I know that readers of this site enjoy case studies and interviews, but I’ve been a bit slack with publishing them lately. As such, I was delighted when Michelle from the popular Making Sense of Cents website agreed to an interview.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is a bit of a legend in the online world, and if you’ve been researching saving and making money for any length of time, you’ve probably come across her Making Sense of Cents blog. In 2012, Michelle had $38,000-worth of student debt – she now earns more than $100,000 per month from her online endeavours.
I’ve followed Making Sense of Cents for some time, and I also recently bought and reviewed one of Michelle’s online courses. I was fascinated to find out what she had to say.
- Your blog contains lots of great content about frugal living, but based on your income reports I would imagine you don’t have to worry too much about economising these days! Do you still try to stick to a frugal lifestyle?
Nowadays, I’m just naturally frugal in many areas, but I’m also not frugal in others. I don’t like wasting money or buying things that don’t matter to me, so I am able to save a lot of the income that I earn each month.
I don’t think that you have to spend a lot of money in order to have a good life, so I think I’ll always be pretty similar to how I am now.
- What luxuries do you like to splurge on?
Travel! We travel full-time on a sailboat and that is definitely expensive. But, it’s a lot of fun. We always try to buy high quality items for our sailboat, so that definitely adds up quickly.
- You have a very lively Facebook community. What topics do people ask about most frequently?
In my Making Sense of Cents community Facebook group, we mainly talk about anything related to personal finance.
This could be:
- How to find an online job.
- The steps to start investing.
- How to afford more travel.
- Questions about getting a mortgage.
- Changing your money mindset.
- What article on your site are you most proud of writing?
Well, I’m proud of everything on my website 🙂
One that I wrote earlier this year is My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More – and it came true for me this year. This is what I thought was just a simply blog post that I wrote one day. But, I have had so many people reach out to me and tell me that they enjoyed it and learned a lot!
I think that in today’s world, it can be so easy to get caught up in everything. I constantly have something on my mind, and I feel like I’m not always enjoying the fun moments. This is because I’m always thinking about other things and distracting myself with everything that happens in life.
But, 2019 has been completely different for me. I have had such a great year and it all started with that blog post.
- What three applications or tools do you consider most essential for running your site?
WordPress – This is the platform that I use and it’s a no-brainer for me. I recommend that most bloggers be on it as well.
Email forms – This is so that new readers can subscribe to my regular newsletters.
Social Pug – This tool allows readers to share my content on social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
- What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to somebody thinking about starting a blog?
My top piece of advice is just to start! So many people spend so much time thinking about whether or not they want to start a blog, when they could have just started it. Blogging is relatively affordable to start, especially when compared to most businesses. Due to that, you can find out pretty quickly and cheaply if it’s for you.
So, just start!
- Do you think anyone can run a blog, or are there certain essential skills required?
I always recommend that the person like something about blogging. Whether that means that you love writing, you love helping people, you love the freedom it gives you, or something else, being passionate about your blogging business can help you to grow. Blogging can be a ton of work, especially in the beginning, so that passion can help to keep you focused and motivated.
ED’s NOTE: You may well enjoy this article on whether YOU should start a blog.
- What mistake do you see people make with their blogs most frequently?
The top mistake I see bloggers make is considering all other bloggers their competition and nemesis. Networking is so important as a blogger. You should see others in the blogging world as your colleagues and friends, not your enemies or competition.
- What’s the best thing you’ve spent money on this year?
Our van! We bought a van for this summer’s hurricane season so that we weren’t sitting in the heat on our sailboat. We also have some adventure goals that are land-based that we want to do, so our van helps us to do that.
You can learn more about this here – The Honest Truth About Van Dwelling: Answers To The Most Common Van Life Questions.
- What was the last song you listed to?
Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun (I listen to this song a lot, haha)