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What Happened to Patrick? A Few Thoughts About Blogging Anonymously

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I have a confession to make. For the past three years I have been blogging under the name Patrick, which is my middle name. My real name is Ryan Guina. Why am I sharing this? There are several reasons actually, but the main reason is transparency. I want daily readers and anyone else to know that there is a real person at the other side of this computer, not just a “guy named Patrick.” In the interest of transparency, I will share why I chose to use a pseudonym, why I am “outing” myself, what it means for readers, and my thoughts on being anonymous on the internet.

Why I Chose to be Anonymous

Ryan GuinaWhen I first started blogging I had little knowledge of internet communities. I used the internet for news, e-mail, and online banking. The idea of creating a website about personal finance and using my real identity made me think people would be able to find out more about my financial situation and possibly make me a target for identity theft. There were also several prominent personal finance bloggers who maintained anonymity when I started blogging, which made the decision easier (see Nickel, FMF, AFM, MBH, and others). In the end, I decided to use my middle name because I thought it was more approachable than using initials, and it was easier for me to identify with.

Anonymity and blogging in the workplace. The deciding factor to use a pseudonym came when I read the paperwork I had recently signed at my (then) new job; it was a non-compete agreement that included provisions for company ownership/compensation for creating anything technology related while an employee for their firm. The fine print led me to believe that I would be fine as long as I didn’t use company equipment, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I was new to the corporate world after after a tour in the USAF and I didn’t want there to be any conflicts of interest or give them any reason to come after me. (note: I haven’t worked for that company for over two years and they have since been acquired by another company). If you are considering something similar, talk to your ethics department about any potential conflicts of interest.

Why I am Now Using My Real Name

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this is mostly about transparency. I want people to know that they aren’t receiving articles and correspondence from an anonymous writer. There are other reasons as well – including branding, correspondence, and business.

I have been building a “brand” under a single name, which doesn’t do me much good if a reporter wants to use my story or if a publication wants me to write for them. It is much better in the long run to build my online identity under the name Ryan Guina than it is to continue using my middle name.

Using my full name also makes it easier to deal with advertisers and other people I work with who need to know my real name for business reasons. Signing e-mails and receiving mail and checks under both names gets confusing and is less efficient than it needs to be.

What Will Change Here at Cash Money Life

Nothing. Well, that’s not exactly true. In the name of transparency, I plan on sharing more specific information about how my wife and I manage our money, including some of the tools and resources we use to manage and track our money, which financial companies and accounts we trust with our money, how we manage our money, how I manage my small business finances, etc. The idea is to give you a “peak under the hood” at our personal finances. I won’t be sharing net worth information, because I don’t think that will help anyone improve his or her financial situation. But I will share tips that we use and the programs that help us do it.

Beyond additional transparency there shouldn’t be many other significant changes. I will continue writing a strong mix of personal finance, career and small business topics to help you improve your financial and career situation. Hopefully you will find it helpful to see how I do it, and in the process I hope readers will leave their tips. I know I have just as much to learn from you as I have to share with you.

Should You Use Your Real Name Online?

Now to address this topic on a broad level. Using my middle name online when I started blogging made sense for me at the time. But I wish I had used my real name from day one. Using my full name would have been easier for correspondence and could have led to more personal and professional opportunities. This has been an important lesson for me. But what works for me may not work for you. There are dozens of examples of anonymous bloggers who decided to use their full name, others who were outed by someone with good investigative skills, and others who have chosen to remain anonymous. There are even some bloggers who have gone through multiple identities.

Pros and cons of blogging under a pseudonym. There are many reasons people prefer to remain anonymous. Sometimes it is to keep their day job (many people have been fired for blogging), other times it’s for privacy, and some people find that it opens more doors to them. Here is an example of the latter reason from a staff writer on CopyBlogger: Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants. And, no, it’s not what you are thinking.

