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J from Millennial Boss isn’t old.
In fact, she’s a Millennial (shocking, I know).
But the amount of wisdom and insight that she shares in this interview belies her age.
We talk about everything from what apps and tools she’s using to bring in 50,000 pageviews a month to how the tragic death of her cousin showed her what it means to have true resilience.
In her twenty some odd years she’s started multiple websites, a podcast that was nominated for a Plutus award for best new podcast, and she’s earning over 2 grand a month from her blog and Etsy side-hustles.
In short, she’s a rockstar, and I’m super excited that she agreed to be a part of Band of Bloggers.
One final note, there was just WAY TOO MUCH good stuff to cram into one post so I’ve broken J’s interview into 2 parts. Part 2 will drop a week from today!
So let’s dive in and find out what J, the Millennial Boss, is doing to crush her life and money!
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last year (or in recent memory)? The more specific details the better!
I bought my Shure Microphone for FIRE Drill podcast and we have had an absolute blast recording!
We’re up to 5,000 downloads per month and almost 100 episodes. The awesome thing is that we’re hearing that we’re inspiring others to improve their finances.
People also like that two females are hosting the show and the diversity of our guests, since the personal finance world trends male.
You can check it out at https://firedrillpodcast.com.
ME (in red)
J and Gwen have done an AMAZING job with this podcast. They are truly crushing it.
Not only do they have amazing guests, but one thing I really love is that they’ve had a great mix of people on.
They’ve had some MASSIVE established names in the personal finance world who have made it their full-time work like Michelle from Making Sense of Sense and Grant from Millennial Money and killer newer bloggers still building their readership like Lily from The Frugal Gene and Andy from Marriage Kids and Money.
They also have bloggers on that sometimes I’ve never heard of so it’s also a great way to be introduced to new bloggers with amazing ideas and perspectives.
As a quick aside (Would you all mind if I just took a moment to make a small self-promoting pitch to J? Of course you don’t. In fact, it’s my blog so I guess I get to do what I want. Wow, it feels good to be so assertive).
I would love to be on the FIRE Drill podcast!
Hmmmmm….talents, skills, abilities, what can I bring to the discussion on FIRE, money, and life?
I could share with you how I’m working to build a foundation of personal finance skills in the schools I work in? Teaching 5th and 6th graders all about money and doing presentations in high schools?
We could chat about how your mindset towards life, work, relationships, and money is the ONE thing that will define your ultimate success or failure, whether in life, relationships, or with money.
I’d be up for discussing how I scrimped, saved, and worked crappy jobs (literally crappy) to get through my undergrad and graduate degrees debt-free.
You choose. I’m not picky.
I’d just love to have the chance to be on your show!
What is a quote(s) that you live your life by or that you find yourself repeating to yourself?
I ran the 2-mile in high school track and one of my best friends would cheer me on when I was exhausted on the 7th lap telling me how strong I was and that I could catch up to the girl in front of me because I was stronger.
I was a bit of a gangly teen so I don’t think I was actually stronger in real life but it gave me that extra kick I needed to go faster and finish strong.
In real life, I have faced many different things from getting promoted to a management position at a young age when people doubted me to leaving a comfortable, awesome job to go to a super demanding hard job where I wasn’t valued.
I remember repeating to myself “toughen up” and ” you are strong” over and over to get through some of those hard times and I swear it worked!
That’s not really a quote but it’s a mantra I tell myself I guess.
Talk Back To Yourself
Self-talk is SOOOOOO important.
Why? Because how we talk to ourselves reveals what we think about a situation, how we view it. And how we look at a situation largely determines what the eventual outcome will be.
Now this isn’t some power of positive thinking mumbo jumbo. I’m not into that whole “if you believe it, you’ll receive it”, but how we think is incredibly important.
Here’s the research to prove it!
In a study done by Stanford psychologist and growth mindset pioneer Carol Dweck, 5th grade students were given an exam with several problems to solve.
Regardless of how they did, all students were told they did very well. During the post-test feedback, one group was told “You must be smart at these problems,” and the other, “You must have worked really hard at these problems.”
Then they were all given a second test and all told they did poorly on it.
Children who had been praised for being smart blamed their performance on a lack of ability. And what about those praised for their hard work? Well, they blamed a lack of effort.
Finally, each group was then given the choice to complete a number of different tasks.
Those who had been praised for their intelligence chose easier tasks, ones they knew they’d do well on. In other words, they didn’t push themselves.
The students praised for their hard work, on the other hand, picked more challenging tasks. They were willing to face these challenges head-on and weren’t afraid to LEARN new skills and strategies to succeed.
J gets the power our thoughts have over our lives.
She and Gwen started a podcast and have had to learn an INCREDIBLE amount just to get it off the ground, let alone for it to be so successful!
As she was powering through learning what she needed to know and facing the challenges and setbacks that came from getting the podcast rolling, I’m sure she repeated her mantra “you are strong” and “toughen up” over and over. Like those students praised for their hard work, this positive thinking was critical to her building her growth mindset and resilience when things got tough.
What’s one of the best or more worthwhile investments you’ve made (money, time, energy, etc.)
We outsource our editing for the podcast and it’s worth every single penny. I can’t scale my businesses if I’m bogged down in the daily tasks that someone else can actually do better than I can.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?
I used to be a “joiner” always joining sports teams, clubs and applying for jobs. Now I am a “creator” and I build things.
I’ve created a volunteer group at a local library, multiple websites and blogs, a podcast, two masterminds, an Etsy shop.
Becoming a creator was a huge and fundamental mental shift for me. I now feel that I am responsible for my own destiny.
This seems simple, but I believe it’s profound.
