Friday, February 19, 2010

Forced to take a step back and re-evaluate...

This could be a lengthy post, so grab a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever you wish and get comfy. Lol. I don't really even know where to start this, but basically I want to be totally upfront and honest with my readers and keep you in the loop...

When I first started this blog, it was simply a way to keep a record of how much I was saving and basically show my friends and family what I was doing. From there I got questions and started answering them and I decided to turn it into a way to show others (my friends and family) how to do what I was doing and save their families some money. From there I really started getting into it. I started blogging daily and broadening the types of deals I passed on.

In the last couple of months it has really grown! I revamped my blog, which I'm still changing almost daily. I started getting a lot of new readers and even started a Facebook fan page. I also became an affiliate with a few companies in order to start generating a little bit of income to sponsor some more giveaways. Basically I get a little kick back for referring people to places like Coupons.com, Amazon, and other offers like the ones found HERE. I wasn't doing it to get rich or anything...I mean, I get like $.03 every time someone prints a coupon. Lol. I was mostly just wanted to be able to sponsor some great giveaways in the future and was just kind of going with the flow of everything.

Well, then the blog kind of started to take off. I became "bloggy" friends with other coupon blog owners and have done some guest posting on other sites, which increased my number of readers. I started getting comments and emails from people living all over, like Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, Alabama, you name it! It really is SOOOO cool to be reaching so many and helping so many! I just truly do enjoy it a lot and love being able to have an impact on people and save them money. It's a most wonderful feeling! And it's exciting! There's just so much to love about it!

However, it DOES take up a lot of my time. I probably spend about three complete hours (spread throughout the day) on an average day finding deals, sharing deals, posting deals, answering emails, responding to comments, updating my Facebook pages, etc. (I don't know how all of those other blogs do it! No wonder a lot of them have more than one author! Lol) I recently started branching out my affiliations with companies (like the ones you see advertised in my sidebars) and my revenue started increasing. That was exciting too! I can get PAID to do something I truly love and also get to benefit so many others? The concept is still fascinating to me!

So, when I was contacted this morning by a Boise business owner asking about an affiliation opportunity where I could advertise awesome discounts for local businesses and get some type of referral kick back, I was totally excited! Opportunities were arising and I am slowly getting Ali's Coupon Adventures out there! It just means a lot to know that my little ol' blog has really become something more.

However, upon talking to my husband about this opportunity this morning, he said some things that really made me stop in my tracks and got me thinking and re-evaluating things. First of all, I didn't start this blog to make money in any way. He wondered if maybe I was getting away from my roots and core beliefs. I countered with the fact that things have just evolved naturally and that any money I am making has been up to this point solely for putting right back into my site (such as sponsoring giveaways) and that even non-profit companies have to fund themselves. I spend a lot of time blogging and sharing things with my readers. I am not planning on making a living out of it, but it's nice to get a little in return for all of my efforts! Plus, I have to admit that it would feel good to be able to contribute to my family's income.

He said he understood, but, again, questioned whether I was getting away from what truly mattered...helping others as a sort of "charity" if you will or service to be offered to others and more importantly, being a stay-at-home mommy of our three children and spending quality time with them. At that I have to admit that blogging takes away some precious time I have with my children, however, I again had a counter to that, thinking that I am not only doing something that I've grown to love, helping others, and now making a LITTLE income for my family, but I still get to STAY AT HOME with my kids! It seemed like a win-win. I feel like I've done a pretty good job at balancing my blog and family. On the weekends you generally see little, if any, posting done because my husband travels during the week and is only home on weekends most times, so that's our main time to spend together as a family and that's where my focus is. During the week I try to get the majority of my blogging for the day done in the mornings while the kids are eating breakfast and starting their day, then again during my toddler's nap times. Then throughout the day I will do quick posts here and there for time-sensitive deals or things I'm really excited about. At night, after the kids are all in bed, I will spend about a half hour or so catching up on things.

The more I have been thinking about it, though, I am forced to step back and ask the question...where is this going? Do I want to scale back and make this blog more of a hobby like it used to be? Simply sharing my experiences and helping to teach others how to use this system to save their families money? Or do I want to continue devoting so much time to it and continue to make something out of it. Again, I REALLY do love doing it. I want to be able to continue, but feel like I am at a crossroads. I'm not sure which way to go. I mean...how long can I keep this up? How long before I feel like I missed out on so many important moments with my children because I was busy at the computer...?

Where am I even going with all of this and WHY on earth am I telling you this?? Well, I mostly just needed to vent. I also want to disclose everything and be honest with everyone. I am not here to make money. I pass on deals that I think are beneficial or worth your time and effort. If they happen to generate a small amount of income for me, great. That's an added bonus. Icing on the cake. But do I continue to grow myself and my site or do I scale back and focus on other, more important things? How do I find a good balance? Maybe it comes down to simply creating a schedule for myself, much like I would have if I had a "real" job. Lol. Say, I spend one hour in the morning, one at night. Period. That way I am not taking time away from my kids during the day. I don't know how well I would stick to it, though...I'm not good at that sort of thing. :) Do I perhaps limit myself to a certain number of posts per day? Or maybe give myself a day off during the week? I just don't know...

Alright, I guess I'll wrap things up for now. Just know that things may change a little. I just have to decide what's best for me and my family. My husband, I know, will support me in whatever I decide to do, now it's just a matter of actually deciding!  Thanks for taking the time to read this super long post and let me share my thoughts...continue on with your Friday and have a super weekend!

5 comments:

  1. I am thankful that you do take the time to post good deals for us. I feel like I don't take advantage of all of the savings you do post because it is so time consuming, and I am just the reader. It is becuase of that, that I completely understand where you are coming from. The thing is, that there is always going to be some give and take with anything that you do. Period. I dont know if it's a good or a bad thing, its just one of those things we have to accept.
    You are an incredible Mom. Just the fact that you are thinking about how this blog has or will affect your family life in the future is proof of that.

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  2. I just wanted to thank you for the time you take out of your day to post the deals that you find for everyone to enjoy! Your doing an awesome job. I can understand where your coming from when you say it's time consuming. I think your idea of just doing a couple posts a day like you said would be a great idea and it would also make it to where you wouldn't feel like your missing out on anything with your kids and your hubby. It is hard to find a balance i'm sure, but your a very strong person and you can do anything you set your mind to and i'm sure you will come to some kind of common ground. Keep up all of your great work and whatever decision you make your fellow readers and bloggers will support. Have an awesome weekend!

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  3. I really sympathize. I recently took a job that I really wanted--had wanted for some time--outside the house, first time I've worked outside the home since my first son was born. The job is only 15 hours a week, and I definitely enjoy the job, but...it feels like way too much time away from my little guys. On the other hand, it looks like my husband is going to get laid off starting on Tuesday (such short notice!) that it's good that I have this now. Anyway, so I sympathize--it's tough to make this kind of decision. You'll figure out what's best, and always remember that if it isn't working out, you can always change direction again.

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