Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).
Welcome Johnny and Joanna of Our Freaking Budget to Dreams Coming True! Tell us a little about yourselves:
We’re Johnny and Joanna, the writing duo behind Our Freaking Budget, a personal finance blog documenting the joys, pains, and realities of living on a budget. From the basics of saving and getting out of debt, to venturing into the wild world of four-letter investments like 401k’s and IRAs, we document our journey through young adulthood while exploring our love-hate relationship with our “freaking budget.”
When did this creative dream begin?
December 2012. We wanted to document our life on a budget as a way to hold ourselves accountable to our money.
How did this idea get started?
We’d been wanting to work on a project together, and one night Johnny mentioned the idea of writing about our finances. We decided to get started on it one weekend, and the rest is history.
What makes your project stand out from the crowd?
We’ve heard it said that no content is original, but the way you present it is. We’re not the first couple to write about our finances, but we’ve tried to be ourselves from the very beginning, which has helped to create a unique voice and perspective.
What are the goals and intentions of this project?
Our main goal is to help others with budgeting while also keeping ourselves on track financially.
How does your project create community?
Our readers are mostly like-minded folks who are trying to do the best they can with their finances. Our blog is a place where they can comment and relate with us, as well as fellow readers.
Many have creative ideas but trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly…but then enthusiasm drizzles off?
Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations. And make sure your reason for pursuing an idea is that you’re passionate about it — not just that you want praise or money. Passion tends to last much longer than the other two.
Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your project. Where do the ideas come from? How many are involved in the process? Does each contributer have a specific role?
One night a week we sit down together and brainstorm post ideas for our site. We also try to schedule which days to post. On the nights that one of us is writing a post, the other tries to respond to comments. We try to keep it a joint effort as much as possible.
What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
The time involved. We started the project right before we welcomed our daughter into this world. We were clueless about being new parents and the work involved. It’s been a juggling act to work, raise our girl, and blog.
What have you learned?
It’s paid off to represent ourselves honestly. After a year, we were so thrilled to share our project with family and friends.
Have there been any unexpected surprises?
We’ve been surprised by the emails from people who have been positively affected by the words we write on our blog. It feels great to know we’re making even a small difference in some people’s attitude toward budgeting.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about starting your project? I think people assume blogging is both easy and quick. Neither is true. We spend several hours a week on our site. It’s like having a part-time job on top of our full-time jobs.
What are some ways you promote your project? We write weekly for DailyFinance, AOL’s finance site. We also use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Creating something is one skill. Marketing and promoting it is an entirely different skill set. How has that gone for you? Shocked by the amount of work marketing takes? Or pleasantly surprised?
Early on, we used to put much more emphasis on promoting our site since it was brand new. We’d comment on other personal finance blogs or write guest posts for other blogs. But that’s not really our focus anymore. Our main marketing tool is writing quality content. That, more than anything else, has brought people to our site.
Any marketing mistakes you would avoid? Just be true to who you are.
What social network has worked best for you? Pinterest has brought thousands of people to our site. A couple of our pins have gone semi-viral, and that’s been really fun to see.
What advice would you give someone else who has a creative dream like yours? Try it! Give yourself small goals to work toward, as well as a timeline to accomplish them. No harm has ever come from giving something a go.
Where do you see this project in five years? Ha, we’re still working on the next week. But I can’t imagine not continuing to work on this project. We’ll just have to see where it takes us.
How can we find your creative dream come true? OurFreakingBudget.com
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