On the flip side, some people find that using their real name opens doors to further opportunities. A great example of this is Kerry Taylor from SquawkFox, who received a book deal based on the quality of the writing on her blog. You can read her story here, and read more about her book.

Using Your Real Name Online is a Personal Decision

I know many people who are in a similar situation as myself, some of whom will ultimately use their real name, and others who will continue to be anonymous for the foreseeable future. I can only speak from my personal experience and reference a couple other people who wished they would have used their real name at the onset.

However, there is a strong reason to remain anonymous. People have been fired or lost relationships due to their online activities, including blogging, publicly speaking out against their company, sharing information that should have remained private, or other reasons.

In the end, how you choose to represent yourself can have far reaching implications. For me, I choose to represent myself by my full given name. I feel that this is the best decision for both now and in the future.


Published or updated March 26, 2013.
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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Squawkfox

Hi Ryan! It’s nice to meet you! :D

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2 Ryan

Thanks, Kerry. :)

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3 Paul @ FiscalGeek

Indeed, nice to meet you! Nice insight, sometimes I wish I had started off anonymously but you definitely make some good points.

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4 Ryan

You know, it goes both ways, Paul. I deal with a lot of people who need to know my real name for business reasons, so it can get confusing trying to remember who knows me as Patrick and who knows me as Ryan. My hope is that this change will make it easier for me to deal with the e-mails and phone calls.

But it is certainly not for everyone. There are hundreds of great bloggers out there who maintain their anonymity, and I support that as well. You need to do what is in your best interest. :-)

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5 Abigail

Here’s the thing about blogging anonymously… I readily maintain that if someone wants to find out who you are, he or she will do it. We all drop enough hints in our blogs (often without even realizing it) to help people figure out where we are/what we do — even those who aren’t terribly forthcoming. Heck, Site Meter tells me IP addresses/cities of my visitors!

I think the idea of anonymity on the web is really just wishful thinking. I suppose the average person doesn’t care to break that identity shield — or might not know how to do it. But, really, you can be found out, so why bother? Then again, like you said, I’m a firm believer in knowing who is writing and where he (or she) comes from. At least, I prefer it that way.

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6 Ryan

Abigail, I agree. Someone could have found my identity if they really wanted to, and I think most people can be outed with some thorough detective work. As for knowing who is writing this site, it’s still me. Patrick or Ryan, the content will be the same. :)

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7 Jason @ MyMoneyMinute

Congrats on the big reveal, Ryan. Look forward to seeing the “under the hood” posts. Since I wrote a post on Military Saves Week recently, Evolution of Wealth recommended I read your posts dealing with military finance. I’ll be browsing your site this week :)

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8 Ryan

The “under the hood” posts are still in work! My basic goal with the series is to share how my wife and I manage our money, which products and services we use, and then do the same with how I manage my business finances – I know there are a lot of bloggers and freelancers out there who have inquired about the business aspect of managing money. Hopefully readers will find the information helpful!

I’ll go check out the Military Saves Week – sounds like good stuff. As for the military site, it is a hobby of mine that I just haven’t quite had enough time to develop yet. I need a few more hours in the week to make it as helpful as this site. But I’m working on it! :)

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9 Jason @ MyMoneyMinute

Ryan, here’s the link to my Military Saves Week article: bit.ly/ciqbFQ Enjoy :)

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10 Danielle

Ryan, great article. I, too, live a dual life and it is very specifically executed that way. It’s not particularly difficult to ascertain who the “other me” is, but for my writing purposes, I am Danielle Liss at all times. (Much to my husband’s annoyance.) Although, I use Danielle Liss pretty regularly, so it isn’t as if I am hiding anything. I just prefer that my clients my work profile, etc. when they google me. Plus, work never crosses writing, so I figure the two names should never cross either. There are a couple of small foul ups when I first started doing interviews, but I’ve gotten better.

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11 Ryan

Danielle, I can relate. My wife has heard me answer the phone by saying “Hello, this is Patrick,” more times than I can remember. I don’t think it bothered her too much, but it was something that we both noticed.

