Interview with Trent from The Simple Dollar

Second, new bloggers in the personal finance blogging space might have heard big names like “The Simple Dollar” and found trying to imitate them. Instead of knowing the huge effort and handwork behind success of such bloggers, new bloggers entirely focusing to the monitory benefits. Normally they will stop blogging by not getting enough financial benifit from their blogs compare with big bloggers. In this interview, I have specifically asked to Trend about this nature of new bloggers and you can read his advices to new bloggers about the required passion and dedication to be a great bloggers like him.

The Money Maniac (TMM): You are famous among personal finance bloggers with the blog ‘The Simple Dollar’. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Trent Hamm. I currently live in the country outside of Des Moines, Iowa, with my wife and my two children (ages three and one). I started The Simple Dollar in October 2006 to chronicle my experiences with turning my financial life around – I originally intended to mostly just share it with friends, but it kept growing.

TMM: Like me, those who interested to personal finance cannot avoid your classy blog , one of the best personal finance blog today; we are very interested to hear a little about your blogging flashback. Taking to your old days of blogging, could you share when and how did you got into blogging and what are the inspirations behind to be personal finance blogger?

Trent: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I had dabbled in blogging several times before without success, though my final blog before The Simple Dollar was slightly successful (I wrote a parenting blog that was getting some traction until I found that some people were using some images of my son in an inappropriate fashion that left me uncomfortable, so I abandoned it).

I started The Simple Dollar not because I wanted to make money with it. I started it because I love to write and I was passionately engaged with my finances when I began the site. I largely intended to share it with friends, many of whom were also in some degree of financial difficulty (with debt) and I hoped to put a few ideas out there for them to think about.

The first two months weren’t successful at all in terms of traffic, and I didn’t earn any significant income until about the eight month mark. The thing is, I didn’t really care. I was enjoying the writing and really enjoying the sense that I was helping people to think about their money.

TMM: At your early years with we can realize that you may have worked very hard to establish your blog. As most of us know, personal finance blogging is not easy compare with any other subjects, because of its nature as a serious subject. It required fantastic knowledge to write and get huge attention from readers worldwide. Your blog seems to be managed by such person, i.e. yourself, really done it. What is your experience in finance industry and how do you keep coming up with articles? I seem to struggle sometimes to come with different articles in my blog. Do you have any posting timetable? Also, how do you keep updated yourself to provide most relevant information for readers?

Trent: Ideas aren’t the problem, really, at least for me. I constantly come up with lots of ideas – my problem is usually filtering them and picking the ones that are good – and, most importantly, useful to others.

I think the biggest factor is that I read constantly. I spend at least two hours a day doing nothing but reading about personal finance topics and areas tangentially related to it. I read things like The Economist and BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal and Money. I read tons of blogs on all kinds of subjects, from food blogs to marketing blogs. I also read tons of emails from readers.

While I’m reading, I keep a notepad nearby. Whenever I have the faintest inkling of an idea, I jot it down immediately, but then I go back to the reading. After a good session, I’ll have forty or fifty ideas jotted down. Most of them are trash – I’ll quickly cross off all but ten or so of them.

The rest go into an “idea incubator” – I use Evernote for this. I keep a big list of post ideas in one note and I’ll regularly add bits and pieces to individual ideas. When I’m ready to write, I just dig into this incubator until I find something that seems intriguing to explore.

TMM: Are you a full time blogger? If yes, do you have any other blog or network? If not, how do you find time to blog and how many hours per day?

Trent: I’m a full time writer. Besides The Simple Dollar, I’ve written a book (365 Ways to Live Cheap) and edited another (1001 Ways to Make Money If You Dare). I’ve also sold a bunch of freelance articles. On top of that, I’ve been shopping several short stories as well.

The Simple Dollar is a big source of income, but it’s not the only one.

TMM: At present, lots of new entrants are there in personal finance blogging space. In my experience, found most of them stops blogging later by either losing interest or by not getting the income as they expected. In this context, could you share your major experiences as a startup personal finance blogger to know us how did you manage yourself to succeed by overcoming all the obstacles like establishing blog, creating your network, income generation etc? Also, do you have any personal tips for new bloggers?

Trent: A blog doesn’t work if it’s not fueled by passionate writing from the heart that also contains information relevant to others. If you’re just in it to turn a buck, no blog will work.

I overcame the obstacles by not spending much time at all on networking or “optimizing” my blog. Instead, my constant focus has been on coming up with ideas. TMM: How much your blog influenced to your own personal finance? Do you suggest the best three posts from your blog for our readers? Trent: My own life is at the core of much of what I write about. I think personal finance is just that – personal. Much of it is in the mind – psychology and behavior. Thus, I often take the information I read about and try to see how it compares to my life.

Here are three great posts to start with:

Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance on the Back of Five Business Cards

31 Days to Fix Your Finances

Building a Better Blog

TMM: What are your goals for this year and for coming years?

Trent: My big goal for 2009 is to finish the manuscript for my second book. It’s a more in-depth work than my first book, and I think it’s quite a bit different than the other personal finance books out there.

Beyond that? As long as I keep writing stuff that interests people, opportunities will happen.************************************************

My sincere thanks to Mr. Trend Hamm for the time he spent for answering each questions. Of course, there are lot for new bloggers and personal finance readers to keep in mind and go ahead with.

Trent have been selected three wonderful articles for TMM readers as per my request and those are my highly recommended read. It serves lot for you.

New bloggers must read his recommenced article “Building a better blog” which can consider as a free, short course for new bloggers to get good startup.