It’s been five weeks since I sent the first email to the Money Boss mailing list. The website went live this morning. In the month between these two events, the MB community has grown to 906 active members with more joining all the time. (Fun fact: Since I announced Money Boss, the email list has had net subscriber growth every single day!)
The future looks rosy.
A few folks have written to ask how Money Boss will be different from Get Rich Slowly. Others have asked how this site will make money. Great questions. Let’s answer them.
Same as the Old Boss
Let’s start by looking at the ways Money Boss will resemble Get Rich Slowly. Some things haven’t changed in the decade since I started my first money blog.
For one, I’m still a nerd. Sometimes it’ll get geeky here. I’ll talk about comic books and science fiction and statistics. Long-time readers have learned to accept this. (Thank you!) New readers will either laugh it off or flee in terror.
Also, I don’t believe in dumbing things down. I want to translate complex topics from jargon to plain English, but I’m not going to do it in a way that assumes you’re stupid. You’re not. GRS readers were smart and engaged. I think Money Boss readers will be even smarter, so I won’t write like you have only a sixth-grade education.
I still believe that stories are the best way to explore real-life personal finance. I’ll share stories from my life, from the lives of my friends, and from your lives too. We’ll learn from our shared experience.
Finally, I had an unspoken “no bullshit” stance at Get Rich Slowly. That meant no bullshit from me, from readers, or from advertisers. That stance is even stronger at Money Boss, but this time it’s overt. I’m not going to bombard you with pop-ups begging to join my email list. I won’t send you spam. I won’t plaster the site with display ads. (When I use display ads, I’ll keep them tasteful like my pal Mr. Money Mustache does.) And I won’t allow conversation to devolve into name-calling or other internet bullshit.
Note: I try to keep things politically and spiritually neutral. Like anyone, I have my own ideals and opinions. I call myself a “small-l libertarian” and a “religious atheist”. Almost nobody shares my philosophy, though, so what’s the point in proselytizing? There isn’t any. Instead, I try to share a variety of viewpoints and foster civil discussion. Despite what you see in American mass media, it’s possible to disagree with each other without being jerks.
A Brave New World
While some of the style and substance will remain the same as I move from Get Rich Slowly to Money Boss, there are going to be plenty of differences.
Get Rich Slowly was a sandbox. It was a place for me to discover a financial philosophy as I played with different techniques and methods. With Money Boss, I’m in a different place. I’m still open to new ideas but — a decade after starting GRS — I now have a specific methodology I believe works best, and I want to share that with readers.
Note: I don’t know everything. Far from it! Although I’ve learned a lot in the past ten years, there’s much more I don’t understand. I’ll make mistakes now and then. Please feel free to correct me and to share better ways to do things.
Get Rich Slowly emphasized the basics. When I began writing the site, I was in bad shape. I lacked even rudimentary money skills. Naturally, the topics I explored tended toward the essentials, such as getting out of debt and learning to save. I’ll touch on the basics at Money Boss (especially early on), but this site is meant to help folks dive into what I call “advanced personal finance”. (Example: At GRS, I urged readers to save 10% of their income; at MB, I’ll challenge you to save half.)
Get Rich Slowly had a lot of content. My early goal was to produce twelve articles per week. Looking back, I have no idea how I did that. (Unsurprisingly, that ambitious agenda created a lot of stress in my life.) At Money Boss, I’ll focus on quality over quantity. There’s no set publication schedule here. I hope to write one solid article per week, but that might slip at times — especially next spring when Kim and I resume our cross-country RV trip. When things are clicking, I might publish five articles in five days — but that’ll be the exception and not the rule.
Note: This is a good time to mention the difference between the email list and the website. At Get Rich Slowly, the emails were (and are) “blog broadcasts”. They were blog articles sent in email form, which meant you received one message every day. At Money Boss, the email list is different. It’ll be more casual and conversational. I’ll only send one message per week (usually on Monday) to give you a summary of what’s happening on the blog, but these emails won’t contain entire articles. (The exception? When you sign up for the email list, you’ll also get the ten-week crash course which contains full, formal articles about the Money Boss philosophy.)
