This is a little bit overdue. I was planning to publish this post on the first Saturday of the month, but suddenly I had so many things to do at once, and then it was my birthday weekend, followed by a long-awaited vacation to my favourite place in the country.
And while I had initially planned to work on the blog and finish other work-related tasks while on vacation, once I got there, I decided against it.
I felt like I needed this time to have as much fun as possible and not be distracted by my never-ending tasks. So everything was delayed to when I got back home. Although that meant there were piles of things to do waiting for me, I’m still glad I got this time for myself.
TRJ Update: The End Of My One-Year Journey
- Back to the beginning..
- Lessons learned
- The discouragement
- Future of this blog
- Final words..
Back to the beginning..
One year ago (on the 1st of December last year, to be exact), I published my very first article on this blog, introducing myself to a world that did not know I existed, yet.
The thoughts in my mind at the time were unclear. I had a dream and a goal and I was willing to experiment and research my way to achieve it.
A few days ago, I came across this recording of myself that I apparently recorded at the end of December 2018. Sometimes I would record notes for my articles first before attempting to write them.
It made me smile listening to my thoughts in the beginning of this journey. This was me thinking out loud about what I am planning to do on this journey. I had been recording for 45 minutes here, those were the last few words..
Those are some of the things that I think are important takeaways and tips I learned. Some of them I learned firsthand, through trial and error, and some I’ve learned from others along the way.
- Separate business affairs from family. Just because we’re family, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have contracts or write down our shares and interests, etc.
Some people think this weakens your bond, assuming that if you do so, it means you don’t trust each other, but this is just complete foolery. Doing that actually saves people from any possible disagreements or problems in the future.
- When it comes to money and business, don’t trust someone just because you “think” you know them. One should always be cautious and treat everyone as a stranger when it comes to your money.
I actually fell for this mistake, and I almost lost more than 90% of all my money, because I didn’t pay attention to a missing word in a contract I signed. Luckily, I am able to retrieve the money but might still lose part of the interest I was supposed to get.
- Money shows you the material of the people around you. Whether abundance or lack thereof, when it happens, it really shows what people are made of. Their true colours shine and sometimes it’s quite surprising.
- It is okay to reorder your priorities midway. I was focused on growing my social media at some point, to benefit the blog, specifically Twitter and Pinterest. And I was making great progress with the plan I was following.
However, an unexpected project came up, and I needed to give it my full attention which lead to having to let go of my initial plan and adapting a new one.
I saw my Pinterest views go from 40K to 4K in a matter of weeks. At first, it was disheartening to see, but then I thought to myself, “you’ve got more important things now. It is okay to change the plan.”
Besides, I did it once, I can do it again.
- Blogging makes money, but not everyone is going to make money blogging. This is a crowded field and everyone is trying to have part of the cake. The sooner you realize this the better. It will help you make the right decisions when it comes to your blog.
This blog cost me a little over 300 USD so far, and I didn’t even make 1/5 of that amount. But I already knew this would be the case from the beginning, and this is why I only paid for what I found to be a top priority.
- Social media is key to getting recognized as a blogger. You need to have at least one dedicated account for your blog on any platform.
- SEO is the way to get consistent traffic to your blog. This month, I have not been promoting anything and I have not published a single article, yet I still got site visitors and views close to my average monthly rates because of search engines.
Following the list of things I have learned and achieved in this previous update:
- I self-published my very first ebook. (Only available on Kindle at the moment.)
- My blog ranks #1 on Google’s search result page for one keyword and ranks #3 for another keyword, without paying for any tools or courses.
- I wrote the article I wished I could find when I first started my journey towards passive income and investments. It’s about passive income in Egypt (and for which I rank #1 on Google now).
- I got my Pinterest account to 40 K views in around 5 weeks and during which it’s become one of my main sources of traffic, without paying for any tools or courses.
- I passed my saving goal for the year.
- I started a regular monthly challenge, #TheRayChallenge, to improve my life and daily habits and to encourage those around me to do the same. I’m so proud of this challenge and of all those who have been joining me and making progress so far.
