A Reintroduction of Sorts

Hello! I hope your week has been going well. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already; it feels like it was just the weekend! I suppose that’s a good thing, right?

So you may be wondering why I’m “reintroducing” myself. Well, after many months, I’m finally coming out of the “anonymous blogger” closet.

Cue gasp.

I originally started out anonymous mostly because I didn’t really want anyone I actually knew discovering my blog, mainly for work reasons.

ReintroductionThat was then, this is now. And since I’ve been making a go at freelancing, I figured it was high time I get out here and let you all know that yes, I’m a real person =). Plus, I usually tell people I blog, so it’s part of my identity now. No reason to hide.

So Hi! My name is Erin. (Yes, another one…I wonder if Erin’s are naturally inclined to like personal finance? At least I’m in good company!)

If you guys are too used to calling me EM, by all means, keep using it. I really don’t mind. I once had a teacher who found a way to abbreviate everyone’s names, so I became “Er” for that class. That wasn’t awkward.

I also used to like calling myself EM&M back in my teen years (those are my initials), which is even more awkward.

I’m hoping this allows us to connect a little more. Personally, I already feel a little more like myself on here. I know that probably sounds strange – wouldn’t being anonymous lend itself better to that?

Yes and no. Truthfully, I’ve been working on finding my voice for some time now, and I never felt like I quite got it right, so I’m really hoping this helps. At the same time, this blog feels a little more like a home, rather than some place where I’m seeking refuge. I hope that makes sense.

Either way, I’ve been inspired by other bloggers that have done this recently (most notably Melanie over at Dear Debt), who have consequently seen a boost in business. It makes sense: the internet is largely a place of anonymity, which is why “trolls” are so damn popular. Those that have the “courage,” so to speak, to use their real identity are rewarded. After all, words are words, and anyone can write them.

But when they’re attached to a name and a face, they have a little more meaning and power behind them.

Nothing will change

By the way, this doesn’t change anything. I’m still going to be transparent with all of you, and I’ll continue to share my monthly budgets. I believe honesty is the best policy when it comes to these things, and the goal of displaying my monthly budget is to help others realize they can do it, too.

I’ve never shared my income on my blog, so that won’t change, either.

I might just be more careful when mentioning R, and he won’t be making any appearances on here! You’ll still have plenty of pictures of my cats, so don’t worry.

I’m really excited to see what, if anything, changes from this, but I hope it inspires those of you in a position to “come out” to do so.

So now I want to hear from you…

How do you view anonymity?

Are you currently blogging anonymously? Why? Have you ever done so, and then put your face and name out there? What reactions did you experience?

Do you think blogging anonymously has its place, or do you think it’s more detrimental depending on the circumstance?

I personally don’t mind reading other blogs with anonymous authors, especially when it comes to personal finance. I realize that others wouldn’t be able to put their numbers out there otherwise. As long as the blog still has a personal feel, I still feel as though I’m connecting with the blogger. That’s mostly why I added so many of my own pictures to my posts!

Let me know your thoughts on blogging anonymously in the comments!

Erin M.

Erin is a personal finance writer and virtual assistant who loves talking about money and how to use it as a tool to get what you want out of life. When she's not obsessing over numbers or working (which is rare), she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cat, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, or any random combination of the above.

91 thoughts on “A Reintroduction of Sorts

  1. Hello Erin! I am sort of anonymous – I use my name but I haven’t got any pictures of my face anywhere. That’s due to work at the moment, I kind of want to stay anonymous so that people at work don’t find me :)
    Nicola recently posted: The Trap Of More.My Profile

    1. That’s exactly why I stayed anonymous, so I completely understand! At least you use your actual name, though =). I’m not sure why, but I always liked initialing things, so it seemed natural on here. Plus there were two other Erin’s in the PF world when I started blogging!

    1. Funny thing about that. I absolutely hate taking pictures, and my “coming out of the blogging closet” was actually delayed because I couldn’t find any good pictures of myself taken in the last 3 years. Kind of sad. So yes, my boyfriend took the pictures a few nights ago! I’m glad it feels like you know me better now. It’s amazing how much difference a picture can make.

