200th Post

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It is amazing to me that this is the 200th post I have made on MrFireStation.com since launching the site 18 months ago.  I started the blog as a way to capture my journey to early retirement and share the experience with others.  I hoped to meet some like-minded strangers and have a place for close friends to get the low-down on my secret escape from MegaCorp.

BACKGROUND

For at least the last 10 years, I was a voracious hunter of information on retiring early and especially liked to read the accounts of what it was like to walk into your boss’s office and quit for once and for all.  I enjoyed reading people’s stories on early-retirement.org and posts on the the Mr. Money Moustache forums through Reddit.

Part of the inspiration for the site came from some thinking I was doing on purpose in early retirement. I think the highest order of purpose is helping others in need and I wondered if I could help others learn what I had learned about financial planning and living debt free. I thought starting a column or website could be an outlet for that.

THE NUMBERS

My goal was to get to 100 readers.  I thought that would make the endeavor of writing posts worthwhile and at the same time I would learn more about the publishing on the internet and building a follower base.  It is amazing that after 18 months the website has exceeded my original goals FIFTEEN-FOLD.

After 200 posts here is the “reach” that the site has achieved …

  • 8,772 total visitors (averaging >1,500/month now)
  • 63,750 pageviews (averaging >10,000/month now)
  • 1,000+ followers on Twitter
  • 190+ WordPress & email subscribers

I know from following other blogs in this space that these numbers will seem amazingly high or incredibly low. I have looked at other blogs totals and thought the same. I think what is most important is deciding whether your effort is worth the time you are putting into it.  The growth in readership has been exponential – It took me 12 months to get 5K pageviews and now I get that in 2 weeks.

I started promoting the site more heavily on Twitter just in the last 6 months. I have used Crowdfire to organize Tweets and try to push out 4-5 a day. My son taught me to find people and follow them on Twitter and I just passed a thousand followers. I probably could have double or triple that exposure if I spent more time on it, but I’m probably spending as much time as I am going to.  There are also a lot of things I haven’t figured out.  How to do WordPress plug-ins to help people subscribe and do other cool things is beyond me.

I am amazed to see that visitors to the site have come from over 76 different countries. It is shocking to me to see that there has been 98 pageviews from Kazakhstan when 18 months ago I am not sure I could have found that country on this map.  (Looking at the map, I am a bit disappointed I haven’t gotten any visitors from Greenland, although my understanding is that it is a territory of Denmark, which has racked up 45 page views).

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BIG POSTS

The most popular articles all come from my “Milestone” series which details each of the significant steps we took to early retirement.  The posts between February and April of this year, when I announced and finally left for early retirement were the most read by far:

Originally, I tried to publish three posts per week. After six months of that, I switched to just publishing Monday & Wednesday and putting a “Friday Fun” quote out to finish the week. Only since actually retiring have I skipped an occasional Wednesday post. It is harder to find content once retired because you can’t complain about corporate life anymore (and that is a rich vein!)

The time I do spend writing, reading, commenting, responding, and tweeting works out to about 4-5 hours a week. Half of that is purely in post writing – which I enjoy the most. Friends ask me how long I’m going to keep doing it and I’m not sure what the answer is yet. I think my most interesting posts (announcing, winding down, and actually leaving for early retirement) are behind me at this point, but the story isn’t truly complete until I’ve wrapped up a full year of goofing off.

THE FIRE COMMUNITY

I have enjoyed getting to know other bloggers online and hearing about their lives and plans. Talking about money and quitting jobs is awkward in real life, so it is fun to have an anonymous community online. I do feel like a bit of the “old guy” around here because I’m 50 and many others are closing in on FIRE in their 30s and early 40s. Most of them are still on their way to FIRE, so I try to play a bit of the “elder statesman” in my comments, since I’ve reached the goal many are still shooting for. This is a funny contrast with my real life, where 50 seems impossibly young to retire to most people I meet.

