Money VS Passion: TRJ’s Quarter-Year Update

This post is my first update on my journey so far. If you have been following the journey, or just intrigued to know what I have been up to those past 5 months, then I invite you to read on.

First of all, this is not exactly a “quarter-year,” but I only thought of this post about two weeks ago or so, and I was either going to do it now and be a little behind on the “quarter” part, or wait for it to be like half a year update or something. But I eventually decided to just do it now.

I felt like I should have a post where I document what has been going well for me so far on this journey and what needs improvement. So that I can have an overview of where I am exactly.

I started this journey in December 2018, so this is currently my 5th month on the journey.

I have had some downs and a whole good deal of ups, and I’m working my way through this as hard and as fast as I can.

Downs

I’ll start with the downs first, so I can end this on a positive note.

1. No day job

So far, I haven’t managed to find any day jobs that would allow me to do what I love doing, which is writing.

I enjoy writing, whether it’s blogging here or writing fiction, and living to do just this was my ultimate dream. But, you know, it would have been nice if I managed to get paid for that as well. However, no luck so far in that area.

2. No more Redbubble

Another bad news is that my online store on Redbubble, which was actually bringing in some profit, got suspended for no reason about 2 months ago.

I figured it out by chance, when I was checking for broken links on my website here and found that my store’s link was one of them. I mean imagine finding out like that; not a very pleasant surprise.

I contacted them a dozen times, for about 3 weeks, and I received no answer. Until I eventually tweeted them and someone replied to me a week later.

They said my account seems to have had some kind of a “suspicious activity” that violated their rules or so and which has resulted in suspending it.

Now I have not logged into my account nor uploaded any new designs for over 3 months prior to this suspension. So, there is no way in hell I had anything to do with this activity.

When I tried to have a better explanation as to what kind of activity exactly that would be considered “suspicious,” to the point that they would suspend an account without even a notice; their reply was that they don’t know and they can’t tell me what it is exactly.

That was it. They literally shut down a person’s source of income with absolutely no explanations.

They shut it down and they don’t even know why it was shut down. However, they still banned me from ever using their service again.

I wrote a post some time ago about my experience with print-on-demand websites and I talked about how much I love and recommend Redbubble as a free online shop, I sincerely take that back now. Please do not use this service.

I wholeheartedly believed it was an amazing service at the time, but you can only judge something based on your experience and what you have seen, and at that time, I only saw a great service. But now and after how they’ve treated this whole situation, I honestly would just recommend you go for any of the other alternatives on that list.

3. No books read

So, I had a plan to read a book every month. One book that would help me progress and benefit me on this journey; and I would write a review about it here to share the best ideas discussed with everyone.

However, I only managed to read 2 books throughout the past 5 months.

I will try to get into the habit of audiobooks, because apparently having to stare at words on a screen 24/7 is not making me very enthusiastic about seeing more words on any other page.

Ups

Now to the good and productive side of the journey!

1. Investment

I mentioned in a previous post that I started my first investment in real estate through a local home construction company; starting with a very humble amount of money, the least amount they accepted actually.

This one is successful so far and is supposed to provide a little amount of interest in the next few days, as a quarter year profit, which will hopefully help with my saving up target for the year.

2. Saving Goal

Speaking of saving up, I’m sort of halfway through my annual saving goal, so this is good news as well.

I have been practicing a lot of ways to help minimize my spendings as much as possible, since my income is not that great at the moment. So, I follow these saving money tips religiously.

I still need to find some form of a stable job though, since it’s apparently the only way I will be able to progress a bit faster with my goals.

3. Retirement Account

I was in the bank a few weeks ago and I was asking about the available index funds to see if I could afford any.

And I found something else, that is a bit similar, which is a type of insurance that withdraws a fixed amount from your bank account on a monthly basis and provides a certain profit every year.

The profit percentage is not fixed and it is mostly connected with the economy, so it is sort of a similar thing to index funds; however instead of making one-time payment to buy a fund, I make smaller monthly payments, which kind of suits my current financial situation.

