Before contacting SVB, TMM was really doubtful about the possibility to get a chance for this interview due to the busy schedule of The Digerati Life blogger. I was even doubtful on how to follow up with my request. But, once after receiving her reply, I changed my thoughts on this super blogger by realizing her simple and humble character with helping mentality. Of course, she had shared a lot from her blogging life for us, especially for new bloggers. Here is the interview:
Sherin (TMM): SVB, I am glad to say “The Digerati Life” is a prominent personal finance blog by a women blogger. Our readers would like to know something more about you than, what have been mentioned in your blog. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
SVB (The Digerati Life): Thanks Sherin! Before becoming a full time blogger who runs my own online business now (over the last two years), I had a career in software development that spanned almost two decades over here in Silicon Valley. While most of my work was in IT, I also spent time doing software product development. I worked at companies like Cisco Systems, Oracle, Hewlett Packard. I also spent time at Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo, which are in the financial sector. I also had the opportunity to work at a few startups. But even as an engineer, I maintained a few hobbies throughout those decades, including investing in the stock market and reading about personal finance. I am also a first generation immigrant – I was born and raised in Asia but moved to the United States to attend college.
Sherin (TMM): We are thrilled to know little about your old days of blogging, using the famous signature “Silicon Valley Blogger”, you have placed your foot print with the top personal finance blogs today. We certainly know you have lots of experiences in the past. Can you share when and how did you got into blogging and the inspirations behind the same?
SVB (The Digerati Life): I began blogging for the fun of it. I started The Digerati Life over two years ago purely by accident. A few of my friends were blogging while my husband worked on an internet site that covers digital cameras. Because I knew a lot of people taking on online projects, I decided to join in the fun to see what it was all about! Eventually, I decided to focus on personal finance as a general theme for my blog because I was very comfortable with the subject matter and because, I thought it had good potential for long term growth as a business; like many bloggers, I hoped that over time, I would actually make money blogging.
Sherin (TMM): Writing a personal finance blog, yes, a blog with serious and bored subject from reader’s perspective, required extreme knowledge and hard work with time to time knowledge update. What is your experience in the finance industry and how do you keep updated yourself to par with latest information’s?
SVB (The Digerati Life): Great question! As mentioned, I’ve always been a personal finance hobbyist. I started investing in the stock market exactly two decades ago, so I have been studying books, periodicals and magazines for that long. I remember faithfully following Barron’s and Smart Money’s surveys on discount brokers, best financial products and top financial analysts through the years. I was a long time subscriber to various money magazines, The Wall Street Journal, newsletters and so forth because of my great interest in this area. I read up on Dave Ramsey and John Bogle.
These days, I get my updates from the Internet as well – I pick up information from offline and online sources, such as other money blogs and personal finance sites. I learned the best ways to use a balance transfer credit card and where to retrieve an Experian credit score. Also, my work has led me to the best cash back credit cards and the best high interest savings accounts worth signing up for. It’s great when what you’re doing on a daily basis helps you with your finances at the same time!
I also pick up many financial lessons from my own experience and the experiences of my friends and family. I’ve received a lot of financial lessons from watching my friends who have done well as stock market traders, real estate investors and big time frugalists. Lastly, I gained some perspective by actually working at places like Charles Schwab (one of the best online brokers around ☺) and Wells Fargo.
Sherin (TMM): It seems you are well disciplined to post innovative articles regularly. There is no duplications in any of your articles with any previous posted articles. I seem to struggle sometimes to come with different articles in my blog. Could you able to share this magic to us?
SVB (The Digerati Life): Absolutely! It can sometimes be very challenging to come out with original content everyday. But here are some of my tips on this: “I try to stay organized about my thoughts by keeping a notebook for all my blogging ideas. During those days I feel particularly inspired, I’m able to cover a lot of ground using my ideas that I’ve written down ahead of time. I also maintain a strict blogging schedule and queue up my articles ahead of time as much as possible. Since I do this full time, it helps tremendously with the time management. I also have guest contributors provide me with content on a regular basis to help me with the workload, so I do recommend that you find ways of getting back up content for your site whenever you can”.
Sherin (TMM): Can you share your most interested subject inside the personal finance itself?
SVB (The Digerati Life): My favorite topics are in the areas of investing. I just recently started scoping out stock charting tools and have gotten into technical analysis a bit more, although I’ve always been a more “passive” investor. I’ve been spending time studying the free tools made available by some discount brokers. For instance in my reviews on TradeKing and ETrade, as well as in this comparison I did between Zecco vs TradeKing, I mention how these sites now have a wealth of resources and tools to help investors learn more about the stock market.
