Momentum Series Interview – Xennial Blogger: Self Employment, Side Hustles & Growing Wealth
This marks feature #29 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 we’re welcoming a fellow Canadian to the Momentum Series, Stephanie from Xennial Blogger.
Stephanie’s blog is a great resource for anyone looking to take control of their money and life. She shares insights on self employment, side hustling, mastering your personal finances and much more.
If you want to connect with Stephanie:
With that said, let’s get going. Please welcome Stephanie and enjoy the Momentum Series Interview – Xennial Blogger: Self Employment, Side Hustles & Growing Wealth.
My name is Stephanie, and I am the Xennial Blogger. An Xennial is anyone born between the years 1977 – 1983, and doesn’t quite fit the mold of being a Gen X or a Millennial. It’s a good position to be in, as I write for those who are looking to start making money with side hustles, home businesses or real estate investments, or those just looking to save some money without having to cut out all the extras in life.
My education includes law clerk, social service worker and abnormal psychology studies. I have close to 20 years of experience in real estate from the law perspective to hands-on ownership and management of real estate rentals and property management.
I am currently working with a major credit card company, and as a virtual assistant to bloggers. I am always looking for new clients who want to grow their blog and social media presence. My business is Outsource Niagara, which can be found at OutsourceNiagara.com.
Has taking control of your money and mastering your personal finances always been your mindset as an adult? Can you share the coles notes version of your financial journey?
No. In fact, I grew up in a household where money was always short, and we made do without a lot. My parents unknowingly raised a spender and a saver, and I was the spender because I believed that money needed to be spent before it was gone.
It wasn’t until my mid-thirties when I was recovering from a bankruptcy that I realized I wanted more for myself, and needed to focus on my finances. Without the stability of money, there is no stability or choices in life. People and circumstances make those choices for you. I saw my parents struggle through circumstances that made decisions for them, though they were savers at heart.
Sometimes life gets tough, and while they got tougher, the lessons didn’t make any sense to me until much later.
What strategies and tactics have you implemented in your life to best set you up for financial success?
It’s a work in progress. I went from having a very low credit score, having student loans in collections and not being able to manage credit to raising that credit score substantially, getting the student loans under control and only having one credit card with a balance.
While my partner and I do not have a specific budget together, we split our finances, and part of my end is taking any extra money and getting debt paid off. Our debt free journey may be longer than we want, but we are definitely a long way from where we were five years ago.
Have you made any major financial mistakes? If so, what was the outcome and what did you learn from these mistakes?
Yes! I made many mistakes. From my first credit cards in college that I maxed out and didn’t realize the cost of repayment, to taking out maximum student loans, to not taking advantage of student loan repayment programs, to going through a divorce and claiming bankruptcy, I made many mistakes.
I own them all, and I do not want to ever repeat them! While credit is a seductive mistress, it always follows you around. It goes from being seductive to a ball and chain once used.
My biggest mistake was trying to live like the Joneses, and realizing that the Joneses made a lot more money than I did. My biggest lesson is to be grateful for what you have, because it’s enough. You don’t need everything everyone else has, and you don’t know what it’s costing them to have it.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
Definitely! We are constantly trying to learn more ways to manage our funds better, and looking ahead at the future. We have our retirement to fund, and eventually we want to purchase a home so that we aren’t paying rent in our golden years.
While financial independence is a goal, it’s a lofty stretch so we are trying to make due with what we have as we are not high income earners.
What are some of the most influential resources that have shaped your money mindset or financial situation?
I look for inspiration to start side hustles, gain perspective on money and life, and to not lose hope that one day we will be growing our net worth and not just digging through the negatives.
I don’t spend much time on reading blogs lately, but I am working on changing that! I prefer listening to podcasts on the go.
Apps or Services
Being Canadian, it’s difficult to find net worth calculators in an app that works for us.
Can you describe the genesis and mindset behind the term “Xennial”?
Like I described above, I am in between being a Gen X and a Millennial. Writing from the perspective of a Gen X’er never felt quite right, as they are usually much older than me, and I never understood the Millennial perspective the same as those somewhat younger than me.
I felt at home with the Xennial description, and also relate it to my audience: those who are likely familiar with the “cut costs to save money”, but may not be familiar with how to add to your income, or how to choose properties, how to choose tenants, or how to grow a home-based direct sales business.
What challenges, if any, has being a Xennial created for your money and life?
