Momentum Series Interview: Defined Sight – Shared Sights Set On Development
This feature marks #9 in the Momentum Series – an interview series to share the stories of bloggers from across the personal finance community.
The goal is to showcase their story, the wins, the losses and the actionable advice that others can take value from and insights about their blogging journey. Whether that be conquering debt, maximizing career earnings, the road to financial independence or other strategies for financial and blogging success.
This week’s Momentum Series Blogger Interview is with Mr. & Mrs. Defined Sight!
This duo behind Defined Sight share amazing content on their blog about professional and personal development. Their post topics cover personal finance, career advancement, health and wellness and everything about being the best version of yourself that you can.
This is a fun conversation as we dive into both of their backgrounds, financial journeys, blogging experiences, advice and much more!
If you want to connect with the Defined Sight duo:
Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Mr. & Mrs. Defined Sight! Let’s get started with Momentum Series Interview: Defined Sight – Shared Sights Set On Development.
Mr. & Mrs. Defined Sight
- Associates – Information Technology & Accounting
- Bachelors – Chemistry & Biology, Associates – Accounting, MBA – Management
- Works in the IT field
- Works in a financial position
When did you first discover or get introduced to the financial freedom/financial independence movement? What was your life plan or thoughts on money before that?
We have always been conservative with our spending (likely too much), even before knowing about FIRE movement. We didn’t get heavy into making our money work for us until about our late 20s. Up until then we focused on debt and student loans…and creating a substantial emergency fund.
After that, we felt more comfortable to start taking bigger risks with our investing.
Is there any foundational money advice that was instilled in you from your parents or anyone else at an early age?
I grew up on a farm. My dad was very conservative with equipment, never buying the latest and greatest stuff. I always thought it was embarrassing driving old tractors and trucks, but now I understand.
While many other farms went under during lean years, we were always OK because of his common sense. I’ll always remember this and be grateful for the way he is.
My parents saved money like squirrels storing nuts for the winter. They didn’t come from any significant money sources, and both worked hard to pay off their debt. Anything extra went into savings. I didn’t learn any “make your money work for you” concepts at all in our home, nor going to high school (unless I slept through that class).
Money wasn’t discussed too much in our home, but savings and paying off debt was highly stressed. As well as they were anti credit cards.
My mom saved for 25 years before she was able to pay cash to build a new house she always wanted. Which is an insane concept for some people. If there’s one thing they taught me, is that everyone is different, has different dreams and priorities. I have no desire to build a brand, new house as a retirement home. But, I respect those that do and however else they choose to spend their hard-earned money.
What are some of the most influential resources that have shaped your money mindset or financial situation?
He doesn’t blog much anymore, but Joshua Kennon was probably the first “finance” blogger I followed. He produced wonderful posts about investing, business, and general life topics. Financial Samurai was another one early on that I followed. He’s fantastic.
Apps or Service(s)
We don’t really use any financial apps. Working in the IT profession makes me a bit paranoid on how many apps and services have our financial information. Too many companies already do!
Mr. DS, can you explain the mantra of “the money doesn’t care who makes it” and how you’ve applied that in your lives?
I truly believe people can be successful without inheriting a fortune or being born into wealth. But it takes effort and perseverance. But we are in luck because effort is the one thing we can control!
Neither Mrs. DS or myself come from money unfortunately so we’ve been grinding away non-stop all of our adult lives.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
Trying hard not to debate and wait to long before missing the window to jump into a new investment. Also learning to be better with tax efficiency. We have much to learn in that area.
If you had to give your child advice to navigate their own financial journey in 3 sentences are less, what would that advice be?
Ask your employers to pay for your degrees so you don’t go into so much darn student loan debt.
Both of you went back to school together to get your Accounting degrees, what was that experience like? What was the biggest pro of doing that together and was there any moments of strain?
Well, it was kind of fun! Couples that go to school together, and blog together, stick together right?!
But, I’m not going to lie, Mr. DS’s Statistics homework (and tests) were likely done by me. It was struggle city for him in the Stats department. (Me too, but I have more patience than him!).
- Biggest pro: getting it over and done with right away when we were in our early and mid-20s. Someone once told me you’ll never have more time in your life when you are young…use it wisely, because once you have kids, you will have less time for this.
- Strains: the thought of paying for another degree. Seriously ya’ll…school is expensive! So, we just opted out of all-inclusive anniversary trips to Jamaica as well as said no to being a part of destination wedding parties. Those costs add up and can also break you in your 20s. Which were smarter money moves in the long run.
Oh hey – and our old friends still talk to us so it’s all good.
Mrs. DS, you changed your job despite the six-figure salary and having a management position, can you explain that decision and the thought process behind it?
The job did not match my current stage in life. I supervised too many people, was a manager, yet never had the final say on hiring decisions (even positions I supervised) and got tired of working in a daycare. (It wasn’t an actual daycare with little people, that job may have been more rewarding and fun, it was working with a lot of childish adults that didn’t play nice with each other).
