What's your elevator pitch?
Phroogal is the easiest and best way to find answers and access to financial knowledge. Think Google, Quora and Yelp on personal finance.
As far as the Phroogal Blog, we’re stories to help you live life rich, phroogally.
When did you start blogging? What made you start?
I began blogging about my personal thoughts in 2011 when I decided to transition from corporate world to a traveling vagabond. When I finally left my executive job to backpack around the world I knew I wanted to share the experience with family and friends. I started writing about my travel, filming portions of it and taking thousands of pictures. It was in my 6th country that I had an epiphany and knew I wanted to build a business that helped people live their dreams.
When I got back from visiting 20 countries in 12 months, I realized that access to reliable and relevant financial information is what often prevents people from making better financial decisions. I was going to build a platform that allowed people to discover information, blogs, financial resources, etc. I just didn’t know how I was going to build it.
As I began building the technology of Phroogal I also wanted to start spreading the brand among my family and friends. So I began writing on personal finance topics and jumped head first into the personal finance blogosphere. I’ve been full-time blogging since April 2013 on the Phroogal Blog.
How long before you made your first dollar? Do you remember what it felt like when that first payment went through?
On October 2013, we successfully raised $78,501 from 541 people through Indiegogo in 30 days. So I didn’t make the first dollar selling a product but selling an idea. I was really emotional on the first day and posted a video of me crying (yup) because of the belief and the support people had for me. They were willing to give me their hard earned dollars to make my dream a reality.
How many blogs do you have? Did your first idea “stick” or is your current site some different version of your original idea?
I currently have two blogs. My personal blog was mindset and travel focus but has morphed to include entrepreneurial posts. The Phroogal Blog continues to evolve and went from me writing a post twice a week to 4 writers. I didn’t intend for the blog to grow as it has grown since it was a placeholder until I finished the Q&A platform but I love the impact it has made thus far. It’s now become a bigger focus and I have a ton of plans to make it a personal finance destination.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on version 1.0 of Phroogal. I’m pretty excited about it. Our beta has led to 14,000 answers in our database in a little over 6 months. I’m creating a better interface to help people discover simple questions on personal finance topics. I’ll be calling upon the personal finance blogosphere world for assistance and offer up opportunities for them to grow their brand and open up a pathway to earnings.
Do you make a part-time living online? A full-time living?
My living is currently supplemented through savings. I also do side hustles to continue to pay for some fun living life rich activities. The Phroogal Blog is making money but the income is being used to build the technology for Phroogal.
I’m currently not being paid with any revenues generated from Phroogal. The revenues that are made from advertisements and sponsorships are thrown back to operations and development.
What other ways have you made money? Writing for others, organizing for others, etc?
I love side hustles and various ways of making money while I continue to boostrap my startup. I am a paid freelance writer, speaker and panel expert. I sell items on Craigslist and Amazon too. My YouTube channel also makes a few dollars a month.
How long before you started taking “this whole blogging thing” seriously?
I became serious about blogging in April 2013 but I didn’t realize how impactful it was until about January of this year.
If you had it all to do over again, what would you change? Anything?
I would start sooner and make mistakes faster. The blogging community is really helpful and I am appreciative of their help. I spent so much time learning how to start the blog and in retrospect I could have paid an expert to get me started sooner.
Do you have any advice for someone just getting started?
Connect with existing bloggers today even though you plan to start blogging a month from now. Tap into their experience and paying for that experience can save so much time. Blogging should be fun but if the plan is to make it a business a product needs to be sold. As you build your brand consider what products/services you plan to sell. This can help focus your effort.
There are a variety of ways bloggers can monetize. Which do you recommend? Which would you advise beginners to stay away from?
I’m still fairly new in monetizing the blog but what has worked for us are sponsorship opportunities with major financial brands who want to tap our growing millennial community. I’ve tested many ways to monetize from AdSense to affiliates but haven’t been successful. The major issue as well is keeping Phroogal a true unbiased source of information. What I do see working for many bloggers as I mentioned before is to focus on creating a product associated with your interest covered in the blog.
Name one thing bloggers do when they're beginners that you feel they shouldn't do.
Many new bloggers write to much too soon, then burnout and we never hear from them again. It’s exciting in the beginning and we’re filled with so many ideas but months later the energy fades and the creativity wanes. First time bloggers should pace themselves so they are in it for the long haul. I’ve been seriously blogging for about 15 months and in that time I’ve seen a dozen start and go away. Some of which were great reads.