Going The Distance and Transitioning to Full-Time Blogger with Distilled Dollar

Today’s post is going to deviate a bit from the last few weeks. Thanks to all our new subscribers and thank you to everyone sending emails and messages — I wouldn’t be as motivated to keep working on Distilled Dollar if it wasn’t for your kind words and messages.

I must be doing something right on this site as the level of engagement is at an all time high, despite it being the holidays!

Looking ahead to 2018, I’ve had people ask me if I’ll continue working on this site. For those who’ve already seen behind the curtain here at Distilled Dollar, you already know I’m fortunate enough to be making more than enough money consulting individuals on how to grow an online presence. For those on the outside, you know my posting frequency went from 3x every week, month after month, down to once a week…at best!

I promise you this change in posting frequency is mostly due to my laziness and not from me catering to one group over another.

Oddly enough, Distilled Dollar, from a blog perspective is not quite lucrative as it brings in anywhere from 1k to 2k each month. Compare these numbers with the coaching packages and consulting services which have led me to breaking the 6-figure mark for Q4 – more on this in my next blog income report.

I’ll be sure to detail the revenue and expenses in my upcoming blog income report, and you can view previous blog income reports here along with other articles specific to blogging — to see how it has been a long time in the making.

In an attempt to put worries to rest, I’m promising here and now that you’ll see more of Distilled Dollar in 2018 – as my fiancee and I recently committed to our largest goal yet: to end financial trauma in our lifetimes.

While it might make more sense, financially speaking, to double down and work on the entrepreneurship coaching, or develop more consulting gigs, or launch a product in the “How to Make Money Online,” niche …we have to do what our heart tells us to do.

Cheesy, I know, but luckily I get to be in control of this site and do what I want to do. If I say money be damned, then that’s a choice I get to live with.

For me, my heart truly lies with frugality — my own definition is summed up in viewing frugality as a means to save more time and save more money. I know frugality isn’t the sexiest of topics, but for me, being frugal has led to tremendous results and constant breakthroughs in feeling more joy and satisfaction in life.

Time is money so I encourage everyone I meet to expand their definition of frugality and ask themselves the same question I routinely ask myself, “Am I being frugal with my greatest resource, my time?”

Frugality is what brought me to be where I am today so I feel, in the spirit of authenticity, it would be wrong to abandon my roots. I would even pay someone to allow me to keep blogging about frugality — despite that action being very unfrugal of me.

In many ways, frugality is at my core and one of the chief reasons I resonated so well with the first money related book I ever picked up which was a biography on Warren Buffett. It makes life much easier when I discovered my early role models shared the same core value in living a life of frugality.

4 Goals for 2018

The first two years of Distilled Dollar was part-time work. 4:30 AM mornings and pulling multiple all-nighters is what made this entire production possible. With 2018 around the corner, I’ll be working on this site full time, as I’m in the tail end of a 6-month process of leaving my 9-5.

In many ways I wish I hated my work as that would make the leave much easier. I love the 9-5 work I do as a CPA and the people I work with, but Distilled Dollar offers me a chance to work on my larger missions in life.

As we mentioned above, the overarching goal my fiancee and I have, is a commitment  to end financial trauma in our lifetimes. We are in this now for the long haul. So, to help put some metrics in place, below is the list of my 2018 goals:

“Goal #1” – Marriage

As long time readers know, my fiancee and I are finally tying the knot this upcoming January 8th. More to come on this later, but I start off 2018 with life in perspective. No matter the success of the blog, the podcast, the courses, the whatever …everything pales in comparison to the greatest accomplishment in my life which is the relationship I’ve built up with my partner.

Following the wedding, we will be off on our mini-moon in Hawaii until January 14th. January 15th will be the first official, full-time day for Distilled Dollar and we both very, very, VERY excited for all that 2018 holds in store for us!

Goal #2 – Growing Distilled Dollar via Videos, Courses, Books, and My First Live Event

365 Videos –  In 2018, I promise to deliver a video every day starting on January 15th (the day after we get back from our mini-moon – see #1 above). This is by far the largest promise I’ve ever made and to further burn my boats I share with you this pledge: If I do not deliver a video each day in 2018, starting on the 15th of January, then you can tell everyone, that I have no word as a man.