I purposely used both names, but it got to the point that it was too much of a hassle to use both identities all the time. I need to use my real name most of the time for business reasons and it got tedious for me to explain it to each new advertiser or business associate, then it could get confusing for them.

Thankfully my day job doesn’t have a problem with blogging (I don’t specifically reference the company, management or people I work with for that reason).

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12 DR

I always thought your full name was Cash Money Life. Shows you how astute I am! Ryan, it’s nice to meet you, but you’ll always be Patrick as far as I’m concerned.

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13 Ryan

So you are the guy behind all those crappy press releases! LOL.

There are quite a few people who know me as both Patrick and Ryan and use both names interchangeably… sometimes in the same phone call/e-mail.

I took that into consideration before making the announcement, but in the long run, I decided it was for the best for me and my site. I have to explain to a bunch of advertisers and other people why I have two names and it can get tedious for me and confusing for them.

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14 Steve

Nice to meet you Ryan! :) I’ve struggled with the whole anonymity thing, too, and while I haven’t outright plopped my full name down on my blog, anyone who takes 2 seconds to check out my twitter or linked in or facebook accounts can find out my full name.

In my case the only issue with having my name out there has been a reluctance to write about anything related to my current workplace. In the past I could use a fellow employee as an example or discuss clients. I shy away from that now.

But otherwise, hasn’t been a big deal. As my grandfather always said, “You can call me anything you want, as long as you don’t call me late for dinner.”

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15 Ryan

I can identify with your grandfather! ;)

On a serious note, I feel the same way about blogging about goings on in the workplace and I place a big filter over the things I write. I don’t mention where I work or ever bring up names or identifying characteristics of people I work with.

I want to give people information they will find useful in their careers, but I don’t want to cause any tension in the workplace. It’s not worth it!

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16 Craig

I’ve stayed mostly anonymous as well. It’s a strange thing to go and tell tons of people who you are. There’s definitely a level of accountability to friends and family than can be awkward at times, trying to explain what you do. Then there’s the work thing too.

Great to meet the real you Ryan Patrick!

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17 Ryan

I agree, it will cause some interesting moments in the near future, but I took that into consideration. I also took work into consideration. In the end, I think it will make things easier for me and hopefully won’t cause too much trouble in the interim.

For others with work considerations, I recommend speaking with your company ethics department or HR department regarding policies on blogging. It may or may not affect you, but it’s a good idea to know your company’s position before getting too involved.

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18 Craig Ford

Ryan,
What a relief. I’ve been afraid that I would write the wrong name in public for a long time. I feel like a burden has been lifted. It was like a deep dark secret that I couldn’t share :).
By the way, what is your address and social security number?

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19 Ryan

It’s a relief for me too. You know what is also nice? Seeing the name “Patrick” under my articles instead of my “other” identity. The content is still the same, and I know I wrote it, but it feels a little different now. :)

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20 Peter

I’ve got a confession to make – my name isn’t Peter – it’s Nancy. And I’m not a human, I’m a golden retriever!

Ok, just kidding – this doesn’t really change anything in my eyes and to be honest I’m not surprised. So many people use pseudonyms online, it really is almost standard nowadays. It’s nice to know the real name now though!

The only downside? I gotta go through all those links I sent to “Patrick” at Cash Money Life and change them all! :)

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21 Ryan

Changing the name would be appreciated. :)

And you’re right – the number of people using pseudonyms is very high, especially in our niche (it is understandable why people would want to remain anonymous when blogging about personal finance topics).

The list of anonymous personal finance bloggers I included in my article were only some of the more prominent anonymous personal finance bloggers that were around when I started 3 years ago, but there were many more when I started and the number anonymous pf bloggers now is enormous. This is definitely a situation where you should do what you are comfortable with!

