I’ve excited to continue with my money blogger interview series with an awesome fellow blogger, Marc from Vital Dollar. He started building websites as a side hustle and that ended up making him significant dough.
When I mean building websites, this isn’t just creating a website to sell in a few weeks. This is creating a sustainable business that can constantly grow with some sort of plan for exit in the future. His experience is invaluable and I was excited to learn from it.
Blogger Interview with Vital Dollar: Building Websites as a Side Hustle
I was excited to get the chance to interview Marc from Vital Dollar. Marc and I share a number of common philosophies in regards to our approaches to side hustling, online income and more. I think we’d both consider ourselves entrepreneurs first with a passion for personal finance.
Marc has had outstanding success by from building websites from scratch and recycling cash flow to grow the websites into scalable, marketable businesses. Marc has sold multiple websites that have each sold for multiple six-figures in value. That is very impressive.
I enjoyed the interview because Marc touches on a number of important ways to increase your income such as freelance writing and service-based online jobs. Both of these are at the core of Millionaire Mob’s philosophies for helping others achieve financial freedom through recurring side hustle income.
Like me, Marc used Personal Capital to ensure that all of his finances were in order.
Let’s get into our money blogger interview questions with Marc of Vital Dollar.
Money Blogger Interview Questions with Vital Dollar
Below are a series of interview questions with Vital Dollar, including background on his website, his struggles with blogging and much more. I hope you gain some valuable insight.
What inspired you to create Vital Dollar? What’s one thing that you didn’t know that you know now?
I’ve been interested in finance for a long time, and I had been wanting to start a finance blog for a few years. I hadn’t been able to do it earlier because I was busy with other projects and I just never had the time for it. This year I finally made it happen, and I’m glad I did.
I’ve always had an interest in finance and trying to make the most of my money. I like learning about investing and other financial topics, so I thought having a finance blog would give me a good opportunity to immerse myself in the subject and learn even more.
One of my goals with the site is to help people who are looking to make more money. I was in that spot about about 11 or 12 years ago, and reading blogs was one of the biggest ways I was able to learn how to build my own online business. I’d like to be able to provide similar help to others who want the same thing.
I think the one thing that I didn’t know that I know now is the popularity of the FIRE community online. I only came across blogs and podcasts on the financial independence movement within the past year. I’ve had a goal of retiring at 55 for years, but I wasn’t aware of the large and growing community of people who have even more aggressive goals.
What do you hate most about blogging?
I don’t know that I’d say I hate it, but the initial phase of trying to build traffic from nothing can be frustrating. It’s hard for new blogs to get traffic because Google usually doesn’t send much search traffic to new sites. Social media is a possible source of traffic, but without an existing audience it can be hard.
Once you get some momentum, things get a lot easier.
Also, there are times where I don’t really feel like writing. Obviously, writing is a big part of being a blogger, so it’s a lot more fun when you feel like writing.
What do you love about blogging?
I love being able to work from home and have a flexible schedule. In the middle of this interview I just took a short break to play a game with my son. I wouldn’t have that opportunity with a more traditional job.
During my years as a full-time blogger I’ve always worked fairly long hours (usually at least 50 hours per week), but I have a lot of flexibility with those hours. When I want to take time off I don’t have to get it approved by a boss or coordinate schedules with co-workers.
I also really appreciate the unlimited income potential. Ever since I left a salaried job I’ve really been motivated and challenged by the opportunity to earn as much as I can.
What is the one piece of advice that you’d give to millennials just realizing that they need to get their ‘financial fitness’ in order?
I think the first thing you need to do is get a grasp on how much money you are actually spending. Tracking expenses for a month or two can be really useful and motivational, and you may be surprised at how you are actually spending your money.
Of course, you want to look at the overall total that you are spending and compare it to your income, but you should also categorize the expenses and take a look at how much you are spending in different categories.
When you see how much you are spending on certain things you may be able to quickly identify some areas where you need to cut back.
Basically, it’s just getting an awareness of how you’re currently using your money.
And then I think the next step is to create a budget that will help to get those expenses at a more healthy level.
You’ve obviously had a lot of success with making money online, what advice would you give to people that inspire to be online entrepreneurs?
I’ve been working online full-time for the past 10 years, and the biggest difference I’ve seen from people who have success compared to those who don’t have success is simply persistence and patience.
A lot of people start a blog or website and then give up too quickly. Building an online business takes time, and you need to be willing to put in some effort before you will see any results.
During the first few months, it usually feels like you’re making no progress, but this is normal.
The successful people I know have been willing to work through these times, and many of them just have a determination that they are going to find a way, even if it takes time.
Most people aren’t successful with their first website or blog. I think it’s easy to look at other people’s success stories and not see everything that went into reaching that success in the first place.
So my advice is to have a long-term approach and understand that you’re going to have to put in some work before you make any money. Blogging is so easy to get started, you can start a blog for $3.95/month and start blogging within 10 minutes through Bluehost. Use our link and you get the best possible price for hosting.
What do you hope to accomplish in the near-term and the long-term to gain financial independence?
In the near future, I’m hoping to build Vital Dollar to be a great resource for people who want to improve their own situation. I’ve already published a good bit of content on the blog, but there are a lot of other important articles that I need to add.
My goal is to make the site a great resource for readers, and if I can do that, I believe the site will be successful.
