The interview below is with Peter Anderson, founder of Bible Money Matters. Peter runs a well established blog in the Christian / Biblical personal finance niche and has gracefully agreed to this interview. It was a privilege to be able to pick his brain and I’m happy to be able to share the information with you.
Tell the readers a little about yourself?
I’m a 33 year old husband and soon to be father, living up in the great winter wonderlands of Minnesota. I’ve lived here in the Minneapolis area my entire life, and love the great quality of life we have here. I’m not a financial professional, but work at a local advertising agency. Personal finance is just a side interest and a hobby!
What prompted you to start Bible Money Matters?
I started Bible Money Matters at the end of January 2008 at a time when my wife and I were just starting to take our finances more seriously. Despite making decent incomes we felt like we were never getting ahead, never able to save and we knew something had to change. We started doing a monthly budget, reading books about personal finance, and after reading several other existing personal finance blogs I decided to start my own personal finance blog to talk about the things that I was learning. I believed that I could help other people while I was helping myself! In addition as a strong Christian I knew that my faith had to play a strong part in the things that I was writing about because for me my faith isn’t just something that is personal and that I never talk about. I believe I’ve been saved from my sins by a loving savior, and I’m so thankful. I need to share that Good news. I had seen a couple of other Christian personal finance blogs – especially Christianpf.com, and they served as inspiration for me to start my own Christian personal finance site. In the long run it ended up being a good business move anyway because by choosing a sub-niche in the personal finance realm, it helped to set me apart.
You have a diverse set of skills, tell us about some of your other ventures (logos for websites, ebook, etc)
One thing that I’ve been writing about a lot lately is the need for people and families to diversify their income. In tough times like this it pays to not have all your eggs in one basket. Last week my staff writers and I posted the entire week with ideas for ways to make extra income for the family. I think quite often personal finance blogs focus a lot on the cutting expenses side of the equation, which is great, but you can only cut so much out of your budget. I think it pays to also focus on creating secondary income streams. For me that meant creating multiple income streams by doing things I was good at, and things that I would have done anyway – even if I wasn’t getting paid. My logo site, Logos For Websites, actually grew out of a small logo design business I had running 5-6 years ago while I was selling on eBay. I found that many other sellers had stores on eBay, but no real logo or graphic design for their stores. I started selling my graphic design skills to a lot of those eBay sellers. Fast forward to 2008 and I started designing logos and graphics for other bloggers after several of them asked me for help.
My blog is also a secondary income source that has grown substantially over the past 2 years. It started small, but has grown as I have learned more about how to find advertisers willing to pay for advertising on my site, as I’ve learned about promoting affiliate offers, and as I’ve learned about about all the various ways that you can monetize a blog. After receiving a ton of questions about how I make money with my blog, I decided to write an e-book about how I made my blog successful. It’s called “Blueprint For How To Make Money With A Blog” and it takes new and intermediate bloggers alike through the process of creating a money making blog.
When you become a blogger you essentially become an entrepreneur, and you have to have that entrepreneurial spirit to do things a bit different and think outside of the box. Take the skills that God has given you and turn them into something useful!
What can we expect to see out of Bible Money Matters in 2010?
One of my goals for Bible Money Matters is to make it one of the go-to sites on the web for Christian personal finance information. As part of that I have decided to hire some of the best Christian personal finance writers out there to continue bringing great content to the site 5-6 days a week. For almost 2 years I was the sole writer on the site writing 5 or more days a week, and it can be easy to get burned out doing that. But by adding 3 great staff writers it has really varied the kind of content we’re offering, freed me up to be able to give more direction to the site, and given me more time to create more e-books and premium information resources to offer to my readers. This year I also hope to be doing more contests, especially through our new email newsletter (sign up now and win $25 if you’re subscriber number #500!) and begin offering more video content!
I consider you one of the trailblazers in the Christian / Biblical Personal Finance Niche….what advice do you have for upcoming PF bloggers (like myself )?
Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say. My advice for upcoming PF bloggers is to just make a plan and stick to it. Success isn’t going to happen overnight, it will take a lot of time and hard work to even make your first dollar. Just know you’ll be working for less than minimum wage for many months. Read up on what other successful bloggers are doing, and try to emulate their success. Don’t copy them, but see what they’re doing to be successful, and do similar things to make your own site successful. Write a lot of content, and then write some more. When you think you’re written enough, write more! And of course, buy my blogging e-book. Wink wink, nudge nudge. 🙂
What is the single most important piece of financial advice you could give people?
I think the most simple advice is sometimes the best, and sometimes the most ignored. For me the best advice is to just spend less than you earn. Along those same lines, if you don’t have the cash to pay for something, don’t buy it! Save up and pay cash for the things you want. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people give in to temptations and spend money they don’t have, just because they want it and they’re not mature enough to delay gratification. They then end up going into credit card debt, having a hard time making ends meet. Also, if you want to have success, you’ll need to, on some level, create a zero based budget where you’re giving every dollar a name, and every dollar is attributed to a giving, saving or spending category before it even hits your bank account.
What is your favorite PF book?
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey was one of the first books that really got me thinking hard about my family’s money, and made me want to make a change for the better. It made me want to “change my family tree” and create a financial legacy for my future children. I also have loved the books by Thomas J. Stanley talking about the things that people who create real wealth do to succeed. His latest book which I really enjoyed is called “Stop Acting Rich: …And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire“.
You recently published that your family is expecting your first child (congratulations) ~ how will this impact your blogging plan?
Thank you! Yes, my wife Maria and I are expecting our first child which we found out a few weeks ago is going to be a little boy. We’ve already named him Carter John, and we couldn’t be more excited to be new parents. I’ve always wanted to have kids, and now that I’m going to be a father it’s exciting and scary at the same time! How will it affect my blogging? I would imagine that my blogging activities will have to become more structured, and happen more in the early mornings and late at night. From what I understand new babies take a lot of time and energy! Thankfully I do have 3 staff writers creating content for my site, so that will help to lighten the load. (Thanks guys!)
When you’re not blogging, writing ebooks, or designing logos….what do you like to do?
To be completely honest I love the process of blogging, writing ebooks and designing logos – those things are my hobbies! If I didn’t enjoy them I wouldn’t be doing them! But other than those things, I love playing music – I play violin and some guitar. I also love sports of all kinds, I love playing basketball (I’m 6’4″), mountain biking, watching football, playing tennis and just being active. Which reminds me – I need to do those things more and take off some of this winter weight! Thanks for reminding me!
Anything else you want to tell us?
Thank you for your time, and for your interest in me and my site! I count it as a distinct honor that people continue to read my site and I love seeing the newer bloggers appear every day and make their valuable contributions to the blogosphere. I look forward to seeing your site grow, and working with you as we try to create a financially educated country and world! God bless!
Thanks Peter! Be sure to show him some love and appreciation in the comments below, then make sure you check out the latest on Bible Money Matters!