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22 Akhat

Hello Ryan :) Really, nice to meet you. I’d say that you have taken good measures to stay anonymous so even whois information for your website is hidden. I easily relate to your feeling of being slightly uncomfortable to disclose your identity in the web. I still feel so not because I need to disclose any financial information, but because I don’t want to make things casual. It feels like here is a different world, and you don’t want to get this world too close before you know it. But then possibly, you see that people love your website, love your posts, and welcome you, and there it feels bad that you seem to be misleading them by the wrong name. Maybe it is not the only case in your situation, but I’d say it is also here. And at this point revealing your identity is a good step, which I believe will help you to make everything you say sound more solid. So wishing you a lot of luck, and don’t be surprised if people ask you to be Patrick back because we already know you this way :)

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23 Ryan

Akhat, those were all considerations I took into account before finalizing this decision. I didn’t take it lightly and waited a long time before deciding it was in the best interest of me and my long term goals for my site.

Thanks for the input!

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24 Four Pillars

Great idea. It’s nice to know your real name.

I’ll be anon as long as I’m in my current job.

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25 Ryan

Definitely something to consider; but don’t forget to wait until after you have landed your next job because your name will show up on any Google search or background check. It will probably be a good idea to wait until you know your next company’s stance on blogging or running a business on the side.

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26 Ron

Looks like you sent an RPG into your quest for anonymity!
Couldn’t resist …

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27 Ryan

Nice one. ;-)

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28 Emily@remodelingthislife

Hi Ryan!

When I met David (of MTD, TGH, and SOL fame) recently, he told me your name was Ryan and I was shocked! :)

congrats on coming out from anonymity. I think it does make it easier as a reader to know who you are reading every day. Although, in your case, I thought I did know all along!

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29 Ryan

What!?!?! David can’t keep a secret! Just kidding. Dave is a great guy, and he is one of the bloggers who has known my real name for some time now. :)

This change shouldn’t affect readers at all; I haven’t changed anything other than the name on the article and the content should continue to be helpful in regard to money management and career tips. I hope this change encourages me to open up a little more, and hopefully bring in a few more comments along the same lines. :)

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30 Evan

Nice to meet the real you. I am terrified to put my real full name out there (Evan is my first name), but like others said above its not terribly hard to figure out who I am, or what I look like. I am terrified because I work for a company where EVERYTHING has to go through compliance and I am not sure what would happen if they found out I was writing online about money/investments/estate planning.

It must be just a load off your shoulders!

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31 Financial Samurai

Wow, interesting! Hi Ryan! I feel kinda weird now………. like I didn’t know you before actually. I think of Ryan from Hawaii honestly, so it will have to take some time getting used to.

I have to imagine it’s a natural extension of revealing your full name if your site is big enough and you’re making money from it.

My name is Sam Samurai. Hope all is well!

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32 Patrneia

WOW! This is too funny. I started my site about 3 or 4 months ago and I was very hesitant initially to use any of my real information. Then I realized all of the info about us over the internet that we have no control over. I decided to just go for it! I’m glad you’re now comfortable with where you are…Best of luck!

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33 Daddy Paul

Nice to meet you. I don’t think I will ever use my real name not that a good IT person could not figure it out. I do wish I would have used one pen name. I like to use searchable pen names. If you google any of them with the exception of Daddy Paul most of the results are my work. Different pen names do help me to write with differing personalities hence I am able to write similar articles without any duplicate content.

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34 PT

Nice to officially meet you, sir. ;) I think this is a good move for you, and I look forward to the future of CML under Ryan.

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35 Hank

This is defnitely going to take some getting used to.

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36 Dan

Nice to meet you, Ryan. I was wondering who you were….

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37 Ryan

LOL. Nice one, Dan. :-)

(don’t you all just love having a brother in law with a sense of humor! ;) ).

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38 Austin

Good decision, Ryan.

The bloggers I feel a close connection with use their real names. You’ll be able to grow your brand much faster now that your followers feel even a little bit closer to you.

Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

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39 Ryan

Thanks, Austin. I hope it does well for me and my site. I’ve been using my middle name so there was somewhat of a personal connection there. But I think this will be better in the long run.

