Category Archives: Money + Finances

Are you letting the numbers deflate you?

The thing about numbers is, we give them far too much power to make us feel bad. "Only" have 100 people reading your blog? That's like speaking to a jam-packed coffee shop or on stage at a live speaking event.

Alexandra Franzen reframes the expectations we have around blogging (and online writing) and I think it's so spot-on that I have to chime in. You are enough. Ten people is enough. Your audience of 45 people is fan-freaking-tastic. FORTY FIVE PEOPLE! That's a lot of people listening. Stop letting the numbers tell you a story of inadequacy. 

As Theodore Roosevelt said: Comparison is the thief of joy. 

People often ask me how much traffic you need before you start a business or a project. We get discouraged with low traffic, thinking that somehow we're not "good enough" if we don't have thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of people listening in. The secret is that you don't need 10,000 people reading you to make a sale to 30 people. (In fact, that's a pretty low conversion rate). If you're doing something that helps someone else, then one sale, one client, or a small classroom might be all you need.

We're so eager to hyper-glorify the entrepreneurs who are billionaires and the writers who reach hundreds of thousands of readers that we gloss over the beautiful middle, the delicious space where you get to express yourself, connect with others, and share your work. There is nothing more beautiful than this. Delight in the expression and the sharing. Show your work. Love your audience, in all its shapes and sizes.

It's about connection, creation, and expression—not traffic.

I made a business out of teaching 30 people at a time in workshops. I coach people one on one. I feel honored when one hundred people read an essay I wrote. I feel the same when one person reads what I've written. Start small. Walk into the room. Be proud.

And also, traffic isn't all that it seems: there is an ironic downside to too much traffic. Too much traffic can be a downer for your growing business.  It costs money, and then you end up paying for people to listen to you. Some examples: when you hit 2,000 subscribers, you need to pay your mail client (if it's MailChimp) $30 a month to keep sending your emails. When your traffic gets high enough, your web hosting might turn into $50-$100 a month. Those U-Stream videos cost $99-$999 for viewer hours, so 4,000 people watching can cost you thousands of bucks. SoundCloud lets you do 2 hours free—then you pay.

You get the picture. If you want a big audience, you might have to pay $200-$500 a month (or more) for it.

There's something beautiful about medium-sized.

Just like Alexandra Franzen so beautifully re-frames: there's something gorgeous about your own personal coffee shop. Cherish it.


Making money as a creative entrepreneur: how I make money, where I spend my time, and what I’ve learned from launching my own ventures.

When I was four weeks old, my mother and father took our then-family-of-four from Germany to Idaho Falls, little baby and tiny toddler in tow. We were standing around in the living room, as my mother recalls (to be be fair, I can’t recall and I certainly wasn’t standing—more likely drooling), talking about the insaneContinue Reading

A Little Bit Is A Lot.

Feels like I just touched down in San Francisco and turned around and took off again! After getting back in town after last week’s working vacation, I’m off again to Dallas and then Austin, Texas for work, conferences and a weekend in Austin. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of new and familiar facesContinue Reading

Business Is Not A Dirty Word: And 15 Other Important Definitions

The words “business,” “sales,” and “marketing” sometimes get a bad reputation. All of a sudden it seems off-putting if you look for sales or you talk about strategy. Sometimes I just say the word “strategy” and people’s eyes glaze over – like it’s boring. The common response goes something like this: Blogging should be about yourContinue Reading

$10 for a Financial Wizard – Buy this book. (And Other Money Lessons From Ramit Sethi)

I get a lot of questions for people about money, finance, spending, saving, etc. I occasionally write posts on ways to save money, what it means to save for retirement, financing a car (for which I went through my own blunders) and setting up emergency savings plans. I write these from experience – and IContinue Reading

The Pitfalls and Costs of Car Ownership (And I Need Your Advice!) Should I Sell My Car?

Car-free or car-stuck? I have an important question that I’d love people to weigh in on: Should I sell my car? Logically, the question seems to have a very simple answer: yes. I keep writing lists and outlining the reasons why I should sell my car (and why I shouldn’t) and the balance seems toContinue Reading

Saving for retirement is sexy.

Do you speak retirement? Most people don’t. Personally, I like to sit around a campfire and talk about compound interest and exchange rates, but I sometimes get distracted by the chocolatey-smores and marshmallows – Oh wait. Perhaps that’s just me? Retirement is something you probably don’t want to think about or talk about. It’s kindContinue Reading

Budget sense: how much money does food cost me?

So you’ve graduated from college and you’re (hopefully) not living at your parents house anymore.  You have a job, and even though it’s not THE job that you eventually want, you’re on track to start making your way up the ladder and working towards the career you want to have. Your days have changed aContinue Reading