our radar. Kyle just wanted to self-host so he could learn more about running a website. But it did later introduce this extra motivation of wanting to make enough money to cover our expenses. I’m glad you were clear on your goals from the beginning!

      Thank you for sharing your opinion on hobby blogs and for your good wishes.

  20. Myles Money says:

    Everything we do requires balance. It’s great that you’re taking the time to stop and take stock. How many people do that? Most of us just keep plodding forward (whether it’s in a job we hate or a relationship which is past its sell-by date) and maybe that’s the reason we find it so difficult to get out of debt too… we buy things without considering the implications and it becomes a habit.
    Myles Money recently posted..Credit Virgins

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks, Myles! Inertia is quite powerful and I think people underestimate it. I didn’t re-evaluate my posting schedule on this blog for more than two years, and it took my dissertation to knock me out of that pattern. And your example of habitual spending or unexamined subscriptions is right on.

  21. […] get your EPF fix over at Making Sense of Cents today. Michelle published a guest post I wrote (pre-FinCon14 freak-out) on a budget-related method of motivating myself to earn side income in my funemployment. For […]

  22. Amy says:

    I love reading your blog and your perspective on PF. It’s been very eye opening to me. I have made reading your blog a habit for me, and wish you the best in what ever you decide!

    1. Emily says:

      Thank you so much for your regular readership, Amy!

  23. Steve says:

    I’m fairly new here at EPF and I did not get to FinCon this year (maybe next year). I’m kind of at the opposite spectrum where I do have ambitions to turn the blog into something bigger. It was very, very interesting to ready your reaction to FinCon and the reflection it spurred with you.

    I do enjoy the content here so I hope you do keep on blogging, albeit that is for more selfish reasons. Wish ya the best with whatever you decide and whichever directions you decide to go!

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks for your comment, Steve. We need all kinds in the PF blogosphere, I think. I definitely recommend FinCon15 to you since you have big ambitions for your blog, which is wonderful!

  24. […] the same day I posted that I was taking some time away from EPF and the PF blogosphere, I had a long talk with one of my good local friends who also reads EPF (hi […]

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