Welcome to my guest series where I invite fellow bloggers to write about their blog, how they make money from it and share their top tips and success stories. I would like to give a warm welcome to Debbie from My Random Musings to tell me all about her blog.
Please tell me about your blog and why you started to blog about money
I have two blogs – my personal blog, My Random Musings, and my writing blog, deborahstansil.com.
I originally started blogging because I wanted to find my writing voice after so long not writing anything. I branched out into a writing blog because I wanted to help other writers learn the things I wish I’d known when I was first starting out as a writer.
I guess I don’t blog about money per se, but my writing blog does talk about ways to make money from writing. So many people seem to think it’s impossible to make money writing (I even see other writers saying it) and I think it’s important to show people this simply isn’t true.
What was your first ever blog post?
A bit random, but my first blog post on my personal blog was Designer Dog Breeds: Why Are They a Thing? I guess that was the burning question on my mind way back in 2015 haha.
That blog made me smile and resonates with me.
The first post on my writing blog was 4 Tips to Help You get Started as a Freelance Writer.
Interesting read and good, solid advice there. It was obviously your calling and you have made a success of it.
What is your favourite / most popular post?
My most popular post on my personal blog is Everything You Need to Know About Internet Trolls: A Rather Sarcastic Guide. The post is over four years old and still gets a steady stream of traffic. My favourite post on that blog is Victim Blaming: Why It Needs to Stop Now, because I think it’s an important topic and something we should all be a little more aware of.
Another thought provoking read and a problem that will never go away. You develop a sixth-sense after a while although the stealth troll can occasionally slip under the best of radars. One thing I have learnt this year is how big a problem this is, especially for female journalists, and it is shocking and appalling what they have to put up with for simply doing their job. I do sympathise with those on the receiving end of such vile abuse.
On my writing blog, my most popular post is 7 Questions to Answer Before You Pay for Professional Book Marketing. My favourite post on that blog is Why You Should Avoid Vanity Publishing, because it bothers me so much that these models of publishing exist with the sole intention of ripping authors off. As a new writer, it’s easy to get pulled into this and think you’ve landed a book deal, when really, all you’ve landed is an expensive headache.
An interesting blog that throws up questions that never crossed my mind. Vanity publishing is something that I was nearly caught out on when I first set out trying to find a publishing deal, so I can connect with that and you cover it very well.
Have you ever had a parking ticket? Was it deserved?
I haven’t had a parking ticket, most likely because I don’t drive haha.
What’s your biggest money failure?
When I was a lot younger (and a lot stupider) I took out a credit card. I then fell into the “switch to us for interest free balance transfers for 12 months” trap. If you’re disciplined with money, this isn’t the worst idea in the world. As someone in my late teens/early twenties, I had no discipline at all and after transferring the balance, I would just spend on the card again.
Having learned my lesson, my attitude now is if I can’t buy something with the money in my current account, then I can’t have it.
It’s an easy trap to fall in to and many do. If you knew then what you know now. I think that problem is bigger now than it’s ever been and I don’t recall these offers being available many years ago. I reckon this problem will continue to grow in an era of low wages and a gig economy coupled with today’s generation of ‘wanting everything now’ instead of saving up for it like we used to (in the olden days!).
What’s your biggest money success?
Learning to budget. After paying for my mistakes (see the answer above), I started being a lot more sensible with money, and when I really started to work out a budget, I realised that 90% of the money I was spending was just being wasted on things I didn’t really want or need.
In some ways, learning the hard way was a good thing. It taught me to be more sensible with money, and while I certainly don’t deprive myself of things I want, I don’t feel the need to spend every penny the second I get it anymore.
You could have taken the words out of my mouth there, as that’s how I have learnt as well. Learning how to cook from scratch and taking your own coffee and packed lunches to work saves you a fortune over the years and becomes second nature after a while.
Do you ever complain to get redress and refunds if service or goods don’t come up to scratch?
I will usually send an email advising the company of my issues and luckily, I would say 90% of the time, this is all I’ve ever needed to do to get a refund.
If that didn’t work, then really it would depend on the value of the item as to whether or not I took it further. I know on principle I should chase up complaints, but honestly, if the item wasn’t worth a lot of money, it would likely cost me more in time chasing it up then I would get back, and while I think companies should be answerable when they mess up, I really don’t have time to be stressing out about it and making constant calls etc.
Most firms will generally do the right thing by their customers, although I regularly see horror stories from what I call ‘the usual culprits’. This is a growing trend due to staff training and cutbacks, which is a false economy if a firm wants to survive and thrive.
As you say, it depends on the value of the item and the time involved on occasions but it’s the principle for me.
Potholes and the state of the roads are the bane of our lives. Have you ever won a pothole claim? Do you know how easy it is?
Again, I don’t drive so I’ve never had direct experience of this. I imagine it would be pretty easy though. I’m sure there are firms out there like the PPI ones who do the whole “we’ll do everything, no win, no fee” thing.
It is fairly easy if you know how to. This blog shines a spotlight on my own experience.
Interestingly, there are no PPI type firms doing this that I am aware of.
Which Moneyblogger(s) do you most admire and why?
I don’t read many money blogs, although I do enjoy Katy Kicker. I love her frugal meal planning posts and I like that she shares her financial goals each month and is honest about whether or not she’s achieved them.
I find a lot of money bloggers tend to focus a lot on survey sites and stuff like that and I just don’t find the rewards on those sites are even close to worth the time they take to complete. I once took part in a challenge to make an extra thousand pound for Christmas. I was eight hours in and I’d made the grand total of £3.58 from these survey sites, and I realised actually, I was wasting time I could be using to write and make real money.
It’s interesting where we get our inspiration from. People like reading other people’s stories and can connect to them well when they are transparent. It’s something I have tried to do with my blog and consumer book where I have learnt the hard way by my own experiences so others can avoid the same traps.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I love being a full-time writer, and I really don’t want to change that. I want to keep expanding the catalogue of books I have available, and I’d like to spend more time creating writing courses. I do have a five-year action plan, but I won’t bore you with all of the details haha.
This sounds really interesting. You have achieved so much and there’s a lesson to be learnt there insofar as remaining focused on where you want to be and having a clear idea on how to get there.
Thank you once again Debbie for sharing your story with me. You gave some interesting and thought-provoking answers that I wasn’t expecting and enjoyed reading.
Have a look on Debbie’s bio and the links below and see for yourself.
Bio and Links
Born in 1982 in North East England, I knew from an early age I wanted to be a writer. Life got in the way, and the dream was put on the back burner, although never forgotten. I am now a full-time author and freelance writer and I write my own blogs, My Random Musings and deborahstansil.com.
I have published four novels, three short story collections, four non-fiction books and a collection of funny poems.
Blog link: www.myrandommusings.co.uk
Writing blog link: www.deborahstansil.com
Amazon Author Page: https://goo.gl/FrXC4V
Writing Courses: https://coursecraft.net/users/21R