So, I opened an account there and this is considered my first long-term investment method. (If you are in Egypt and want to know more about it, just contact me.)

4. Knowledge

I have learned so many new things in those past few months.

Some things I have already implemented in my life and practice and some are things that will help me in a bit of a long-term, such as the various investment methods that would make it easier for me to see what exactly I would want to do with my money once I have enough of it.

5 months ago, I had absolutely zero knowledge in any and all of the below.

a. Making Money

  • I learned how to become a host and make money with Airbnb. I was planning to put that to practice a bit earlier, but decided to put it off for personal reasons. However, I still have it on the list of things I will be doing soon.
  • I learned how to invest in index funds, and I consider this to be one of the highlights of my accomplishments, if I say so myself. This is also the first thing coming up on my list once I have enough money to put in a fund.

B. Blogging

I have learned a lot of tips and ways to help with my blog’s performance, whether it be through applying SEO or other methods that I shared here to drive more traffic.

Learning this stuff and applying them gradually has made a noticeable difference in the way the blog has been performing.

Below is a graph of my views and visitors from December 1st until April 25th. And I will not be sharing any numbers, because my focus is not on the numbers at all, just as it shouldn’t be anyone else’s, as long as progress is being made.

The point is that this curve/chart is going upwards, not a flatline and not heading downwards. That is the only thing that matters in stats.

Blog stats (views/visitors) from the period of Dec 1st to Apr 25th

Since I learned about Google’s SEO and applied most of what I learned to my website, I’ve definitely started seeing a difference in traffic, in that, I have been gaining a lot more visitors from search engines, Google and others, in the past few weeks than I have been since I started this blog.

There is no graph I could manage to get from the WordPress stats to show this progress.

But here’s how my website has been performing as recorded on Google Search Console from Dec 29th till Apr 23rd.

Google Search Console stats for my website from Dec 29 to Apr 23

I learned a lot about Pinterest, too, and how to use it to drive traffic to your website.

I’m still working on seeing results from this one as I have just started; but I did see my very first few clicks from Pinterest last week, and my curve is also moving upwards. So, hopefully, I’m on the right track.

Below is a graph of the profile reach stats over the past few weeks since I started working on the account, from March 27th to Apr 25th.

Pinterest profile reach from March 27 to Apr 25

C. Wellbeing

I have also learned how to manage goals and set up clear and achievable plans.

I developed a lot of habits that has helped my productivity, such as creating lists for everything, which has hugely impacted my life, to be honest, and helps me achieve my daily goals every day.

Also, thanks to this, my house is always clean now, because I’m rocking those chores! That’s probably too much information for you, but I wanted to put this out there: Little accomplishments count, too.

I’m physically much better than I was a few months ago, too, thanks to a workout routine, a few detox challenges here and there, and learning more about physical health and ways to keep a good posture to ease my neck and back pain.

I’m also mentally motivated, blogging-wise, thanks to a great company of bloggers who have found and read my blog and granted me with nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award, the Blogger Recognition Award, and the Sunshine Blogger Award, which I am yet to publish a post about.

5. Great Company

Speaking of great company, last but definitely not least, throughout the past few months, I have met so many amazing people.

Some of them couldn’t have been more supportive of my journey and never seem to miss an opportunity to cheer for me and lift me up with their comments and feedback.

And some of them have inspired me in a lot of different ways, and maybe without them even knowing it.

But all of them are incredibly nice and friendly people with genuine personalities that have left a huge positive impact on me.

And I would like to take this moment to give them a shoutout, just because I can (in no particular order, websiteTwitter).

Erin@Erinbabysteps
A. Jackson@AMisanthrope1
Hannah‏@PagePlacePlate
Vanessa@TheWblogger
Sandy@sundaywithsandy
Mikaela@fit_blondie_mj 
Roger@mindandlove1
Syeda@Gurru_Says
Mama Robbins@MamaRobbinsLife
Alpana@chand_alpana
M. Lanen@lanendevries
Sophie Alice@prosateuse
Kenzie@MsKenzieMack

These people have been the cause of some of my smiles, giggles, or laughters; they either taught me something new or just been such great companions that made my journey, so far, a much more enjoyable one!

