A new social networking site is entering private beta today. Money Quantum fills a niche for people that want to discuss anything money related, from getting out of debt to retiring early. Maybe you want to find out about great deals or what to know when buying a car? There’s discussions going on about these topics right now!
I interviewed Flexo, the site’s creator, to learn about what he’s done previously and what’s in store for us with Money Quantum.
How long have you been blogging and what keeps you motivated to continue?
I’ve been writing on personal websites since 1995. In 2000, that came to be known as blogging through the help of the software Blogger. I started Consumerism Commentary in 2003 to help keep myself accountable for my financial decisions. I was towards the beginning of my journey towards financial independence at the time, and I had — and I still have — a lot to learn about finances and money. This is exactly what keeps me motivated to continue learning and writing on the website. I’m constantly learning something new, whether through research I do for posts or through comments and emails from Consumerism Commentary readers.
Tell us about Consumerism Commentary and what has led to its success.
Consumerism Commentary started out simply as a place for me to post my monthly financial reports and comment on the money-related current events. It was not created with the expectation that there would be an audience, and it was certainly not created with expectation of creating any income. I think the site remains successful because I have a unique style of writing and I am not afraid to let some of my personality to show through. At least, that’s what regular readers tell me. I also try hard not to pander or assume my audience is not intelligent. Much financial advice I see is written in a way that is overly simplified or assumes readers need to be coddled. Additionally, I try to present both sides of an argument rather than taking a combative or unnecessarily controversial point of view. It may not attract a lot of attention, but it is genuine.
Financial success is another matter. I was one of the first to write about personal finance on a blog, so I had a time advantage. I didn’t add any advertising until late 2004, and it took another 6 months for that to pay off. Actually, I prefer to frame it that it took 15 years before my internet activities produced any income. I was creating online communities as I was entering high school in 1990, and Consumerism Commentary was the first to make any money. So I’ve been at this for a while.
Any tips you learned along the way that could help other bloggers?
My favorite tip to help other bloggers is… to help other bloggers. I’ve made it a personal mission to help others build their websites with an eye towards their success. I also strongly believe that a blog is a part of a community; it’s best to acknowledge those who are in effect your colleagues rather than building your blog on a virtual island. And perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to find your own voice. It’s true that lots of blogs write about the same things, but there is always an opportunity for individuality — even as a member of a community. Oh, and don’t use your real name if you want to post your net worth or income each month and believe there is a possibility that a future employer might research your name and find your blog and your bank account balance.
You have been a major part of the personal finance blogosphere. Tell us about other sites you’ve launched.
I’ve launched quite a few websites. Some have succeeded, some have failed. The Carnival of Personal Finance — the first weekly “traveling” round-up for personal finance bloggers — is one of the successes. I launched a website called The Money BBS, which was a forum or bulletin board system, which soon after its launch was consolidated and rolled into the Money Blog Network Forums. I created pfblogs.org, which is a massive aggregator of over a thousand active personal finance blogs, and extended that to include the Friends of pfblogs.org, a way for serious personal finance bloggers to show that they stand out among the rest.
And now you have a new project launching as a beta version today, Money Quantum. Can you tell us what to expect from this site?
Money Quantum is a social networking website, created as a way for people whose life involves money to talk about important financial topics. My vision is for Money Quantum to be a hub for connecting experts with novices and everyone in between. There are many features, including forums, affinity groups, customizable profiles, personal blogs, and of course, live chat. This is for more than just bloggers, this is for everyone, with the goal being half social and half education. Learning from your peers is one of the most effective methods of acquiring knowledge, and Money Quantum will facilitate that in a way that is not possible with blogs alone.
Thank you Flexo for talking the time to talk with The Canadian Finance Blog. You’ve been a great help to many readers at Conumerism Commentary and I’m sure the social aspect of Money Quantum will open up many great discussions about personal finance! If you’d like to receive an invite to Money Quantum while in private beta, email firstname.lastname@example.org.