Last Friday, BudgetBlonde.com turned 3 years old! It’s really incredible how much fun I’ve had on this blogging journey. I just love it so much, and I’m amazed at all the people I’ve met and all the changes that I’ve gone through that have been documented on my little slice of the Internet.
When I started my blog, I was in grad school, and I was really craving a creative outlet. I’ve always loved to write, but after all that school, I just really wanted to write about something fun and carefree. I was inspired early on by DIY blogs that were written by people who loved to save money and live a beautiful life all at the same time. I knew I wanted in on the fun.
In my very post I wrote about how I spent around $200 on all the furniture in my living room. I still love looking at the picture (shown below.) It was the first and only apartment I had all to myself before marital bliss and all that. 😉
Since then, I’ve written over 400 posts, and they’ve really covered a wide range of topics such as the recipe for the turtle soup I had at my wedding, scary health issues, my absolutely free Christmas decorations, paying off all my credit card debt, and even this weird post written in complete delirium where I lamented how crazy our schedules were (and that was before med school!)
While I haven’t explicitly talked about saving money or personal finance in all 400 posts, it’s been a constant theme whether explicitly stated or not. By just writing about the way I live, the things I buy, and the way I feel about certain issues, I’ve shared a lot of my life, and ultimately, I am so glad that I did. I have this diary to look at forever, and I feel like every post is a little piece of myself.
Things I Did Right
A lot of people have asked me about starting a blog, and below are a few things I really think I did right.
1. Choosing the Name BudgetBlonde.com
I chose Budget Blonde because it was all encompassing. I knew I loved great deals and crafts and even a little bit of fashion thrown in there. If I would have made the title of my blog “Coupon Lovin’ Blonde” then I would have a hard time fitting in posts about moving to Grenada or side hustling. Budget Blonde is an umbrella. It encompasses everything that fits into a frugal life and even more. By choosing a name with flexibility, I can write about any topic as long as it has the basic feel of saving money or life tips, etc. By buying the .com right off the bat, I made sure my blog was really truly mine for as long as I wanted it.
2. Telling Friends & Family About My Blog
There are lots of bloggers who I admire greatly that are still anonymous, and that’s totally okay. Those bloggers post a lot about their finances and specific numbers, and if I did that, I would probably be anonymous too. However, telling friends and family about my blog allowed me to share posts on Facebook. It allows my 80 year old grandmother to get my posts in her inbox. I was able to inspire other friends to become debt free. I gave a piece of myself to others, and when I wrote posts that were hard for me to publish, my friends gave me support.
3. Cherishing Online Friendships
I’ve made many friends throughout three years of blogging, and I really cherish them. I look forward to the day when I can meet all of them in person and thank them for every post shared and every positive comment. Every blogger knows how great it feels to get an e-mail saying someone took the time to comment on a post. The “older” my blog gets, the more comments seem to come in, and I truly read each and every one of them. They all make my day.
Things I Did Wrong
1. Designing My Own Blog
Let me share with you some funny images. Here are all the headers that my blog has had over time:
The First One I designed myself in Paint. Be jealous:
The one where I really like a giant picture of myself:
The one where I have to tell you I live in Grenada now:
The one where I just decided I really loved Halloween and left it this way for a month:
Chevrons are coming back baby:
Whew. I finally hired a designer!
As evidenced, the best thing I ever did for this blog was hire someone to design it. For everyone out there who is looking to make money from their blog, I did not make a dime off of Budget Blonde until the website resembled that last photo. Literally days after it got a design overhaul, I got my first ad deal. Had I known that from the beginning, I would have been much better off today.
2. Starting on Blogspot
When my blog got a design overhaul, I also moved from blogspot to a self-hosted wordpress site. It was a huge pain and was stressful at times, but ultimately, it was the best decision ever. WordPress is by far easier to use and more sophisticated than Blogspot. Above anything, it enables you to form better relationships with other bloggers because you can see who is linking to you, etc.
3. Taking Too Long To Add a Hire Me Page
I only added a “Hire Me” page less than a year ago. Why? I really don’t know. However, I kick myself when I think about all those months and all those visitors who could have known about my writing services. If you don’t have a “hire me” page yet, go ahead and add one today.
