I don’t know what’s going to happen after I publish this (you really aren’t supposed to say what I’m about to say out loud!) but I’ve always kept things as real as possible with you guys, and I’m not about to change that now :) So hopefully this comes out okay and we’re still a big happy family in the end!
On August 8th, I started writing an article to you guys titled, “The Future of Budgets Are Sexy.”
In it I was to tell you why, after several months of soul searching, I had decided to accept an offer to sell both my sites, BudgetsAreSexy.com and RockstarFinance.com, and in return receive a nice stack of cash and a cushy salary.
I still loved blogging, but the managing of the day-to-day had started burning me out, and the idea that I could keep all the fun parts while simultaneously offloading the frustrating parts (blog maintenance, marketing, monetization, SEO, making a billion little decisions) was incredibly appealing.
The vision was to merge both my sites, along with the one acquiring mine, into a “super site” – where I’d continue doing what I did best (blogging, building community) and they continued doing what they did best (growing a business, making money).
It seemed like the perfect pairing, and in theory meant I could go on blogging as usual just at a new web address. This snippet from that original draft summed it up perfectly:
“As I told my friend Nate the other day, “everything’s changing, and nothing’s changing.” You’ll still get me and all my thoughts/comments/community, it’ll just be at a different url going forward. And I hope you’ll stick with me!”
Now of course the unknown was whether you’d stick with me or not (would you have?? Be honest!! :)), but I was hopeful that you would, and therefore everything looked good on paper. And especially in my early retirement spreadsheet ;)
The deal that I got *this close* to signing?
I can’t tell you what site/company I was in talks with, but nothing’s stopping me from sharing the terms of the deal, so here they are below (I told you you’d want to read this one!).
It was a deal spanning two years, that broke down as follows:
- $300,000 cash money up front for the purchase of the two sites
- $120,000/year salary + 15% yearly bonus to continue writing/growing both areas
- $400,000 in incentives if I chose to hustle more and hit outside goals/strategies
So in effect, almost $1,000,000 had I pushed myself through the two years – which of course I would have. And who knows what future opportunities could have come from it all as well… (Or the opposite – it could have exploded in our faces!)
I won’t go into the details of what my sites “are worth” because the numbers vary depending on who’s interested in them and what their goals are, but the only one that matters in the end is the one you accept. And after going back and forth in my mind for months on this one, I finally decided it was worth the shot and verbally agreed to the deal.
But this was actually the 2nd time I gave them a decision… The first answer was “NO.”
The truth of the matter was, upon first receiving this deal I politely told them “thanks, but no thanks” because my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t ready to hand over all my sites I’ve worked on for almost a decade, and I surely wasn’t ready to say that I was “J. Money who writes at NewSiteName.com”.
The fear of losing everything, and especially YOU GUYS – my online family! – just wasn’t worth the money to me. I still had to deal with my burn out and a dwindling savings account, but at the end of the day it just didn’t “feel right” so I politely thanked them, but told them I had to decline and would shout if anything changed later.
Well, something did change, because the second my heart was protected I couldn’t stop staring AT ALL THAT MONEY I HAD LEFT ON THE TABLE!
I instantly switched to “wallet mode” and began dreaming up all the things I could do if I had accepted it instead. I started fantasizing about paying off my car in one fell swoop. I started dreaming about not having to worry about money for quite some time (if ever?). I started breaking down how much I’d set aside for charity, and to my boys’ future, and especially filling back up our anemic emergency fund! And then I thought about how nice it would be to have a steady paycheck again, and a 401(k) plan, and even paid vacation days! (What are those?)
I even made a new set of pros and cons where mysteriously the pros had doubled in size:
The money had completely consumed me, and I had totally convinced myself that only an idiot would turn down such an amazing offer, and that I needed to call them back ASAP and do whatever it took to get the deal back on the table.
And so I did, and they were still all for it!, meaning all we had to do now was to sign the paperwork and make it official…
But (yet another) interesting thing happened at that point.
What was supposed to take just one week, turned into a waiting game of weeks, and then months, with the occasional “we’re working on it!” and “we’ll be back to it shortly!” messages few and far between.
And while I had made peace with my decision, deep down I was afraid I had let the money creep in way too far and I started doubting my decision yet again. My heart caught on too:
“What the hell are you doing, man??” – it screamed
“I thought we already went over this!”
“He’s making that $$$$!” – my Wallet piped in.
“It’s a million freakin’ dollars!”
“Well if everything explodes, he’s just lost the one thing he enjoys doing the most for a living – AND he leaves his community behind in its wake…”
“I have never lost to you, Wallet, and I don’t plan on doing so now!” – Heart threatened back
“Oh pipe down over there…” – Wallet grumbled, as he went back to taking a nap… (I don’t know why I picture my wallet being so grumpy, haha….)
The longer the waiting period went, the longer I regretted the decision (again) and secretly wanted the deal to just fall apart once and for all so I could move on.
Because the one main regret I had – more than any others – was not putting “my all” into my projects the last few years.
I had my moments here and there, and really did do my best as far as my articles were concerned, but I certainly turned it off from there and quit going after all those ideas of making my projects *better* as a whole. I felt I was only using a solid 60 or 70% of my potential, and while there was probably a million (semi-valid) reasons for it, the fact remained that I hadn’t fought for anything decent in a while.