As a “joiner”, you’re reliant on what others have already created. Because of this, your level of dependence on those around you is heightened.
“I’d really like to join an adult dodgeball league,” you might say to yourself, “but there isn’t one in my community.”
The joiner quits at that point. Because they only consume and enjoy what other people have created, they’re at the mercy of everyone around them.
The builder, on the other hand, enjoys the hope and joy that come from limitless possibilities.
“No dodgeball league? That’s a bummer. I guess I’ll have to start one!”
Because they are not overly reliant on those around them, they feel a sense of personal power over their own life, or as J described it, that they are now “responsible for (their) own destiny”.
This is a MASSIVE shift in mindset. It’s what lead her to start multiple blogs, a podcast, and groups in her community.
In other words, it moved her from a follower to a leader.
What advice would you give to a smart, industrious, newbie blogger as they start out?
You grow fast by the relationships you make with other bloggers. Be friendly with as many bloggers as you can by tweeting with them, DMing them, and commenting on their blogs.
Go to in-person meet-ups to form deeper connections. Make connections with both bigger and smaller bloggers in your niche.
NEVER criticize another blogger or the business model of bloggers. Many new bloggers start out guns blazing and don’t yet realize that relationships can catapult your blog (and they may change their mind later on about the blogging business model – this is actually super common).
Getting to know other bloggers will pay huge dividends!
Opportunities to guest post on bigger sites will drive traffic to your site, not to mention the backlinks you get from those guest posts that will help drive organic search traffic from Google for years to come.
Bloggers might share your content with their audience through social media, they may also give you advice on how to improve your site or help you figure out how to take it to the next level.
If you have blog friends, they will help you.
It takes a village to raise a new blogger
Ditto to everything
One of the most powerful things I’ve learned in my first 7 months of blogging is that networking is critical to blogging success.
And by success I don’t just mean traffic.
I mean, not sucking at blogging, which is about a lot more than just traffic.
I have gotten great feedback and mentoring from so many amazing people.
Jon from Rockstar Finance has been super helpful. Mike from Ninja Budgeter took me under his wing early on and gave me awesome help. Lily from The Frugal Gene has repeatedly put up with my asks for help. And J.D. from Get Rich Slowly didn’t just edit my post, he actually gave me feedback on my writing!! The guy has been writing since practically the beginning of personal finance blogging and he took the time to not just edit my work, but to help me grow! Awesome!
My crew of fellow bloggers at Billionaire Blog Club have also been especially awesome. Scrivs, Mary Beth and the rest of the community on Slack have been so incredibly helpful and patient with me as I learn the nuts and bolts of blogging, like how the heck to use Pinterest to grow my audience.
And the Rockstar Finance Forums have also been a killer way to network with other bloggers.
If you haven’t joined the forums, you need to.
It’s basically a souped-up chat room for personal finance bloggers where people share tips, tricks, ask questions, give feedback, and just get to know each other better. I need to spend more time there just lurking to see what everyone else is learning and how they’re growing, but alas, TIME IS IN SHORT SUPPLY!!
What common advice should they ignore?
You don’t need to post consistently to be a successful blogger. I personally post fairly infrequently and still get 50,000 page views per month and between $2,000-$3,000 revenue per month.
I think bloggers get all stressed out trying to pump out content every MWF and it sucks all the fun out of it.
Hmmmm, really? This is interesting.
Everything I’ve heard from established bloggers really emphasizes posting consistently…so that would definitely constitute “common advice”.
I can’t argue with her results though. Those are unbelievable numbers. I’d kill to have those numbers.
And I can’t argue with the fact that when you try to post consistently, it can suck the fun out of the process. And I think the work can suffer too.
I’m meticulous in my posts and I love to research and source my work so that people can check out where my ideas or numbers come from. If I was trying to post three times a week, my work would suck and I would hate it.
For me, what I’ve found works is to make sure I’m posting consistently, but not posting too frequently.
MWF would be WAY too much. Two days a week I’m handling right now, but it’s keeping me hopping between coaching my daughter’s soccer team, working as an assistant principal, parenting and being a halfway decent husband.
Consistency is key, but make sure you find your frequency sweet-spot. I think that’s critical to growing your audience and enjoying the process.
Bringing It All Together With Millennial Boss
J shared so much, it’s hard to know where to start.
For me, two things in particular stand out.
- Be a Builder – now this doesn’t mean you can’t join anything. You can, and you should. But a builder has a different mindset than a joiner. A builder sees possibilities, not problems. A builder has a growth mindset. We need to cultivate our inner builder so that not only will we be more hopeful, but we’ll also be more helpful to those around us.
- There is power in community – this has come up time and time again during Band of Bloggers, and there’s a reason for that. It’s because it’s true. If you are new to the blogging scene, you need to work hard to connect with other bloggers. Both J and I have given you some tools you can use to start this journey, but it won’t happen unless you take the time to do it. So do it!! Take the time to comment on other bloggers’ sites, to message them on Twitter, to join some of the communities I mentioned. Not only will it make you a better blogger, but you’ll have a lot more fun doing it!
Thanks again to J for bringing her mad knowledge and insights to Band of Bloggers this week! Next week I’ll have part 2 of the interview where we’ll talk about how to up your Pinterest game and J will share how she’s used personal tragedy to find inspiration.
I can’t wait to share it with you!!
What communities have you joined or started that have helped you on your blogging journey? Add to the conversation in the comments below or on Twitter @method_money or my Facebook page Method To Your Money. You can also find me on Pinterest. Want more great ideas for mastering your money? Sign up to receive my weekly emails detailing how to keep more of your hard earned cash!