  2. Congratulations on taking the leap to come out of the blogger closet!!! I love your pic, and I applaud you for taking this leap. A few years ago I thought about blogging anonymously because I wasn’t allowed to have a blog in my previous job, but I realized that I liked to share too much, and I am not good at keeping secrets so the whole secret identity would be a bust for me. I follow plenty of anonymous bloggers; however, I do feel as though it heightens your connection when you truly know who you are connecting with. Nice to meet you again, Erin! :-)
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted: Shameless Plug Sort OfMy Profile

    1. Thanks Shannon! I remember you talking about that – so sad, as the PF community has been missing out on your awesomeness all these years! I’m glad you’re here now, though. As I was anonymous, I didn’t even give other anonymous bloggers a second thought, but now that I’m on the other side, I do see how it can heighten the connection made.

  3. Hey Erin (hmmm, feels weird not calling you EM…), I blog anonymously. I’ve thought about it and have partly wanted to come out of the blogging closet too, but didn’t really want some people to know. Some of my posts may seem critical of people’s financial decisions and those people include my friends/family. I’m a little paranoid about that. I guess it’s a balance. I think if I wasn’t anonymous, I’d be nervous about sharing certain stories. But I also like putting a face to a blog. We’ll see…
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted: Should I Renew My AAA Membership?My Profile

    1. I thought about that as well, since I do talk about my parents a lot (and some other family members). But my parents don’t read my blog, and none of my relatives really know about it, so I’m hoping that everything will work out. I might just go back and edit a few things. It is hard to balance, as the people that surround us are the easiest case studies sometimes!

  4. Erin! So glad to “meet” you again! lol. I was a anonymous blogger for awhile and then I just got to the point where I didn’t care anymore who found out. I’m not overly public about my life on my blog but at the same time, I like to share certain aspects of my life.

    1. I think it’s awesome you said “why not?” to it. I don’t really make a big deal about my blog to people in real life, so it’s not likely they’ll really discover it or care. I hope!

  5. YAY! You’re so pretty and delightful :) I think you’ll find it will be better for business and easier on you. For so long, I was so paranoid, I would talk in vague tones and was scared to share anything. Even when I came out, I promptly freaked out for over a week. And you know what? That was in April. Not ONE bad thing has happened since then. It’s even on my LinkedIn and not one person from my job (that I recently quit) has mentioned it to me. Seriously, I blew it up in my head. Then I really thought about it. I am writing to get out of debt. I HAVE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. If people can’t hang, that’s their problem, but I’m trying to SOLVE the problem, not just perpetuate them. Haha, sorry for the winded response, but I want to let you know it’s most likely no big deal at all.
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted: How My Blog Changed My Life: Michelle from Making Sense of CentsMy Profile

    1. Thanks Melanie! You don’t have anything to be ashamed of; you’re killing it! I really need to get on LinkedIn, I’ve been such a slacker with networking. I imagine it’s a lot easier to do when I have my real name and picture associated with my account!

  6. Hi Erin! I admit it does feel strange calling you by your name since I have thought of you as E.M. for so long! :) Personally I think you found your awesome blogging voice a long time ago but I’m sure not being anonymous will open many more doors!

    P.S. love your adorable pic! :)

    1. Wendy! So nice to “see” you again =). Thank you for the compliments, and I hope you’re doing well! I always loved your avatar; if I hadn’t “come out” I was determined to have my boyfriend make me one in Photoshop, haha.

  7. Hey pretty lady :) Erin…nah E.M. it’ll be until I get used to it :) Well congratulations for coming out of the shadows of anonymity. I did that a few weeks ago as like you I’ve been freelancing a bit. And as for finding your voice, I believe you already have connected with the words in a way that encourages people to keep coming back so well done!
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted: Music To My Ears: BelbelMy Profile

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I wish I looked as fierce as you do in your picture =). I figure if I start guest posting around, it will look better to be a person rather than a picture of the ocean.

  8. You are so pretty, Erin! You have connected with your readers very well but if this helps to open opportunities for you, then I’m all for it!

    For professional reasons, I must blog anonymously. It hasn’t been an issue so far and I hope it doesn’t become one.
    debs@debtdebs recently posted: Misplaced FaithMy Profile

        1. I honestly don’t personally know, but I did read an article on another blog recently that states using your blog as a portfolio when you’re anonymous has less credibility. In a way, it makes sense – anyone can claim your blog as theirs if they really wanted to. But I haven’t actually read of anyone experiencing a roadblock with it in the PF community. Considering there’s plenty of semi-anonymous bloggers guest posting, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal!