I cannot wait to meet more amazing people and learn more and, hopefully, achieve more of my goals to eventually reach the ultimate one: Becoming my own boss.

Till next week, happy days!

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Blogger Recognition Award (x5)

blogger recognition award - the ray journey
There is no official badge for the award, so I just designed this one. Feel free to use it or create your own.

I am extremely humbled and honored to have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award five times in the past 3 weeks. It is honestly wonderful to be recognized for my work by my amazing fellow bloggers.

My first nomination was by one of my favourites, Roger Petersen (mind and love).

Roger’s blog is a place where he shares thoughts on life and all that comes with it. I really love the way he writes posts in the form of a story, because his story-telling technique is brilliant and he has such a good sense of humor that makes it all the more fun to read.

Make sure to check his blog out, you’ll grow addicted.

I was then nominated by Gurru Says and Mama Robins (An Undistracted Life). And it is ironic because these two amazing bloggers were already on my list of nominees when I was preparing this post after my first nomination. But they both beat me to it!

Gurru Says is probably the most versatile blog you will come across, you will get lost there in all the different kinds of information you can learn. You definitely shouldn’t miss this one.

Mama Robins’ blog is about self-improvement, family and parenting. She shares so many valuable information and life lessons to learn. So make sure to check it out too!

I then got nominated for the award by the ever so lovely, Emily Mae Hood (New York Family Adventures). She writes about ways to go on adventures and explore the world around you within your budget. It’s a really lovely blog and you can read more about how she started it here.

An update to include the 5th nomination by one of my very good blogger friends Sean Flac (Sean Flac 2.0). His blog is a mix of health and fitness, consumer product reviews, parenting and a lot more. Make sure to check it out!

About the Award

The Blogger’s Recognition Award is an award handed out by bloggers to bloggers to recognize the hard work, effort, and dedication they are putting into their blog.

It was created as a symbol of approval and motivation; and to let readers know more about other bloggers who deserved to be followed.

Award Rules

  • Write a post displaying your award.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Nominate 10-15 bloggers who you believe deserve to be recognized.
  • Let the nominees know they have been nominated.

How My Blog Started

I started this blog two months after I had quit a job I hated, and at a time when I was uncertain of what my next step was going to be.

All I knew at that time was that my goal was to create a life for myself where I don’t need to work in a job I hated just because it pays.

So I started searching for alternative ways to have income, and I found that the one thing most of those people who succeeded in achieving financial independence had in common was that they all had some kind of an expertise and an outlet to share it on.

It was either a book, a course, a website, a youtube channel, or a podcast. Some kind of an outlet to have a presence and share their knowledge, and maybe even charge for it, because they were experts in one field or more.

So, I sat there and wondered how to do this myself. What is it that I know so well, or that I am so good at, that other people would be interested in learning? What can I offer?

To my sad surprise, I had a big, fat nothing. I had not excelled in anything that was worth sharing with anyone.

This was a moment where I felt a huge disappointment in myself; but I wanted, no actually, I needed to get out of this situation and figure a way to make it happen. I started to think, “how can I do something different? What will make someone interested in listening to what I have to say even though I am not an expert?”

That’s when the idea of this blog came to me.

I figured most of those websites in the specific niche of creating financial freedom are created by people who have already made it.

I can be different by being me, being honest about my situation and my journey. I’m going to be sharing from the point of view of the beginner who is still trying to learn and figure everything out themselves. I will share what anyone like myself would have to go through to achieve the kind of success that those experts have reached.

And I hoped that maybe this would create some kind of connection with whoever reads my words; that they would find that the information I share really helpful and do tackle the areas that they would have wanted to search for, if they were heading towards the same path.

This idea for a blog came to me sometime during the last 3 days of November 2018 and I published my 1st post on the 1st of December 2018. The speed of which this happened was because I didn’t want to have second thoughts about it.

I just needed to start, take a step ahead and not worry about the outcome.