I also enjoy topics and stories on how to pay off debt, how to make a budget using tools like Quicken software or YNAB, and discovering ways to get an edge with your money, through credit card rewards programs like those offered by the Discover More or American Express rewards cards.
Sherin (TMM): How much time do you spend for blogging or blog related activities, per day?
SVB (The Digerati Life): I work on my blogs on most days, and I probably spend between 7 to 10 hours a day on blog-related activities (less time on the weekends). That would include technical work, writing, editing, marketing, and networking. I find that there is not enough time in the day to be able to do all that I’d like to do!
Sherin (TMM): At present personal finance blogging space filled with tons of new bloggers. In my experience, most of them stop blogging after a short span of time due to two major reasons: First, they generally stop blogging by not getting enough readers as expected. Second, most of them want to generate revenue from the very first day and if the result is negative, they are losing their interest and obviously stop blogging. In this context, could you share your major experiences as a start up personal finance blogger to show us how you managed to succeed by overcoming all the obstacles like establishing blog, creating your network, income generation etc… with any personal advice for new bloggers?
SVB (The Digerati Life): For the first 6 months to one year of blogging, I never thought much about monetizing my blog. To be honest, I did it for fun and enjoyment. It became a strange compulsion to keep blogging because I felt, I was learning more about finance as I dedicated myself to this work. I believe that you can determine the fate of a blogger just by finding out their attitude towards blogging. I believe that if you can find rewards from blogging that are beyond the money and the traffic, you’ll be able to stick it out and earn the rewards over time. As they say, if you love what you’re doing, then there’s a good chance that good things will follow. So it’s important to maintain a healthy attitude towards this work in order to last long in the “business”. The irony here is that if you care more about your blog than you do the money, then it’s likely that you’ll actually make more money! Finally, be determined, dedicated and patient, and continue to improve on your writing and marketing skills.
Sherin (TMM): Can you share the most valuable appreciations and awards, if any, that you have received on “The Digerati Life”?
SVB (The Digerati Life): I am honored to have been featured in The Consumerist, Lifehacker and many wonderful blogs in the finance and productivity space. I also get mentions in sites like The Wall Street Journal, US News, and The Street on occasion. I was very flattered that the biggest newspaper from my home country mentioned my blog on some occasions as well. The most interesting experience I had along these lines was that I got featured in last month’s US News and World Report print magazine in an article about blogging! If you are curious about my true identity and what I look like, you can pick up a copy of last month’s edition. I also had a small contribution to WiseBread’s money saving book “10,001 Ways To Live Large on a Small Budget”.
Sherin (TMM): Do you have published any books on personal finance or blogging? If yes, could you please share with our readers?
SVB (The Digerati Life): It isn’t technically my book, but I have a small contribution in the book “10,001 Ways To Live Large on a Small Budget”. I have to thank WiseBread for making their book so accessible to the financial blogosphere!
Sherin (TMM): How much your blog influenced to your own personal finance? Do you suggest some of the best posts, that you liked most, from your blog for our readers?
SVB (The Digerati Life): My blogs have a tremendous influence on the way I manage my own money. Among my favorite posts are the ones I published on funny online business ideas, on credit report monitoring services, high yield savings accounts, and how to borrow and lend money using Lending Club, which I think is an awesome network for matching borrowers and lenders at better rates. I favor those posts that have information and resources for people who are looking to improve their financial well-being, and which serve as a guide to those looking for answers and concrete ways to solve a problem.
Sherin (TMM): After a complete success of your blog, do you have any future plans or goals to start your own networks or another niche blogs? It seems most of the personal finance bloggers managing their own networks. Do you have such plan or what are your future goals?
SVB (The Digerati Life): I started a new blog late last month called The Smarter Wallet, which is a group blog that includes writing from various contributors. So this keeps me busy. I also help out with my husband’s site BestInClass.com on occasion and write for a variety of other sites and blogs when I get a chance. I help out on the marketing efforts of some companies and blogs as side projects, which definitely keeps my schedule full. I also do have future goals for my existing blogs but these are along the lines of improving their design and functionality in order to serve as better resource points for people who visit.
It is the time express our sincere thanks to SVB. She is of course, one of the best known Personal finance and investing blogger in the world and TMM highly recommend our readers to visit “The Digerati Life” and should subscribe as a reader to get most valuable advices and information available today and time to time.
TMM also recomment to have WiseBread’s “Money Saving Book”, as it is one of the best book going to be available today because, it is a project from a group of well known, intelligent bloggers. I am sure, this will be an asset and true guide for you to manage your money intelligently and efficiently.
As I mentioned earlier, SVB is very punctual to respond to the mails that she is receiving. As a mentor and well wisher of TMM, SVB is our most respected blogger and ‘The Digerati Life” is our most liked blog. TMM wish all the success to SVB for all the future endeavors.