When I first started this blog, I had a few goals in mind.
First, I wanted to provide a different perspective that didn’t previously exist in the blogging world. There are some who write about physician burnout; and others who write about financial independence and personal finance. No one that I knew of at the time consistently connected those two topics.
That was the niche I wanted to fill. The road to burnout helped me find my purpose. And I wanted to help others find their way off their own road to burnout.
My second goal was to have a creative outlet. Writing is a form of catharsis. It is my way of getting out of my own head – where I spend WAY too much time.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this blog would become what it has. Writing for this beast has become more than just a project. It is a passion of mine.
If my writing helps free just one mind from the persistent burnout that they face, and provides a way to wellness – that is more than enough for me.
I want people to find hope when they realize that they can control their own finances and take hold of their future, if they are brave enough to design the life of their dreams.
With all the altruism mentioned above, I must also admit that I had a third goal in starting this blog. I wanted to experience the entrepreneurial side of myself that had otherwise laid dormant during my medical training.
In my mind (and to this day), I believe that the message that is shared on this blog is important. However, in order to spread this message, it requires promotion and success. Running a blog isn’t free.
I hoped that profit would be created to help spread the message and to help increase this blog’s charitable giving goals (I give away 25% of what I make from this blog).
Given that I love to poke fun at the financial advising industry for their well known conflicts of interest, I thought it might be helpful to outline exactly how this blog makes money – and where my conflicts exist.
Most bloggers make money from something called affiliate marketing. You are familiar with this, even if the term is new to you.
Just like when you go to a store to buy new shoes (and understand the person selling them to you is likely to get a “kickback”), bloggers get money when they refer you to some businesses. For example, when you refinance your student loans through this site, you and I will both get a kickback. You get a better interest rate or cash in your pocket, and they cut me a check, too.
Another classic examples of affiliate marketing is Personal Capital. Every time that I refer someone through an affiliate link (like the one you just thought about clicking), Personal Capital knows that I sent them. If that person signs up for their free tools and has $100,000 in assets, I get paid $100.
Why? Because Personal Capital is going to call that person and ask them to help manage their money. Interestingly, Personal Capital uses an Assets Under Management model, which I have written against in more than one post (like this one; or this one).
Despite my lack of kind things to say about the conflicted AUM model, it should be noted that I make money from sending people to Personal Capital – who also touts an AUM model. That said, I encourage people to say “no” to their offer to help manage money.
Why, then, would I refer someone their way? Well, because their free tools are great. I use their net worth calculator each quarter to track my family’s net worth. It’s an awesome – all in one place – tool that captures your current financial position.
So, the next time you click on a link on a blog (including mine), know that there is a potential for us to make money. Other affiliates that I make money from include referring others to the Fire Your Financial Advisor Course (this is a review). There are sure to be more in the future, but I don’t ever put anything on this site that I cannot wholeheartedly recommend.
This site makes money in more than one way.
The largest source of income in The Physician Philosopher’s first year of existence was from sponsorships (the site sponsors can be found here). You might notice that – despite the solid growth of this blog – that there are not a ton of sponsors. In fact, as of this writing, there are exactly three.
I’ve turned down multiple people who have asked, because my main job is to protect my readers and to provide solid recommendations. No one needs to experience the insurance debacle that I did.
Being someone who was badly hurt by the financial industry, I have no desire to let that happen to anyone else. Much less someone who works with a sponsor this blog recommends.
That said, I make money from the people who put their advertisements on this blog. Yet, my readers should know that that only people who make it are people I can truly recommend.
The last way that I make money through this blog is through products, like books and courses.
For example, I published The Physician Philosopher’s Guide to Personal Finance on Amazon in February. It maintains a 5-star review, and I think it has the potential to help a ton of people. It took me 9 months to write. And, yes, I make money from it.
If you want to know the details of how much I make from each book sale, you can read a guest post that I wrote on Passive Income MD that details it all.
At some point, there will also be courses sold on this blog to help people overcome financial obstacles that are in their way. This will come with a transparent (and fair) price.
My first and second goals will always remain my primary focus. The purpose and mission of this website are to help others fight burnout with financial independence.
As a byproduct of this successful message, I hope that there is some profit to be made. To this day, I haven’t even taken home a penny from this business. Every dime that has been earned has been put back into the blog.
Though I suspect that may change in the near future, the purpose behind it all will remain the same. If you ever have questions or concerns, I am always open for criticism or suggestions.
What do you think about all of this? Are you okay with bloggers making money to spread their message? Leave a comment below.
I agree 100% in terms of needing to be careful to have sponsors your respect and trust on your site because it is not worth putting a product you don’t believe in just to make some money.
Once you lose trust from your audience it is very hard to get it back.
I too spend an inordinate amount of time on my blog and if I wasn’t passionate about it I would definitely say it is not worth the time and effort I put into it for the amount of money it generates. But somethings are just not about money.
But as the great Jim Dahle says, you would be a fool not to try and get paid for your effort and thus trying to monetize it is essential.
Yeah, the way that I view it is that I am doing one of three things:
1) recommending a product or service that the reader may not have known about from a source they can trust
2) providing an opportunity to get a deal they couldn’t get on their own, or
3) selling something I’ve created directly to them that provides value.
All of these services are worth something. I’ve done the hard work so that they don’t have to, and I want as much of it as possible to be free for them in terms of content. It’s a win-win-win for the reader, the businesses/products I recommend, and me.
I’ll be curious to see your experience a couple of years from now, Jimmy. What keeps me blogging tends to be the friendships with exceptional people that result from it ( you and Xrayvsn, to name a couple) and the sense of a continual online discourse that probably echoes the “philosopher” in us all.
Tonight the wife and I had dinner with the Waffles on Wednesday, a direct result of finding this incredibly unique community of people weird in the same way I am through the blog and at FinCon.
Finding unusual minds living intentionally is far more remunerative – perhaps I just need a different metric to measure this type of wealth.
I love the WoW’s! They are awesome. Glad you got to have dinner with them.
Blogging has been great for a variety of reasons for me. The friendships, the help that people have received, and the ability to awaken an entrepreneurial side that I didn’t know existed (and now cannot turn off) are a few I would name.
Just curious… Are you planning on publishing your blog income with numbers? If not on the site, then maybe to email subscribers a la PIMD?
I’ve considered doing that if people are interested and would find it helpful
I’ve always find the income reports both inspirational and aspirational.
I, for one, would be interested in learning how your income progressed from the beginning, to growth, and finally with the inclusion into the WCI network. 🙂
I think reading about that will be much more interesting going forward than it would have been in the last six months haha.