I published my first post on October 30, 2011. I only realized this because I’m doing some cleanup in anticipation of a project I’m working on (more on that soon).
When I started, I had no idea that anyone outside of my poker group would read a word I wrote. The Deal Mommy was simply a way to avoid repeating the same stuff over and over again.
A few months later, Kathy from Will Run for Miles found a deal I had posted. We got to chatting about how we were drowning in 14 cent Propel water. She led me to Chicago Seminars and the rest is history.
Lessons Learned: Blogging
- If you are in it for the money, get out. I’m not saying there’s no money to be made. I’ve made some, and others have made a lot more. I am saying turning a profit is the exception, not the rule.
- If you have nothing to say, don’t. The internet is full of garbage. Please don’t add to the pile. I used to think I had to post daily. My readership increased dramatically when I stopped typing on deadline and started focusing on what I thought added value.
- You have no idea what might go viral: I can take credit for creating the term Vendoming. I can not take credit for its entry into the travel hacking glossary. I had no idea how many people shared my opinion that the blogs had gone cray-cray. Vendoming just gave voice to the bubbling frustration.
- People want honest opinions, not advertorial: My most popular post (by a mile)? The one where I tell people which Disney World resorts I don’t like. My skeptical review of Beaches Turks and Caicos shows up on page one of Google- much to their chagrin. Readers understand that when everything is awesome, nothing is.
- Authenticity is important. Colonoscopy? TMI. When I started blogging, I tried being anonymous. It just didn’t work for me. “The Deal Mommy” and “Dia” are one and the same…to a point. While I have shared the details of our remodeling and my favorite song, there are still some things I keep to myself. After six years, that blogger/real life line is still a moving target. It’s more so now that the kids are old enough to read what I write.
- There’s no need to shout: I’m embarrassed by the volume of ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS in my early posts. Dude, take a chill pill. Let your writing do the talking.
- Some people will not get you. That’s OK: This may be the most important lesson blogging has taught me. Between being called a whore, being told my parenting style will make my kids need Xanax, and getting decimated for my lack of MS skills, it’s clear The Deal Mommy is simply not some readers’ cup of tea. While I fail to understand why they continue reading, I also have learned whose opinion matters and whose doesn’t.
- For every troll, ten of you have let me know something I wrote affected you in a positive way: That is why I keep coming back to the keyboard.
- I will never, ever, sell pee pads.
Lessons Learned: Life
- Find your tribe(s): At Chicago Seminars back in 2012 I had a moment I hope you have had at least once in your life: the realization that you are not alone and that this might be your tribe. I’ve since found my travel hacking tribe, my blogging tribe, and my mom tribe. At times they overlap, but not often.
- If you haven’t yet found your tribe, make one: Your life will be so much richer for it. This year I considered retiring FT4RL because it is a lot of work for a marginal financial gain. But Deal Dad reminded my of why I started it in the first place: to create a tribe. He said “You come home exhausted, but energized.You shouldn’t give that up.” He’s right. I’m not willing to let that feeling go so Family Travel for Real Life will be back in some form next spring.
- Karma will catch up to you: For both good and ill. I helped a travel hacking friend save a bunch of money over the past few months by sharing a benefit. Unbeknownst to me, he has the exact skill set I desperately needed but couldn’t afford for my new project. He volunteered his services and has greatly improved my life for it. On the other hand, I know a Mom blogger who had faked her clout for years recently cease to get away with it. Karma will get you in the end.
- Did I mention that I will never, ever, sell pee pads?
What’s Next? Stay Tuned.
I didn’t intend to leave this post on a cliffhanger but I am pretty excited about what’s right around the corner. I promise to share details soon.
But for now I’ll close with a huge Thank You for sticking with me in my little corner of the internet. Thanks too to Matt, Trevor, Joe, and Nick for letting me keep you company.
I love hearing about your adventures. They motivate me more than I can ever say.
The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network.