Blogging

My Blogiversary: One Year of Breaking Even

On this day last year, I decided I was going to blog. I had brainstormed a list of potential blog names over the course of a few days and as I thought more about the potential names, I kept really liking "Breaking Even".

First off, Breaking Even is the initial modest goal I had for the blog and for myself. First, I wanted to break even with this blog: have enough advertising and other revenue to pay for my web hosting, software, and maintaining/enhancing my computer. After a year, I'm very close to doing that thanks to Blogher and have surpassed that if you count the blog consulting I do (no regular writing gigs yet). For my second break even goal, I also wanted to break even with my own budget (after spending a few months in the red getting used to my smaller salary). I am now breaking even in my personal budget and putting aside more money then I ever have.

Breaking Even also means I don't want to get rich (though if that happens, I wouldn't mind!) I just want enough in my life, enough money to pay for a modest lifestyle, save a little for my old age, andhave a yearly trip to somewhere I've never been. I don't want to worry about money but I don't want to obsess about acquiring it either. Breaking Even is a balanced life.

And finally Breaking Even is above all being positive. I didn't call this blog "I'm a Loser with Debt" or "Struggling Penny Pincher". Breaking Even is moving forward, it's "making it". It's for everyone who thinks or wants to think about how to positively look at saving money and spending less. It's a positive look at life and what you can do with it.

Ok enough with the misty eyed talk on my blogiversary! To celebrate, I'm making my own cheese for my Too Cute Tuesday post this afternoon. (I know what you're thinking, I sure do know how to party!) I wish I could buy you all a cupcake to celebrate but funny pictures of me making cheese and a round-up of my most favorite posts at the end of the week will have to do!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Maine Blog Network Update: Is Your Blog On My List?

The Maine Blog Network has been progressing nicely. I spent yesterday on this project and another cool, top-secret-for-now project I'll let you know about soon.

Thanks to those of you who wrote or commented with your own (or your favorite) Maine blogs. I've added them and the list is now at one hundred Maine blogs! But I'm sure I'm still missing some good ones so if you are a Maine blogger or know one, let them know about this project. Here is the updated list:

