Essays & Confessions

Thoughts On A Year, On Growth, And On Partnership

By | Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It’s nearly a year ago today that I first posted a tiny, experimental hello on a little Tumblr where I planned to track my spending, and to finally get right with money. A year later, and we are a real site that has become the full-or-part-time job of three people, and the passion project of a fourth. We have posted hundreds of articles and fielded thousands of comments, and have grown to average over 500,000 pageviews a month. We are a tiny little business now, with real plans for the future and exciting goals on the horizon, chipping away slowly at turning our little conversation about money into something big, a place where we can all finally be honest about something so taboo. It’s the first time many of us have talked about money publicly, or even in private conversations over a drink with our friends — myself very much included — and finance has gone from something that terrifies me, to something that thrills me.

In a few weeks, we will be launching the newest part of our conversation, in our new video channel with the Vlogbrothers (!!!), where we will talk about money strategies and tell our own embarrassing stories and interview women (and maybe sometimes boys) about the incredible things they are doing. It’s an entirely new medium for us, and it’s terrifying, but one of the more exciting things we’ve ever done. We’ll be learning from experts along with all of you, and being even more radically honest about all of the things we’d normally prefer not to talk about. Nothing will be taboo for us, and hopefully for you, either.

We have a few other projects that are in the early stages, too early even to talk about, but we are thrilled to be working on all of them. The three of us — myself, Lauren, and our newest addition Maya — wake up every day feeling incredibly excited to tackle the mountain of work in front of us, and to build something great.

The community we have built here is one of the greatest things we’ve ever done, and seeing the web of people encouraging each other, responding to each other, and bravely sharing their own stories and mistakes brings, at the risk of being corny, tears to our eyes. We are constantly reading each other nice comments and emails, or sending them to one another to give ourselves a morale boost during chat. Even when we make mistakes, we have a community of kind, thoughtful people who are here to learn and grow, and to make us better. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank the person who really took TFD from a little Tumblr to a real, live business where we can build our dreams: my boyfriend, Marc. As some of you might know, Marc requested (and was granted!) a sabbatical from his work this summer to really help build out our site from a technical and business standpoint, and has been designing some incredible things on the back end to make everything run smoothly. His ability to move seamlessly between his “real” job and the one he does, passionately, for us on the side is something I will strive my whole life to achieve. He’s a never-ending wellspring of insight, talent, and motivation, and his curiosity and hard work has made TFD something real. I don’t talk about him much (or at least, I try not to, because he deeply values his internet privacy), but he deserves a little shout out now and again, even if he’ll be a bit embarrassed by them. He is the best partner in life a disorganized little blogger like me could ever imagine, and his sacrifices and brilliance give shape to my dreams, and to our life together.

A year can feel incredibly long or short, depending on how you choose to interpret it. When you are investing in something that isn’t quite yet sure, quitting jobs, taking risks, waiting for answers, waiting for checks — a year feels incredibly long. But when you are looking back on something exciting, something that you can say, for better or for worse, you put together with just a few people and a lot of iced coffee around a dining table, it feels like no time at all. Right now, all I can think of is all the exciting things that will happen in year two of TFD.

I am a little allergic to all things cheesy (perhaps because of my not-insignificant time as a Professional Millenial With Feelings), but I can’t help but feel a little cheesy about all of this. Lauren and Maya, and all of the incredible women who read and write here on the site, have come to feel like a huge web of extended sisterhood, doing something incredibly exciting together. My life used to be capital-F Fucked Up because of my inability to be smart with money (or even acknowledge that it existed). Now that I feel in control of my finances, and I am no longer afraid to talk about them, everything feels possible. We are all making each other stronger, braver, and more independent in our honesty, and now that I know what it feels like to stand on my own, I’ll never sit down again.

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