I think the perceived challenges are that employers know what to expect from baby boomers, and Gen X employees, but the difference between Gen X and Millennial, in my opinion, is massive due to the introduction and implementation of technology.
Gen X grew up without technology, and with a particular respect for those above them in employment, and Millennials joined the workforce already knowing more about technology than their employers, who are usually baby boomers.
Being in the middle, I am sassy and technologically inclined, but not because I was raised with it, and my attitude has always been slightly different than those above and below my age range. Millennials think I’m old-fashioned, and Gen X’ers usually consider me a kid. LOL
When did you first explore freelancing and working for yourself? Was there ever an “aha moment” or big win that kept you motivated in the start?
I started freelancing in April of 2018, and loved it. I am an editor at heart – I can find typos, misspellings and grammar faux pas a mile away and it might as well be highlighted for me. I love fixing these errors and making a product that the writer can be proud of.
Once I realized that there is a market for this, I have worked with a couple of clients on their wordpress productions, and loved it. I also taught myself how to do creative media images, and I have a few clients who do not want to deal with the social media aspect of their blog, so I happily create and schedule their social media posts.
I love the flexibility that the freelancing positions offer, and seeing a well-written post or an image on social media that I created makes me proud to be a part of it. Not everyone has the time or the interest in proofing their work, and it’s always harder reading your own work for errors.
That’s where I come in. I save clients time, money and make them look great.
If you could give a few quick-hitting pieces of advice for people who might want to go down this route, what would those be?
- I am a student of Kayla Sloan’s 10KVA program and I highly recommend her course as a place to start pulling the pieces together.
- You will need to choose between keeping clients that don’t pay on time, or letting them go. Once your business is up and running, you may not need to keep that client on, but there are a few who promise to pay on a certain time schedule but fail to do so.Your income is not consistent, and it’s a hard thing to handle when you rely on those funds.
- Network! The more people who know what you do, the more opportunities there will be for you. Create relationships with people, let them know what you offer, and how you can help. It’s slow to start, but I trust that, in time, I can build this into a full time job.
When did you first start blogging? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path?
I started blogging in 2017 on blogger.com and realized I needed my own host. I also rebranded in the beginning of 2018 as the XennialBlogger, and I wanted to share all the financial tips I was learning. I knew I couldn’t be alone in starting out at my age, so I wanted to speak to those who were in my shoes, and others, and let them know there’s still hope for a wealthy future.
Is there a mission statement or underlying purpose to what you intend to accomplish with Xennial Blogger?
Learn how to grow your money: simple steps to real estate investing, how to build a side hustle and have a home business, and creating financial independence, one dollar at a time.
Do you have any specific goals with your blog(s) over the next 12 months? What tactics are you planning to leverage to accomplish these?
Growth! I was nominated this year as one of the Best New Finance Blogs at the Plutus Awards, and I also learned at FinCon that XennialBlogger, as a name, is memorable. I want to grow my audience and listen to their concerns and questions, and find answers for them. I look forward to building a community where I can provide the information they need, and learn along with them.
I plan to continue engaging in social media platforms, and I am part of a blogging mastermind group where we support each other in building our audience, and hopefully my content will be compelling enough and resonate enough with people to bring them back again and again.
I also plan to produce more content. I recently changed careers and now have more brain-space to create content that will be helpful to my community.
If you could recommend 3 of your blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out, what would those be?
- Maxing out your investments without cutting out everything
- Know your property before you buy it
- Side Hustles are fun! Here’s my take on Amazon Kindle Publishing:
I also have a free top tips list for those looking at starting a property management side hustle.
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
Make goals, audacious goals and small goals. Aim for everything and believe in yourself and that the good things you wish for will come to you. I am a believer in that the universe will provide, and that windows close so that new doors can open. Remind yourself daily that everything happens for a reason, and to be grateful for all that you have. You are living a dream life, even if it isn’t yours right now. It will be one day.
Any special shoutouts?
A thank you to my support system – our mastermind group, my husband, my sister and everyone who puts up with the blogger on the outside. Thank you also to my clients for giving me the opportunity to create with them. Thank you to the Momentum Series for including me in this interview, and I hope I have brought some comfort to those just starting out, or recovering from a bad financial situation: now is a great time to start, and it’s never too late to keep learning and improving your situation.
Thank you, Scott, for letting me share this with you.