I meant what I said above —  I’m in this for the long haul.

Thankfully, I have the most supporting fiancee who is excited and thrilled to help me and even join me on this journey. We are both tackling 2018 together, both in marriage, and with our mission for helping people deal with money.

We’ve struggled with money many times in the past, and now that we’re on the other side of many money issues, we want more folks to enjoy the lifestyle we’ve worked hard to attain. Of course, no doubt in my mind that new issues will surface, and I’ll be happy to reveal what new mistakes we make in 2018 as first time small business owners and newlyweds.

Something tells me there will be a lot of mistakes made and lessons learned.

Courses – When it comes to learning and retaining content, my experience has been that the fastest way has been with courses. I can recall some of my all-time favorite courses back in college, and how they transformed my life. Part of me didn’t care about racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, because I knew the education was well worth it.

I’m a big fan of courses and that’s why I’m always keen on developing my own. Courses helped me get to where I am today so I feel a moral obligation to create and launch my own courses. Specifically, I’ve been spending the last ~5 months wrecking my head around the course I’ll be launching in January and you’ll see more on that soon.

Largely thanks to online platforms, courses have become more abundant and user friendly.

Outside of the January course from Distilled Dollar, I plan on offering the same course once more before the end of the year, during the August/September timeframe. It will likely be a 90 day commitment, but I’ll have more details in January after the wedding and mini-moon.

Books – As a few of you have inquired in recent weeks, the ebook is in the works! I’ve actually been spending way more time than I should in writing and rewriting the concepts out.

In the process of announcing my first charity ebook I had two readers reach out to me with connections in publishing books. I didn’t know much about the process at first, but now I’m being guided along. Long story short, you can expect to see at least 2 books released on Distilled Dollar in the following year, with the first slated for Q1.

Live Events – as many saw recently, I’ve pledged to two separate $100k giveaways in 2018. The first is to local charities near us that align with our giving mission, and the second is to spend $100k on the DD audience. The 2nd part of this giveaway will mostly be honed in on a live event.

It will take tons of work; most likely half a year of prep and I’m excited to meet more readers and dive into more money issues. Each time I meet a reader and have a discussion, I always walk away with new insights, new ways to articulate a topic, and new ideas for the next steps. Plus, I love helping someone tackle a problem that’s been bothering them for weeks or months (or even years!).

I’ll be sure to share all my experiences regarding the videos, the courses, the books, and the live events in future posts to come. I’m happy you’ve been a part of the growth of Distilled Dollar and I’m excited to deliver even more helpful content to you in 2018.

Goal #3 – R&R

As silly it might sound, I’m making R&R – rest and relaxation – a big goal of mine.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve made working 80+ hour work weeks my lifestyle.

I’ve worked essentially every weekend, sacrificed personal relationships, and put my body through the ringer. My fiancee and I used couples massages as a way to relax, and the masseuse would frequently comment on the number of knots in my back.

Not the best comment to receive – but an accurate one nonetheless.

Now that I’m transitioning to a full-time entrepreneur my first gut reaction is to work, work, work. To put my head to the grindstone and keep it there. All of social media is telling me to do this, but I’m also reminding myself that I’ve built a successful online brand all in my spare-time.

Working more does not always mean you get more in return.

“The eye of a master will do more work than both his hands.” – Ben Franklin

Having built up countless habits of thinking, “Am I doing enough for my audience?”, or “Should I be working on something that’s due tomorrow?”  

After countless hours of stressing about all that, I’m committing to working only Monday through Friday in 2018. I’m sure I’ll break this promise and tell you in February about my busy weekend; the plan is useless, but planning is essential.

The only exception I make is during trips I take to visit conferences, fellow bloggers, or company reps. I’m happy to have a money conversation with someone, anytime, but I’m making an effort to not actively work on the blog such as writing, publishing, etc.

To replace much of my previous work time, I plan to read 5 hours a day. I was tempted to make “read 100 books,” a goal, but I already did that as a goal in 2012. The goal itself created more stress than anything, although I am happy I ended up reading 72 books from cover-to-cover.

Goal #4 – Triathlon Training aka physical fitness

For me, training to swim, bike and run across a meaningless finish line is almost a spiritual process.

