How Starting a Blog Changed Every Aspect of My Life

Michael Leonard

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A few years ago, I was a corporate hostage.

Let’s rewind to 2015.

Like so many millennials, I was miserable at my 9–5 job, and I spent every moment dreaming about a better life.

But instead of just dreaming, I relentlessly consumed information about money and personal finance because I wanted to learn how to retire early.

I became obsessed with figuring a way to avoid the rat race and enjoy the best years of my life. And I loved sharing what I was learning with anyone who would listen.

During work happy hours, I would talk to people about Roth IRA’s, index funds, stock options, and credit scores. I wanted to help everyone I could.

One of those conversations was with two of my directors on a President’s Club trip in Cancun. After about ten cocktails, I started spewing out financial jargon, and they were impressed.

I still remember one of them saying, “You should do something with all this knowledge; maybe you should start a blog.”

This conversation was at the end of 2015; the seed had been planted.

At the time, I was dabbling with starting an e-commerce store on Amazon, but I got scared and never actually bought the inventory. But I knew I needed to do something to start 2016 so I could finally learn how to escape my 9–5.

On January 8th, 2016, my finance blog, Super Millennial, was born.

I was on a mission to help millennials understand their finances as I felt the education system failed us.

Before launching, I was never a writer. Hell, I didn’t even resemble a writer in the slightest sense, I just wanted to help people.

The site itself was ugly and loaded at a snail’s pace.

The writing was cringeworthy. I’m talking about run-on sentences, every other word misspelled, awful formatting, and zero SEO knowledge.

But the intent was there. I wanted to help millennials learn how to understand their finances.

This one decision changed every aspect of my life.

Here is what has transpired over the past four years from taking one single action and starting the journey of digital entrepreneurship.

Quit My $120,000 Job

Seventeen months after starting my blog, I had a millennial life crisis and quit my six-figure career for the unknown world of blogging.

You might be thinking, wow, he made money fast.

No, I didn’t at all. I had only made $200. I was just that tired of working for someone else.

During 2016, I wrote maybe 20 articles as I got rattled by the entire blogging process and lack of results. Not to mention, my writing skills were atrocious.

But somehow, one of those posts went mini-viral in the personal finance world.

I still remember getting the notification on my phone. I was driving to the dentist’s office and saw that my blog post was front and center on Rockstar Finance, a site that I idolized at the time.

I legit cried in my car; I was so excited that people were reading my content. I knew that I was onto something.

But after three days, my site traffic was back to nearly zero, but my motivation levels were there. At that moment, I committed to myself that I would work for one more year, save everything I could, and quit my job.

It ended up being a little longer than a year (14 months), but I did it. I used my finance skills to save money like crazy and cut unnecessary expenses. I ended up saving 12 months of living expenses, and on April 29th, 2017, I told my boss I was retiring early.

On May 11th, 2017, I left the corporate world to build my online business and pursue professional golf.

I haven’t been back to a 9–5 since and never will again.

“Leap and the net will appear.” — John Burroughs

Published Three Books

On my quest to master personal finances, I devoured investing newsletters, blogs, and books about creating financial freedom. During one of those sessions, I realized how much value I had received from books and thought it would be so cool to give those results to someone else.

Once I made the silent promise to myself to quit my 9–5, I decided it was time to act on a dream I made a few years ago: to publish a book in my 20's.

So I learned about self-publishing from Amazon and made it happen. The day I gave my notice in 2017 is the day I got my first copy of my book.

Like the blog, it wasn’t perfect, but the intent was there; I wanted to help millennials live better lives.

Is it a best seller?

Absolutely not.

I made around $1,500 ever from it, but I reached my goal of being a published author in my twenties.

I also used the book to parlay into becoming a freelance writer and publish two more books as well.

Became a Freelance Writer

After about seven months of unsuccessfully blogging, I knew something had to change. My 12-month parachute was going up in flames, and I was distraught with my lack of growth in my “business.”

Plus, my savings account was taking a hit, and I had acquired credit card debt for the first time.

Blogging wasn’t working.

I didn’t have the traffic and affiliate sales that I thought I would. But I still loved writing and wanted to help people improve their finances.

So at the end of 2017, I pivoted from blogging to freelance writing, created a freelance writing website, and started pitching clients. By January of 2018, I went all-in on freelance writing.

Freelance writing changed my life.

With my blog failing, I needed money to keep my dreams alive, and writing for other blogs and websites was my lifeline.

In the following 12 months, I went on to 10X my monthly income, get featured in huge publications, and keep my professional golf dream alive.

The results snowballed, and 2019 was even better as I doubled my 2018 freelance writing income.

Plus, in September of 2019, I had my biggest month ever and earned $20,050 from writing online.

The money itself was great, but what the money signified was even more important. When I left my corporate job, the most I ever made in a single month was around $10,500.

So when I started my entrepreneurial journey, I wrote down a goal to make $11,000 in one month.

To me, that number proved that I “made it.” I kept this notecard with my goal in my wallet and reminded myself of the goal frequently.

Up until September of 2019, I hadn’t attracted that much money yet but had been close. As I said, the money was great, but the feeling of accomplishing a two-year goal was priceless.

Launched a Podcast

During my entrepreneurial journey, I became obsessed with podcasts as it gets a little quiet working at home sometimes.

I love interview shows like Impact Theory and The Passionate Few. I thought it was the coolest thing ever that super successful people openly shared so much about their lives. After listening to thousands of hours of podcasts, I decided to launch my interview show at the end of 2018.

