This is an interview with Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks.
Hey, Jim. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi there, I’m a former software engineer turned blogger and entrepreneur.
I run a personal finance blog at WalletHacks.com that shares my strategies and tactics for getting ahead financially. I try to break down complex personal finance ideas so regular folks can understand and implement them.
When did you start your first blog and how did blogging look like back then?
I started WalletHacks.com in 2015 and blogging didn’t look too much different back then.
My first one, Bargaineering, had its first days back in 2005 and blogging was far simpler (or at least I was!). Blogs were just journals and there wasn’t all this social media surrounding it.
We also weren’t as sophisticated so we just wrote what we felt like – very little research, studying, etc.
How did you grow Bargaineering and did you have a monetization strategy in mind?
Back then, it was very much a volume game. You just had to write and write and write. Publishing content was the name of the game.
I didn’t have a monetization strategy initially but I soon discovered affiliate marketing, which is where you earn a commission off sales and leads.
How much was the blog earning and how many page views did it get before you considered selling it?
It was earning a healthy six figures a year and about 6-7,000 unique visitors a day back when it was acquired.
Why did you decide to sell it and how was the amount negotiated?
I was getting a little tired of it but also there’s value in taking some money off the table. It’s hard to build anything, let along something you never thought could make money, and so I thought it’d be useful to explore an exit.
The amount was the result of a market process where there were multiple bidders.
Should a full-time blogger sell their only blog now or invest more to grow it?
It really depends on the person. If you can see a path forward to grow the site, consider doing that.
If you can’t see a path forward, selling isn’t the worst thing in the world. Putting some money in your pocket and de-risking a portion of your life is valuable. It’s really up to the person and the business, there’s no right answer.
How did becoming a millionaire change your views on personal finance?
It didn’t, I think it just gave me the freedom and flexibility to choose what I want to pursue in my career.
When did you first get into investing? Is that a necessary step on the way to financial freedom?
I started investing as soon as I got a job.
My dad told me about the Roth IRA and I tried to commit as much as I could to it each year.
I think investing is crucial to financial freedom because it’s the only way your money can grow. You can’t rely on putting it in a savings account and expecting it to do anything.
How do you define financial freedom?
It’s the freedom to decide what you want to do with your life.
When and why did you start Wallet Hacks?
I started it in 2015 and I had so much fun with the previous blog that I wanted to try my hand at it again. So far it’s been a fun ride.
How do you get traffic to a new blog?
It’s a mixture of search and social media. I also maintain an active email newsletter that drives traffic to the site each week.
What are your top tips for getting brand mentions?
You have to be active in as many groups as possible and jump at any opportunity to get quoted.
You won’t get everything you submit a quote to but you definitely won’t get any if you don’t ever submit something. You just have to keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get mentioned once, then twice, … so on.
Do you think a blog in any niche can be turned into a profitable business?
It depends on what your goal is. If it’s to generate income, not every blog and not every niche will succeed.
Personal finance is good because it’s high value and doesn’t rely on someone pulling out their credit card and buying something for you to earn a commission.
But there are other niches as well. You wouldn’t expect a recipe blog to do well because it’s hard for them to sell a lot of products… except a popular site can get millions of pageviews and that’s something you can monetize with display ads.
Read also: How This Blog Gets 1 Million Monthly Page Views and Earns $200K/Month
What are your readers’ biggest concerns about money?
They want to make more money and learn how to invest it so they can build wealth. Some are concerned about reducing their expenses but most care about the wealth building and income side.
Any major financial mistakes you’ve made over the years?
Fortunately, nothing significant. I’ve made investments of my time or money that have not panned out but they were learning experiences and nothing catastrophic happened.
What’s next for you and your entrepreneurial journey?
Just more WalletHacks.com!
Stock Photo from Floral Deco @ Shutterstock