I’m starting a new recurring post where I answer questions from you, the reader. I get a good number of personal emails & direct messages and I’m happy to try to answer them all. (If I’ve ever missed answering anyone’s question, I apologize, please try me again.) Just thought I'd publish a random sampling of them.
Again, all the advice I give is simply my own opinion, is based on my own experiences, and not to be mistaken for professional financial or legal advice.
Here are 5 questions I got asked this month.
#1 – What one piece of advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own blog?
This is a pretty loaded question, and I could go on and on about how to start a blog, how to choose a niche, monetizing, etc. However, one piece of practical advice that I tell people is that before going through the motion of buying a website, thinking about blog design, monetization, etc., simply sit down and write 10 posts.
You’ll start to see if you enjoy it, what kind of voice you have, what direction the site will head in, and honestly, it’ll simply get your blog started as you start figuring out the other mechanics of the blog itself. If you struggle to write 10 articles, you'll likely have a hard time putting out enough content to make your time with a blog worthwhile.
#2 – What’s your favorite finance book of all time?
I’ve already listed some of my favorite books, but if I had to choose one that has made the most impact on me and I credit with helping to start me on the path of passive income, it’d be Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This book got me to think differently about income, real estate, what constitutes wealth, and true financial freedom.
#3 How much time do you spend on your blog each week?
This was asked by another person thinking about starting a blog. Honestly, it’ll vary for everyone, but I would say I spend about 8-10 hours a week at this point. It takes time to write the posts, edit, and proofread them. The whole process used to take me longer but I now have an assistant who helps me place the in-content ads, do some formatting, and schedule out social media posts… and that’s helped me tremendously.
I spend part of the week talking to potential advertisers and companies to see who might be a good fit for the site. I weed through a good number of them to find ones that I feel comfortable partnering with. I also spend time listening to podcasts on business/blogging, on social media interacting, and studying online about how to improve the blog in terms of content, connecting with the audience, and monetizing. It's definitely a side hustle that takes constant care and nurturing.
#4 – What’s the easiest side hustle that will make me the most money?
I probably get asked this question a couple times a month. I think it's because people find me through my List of Physician Side Hustles and assume I know how all of these side hustles work. However, whenever I get asked this question, I can’t help but chuckle a bit. People are always looking for the “perfect” side hustle – easy and fast money with no risk. Unfortunately, unless you hit the lottery, I don’t think that quick and easy money exists, well not within significant risk anyways. I don’t pursue or endorse get-rich-quick schemes. Every time I’ve tried to pursue something close to one, I’ve gotten disappointed.
I do believe that every worthwhile venture or investment takes a certain amount of time, money, or effort up front. The rewards come later, might be in 2 years, might be in 5 or 10, but chosen smartly, they will come and hopefully continue over a long term. I guess that's my definition of passive income.
If I had to name one side hustle that's done well for me relatively quickly though, it has to be this blog (revenue disclosed to newsletter subscribers). It's grown pretty rapidly in less than 2 years, but it's been a good amount of hard work. It's not as hard as the work I do in the hospital, but it still takes a good amount of effort & time.
I definitely feel some luck has worked in my favor to get where I'm at. Sure, luck equals “preparation meets opportunity” and I do believe you create your own luck to a certain degree. However, I couldn't have predicted the amazing network of people I've met who have helped me develop this site into what it is. What's nice is that the biggest risk to starting a blog isn't really anything substantial in terms of money, it's wasted time. But if you're passionate about what you're writing about, in essence there is little risk.
#5 – What’s been your biggest investment mistake?
I’ve made plenty of mistakes when it comes to investing. Some of those mistakes though have been my best learning experiences and they have continued to pay off. That's why I always tell people not to get stuck in “analysis paralysis.” The best way to learn is by doing.
Right off the top of my head, when I was in residency, my father came to me with a hot stock tip. A friend tipped him off about a Canadian company that produces Potash, a soil mineral, that was a great stock with a fantastic future, and would definitely make stockholders tons of money. My father came to me and suggested I should sell all of my holdings in my Roth IRA (which at the time were in tech stocks like Google & Apple) and buy this hot stock.
So I did and the stock proceeded to lose 75% of its value over the next 6 months. I couldn't take watching it dive anymore so I sold the stock, locking in those losses, and rebought my original stocks except that my portfolio was now at a fraction of its original value. I learned a valuable lesson to never ever follow hot stock tips from random people (even those “experts” on tv) and to this day, I'm pretty gun shy when it comes to purchasing individual stocks.
Keep those questions coming!