I hope to eventually monetize the site with digital products (probably courses or ebooks), but I don’t have exact plans yet.
My goal for reaching financial independence is just to keep going with my online business. I’ve had some other websites and blogs in the past, and recently I sold a photography blog (you can read about that in my article How I Turned a Photography Hobby Into $1,138,610).
I’m just looking to continue building websites and investing the money that I make from them.
Long-term, I hope to be able to retire, or at least have the option to retire, when my youngest child graduates high school, which should be in about 15-16 years.
What are your favorite forms of side hustle income?
My business originally started as a blogging side hustle, so I’d have to say that blogging is my personal favorite. I think it’s ideal for people who are looking for a side hustle that has the potential to grow into something bigger.
Blogging, isn’t for everyone though. If you need to make money quickly there are better options, like freelance writing. With so many blogs and website publishing articles every day, there are plenty of opportunities as a freelance writer.
Creating niche websites is another great option, but like blogging, it takes some time before you’ll start making money.
I’m also a big fan using your hobby and turning it into a money-making side hustle. Things like photography, crafts, and music can all be monetized, and working on your hobby is a great way to make some money.
I think other service-oriented side hustles like working as a virtual assistance, proofreading, transcribing, and translating are great options too.
Online side hustles, tend to get a lot of attention, but there are other great options, like flipping items for profit.
At Vital Dollar I have a big list of side hustle ideas that people might find to be helpful.
What have you learned from creating side hustle income streams? Do you like to take your side income and recycle it into new opportunities?
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that some side hustles can turn into something much bigger. When I started blogging I was looking to make some extra money, and pretty quickly I realized that there was potential for it to become a full-time income.
It took me about 1.5 years of consistent effort to get to the point where I felt comfortable leaving my full-time job to focus on my own business full-time.
I’ve also learned that the opportunities presented with an online business make it possible to turn a hobby into a full-time business. I started a photography blog several years ago, partly because photography was something I enjoyed and I wanted to learn more about.
Since I had some experience with blogging and making money online I thought I might be able to make some money from it. That site did pretty well, and when it was about 3 years old I sold it for $500,000.
What is the most hidden / least talked about way to attack debt?
I don’t have a ton of experience with debt payoff. My wife and I never had student loans or credit card debt. We did have loans on both of our cars, but each one was paid off in one year.
Our biggest debt was our mortgage. We were able to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 4 years by living within our means and then increase income.
It was the lump sums that I got from selling websites that made it possible to pay off the mortgage. So I guess I would say the hidden way to attack debt is through making good money with an online business. Build a website as a side hustle!
Millionaire Mob is doing whatever it takes to live mortgage free.
Do you have any mentors or people that you follow that have influenced you to be financially independent or personal finance savvy?
I don’t really have a financial mentor, but my parents had the biggest influence on me financially. My parents never made a lot of money, but we always had everything we needed because they managed their money very well. They taught me to take care of my money, save, and to avoid bad debt.
Another big influence came from the companies I worked for early in my career and the people in leadership at those companies. I never really envisioned myself as being self-employed, but it was really through the frustration I had from those jobs that led me to look for a different path. My motivation for growing my business during the early days was to get out of the job I was in at the time, because I could see that I was never going to get a good opportunity where I was.
Do you find it more important to save money or find ways to earn more income? Are there any tools out there that help you?
I think both are important, but I’d say making more money can have bigger results. The key to that is that you have to be able to manage the money that you make, or else you’ll never get ahead.
I was always careful with my money and was pretty frugal, but I didn’t have much to show for it because my income was low. Once I started working full-time in my business my financial situation completely changed because I was able to make a lot more money.
The one tool I really like for managing money is Personal Capital. I started using it less than a year ago, but I love being able to get a quick look at my net worth and keep tabs on everything from one place.
What did you do to achieve such advanced financial knowledge?
When I was first out of college I read several books on finances and investing, and that gave me a basic understanding. I also learned a lot just through managing my own money and researching different investment options online.
Being self-employed forced me to figure out some things related to handling retirement savings on my own. When I had a full-time job I contributed to a 401(k), but I just filled out a form and then never really paid attention to it. When I became self-employed I had to get familiar with the options. I had a SEP IRA for a few years and then moved it to an individual 401(k) with Vanguard.
One of the things I like about being a finance blogger is that I spend a good bit of time on other finance blogs, so I get to learn from others all the time.
What would you tell young professionals beginning their careers? What is the first thing young professionals need to do upon the start of their careers?
My advice is to try to find a job or career that is a good fit for you. I love being self-employed and working online, but I have a lot of friends that work as employees, enjoy their work, and have done very well in their careers.
There is no right or wrong approach, you just need to find a good fit for yourself. I was pretty miserable in the jobs I had before I was able to work for myself, but the past 10 years have been so much better.
Don’t feel like you have to follow a certain path just because that’s what other people are doing or because you’ve been told it’s what you should do.
Conclusion on Money Blogger Interview with Vital Dollar
I love Marc’s approach of building websites as a side hustle. He’s done this with such great success that it’s enabled him to become a personal finance expert and stay passionate about his goals for achieving FIRE.
Marc paid off his mortgage in less than 4 years by staying true to recycling cash flow back into his websites to create additional value. I believe by building websites as a side hustle you can build unlimited wealth. You can literally build a website surround any hobby of yours. Marc did it with photography.
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