One year of gathering little by little

By glblguy

Happy Birthday
Photo by: ritchielee

Exactly one year ago today, I brought Gather Little by Little online. I had been blogging for about two months on a personal blog that I started just so I could play around with two blogging software packages (WordPress and Drupal). I wrote articles about various things, but mainly personal finance topics, more to document what I was learning than to share any insights with anyone.

Sometime around the end on June, I stumbled across both The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly and was truly amazed at the sheer number of readers those two blogs had. As I read deep into the archives of both blogs, I felt a calling of sorts to share with people the things I was learning about my financial life in hopes that they might benefit. I thought that perhaps by sharing they might not have to learn the hard way like I did.

But I’m jumping ahead. Let me start from the beginning…

How it all started

In November of 2006, our lives got turned upside down. My family and I faced a personal situation beyond anything we had ever faced before. I was out of work for 3 months with no pay. We had no savings, consumer debt in the range of 60,000 (excluding our mortgage), 6 child, and one that during that same month was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. To be very honest, only through the grace of God did we survive. I sold all the stock I had. We took a ton of stuff to some pawn shops and sold some things at a garage sale. I also got a very fortunate break in that my mortgage had a clause that allowed us to skip one payment a year with no penalty. Between those things, we survived. We even managed to provide our children with a reduced but reasonable Christmas.

I have never been so scared in my whole life, nor have I ever felt so irresponsible for allowing myself and my family to get in a financial situation like we were in. By another act of pure grace, I received short term disability, a few months later, but just in time to literally put food on the table, some clothes on my children’s backs and just a few days before our next mortgage payment was due. Throughout the entire 3 months, we never missed or got behind on a payment. We were blind, but now could see.

Gather Little by Little

During that time, I began to look forward. I began a quest to never be in a situation like that again. I wanted to have some savings, get rid of our debt, and have multiple streams of income. As I mentioned, I started writing about this on my personal blog. I was reading lots of books, including one that really made me see the errors of my ways and realize there was a path to getting out: The Total Money Makeover. Many people critic Dave Ramsey for being too blunt and downright rude. I disagree, Dave is just in your face honest, and sometimes that is exactly what people need. Someone who is willing to just lay it out on the table, exactly the way it is. That was what I needed.

Around that same time I found The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly. A few weeks later I realized there were a bunch of other people blogging about their financial journeys. I decided to join the ranks and provide information about my personal journey. But what to call my blog? What niche did I want to fill?

During our personal crisis, I decided it was time to read the Bible from start to finish. In June of 2007, I was reading the book of Proverbs and learning tons about money management from King Solomon. The evening I decided to start my own personal finance blog, I read Proverbs 13:11 – “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” In this one verse I found not only the name for my blog, but the calling for the niche I needed to fill. The blog would be called Gather Little by Little, and would discuss personal finance from a Christian perspective.

On July 1st at 12:59pm I published my very first post on Gather Little by Little. I never really expected anyone to read it. Little did I know at the time, how quickly it would grow, the positive impact it would have, and the number of wonderful people I was yet to meet.

The first few months

My very first few articles were an in depth series documenting exactly what I had learned over the past few months. I started a series called How to get your finances under control, one small step at a time. The article was an introduction article for a series I planned to do that would walk readers through a step by step process for getting their financial lives turned around. The series documented the steps that were working me.

Reading the articles again is strange for me as I recall vividly writing every single word. I knew little to nothing about blogging, search engine optimization, advertising, or any of the other important blogging concepts. I just knew I wanted to make a difference. I always said if one person changed their financial lives around due to my writing, it would all be worth it. I hope I have done that.

My writing style was a little shaky then (some would argue it still is). My writing voice hadn’t found me just yet, but it was decent. I tried to write like I talk and keep it personal, sincere, and humorous. I like the series enough that I’m working on converting it to a free eBook I’ll be publishing later this month if things go as planned.

