The interview below is with Adam Baker of Man vs Debt. I’ve been reading MvD since it began a little over a year ago. It is no exaggeration when I say Baker exploded onto the scene. He is more than a PF blogger as he openly shares about what some would consider a radical travel to sell most of their possessions and travel to the other side of the world. He’s been very busy these days so I was ecstatic that he took time for this interview. I hope you enjoy!
What prompted you to start ManvsDebt?
I was reading 50+ personal finance blogs, commenting, and discussing on various forums. Eventually, I just thought, “Hey, I’d love to be part of this community even more!”
A week later, I had brainstormed the concept and away I went!
Last summer, you made the announcement that you where selling your stuff crap and moving to Australia, what was the driving force behind such a major move?
Well, we just weren’t ready to settle down. It seemed like we were on a life path that we hadn’t chosen. We had the car payments, the credit cards, the debt, and we were looking for the house!
We just realized that we wanted more freedom. We wanted to experience other cultures and we want to travel. Debt was the only thing standing in our way (that and all our junk!)
How did family / friends weigh in on your decision? Supportive? Critical?
They were definitely surprised, but after the initial shock they were super supportive. Courtney and I both have wonderful and amazing parents, whom would stand behind us no matter what. That helps a ton.
Most of our friends had similar desires and some of them even were plotting radical changes of their own!
What did you learn from that experience? If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently (if anything)
Hmmm… I’m sure there are probably things we’d do differently. Really though, I couldn’t have known any of the things before we had experimented. We gained a ton of flexibility and knowledge very, very quickly (because we had no other choice).
Knowing what we know now, we’ll likely travel more slowly in the future. Most likely spending 3-6 months in one location to really get to know it. Of course, we would know we wanted that preference had we not moved around like jack rabbits for a period of time! 🙂
You changed your tag line from “Get out of debt….get into life” to “Sell your crap. Get out of debt. Do what you love”…what was the motivation / thought process behind the new tagline?
The new tag line clearly demonstrates the three main area that we are trying to focus on. Selling our possessions (aka our crap) was a huge shift for us both mentally and physically. Obviously paying down our debt and our journey to be completely debt free has always been there.
Lastly, we have a very public quest to pursue our passions or do what we love. That’s a very big part of Man Vs. Debt (and MvD is a very big part of “doing what we love”). I wanted to ensure that we were taking control of our finances for a purpose. And that’s the message I want to share with others!
One of the things that captivated me about your blog was your personal, friendly and transparent approach. How much do you think your transparency weighed into your success as a blogger?
A ton. It’s not required, there are many successful examples of anonymous bloggers. However, it helps a lot with gaining momentum. Because we are so transparent it’s easy for people to feel attached to following and it’s much easy to establish trust.
Now that I’m transitioning to selling some of my premium content, the far majority of my audience knows that it’s authentic and genuine. They know from over a year of extremely transparent writing and sharing. It helps a lot on the business side of things.
Instead of asking if you have any blogging advice, let’s just point people to your excellent recap of lessons learned called How NOT to SUCK at Blogging. Is there anything you’ve learned since writing that article that you would like to add on?
Oh god, there’s tons and tons. Actually most of it will be in an upcoming product (in summer). I will say that almost all of what is in that article, I still very much believe. There are just additional nuances, I’ve picked up on!
You often talk about the minimalist lifestyle. What does that mean to you?
Minimalism or simplicity, for me, is simply stripping away the excess layers of clutter (both mental and physical). Usually this is in order to really become intimate or conscious of what’s underneath. It’s about prioritizing experiences over possessions. It’s about spending your time and your money on what your are truly passionate about. Deliberate, conscious living. 🙂
You recently released an ebook, Unautomate Your Finances. Admittedly, the title threw me off track since in this digital age we tend to advocate automation and equate that with simplicity. However, after reading it’s more about your mindset. Do you care to elaborate? Without giving away too much of course!
However, unautomation, for us, was the exact opposite. It was the process we went through where we purposefully opted for the less convenient option in order to increase our consciousness. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we want results.
Most of our limited success in our finances has come from making these deliberate choices. Choosing to quest for unautomation over automation has been a huge blessing for us!
In 2010, I simply want to get the message out to more people and grow our community. Our current community will be tripling in size by the end of the year. I also plan on releasing two more products, one called “Sell Your Crap” and one on building momentum for a business concept.
Both are going to even more intense than my first product, Unautomate Your Finances. It’s going to be a fun year of growth, sharing, and transparency! I wouldn’t have it any other way! 😉