• Zach

Happy 1st Birthday to The Happiest Teacher


If you want your life to go in a new direction, you have to change what you do.  This is not my original idea, it's been said by many people over the years, but if this last year has taught me anything, it's that this is very true.  My life is RADICALLY different because of the first 62 posts blog, and the overarching obsession with Financial Independence.  


Here's a quick list of 15 AMAZING opportunities that have come my way in the last year because of this blog:

  1. Featured in a profile in The National, largely because of my experiment of not eating out or ordering food (much) for a month.

  2. Became a columnist for The National, with articles coming out every other week.

  3. Got to know Alice Haine, who is my editor at The National, and a real force for good in the UAE.  Shout-out to Alice!  Without her, I wouldn't have had many of these opportunities!

  4. Presented at Samia's Unwind the Grind Financial Independence Event.  My first time speaking publicly about FI!  Thanks Samia!

  5. Went on the radio at Dubai Eye 103.8, which seems to have become a monthly segment!

  6. Organized a social event for SimplyFI.

  7. Became a Board Member of SimplyFI to help continue their great work.

  8. Featured twice in Rockstar Finance, which is a fantastic FI blog aggregator.

  9. JL Collins reached out to me based on my first article that got picked up by Rockstar Finance.  He is a SERIOUSLY nice person, as well as being a great source of wisdom and inspiration to the FI community.

  10. I've been on 2 podcasts, one from my friend Tolu and another from the wonderful Sorcha with "Empowering Expat Teachers".

  11. I moderated a forum of Business leaders and Professors in Dubai's Financial Center.

  12. I spoke to the first Finllect event of local college students.

  13. I started a Millionaire Teacher Club at my school to help teachers achieve their financial goals.

  14. I've conducted multiple one-on-one financial coaching sessions to help people sort out their financial lives. 

  15. I've gotten to communicate and form friendships with many leading members of the FI community both in Dubai and outside the UAE.  

I had NO idea that any of this would come about when I started one year ago.  All I really thought I would do was make something to help me organize my thoughts on Finance, track my thinking, and hopefully make something for International School Teachers and Expats to help spread the FI gospel message. The fact that it has become such a large part of my life, and probably the most interesting part right now could never have been predicted.  


I would have to say that the blog has helped me reach my financial goals as well.  Like the research shows, having others hold you accountable to your goals is a MASSIVELY powerful incentive to reach them.  I think that's a big reason I've been able to surpass my savings and investing targets by significant margins during this period.  Some of my posts might seem like "oversharing" but really, I've referenced them quite a bit to help process my decisions.  I would highly recommend people start a blog just for that reason alone, much less the other amazing opportunities that can come your way.  


I worried when I started that I would run out of things to say, that it's all been said before by more talented writers, etc.  Well, that certainly hasn't happened yet.  If anything, lately I've been coming up with more ideas for articles than I did when I started.  I can't guarantee that will continue, but the trend is going in the right direction.  


What is lined up for year two of "The Happiest Teacher"?

   I have NO idea!  Basically, I'm just going to say yes to anything that comes my way and see what develops.  I would love to grow my audience, and maybe learn more about how to do that and then what to do once the audience is there.  I know pretty much nothing about the business side of blogging.  

   I want to continue being involved in the FI community, both here in Dubai and digitally.  I want my facebook group to grow and become a viable, useful community that brings value to its members. I would love to guest post for other bloggers.  It would be a dream to do that for JL Collins or Andrew Hallam!  

   I wouldn't mind getting syndicated into more newspapers.  I also have no idea how to do that.  Anyone got any ideas? 


What lessons I've learned this year:

  1. Keep learning and trying new things.  If you put yourself out there, you never know where it could take you!

  2. I REALLY enjoy helping people with Financial Independence stuff.  As an educator and a believer in FI, it's a great fit for my talent stack.

  3. I love being on the radio!  It requires a lot faster thinking than writing because it's so much more immediate.  It's like walking a tightrope, but one I think I can do fairly well.

  4. I love having a platform when I have something I really want to put out there, like my piece about my best friend's death.  I wanted to honor him by having as many people as possible read it, and have been successful at that, because I have a platform to share content.

  5. Financial Independence MATTERS.  This stuff changes people's lives. I can be a force for good in this world, beyond what happens in my classroom. 

And overall, I want to thank the people who have read my posts, joined my facebook group, or come to an event I was part of.  I hope it made your life a little better or answered questions you had.  I hope you stay and add to the discussion, and I hope you realize that in one year, with a new blog, your life can radically change!  


If you're interested, I'm having a special offer for my birthday! Sign up to the mailing list and you'll get FREE updates! Join my Facebook Group and you can take part in a great new FI and Education community! Follow my Twitter and you'll get great updates as well.

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Currently in Dubai, UAE