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Man Vs. Debt Turns One Year Old!… What’s In Store for Year Two?

in MvD Updates

Last week, Man Vs. Debt turned one year old! Whoo-hoo!

It’s been one heck of a ride, but I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to build in this time span.  I wanted to take a very brief look back at the year past, but I really want to concentrate on what lies ahead in year two!

Here’s a couple statistics from my first year in blogging (most via Google Analytics):

  • Subscribers: 5,621
  • Visits: 372,946
  • Pageviews:  769,029
  • Pages/Visit:  2.06 <– proud of this number

Overall, I’m actually proud of all the numbers.  But more important than any single number is the community we’ve manage to wrangle up.  It’s hard to quantify or measure, but it’s an extremely active and passionate bunch.

A well-respected author/blogger at SxSw said he was amazed that when I introduced my first paid product that I didn’t have one (not a single one) negative comment about price and/or charging for content.

I told him what he already knew…  that my community was amazing and connected.  That most knew how much work I had put into it and that I would over deliver 95% of the time.  Even if someone had no use or no interest in the product (there are many in this group), they knew that the far majority (90-95%) of the content would be given away for free as it has been the last year!

I told him, “You know… I really think the majority of my readers are rooting for me to succeed.  I really feel that way…”

So a special thank you to all the people who take the extra step to comment, e-mail, or support the site in any extra way.  You guys are my primary motivation to keep at it.  Even when I slip (more on this later), it’s the community that brings me back up!  :-)

Alright, here’s some more staty-stuff…

The top 10 posts by traffic in my first year blogging!

  1. 67 Ways NOT to Sell a Car <- The only truly viral post I’ve written (Digg.com/MSN.com)
  2. Debt Tsunami:  The Ultimate Method To Pay Off Debt
  3. Dave Ramsey Vs. Suze Orman
  4. 42 Ways to Radically Simplify Your Financial Life
  5. Tyler Durden’s Guide to Personal Finance
  6. Negotiation Tips for Beginners
  7. How Much Crap Do We Really Need? <- The original list of our possessions
  8. How NOT to Suck at Blogging <- 6-month blogging anniversary post
  9. Travel Hacking for Noobs
  10. 33 Ways to Thwart Identity Theft

And one more list…

Top Referring Blogs/Bloggers (not counting Google, Digg, MSN, etc…  actual blogs):

  1. Get Rich Slowly
  2. The Simple Dollar
  3. Life Hacker
  4. Zen Habits
  5. Frugal Dad
  6. WiseBread
  7. ProBlogger
  8. The Art of Non-Conformity
  9. Free Money Finance
  10. Budgets Are Sexy

Let’s transition…

The real reason I haven’t been posting lately…

Yesterday’s April Fools prank was only half a prank.  No, I’m not going to become a watchmaker that includes moving out of my house and leaving Courtney and Milligan.  No, I’m not accepting a full-time job.

What wasn’t a prank was the lack of recent posts.  Before yesterday it had been over 3 weeks since I posted.  By far, the longest void in the life of the blog so far!

And there was a reason for it…

I was burnt out. Crazy, burnt out. More burnt out than I ever have been before.

I know I sound like a broken record, but the guide really did take a lot out of me.  Especially the two weeks leading up to launch.  Not only that, but I only had a hectic 48 hours (after launch) to monitor things and get ready for an 18 hour drive to Austin, Texas for SxSw.

Don’t get me wrong, SxSw was an amazing time (I plan to do a post on my experience), but anyone that was there can tell you that it’s very exhausting.  There are a ton of brilliant like-minded people to meet, panels to attend, parties to go to…  you are basically full-on for 16-18 hours of the day (at least I was).

The business and personal benefits were (and still are) outrageous.  There’s not a chance I miss future SxSws, probably the rest of my life.  Nevertheless, it was terrible timing for me and the long drives both ways didn’t exactly help!

When I got home from SxSw I just crashed.  Hard.  I didn’t want to write another word of personal finance.  I didn’t want to answer any e-mails.  I didn’t want to blog and I certainly didn’t want to plan out the next launch down the road.

So for the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been basically ignoring people.  I’ve let a lot of friends down (if you were one of them I’m sorry!) and lost a bit of momentum, especially after my first big launch!

But a lot of good things have come out of it, as well.  I spent a lot of extra time with Milligan, playing board games with Courtney, and started regularly attending BJJ practices again.  I’ve wasted a lot of time on the internet… I never get burnt out on that!

