What I’ve Learned in 4 Years Blogging Here

This week is my work-aversary and those of you who follow me on LinkedIn already know that. I celebrate 4 years blogging about this incredible industry right here for you. (and for myself too). Here's my LinkedIn profile in case you wanted to know.....

I've learned a lot in these 4 years here and today I'll share some of that with you. Some is related to p2p lending and marketplace lending and some is about blogging in general.

If You Want to Change Your Life, Start a Blog

These words come from Sean Ogle of Location Rebel and truer words have never been spoken. Sean is a digital nomad entrepreneur, one of these online entrepreneurs that is location independent and can work from wherever he wants.

You may not know this but blog writers (bloggers that is) are fanatical blog readers. I am always looking for something good to read and hopefully learn from and it can be about music, culture, blogging, digital nomading or about something related to FinTech.

Plus its great to learn skills and techniques that maybe I can take on the road someday...

What does this have to do with p2p lending? Nothing really, except that starting this blog has really changed my life. It truly has. What started as a fun and enjoyable hobby is now my full-time business and I couldn't be happier.

If you have something you are passionate about, want to learn more about or maybe want to make money at, then do yourself a favor and start a blog about it. You'll learn a ton about yourself and the subject matter. One thing is for certain, you will not regret it.

Writing is a Constant Challenge

I write for a living now and still find the quest to make my writing interesting and compelling a constant challenge. Important lesson #1 I learned here is that ANYONE can become a better writer. Any of you reading this is capable of writing better than you do now if you want to be better, do some studying and you write.

The only way to get better is to keep writing. I was lucky. I got to do it in the early days of this blog when not many people were paying attention. That heavy lifting was vitally important to the improved writer I am today. It's still a constant work in progress, though.

Nobel Prize-winning author Thomas Mann once said 'a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people'. I love this quote as it embodies my constant quest to improve my writing.

Just so you can see what I mean, this is my very first post on this blog about Prosper in March 2013. The good is that without any prior knowledge I tried to keep it informative but short and punchy. That's an ongoing theme here although you've probably guessed that by now. I have a link in there and an attempt a visual, although its quality is terrible and something I would eventually improve upon in later posts.

Is it great writing? Definitely not. But it's not that bad and looking back at it I can see the seeds of where my improved writing would come from. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Fintech is Wonderfully Collegial

Having worked in other areas of finance, I did not know what to expect when I went to marketplace lending or Bitcoin conferences. I needn't have worried. There is no more collegial, welcoming, and encouraging group of people than those in Fintech.

When people that run conferences, run companies that go public or get valued at over $1 billion dollars, or other people in influential roles in our industry not just know and remember me but come over to me with nice and personal things to say about me and this blog it just feels good. It's a friendly reminder that we are all in this together. We are still at an early enough stage where the rising tide can lift all the boats.

Some of these companies and wonderful people won't make it as they will go under or get acquired. That's the reality but I hope they make it. Everyone I've met in this industry takes pride in their work and unlike other areas of finance, I've yet to meet anyone I'd classify as shady or a charlatan.

They won't all be successful but I wish they could be and get recognized for their hard work.

Peer to Peer is Now the Marketplace

Charles Moldow of Foundation Capital coined the term Marketplace Lending in a white paper he wrote about 2 years ago. It's a very good paper so email me if you want a copy of it.  What started as peer to peer and truly funded by the crowd has seen the institutions and hedge funds come into our world in a very big way. They are seeking yield and diversification for their clients since bonds are such a subpar investment and a peer loan is a fixed income option similar to a bond.

The good is that this means there is more money flowing to the platforms so more platforms can come online and do more business. One of the bads is that many platforms will shrug off retail investors entirely to focus on getting that money in.

The much bigger bad and my long term concern is really about the Wall Street influence. If there is one thing that Wall Street has proven over the years, it's that they are great at making money for themselves even if it is to the detriment of their clients. Will that happen in our industry? I hope not. But I'm watching and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.......

SEC Regulation A+ Could Change the Game for Us Retail Investors

Reg A+, known as the 'mini-IPO' portion of the JOBS Act, allows for less expensive filings and compliance but access to public markets and retail investment dollars. My friend Dara Albright and her media company Dara Albright Media are big advocates of Reg A+ especially for equity investment. Check out her white paper on her site on The Renaissance of the Retail Investor.

So far, 32 companies have raised funds this way including a couple in our industry like AHP, Ground Floor, Fundrise and Realty Mogul, all of whom are real estate platforms. I've covered them all on my blog and here are a couple links if you want to go back and check them out:

AHP: Do Well and Do Good

3 Platforms for Retail Investors

How big of a change will this law have for retail investors? We don't know. Everyone is still trying to figure out when a Reg A+ filing makes sense. The fact that we already have some p2p lending platforms using it is a great sign moving forward. Aside from these 4, peer to small business lender Streetshares has completed a Reg A+ filing as well and is open to retail investors. Us little guys now have 5 new options thanks to this provision.

A Successful Blog is a Team Effort

Getresponse reports that only 5% of all bloggers make a full time living from their blog. How I got to be fortunate enough that my blog and my writing work (see my writing page) make me my living is something that I don't know and I can never ever thank all of you enough for. I only get my writing work because people read this blog and you share it and like it. I'm incredibly grateful.

What started out as fun is now my mission and my privilege to provide you and I can't wait to see what the next few years in our industry holds for us.

About the author

Stu Stu Lustman, the author of this post, is a Credit Analyst by trade trying to bring Commercial Credit Analysis techniques to the world of Peer to Peer Lending. Check me out on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+

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