Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

If you missed the memo, I quit my job and took my online writing business full-time in April. At the same time, I moved to the beach in California a long drive from the Fortune 500 companies I’ve spent the majority of my career working for. This is letting me live a dream lifestyle. I work when I want, where I want, and have the freedom to spend time with my family when and how I choose. I have to admit, it is pretty awesome.

Looking back at my journey to online self-employment, a few key people helped me make it happen. I can say that without the influence of these people, I would still be spending eight to ten hours each day slaving away in gray cubicles making other people money, not taking my side hustle big time as my own CEO.

To commemorate Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to thank the people that helped me get here, and recognize their contributions to my life and the personal finance blogging community.

Financial Samurai and the Yakezie

I first met the mysterious Financial Samurai when he visited my old hometown in Denver. We met for drinks and became fast friends. But we would never have met had it not been for his founding The Yakezie.

The Yakezie is a community of personal finance blogs that acted as a hub for finance bloggers before FinCon allowed us to meet in person. Sam and the Yakezie taught me that I could earn real money from my blog, and guided me along the time I went from earning a few bucks here and there to enough to cover my bar tabs, which were not exactly small in my mid-twenties.

Thank you, Sam, for founding the community and guiding so many bloggers who have followed in your footsteps to leave their day jobs to pursue this blogging thing full-time. I wouldn’t be doing what I do without your influence.

PT and FinCon

The Yakezie connected me to the personal finance blogging community online. Phillip Taylor brought us together in person. As the founder of the PTMoney blog, Phillip “PT” Taylor gathered fewer than 200 of us in Schaumberg, Illinios, a Chicago suburb, for the first “Financial Blogger Conference” in an event that transformed my life.

There have now been six FinCon events in Chicago, Denver, Saint Louis, New Orleans, Charlotte, and San Diego. FinCon not only led to some of my closest friendships, it also taught me to treat my money-making blog as a serious business.

FinCon also created the connections that started my journey as a freelance finance writer, now my primary income source and a six-figure business. It led to getting on stage as the organizer of Ignite FinCon, and my own session as a speaker at FinCon16 in San Diego.

Thank you, Phil, for creating FinCon and bringing us all together. Thank you for your hard work to ensure that this community comes first, even when that means turning down lucrative sponsorship dollars, and thank you for taking a chance and giving me the opportunity to run Ignite FinCon and speak at a FinCon session.

Jason Steele

I met Jason at the second FinCon, and we became fast friends. We make up the Jewish pilot full-time finance writing freelancer Dads who have at one point lived in Denver club at FinCon. If you couldn’t tell, there is a high bar to join this club.

Not only has Jason shared his love of flying and fatherhood with me in our countless conversations either in person or online, he also showed me how to take my travel hacking hobby big time, opening up Israel, Europe, and future travel destinations with greater affordability than I had conquered on my own.

Most importantly, Jason has connected me with several lucrative freelance clients, including clients that were instrumental in leaving my day job. I can say confidently that I would not be a full-time freelancer if it were not for Jason.

Thank you, Jason, for helping me transform my side hustle into a career. Thank you for everything. I look to you as a mentor in the world of freelance writing, and wouldn’t be here without you.

My Masterminds

At the first FinCon, I shared a room with Shane from Beating Broke. At the back of the conference room on the last day, he, Jeff from Sustainable Life Blog, and I were chatting about these “mastermind” groups everyone was just starting to talk about.

I have since built strong friendships with members of mastermind groups over the years. Jeff, Shane, Jeffrey, Phillip, and Martin were all members of FinCon based mastermind groups. While my old group eventually went in different directions, my new mastermind with Jeff (again), Paul, Adam, Andrew, Nate, and Trevor has been a great experience.

These people have challenged me to push my business to new heights. I can say without a doubt that had I never joined my first mastermind with Jeff and Shane that I wouldn’t be here today.

Thanks, guys, for your support, insight, and an occasional kick in the ass when I needed an extra push to get things done. You are all amazing, and I wish each of you success if your various business adventures.

My Family

Of course, none of this would be possible without my family. Each member of my family played a key role in my journey to self-employment.

Thanks to my amazing wife Jennifer who supported me when I decided it was time to quit my job with a newborn. Thanks for being my editor, blog post topic generator, fan, supporter, and the love of my life. Every day has not been easy on us, but together we can do anything.

Thanks to my daughter Sophie for pushing me over the breaking point where I had to decide to turn my side hustle into a full income source for our family. And thanks for just being you.

Thanks to my parents for pushing me to do well in school (education matters!), earning the right degrees, and reaching for new possibilities in my career and life. Thanks for supporting me and giving your best insights when I reach new milestones in life. As my mom always said, I can do anything if I work hard enough for it. My new career is a testament to that advice.

Thanks to my sister for showing me that hard work pays off and encouraging and supporting me.

Thanks to my in-laws for your constant support in my growing business, sharing a PO box on occasion, and welcoming us with wide open arms to join you here at our new home in Southern California.

Myself

Because sometimes you need to give yourself a pat on the back. I have a lot more to accomplish ahead, but from where I was sitting 12 months ago, life has changed a ton. I had a one month old daughter, a cubicle based career, and a feeling that something wasn’t just right. Thanks to myself for letting me trust my gut and follow my instincts. I’m excited about what’s next in business, fatherhood, and life next year and many more to come.

You

I would not be a full-time blogger if there were not enthusiastic eyeballs reading what I create. Whether you read an article here, at one of the various client websites or publications where I contribute, listen to the podcast, or subscribe to the email list, thank you so much for being a part of this amazing community.

Knowing that I can impact you just like Sam, Phil, and Jason changed my life is one of the driving forces that keeps this site going. Thanks for being a part of it.

Until next time, stay profitable.

Eric

7 thoughts on “Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving”

  1. The people that enter our lives always make a difference. If we’re lucky, the right people enter at the right times. As always, I appreciate all you’ve done for me, Eric.

  2. Eric! Happy Thanksgiving my man. It’s been such a fun journey since circa 2009 yeah? Who woulda thought we could leave our jobs behind, make enough money online, and be more free to do whatever we want?!

    I’m very happy for your journey Eric!

    Best,

    Sam

  3. Congratulations on making it as a full time self employed person. I’m sure lots of dedication and hard work resulted in making this “side hustle” profitable and a viable income stream for you. Good luck to you in the future on this blog and in all your other endeavors.

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