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|Interview with Anum Yoon (Blogger & Writer) : Journey of a Professional Blogger : eAskme|
Q. Please share about yourself and your story to enter in blogging?.
Ans: To give you a brief background on me - I'm a 20 something Korean who grew up in Hong Kong and and North India. After spending 4 amazing years at a tiny boarding school in the Himalayas, I decided to expand my horizons by attending a large public university in America. And although I grew up as a TCK (third-culture kid) in an international setting, I still felt some culture shock coming to the States. I think this also had to do with the fact that my college years was the first time I really had to take full responsibility over my life.
Some of my problems stemmed from the fact that I was an International student. Sure, there are so many personal finance blogs out there that give you the best advice on college life - but none were really catered to international students. I thought this was ridiculous since there's almost a million of us in the U.S currently.
Q. How the idea to make your own blog came in your mind? How you found the right people to develop it and what big obstacles you faced?
Ans: Once I graduated from college, I had to face a whole new set of financial problems. Not only did I have zero credit, but I didn't know a thing about professional working life in the U.S. Taxes, retirement accounts - all these things were foreign to me when I first read my job contract. So I decided to ask some of my American friends for help. The problem was, none of them knew how these things worked either. They were just disinterested.
The biggest obstacle I face had to be myself. I had serious doubts about whether I'd be able to pull this off. Who would want to read my blog? What if I'll just be regurgitating information that people already know? All these questions used to plague me while I was setting up my blog, but I decided to just close my eyes and take the plunge. I reached out to my college friends to help me get my blog started. I asked around to see what they were interested in reading. That helped me find my direction and voice.
The rest was all Google. I taught myself basic HTML for Wordpress and stalked several different forums that explained how blogging worked. I guess that's how I found the "right people." Good old Google. People on the Internet can be so friendly and eager to help when you're asking relevant questions in the right place.
Q. Can blogging really change someone`s life?
Ans: I really think so. Running a personal finance blog has really kept me accountable because I really need to "practice what I preach." I've become so much more responsible and aware of my spending and saving habits. Blogging has also helped me make connections with people that I'd have otherwise never met. Everyone in the personal finance blogosphere is incredibly welcoming and friendly. I was so surprised to see some people go out of their ways to make me feel more welcome in the community. As a blogger, I also have to read a lot of news and other blogs to keep myself engaged and updated. I've learned so much over the past few months and I'm so so so grateful for that.
Q. What are your favorite Internet marketing tools?
Ans: I love Mailchimp so much. Sending out weekly newsletters to my subscribers are so much easier with Mailchimp. I also love the buffer app. I'm almost always on Twitter during the weekdays, but on the weekends, buffer helps me keep my tweets up-to-date. I probably should use more Internet marketing tools, but for right now, these two tools help make my life so much easier.
Q. What is your daily schedule? And how do you maintain your tasks?
Ans: I work a 9-5 job and also have some side hustles. But when I'm done with work, I'll go to the gym for two hours and then come home to eat dinner. I know it's a bad habit, but I'm usually on my laptop while I eat. It gives me extra time to read more blogs and stay updated. I pretty much stay on the Internet until I have to get ready for bed. As my responsibilities grow, I'm sure my daily schedule will need to change, but for now, this is what works for me.
Q. Blogging have different definition for different person. What is it for you?
Ans: I don't think blogging is for everyone since there are plenty of other ways to create a web presence. But I do believe that it is an amazing way to communicate your message if you enjoy writing consistently. For me, blogging is synonymous to writing what you speak. I feel like that's the beauty of it - the fact that you can write conversationally. I also believe that blogging should be accompanied by honesty as well as a certain level of transparency. As a reader, I feel like I appreciate reading blogs that are willing to be held accountable for the things they say. Of course, it's important to develop boundaries around what you do and don't blog about, but it's important to disclose certain aspects of your life in order to be reliable.
Q. Which are your favorite blogs?
Ans:This is such a hard question to answer. I read well over a hundred blogs. I spend almost all my free time reading blogs when I'm not writing (haha). Although I mostly read other personal finance blogs, I'm also very much interested in the sustainability movement, so I make sure to read Triple Pundit everyday. I want to list out at least 30 of my favorite personal finance blogs but I'll tone it down to just 10.
L Bee and the Money Tree
Young Adult Money
Making Sense of Cents
the Broke and Beautiful Life
Be sure to check them out because they share such informative and interesting content!
Q. How much time do you spend on social media promotion and SEO of your blog?
Ans: I spend a lot of time on Twitter to promote my blog posts. But I also share my writing on Facebook and Google+ as well. I feel like my Tweets receive a lot more engagement than any of my other posts on different social media platforms. So I always make sure to thoroughly promote my articles on Twitter. As for SEO, I've added some great wordpress plugins that helps me do the job more easily.
Q. How much time do you spend for blogging daily?
Ans: I would say around an hour at least. I'm constantly jotting down topic ideas whenever I come across them. I could be eating dinner and watching a Parks and Rec and suddenly get inspired to write a blog post. On the days that I publish my articles, I spend at least 2 extra hours to find reliable sources and relevant pictures.
Q. Finally, I would love to have your message for my readers and any suggestions for newbies?
Ans: I'd really like to find out what you guys think about starting/running a blog. I love connecting with people online, so feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions. Also, if you guys have any suggestions to awesome blogs I should be following, that would be great!
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