A Blog About Beer http://www.blogaboutbeer.com/
A New Yorker Talks To Herself About Maine http://ouracadia.wordpress.com/
Acadia Blogs From Acadia National Park http://www.nps.gov/acad/photosmultimedia/blogs.htm
Adventures In Life http://mainemommaof3.blogspot.com/
Adventures In Vactionland www.adventures-in-vacationland.blogspot.com
All Things Maine www.allthingsmaine.blogspot.com
Another Maine www.anothermaine.blogspot.com
Art Night Out http://www.artnightout.blogspot.com/
Becoming Whole www.becomingwhole.typepad.com
Birding In Maine www.birdingmaine.com
Black Fly Blog www.laughmaine.com/Black_Fly_Blog.html
BogBlog www.edgeofmaine.blogspot.com
B's Travel Log http://www.mainelife.net/
Charting Maine's Future http://www.growsmartmaine.org/blog/
Chikblog www.chikblog.blogspot.com
China Lake Life www.chinalakelife.blogspot.com
Compass Rose Review www.compassrosereview.blogspot.com
Condalmo http://condalmo.wordpress.com/
Early Maine www.earlymaine.org
Equality Matters http://mainewomensfund.typepad.com/equality_matters/
Fiddlehedz www.fiddlehedz@blogspot.com
Franco-American News and Events http://fanset8.blogspot.com/
From Away http://blogs.trcmaine.org/fromaway/
Frugal C http://frugalc.wordpress.com/
Full Fantom Five www.mlcoe.typepad.com/Full_Fantom_Five
Gardenpath www.gardenpath.wordpress.com
Grain Surf Boards Blog www.grainsurfboards.com/blog
Growin Up Maine www.mainestories.blogspot.com
GrowSmart Maine: Charting Maine's Future http://www.growsmartmaine.org/
Gulf Of Maine Books http://gulfofmainebooks.blogspot.com/
h2oboro lib blog www.waterborolibrary.org/blog.htm
Henbogle www.henbogle.blogspot.com
In Maine What Now www.inmainewhatnow.blogspot.com
It's A Maine Thing www.itsamainething.com/blog-wp
K-Seas www.k-seas.com
Leave The Lights On http://www.leavethelightson.info/
Life In The Maine Woods http://outdoorwriter.wordpress.com/
Life On Penobscot Bay http://searsportshores.wordpress.com/
Living Downeast www.livingdowneast.wordpress.com
Living The Road Less Traveled http://livingtheroadlesstraveled.blogspot.com/
Maine www.maineu.com
Maine ASCD Weblog http://maineascd.blogs.com/maine_ascd_weblog/
Maine Beerwriters Guild http://www.mainebeerwriters.org/
Maine Birds www.mainebirds.blogspot.com
Maine Dezign http://mainedezign.wordpress.com/
Maine Food and Lifestyle www.blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com
Maine Ghost Hunters www.maineghosthunters.blogspot.com
Maine Life www.mainelife.typepad.com
Maine Lives Large www.maineliveslarge.blogspot.com
Maine Moves Real Estate Blog http://www.mainemoves.com/blog/
Maine Mysteries www.mainemysteries.blogspot.com
Maine Nature Photos http://mainenaturephotos.blogspot.com/
Maine Network Partners http://www.mainenetworkpartners.org/blog/
Maine Outdoors Today www.maineoutdoorstoday.com/blog/
Maine Owl www.maineowl.net/blog
Maine Politics www.mainepolitics.net
Maine PR Maven www.maineprmaven.com
Maine Public Health http://mainepublichealth.blogspot.com/
Maine Real Estate News http://www.mainerealestatenews.com/
Maine Safety and Security News Blog http://mainesecurity.blogspot.com/
Maine Today Blogs (Network http://blogs.mainetoday.com/
Maine Vacation and Travel Info http://travel-maine.blogspot.com/
Maine Web Report http://www.mainewebreport.com/
Marie In Maine's Whoopie Pies and Lobster http://marieinmaine.com/whoopiepiesandlobster
My Corner Of Maine www.maineliving.blogspot.com
My Maine Cottage http://mymainecottage.blogspot.com/
News from Hawkhill Acres http://lillhawkins.com/
Pemaquid Blog http://www.pemaquidbeach.com/Maine-Coast-Vacation-Rental-blog.html
Portland Psst www.portlandpsst.blogspot.com
Pursue Business Advisors http://pursuebusiness.com/index.php
Realtor Andrew Mooers' Northern Maine Realty Blog http://mooersrealty.blogspot.com/
Red Sox State Of Maine www.redsoxstateofmaine.typepad.com
Sea C
oast Eat Local www.blog.seacoasteatlocal.org
Season's Eatings Farm http://seasonseatingsfarm.wordpress.com/
SeevsPlave http://mcseavey.org/blog
Skinny Moose (Network) www.skinnymoose.com/network
Sometimes I Think http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink
Strange Maine www.strangemaine.blogspot.com
The 5 Moores www.thefivemoores.blogspot.com
The Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog http://www.jackmtn.com/simplog/
The Laundry Is Never Finished www.thelaundryisneverfinished.wordpress.com
The Maine Race http://themainerace.com/
The Mind Dance System Blog www.mainehypnocoach.blogspot.com
The Parish Of Saint Andrew and Saint John http://standrewstjohn.blogspot.com/
The Screaming Room www.marklaflamme.com/blog/
The Vigorous North http://vigorousnorth.blogspot.com/index.html
Turn Maine Blue www.turnmaineblue.com
Two Cents And A Thousand Words http://www.justinrussell.com/blog/
Unsweetened Tea www.homeness.blogspot.com
Useless Nexus http://uselessnexus.com/
Vacationland www.vacationlandmaine.blogspot.com
Wampum http://wampum.wabanaki.net/
Westbrook Diarist http://www.westbrookdiarist.blogspot.com/
Words Matter www.findingwords.blogspot.com

So thanks for your continued help with this project. I'm having a lot of fun with this because I do love a project!  