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40 Ben

Who is this Ryan guy?

We want Patrick back!

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41 Ryan

Thanks, Ben. ;)

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42 LeanLifeCoach

Ryan – It’s nice to meet the real you. It is better than memorex!

Question: Do you really think using your real name from the beginning would have had any material affect on the success of your blog? After-all you could always conduct business AKA.

I ask because I began using my real name and felt as if I was getting lost in a sea of just names. The Craigs, Gregs, Daniels and Davids all blend but when I see a comment or post from Centsible, CashMoneyLife, or FinancialSamurai I always make an instant connection.

@LeanLifeCoach AKA Greg Summers

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43 Ryan

Hi Greg,

I’ve been doing this for 3 years now and I feel that in that time frame I would have been better able to establish my real name as a recognized name in the personal finance blogging niche. Even in the time I used the name Patrick I always left comments under the name Patrick, and rarely, if ever, referenced my blog name. Though I think most people knew which blog I was linked to when I left a comment (there aren’t many pf bloggers named Patrick).

Probably the only place I use Cash Money Life is my twitter account, which can be found here: @cashmoneylife. Other than that, I always used Patrick.

Would using my real name have made a material difference in my blog? I can’t give you a definitive answer there. It would have made it easier to deal with advertisers and professional contacts and it would have made this switch a little easier (it wouldn’t have been necessary). It may have opened my site to possible media attention because reporters are more willing to use a source if they are able to identify their first/last name.

I think it might have made a difference in two other areas as well: I think people identify with a full name more than they identify with just a first name, and I think it would have made it easier for me to share more of my personal story, and share some of the articles I have planned this week – including which financial accounts my wife and I use, how we manage our finances, how we manage our small business finances, etc.

Good question. :-)

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44 Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog

It’s funny that you mentioned Kerry Taylor. When I started my blog last Feb, I used the anonymous “CanadianFinance”. For no real reason other that I thought that’s what everyone is supposed to do. After I read her post that May, I decided to switch mine to my real name. Barely anyone was reading my site that early on so the switch was easy. Soon after putting a real name to the site, I got exposure from some Canadian press and things started to take off!

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45 Ryan

Tom, using your real name can be a huge advantage when it comes to media exposure. It’s not a requirement of course, because there are many bloggers who get in the news using a pseudonym, but many reporters require a name they can use as a source. It also adds a human element to their story, which readers can more easily identify with.

Glad to hear it worked out well for you! :)

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46 Jonathan

I liked reading about the decision process, it can be a complicated thing. At first I thought you had sold your site to some guy named Ryan!

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47 Peter J

You’ve already got an insanely successful blog, your name won’t make a difference. People are after the content. The best part about telling people who you are is that you can make things a tiny bit personal without wrecking the quality of your blog.

Thanks for a good blog.

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48 Len Penzo

For me, I thought about the potential pitfalls of blogging “openly” for all of ten seconds or so. Yes, there are risks, but there are risks in everything. I still believe the benefits far outweigh the downside.

Anyway, Ryan, I have no regrets… so far! LOL

All the best,

Len
Len Penzo dot Com

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49 Donna Freedman

Hello, Ryan. I’m Donna. Since I was already writing with my real name (and a photo) on MSN Money, I thought I might as well keep writing under that name. As long as I remember not to say anything snide about my day-job boss on my own site, I’m good. That would be my advice to you as well.

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50 Ryan

Hi Donna,

Thanks for stopping by – I’m familiar with your blog on MSN Money and I’ve seen your personal site as well. I totally understand where you are coming from!