So, I narrowed my focus to try and find a non-supervisory job where I could just be my quirky self in an area I was decent in. And I found one! I am a lot happier, have more time for my family, don’t take work home on the weekends (minus a few crazy times a year) and have time to develop a blog with my husband!
What is the plan for your life over the next 5 years? How does that change if you close your eyes and think to 10 years ahead?
We plan on closely watching the housing market in our area. There’s a buzz it may rise and we could be in a position to flip our home (again!). We both decided it would be fun to rent (ha – less DIY), for a little while, which also keeps us less tied down if we ever want to move out of the area.
If I close my eyes, I get car sick (because I’m answering this in on our road trip!) so I’ll let Mr. DS answer the 10 year vision when we get back on wi-fi.
I always cringe when I get this question. I’ve been asked this before at a couple of job interviews. I’m more of a “live in the moment” kind of person. 10 years from now? Sheesh. I’m simply hoping for health and happiness. We’ll have a teenager by then so….is this possible?!
Our #1 priority in 10 years will be to help our son through his teenage years, instill some morals and values, guide him through making some good decisions and preparing him for the real world. Oh and maybe move somewhere warmer?! #Lifegoals
If you had to give a 20-minute speech at the local university to 1st year students about career/personal development, what would be the main takeaways you’d hope to inspire them with?
The job you don’t want, will teach you the most resilience. Volunteer for opportunities that put you out of your comfort zone and challenge what you know. It will keep building a well-rounded perspective on life, people, careers and will hopefully not leave you a bitter person, but a better person.
(holy s*** that sounds profound…I better google that and make sure it’s not on a billboard I just passed by).
Don’t worry about finding your “passion” right away. Do something practical that you don’t hate first. Work, save, and build a measure of monetary safety.
Then, when you have a measure of stability, look for something more enjoyable and find a way to make money from it. Triple down on it and give it max effort.
The sky is the limit if you can make money doing something you love.
When did you first start blogging? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path?
I started a blog in the 2008/2009 era. I wanted to be a writer! But, marketing killed me. Which is still hard today! I also had that darn manager job, worked full time while going to school for the other degrees and so I think it was a recipe for disaster.
In June 2016, it was Mr. DS’s idea to start a blog again. And if you both work full-time, while raising a family, it really takes the support of both partners in a relationship to make a blog work…because it is so much work!
Defined Sight launched a couple of months later, we had a few life events that delayed the consistency of our posting and getting connected with the blogging community, but we are nerdy excited to be where we are today!
What is the overall mission or purpose of Defined Sight?
Wish well for others, celebrate successes, offer encouragement through failures, and surround yourself with those who are healthy for you!
What was the that first “big win” on your blogging journey that kept you motivated and reinforced your belief?
I would say the first time we were featured on Rockstar Finance was a “big win.” That was a really cool feeling. But an even better feeling is when we get comments from friends from the community. We have a lot of fun chatting up with the other folks.
Getting connected with a few other bloggers. I didn’t do this last time I blogged (too introverted and I didn’t make time for it). But, not only do other bloggers help and encourage you to succeed, you can also bounce your random questions or blog frustrations off on them, because they likely have been through them as well!
And they are so kind and supportive! I would go through all the stages of grief if they ever quit blogging!
Mr. DS, if you could take one of Mrs. DS’s blogging skills and instill it in yourself, what would that be?
This one is easy. Writing speed. Mrs. DS has the ability to crank out entertaining 2,000+ word posts in a couple hours. I can maybe get 800 words done in that time. On a good day. This makes me very frustrated but happy at the same time.
At least one of us is efficient hah. But seriously, she can write circles around me and is a much better blogger. I can admit it!
Now vice-versa, Mrs. DS, if you could take one of Mr. DS’s blogging skills and instill it in yourself, what would that be?
His ability to write Rockstar worthy content while under the influence of a few adult refreshments.
Do you have any specific goals with your blog(s) over the next 18 months? What tactics are you planning to leverage to accomplish these?
We need to work on improving our SEO to bring in more organic traffic. Maybe take a class or two on this.
Continue to use social media, such as Twitter, to gain followers and bring in traffic. We don’t have Instagram or Facebook (trust issues with these platforms).
Continue to treat Pinterest like a search engine and gain more followers and increase our monthly viewers.
If you could recommend 3 blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out on Defined Sight, what would those be?
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
Don’t hang up the towel blogging when you hit the 6th month wall (those walls also randomly pop up throughout the year…mostly after sleep deprivation and a stressful workload or life event).
Stay consistent as possible but don’t burn yourself out.
Alexa ratings are harsh and make you scratch your head; ignore them if you can because you have no idea what their formula is.
Even if you are introverted, get connected with other bloggers and ask your questions no matter how stupid you may feel asking them (Mrs. DS here – I need to follow this one more).
Develop thick skin; life, jobs and people are harsh. It’s easy to get down and discouraged. Keep plugging away. Compound your small wins, build momentum, and keep it rolling.
Any special shoutouts?
Thank you Scott for this opportunity! It was our first interview and we had fun putting this together! It was also a great way to reflect on the last couple of years blogging!