What I Learned From an Interview with J.D. Roth (founder of Get Rich Slowly)

I’m fairly new to the financial blogging scene. When I first started The Bearded Money Guy Blog several months ago, I had no idea just how big the universe of personal finance blogs really was.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to listen to a LOT of financial podcasts while driving the 19 hours round trip from North Carolina to Cleveland and back, and one interview, in particular, stood out to me.

Paula Pant and J. Money interviewed JD Roth on one of their early episodes of The Money Show (which is now the Afford Anything Podcast).

As Paul and J$ asked JD about his early success growing and then selling the Get Rich Slowly Blog, it was interesting to me how they assumed that the reason JD was so successful with his blog was that he was one of the first financial blogs out there.

In other words, he had “first mover advantage”.

In fact, there were probably hundreds of blogs on personal finance in existence when JD Roth started Get Rich Slowly (he mentions that there were 50 or so).

So if it wasn’t because he was the first financial blog out there, why was JD Roth so successful? JD claims that there were several reasons he became so successful so quickly with GRS, which included:

  • Unlike other personal finance blogs at the time, he was not anonymous
  • JD would tell stories about the good and bad things that were and weren’t working for him financially
  • He spent a lot of time working on the quality of his writing (he edits heavily after he finishes a post)
  • He leveraged other communities that he was a part of

I don’t doubt that all of these factors contributed to the early success of GRS. But I think that JD sells himself short. I think another huge contributor was probably the volume of posts that JD put out there and the amount of work he put into his blog.

You don’t grow as quickly as he did by just posting once a week or once a month – even if the writing is good.

I did a quick search of GRS on the wayback machine, and found that JD was posting multiple times a day, and constantly linking to other articles and bloggers.

By doing this, JD was able to build a network of people who liked him (because he shared their information and built relationships with them before asking them for anything) and thus had an army of people who wanted to help him.

And even today, JD is running the MoneyBoss Blog and still linking to other bloggers and sharing their information.

So You Want To Be a Personal Finance Blogger?

If you are an aspiring personal finance blogger, don’t believe for one second that this space is so saturated that you can’t build this into a business.

But you also must understand that it will take a lot of work as well to build a blog into a business.

My ultimate goal is to build The Bearded Money Guy into a go-to resource for personal finance for Dads. It might take a year or two or longer to get to that point. I may never get to that point.

When JD Roth started Get Rich Slowly, it was an easier road because there were fewer financial bloggers out there… but it was still hard.

Right now I’m just trying to add to the personal finance community with valuable content.

What’s your favorite personal finance website? Feel free to comment below and share the love!