rockstar finance website

What if you woke up this morning to the following:

  • 1/2 the emails to respond to in your inbox
  • 1/2 the decisions to make for the day
  • 1/2 the time you need to spend even working today
  • and 1/2 the added stress and pressure

And then let’s say someone paid you in the 6 figures to receive all of this.

Would you take it? 🙂

Now let’s say you had to give up OWNERSHIP of a project for it that was relatively successful and a huge part of your life and business for the past 4 years, of which still has oodles of potential for growth and helping everyone in your community, thereby possibly going down as one of the biggest blunders of your entrepreneurial life where everyone from that point forward points and laughs at you every day for the rest of your life.

Would that change anything? 🙂

Well, either way, we’re about to find out as I officially sold the 2nd best website in the world this morning, RockstarFinance.com – a museum of personal finance articles and resources – effectively FIRE’ing myself from President and CEO down to humble little “Advisor.”

And I cannot wait to see what the future now holds!!!

(I put “FIRE’ing” there btw, because this move will not only open up 50% more freedom *time* wise, but also pushes us a tad bit closer to the epic freedom that all of us here are shooting for – *financial* freedom. We’re still not there yet, but this certainly puts us more into the running :))

Now of course there’s a lot more to the story here, which also effects a lot more people than just me, so let me try and brain dump everything on ya here and see if I can answer a lot of the questions that I’m sure will soon be bubbling up here in the next few moments…

If I miss anything, just hit me in the comments below as you know I’m an open book!

Take it away J. Money alter-ego…

#1) WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST DO, MAN???

I sold Rockstar Finance to a friend of mine in an attempt to trade my hustle card in for more of a living card.

#2) When did this all go down??

We signed everything last week, but we’re making it all public this morning which has been many months in the making. Pretty much since that fateful day of “The Hike” when I realized I had my priorities all kinds of backwards and knew I had to make some big moves if I truly wanted some big results.

I had considered handing it off a number of other times throughout it’s 4 year existence too, but I loved it too much and each time I just couldn’t pull the trigger as it never felt right.

#3) What other times are you talking about?

In 2015 I was handling every aspect of the site and almost sold the whole thing for $5,000 because I was close to burning out. Fortunately my friend Cait Flanders stepped in and convinced me to keep going, and with her on my side that is exactly what we did 🙂

Then in 2016 I got the “deal of a lifetime” where I originally accepted a million dollars for all my projects and a 2 year commitment to blog for someone else, which as you know I ended up dipping out of at the last minute and decided to go ALL IN with my own projects instead.

And this is what we did for all of 2017! We launched every single project I had wanted to do over the years, and we added it all to Rockstar Finance so it would have a much farther reach to people (and not attached to “me” specifically). This is when we launched our personal finance and blogging forums, our Directory that now tracks 1,400 other finance blogs as well as the most popular podcasts, apps and books, and then of course we rocked our Community Fund which ended up giving out over $14,000 of assistance to those who needed it in our community.

We were on fire!!! Until I almost had a break down – again 😉

#4) And this time you truly feel it’s “right”?

I do, yes…as close as 100% as you can get, at least.

#5) What would make it even *more* right?

If I knew no one would hate me for making this move!! 🙂 Or I got like triple the money for it, haha…

#6) Speaking of money, how much exactly did you get for it?

In the (very) low 6 figures.

#7) I said Exact, don’t you play that card!

Hey – you know how these contract things go! But I bet if you pay attention enough to the numbers in our next net worth report you can get a pretty good idea 🙂 Though don’t forget about the taxes or paying out some of my team members too which was important to me…

#8) How much tax will you have to pay from it?

About 25%.

#9) And the % you gave to your team members?

20%… wait a minute!! I see what you’re doing there!

*Takes a bow*

#10) Alright, now why was THIS TIME the right time to sell again?

