I started blogging anonymously in September 2017, under the pen name Diana Hall.
Roughly one year later, I decided to transition into using my real name.
Who am I?
I am a lifelong reader, writer, self-educator and eternal optimist.
The first 20 years of my life were spent being a people pleaser.
Straight A’s, youth group, community service, musical theater geek, honor society, math club — ya know, all that fun stuff.
The second 20 years were spent trying to create the kind of life I thought would please me.
(Oddly, I have no photos of myself during this timeframe…)
Building a career in financial services, raising a family, struggling to pay bills, attending little league and youth basketball games, trying to build the “perfect” life.
For these next twenty years, I want to spend the time figuring out who I really am as a person. And I’d love to share whatever knowledge and experiences I can gather, with whoever may be willing to listen.
So what’s in a name?
This page gets into detail on what a Side Jam is and how this website came about.
Making extra income, side hustles, side gigs, making some extra cash on the side —
And then of course there’s the Side Jams logo and photos of actual jars of jam — a quirky play on words (I hope?).
And if you read this, then you know I initially was not blogging with my actual name. There were a few reasons behind this.
Off the top of my head, those were pretty much:
- Fear of being discovered by people I know
- Shame of the amount of debt we had
- Discomfort with the potential of discussing what I was doing with family members and friends
But starting out as a newbie blogger, this seemed the right way to go.
Because when you’re talking about money, especially debt, there’s a stigma that goes along with it.
Roughly one year into this blogging journey, I decided to ditch my pen name and reveal my true identity.
(I say this like I’m Batman, or something … but really, doing the reveal wasn’t anything more than sending a tweet.)
The reason for doing the reveal was mainly because I didn’t really see the point anymore. This activity of maintaining a fake persona was too much effort, with minimal gain.
And would anyone in my life really even care that I had a blog? Probably not. Or more specifically: They’d either be really supportive and interested, or they’d look at it once and then move on.
So that’s the story about my anonymous blogging journey.
What I Can Offer You
Okay, now that you know more about me, let’s get down to what I can offer to you:
- Honesty – I promise to never sugar coat anything, I will tell you like it is. If I’m endorsing a product, it’s because I’ve used it (and found it useful). If I’m reviewing a website or service, it’s because I have experience with it. If I’m recommending it, that’s because I’ve found a benefit.
I will not tell you how to become a millionaire or retire by age 27. Because I am neither of those things.
I won’t tell you how to make money blogging to pay off all your debt within 3 short months. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.
And there’s no way I would ever tell you to scrap your bills, ignore your financial obligations, or scam people into buying things that they don’t need.
Yes, I’m an optimist, but I’m no fool — and neither are you.
- Learning – Whatever I discover, I will pass along to you. Good, bad or indifferent — what’s the point in having a blog, if you’re not going to share valuable information with your readers?
These are my personal experiences (something I’ve always been transparent about). I’ll do my best to communicate everything I’ve figured out, what my questions still are and what I’m just unsure of. And will follow up if I find out more info, or change my mind about something.
- Collaboration – Do you have questions on anything that I’ve reviewed or written? Is there anything I could possibly help you figure out?
I’m always willing to help a peer — poking at different ways to handle situations or testing different strategies. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m by no means an expert — But I have an open mind and inquisitive nature. I’m a real person who struggles with money just like you do, and feel the best way to improve is to try things out and work together.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any comments or feedback — on Side Jams, blogging or any topic that I write about!
- Community – Blogging can be an isolated profession, but collaborating with others is key. It’s a great way to network, develop working relationships and also build long-lasting friendships.
Working independently is something I’ve always been drawn to doing. It’s part of my introverted nature. Pushing past the isolation is sometimes difficult — and maybe it is for you too.
Or maybe you’re extroverted, and might not be a huge fan of working from home in solitude. Guess what? We can help and support each other. Because no matter our physical location, even if we’re halfway across the world from each other, we’re just a mouse-click away 🙂
I believe I just sounded like either a Hallmark card or Charlie Puth song … I apologize in retrospect for that.
Alright, well that’s my whole spiel. Who I am, what I’m about, and what I can offer to/for you.
Thanks for hanging in — and reach out with any questions, comments or feedback.
Robin : )