I absolutely love it.

Training, in many ways, becomes therapeutic as I’m left to my own thoughts and ideas. One of my mentors nowadays uses a line, “the answer is in the forest,” as he grabs his running shoes and goes for a jog in the nearby park.

Specifically, I’m committing to finishing what’s called a Half Ironman 70.3 race in June. For anyone wanting to know the distances, I’ll be swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56, and running 13.1, which makes up that total of 70.3 in the race’s name.

For a guy like myself, I need to go big or go home. Triathlons offer me that option because if I am not training for a race, I am being lazy on the couch. In fact, in some winters, that’s exactly what I’ve done as I’ve gained an extra 5, 10, or even 15 lbs in the off-season.

Winter’s in Chicago are cold! So, to help offset part of those winter blues, and for more important reasons I’ll share in future posts, my fiancee and I will be moving to the north shore of Oahu before the end of 2018.

We are currently planning by November, but we may end up making the move a little sooner in September or October of 2018.

Final Thoughts and Responses from Last Week’s Survey

That’s a wrap on my the large overarching goals for 2018. I look forward to delivering even more excellent content in 2018 and am excited to see how much further the site can grow, now that I will be putting my full-time efforts behind it.

Again, it all  pales in comparison to goal #1 — becoming a husband to my soon-to-be wife.

I am beyond excited for the next steps in 2018. Thank you again for being part of this journey and I look forward to helping more people tackle bigger topics with money and their lifestyles.

Becoming a full-time entrepreneur has been a dream of mine for over 5 years, and I am blessed to be able to serve such an incredible community for future years to come. Distilled Dollar is just getting started, and in the wise words of Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, we’re still on Day 1 of this incredible adventure.

Oh, before I forget! The last survey on my site brought in a lot more individual emails than I expected!

Many folks wanted to learn a lot more about how mental models help in the pursuit of financial independence, specifically in saving 50k in 2016  and almost saving 100k in 2017. I’ll be talking more about this in future posts as each individual model almost deserves an entire post onto its own.

In that light, let me know what you want to see next on Distilled Dollar:

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Let me know in the comments below, what are your goals for 2018? Are you not a fan of setting goals or do you have another approach to getting things done? What other pieces of content do you want to see from Distilled Dollar now that I’ll be going full-time?


7 comments… add one
  • OMGF Dec 28, 2017, 6:42 am

    Early congrats on goal #1. Having met you and your fiancée, I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2018. You two make a great team.

    Looking forward to the videos in 2018. Would also love to get a peek at your reading list.

    • Distilled Dollar Dec 28, 2017, 2:47 pm

      Thank you thank you!!

      The reading list is long and full of terrors…jk, I have about 100+ books on there at this point. You bring up a good point and maybe I’ll start detailing out shorter/quicker book reviews.

  • Miss Mazuma Dec 28, 2017, 7:02 am

    I am so excited for you both!! A bit over a week to go!!

    As for DD, some lofty goals, my friend. I can’t wait to see how the video a day turns out. I am terrible on camera but something tells me you won’t have any problems with that. Especially with M on your side! Oh, and make sure you get that R&R!! Hawaii isn’t a bad place to start. 🙂

    • Distilled Dollar Dec 28, 2017, 2:50 pm

      We are almost in single digits! Woo!

      The video a day will be an epic challenge, no doubt, so thank you for your confidence. I’ll need every bit I can take…before passing out at the end of the year in some Hawaiian sun 😉

  • Cody @ Dollar Habits Dec 28, 2017, 5:06 pm

    Wow! The big day is right around the corner. Congratulations in advance. You have some big plans and big goals, for sure. I am looking forward to reading about it all coming together. Here’s to a most prosperous and successful 2018 for you and DD. Happy New Year, Matt!

  • [email protected] Dec 29, 2017, 7:23 am

    Wow! You are making some huge changes. It’s an exciting time. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. The best to both of you and here’s to an amazing 2018!

  • Millennial Boss Dec 29, 2017, 12:07 pm

    Wish we had a chance to chat at FinCon but glad you’re coming on the podcast in February. Congrats on a successful launch of your consulting business!

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