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Breaking Even Frequently Asked Questions Answered

No I don't have throngs of fans writing me emails constantly but I do have the occasional Breaking Even question. I thought I'd take the time to answer a few questions I've gotten.

Are you really that poor?
Yes and no. I make $10 and have some health insurance, which is a lot more than many people have. In addition, I have a working car, an adequate computer, and a college education. More then what I have is who I have: family and friends that could help me get out of situation (financial or otherwise) should I need help. If it's one thing I've learned from doing this blog, it's that I'm very fortunate.

That said, the $7,000 pay cut I took last year in my move to Downeast Maine really made me feel poor in a way I hadn't in awhile. I've made adjustments which I continue to chronicle here at the Breaking Even blog and I'm doing fine. And while I do have people who can help me, I've never asked anyone for money and don't intend to start now. I live within my means, which means that while I can't do whatever I want whenever I want, I can still have a pretty great life.

You live with your boyfriend Sean in his house so do you pay rent?
When I moved in, Sean and I agreed that I would pay what his old roommate used to pay. This works out to be about 1/3 of the morgage and about 1/4 of my salary. Since Sean makes more money then I do and also technically owns the house, this makes sense for us.

I'm a firm believer in coming up with your own agreement, whether you live with a partner or roommates or your family. All parties should think the arrangement is equitable, otherwise it's just one more thing to fight about.

What's your policy for advertisers on your site?
I only advertise products which I'm not opposed to. I've had advertising offers for casinos, gambling websites, paid posts, and payday loan companies. I would rather not have any advertising on my site then have links that could potentially get a reader in a bad situation.

Currently, I use Google Adsense and Blogher Ads to generate a small amount of revenue. I find the links not at all offensive or dangerous. I am, however, always looking for options that make good sense to my readers financially and otherwise. So advertising folks can pitch away.

What kind of dog is Sadie?
Thanksgiving 2005 032 I adopted Sadie in middle age (hers, not mine) from the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick Maine. The only info the adoption people knew was that Sadie is a beagle mix. (I could have figured that out the way she gets into the trash if left unattended!)

My first vet thought Sadie was a beagle-corgi mix while my second vet thought she was a beagle-Jack Russell terrier mix. The microchip put into her neck by a previous owner can't be read so without blood tests, Sadie remains a genetic mystery. An underwear eating, ear raising, stuffed animal ripping genetic mystery.

Who are your frequent commenters?
Merobandlaura Robby and Laura are my two childhood best friends who I continue to be friends with to this day.
Kim is my cousin who is a lot like me but ten years older (among other things). My Aunt Paula ("matante") is also super supportive with her comments. Go family!
Justin is my brother-in-law. He is a businessman and hardware expert so I always hope he'll pipe in with DIY advice in particular.
Jennifer is a fellow Maine blogger who I finally made a connection with through an exchange of mix CDs. We've been online friends ever since.
Nancy Marshall is a fellow communications person based in Augusta with her own blog.
Kelly is a personal finance blogger based in France. We've bonded over French and finance, both subjects we love.
The Sarahs are college friends, one in San Fran the other in New Hampshire.

Robby is my most commenting friend and I get frequent telephone feedback about the blog from my friend Michaela.

How many readers does Breaking Even have?
The blog has around 75 subscribers (which is steadily growing, yay!) and 100-150 people visiting the blog everyday. That may not sound like much but that is way more then I had when I started!