  9. Wow, that is a huge decision! Congrats!

    I blog anonymously because the company I work for prohibits these sorts of things, but my personal reasons far outweigh the professional ones. If I didn’t blog anonymously, I wouldn’t be able to blog at all. Hopefully it’s not too detrimental.

    I like to think I can be way more open and transparent this way, but I’m pretty open in “real life” too so who knows.
    Autumn recently posted: Hitting Rock BottomMy Profile

    1. Thanks! Like I said, I really don’t mind it. I like to trust that those in the PF community are honest regardless of the identity they assume on their blogs. I was really nervous when I first started blogging, so I can relate!

    1. I guess it’s like Ashley said – EM kind of lends itself to that. I actually had a coworker named Emily once, and our bosses constantly mixed us up.

  10. Partially anonymous here. I use my first name and have pictures and there’s enough detail about me on my blog that people who know me can make the connection. But only two people who know me, know about the blog. I’d live to share with friends and family because I know they’d be supportive and the blog would grow outside the pf community, but I can’t take the chance on losing my job. Yet. A few freelance jobs under my belt and I might throw caution to the wind!
    Kirsten recently posted: Misplaced Faith – Head Over to Debt DebsMy Profile

    1. It really stinks to be restricted due to your job. I think that’s the #1 reason a lot of people choose to stay anonymous, and it makes sense. I hope you get to come out of the anonymous closet by becoming a freelancer!

  11. I was super surprised when I saw the email address and the real face accompanying it. I dunno why, probably because your initials are EM, but I thought your name was Emily :) I know it’s awkward to comment on someone’s looks, but you’re just as pretty on the outside as how you’ve always been online where we get to meet your personality first :)

    I’ve been toying with the idea of coming out of the closet so to speak, but I doubt I will until I change jobs. I hope good things come to you with the switch to being “Erin” online rather than “EM”.
    Alicia recently posted: Gaming the Demise of the Penny.My Profile

    1. It looks like a few people thought that about Emily! I don’t blame you for remaining anonymous for the time being. I hope you find your new job soon, and thank you for the compliment!

  12. Erin! Congrats! I saw one of your comments as “Erin @ Journey to Saving” and I was like “who the heck is Erin??”

    But that’s awesome that you made the decision to come out of the closet. I’ve been debating it for quite a while now. A large part of me worries that I’ll censor myself for fear of offending others. “Oh yeah, I remember you. You’re that jerk from the internet.” Although I probably overestimate how many people actually read my blog… But I’m actually going to be pursuing a career change in the next year or so, and I don’t want someone to Google me and find my blog. I think I’ll give it a go eventually, but right now I don’t think it’s in the cards for me. I’m still super impressed and inspired by you though!
    Ryan S @ Impersonal Finance recently posted: do the math: energy vampiresMy Profile

    1. Haha, thanks! I know the feeling. I did think about that – after all, if freelancing doesn’t work out, and I go back to interviewing for “normal” jobs, I’m a little worried about might happen. I don’t think having a blog is a bad thing at all, but I know companies can get a little worried that what you say reflects on their image and whatnot.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you’ve experienced more pros than cons. I know a lot of your friends know about your blog. I guess it will be easier going forward when I do make new friends here!

  13. Yay! I hope making things a bit more personal gives your freelancing a huge boost! Super happy for you Erin, and loving all the other positive feedback rolling in.

    I definitely found it difficult to remain anonymous — I think I avoided putting up a personal picture and using my name anywhere for all of a month or two, lol.

    I think it’s a very positive and progressive mental shift that happens when you shed that secrecy and totally own your awesome work, so again, I’m super excited and happy for you. You rock!

    PS — Yes, please keep cat pictures coming ;)
    Kali @ Common Sense Millennial recently posted: Yes, Life is Hard – So Toughen Up, ButtercupMy Profile

    1. Thanks Kali! I probably wouldn’t have cared as much, but as silly as it sounds, I had nightmares of my coworkers/bosses finding my blog and getting fired. I’m sure that wouldn’t have happened, but I like to be on the safe side! I’m definitely already noticing a mental shift.

      My cats need to up their game; this week they’ve decided to be more lazy than usual and there haven’t been many photo-ops =).