Fast forward to April 2019, my blog is actually being read by a good number of people and I am writing a post sharing my nomination for my fifth blogging award and being recognized by my fellow bloggers.

So, yea, so far it’s going great!

Two Pieces of Advice For New Bloggers

I feel it’s funny I would be giving an advice, given that I sort of am a new blogger myself, but here are my two cents:

  • Pay attention to your stats, number of visitors/views, (yes you read that right) because this is how you will measure your progress and know if you are heading forward or backward; however, this should only be for awareness purpose. Do not give it much of your time or energy. Instead, focus most of the time, energy, and attention to the content and the quality of what you are putting out there. When you do your best to create great content, readers will find you and will recognize your work.
  • Be consistent. I know this is probably something that everyone says about blogging. But it really is crucial to any new blogger. And it is not only because you are still trying to build an audience, but also it is for you, for your own sense of accountability. If you are serious about your blog, you need to mentally treat it as such. Once you start slacking and missing one post after the other, you will lose that sense of seriousness and commitment. So, whenever you find yourself losing motivation to create content, remind yourself of the reason why you started in the first place.

List of 15 Nominees

Below is a list of 15 blogs that I have enjoyed reading and believe they should be recognized for their work.

I also tried to list ones that did not receive this award before; however, if you already did, I guess you just deserve more of them then!

The nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award (in alphabetical order, yes I did):

  1. Baby Boomer Super Saver
  2. Baby Steps
  3. Frantasmagoria
  4. Going Places with Kendra
  5. Hedy Zhou
  6. In Asian Spaces
  7. Kekoas Korner
  8. Life of Siobhan
  9. Pinwheels and Piggy Banks
  10. Queen Media Collective
  11. Sam Space
  12. Steph’s Social Pie
  13. The Conflict Expert
  14. Tranquil Trekker
  15. Write On Ejaleigh!‏

Again, a big thank you to the amazing bloggers who nominated me and congrats to all the nominees!

Till the next awards season, happy days!

The Versatile Blogger Award

I usually post on Saturdays, but this is a different and special kind of post.

I have been nominated by the amazing Erin Goddard (Baby Steps) to receive the Versatile Blogger award. And I must say it is such a joy and an honor to be recognized by your fellow bloggers! So, thank you so much for this, Erin!

Erin’s blog has some out-of-the-box ideas for co-parenting and growing together as a couple and a family. She is also the nicest and kindest (and probably the smartest, given her love for math) person you will ever meet. So, make sure to check her blog out!

About the award

The Versatile Blogger award is a way of bringing recognition to bloggers who create versatile, inspirational, and enjoyable content. When nominating a blogger, you put into consideration the effort they put into the writing and the uniqueness of the subjects covered.

Rules of the award

  • If you are nominated, you have been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
  • Include a shout-out to the blogger who nominated you with a link to their blog.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10-15 blogs/bloggers that you have recently discovered or follow regularly for the Versatile Blogger award.

7 facts about me

I am not entirely sure what kind of facts I should be posting here. So, here is some random stuff that no one really needs to know.

  1. I know this can cause a lot of frowns, but I do not like cats. (And I’m being delicate in my expression here when I say “don’t like”; my feelings are quite more aggressive than that.)
  2. I was born left-handed, but not anymore.. (thanks, Mom!)
  3. Arabic is my first language. (Adding this because I’m not sure if it’s obvious or not.)
  4. I have never been on a train.
  5. I love food. All of it. (But I can’t eat most of it because I have one angry stomach here!)
  6. This may or may not cause more frowns, but I haven’t watched any (an episode or a film) of the following: Harry Potter, Game Of Thrones, Star Wars, or Star Trek.
  7. Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch.

List of 10 bloggers I nominate

The blogs below (in no particular order) are ones I genuinely enjoy reading and believe they so deserve to receive such nomination. They are run by bloggers who are obviously passionate about creating the best content for their blogs.

So, without further ado, here are the nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award..

(And the Oscar goes to…)

Sorry, this post is sharing more facts than it should.

Nominees!

Again, thank you Erin!

Till the next awards season, happy days!