Just as I had done with writing, I wanted to impact people in a positive way, especially those who weren’t readers and preferred podcasts.

In January of 2019, three years after starting my blog, I launched my podcast, Inspire Your Success.

Since then, I’ve recorded over 50 episodes, interviewed several multi-millionaires (including David Meltzer, worth $100M), landed freelance writing clients, impacted listeners worldwide, and even helped create a viral video on Youtube.

Viral Video

If I had never started a blog, I would have never become the #1 contributor to Fearless Motivation and never would’ve created a viral video on Youtube.

After the creator of Fearless Motivation heard my podcast, he asked me to help create a new project in 2019. Instead of creating new blog posts, they focused their efforts on creating audio and video.

So I wrote and did a voiceover for a video that now has over 1,800,000+ views in eight months.

When I first watched the video, I shed a few happy tears, and it took me back to that first mini-viral blog post in 2016.

The video was personal because it was all about learning how to reprogram your mind for success. While I’ve had a lot of “success,” I’ve also battled a lot of demons along the way.

Entrepreneurship has not been easy. I have fought more depression, anxiety, and fear than I ever would have if I stayed in my comfortable 9–5.

But I kept finding new coaches and techniques (like hypnosis, meditation, Pysch K, yoga Nidra, journaling, etc.) to improve my mental health and evolve as a human being. With consistency, it’s done wonders to all areas of my life.

The viral video is about those topics, which made me proud, knowing I have helped potentially millions of people who suffered the same negative emotions that I did as well. Since I had to learn all of this stuff the hard way, I am incredibly grateful to have a platform to share it with others worldwide.

Now, if you Google “reprogram your mind,” the video appears number one in the search results.

This viral video would never have happened if I didn’t start that personal finance blog back in 2016. Now, over 1.8 million people (and counting) wouldn’t have heard a valuable message.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso

Personal Growth

I mentioned my mental health struggles in the last point but want to elaborate.

While making money online is the coolest thing ever, a surprise that entrepreneurship brought was an insane amount of personal growth. I had no idea that self-improvement went hand in hand with growing a business.

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself.” — Denis Waitley

When I started my blog four years ago, I was an entirely different person.

If I’m honest, at that time, I hated myself and my life. Sure, I was successful by most people’s standards in my 20s (home-owner, a six-figure salary, BMW, long-term girlfriend, dog, etc.), but internally, my life was chaos.

I drank a lot and got addicted to things to numb my unhappiness in life. Despite looking like I had it all together on the outside, I was miserable on the inside. I felt like I was only using a fraction of my potential and wasting my life away.

I often feared sitting at a job I hated until I was 65 years old because I was too scared to go all-in on my dreams. I had this recurring nightmare where I would retire, get hit by a bus, my life would end, and my dreams would die.

This recurring nightmare helped me quit my job and bet on myself.

When I became an entrepreneur, all of those feelings and emotions came flooding to the surface. I had to look myself in the mirror and face who I had been hiding from for a long time — myself.

I’m not going to tell you entrepreneurship is easy because it hasn’t been.

  • Learning how to build a business from thin air is difficult.
  • Getting past all of your old limiting beliefs is a lot of work.
  • Learning how to rewire your mind for success requires a ton of discipline and belief.

About 18 months into my journey, I was struggling. I wanted to have more impact and income in my life, but I seemed to hit my ceiling.

Looking back, I had done just that.

My old belief system would only take me so far, and I was experiencing immense doubt, fear, and anxiety.

But I wanted more. Like a snake, I had to shed my skin so that I could evolve into a six-figure entrepreneur.

In the past, I would’ve numbed the pain and avoided the problem entirely. Back then, I used to think that by ignoring the problem that it would magically go away.

This was different. Instead, I learned how to leverage meditation, hypnotherapy, Psych-K, yoga, coaches, and masterminds to help me create the life I want and am now creating.

But please don’t think I have it all figured out. Even now, I am working on rewiring my mind for the next level.

Don’t forget; no one has it all figured out!

If I never started a blog, I never would have learned any of this transformational skills that I can use for the rest of my life.

Professional Golf

Okay, I’m not a professional golfer (yet), but I do compete in highly competitive amateur events and mini-tour professional events.

In late 2019, I flew halfway across the country to compete in Q-school, which is the formal process to become a professional golfer one step below the PGA Tour.

While I missed it by a few shots, it was one of the top memories of my entire life. The fact that I had worked hard enough on all aspects of my game to even compete with full-time pros gave me more confidence than ever before.

If I never started a blog, I wouldn’t have quit my job to create my schedule and pursue my childhood dream of professional golf.

My love of golf and writing has also led me to write golf content all over the internet and publish a golf book on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, this post isn’t about blogging.

It’s about betting on yourself and taking calculated risks in creating a better life.

If you keep playing it safe, you could end up with regrets that will haunt you until the end of your time on this planet.

I firmly believe that every single person was put here for a reason. But it’s up to you figure out what that reason is and share your gifts with the world.

The process is messy, challenging, and difficult, but in the end, it’s so worth it. I’m forever grateful to myself for taking the leap and creating my future.

Remember, sometimes you have to give up a good life to get a great life.

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” — Robert Allen
Photo by Luengo_UA on DepositPhotos

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My name is Michael Leonard and I am the creator of Inspire Your Success. I'm on a mission to help readers build online writing businesses and quit their jobs to live a life of freedom!

Scottsdale, AZ
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