For the first time in a few years I started to research and read personal finance blogs again. I came across a group of blogs writing about the goal of “financial independence” and retiring early (affectionately called FIRE).
All of them point back to a blog by J. L. (Jim) Collins and his “Stock Series.”
I have been a big proponent of index fund investing for many years. I read a couple of books by John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, five or six years ago. Collins’s series of blog posts about investing has brought John Bogle’s message to a whole new generation of people who are looking to retire early.
I’ll save what I learned from reading his blog posts for another time.
What really impressed me about his blog and this series was how much of an impact he has been able to make while still breaking all the conventional “rules” about growing a blog.
- His domain name isn’t easy to remember. All the variations of Jim or J. L. Collins were taken, so he added “NH” for “New Hampshire” at the end of his name.
- He has no logo in the header of his website. In fact, it is just his domain name and a tagline. He didn’t even change it to his full name.
- He is using the standard Genesis Studiopress child theme rather than a fancy new theme with a great built-in design.
- He has no homepage headline or image. The homepage shows the most recent blog posts.
- He still has a “blogroll” in the sidebar of his website.
- He has one email opt-in form in the sidebar, but doesn’t offer an incentives to sign up.
- The copyright date at the bottom of the website still lists the previous year.
- The images for his blog posts are random, small and not optimized for Pinterest or Google.
I could go on and on about with a critique, but that is the best part.
Despite all appearances, this blog has inspired hundreds (thousands?) of people to change their lives.
He didn’t set out to be a famous blogger. He had an audience of one in mind. He wanted to explain investing to his daughter in such a simple way that she wouldn’t have to worry about it.
That is the key to making an impact in the world.
Set out to help one person and share what works with others, too.