When I started my site over 3 years ago I was new to the workforce (after leaving the military, where public voices weren’t recommended) and I was new to blogging and running a website. I’ve learned a lot since then, and I’m glad to have gone through this experience. It’s certainly been a fun journey! :)

And I second the advice regarding not talking bad about your boss. ;-)

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51 Paul Williams

I know I’m late to the game, but things make a lot more sense now. I missed this post and visited again sometime later. I thought you had sold out to some guy named Ryan! :)

Glad to meet you, Ryan! I have to use my real name since I’ve connected my business to my website, but I haven’t been too worried about anything yet. I am considering sharing more personal information, but I’m not sure if it would affect family/friend/client relationships. Do you have any thoughts on that?

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52 Ryan

Paul, it all depends on how open you want to be. Some people freely share their net worth information, but that isn’t something I am comfortable with for a variety of reasons – but mostly because it wouldn’t accomplish anything productive or help readers in any tangible way. I try to be open about experiences, career situations, financial products I use and similar topics, which I think is helpful for readers and helps me by making me think about what I am doing with my finances and see if there is a better way I could manage them. My advice is to go with what feels right – if it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. :)a

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53 Serena Star Leonard

Thanks for the post! After a year of trying to seperate both my personal network and business network online I gave in and realised that this is the way the world is going. Once I had created a blog on a personal challenge I knew that I was potentially opening myself up for public scrutiny and I will take with it any ups and downs along the way : )

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54 Nick

Some advice for bloggers who want to continue to use a pseudonym: You need to have a notebook and keep good records. It’s also a good idea to spin the blog as a “corporate” or “group” blog, so that it’s not so suspicious is someone finds out your real name. You’re just the business person, not the writer. You have a different e-mail account, and you handle the money. The bank account is in the name of an LLC or a DBA/FFN/FBN. Hopefully your state or county puts these records behind a pay wall on the internet, or requries snail mail requests with a fee.

If you write under different names, you need to write a “bible” for each persona, with his background, job experience, where he has lived, his education, his writing quirks and so on, and update that and refer to it often. You also need to enforce different writing styles. Nobody can write better or at a higher educational level than he is at, and you will naturally resist writing at a lower educational level, so the differences need to be stylistic, such as: Does this persona use the serial comma or not? Does he use short sentences or a lot of semi-colons? Does he use em-dashes? Does he write with simple, clear words or longer, Latinate words? Long paragraphs or the occasional three-word punchy paragraph? Make one persona Chicago Manual, another AP Stylebook, and the third NYT Manual of Style.

Whenever you use an anecdote from your own life, you need to camouflage it, and then you need to record in your bibles who used that anecdote, and no other persona can use it from that point on. So you have to divide your real life and experiences up among your personas.

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55 wilson usman

Honesty is the best policy and I think it’s a great thing that you’re going for transparency I believe that’s what is going to make the web a lot better. Not all these pen names and people calling themselves professionals you know.

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56 Ryan

The change has worked out well for me, Wilson. Going with my real name opened a ton of doors and opportunities. I’m very happy I made the move. :)

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57 DJM

Hi Ryan,

For a couple of years now I’ve been blogging under a fun and distinctive pen name which I started using as a joke. It was a name my friends gave me years ago to use if I were ever to desire a pen or stage name. But now I want a name to use my real name or a form of my real name in business; writing, coaching, speaking, etc.

My first, middle and last name are all so called “first names”
EX: Donna Jaye Maire . I have always used Donna J Marie on all personal and legal papers, but now I’m trying to decide if I should:
1. Use all three names together. But I’m concerned that I may be perceived as pretentious or that it’s too difficult to remember. Do you agree?
2. Keep using my full name with the middle initial? (I don’t want to use only my first and last as there is someone else on the net in a similar profession with my first and last name without the middle initial. And in addition when I don’t use my middle initial people sometimes say (with uncertainty or disbelief) “Is Marie your last name”?
3. Eliminate my last name and go by Donna Jaye as Jaye seems to sound more like a last name than Marie. And always use my full name for legal matters and always spell out my middle name (when I sign anything legal) so people will realize that I have eliminated the use of my last name for business etc. purposes.

I would value and appreciate your opinion Ryan.