- I created TRJ For Bloggers which, in a way, is becoming some form of a small community of bloggers. I never thought that I would be able to run such thing and not have it end up a flop.
So, I’m grateful for everyone who helped it get off the ground and all the bloggers who participate in the activities, public and private, and make this as helpful as it is. Hopefully, it will still continue to grow much further and reach and help more bloggers.
I wasn’t going to add this next part in this post because part of me didn’t want to publicly share these thoughts. I think I felt it will be viewed as some kind of failure, but then I reminded myself that this whole thing is about sharing what this journey is like and my experience in pursuing this goal, so I shouldn’t leave anything out.
The thing is, at this time last year, I was a lot more hopeful and excited. I was looking forward to conquering this unknown path with a full energy bar! Even though reaching financial freedom was a vague dream that I was uncertain of, I was excited for it.
Now, knowing and experiencing how hard it actually is and the risks you must take, and the pressure you have with each decision you have to make, knowing that if it is the wrong one, it will come at a cost, huge cost, all this has made me a little less excited than I was when I started.
I haven’t lost hope. Not even a little bit. This is something that I am fully determined to achieve and I will. But now I guess I just have a more realistic view on things. I see how it can be glamorous, freeing, and fun, and also how it can be frustrating, upsetting, and unsettling.
Do I have any regrets?
Like I wrote in my blog intro, I knew this was not something that can be achieved in a single year. Yet, still for a moment there, as I was reflecting on those past months to write this post, for a moment a thought popped up in my head..
“I haven’t achieved my financial freedom yet.. So did I really just waste this whole year?”
It is almost as if my brain was searching for some form of regret, I was checking if deep down I regret doing this.
But an immediate answer followed, “nope, not one bit.”
I have learned so much in those 12 months that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t take the decision to dedicate my time for research. I’m happy I took this step and I will continue working towards my goal.
Now, I know it is something I can achieve. When I first started, I wasn’t sure if it is possible for someone like me to achieve such goal, but now I know it is.
Future of this blog
I have not decided yet what I will do exactly with this blog after the year ends. I mean, I will not stop blogging entirely; there is still a lot more to explore and a lot more to learn. I have also been considering the idea of exploring more niches.
What I do know, though, is that I will not be focused on writing articles for a while. I have been researching for 12 months. I need to shift my focus now from the research to the application. However, the blog will still be open for guest bloggers who wish to share their advice and experience on here.
I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with amazing bloggers, many of whom I’m lucky to also call friends. They taught me, and everyone who read their articles on this blog, some valuable information, and for that I am immensely grateful.
Those past few weeks, I’ve been receiving emails from more bloggers who have some really good ideas to share here, so do check back and keep an eye out for new articles because there is still more to come.
I didn’t have great expectations of what the outcome would be by the end of this year, because I knew the things I am pursuing are far bigger and would take much more than a one-year deadline. However, I am quite content with how far I have reached, financially, physically, and mentally.
I have learned and achieved many things this past year that I honestly think this might be my most productive year since I graduated college. I am not the same person I was December of last year, I am better in every way.
This goes to show you, a lot can happen in only one year. So, don’t take time lightly. Every day counts. And every small step you take now will eventually lead to a greater change. Just make sure you are headed in the right direction; the one that you truly desire.
I may still not be financially independent and haven’t reached financial freedom; I will most likely also need to find a day job soon, but I don’t regret dedicating this year for this goal, because if I hadn’t, this would have always been just a far, far away dream, an unattainable goal, something I can only daydream about during the lunch break of my boring job.
But now, it is no longer a dream. Now I know I can achieve it, and I have taken several steps towards it. It will still take a lot more time and effort, but the road is now paved for me to travel it, knowing that I’m not following a senseless dream but a real, plausible goal.
Last but not least, I want to say thank you to anyone who’s reading this and everyone who joined me, cheered me on, and encouraged me this past year! You are all amazing people and I’m so happy our paths crossed.
This may be the end of my one-year journey, but it is certainly not the end of The Ray Journey.
Till next time, happy days (and happy new year)!