There’s a handful of reasons, that when combined just made the most sense:

  • I’m having a 3rd baby in a few months and really want to try being a stay-at-home dad
  • But to do that I had to figure out how best to cut 50% of my time and responsibilities out, meaning one of my internet babies had to go 🙁 And I just couldn’t give up the one site that started it all for me – Budgets Are Sexy! My first love! (And I also didn’t like the idea of just hiring on a new leader or team for Rockstar, because in my experience if you don’t have ownership of something you don’t give it all you’ve got)
  • I also felt I took Rockstar Finance as far as I could with my energy and talents, and it was about to go into “maintenance” mode which would have done it a big disservice for people. Especially due to all its potential that we never got to tap. So handing it off to a new leader to continue its legacy just made the most sense to me.
  • Lastly, and this is going to sound silly, but I REALLY want to enjoy the site and all the resources we put together as a “regular” reader without having to do any work for it! Haha… I built it exactly for us personal finance enthusiasts, but I’ve never been able to stop and enjoy it as I’ve always been in the thick of it during its entire lifetime… I’m so excited to get the daily digest tomorrow and not know what’s in it! 🙂

#11) I’m glad you mentioned this “new leadership”… Who exactly bought it from you and is taking over the site now?

My good friend, and blogger veteran, John from ESIMoney.com. Someone who’s not only been with this community longer than I have going on 12+ years now (!), but also someone I know is “in it for the right reasons” and not going to add it to the infamous Site Selling Wall of Shame, haha… Which let’s face it, most sites go when new owners take over!

#12) And how do you know this “John” character won’t be adding it to this Wall of Shame?

Because I know him and trust him, and I know on a list of his priorities, money is at the bottom of it as an early retiree with plenty of millions in the bank already 🙂 Which is usually why sites go down in flames with new ownership – they just plaster it all with ads!!

And due to this new found “retirement”, it also means he has plenty of time to dedicate to it and is already working on a number of new features I was never able to pull off myself. It’s pretty much going to be a turbocharged version of how it is today, and at worst it’ll be the same as it is today if nothing pans out, which is a pretty good worst case scenario.

So between all that, and the fact he wants to pass this site down to his kids one day to continue its legacy, it’s the best a creator can really ask for 🙂

He actually has a post live right now too if you want to hear his side of the story – it’s going to be a fun project to work on together! Why I Bought Rockstar Finance

#13) Wait wait wait, what’s this “together” part here? I thought you just sold it and are moving on?

Nope. I sold it, yes, but I’m still helping out with everything, just more in an “advisory” type role than a day-to-day one. Which pretty much means I get to do all the fun parts like brainstorming and scheming and connecting the dots, only I don’t have to do any of the work in actually making it happen 🙂 I’m actually quite impressed with myself in pulling this off! Haha… And as a minimalist, it’s actually a pretty freeing feeling because “stuff” applies to internet and brain assets too!!

But ask me in 6 months how it’s all going and we’ll know more then 😉

#14) How do you think it’ll be in 6 months?

I’m *hoping* that I’ll be much more relaxed and creative and our blog here will be flourishing even more at Budgets Are Sexy – since this is literally the first time in 8 years it’ll be the only project I’m working on! – and that I’m also hitting inbox zero every single day and have a baby who sleeps 12 hours straight a night, but only time will tell 😉

I can tell you out of every move I’ve ever made with work-stuff though, this one sets me up closer to the “ideal lifestyle” than any others… I’m literally getting paid to do half the work!! And I still get to be a big part of a community I helped create!

#15) Okay, we’ll come back in 6 months and see how it’s really going 🙂  Getting back to the projects of Rockstar Finance again real quick, what about that Community Event you guys just launched where you gave 20+ bloggers $100 in cash to go out and do something helpful with it? Is that still going on or has something changed with it now?

Nothing’s changed! We’ve set up a page that highlights all the results from our Community Fund over the past 12 months, and we’ll be adding all these new blog posts that people will be sharing to the tippy top of it all. And we’re hoping it moves us from $14,000 of Good to almost $20,000 of Good! A great way to go out with a bang this year!

(I will note, however, that we are phasing out the Community Fund for the 2018 year as far as being attached to Rockstar Finance (I’ll probably keep doing The Good behind the scenes and/or move some of the project here to this blog), but as a big philanthropy guy, John is already coming up with his own replacement project which I have no doubt will be doing some great stuff… Back at one of his original sites, he used to give out ½ of his earned profit every month so I know his heart is just as big as ours, if not bigger. He really is a good guy.)

