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What Have I Been Up To?

If you’ve been a long time reader of Microblogger, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t produced a podcast or written a blog post (regularly) in quite some time.

What gives?

Like a lot of blogs, the answer is – “other projects.”

Blogging, and any business, is a matter of opportunity cost. When I started Bargaineering, the opportunity cost was television time. Instead of watching TV at night after dinner, I’d write blog posts and network with other bloggers. For me, that’s not a difficult trade at all.

Nowadays, blogging comes at a cost to other priorities. In my case, I co-founded two new businesses with two separate but equally fantastic co-founders. The businesses are doing well, they’re challenging me in new ways that help me grow, and they’re a lot of fun.

I’m sharing this with you for two reasons:

  • I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I’ve learned a lot as a result of starting these new businesses and working with other people in building these businesses. What I’ve learned I hope to share with you in the future.
  • I miss writing. I did copywriting and other types of writing in support of those businesses, but I wasn’t writing blog posts. I wasn’t putting ideas on paper, as it were, and working my writing muscles in a way that kept them strong. I used to write three blog posts a day for Bargaineering and while it was great to write zero blog posts a day, I felt like I had an itch I just couldn’t scratch.

When I started Microblogger, it was to give myself a year to build up a business and investigate new technologies that became popular in the last few years. I produced a short email course, 50 Days to a Better Blog, and a podcast that made it to 36 episodes.

The mindset that Microblogger was to be a business made me evaluate Microblogger as business and as a business, it wasn’t doing well. Microblogger earned a few hundred dollars a month through hosting referrals and course sales. If Bargaineering made a few hundred dollars in the first year, I’d be ecstatic. But Bargaineering was a hobby and something I did for fun, I didn’t approach it as a business so I didn’t let the numbers tell me it wasn’t a business yet after a year. Microblogger wasn’t cutting it financially so I put it on hold while I pursued other more promising projects.

But I realized I enjoyed Microblogger because it gave me the opportunity to share ideas, have conversations, and it helped me express myself creatively. I missed all of that. It’s my way of saying I missed you.

So I’m going to rekindle Microblogger and this time I’m going to approach it like I approached Bargaineering – this is a hobby, let’s learn from each other, have fun, and I’m not going to think about whether the ROI on my time makes business sense. 🙂

What’s on tap? I’ll share the ins and outs of how I started the first of the two new ventures, $5 Meal Plan, including why I approached Erin Chase to start it, how we launched our beta, how we launched for real, and a lot of the learnings along the way. There’s a tremendous amount involved in a membership site, in billing folks on a regular basis, and I’ll share it with you.

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In 2005, I founded a personal finance blog ( that became successful enough that I quit my career as a software developer in the defense industry. It is my goal to share everything I learned so that you can do the same - build an online business that let's you pursue your passion.

23 responses to “What Have I Been Up To?”

  1. Tom Drake says:

    Good to see you back Jim! I was just chatting with a couple other bloggers this week and we were wondering what happened with Microblogger. Looking forward to more posts and podcasts!

  2. Deji says:

    Welcome back Jim.

  3. Glen Craig says:

    You had me at “what” Jim.

  4. Welcome back Jim! I look forward to reading what you have learned. Sometimes we bloggers have to go out and live life so we actually have something to write about. You were missed.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you Christina! That is also very true, I hope to share some of what I’ve been learning and thinking about.

  5. Jim, you’ve hit on a situation many of us have. We have to write even if we make little or no money at it. It is satisfying to express our ideas and hopefully help someone else. It’s what keeps me going. My opportunity costs are a messier house, if truth be told! I love that I can write wherever I am. Sometimes I take a break from the blog, but I always come back to it. I have to admit it’s a hobby not a business, but it is still a passion of mine.

    • Jim says:

      Certain types of motivation can only take you so far… I started Microblogger because I wanted to help people, share my ideas, and hopefully make some money in the process. When the money wasn’t there (Microblogger made some, certainly more in its first year than Bargaineering did in the first two!), I lost part of my motivation and focused my energies in some other areas. The first two were still there and after the third itch was scratched with other businesses, I knew I didn’t need to have it anymore for Microblogger and the draw of the first two grew stronger. That last sentence was probably a mish-mash of thoughts but hey, sometimes that’s what in our heads, you know? 🙂

  6. I’m curious. Are you being a little hard on Microblogger? Didn’t it (in some way) help incubate the other businesses?

    • Jim says:

      I might be, I should say that Microblogger itself generated very little but helped create and improve relationships that would have a positive impact financially. I got know people better and met a few new folks I otherwise wouldn’t have.

  7. Sundeep says:

    Glad to see you back and love that you’re going to share your experiences with your two new businesses, can’t wait to read about it!

  8. Forest says:

    I’ve definitely let some of my projects slide away and am keen to get back to them with the emphasis being on enjoying them!

    Glad you are back.

  9. Fred says:

    I’m glad you’re back Jim. Looking forward to hearing about your new businesses.

  10. Don says:

    I was wondering what happened to you Jim! Love to learn about your new ventures and I am really interested in seeing the new directions Microblogger will go now that it is a “hobby”! Can’t way to see what is in store for the future of this site. Welcome back sir!

  11. Jill says:

    I understand the not being able to keep up with everything. My blog has been waiting around for me as well. An international move, that led to horrible internet for six months and we are about to move once more for better internet. I get the vacant. But one thing for sure welcome back! I will need to write a similar post on my own site. Once I am able to be back to. It is nice to see your welcome back message.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you! Habits, like writing, are hard to introduce and easy to lose, but I wanted to “draw a line in the sand” to put that accountability back on my shoulders.

  12. Gerri Detweiler says:

    I hope this means more podcasts too…:) and great news!

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