In August 2007,  I was averaging about 60-100 visitors per day, had 26 readers (I thought that was huge!), and had 42 articles published. Some of the articles were great, and some I’ve almost deleted a few times due to being so bad. Around that time, I got an email from this guy named Pinyo who asked me if I wanted to form a blogging network with him and a few other new bloggers. I really didn’t understand what a network was exactly, but I thought it sounded like a good idea. So Pinyo, myself, plonkee, and another blogger who is no longer blogging formed the M-Network. Turns out, this would be the single most important thing I did to get Gather Little by Little where it is today. Thanks Pinyo, just in case I never thanked you for that email.

The M-Network is a little bigger now, 10 blogs in total and together we have more than 13,500 readers and receive more than 11,000 unique visits per day!

Fast forward to today

A year later, Gather Little by Little has more than 1600 subscribers and receives more than 1,000 unique visitors per day. In total, I’ve received 245,000+ unique visitors and had 424,000+ page views! Wow. Gather Little by Little has come a long way since 26 readers and 60 visits per day. To be downright honest, knowing that at least 1600 people read your blog everyday is quit overwhelming and a bit scary!

From a personal finance perspective, my wife and I have paid off more than $20,000 in debt, have an emergency fund, control our finances through the use of a written monthly budget, and meet weekly to discuss our finances and budget. We aggressively look for opportunities to reduce our expenses and increase our income, including making sure our income comes from multiple independent sources.

I am in awe at how big Gather Little by Little has grown. I’m frequently listed in the top 25 or 30 personal finance blogs, receive lots of great comments from readers everyday, and get links from the blogs that got me started and I still admire to this day. Two of the big high points for me was having a guest article I wrote featured on Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar linking to one of my articles for the first time.

I am so thankful for the difference Gather Little by Little has made in my life, and the difference I sincerely hope it is making in yours. I have learned so much about blogging, personal finance, and about myself over the journey of the last year, that can’t wait to see how much more I’ll learn over the next year. The one unexpected thing that I’ve also gained is a group of friends that support me, hold me accountable, question me when I might be wrong, and help me daily make Gather Little by Little a better blog.

Who are these friends? You. You the readers who come here daily to read my ramblings. You the other bloggers who link to me, write great stuff for me to link to, and share your knowledge to help us all make our blogs better places for our readers.

Thank you!

Thank you for the past year. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for holding me accountable, and for all of your emails that support and encourage me to continue writing. You cannot imagine the positive impact you’ve had on my life. I thank God for each of you daily. You are why I get up every morning to write and share the things I’ve learned.

I look forward to the next year and the journey we’ll have together, gathering little by little.

33 Responses (including trackbacks) to “One year of gathering little by little”

  1. Frugal Dad Says:

    Congratulations on your blogging anniversary, but more important – congratulations on the dent you’ve made on paying down debt! That’s awesome!

  2. debtdieter Says:

    Wow! I had no idea you’d only been blogging for a year, it seems like you’d been doing this for years!

    Congratulations on your first year of blogging, and for the amazing sucess you’ve achieved through your hard work and quality product.

  3. Four Pillars Says:

    Excellent post – keep up the great work on GLBL.


  4. Julie D Says:

    Congrats on the blogging milestone and the $20k! Both are impressive.

  5. Vanessa Says:

    You’ve done an excellent job with your site, I’m a new reader, I started reading your blog a little over a week ago. This was after going through a financial crisis for a month myself. I decided to seek help and the network of financial blogs have inspired me greatly. Were now on the road to being debt free and while were only in week two of this, your blogs, your networks blogs, give me fresh ideas and support by just reading them. I know I can be debt free, have an emergancy fund, and worry a little less about money too. Thank you to you and your financial bloggers network for the on-going support you give to the rest of us.

  6. That One Caveman Says:

    Congratulations all around, man. You totally deserve everything!

  7. MMJ Says:

    Congrats on the anniversary. You are truly an inspiration and I have enjoyed reading your posts here. Here’s to many more years of great articles.

  8. Pete Says:

    congratulations on your 1 year anniversary – you’ve made an impact on me, so thank you! Good luck on year 2!