How many websites do you read?
I subscribe to about 150 sites. I get the headlines delivered into my Google Reader as the blogs and websites are updated and I just skim through most of them. I do this for a few reasons 1) to keep on top of what's going on in personal finance, Maine blogs, and other topics I love 2) to not copy what other people are doing and, if I do cover a topic, to properly give credit to others and 3) because I love to read. I comment on five to ten articles per day and save links to articles I like in a list for future post ideas.

Some of my favorite sites are in my blogrolls if you want to check them out. (And if you have any to recommend, send them my way!)

If you have any questions about the blog, don't be shy. I'm certainly not!

Images: Me and Sadie at our first Christmas together, Robby Laura and I at a party last weekend (for the first time in five years!)

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Maine Blog Network Update Part II

Yesterday I began seeking feedback on a Maine Blog Network logo. Today, I'm ready with a rough draft list of Maine bloggers.

From combing Technorati, my feed subscriptions, and email suggestions, I've compiled a starter list of Maine bloggers. I cut myself off at 75 for sanity reasons but I'm sure there's more of you out there. Here's who I have so far. If you (or a friend of yours) aren't on this list and want to be, email me or comment below. (Also email me if your contact info is not featured prominently on your page. It's helpful to have an email address rather then filling out a contact form.) Thanks! Things are well on their way…

A Blog About Beer http://www.blogaboutbeer.com/
Acadia Blogs From Acadia National Park http://www.nps.gov/acad/photosmultimedia/blogs.htm
Adventures In Vactionland www.adventures-in-vacationland.blogspot.com
All Things Maine www.allthingsmaine.blogspot.com
Another Maine www.anothermaine.blogspot.com
Art Night Out http://www.artnightout.blogspot.com/
Becoming Whole www.becomingwhole.typepad.com
Birding In Maine www.birdingmaine.com
Black Fly Blog www.laughmaine.com/Black_Fly_Blog.html
BogBlog www.edgeofmaine.blogspot.com
Breaking Even www.breakingeven.typepad.com
B's Travel Log http://www.mainelife.net/
Charting Maine's Future http://www.growsmartmaine.org/blog/
Chikblog www.chikblog.blogspot.com
China Lake Life www.chinalakelife.blogspot.com
Compass Rose Review www.compassrosereview.blogspot.com
Early Maine www.earlymaine.org
Fiddlehedz www.fiddlehedz@blogspot.com
Franco-American News and Events http://fanset8.blogspot.com/
Frugal C http://frugalc.wordpress.com/
Full Fantom Five www.mlcoe.typepad.com/Full_Fantom_Five
Gardenpath www.gardenpath.wordpress.com
Grain Surf Boards Blog www.grainsurfboards.com/blog
Growin Up Maine www.mainestories.blogspot.com
h2oboro lib blog www.waterborolibrary.org/blog.htm
Henbogle www.henbogle.blogspot.com
In Maine What Now www.inmainewhatnow.blogspot.com
It's A Maine Thing www.itsamainething.com/blog-wp
K-Seas www.k-seas.com
Leave The Lights On http://www.leavethelightson.info/
Life In The Maine Woods http://outdoorwriter.wordpress.com/
Life On Penobscot Bay http://searsportshores.wordpress.com/
Living Downeast www.livingdowneast.wordpress.com
Maine www.maineu.com
Maine ASCD Weblog http://maineascd.blogs.com/maine_ascd_weblog/
Maine Beerwriters Guild http://www.mainebeerwriters.org/
Maine Birds www.mainebirds.blogspot.com
Maine Food and Lifestyle www.blog.mainefoodandlifestyle.com
Maine Ghost Hunters www.maineghosthunters.blogspot.com
Maine Life www.mainelife.typepad.com
Maine Lives Large www.maineliveslarge.blogspot.com
Maine Nature Photos http://mainenaturephotos.blogspot.com/
Maine Outdoors Today www.maineoutdoorstoday.com/blog/
Maine Owl www.maineowl.net/blog
Maine Politics www.mainepolitics.net
Maine PR Maven www.maineprmaven.com
Maine Today Blogs (Network http://blogs.mainetoday.com/
Maine Web Report http://www.mainewebreport.com/
Marie In Maine's Whoopie Pies and Lobster http://marieinmaine.com/whoopiepiesandlobster
My Corner Of Maine www.maineliving.blogspot.com
News from Hawkhill Acres http://lillhawkins.com/
Portland Psst www.portlandpsst.blogspot.com
Red Sox State Of Maine www.redsoxstateofmaine.typepad.com
Sea Coast Eat Local www.blog.seacoasteatlocal.org
Season's Eatings Farm http://seasonseatingsfarm.wordpress.com/
SeevsPlave http://mcseavey.org/blog
Skinny Moose (Network) www.skinnymoose.com/network
Sometimes I Think http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink
Strange Maine www.strangemaine.blogspot.com
The 5 Moores www.thefivemoores.blogspot.com
The Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog http://www.jackmtn.com/simplog/
The Laundry Is Never Finished www.thelaundryisneverfinished.wordpress.com
The Mind Dance System Blog www.mainehypnocoach.blogspot.com
The Screaming Room www.marklaflamme.com/blog/
The Vigorous North http://vigorousnorth.blogspot.com/index.html
Turn Maine Blue www.turnmaineblue.com
Two Cents And A Thousand Words http://www.justinrussell.com/blog/
Unsweetened Tea www.homeness.blogspot.com
Useless Nexus http://uselessnexus.com/
Vacationland www.vacationlandmaine.blogspot.com
Wampum http://wampum.wabanaki.net/
Westbrook Diarist http://www.westbrookdiarist.blogspot.com/
Words Matter www.findingwords.blogspot.com