Despite making mistakes along the way, I’m really proud of Budget Blonde and all the work that has gone into it over the past three years. I can honestly say that I absolutely love what I do, and few things have brought me greater joy than writing blog posts that others enjoy.
If you’ve made it to the end of this 1,000+ word post just to see the announcement I mentioned earlier, props! You must really love me. 🙂
So, here goes nothing.
My goal, my plan, my biggest hope in all the world…
is that I will be a full time blogger on January 1, 2014.
Although I’ve written about finding a job in New York when we move there next year, I’ve decided to take a huge leap. I really, truly love blogging more than anything else in the world. I will make my income from the ad and affiliate sales on Budget Blonde and my work as a personal finance freelance writer.
So, I Need Your Help
If I am to really, truly achieve this goal, I can’t do it without you. If you or someone you know is looking for a personal finance freelance writer, please send them my way. If someone you know needs content management, editing, or social media management, please send me their contact information. If you’re a blogger and you recently scored an ad deal with a marketing professional, please send me their contact information, and I’ll give you a 10% commission if I am also able to work with them. Essentially, I can’t do this without you. I’ve worked many long nights after my 9-5 to make this dream – which at times has seemed impossible – come true. So, please keep all the comments, support, love, and advice coming.
I’ve got 7 months to make this work, baby, and I’m ready to rock and roll!
64 responses to “The History of Budget Blonde + An Announcement!”
Happy Birthday!!! I wish you the best in your goals and hope you become full time soon.
Thanks so much, Bill!!!
Happy birthday, happy blog birthday, and CONGRATULATIONS on moving towards blogging full-time!
Thanks so much, Pam!
I’m so incredibly proud you, and I’m 100% certain that you’ll achieve your goal! You’re the hardest working person I know, and I’m your biggest cheerleader. I know you can do it, and I can’t wait to watch all of your hard-work pay off! I love you!!!
Hubs! Fancy seeing you here on the blog. Thanks so much. You’re pretty hard working yourself!! Love you too!
Happy blog birthday! And you and I can keep each other motivated. January 1, 2014 is the date that I want to make the full-time blogging switch also!
No way!!! Super awesome! YES lets definitely rock it out and keep each other accountable and motivated! 🙂
Congrats on 3 years! We just hit 1 year, and can’t believe it. =).
Full time blogging is going to be such an adventure, I’m so excited for you and will definitely shoot you any leads that I see!
Thanks Mrs. Pop! It goes by fast. Thank you so very much!
Congrats on your blog birthday and your leap of faith next year!
This is honestly one of my dreams. I am working on ways right now to cut down my expenses and overall debt…I really want to stay home with my kids…AND make money!!! BEST WISHES to you.
That sounds like an amazing goal! I truly believe anyone can do this. I don’t have kids yet, but the thought of having them and getting to stay home with them is a huge motivator for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and nothing would be better than getting to be the room mom or the field trip mom and continuing to blog along the way.
What an awesome goal! I loved the trip down memory lane with your blog headers. Paying for a professional design is something I would like to do down the road, I’m starting to save now! Who did you go to?
Woo hoo! Thanks Kyle! I went with Sara at http://moonsteamdesign.com/ Highly, highly recommend her! She is phenomenal and has great energy!
congratulations! I hope it works out, see no reason why not!
Thanks Pauline! You’ve definitely helped along the way. 🙂
Congrats on this next chapter in your life!! 😀
Nice announcement Cat. I figured you would do it eventually. I think you will be awesome at it. I loved the different headers you worked on. You can see the progression. Keep it up and I will keep stopping by!
Aw Grayson! Thank you! That means a lot coming from you!
I have no doubt you will be blogging full time by Jan. 1, 2014! Congrats on making a decision to take that leap of faith! I wish you all the best of luck 🙂
Thank you so much for the encouragement! I realllly appreciate that!
Very cool! I’m sure you’ll be great full-time. I’ll certainly keep in mind as I move forward as well. I’ll be interested to hear the details of this journey over the rest of the year.
Thanks so much. You know I’ll keep you updated!!
