That’s the first word that came to mind when I started to write this article.
I’ll write it again so it sinks in: my blog mustachianpost.com has been in existence for 10 years 🤩
That is… unbelievable!
10 year blog anniversary present… for you, dear reader!
In contrast to last year when it was you, dear blog, that received a new design for your 9th anniversary, this year we’re turning the tables.
The presents are now for you, dear reader :)
To find out more, you’ll need to be signed up to my newsletter (see below):
Without wanting to spoil the surprise, I do love a promo code ;)
And who knows, maybe participation as one of my associates in a real estate investment in Switzerland… with an amazing return…
Surprise surprise :)
I’ll be in touch with these presents several times during 2024!
As is customary, we’ll kick off with a brief annual review of the last year.
2023 blog review
I’ll start off with related projects before focusing on the blog.
My book: “Free by 40 in Switzerland”
By the end of 2022, I had sold 1'976 copies.
And after having counted up all the sales up to 31.12.2023, I can tell you that I’ve now sold 2'276 books 🎉
I can’t wait to have sold 3'000 copies so I can add a “National bestseller” banner on the book’s cover.
Yes, yes, I know, this is purely for my ego ^^
But aside from my ego, I enjoy reading reviews about the impact of my blog on readers’ “real” lives:
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting me with this project.
Program: “How to start investing in Switzerland - Swiss Investor Program”
If you’re new to my blog, this 100% Swiss program for learning how to invest in the stock market is the very first one I created (available in 3 languages).
Although I’ve written many articles about how to invest in the stock market, I was still receiving messages like this:
“Marc, I’ve just finished creating my account with Interactive Brokers *!! But I haven’t bought my first ETF yet because I’m worried about messing up… could you help me?”
So I created a step-by-step program for all Swiss beginners who want to invest in the stock market.
The result: a highly effective program that guides you from A-Z, with no jargon or waffle.
Below, you can see feedback from a participant in the program:
It’s a source of great pride for me that most of the feedback on the blog relates to things that I’ve created for you (like this program) rather than affiliate links. There is more information about this below.
Program: “Rental investment in Switzerland”
By 2022, we had built up a sufficient amount of funds in order to start looking for our first rental investment property in Switzerland!
After a few knockbacks, we finally made our first buy-to-let investment in Switzerland. The full story is described in detail in this blog post.
Knowing that I would most likely want to make a specific program about it, I took a lot (loads!) of notes about all my queries and concerns as well as other information gleaned from notaries and lenders.
And in view of the discussions it generated with readers of the blog, as well as all the questions I received, it didn’t take long before I set about creating this new guide to investing in real estate in Switzerland.
The result: 10 detailed chapters on how to go from the idea of becoming a real estate investor to actually becoming one - with rent coming in each month 🤩
As is the norm, I talk about what I know and what I have experienced.
I should also warn you: it’s not a journey that everyone should embark on as it requires quite some effort.
But if you have the motivation to acquire this knowledge, it’s worth the effort as it means automatically receiving rental income each month :D
Program: “Rental investment in France (as a Swiss resident)”
In mid-2023, I decided to redouble my efforts by following a principle advocated by Nathan Barry: “Teach everything you know”.
Having bought two rental properties in France as a Swiss resident, I thought that I should make a program about it for the readers of my blog.
I was hesitant about it as compared to the program for real estate in Switzerland, this new program was a lot more limited in terms of audience. For a start, because you need to be able to speak French (well, it helps ^^), but above all because you need to know someone trustworthy in France in order to create a real estate investment company (SCI) with them.
But at the end of the day, niche subjects often receive the least coverage…
So I went for it… and I have no regrets when I think back to the email I received from a participant only last week in which he told me he was in the process of completing setup of his SCI in France 😃
As always, no waffle or jargon, just the minimum that is necessary and useful for you to be able to get started as soon as possible on buying your first rental property in France.