Okay, I’m running out of questions here so we’re going to enter the Speed Round…

SQ#1: What’s going to happen to Cait Flanders who works on it?

She’s sticking around for another month or two, and will then be leaving too to focus on her own projects, specifically her new book that’s about to come out: The Year of Less (now open to pre-orders!!!)

It’s so pretty!

the year of less book

SQ#2. How about Nate who was working on strategy and The Community Fund?

He took up a pretty solid gig earlier in the year that he’s doing quite well at, so in a way he’s hustled himself out of working on the side as well 🙂 You can find him anytime here: NateStPierre.me (people from the Love Drop days will remember him!)

SQ #3. And Steve, Rockstar’s resident Tech Guy?

He’s in it for the long haul at Rockstar! And will be taking a much more active role with the site, particularly with the Directory and the Forums, on top of his own fastly growing blog – ThinkSaveRetire.com. He was one of the guys I had actually talked to as well about possibly taking over Rockstar during my initial talks with people…

SQ#4. What did that process look like?

Once I knew it was time for me to leave, I hit up about 6 or 7 people in the community that I thought could be a good fit for it, and then I just had a butt ton of interviews and questions and spent the better part of 4 months really marinating on everything until John’s name eventually crept to the top. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do since being on the online world, but again – big dreams require big moves!

SQ #5. And where did your now famous Triad of Hustling come into play with all of this?

It was instrumental! Not in finding a new leader, but in getting me to the point where I realized what I had to do… Here’s the quick version of the Triad being applied towards Rockstar since I know you’re trying to make this a speed round 😉

  1. Did it take up a lot of time? Yup. 3-4 hours a day, if you count all the thinking too
  2. Did it make money? Enough to pay the team and a little left over, but not much. Though it was also not built originally to make money either – I had no idea it would grow to as large as it did!
  3. Was it fun? Yes. Most days at least 🙂 But again, to pass the Triad it needs to hit 2 of the 3 areas…
  4. The Equalizer: Was it a HELL YEAH or a “no”? Well, the first few years it was close to a HELL YEAH, but over the past 6 months it turned into more of a Kinda Hell Yeah, which we all know it means some changes need to happen… And this is when the soul searching began.

You know, thinking about the Triad in terms of Rockstar I’m realizing that there’s one major factor that we haven’t even touched on: whether a project is successful or not.

Shutting down something that fails the Triad and is not successful anyways is one thing, but it’s a whole other when it IS successful yet still doesn’t make you happy in the end. Similar to the other years dilemma with me walking away from the podcast, M.O.N.E.Y. – remember that one?

So that’s also something for everyone here to be aware of, especially the entrepreneurs – just because your project is successful, however that may be defined, it still doesn’t necessarily mean you should be continuing it if in your hearts of hearts you know it’s not bringing you joy. I’ve shut down over two dozen projects or ideas over my 10 years in this game, but the only two I struggled with were the two that were booming on the outside! I think we need an equalizer for those beasts! Haha…

SQ #5: Last question … what do you want everyone to know here before we sign off and move the questions to the comments?

That no matter what happens with all this, know that I am so INCREDIBLY thankful for all of you here reading this, and for all of you who supported and encouraged me with Rockstar as well as all my other projects in years past.

Everything I’ve ever built has been to help our community here be as good as it can be, and I’m beyond grateful for the chance of even being *able to* do all this in the first place. Those of you who know my story know it was a pure accident* that I stumbled across this money stuff, but thank GOD I did and thank GOD I’m now surrounded with people I love and respect!! Some mistakes can be the best thing that happens to you! (Although I don’t want to test this decision in that department, haha..)

So thank you THANK YOU thank you for allowing me to do the one job I love more than anything else in this world, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for us 🙂

I wish John nothing but success ushering in the new era for the site, and I will see you guys here at Budgets Are Sexy every week going forward as usual too.

Questions/comments/concerns – drop them below or shoot me an email and I’ll hit you back!

XOXO,

j. money signature

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*10 years ago I went looking for a 2 bedroom apartment to rent, and literally made a wrong turn bringing me into a townhouse community where I went on to buy a $350,000 place with no money down and no budget… Three months later I was online trying to get my act together, when voila – I stumbled across personal finance blogs! I’ve never been the same since 😉

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