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  15. Well hello there! Nice to “meet” you again :D This is a big step to take, but I’m sure it will pay off. I’m semi-anon on my blog, although I have a picture associated with my site, which I keep meaning to change. I haven’t shared my site or my writing with anyone but my husband, and that’s just more because I don’t love knowing that family members are reading my blog. Maybe that’s weird, but there’s an odd sort of pressure to me when they’re reading.
    Lauren recently posted: How to Become a Minimalist Without Even TryingMy Profile

    1. That makes sense to me, actually. Especially being a freelancer writer, there is a lot of pressure to make sure everything you write looks great. I’m “lucky” that no one in my family is a writer, so I have to hope they won’t judge me!

  16. Hi Erin! Congrats on going public!

    I just started my PF blog and debated being public but ultimately decided to based on my future goals but I’ve only told my boyfriend IRL….nervous to tell anyone else yet!

    Best ~
    Cari
    Cari recently posted: I’m $100 Richer A MonthMy Profile

    1. Hi Cari, thanks for stopping by! I love your blog name. The people I have told about my blog don’t even read it (of course). I’m sure it will turn out fine for you!

  17. Congrats, Erin! Huge step!

    I was confused this morning when I saw one of your comments to my blog as “Erin @ …”. :)

    I blog anonymously for two reasons. First I share a lot of financial information, so I’m not too comfortable everyone that I know being able to read that stuff. Second, it would be highly counterproductive for my current job to have my own opinionated blog since I work for the government.

    Good luck!
    NMW
    No More Waffles recently posted: Reaching Financial Independence When Facing the Highest Income Tax Rate in the Western WorldMy Profile

    1. Thanks NMW! That’s definitely understandable. If I worked for the government I’d be top-secret, too. Anything with “waffles” in its name is a win to me!

    1. Aw, thank you Anna! I actually thought about using a picture of myself wearing sunglasses =). It’s a good way to sort of be anonymous but still show your face.

  18. I have a friend in real life named Erin who is very frugal. Maybe it does go with the name! Congrats on coming out of the closet. I wanted to be kind of hidden in the beginning and only used my first name. I’m not sure what I was afraid of, maybe that people who know me in a professional sense would be surprised by my poor money management in the past? Anyway, the people who have found me have been really supportive and positive, so I’m glad to be out in the open.
    Kim recently posted: Do Bloggers Ever Run Out Of Things To Say?My Profile

  19. COngrats on “coming out”! I had a blog before that was completely anonymous and while it was fun for the 2+ years I had it, I eventually started my new blog so I could be public. I do feel like I have to be much more careful about what I write. But that’s a good thing–there’s no reason for certain stuff to live on the internet.

  20. Hi Erin! I’m so excited for you and thrilled to “meet” you :)! I’ll be interested to hear your take on differences you note from your anonymous days–I hope you’ll keep us updated. I’m blogging anonymously purely for work reasons–I’d have no qualms being non-anonymous (is that a word?) otherwise. I like to include as many “face-free” photos of me and Mr. FW as I possibly can because I do want people to know that we’re real peeps. Planning on un-anonymizing (is that a word either?) once we quit our 9-5’s. Congrats to you for taking this step :) :)!!
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted: Weekly Woot & Grumble: Autumnal Sugar RushesMy Profile

    1. Thanks Mrs. FW! I think it’s funny we look alike =). If I notice any changes I’ll certainly do an update in the future. I think it’s really neat that you share the “faceless” pictures; it still very much gives your blog a personal feel. The pictures of Frugal Hound help, of course! Leaving the 9-5 will be symbolic in so many ways for you guys! I really can’t wait to hear more about your plans to build cabins.

  21. Awesome! I think leaving anonymity is inevitable for many bloggers who stick with blogging long-term. I’ve never been anonymous, though now that I’ve been blogging a while and my blog has gotten bigger I’m second-guessing it (work reasons). I just don’t want anyone to think that because I blog in my free time that I’m any less productive a worker as someone who, say, bikes or hunts or whatever their hobby is. With that being said, I am trying to personally be more bold about my blog. Why should I hide the fact that I blog in my free time? It doesn’t detract from my full-time job and it helps me bring in some side income to pay for student loans, home projects, etc.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted: The Weekly Quick Hits RoundupMy Profile

    1. It’s interesting to hear it from the opposite perspective! I would have never thought about the other repercussions. When I first started out, I wasn’t in the happiest place with my job, which was my main reason for staying anonymous. It’s obvious to us you spend a great deal of time on the blog outside of work, though. I hope nothing bad comes of it!