Spoiler: this also requires quite some effort! Especially compared to Switzerland as I have found it to be more profitable managing tenants directly (except the in-person work at the start/end of tenancies). And I know that’s not for everyone.
But hey, a word to the wise, you won’t achieve a 15-20% return by sitting on your sofa watching Netflix every weekend!
Exclusive “Club MP” newsletter
I’m increasingly enjoying sharing live (well, every month) the details of how my funds are growing.
Because sometimes it’s frustrating to not have the time to write a full article to tell you that (SPOILER ALERT) I’ve bought my second investment property in Switzerland.
So I decided to use my exclusive “Club MP” newsletter to meet this need, and which also enables the “supporters” of the blog to receive an exclusive additional bonus.
In it, I talk about all of my investment categories: stock market (ETFs and value investing), real estate in Switzerland, real estate in France, and speculating in cryptocurrencies.
And I share all my figures unfiltered:
I also use it to thank all the current MP supporters! As well as for all the discussions we have behind the scenes :)
The one, the only, THE blog!
Happy anniversary once again, dear blog!
The peaceful childhood is over… now we’re going into adolescence apparently… but what does that mean for a blog, that’s the question. We’ll find that out together over the next few years!
Anyway, let’s have a look at the blog stats (including revenue and profits), as is now the custom at the beginning of every year.
We’ll begin with something that is good for the ego, but says nothing about the health of a business incidentally, which is the number of page views in 2023:
For the more geeky among us: there were 100,000 fewer page views in 2023 compared to 2022. BUT, I moved onto the notorious Google Analytics 4 at the beginning of 2023, so that may have had an impact on the way in which the data is captured.
But in any case, as it doesn’t matter AND we’re not talking about a factor of x2 or x10 fewer visitors, it doesn’t bug me in the slightest.
Newsletter subscribers: +9% growth
5260 subscribers at the end of 2022, and 5698 subscribers at the end of 2023.
This is a great number.
But it’s the open rate of my newsletters that interests me the most. By which I mean out of 100 people who received my newsletter, how many actually opened it.
In 2021, it was 65%, then in 2022 it was 71%. And in 2023, it was 67%.
Given that I’ve set myself a range of 65-75%, it’s still fine. Phew!
Especially compared to the industry “standard” of around 17-38%.
I’m going to put the “decrease” in page views and visitor numbers down to changing to GA4. As with the other statistics, if the change from last year isn’t significant (around -20 or -50%), I’m not really concerned.
This year, I thought I would also put the number of blog posts I wrote per year into a chart.
This is what it looks like:
So let’s say that we’re around average, although I’m aiming for 35-40 articles per year as being a good goal.
After thinking about it, when looking for an excuse, I spent quite a lot of time putting together my real estate investment in France program. Time that I did not spend writing blog posts.
And as always, if you have any — constructive — feedback on the content and direction of the blog, I’m open to hearing it! (simply reply to any of the newsletters you receive in order to get in touch)
I was going to tell you that there had been no promotion of the blog in the media in 2023… but I went to have a look in the relevant section anyway, and… I’m losing my memory!
The media mentioned my MP blog 5 times 😎
First there was the neon blog, then RSI, 20 minutes, NZZ and Ticinonline.
On writing this, the realization hit me: “Ticino discovered the FIRE movement in 2023!”
Joking aside, I am very grateful to RSI for having agreed to an audio interview with me while respecting my anonymity (and dubbing me in Italian, obviously :D)
For that matter: if you’re a journalist or a member of a community (such as a college newspaper or other type of media), contact me via media[at]mustachianpost.com if you’re interested in an interview on the subject of financial independence in Switzerland (aka FIRE). I’d be happy to chat about it on the phone.
Blog revenue and expenses
And finally, THE section that everyone has been eagerly awaiting, including me: how much did the blog bring in and cost!