I’ve really appreciated getting to know readers and fellow bloggers through the comments that roll in after every post is published.  I get very interesting comments from so many people, but none more than Brian at DebtDiscipline.com, Lynn at EncoreVoyage.com, the wonderful couple at OurNextLife.com (who are amazingly prolific commenters!), Pat at RetirementTransition,  Matt at TheResumeGap.com, Maggie at NorthernExpenditure.com, and Janis at RetirementallyChallenged.  The most commented post I ever had was the day I formally announced my early retirement at work.  There were almost 40 comments on that post – it was a day filled with a lot of well-wishes that meant a lot to me.

There are also some wonderful fellow bloggers that have sent a lot of traffic to this site and shared the story I have been telling on their own sites: Joe at RetireBy40.org, Steve at ThinkSaveRetire.com, PhysicianOnFire.com, Sam at FinancialSamurai.com, OurNextLife.com, and RootOfGood.com.  I am very grateful to them all and a regular reader of each and every one of their blogs.   I see a lot of blogs in this genre featured on RockStarFinance.com, but I’ve been disappointed to not have caught their eye, because I do like their content a lot.

So that is it.  200 posts are now “in the can” and we’ll keep pushing forward. Please keep up your comments, questions, and snappy remarks.  I especially like the snappy remarks!

I am also interested in your comments on the topics you would like to hear about now that I am almost 3 months retired.  What is it about achieving the life of FIRE that you are most interested in?

Image Credit: WritingTheDay

34 thoughts on “200th Post

  1. It is great following bloggers at all stages of the FIRE continuum. What I’ve enjoyed most about your posts since retiring are updates on how you’re spending time these days, how the transition has played out, and how your financials evolve in retirement (for example: your new car purchase and other financial goals). Congrats on reaching 200!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ll be sure to log in the next time I’m in Iceland or Greenland! OK, I’ve never been to Greenland, but I’ve taken advantage of multi-day layovers in Iceland a couple times.

    Congrats on your success; writing for an audience is certainly more satisfying than keeping a diary. I’ve enjoyed following along, and hope to continue reading updates for some time.

    I see that you haven’t made any effort to monetize, which is very respectable. However, if I was in your shoes, I would make an effort to earn a little money from the site to add to the OMY fund. My ad revenue funds a charitable mission which drives me to constantly improve the site.

    Best,
    -PoF

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great point! – “Writing for an audience is more satisfying than keeping a diary”. Yes, I probably should figure out how to monetize – putting the money toward our charitable fund is a great idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the milestone! Still amazes me to see the worldwide reach blogs have. You can submit your content over at RockStar you might want to give that a try. Thanks for including me on #200!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi there! I found you from
    Twitter 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your blogging stats and your early retirement journey!

    Like you, I’m also an FIer and early retiree. Though I definitely don’t have your wisdom because I’m only 33 and still trying to figure out this “thing called life”. After I quit, I got to travel the world, which has been truly eye-opening and a life changing experience.

    I feel the same way you do about the FI community. They are so supportive and it’s wonderful to meet like-minded people who just “get” you. Most of my ex-coworkers and friends just think I’m nuts.

    Anyhoo…I’m always happy to meet fellow early retirees, so if you have time, feel free to chat with me on my blog (www.millennial-revolution.com) or Twitter (@FIRECracker_Rev). Congrats on your 200th post (wow!) and looking forward to chatting with you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds great – and thanks for reaching out! It is always fun to find a new friend out online. That is amazing that you retired in your 30s! I probably could have done it by the time I was 40, but it would’ve required a lot more frugal living then I was willing to do. I will check out your blog and we can chat…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on your 200th post! That’s quite an accomplishment. I’m only 25 and still quite a few years from FIRE, so I think both refreshers on how to get started and stay the course AND stories about the awesomeness of early retirement are awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi –

    Just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying your blog! As someone who has been thinking about, and saving for retirement since I got my first job in high school, it’s really cool to hear from someone who’s made it!

    I turn 39 this year, and have a target of retiring at 53… inspiring that it can be done!

    Hope all is well with you and your family!

    Ben

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Ben – I really enjoyed working with you! Great to hear that you’ve been so focused on it for so long. Send me a note with your contact information on Facebook and let’s get together for a beer!

      Like

  7. Congrats for your achievements!

    It’s a pleasure to follow you Mr FireStation, here you have follower from Switzerland who got inspired by your Life Wheel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Switzerland – What a beautiful place. Mountains, glacial lakes, and cheese! I’m going to give another “Life Wheel” update next month after I’ve been early retired 100 days.