Congrats on the three years Cat and for deciding to take the leap! I am sure that you’ll do great!
Eek thank you!!! Feel crazy but fun!
Wow, 3 years – congrats!! Thanks for the insightful learning lessons, and I have no doubt you’ll be successful as a full-time blogger and freelance writer! 🙂
Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement!
I just LOVED the different headers. I should do that! I can’t stop futzing with my design. Also how have you possibly been doing this three years? You write with fresh enthusiasm, and that’s commendable.
Aw thank you so much! Nicest comment ever. Truly! I really love blogging, and I’m glad it shows through. As far as your past headers, you totally should! I would love to see all your past designs!
Congrats and good luck! Thanks for coming on as a contributor on Money Life and More!
Thanks for having me! 🙂
Happy Blogiversary, Beautiful! You will achieve your dreams!
Thanks so much, Anna!
WOW! Awesome! Not much else to say except congratulations! You have definitely worked hard for it, and you’re a natural. When I decide to hire a staff writer, you’re on the very top of my list. But it’ll be a while 🙂
Wow thanks Jake!! You are so sweet!
Happy 3rd Birthday to Budget Blonde! I loved seeing your headers and your progression. As much as I sometimes grumble about my own mistakes, I am also grateful for them too. I learned a lot stumbling around and even though I wish I wouldn’t have lost that valuable time – I also kept going when I was the only who cared. 🙂 I am so excited that you are taking a leap of faith. You’ve accomplished so much and know you will hit your goal!
Thank you so much for the kind words, Shannon!
Such an awesome goal! I am 100% confident you will reach it! I will start referring you people I work with : )
Also…not sure if you have heard this yet – but that first header – is one HELL of a header if it was designed in paint!
Hahaha thanks. Paint is pretty cool I must say. 🙂 Thanks for the referring!
Happy Belated Blog Birthday! It seems everyone is jumping the band wagon on self-employment! Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents wants to do the same thing.
Those headers are pretty cool! Don’t sell yourself short!
I know! I just saw that in a comment. So awesome to be in great company!
What a wonderful announcement! (I actually forgot all about it as I was reading.) I wish you all the best in your efforts to follow your passion full-time, good for you! I’ll make sure to make any recommendations I can.
Thank you so much, Alaina!!!
Yay! Congratulations. You work so hard and help so many others (myself included), I know that you’ll be wildly successful.
Awesome!~ That’s great! I think you should be able to do it!!!
Okay, FIRST: I LOVED reading through your history! I made some of the same mistakes, and still kick myself for not choosing a better name! It was fun to see all your headers “through the years.” 🙂
SECOND: YAY for your goal! I just KNOW you’ll get there and it’ll be incredible. TOTALLY rooting for ya, sista!
I’m so excited for you! I know you will make it work! If I happen to come across any job adverts or people I know who need bloggers, I will definitely send them your way! By the way, have you checked Carol Tice’s blog? She has a recent post on 100+ blogs that pay. I would also recommend checking out the freelancers writing den to network and get awesome resources. If you need help signing up let me know!
You can do it, Cat!!! You are a terrific writer. The jobs will come, and you’re great at seeking them out. Best of luck with your new adventure!
Good luck Cat!
Awesome, beyond awesome post! Loved it and love you 🙂
Congrats girlie! 🙂 What an awesome accomplishment.
I totally agree with you that hiring someone else to design my blog was the best thing I could do. I have ZERO design skills and having a professional site is so important.
Good luck with your big goal! I know you can do it.
Wow. I really love this. I’ve favorited this and plan to come back to learn from your experiences. I particularly like the visual progression of your logo. I hate to say that I’m very much in the mood to make a Halloween logo right now…
Ooh. And good luck! I’d love to help, but am still very much learning the ropes myself
Woohoo! Can’t wait till you join the world of full-time bloggers! I know you will be able to hit your goal no problem. Not only do you have amazing drive and discipline when you want something, but you have all my (and the Freelancers Club) support while growing your business. Can’t wait till you’re officially you’re own boss. Congrats!
I’d welcome a guest post pitch from you, and I pay $50. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help you succeed!