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March 14, 2010

26

3-Month Performance Review

by Fin Engr
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I’ve kept away from delving too much personal information, and have tried to keep the blog topics objective and informative. Sure, plenty of people find me interesting, but my goal here is to educate, not toot my own horn. But today is a special day…

This morning, I ran an 8k race in just over 36 minutes, around 7:15/mile – placing in the top 20% of my age division and top 15% of all men. Needless to say,

I’m pretty pumped.

Within the past year, my life has been jam-packed. I moved to be near my fiance and assist with the wedding planning, began volunteering with a community outreach program, decided to run a 10-miler in spring, started researching graduate programs (again), began preparing for a cost engineering exam, and…oh yeah, started this blog! :)

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve already been at this for 3 months now. In light of trying to run my life more like a business, it seemed appropriate to conduct a performance review of the progress thus far and elaborate on some of the inner workings of the site.

HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED…

Believing that most financial mishaps can be traced to a general lack of financial knowledge, I decided to become a crusader for education. I began volunteering as a financial counselor to lower income families in the area.

The volunteers were a diverse group, and I even questioned whether some would effectively be able to counsel others. However, one fiery individual stood out, and I knew we had many of the same traits. While talking with Shawanda, she told me about her blog – You Have More Than You Think. That’s what got the ball rolling.

I purchased the domain in December, but sat on it for a full month preparing draft posts, playing around with different themes, and commenting on other blogs. Finally, I took the site “live” in the middle of January.

WHERE I’VE BEEN…

Since launching the site, I’ve joined the Yakezie Challenge through an original mentor, Financial Samurai. The group has been a huge success, helping propel me in the Alexa Rankings from 7,800,000 to roughly 302,500. What’s more, I’m interacting with some interesting individuals whom I probably would not have found if not for this challenge.

I joined FiLife, and have become an active contributor to the site. Posted my first guest post through another original mentor, Eliminate The Muda. Entered the ING Direct bloggers challenge, but didn’t get accepted. Oh well, probably for the best since I’m so strapped for time already.

In order to promote myself more, I’ve created a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account. While these are great tools to circulate articles, I’ve haven’t taken full advantage of their capabilities. For now, I’ve decided against following individuals. With the amount of tweets that people write, I can barely keep up. I may change this in the near future since I’m not giving a number of great sites their due credit.

One of the more exciting events was a Happy Hour I attended to meet other area PF bloggers. I’ve been so busy with other work, I haven’t spent enough time making my rounds to these sites. You may already know some of the other bloggers, like Sweating The Big Stuff, so I’d definitely recommend taking the time to check a few sites out.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED…

At the time of writing, I’ve had over 1,000 visitors from 40 different countries! That’s probably small peanuts to the Big Dogs, but pretty exciting for me. It also illustrates how personal finance is a matter of global concern. We all are looking for ways to provide a “good life” for ourselves and our loved ones.

From all the interactions, I realized we’re making headway in the right direction. Check out any blogger’s profile. I can guarantee you it will follow 1 of 3 themes: I was in debt and want to get the hell out, I wish I knew then what I know now, or I’m young and don’t want to subscribe to the debt culture that surrounds me. As long as we continue to infect others with our insight, maybe we’ll come out ahead in the end.

Personally, I’m not sure yet whether or not this blog has helped me. On the one hand, I’m racking my brain daily thinking “why, why, why”. On the other, this has been time taken away from reading PF books or spending more time managing my own finances. Overall, I have to say that it has been beneficial as another outlet for expanding my personal finance knowledge.

WHERE I’M GOING…

With a goal of completing the 10-miler in 80 minutes or less, the requirement of passing this upcoming exam, and the rigorous verbal abuse I’m sustaining for neglecting my wedding responsibilities (actually, my fiance has been incredibly supportive of this blog, and I don’t give her enough credit for it), and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life – I honestly can’t say where I’ll be in another 3-months.

What I can tell you is that I have a number of great ideas, including a pretty cool interview, coming up. I promise to continue producing provocative articles, and may shift away from the cultural side of finances to write more on investment topics. Going along with my interest in education, I want to explore doing book reviews and giveaways. This will allow me to kill two birds with one stone – write articles AND read PF books.


No matter where these next 3-months take me, I am most appreciative of YOU readers.

Thanks for partaking on this journey with me, and hopefully you’ll stick around to see what happens.

26 Comments
  1. Mar 14 2010

    Wow excellent post! Very interesting read, well thought out and delivered! Also congrats on the race, that’s an impressive pace!

    One question: Do you sleep?
    .-= myfinancialobjectives´s last blog ..The Ultimate Motivator: Compounding Interest =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 14 2010

      @ MFO.

      I tried the DaVinci 15min nap technique….didn’t work out too well. Actually, the only way I am fully functional is if I get enough rest, so I do try.

      I was quite happy given it was a cold, dreary morning and I was ill-prepared for the weather. Much like with racing, it’s nice to take a step back and reflect on what you’ve accomplished (which was the inspiration for this post).

      To all other commentators – My Financial Objective is a new up-and-coming member of the Yakezie Challenge. Make sure to check out his posts and give some feedback!

  2. Mar 14 2010

    Man, you’re awesome. What’s the emoticon for gold star?

    This may not be the case for you, but sometimes I feel like I live a more productive life when I have more to do. When I don’t obligate myself to do anything, I won’t do, well, anything.
    .-= Shawanda´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday ~ Mar, 15 2010 =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 15 2010

      @ Shawanda.

      HA! Gold star emoticon, hilarious… Balance is such a hard thing to achieve. I have giant swings in either direction – too much and feeling overwhelmed or too little and feeling lazy. But overall I completely agree, the more I have going on, the more focused it makes me.