First, I’m adding an important point for me:
One of my reader buddies recently asked me:
“But Marc, aren’t you afraid of making people jealous? And that some people will stop visiting your blog after having read this article?!”
I replied: “Are you jealous when you read these figures?”
“Oh, well no, obviously not. On the contrary, it inspires and motivates me to chat to another Swiss entrepreneur who thinks like I do!”
My response was therefore: “Well, there you are! That’s exactly why I’m so transparent: to inspire readers. To bring them some value. And the advantage of this strategy is that those who stay around are the people with whom I want to chat and who inspire me in return (i.e. not the jealous ones)!”
So let’s look at the numbers:
I remain very grateful for the success of this “personal project” journey which has gradually transformed into a long-term entrepreneurial project.
And talking of long term, I always have a little voice in my head that tells me I could already be FIRE if I wanted. I could give up my job and my additional free time would surely enable me to increase the revenue from my blog. And therefore be able to be fully financially independent.
But the other side of my brain (you know, the voice of the repressed and fearful entrepreneur) tells me to do it without taking risks. And to see my current job — which I actually quite like — as the primary investor in my entrepreneurial journey :)
When it comes to costs, they have increased by 58%! This can be explained by different investments:
- SEO improvement
- Designs for my real estate investment in France program
- Setting up my YouTube channel and creating the first YouTube videos (design, translation and postproduction)
And as Warren Buffett puts it so well: paying dividends (i.e. paying out profits to me) should only be done when there really is no better option for making the company’s cash work ;)
Since 2020, I have copy-pasted this paragraph so that newcomers are aware of my policy on this subject:
“Profit is related to the subject of ethics. In other words, how not to fall into “making cash at any cost with the blog”, and end up losing readers one by one.
Because let’s be clear, I’m the first to unsubscribe from a blog if I start to see that the opinions are becoming biased because of money.
This is a subject close to my heart and it is illustrated by things like:
- Saying clearly to one of the banks I recommend that no, they will not have exclusivity in my blog, because everything specifically relies on my honest comparisons (which they did then fully understand)
- Continuing to recommend Interactive Brokers * as the best online broker for a Swiss investor, even though I receive a lot less affiliate commission than from other online brokers on the market
- Not accepting any sponsored articles (I receive several requests every week!), because for one thing, they’re never suitable for Switzerland, and for another, it would undermine the blog
- Being transparent when providing affiliate links so that it’s completely clear between us (if ever I forget, please tell me — I can still improve in this respect as I forgot way too many times in recent months, sorry!)
- Not judging or religiously promoting my choices, like for example when a reader told me that he was going to remain with Raiffeisen because it paid for itself through all the museums he and his family could visit for free every year. On the contrary, these conversations get me to reflect
- Never selling email addresses of readers who are subscribed to the newsletter
- And lastly, though it may seem blindingly obvious, only recommending tools and services that I use and have tested myself in my day-to-day life”
To conclude this review, let’s have a look at how the forum has evolved in 2023:
We seem to have hit our stride these last three years :)
A HUGE THANK YOU once again to our two moderators Julianek and Bojack for their contribution to making the forum a great place.
Prospects for 2024
“Version 2” of my programs
Just like with my book with the Swiss FIRE movement, I want my programs for investing in the stock market and real estate to be the best in Switzerland.
Rather than creating a new product or service, I’m therefore going to devote 2024 to version 2 of each of my beginner programs (“Investing in the stock market”, “Investing in Swiss real estate”, and “Investing in rental real estate in France as a Swiss resident”).
I’ve actually already started on version 2 of my program for investing in the stock market in Switzerland.
That’s also one of the reasons why I published fewer articles in 2023…
I’ve had discussions with several participants in order to understand what they would like to see improved.
And based on all their feedback, I’ve already spent quite a few Fridays updating all the content, the order, the details, etc.
My aim is to provide you with the best quality so that you can get started in the stock market or real estate, and so that you benefit from all the financial rewards that these types of investment can bring (and from which I personally benefit too).
