I bought Get Rich Slowly! (or: The return of J.D. Roth)
Why, hello there. My name is J.D. Roth, and I'm an accidental personal-finance expert. Eleven-and-a-half years ago today — on 15 April 2006 — I started a little website called Get Rich Slowly. This website.
I ran this blog as a one-man show for three years. Then, for a variety of reasons, I sold the site. I stayed around for another three years, acting as primary writer and editor-in-chief until the middle of 2012. Then I “retired”.
For the past 5+ years, I've been busy — just not here.
- In 2010, I published Your Money: The Missing Manual, a compilation of everything I'd learned about money while writing this site.
- From 2011 to 2014, I wrote the “Your Money” column for Entrepreneur magazine.
- In 2013 and 2014, I wrote and published the year-long Get Rich Slowly course with my pal Chris Guillebeau.
- In March 2015, my girlfriend and I left Portland, Oregon for what turned out to be a 15-month RV trip across the United States.
- In October 2015, I launched a new personal-finance website: Money Boss, which is all about managing your household finances as if you were managing a business.
- This year, Kim and I purchased a run-down 1948 “English bungalow” on an acre of land just south of Portland. We've spent the past few months fixing up the place. (And there's still tons more to do!)
Meanwhile, I've continued to write for other outlets, speak at various events, and (as always) meet with readers from around the country — and the world.
Today, everything changes. Eleven-and-a-half years after starting Get Rich Slowly (and eight-and-a-half years after selling it), I'm pleased to announce: I'm back. I've re-purchased Get Rich Slowly, and am returning as the site's owner, manager, and editor.
Why I Bought Get Rich Slowly
It's difficult to convey just how excited I am by this news. I'm ecstatic. Seriously. I'm on cloud nine.
Last week, I had a conversation with a friend during which I mentioned I might be buying back Get Rich Slowly. “Why?” she asked. She was genuinely mystified. To her, blogs are dead (or dying). And why would I want to buy back something I'd already sold?
Well, for lots of reasons.
- First up, by re-acquiring Get Rich Slowly, I re-acquire the rights to all of my old articles. This is a Big Deal to me. When I sold the site, I didn't understand just how frustrating it'd be to not have access to the words I'd written before. Now I own that material once again.
- On a related note, Get Rich Slowly has published 4675 articles containing millions of words during the past decade-plus. That's a huge (and useful) body of work. Google likes huge (and useful) bodies of work.
- Get Rich Slowly is an established brand. Sure, it's lost some its luster over the years, but I'm confident that the tarnish can be removed, that the site can be polished so that it shines once more.
- From a business perspective, I'm buying an income stream. Get Rich Slowly doesn't produce the revenue it once did, but it generates enough to provide a modest income. And, I hope, that income will grow over time. I still have a substantial nest egg — I'm financially independent — but I'd love to save even more.
- Honestly, I also re-acquired Get Rich Slowly out of pure emotion. I love this site! It's the best thing I've ever created. I still get email from people who write to thank me for helping to change their lives. That feels good, you know? It makes me feel like I've done something right in the world. And I want to return to that sort of purposeful work once more. (And now that I'm older, I feel like I can handle this beast without becoming overwhelmed like before.)
Maybe the most important reason I bought Get Rich Slowly is freedom. Look, I love Money Boss, and I'm proud of the material I produced during my two years running that site, but I feel like I backed myself into a corner over there. I set out to make it about advanced personal finance, about financial independence and early retirement and entrepreneurship. These are great topics, but they're also limiting. There's so much more to write about! (Plus, not everyone wants to pursue financial independence. Not everyone can pursue financial independence. Not everyone should pursue financial independence.)
Note: I'm aware that my limitations at Money Boss were self-imposed. If I wanted, I could have changed the rules I set for myself. And if the deal for GRS hadn't gone through, that's exactly what I would have done. But it feels much more natural to tackle the broad spectrum of personal finance here at Get Rich Slowly than it does at Money Boss.
What Happens Next?
What does the immediate future hold for Get Rich Slowly? Well, there's tons of work to be done, that's for sure. My head is filled with dreams and schemes for the site, but before I can get to any of these future plans, I need to address some immediate concerns.
- Get Rich Slowly needs a facelift. Believe it or not, it's still running on the same core layout I chose in 2006. The layout has been heavily modified since then, but it's still the same layout. (I was shocked, actually, to discover this.) I have a new design in mind, and I hope to implement it sooner rather than later. I want the site to be clean, attractive, and accessible. (I've been toying with the new design all summer; here's the current version.)
- Meanwhile, the archives are in need of a “content audit”. As I mentioned earlier, after 11-1/2 years this site has published 4675 articles containing millions of words. (About half of these articles are currently flagged as “private” and not listed in the archives.) It's going to take months to methodically work my way through this huge library to bring everything up to date.
- While all of this is going on, I want to resume a regular writing schedule. Get Rich Slowly has only published eight articles in 2017. (I used to publish at least eight articles here each week!) My pace at Money Boss hasn't been much better in recent months. But now that the transaction is finished, now that Kim and I are finished remodeling the house, and now that I have a new writing studio set up on the bottom of our property, I'm ready to pursue my passion with vigor!
- Most importantly, I want to re-build the Get Rich Slowly community. I believe that the best part of this site has always been you, the audience. The readers here have always been smart and supportive and amazing. But as the site slowed and stagnated, that readership naturally drifted away. I'd love to bring old readers back while introducing new folks to the core ideas of sensible personal finance.
I know myself well enough that I won't commit to a strict publishing schedule right now. In the olden days, I published two articles at Get Rich Slowly each weekday and one article on Saturday and Sunday. That was a lot of work. But rest assured that I aim to publish often. What's more, I'm eager to highlight the amazing work my colleagues are doing elsewhere in the world of personal finance.
That's it. That's my big news — and the big news for this site. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll begin publishing articles about all aspects of smart personal finance. Meanwhile, I'll be working behind the scenes to clean up the site's appearance. This might take some time — and things might get a bit janky now and then. Please be patient.
My hope is that by early 2018 Get Rich Slowly will once again be firing on all cylinders. I hope you'll join me for the ride!
One last thing for long-time readers. Have no fear! Naturally, I'll bring back the cat photos. And to show I'm an equal opportunity kind of guy, there'll be dog photos too. Animals for everyone! Enjoy…