Seriously, though, I think these down periods are a key part of entrepreneurship.  Some people have consistency as a strength.  They can write day in and day out.  They stick to a strict schedule and can pump out seriously solid content.

That’s not me, though.  It never has been and it never will be.  When I’m on, I’m on it…  and when I’m off, well… now you know what that looks like to!

But now that the dust has settled, I’m ready to get back on the horse.  I’m ready to start feeding the monster again and seeing where we can take this thing in year two!

In the coming weeks and months, here are some things you can expect to see:

  • A return back to some MvD basics.  April will be the first month we start back up the full “radical financial transparency” parts of the site. We’ll be sharing out budget, our daily spending, and all the details of this site (including income details of the launch, etc…).
  • Mid-month we’ll be focusing on completely updating our “Stuff” list (everything we own).  It’s much, much harder now, but both Courtney and I still believe in the power of making a list.  Realistically, we need it now more than ever!
  • Catch up on our travel stories. Remember the car wreck in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand?  Still wanting to get a couple Thailand videos?  I even want to write about my burn out adventure in Austin!  I’ll be catchy these up.
  • More video. More “Do What You Love Show” with cool people living passionately.  And more video posts with just me.
  • Sometime in May, I’ll be unveiling my second premium project…  “Sell Your Crap”.  I have some really intense plans.  It’s going to be epic.  O.k. maybe not epic.  But sweet…  It’ll be sweet.

The overarching plan is still in line with my kick ass 2010 goals, I set at the beginning of this year.  Actually, I’m right on track in almost every bullet point in that post.  (This may be a first… ever).

So now you know.  And knowing is half the battle.

Thanks for the awesome first year.  Thanks for your patience the last week.  And thanks in advance for the year that lies ahead!

Xoxoxo,

-Baker

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Shane Mac April 2, 2010 at 10:13 AM

You deserve it! congrats on all man!

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MD April 2, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Congrats on the 1 year mark!

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Meg April 2, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Yay for Baker!! :)

SxSw sounds like it’s a lot of fun, I think I’ll need to get myself to it one of these years…

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teevee April 2, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Everyone deserves some time off. And although I just recently discovered you and your blog, it is very obvious you have busting your ass.

Congratulations! I bought your ebook and look forward to the next year of inspiration!

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Benny the Irish polyglot April 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Happy blog birthday!! You definitely deserve a break after all the hard work you put in. Constantly pumping out great content would be lovely and all, but we’re all human and need a break! I understand that for sure. Thailand was my break from intensive language learning for example. Thanks to that break I was recharged and able to up the ante this time on my latest 3-month goal. :)
I’m sure Courtney appreciated some board game time! :D

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Lakita (PFJourney) April 2, 2010 at 11:41 AM

You deserve a break! It’s wise to back away every once and a while so you can come back full of passion and energy. Like many in the community, I have MvD loaded in my reader, so when you ramp up your posting again, I’ll be here.

Happy blogging birthday! You’ve accomplished so much in such a short period. Truly inspirational!

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Nell April 2, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Happy Blogthday!! Been a silent fan for a while now. Everyone deserves some time off and often come back stronger than ever. I really look forward to all your upcoming projects.

Oh, and I love the word Epic. I use it daily even if it makes no sense. It just makes everything sound like a big deal.

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Peter April 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Congrats on your wildly successful first year, and here’s to even more success in year two!

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Erica Douglass April 2, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Congrats!

Have you done a survey of your readers recently? I’d be curious to see how many like the Stuff list, the radical financial transparency, etc. I love surveys because the results can be really eye-opening!

-Erica

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Karen April 2, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Hey Baker,

Congrats on the one year mark! Your enormous success with this blog is something to be really proud of. Your passion and sincerity shine through in every post.

I hope you aren’t being too hard on yourself about taking sometime away. I think taking a break from blogging in a GOOD thing. I took an unplanned break this year as well for a couple weeks, after being burnt out on it. I think it takes away the fun of blogging when you do it so intensely and work 18 hrs a day!! Looking forward to see what’s to come in your adventures on year two.
:)

Karen

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Erin April 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Congratulations Baker! You have achieved so much in just a year that it’s no wonder you needed a break! We look forward to seeing what you have in store this year.

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Tyler Jorgenson April 2, 2010 at 6:29 PM

I’m glad you took a break and spent some time letting your mind wander. I’m equally glad you’re back to posting.

Keep it up!

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Mike April 2, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Hi Baker,

I wasn’t aware MVD was only 1 year old. Great job!

Mike

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Craig/FFB April 2, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Congrats on one year! Looking forward to see what the next one will be like!