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Maine Blog Network Update Part 1

Maineblognetwork You may remember a month or so ago when I first proposed a Maine Blog Network. I thank those of you who helped pass the word around and those who wrote me to send me links. Some people even stepped forward to offer to work on it.

I have been working on this a little. I changed the DNS on www.maineblognetwork.com to my hosting company so I'll have hosting on the site in 24-48 hours. Until that happens, there isn't a whole lot I can do (plus I'm still deciding with those working with me what software to use). I have, however, started two sub-projects that I'd like feedback on. Today, logo, tomorrow the first draft list of Maine bloggers (this is taking me waaaay longer then I thought, holy cow are there a lot of Maine bloggers!).

Logo

Don't worry, I don't think that just because I have Photoshop means that I'm a graphic designer. But I think a symbol of the network that's simple, easy to reproduce, and looks good small or large is key. I was thinking key elements would be the state of Maine itself, symbols of conversation, maybe something that implies the internet or blogs or computers.

Since I had a little insomnia this morning, I finally tried to do something in really simple as a jumping off point. I'm putting it in this post at 500 pixels not because I think it's fabulous but I figured you artistic types could play with a higher resolution image (an art credit on the site for your trouble). But even if you just have verbal ideas, please comment below. All I know is this needs to look less lame.

So come back tomorrow for the list of bloggers I have so far and make sure I have your name or the names of your favorite Maine blogs. I've spent most of today compiling around one hundred blogs and I'll put them in a nice format for tomorrow.

I'll be emailing those of you on my email list about all this too so if you want to be on that list, email me so I have your contact info. Thanks!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Blogging Related Injuries

So most of you by now know I have a newspaper job full time, I do some writing part time for other people, and I maintain this blog. I probably spend about ten hours a day typing on average. (Though I do make myself do something outside everyday too to balance this out!)


I’ve stepped up my typing this weekend to prepare for this blog for my being away the latter part of this week.


Finally all this has caught up to me. My right wrist is in some major pain.


I’ve made an appointment with a specialist for next week and I’m put out a call that will hopefully be answered for some guest posting for the next week until I get this straightened out. So give me the week and I’ll be back though in the meantime, I’ll have some good reading for you. Promise!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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