Useful content, time and again!
Although I have set myself the aim of writing 36 articles in 2024, that’s not what matters publicly.
Especially as I recently read that sharing goals in public has the perverse effect of releasing dopamine when you announce them, even though you haven’t actually done anything yet… not a good signal for my brain.
What I want to share with you is that I want to concentrate all my effort on bringing value to you as a reader.
So if you have an issue with something related to money that you’re struggling with, or a financial situation that you don’t know how to tackle, please continue to email me, which some already do. This gives me ideas for articles that are as relevant as possible (because if you have problem X, there’s a strong chance that you’re not the only one in Switzerland!)
Usefulness and relevance, these are my two mottos for this year.
And furthermore, I’m also counting on you to tell me if I stray from this path (in a constructive manner, as usual).
Exclusive video interviews (and the shame of my life!)
Regulars know that in 2023 I was lucky enough to interview the CEO of Interactive Brokers Thomas Peterffy (!!!), which I then followed up with a very interesting discussion with the Beat Bühlmann, the CEO of finpension.
And for 2024, I have already lined up 4 exclusive interviews for my YouTube channel “Mustachian Post”.
As an aside: I hate writing “MY YouTube channel”, it’s a bit like if I said “MY TikTok account”… either I’ve become a boomer or I just like writing and its enduring nature … or maybe a bit of both… anyway, I digress :D
I find it really interesting (and an incredible opportunity thanks to the blog’s reputation) to be able to chat to the founders of the financial services that I use the most every day!
And I’m going to keep up the momentum in 2024 with the publication of two interviews with CEOs of services that you know well ;)
I must admit that I’ve developed a taste for these in-depth discussions, and it also makes a change from writing. That’s why I had the idea to interview two (okay, three!) other people that I like and respect. I’m not going to tell you any more but you’ll find out during the year.
Whatever happens, I’m making two things a priority:
- All the videos I publish will be in 3 languages (French, German and English)
- All the videos will be transcribed into a blog post, so that those who prefer the original written form (rather than video) continue to benefit from this added value
Obviously, as this is a new area for me, it takes more time than a “simple” article… but it’s really interesting to find myself with a “beginner” mindset! And I’ve met some great freelancers for the editing and subtitles. Excellent!
And talking of “beginner” mindset…
I’m going to share a “funny” story with you, but one which did not make me laugh at the time…
I felt like I’d gone back 20 years and screwed up at work, and then had to admit it to my boss/colleague/client…
Basically, I was interviewing one of the CEOs of the financial products that I love…
Everything was going fine, I was going through my questions, the answers were super interesting, and then, after 20 minutes of chatting…
I realized that I had forgotten to click on “Record”!!!
At that moment, I wavered between:
Well, I explained the situation to the CEO I was interviewing… we both forced a little laugh.
In the end, he was so nice (like his product!) that he agreed to re-record his answers straight afterwards and sent them to me. Phew!
So I then clicked “Record” before finishing the second part of the interview.
I’ve told you all that in order to say: we’re all learning, every day of our lives. And even though I acted like a beginner, once I owned up to my mistake, I can tell you that I swore to myself I would never again forget to click RECORD!!!
It’ll be a private joke with this CEO that we can laugh about the next time we speak ^^
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart
I’m going to conclude this celebration of the blog reaching its 10-year anniversary by thanking you, dear readers who have followed me from the beginning or joined me more recently.
None of this would be worthwhile without you…
Thank you <3
And we’ve embarked on a new year of fun talking about money, FIRE, dreams, entrepreneurship, investments and lots more!
* This symbol indicates where my article contains affiliate links. If you click on any of them, you will see no difference compared to a standard link — but the blog will receive affiliate commission. I would like to thank you for that. As usual, I only write about and review things that I use in my day-to-day life, or in which I have confidence.
Photo credit: pexels.com