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Chris Guillebeau April 2, 2010 at 8:39 PM

This is great, Adam. Can’t wait to see where you’re at this time next year.

The war continues!

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Hunniebun April 2, 2010 at 9:42 PM

I can’t wait to see what the next year has to bring…espeically the sell your crap idea! I have a lot of crap…as you might say…an EPIC amount of crap that keeps filling totes and bins. If I don’t sell/dispose of some of it soon I will end up on that Hoarders- Buried Alive show in 20 years!
Someone above commented that you should survey your readers about who likes the stuff lists and financial transparency blogs. I for one like them a lot. It makes me think about the ‘stuff’ I have and how I can pair it down. After seeing your first list, I thought…I have more items in my son’s bedroom closet then was on that entire list. If the idea is to make you and others really think about needs vs wants vs I didn’t even know I wanted it until I saw it on sale at walmart…then your lists are good way! I also like the financial transparency. I wish that everyone had to wear their net worth statement on a t-shirt once a month…then we would really know who was living an authentic life and who was living a lie…
Keep up the good work and best of luck in your second year!

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sam @ moneypenny April 3, 2010 at 3:12 AM

Happy Birthday! Huge congratulations. Keep inspiring :)

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Samurai April 3, 2010 at 4:46 AM

Welcome back Baker! Burnout is definitely real, so take it easy!

Where are you in the world now? Someone said middle America somwhere? Do you plan to travel again, or r u settled for good?

Best,

Sam

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Carmen April 3, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Wow Adam, What an amazing first year. I’m really blown away that you’ve only been at it for such a short time. Congratulations!

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Suddenly Susan April 3, 2010 at 10:11 AM

I’m a believer in “mental health” days ~ weeks if you need them. A person really has to get their batteries charged every once in a while. Don’t apologize for it! Just be happy that you experienced it and can share it with others in a helpful way. LOVED the April Fool’s joke. I forgot it was April 1st and thought it sounded sort of crazy but my second thought was “do what’s in your heart”. I was genuinely sad that I wouldn’t be seeing your blog any longer even though I just found it about a week or two ago.

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Writer's Coin April 5, 2010 at 7:58 AM

What you’ve done in one year is really impressive. Good to have you back and posting!

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Richard Riley April 5, 2010 at 1:38 PM

First off, congratulations on all of your success!!! You’ve come amazingly far since you started just a year ago. Secondly, I would like to agree with you that getting burned out is – in my opinion – part of being an entrepreneur too. I’ve been working on my freedom business for the last 4 months – almost non stop – and having been thinking about it day and night. Every week or so I have a day that I just feel like doing nothing about my business. I don’t want to work on the website, don’t want to contact people. I just want to shut it out. In fact, I have very little interest in my business on those days. Then, after a break (and several episodes of Lost…..) the next day, my batteries are at 100% and I’m ready to work on my project!

Needless to say, 3 weeks is a long time to not write a post, but like you said, your readers (including me) want you to succeed. If taking a 3 week break will help with that…then by all means, don’t feel bad about it.

Thanks for all you do and I wish you a much more successfull year two!

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Simon April 8, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Hi Baker,

Many congratulations on your successful first year – some amazing figures you have there! I have an unhealthy obsession with my Analytics so I would love to see a screenshot of your website’s growth over the last year…

Simon

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Ouida Vincent April 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM

Baker….As a doctor I know it is pretty easy to burn out. The key is admitting that and taking the time away you need. It is just too easy to try to move forward on fumes. Congratulations on your first year!

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Diane April 13, 2010 at 1:28 AM

Do you ever find yourself scratching your head muttering WTF?
Baker, I must say politely that I just can’t figure out what the heck is going on here. I feel like I’ve been dumped by you. You took me along in your neatly packed suitcase, or maybe it was Milligan’s monkey, and then you shook me out, dumped me on my head without food, water or credit cards in the middle of nowhere. And now you’re back in the states? Did you time travel? Get (re) possessed by aliens? What the hell happened? You and your family do something brave and daring and have thousands of fans rooting for you and then you jilt us with no explanation? This member of your community is feeling amazingly unconnected.

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Josh May 2, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Hi Bro,

So it has been a while since I dropped in and checked out your site. Great work man! The numbers are looking great! I hope that the next year brings all you plan to accomplish from blogging.

It has definitely been interesting watch your progress. As a blogger you inspire me to keep on with my blog.

Keep up the great work.

JM

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Lisa Smith May 6, 2010 at 5:37 AM

hi baker, many many congrats…..for the success of the 1st year …… may u have same in future

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