A vision for the future of Get Rich Slowly
Well, it only took me three years, but I finally have a vision for what I want to do with Get Rich Slowly.
When I re-purchased this site in 2017, I did so without any real idea of what I'd do with it. I wanted it back for sentimental reasons. (And so that nobody else had control of this monster I created.) I didn't really know what to do with the 5000+ articles in the archives.
You see, when I started Get Rich Slowly, it was clearly a forum for me to share my experiences as I dug myself out of debt. After I succeeded, I sort of lost my way. (Well, and a bunch of Real Life stuff made me lose my focus.) So, I sold it.
When I started writing at Money Boss in 2015, I had a clear vision for what I wanted to do with that site. I had a mission. That made it easy to decide what to write there and what not to write.
But when I bought back Get Rich Slowly? Well, I didn't have a clear mission. I didn't have a clear focus. I think that's been pretty obvious, not just to me but to everyone.
Now, though, thanks to my recent deep dive into essentialism, I'm finally finding some focus for this blog. Essentialism helped me figure out what's important in my personal life right now, but it's also helped me get clear on what I want Get Rich Slowly to be.
I want Get Rich Slowly to be a definitive, unbiased resource about smart personal finance. I want to push my Money Boss philosophy while providing the best possible information about the world of money management.
But here's the challenge: Despite Tom having whittled our archives from 5000+ articles to exactly 2500 articles, things here are still a mess. (A “clusterfork” as Eleanor Shellstrop would say on The Good Place.) The chaos behind the scenes is almost overwhelming.
Still, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right? So, I've started taking bites.
On Halloween, Tom sent me a spreadsheet listing every single article we have at Get Rich Slowly. Instead of writing new stuff — and I have an article I want to write about politics and personal finance! — I've been diligently working through this spreadsheet line by line, analyzing every one of our 2500 articles. As of this morning, I've processed 1537 of them.
Here's what I've learned from this site audit:
- We have a ton of good material in our archives. That's awesome. I wrote some of it. Staff writers wrote some of it. Guest authors wrote some of it.
- There's also a lot of chaff in there. There are too many personal anecdotes that no longer serve a purpose. There are articles that made sense at the time (“oh no! the financial crisis of 2008!”), articles about now-dead money tools, and articles about concepts I no longer believe. This stuff needs to be winnowed out.
- More problematic are the topics we've covered extensively. Do we really need fourteen different articles on how to build a budget? No. We need one article on how to build a budget, and it should be the best possible article we can create on the subject.
This site audit has also made clear our path forward. I now have a focus for my work here. For the foreseeable future (read: “years to come”), my job is to take our existing material and re-work it into fresh, new stuff. My job is take those fourteen articles on how to build a budget and to create that single, definitive resource on the subject. My job is to do this for all of the various topics in the world of personal finance.
As of this moment — and again, I've processed about 60% of our archives so far — I have identified 213 different concepts that currently have redundant articles. I've found 465 other articles worth keeping. And I've slotted over 600 posts for summary execution. (There are also some pieces in a sort of limbo.)
It'll probably take me another week to finish this content audit. After I'm through, we can immediately turn our attention to content renovation. I can start tackling the years-long task of smushing everything together, of transforming Get Rich Slowly from its current chaotic state into a clean, orderly encyclopedia of personal-finance advice.
As I do that, Tom and I will be publishing these revised pieces as new articles. Because they will be new articles.
Anyhow, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't sunk into depression and I'm not ignoring the site. In fact, I'm doing more work on it now than I have since I re-purchased it. But that work is fundamental, structural work. I'm repairing the site's foundation. It might be a little bit before you're able to see any evidence of that work out here.
As a footnote, I should mention that we've had six months to sit with the site redesign now, and we recognize that some things need to be tweaked. I had a chance to watch my brother and cousin browse GRS a few weeks ago, and it was enlightening. I see that some things that are obvious to me aren't obvious to others. So, we'll be making some changes. (Eventually.) If you have feedback on the site design, please let us know. Now is the time to speak up.