This is our fifth “Better Know A Blogger” interview. We’ll be posting two per day, except on Saturdays and Sundays, leading up to the 2012 Financial Blogger Conference next month. The purpose of this series is to introduce you to some excellent bloggers from all across the web who are able to shed light on topics ranging from debt to saving money to investing. (Each interview is conducted via e-mail and then published here)
Today’s interviewee is Brad from EnemyOfDebt.com. Enjoy!
Your blog has such a unique design – how did you come up with the name and design?
The blog design came to be after years of mangling it and consequently redesigning it. LOL As far as the name goes I simply sat at my desk one night and began to ask myself what my new domain would have to be to articulate my feelings about debt as best as I could. When I wrote down ENEMY OF DEBT I knew it was the one and just prayed it was available! I had created a few logos in the beginning but when I created the EOD logo that is currently used, just like with the domain name, I knew it was the one.
When you started your blog, were there any bloggers at the time who inspired you to begin?
Actually no. I was — at that time — completely unaware of the personal finance world that awaited me. I even blogged for an entire year without much interaction with other blogs and bloggers. The first blogger I met and became friends with was J Money from Budgets Are Sexy. He introduced me to the PF blogosphere and I have been in love with it ever since. So although I wasn’t inspired to begin blogging by any other bloggers I would say J Money inspired me to take my blog to the next level. I owe him big time for how welcoming and helpful he was to me from the first day we met. As I began to participate and let myself be known, I went from 40 readers to over 100 very fast. That’s when blogging really became fun and my passion for debt freedom was unleashed to the world!
You’ve written about how you were able to conquer your own debt. What was that process like and do you have some key tips for our readers who may be working to pay off their own debt?
The process was obviously tough but I’m not sure it was as tough as it is for some people. The tough part was changing our mindset and once that was done the rest was easy. The day we decided to get out of debt was the same day we decided that we were going to do whatever it took to make it happen. We hit some bumps along the way and my wife and I even bumped heads a little at first but we ultimately wanted the same thing and as we made progress it got easier and easier for both of us. Once we were both on the exact same page, we were unstoppable!
Advice for others?
You know, I’ve tried helping people work through a budget and get on a debt elimination plan and because of that experience — I would have to say my one piece of advice for anyone wanting to get out of debt would be to PROVE IT. It’s easy for people to say they want debt freedom but what I found was that actually following through and doing it was a completely different story. People just don’t seem that willing to sacrifice now in order to reach their goals. If you want debt freedom you have to change how you currently operate financially or you’ll never make enough progress to keep moving you forward. Getting out of debt is all about your behaviors and when you’re willing to address those behaviors that’s when your life will change and before you know it you’ll be debt free and wondering what took you so long to wake up and make it happen.
Do you tend to focus more on saving money or making extra money?
This is a tough question for me because during the course of our journey it has changed many times. When we were paying off debt, we were more interested in making more money — so we both worked and passed each other at the door daily as we did what we had to do to get out of debt. I delivered pizzas and my wife was a registered nurse.
Once we became debt free we were really excited to start saving money. Before we knew it we had saved $10,000 — more than we had ever had in savings before. It was then that we started to experience our share of emergencies (we hadn’t had many while paying off our debt.) and even paid $8500 the following year for a van for our growing family.
Our debt freedom inspired us to create a life for ourselves that allowed us to be home with our kids and to really enjoy these precious years. Because of that our income has reduced significantly but I stay (and work) at home and my wife works part time as a nurse working about 24 hours a week.
Now our focus is entirely on building our income to six figures without sacrificing the life we are currently enjoying as a family. We’re not willing to do daycare nor are we willing to give up the time we have with our kids. I started a printing business and more recently launched a health coaching business as well. My wife is an avid seller on eBay and though we’ve slowed down a bit on that in order to build our businesses we still make a little money from eBay. Just this week she sold an electronic chess set for $150 that she found at a yard sale for $10.
Looking back at your journey as a personal finance blogger so far, what have been the biggest surprises? Have you gotten any memorable feedback or insights from people you’ve met through blogging or from your readers?
The biggest surprise of them all would be that I became a blogger to begin with. At the time I had not had any formal (or informal) training as a writer. I wasn’t sure people would even be interested in what I had to say. All I knew was that I had a burning passion to help others realize what I had realized about debt. It even took a long time for me to consider myself a writer. I bet my high school English teacher would have never guessed writing would become such an important part of my life. LOL
I have really enjoyed being picked up by the media for interviews and was recently mentioned in The US News and World Report in an article about our debt free journey. My first break through was back in 2009 though when I was contacted by a writer for CNN.com for an article titled Walking Away From Credit Cards.
More rewarding than all of that would be the many emails I have received from people who have started and/or completed their own debt free journey. After all that was why I started blogging in the first place.
Okay, last question: What was your most memorable moment at FinCon last year? Also, what are you looking forward to this year and do you have any advice for a fist-timer?
Well to be honest the most memorable moment had nothing to do with money or any of the workshops. It happened at the after party and man did we have a good time! It’s really easy to enjoy yourself when you are surrounded by such great company. Being around that many people who care about helping others with money was absolutely wonderful! Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot during FinCon but there was something so wonderful about meeting other bloggers who we had interacted with and become virtual friends with over the years.
I always like learning new things that will improve me in some way but it’s the relationships and friendships that were forged that made FinCon so amazing! This year is going to be better than last year! I hope to see you there!
You Too! Thank you again, Brad.
Have questions for Brad? Post them in the comments below!