And over these months of waiting, this loss of potential REALLY started to become a big deal to me.
Taking this deal would mean never building out a list of ideas I’ve always wanted to do, like building a platform for all of us to engage way more around money. Or my blogger directory I really wanted to get off the ground. Or even my philanthropy project I’ve been half-assing all year that I still very much want to blow out of the water w/ y’all!!
The strategy I once had of “just chillin’ and going with the flow” started to not work so well anymore. And here I was about to flush it down the toilet in order to fatten up my bank account more.
Which, again, certainly had its set of pros as I’ve clearly outlined above ;), but the question I started to consider more was “which life would make me happier?” Writing for someone else with a larger stack of cash, or following my dreams once and for all and taking a chance on the money? (And if all went well, making even *more so* down the road?)
Then FinCon hit, and everything became more clear.
Two days before our financial blogging conference, I got an explanation from the company as to why our talks had stalled out (wasn’t anything to do with me or our deal) and they were finally ready to get things moving again…
Only of course at this point I was all kinds of confused, and had to laugh out loud when they followed it with “unless you changed your mind again.” :) (Though because of the delayed talks, they stated they’d understand.)
So what I decided to do was to use this time at the conference to pretend I had turned down the deal and gone “all in” on myself, and then see how I felt when I came back.
Would I still be just as wishy-washy? Would all my fellow bloggers laugh at my ideas when I shared my vision with them? Would it convince me that I was better off just taking the money and continue blogging under new management?
- I told my friends all the ideas I wanted to do for our community, and they loved it
- I then told them all the ideas I had for us bloggers and our industry, and they loved that too
- I even told them about that new philanthropy project I had started on the side, and everyone was “in” on that as well! In fact, one friend even took out a $50 bill right from his wallet and gave it to me on the spot (!!!).
To cap it all off, on the last night of the conference, I was then humbly honored with the “Lifetime Achievement” award at our industry award show.
My immediate thought? “THANK GOD NO ONE KNOWS I’M ABOUT TO SELL MY SITES!!!”
Only of course by this point it was obvious I couldn’t go down that route anymore, and that very next day I decided that I had to end the talks and bet it all on myself.
(It actually took three more weeks to officially do that as the company still wasn’t ready to chat, but we parted ways just last week and they were more than understanding about it all. In fact, they even offered to partner up in different ways down the line!)
So what does this mean for Budgets Are Sexy and Rockstar Finance? And what about this crazy sabbatical talk?
Well, it means that both Budgets Are Sexy and Rockstar Finance are both very much still alive and well right now, and also still very much owned by me :) Who knows what the future will hold, but for right now you’re stuck with me and it’s time to finally get all my ideas out the door! And I have a lot of them!
To do this, however, I’ll need to take a step back from writing for a bit so I can catch my breath and get re-energized again. These past few months have been emotionally draining, and after 9 years and writing 2,200 posts non-stop, it’s finally time to give myself a break :)
So for the next *month* I won’t be publishing anything new on this blog here, BUT, I’ll still very much be around and accessible online.
- You can catch me on Twitter, Facebook any time
- You can leave comments here still which I’ll continue to respond to (esp on this post! ;))
- You can email me any time you want! (budgets are sexy @ gmail . com)
- Or you can participate in any of the following projects I’ve decided to build on my “time off” :)
The three projects I’ll be building on my time off:
#1. Our new money forum!! In fact, this puppy is already live and just waiting for people to go in and start chatting :) I got it up last week so I’d have a place to “hang out” every day and still chat with y’all, and it’s the piece I’ve wanted most over the years. Come check it out! forums.rockstarfinance.com
(PS: I created a private blogging forum in there too if anyone wants to talk shop without annoying the non-bloggers, haha… Just drop me a message on this thread here once you’re logged in, and I’ll make sure you’re approved)
#2. The Personal Finance Blogger Directory! So we can all find other amazing blogs to follow! If you’re a $$$ blogger, fill out this form here and you’ll be one of the first to be featured once I publish it! (We’re going to capture a TON of great data for it, so it’s shaping up to be something cool): http://rockstarfinance.com/
#3. The Community Fund :) I don’t have anything to share with you on this part yet, but the essence here is to help give hope to all those struggling HARD with money in our community. Those deep in debt, barely able to keep up with the bills (or put food on the table), and just genuinely good-hearted people going through really tough patches. There’s still a lot to figure out, but if you’re into this sorta thing and want to be a part of it, shoot me a note and I’ll tap you as soon as we have more info.
And that’s the long and short of it :)
I had an offer to buy out my sites for almost a million dollars over two years, and declined it. Then got consumed by the money and changed my mind and accepted it! Then did some major soul searching as the deal miraculously got delayed for over 3 months, and ultimately ended up rejecting it again.
All to realize that I had to go balls to the wall on my dreams and finally use my full potential!
Time will tell if I ended up making the right decision in the end, but I guess it’s hard to fail all the way if you’re betting on yourself, right? And shouldn’t I have been a LOT more excited to take a deal than I was?? I don’t think it should be grueling, at least?
Anyways, as I started to write back in August, everything is changing, and nothing is changing.
Only this time heading in the right direction :)
See you guys in a month! Thank you SO MUCH for all your support over the years!!
UPDATE: I’m baaaaaaaack! What did I miss? :)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!