      How’s the theme/focus transition going with your site?

  3. Mar 15 2010

    Congrats on your success! Since you are a runner, you’ll appreciate the importance of longevity. Best to you!
    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Best Financial Advice I’ve Ever Heard From A Comedian =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 15 2010

      @ FS.

      Running provides a lot of motivation for other areas.

      Nice dose of reality. I accept that I’ll never place in the top 3 positions. Learning to accept your own accomplishments not compared to others, but to yourself.

      When I get tired in training, I’ll tell myself things like “if you quit now, you’re going to quit at life”. Giving up is a lot harder that way.

      Sustaining endurance. Accounting that its not a full-on sprint, and you have to keep pace in order to finish strong.

      Understanding that hard work pays off. The exhaustion during that last stretch then the wave of relief/accomplishment once you cross that finish line.

  4. Mar 16 2010

    That’s pretty fast, especially for your first real run. I’m sure the 10 miler won’t be a problem. Sure it’s about twice as long, but you have 45 seconds per mile to spare.
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..How to Stop Sweating the Small (and Big) Stuff =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 16 2010

      @ Daniel. Thanks – going to enjoy this nice weather we’re having and go for a “leisurely” 6-8 miles today.

      The 10-miler will be my first “real” run. I prefer 10ks and less because their more race-like than the longer, horse-trot marathons

  5. Mar 16 2010

    Congrats on finishing up 3 months. 6 Months is often where blogs A LOT better than mine fall off the map, don’t let it happen to you! Your stuff is too good.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Comparatively Speaking A Million Dollars is Still a lot of Freaking Money =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 16 2010

      Thanks! I’ll be on the lookout. If I start slacking, bomb my posts with comments like I did yours today ;)

  6. Mar 16 2010

    Great stuff, it was great hearing about you! After all pf blogs are suppose to be personal :)

    Sounds like you got it going on! I’m jealous of that Happy Hour website, I wish I had more pf bloggers in my area. So far, I’m the only one that I know of…

    I have to admit, your writing technique is so polished that I forgot you started blogging only 3 months ago! Very impressive!
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..What I Have Learned To Date From Blogging! =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 16 2010

      @ MR.

      Taken from Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. Maybe you could become the founder of your local group? Are you on a deserted island? If so, then I could see how you’d be the only one. ;)

      :) Thanks. I spend a lot of time deliberating over the posts’ wording. Blogging styles are like mixed cocktails…everyone has their own special flavor.

  7. Mike
    Mar 18 2010

    Hey man.

    It really sounds like you have a wonderful life. I’m jealous, man. Haha.

    Exceptional!
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Life Style Inflation: Why Your Savings Is Not Growing as Fast as Your Income =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 18 2010

      Mike,

      I’ve got my faults, trials, & tribulations like everyone else! I actually thought the “Exceptional” image was a little over the top, but it was the best “review” image I found.

      I feel like the “It’s a Wonderful Life”…. Well josh darnit, when you put it that way, guess I do have a wonderful life! ;)

      Hope more people check out your “Lifestyle Inflation” article – liked it a lot.

  8. Mar 18 2010

    Congratulations on your awesome Alexa results … keep it up (in Samurai speak: Gambatte!). Now that I have discovered you, I’ll be hopping on over here on a regular basis.
    .-= Valentina´s last blog ..Sunday Morn Musings: Designer Tomatoes & Such =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 18 2010

      Thanks Valentina! While I have you, do you use Twitter? I couldn’t find anything from your website, and wanted to add you to my Yakezie List.

      Definitely, always welcome to read and comment. I’ll return the favor too!

  9. Mar 18 2010

    Keep up the good work. Save you money and keep fit. It will sure pay off when you get to be an old buzz like me.
    .-= Daddy Paul´s last blog ..The American Opportunity Tax Credit =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 19 2010

      Thanks D. Paul

      Thought about your comment… I’ll probably never be a Men’s Health cover model nor ever own a Ferrari, I just take what I’ve been given and try to make the most of it…. and there’s solace in my own accomplishments

  10. Mar 20 2010

    Very exciting stuff Engr! Congrats on your performance both running and blogging, you’ve still got nowhere to go but up!
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Combat The Closing Techniques – The Ben Franklin Close =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 21 2010

      @ LLC:

      phew – let me catch my breath! :) Hasn’t been that hard with the support system we’ve formed under the Yakezie. Glad your “back in the trenches” and can put “real work” to the side for a little bit ;)

  11. Mar 25 2010

    Wow that was a great post, that’s a great idea to do a regular review of where you’re at, what you’ve accomplished, and where you’re going.

    Congratulations on your blog and your run! That’s a fantastic time.
    .-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch Book Review and Giveaway =-.

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 25 2010

      @Y&T

      Thanks. Same like saving & investing – if you don’t have a clear picture of where you’ve been or where you’re going, you could be miles off the right path!

  12. The Rat
    Mar 25 2010

    Great thread. Sounds like you have lots of interesting things going on in your life. Congrats on the engagement and on your upcoming wedding. Keep up the good work!

    • Fin Engr
      Mar 27 2010

      @ Rat.

      Thanks and thanks. You’ve also been writing some interesting posts. Really excited to see what product comes out of your collaboration with Eliminate the Muda.

  13. Apr 23 2010

    Great job! And your Alexa ranking is super! Only three months old at blogging, wow. Thanks for sharing your successes with us!

    • Fin Engr
      Apr 27 2010

      @ Mrs. Accountability:

      Thank you. As I have seemed to fall off the bandwagon, it’s time to get back in gear and finish out the challenge strong! Hard to believe this was started so long ago and is now coming to a close.

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