  9. Momma Says:

    You’ve really inspired me in the 6 months I’ve been subscribing here. Congrats on the anniversary! Looking forward to reading you for another year.

  10. castocreations Says:

    Well, you’ve helped make my life better. :) I think about the money I spend so much more now. And while we don’t have massive debt, the debt we have we want to pay off quickly and start saving for our major goals.

    Thank God for Entrecard or I’d never have stumbled upon you! :)

  11. Funny about Money Says:

    Congratulations, GLBL! Delightful blog…and excellent news on the financial front!

  12. Patrick Says:

    Congratulations on the success of your blog, Gibble. But more importantly, congrats on turning your finances around! :)

    I’m happy to read your blog everyday, and even more happy to be associated with you in the M-network and call you a friend. :)

  13. "Mo" Money Says:

    Congratulation on your 1 year anniversary! That’s awesome, you’ve come a long way in one year.

  14. AndyS Says:

    Congratulations…I too thought you had been doing this for much more than 1 year as well. So the growth you had is phenomenal and well deserved based on your posts.

    Also, appreciate you paying it forward by adding my pf blog (and other new up and comers) to your blogroll links. Just like GRS is your measure/yardstick for success, you are the yardstick for new pf bloggers like me.


  15. DebtKid Says:

    Congrats Gibble!

    It’s amazing how powerful words can be. I’ve experienced some of the same empowerment from my blog as well. Keep up the great posts, I’m sure you have loads of growth ahead of you!

  16. The Shark Investor Says:

    Congratulations for your blog birthday and the financial growth!

  17. SingleGuyMoney Says:

    Congratulations on One Year of blogging! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and look forward to reading many more.

  18. Pinyo Says:

    Gibble, congratulation on your 1 year anniversary. And I should be thanking your for trusting me enough to jump in on the M-network deal. :-)

  19. Bobster Says:

    Congratulations & keep up the great work! You have inspired me in so many ways, thank you. Many more years of awesome bloggin to you (and us!)

  20. glblguy Says:

    Wow…thank you so much everyone for the wonderful comments! You really warmed my heart. Timing was great too…my wife and I just returned from spending 3 hours at the ER. My 2 year old daughter fell out in our driveway and cut her chin. She now has 2 stitches :-(

  21. Roshawn @ Watson Inc Says:

    Congratulations on your 1st anniversary. I wish you many more. You do a great job and are truly an inspiration.

  22. Lynnae Says:

    Congratulations on both the year of blogging and the success with your finances!

    And sorry to hear about your daughter’s boo boo. I hope it heals up quickly.

  23. tiffanie Says:

    you are truly inspiring! reading your history on why you started this site reminds me so much of why i started my own PF blog. i was doing well…starting up savings, started my 401(k) and started paying down debt. mind you…i wanted to start young, so it was important to me to open my 401k when I was about 20. then the unexpected happened and i was without a job (still am…) and so I needed insight. anyway…i just wanted to say thank you for sharing with all of us and being a useful tool. the rest of my story is (obviously) on my site haha.

  24. Lee Says:

    Wow, It’s been a year…that’s exciting. There’s so much that’s happened in this year. You’ve definitely been an inspiration to me and therefore,my family, and you’ve been full of wisdom financially and in other ways that just shine through this internet. It’s amazing to me that a lot of us haven’t met, but feel like we share a lot in our daily lives through the posts and comments. Thanks for all you’ve written, and I can’t wait to see more as the days go by!

  25. ChristianPF Says:

    Congrats – GLBL!! Awesome progress that last year – isn’t is awesome how many people you can help!!

    I am excited about your past progress and wish you the best from here on forward!! We need more people gathering little by little!!

  26. Sara Says:

    Delurking to say congratulations. You’re a big inspiration both in terms of your financial turnaround and your blogging success!

  27. Car Shipping Says:

    It’s nice to hear that you are somewhat being sentimental to a thing that we can call part of a technology. Blogging is fun so happy anniversary to you.

  28. glblguy Says:

    Thank you so much everyone.