Finally, at Get Rich Slowly I wanted to make a lot of money. My primary objective with the site was to help myself learn about personal finance; my second goal was to help others learn about personal finance; and my third aim was to make money in the process. Because I’m now financially independent, I don’t need Money Boss to produce a lot of income. Would I like to make money with the site? Sure. Ideally, it would generate enough to support my current lifestyle (about $3000 per month). But I can take time to figure out how to do this without compromising my “no bullshit” policy.
How Money Boss Makes Money
As of today, I’ve spent just over $9000 preparing Money Boss for prime time. (By comparison, I spent maybe $3000 total on Get Rich Slowly during the three years I owned the site.) So far, I’ve made twenty-two cents.
I’m okay with that. As I said, I’m in no hurry.
In the months and years ahead, I’ll take a variety of approaches to making money from Money Boss. I want for these all to fit with my “no bullshit” pledge. As of now, here’s how I think this site will produce income:
- Affiliate programs. Money Boss links to products and services that I support and believe in. If these products and services offer affiliate programs, I use them. (An affiliate program pays a commission when a website refers a new customer.) For instance, when I mention a book in an article, I include an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy the book after following my link, I make a few cents. (See the above screenshot.) But I will never write about a product or service simply for the sake of generating affiliate revenue.
- Online courses. Currently, the only ad on Money Boss is for the Get Rich Slowly course I produced with Chris Guillebeau. (That course gave me the germ of the idea for this site.) If you purchase the course, I get a part of what you pay. In the future — once I return to Portland after our cross-country RV trip — I plan to produce several Money Boss-branded courses. These will be the site’s primary source of income in the long run. But that’s looking several years into the future.
- Odds and ends. Sometimes I’ll combine these two methods: I’ll use an affiliate link to somebody else’s course. (Right now, for instance, I’m working my way through one of Ramit Sethi’s courses. If I like it, I may promote it.) From time to time, it’s possible that I’ll accept display advertising at Money Boss. I have no immediate plans to do so, but I won’t rule it out. I’ll never do so unless I believe in the product or service, and I won’t allow the ad to significantly affect the quality of the user experience here. As other money-making opportunities present themselves, I’ll evaluate them. (Once the hard work of the site launch is over, I plan to look at Patreon, for example.)
Short version: Money Boss doesn’t make money right now, but it doesn’t have to. Long term, I hope it’ll generate maybe $3000 per month so that I don’t have to draw down my savings.
An Open Book
Long-time readers know that I strive to be as open and honest as I possibly can. When I meet people in real life, they often say they’re surprised to find that I’m exactly the same in person as I am on the blog. That makes me happy. It means I’m doing my job right.
I can’t share everything with you, of course. (Two notable past examples are my divorce and selling Get Rich Slowly. I had to hide both for a while but I didn’t like doing so.) But whenever possible, I share the truth with you — warts and all.
Kim sometimes says, “Oh my gosh. What would your readers say if they knew you spent money on X?” She doesn’t realize that I’ve probably already told you about how much I spend on comic books and video games.
A final note: I don’t have much patience for cynicism, victimhood, or other negative approaches to life. I’m no pollyanna — I know there’s a lot of crappy stuff that happens in the world — but I believe it does approximately zero good to dwell on the bad stuff. Something shitty happen to you? That sucks. Move past it as soon as you possibly can. Want to argue about Syrian refugees? Do that on Facebook. And there’s never any excuse for dragging other people down. Life isn’t a zero-sum game. Your success does not diminish me. It’s not my place to mock your failures. Be good to people and they will be good to you.
I’m not perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. I don’t expect you to be perfect either. However, I do expect both of us to work to become better versions of ourselves.
Let’s do it together!