M&M 55: Mr. Money Mustache – Building Loyal Fans with Your Audience

What do innovation pioneers like Apple and Tesla leverage daily – a cult of loyal fans spreading their message. When it comes to marketing success, building loyal fans with your audience just works.

Mr. Money Mustache, a successful blogger with 500+ articles reaching over 30 million unique lifetime visitors, has created a cult following around his money message. We are excited to present this new episode of the Money and Media podcast sponsored by Stash. In this episode you will hear Mr. Money Mustache discuss:

    • the importance of connecting with people offline
    • his strategy behind creating new content
    • the new mobile app he launched recently and plans for his first book
    • creating a cult following around his content and blog
    • a basic monetization strategy
    • writing tips to produce meaningful content
    • the measurable impact of his money message


Intro Pete Adeney aka Mr. Money Mustache–blogger, Mustachian cult leader
1:40 Does Mr. Money Mustache only eat celery?
3:20 Why early retirement doesn’t mean relaxing for the rest of your life
6:15 Real life relationships have to be more important than online ones
8:00 How Pete manages to stay motivated to create content
10:45 Why an App instead of a podcast or vlogging?
13:20 What Pete’s book will be about and why he hasn’t written it yet
15:00 You don’t need a blog following, you need a cult following
16:35 How Pete monetizes his blog
18:25 Writing when you don’t feel like writing

But Why Is He Eating Celery in his Publicity Photo?

In order to help you get a feel for who Mr. Money Mustache is, let’s talk for a minute about the publicity photo he gave us to use for Fincon.

It’s Pete (his real name), in a tree in his backyard, eating a stalk of celery. Why? This is what you need to know about him: Pete is not your average online entrepreneur. He’s funny and he’s not interested in the traditional style of slick headshots or traditional anything.

Every time someone asks him for a publicity photo, he will climb that tree and pose, slowly work his way through a rotation of healthy vegetables.

How to Fill Days of Retirement with Meaningful Activity

For many entrepreneurs, their number one goal is to retire young and not have to spend their days at an office anymore. That all sounds amazing, but if you don’t have a plan for how you will spend your days, you can quickly find yourself gaining 30 lbs and spending hours on the couch binging Netflix.

Pete retired in his early thirties, so he has a lot of life to fill without resorting to Netflix binging. He definitely plans out his days with intention, beginning them with a super early rising and jogging down to a co-working space he has bought. He does some cleaning and then heads to the training space out back for weight training. He may do some computer work while he is there, too.

He does all of the construction on the working space, always with a project going to continue to grow the space itself. He has built what feels like a coffee shop environment for the current 60 members who come there to share the workspace.

Instead of beginning the day lounging in bed with coffee, Pete likes to begin his days with activity and structure. It seems to set the tone for the rest of the day and keeps him moving. It boosts his creativity to begin his days with more strenuous activity.

The Importance of Real Life Relationships

Anyone with an online business can tell you that it is all too easy to get sucked into spending more time on those online relationships than on the ones in your real life. And yes, obviously, online relationships are real, but there is something to be said for those face-to-face hours spent with the people in your life who are physically present.

As a highly successful blogger for almost 8 years now, Pete has experienced the high that comes with skyrocketing pageviews and having your stuff shared online. He knows what it feels like to have people wanting to meet you and who say good things about what you create. What he also knows, however, is that those types of things will never bring the deep soul satisfaction of real relationships with people, face-to-face, who can actually spend time together and share life together.

How to Stay Motivated to Create

You can imagine that after several years of blogging, a person might get a little burned out on writing more content or keeping it coming.

Pete admits that he doesn’t write as much now as he used to but not because he’s burned out. He has been pouring the majority of his work time into the co-working space and into local relationships. However, he hasn’t run out of things to say.

He continues to have strong opinions on the state of personal finance and how he sees it playing out in the world. The problem is that nobody in real life wants to listen to him rant about it. Watching real life play out does provide him with things to say but he currently only posts a couple of times per month, whereas he used to post every other day.

He’s not hurting for content, though. The blog has over 500 articles on it and an app to make reading all of them easier for anyone new to the site.

Choosing Your Platform

With the sheer amount of content on the blog and with things still to say, I was really curious why Pete hasn’t chosen to start a podcast or do video blogging. Why an app instead of one of those other platforms?

The answer is pretty simple: self-awareness. Pete realized that he had a tendency to say yes to projects and get excited about them but then not follow through. It’s all too easy to start something new and then let it fizzle out simply because you overcommitted at the beginning. Realizing this about himself has allowed Pete to move more slowly before adding new projects to the things he’s already doing.

Pete does actually have a love of video, especially the type of video that is the fast-moving, around town style. But before he will allow himself to start that, he has some self-imposed conditions that he must meet, like writing more on his main blog and publishing a book.

You Don’t Need a Blog Following, You Need a Cult Following

When Pete spoke at Fincon back in 2012, he talked about bloggers getting rid of the goal of establishing a blog following and instead developing a cult following. That sounds pretty outlandish, right? I was curious if he would still give that same advice to anyone starting a blog today. I guess it’s no surprise that he said, “Yes, I would.”

No matter what you’re selling or what type of content you’re providing, the point is not to have a bunch of followers. It’s to have followers that are so loyal, so dedicated, that they share what you do with their friends and family. This allows you to focus more on content creation and let your audience do your marketing for you.

Think about companies like Apple and Tesla. These companies have a cult-like following. If you can give your audience a sense of being connected to you and to your other readers, if you can make them feel like they are in a special group of people who read your blog and have the same belief system, you have created more than a blog following. You are giving them an identity and that will bring them back again and again.

Advice for Bloggers on How to Keep Writing

One of the things that Pete struggles with is actually sitting down to do the writing. There are other projects to work on and never an end of things to do. He tends to go old school in his advice, pulling from fiction writers of many years:

When you don’t feel like writing, just start. That’s the only solution to not feeling like writing. Turn on that computer, open the drafts folder or click on new post, and start typing whatever junk flows out.

This causes the creative juices to start flowing and soon enough, the junk stops flowing and you start writing things worth sharing.

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About Our Host

Joe Saul-Sehy is the co-host of the Stacking Benjamins personal finance podcast and operates the Stacking Benjamins blog.

Join Us for #FinCon18

Hear from over 200 speakers, like Mr. Money Mustache, at FinCon18 September 26-29 in Orlando, Florida. Register for your pass today!

#FinCon18 take place at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel where we have a discounted block rate. This block is close to selling out so don’t wait to make your reservation.


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