Now that I have wrapped up all the interviews with all 8 M-Network members other than myself, I decided to expand the series a little and include all the friends of the M-Network who participate in our group projects and forums. Up this week is Mike from Quest For Four Pillars. Thanks for participating Mike!
So Mike, when did you start Quest For Four Pillars and why?
Hi David, I started my original blog “Four Pillars” back in May of 2007. In September of 2007, I merged blogs with another blogger (Mr. Cheap) and we have been alternating posts ever since. I started my blog because I was addicted to reading and commenting (at great length) on various PF blogs and at some point I realized that I had enough to offer to start my own blog so I decided to give it a try. It’s been a very enjoyable experience.
How much time do you spend each week on your site?
Too much? 🙂
Hard to say since a lot of my internet time involves surfing other blogs which isn’t exactly “working on the blog”. I guess I spend about 10 hours per week doing fairly valued-added tasks like writing, working on the site, learning and interacting with other bloggers. I probably spend another 10 hours on top of that with surfing, researching etc which is probably stuff I don’t really need to do but I enjoy it (and I need to cut down).
For other people contemplating starting their own personal finance sites, what are a few tips you could offer them?
I would suggest they come up with a number of topics that they could write about before they start – one of the problems new bloggers have is they start off well but run out of ideas so maybe make sure you have enough ideas before you start. They should also try writing a few posts in advance. If they are interested in growing the blog with the idea of having a large readership eventually then I would suggest they read my guest post at Blogthority called How to Grow a New Blog Efficiently.
What are the most essential habits that you’ve formed to achieve your financial goals?
I think resisting the urge to spend is one key habit – you need to spend a lot less than you earn to get ahead.
Another habit is planning – I’m very interesting in investing and financial planning so trying to figure out when I can retire helps us with current day decisions because the financial actions we take now (like buying a bigger house, new car etc) can delay retirement and I’m very aware of this since I’ve done the planning.
What achievement are you most proud of in the last 12 months?
This is a tough one! I guess I’d say the blog – I’ve been pretty happy with the number of subscribers and visitors and the growth of those stats. One of the great things about a blog is that you feel like you are making a difference and if you work harder then you will be rewarded with more readers and comments. At my regular day job I’m not sure if it makes any difference if I work my butt off or goof off all day. 🙂
What would you consider the single most important thing people can do for their finances?
Education – nothing else is close. The more you know, the better off you will be.
If you had to pick three of your own posts to call your “favorites”, which would they be?
I did a long series on baby expenses which was a lot of fun and was well received. My favourite post was Mistakes For New Parents To Avoid. I wrote this just before my son turned one so I actually had some experience in the field. So many new parents spend too much money on their kids at a time when they need to be looking after the family finances rather than making sure they have every single possible toy and newborn baby gadget.
Why You Can’t Trust Your Real Estate Agent When Buying a House
This post talks about real estate agents and how their compensation structure creates a conflict of interest so you should take everything they say with a grain of salt.
The Tipping Point
In this post I proposed a different method of compensation for waiters etc who normally receive tips – I like the system they have in Australia where there are no tips and waiters get paid a higher rate (and the service is better in my opinion). I got some excellent and long comments from some waiters who gave their side of the story.
Thanks Mike! And be sure to look for the next interview next week!