      Like

  8. Congrats on you milestone! You’ve obviously found a hot-button topic to blog about – a lot of people want to learn more about being financially aware and getting themselves in the position to retire early (or retire at all). Thanks for the blog mention! I look forward to your future posts as you move further into your retirement!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the well wishes – it’s not a huge topic area, but one that people are very passionate about. My son actually started a teen tech blog (cell phone rumors and the like) the same time I started this and he had more reads in 2 weeks than I had in my first year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t think of you as the “old guy” at all! I’m hoping to follow in your path and also retire at 50 so your blog is right up my alley 🙂

    Have you written a post around anything you would have done differently during your journey? I’m turning 40 this year and would love to hear your thoughts on what went well and what could have gone better. Any advice you can share would be helpful. If you’ve already written about this, direct me to it and I’ll check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ive been thinking about a post called “Financial Failures & Foibles” and add up how much certain mistakes have cost us over the years. I think the number is probably in the hundreds of thousands. Watch for it …

      Like

  10. Thanks for putting this together, I would be curious to hear what it is like to draw from a nest egg that took so long to build (sorry if you already posted something similar in the past!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats on the mini milestone. That’s an impressive weekly posting rate.
    Like the idea of mistakes / stumbles or lessons learned.
    And how you constructed your portfolio. Don’t need to see any net worth or stuff like that , just portfolio allocation.
    Look forward to more good stuff!!

    Like

  12. Congrats on #200. I’m also a novice with Twitter and don’t have enough posts yet to keep tweeting about.
    You are an inspiration to me and although I’m in my early 40s I love your idea of being able to reach that milestone in the same decade. I’d love to hear about the emotional parts of early retirement, especially as it relates to your identity. I hope the story has not got to its peak/excitement – you are just getting started! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks & good thought. “Identity” is an interesting topic and one that I think a lot of people worry about. I had executive roles for most of my career, but don’t miss it. I find the title “retired before I turned 50” a title few can match for status! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey here Fire, thank you soooo much for the link! Your post made me chuckle…Hubs went to his first meeting of an “old car guy club” (we’re not sure whether it’s old cars or old guys), and when he walked into the coffee shop, one of the men jokingly said, “You’re not welcome here – You’re obviously not old enough to collect social security!” And you are a young one! We’ve got you beat by a couple of years! Congrats on your 200th post. The care and feeding of a blog takes a great deal of time and energy! Yours is well worth the effort! Cheers to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! I went to our church retired men’s club today (for the second time) and I felt like I was crashing the party. Once we started chatting, people were very interested in my unusual status.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for the shoutout. I sooooo need to learn how to do that! And congrats on #200!! I’m approaching a milestone myself – 2 years retired/one year blogging. I have found in the 2 years, it’s good to reflect on the milestones! I’m looking forward to your next series of milestones (100 days, 6 months, 1 year) to see if all your emotional preparedness allows your transition into this next stage to go as smoothly as I hope it does! And to learn from another young, but not so young, retiree… now living the RE part of FIRE. I can’t wait till you get your first “senior discount”…. that’ll be a fun post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve gotten the AARP subscription card in the mail, but no offers of a senior discount. I think those will initially come in about 5 years @ age 55 – isn’t that right?

      Like

      • They are all over the board! Anything from 50 to 55 to 62 to 65! I asked today on a theater subscription – they had “weekday senior” as a possibility… it was 65. But we went to a Culver’s restaurant last month and it was 50! 10% off dinner. She asked first about military (also 10%) and then said something along the … well, you’re certainly not the senior discount. I said, what age do you qualify? 50! Hey, it was 10%. I’m starting to ask when it’s listed, because, why not! I haven’t been given it automatically yet… I guess (as a woman) that’s a good thing!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. You’ve been a busy bee! 200 in a year and a half…It’s taken me 2.5 years to get to that number. I guess you must be on FIRE. 😉 Congratulations. Let’s race to 500. Not! (BTW: My condolences for being a fellow MBA. I’m still recovering.)

    Liked by 1 person

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