Get Rich Slowly started as a place for J.D. to write about money. Over the past five years, it’s grown beyond that. It’s now a multi-author blog. This week, each of the authors will share a brief bio to give readers a little background. Enjoy!
My name is J.D. Roth. I’ve been blogging in one form or another for over thirteen years. I was blogging before “blog” was even a word. At first, I blogged about important things. Like comic books. And my cats. And how much I hate the new Star Wars movies. It never occurred to me that a person could make a living by writing for the web.
On 26 April 2005, I wrote an article at my personal site that summarized all of the books I’d been reading about personal finance, and tried to explain the themes they had in common. For years, I’d struggled with debt. I was a compulsive spender. My idea of investing was sinking hundreds of dollars into a risky stock in the hopes it would take off. But when my wife and I bought a century-old farmhouse in the summer of 2004, I finally hit rock bottom. I’d run out of money. Two friends loaned me financial books. I read them, and then borrowed more from the public library. And in the spring of 2005, I wrote about what I’d read. I called that post “Get Rich Slowly!”, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people.
On 15 April 2006, I started a little website about smart personal finance. In homage to that first article, I named my new site Get Rich Slowly. I still didn’t realize this could be a way to earn a living. I just thought I was helping people out. Gradually, however, my online income grew. Before long, I was making more money from my blog than I was from my day job, selling cardboard boxes. “That’s odd,” I thought. “I wonder if I could do this for living.”
In March of 2008 I decided to give it a go. I quit my day job to became a professional blogger. A lot of people told me I was crazy. And to be honest, I was frightened. I was scared stiff. But here we are, nearly three years later, and this has proved to be the best decision I’ve made in my life. I’ve repaid my debt and saved a substantial amount for the future. I’m happy working for myself, and I’m making a good income, all while helping other people.
Still, I’m just one man, and I’m not a trained financial professional. Two years ago, I recognized that the “J.D. is GRS” model was not sustainable. I was burning out, and quality was suffering. I decided to be pro-active, to deal with things before they got worse. I made some big behind-the-scenes changes. Then, I brought on a handful of staff writers. Today, Get Rich Slowly isn’t all about me; it’s a multi-author blog with a staff of folks who handle the business side of things. I get to guide the boat, but I’m not the only crew-member.
As a result, I have time to focus on other things that are important to me, things like friends and family and fitness. Over the past year, I’ve begun to travel. If I can ever break my addiction to iPad games (damn you, Settlers of Catan!), I’ll have lots of time for reading. That’ll be nice. A decade ago, I read two books per week. Nowadays, I’m lucky to read two per month.
I’ve been fortunate this year to publish my first book (Your Money: The Missing Manual) and to land my first gig with a major magazine (my first column in Entrepreneur appears in the January 2011 issue, on sale now). I love writing about money, especially if I think it’s helping other people meet their goals.
But you know what? My favorite articles are the more personal pieces, whether here or at jdroth.com. These range from funny to insightful to inspirational, but they’re always from the heart. For example:
- The Man I Want to Be — Though only a handful of my closest friends realize it, this introspective post was the start of a New Me. Everything I’ve achieved financially and otherwise since 2004 came from deciding I wanted to change.
- The Power of Yes: A Simple Way to Get More Out of Life — After deciding to change, it took me a while to realize I needed to stop being a chicken and start doing all of the things I feared. The results have been amazing. Related: How to Build Confidence and Destroy Fear.
- The Worst Job I Ever Had — Still one of my favorite posts at Get Rich Slowly. My plans for the eventual Get Rich Slowly book are to include more personal stories like this.
- Man vs. Skunk: A Photo-Essay — In which I retrieve a dead skunk from under the office at the box factory. The amount of J.D.-ness in this post is off the charts. I’d love to write more stuff like this for my personal blog. (But without the skunks.)
What does the future hold for me? Who can say? I’ll stick around Get Rich Slowly as long as I’m able to help other people. In the meantime, however, I plan to spend more time pursuing other goals, including writing more at my personal site. Through it all, I hope to be able to interact with more readers just like you. That’s the best part of the job.
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