  22. Hi Erin! Glad you’re putting yourself ‘out there’ now!

    I use my real first name and pictures but try to keep my last name and current employer off our blog. I’m mostly concerned about subsequent potential employers finding the blog and finding information about me that they couldn’t legally obtain during the hiring process. I’ll probably rethink that this fall. However, I never intended to hide the blog from anyone in my personal life and I really like when people I know IRL comment or talk to me about my blog posts.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted: Blog Statistics Update July – August 2014My Profile

    1. I think it would be really interesting to have friends look at my blog. A few know about what I do, but not any specifics. Might as well spread the love of personal finance around!

      I have the same concerns as you (in case I decide to get a 9-5 later on), and it’s also why I’m not completely sharing my last name right now. I think first name and a picture is decent enough.

  23. Ahhhh it’s so good to see your pretty face! I agree, anonymity has its place, but being open and transparent seems to make you more credible. When I first started, I had a hard time linking all of my social media accounts together in fear that people I know will judge me. But I’ve come to realize that the more honest you are, the more people trust in you. This is so exciting!!!
    Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans recently posted: Tracking Expenses Isn’t EasyMy Profile

    1. Thanks Lisa! I’ve always loved your picture. I’m so bad when it comes to social media, but I do feel like I’ve gained a little more credibility. It makes it easier to engage with someone that has a real picture.

  24. Hi Erin! It’s nice to “meet” you! :-) I’ve always struggled with how open I should be on my blogs. When I read blogs, I am always drawn to the bloggers that are more open and provide personal stories. I just connect better with them, but then again you just don’t know about the crazies on the internet! I think there is a good balance of being open and providing some personal details and stories without revealing too much. My supervisor recently found out that I have a blog and I had an “oh shit” moment, but she was completely fine with it. And I obviously make sure to keep my full-time job seperate and out of my blog for that reason.
    Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster recently posted: 10 Things To Do in Kennebunkport, MaineMy Profile

    1. I also connect with the more personal blogs, when authors are sharing their stories. I would have been so scared if I were you! I’m glad she’s fine with it. I used to have nightmares about my bosses finding out I had a blog. I did talk about it in vague terms a few times, which is why I felt it was better to keep my full name out of it.

  25. I am always cautious about how much I link to my personal life/personal pages. I worry about the future (not that would post anything inappropriate), but if I was searching for a job, etc. I guess, in reality, I don’t have anything to hide. I like to think that personal finance blogging is separate from my personal life. But that might not be the right way of thinking.

    1. I don’t think there’s truly a right or wrong way to go about it. It’s all up to the blogger on how much they share. I always respect the decision others make with that, especially if they’re sharing debt or income numbers. Honestly, thinking about the future is better than not thinking at all. As so many people say, often what we put out there on the internet is there to stay. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Definitely! I think it has benefited you; your blog and writing took off so quickly, and you have an awesome style. I’m glad to hear everyone saying being able to put a face to a name is a positive!

  26. Hey Erin/EM!! Awww, I got used to knowing you as EM! That’s okay, I can adapt :) Congrats on your reintroduction! :) As you know, I’m anonymous although I use my real first name. Same issue as you – I don’t want people at work knowing, just because I’m private like that. I also don’t think I’ve found my voice yet, so I’d like to figure that out first before announcing myself! :)
    Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver recently posted: How to Set Up a BudgetMy Profile

    1. You can totally keep calling me EM, I really don’t mind. Some weird part of me has never really liked my name to begin with, but I like that it means “Ireland.” =) I think you’re doing really well on finding your voice. You seem like a natural at blogging!

    1. I don’t make a point of it to tell anyone, but if they ask about what I do, it inevitably comes up! Nothing wrong with keeping it under the radar, though.

  27. Hi Erin! Lovely to meet you. I’m new to blogging (actually, I just started today…) and I’ve spent the past week trawling the internet, visiting the sites of personal finance bloggers for inspiration. And lucky me, I get to meet the real you from day one. My guess is it must feel quite liberating to be out now, instead of hiding.
    Myles Money recently posted: Yakezie!My Profile

    1. Hi Myles, it’s nice to meet you as well! Congrats on starting your blog, I hope you find it to be a lot of fun! In a way, it does feel liberating, and in another way, it feels like nothing has changed. I guess we’ll see as more time passes.

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