Thanks,

Donna

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58 Ryan

Donna, thanks for sharing your situation. In my personal experience, going with my real name opened a lot of doors and my business and freelancing opportunities multiplied. It’s much easier to be referenced or recognized by a real name then by a pen name (especially if the pen name is obviously a pen name, or in my case, a single name “Patrick”). Using your real name also makes business much easier, since you won’t have to explain why contracts or other documents need to be made out to another name and you won’t have to worry about the bank not cashing a check made out to the wrong name (you would be surprised how often it happens!).

I think any of the options you mentioned is fine, but I would lean toward 1 or 2 – because both of them differentiate you from the other person in your field. That isn’t to say 3 is a bad option, it’s a good one. Just be aware that you will spend time dealing with explaining your name whenever you sign documentation, deal with checks/banks, etc. In the end I recommend going with whichever scenario you feel most comfortable.

Best of luck!

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59 Isaiah

I plan on starting a blog chronicling my quest to becoming a millionaire in the military. I am currently active duty and my posts would undoubtedly cite my personal experiences in the Marines. From what I have concluded, it would be in my best interests to remain anonymous.

Is it possible to have some sort of middle ground though? I would like to use my personal Facebook account to promote the blog.
Would it still be anonymous if I told my peers about it while using a persona on the actual blog?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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60 Ryan

Isaiah, it would be very difficult to maintain 100% anonymity if you are broadcasting your site from your personal FaceBook account. In addition, what I ran into was that the people I wanted to know about my site didn’t make the full connection, since I was going by my middle name, which is Patrick. I found that I had much more success after I went by my given name instead of my middle name. That said, I understand your hesitation, and being in the military, it may not be a bad idea to maintain anonymity. In the end, this is something you’ll have to make a judgment call on – just know that you can always change your mind and go from anonymous to blogging under your own name, but it’s virtually impossible to go the other way without starting over.

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61 Pete

I have been agonizing about this exact topic for a few weeks. I’ve had a personal blog for a year on various topics and decided I want to focus this year on developing a few niche sites and I want to get started very soon. My concern is mostly that I don’t want my current or future employer to Google me and find out that I have a long term goal of not having to work a regular job and to be able to make a living fully from online income.

I posted this concern on a popular Blogger’s site whose site is focused on the fact that he maintains a regular 8-5 job and does all of the work on his money making site after hours. He likes his job and has no near term plans to leave his job and that is my case as well.

He stated to me that at times he wishes he had gone anonymous from the start and he suggested that instead of using my real name, choose a clever, but clearly fake name like Johnny Online. Then on the ‘About Me’ page, clearly state that isn’t my real name and that I am a real person, have an 8-5 job and wish to remain anonymous until I’m able to replace my current income through my online business. He also suggested picking a name that doesn’t currently turn up many results in a Google search so that you could easily rank highly for that name. In addition, he said I could mention that when/if I am able to replace my income, I would reveal my true identity, kinda like a Superman/Clark Kent thing on a much more uneventful scale. ;)

I thought that was a great idea and have been brainstorming possible names. Since my niche site ideas are very different, I’m having a tough time coming up with one that would be relevant for all of them unless I did stick with something like Johnny Online. I have 3 separate name ideas that are relevant to each site idea, but the idea of having to keep multiple separate emails and any other relevant account details seems like it would be quite difficult and I would be spending more time on keeping track of all that than I would be on creating good quality content.

Another concern on the anonymous side is that I like to network with other bloggers, usually through their comment section like this or on Facebook, but I could easily see phone calls at some point in time and I’m not sure how I could network with others on the phone or in person as my true self but also be able to tell them about my different sites, etc.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I’m very curious to hear your thoughts and thoughts from your readers on the subject. I really want to go anonymous and have some fun with it, in a way people would fully understand the deal up front, but I also feel it would be a bit of a hindrance as well. Decisions, decisions.

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62 Maria

I’m thinking of using my real name on my personal blog and I’ve searched for thoughts about it when I stumbled upon this post through Google. I’m still thinking though.

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