• Han Butler

Bloggers Uncensored: with SideGains

Photo by Negative Space

Welcome to this weeks Bloggers Uncensored! If this is your first time reading a BU interview, this is my longest running blog series, and definitely my favourite. This series is a perfect opportunity to read your favourite bloggers' honest and uncensored opinions on real life topics, and to discover new bloggers to follow! This weeks blogger is SideGains.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Paul and I live in Bath (UK) with my wife, two teenage daughters and a whippet! I've worked for the past twenty plus years in Web related stuff!

Why do you write?

I write mostly for my blogs, to share my knowledge and experience of working on websites and marketing them since around 1997. I also really enjoy the process of putting my thoughts and ideas into words!

Why did you start blogging?

A friend introduced me to blogging around 2005. I'd studied languages at university and thought blogging would be a great way for me to maintain my Spanish skills, so I started a blog about Spain and the Spanish language. Things progressed and I began to help people set up their blogs using WordPress. I also discovered affiliate marketing and set about monetizing the personal blogs I had and this put me on the path to blogging full-time, which I do today.

What do you love about the blogging world/community?

I meet lovely people, from all over the world who share the same goal as me: to make a living writing about things they know about and enjoy. I find most people extremely helpful and grateful and I suppose this is the thing I lvoe most about other bloggers. We're all on the same journey, even though our blogging topics may be very different.

What do you hate about the blogging world/community?

Snake oil salespeople selling the dream but delivering something that's easy to find using search engines! Everywhere you go online you'll see someone guaranteeing you success... if you buy their courses. I'm not against anyone selling courses, but they have to offer people honest and actionable guidance based upon something that is achievable.

In your opinion, who are the most underrated bloggers?

I'm not sure about underrated, but I really like the Studenomics blog. Martin Dasko who runs it blogs about personal finance, entrepreneurship and side hustles. We're not in the same blogging niche but I think he writes from the hip and his personality really comes out in his posts. His "say it as you see it" approach might not be everyone's taste, but he speaks a lot of truth and makes me laugh at the same time.

What are some hard truths you have learnt about life?

I guess in business it's don't believe what anyone ever tells you, unless you have it in writing. I learned a very hard lesson from someone I really trusted, and it broke my heart. Words mean nothing unless they are legally binding.

What does freedom mean to you?

To me, freedom is not having to worry about money... It's freedom from the rat race. I'm not at that point totally just yet, but I'm working hard to make it happen. Running a blog is one way we can all work for such freedom, but it's not an easy path and requires a huge amount of commitment over a long time. However, any type of freedom is worth fighting for!

What are your thoughts on mental health and how it's portrayed in today's society?

I think things are definitely moving in the right direction, especially regarding men's mental health. I grew up in the late 1970s / easy 1980s and mental health was a hugely taboo subject. I think we are generally more open about it now. More than this though, there is a much greater awareness of specific mental health challenges that face people of all ages. Years ago you'd be categorized as someone a bit shy or slow. Nowadays there is a defined continuum of mental health, within which we all sit. My experience is that many of us have either repeating or continuing mental health issues of some description. Some of them enable us to function apparently "normally", others are completely debilitating.

What are your thoughts on feminism and how it's portrayed in today's society?

A great question that's difficult to answer. I still feel the media often portrays feminism as either a militant view to make people fearful or as something very marginal suggesting it's not a big issue. Both dilute the impact of people talking about feminist issues. Dilution and diversion is the media's greatest art.

What are your thoughts on 'Love is Love' and how it's portrayed in today's society?

I feel there is a growing acceptance that love is love. We see this in television and cinema storylines. There will always be people who have a binary idea about love, but I think the ratio of those holding this idea to those who don't is changing very rapidly. I see this in my daughters and their peers who completely accept the idea that love is love.

What advice would you give to someone who is fighting a mental illness?

Speak to someone about how you feel and if possible a medical professional. I suffered from anxiety for years (and still do) putting it down to shyness, before talking with someone who understands.

What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied or harassed?

Definitely tell someone about it. You do not have to be a victim, you can take action by telling someone. It's not being weak, in fact it's quite the opposite.

If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?

Hate. How much better would the world be without it? How much more would we evolve without it?

What else do you feel strongly about?

Businesses that only care for profits over people.

Let's end this with some fun 'This or That' questions:

Love or money?

Very difficult question! I've known people deeply in love that have been torn apart because of money issues. On the other hand, I've known a wealthy, unhappily married couple that have to stay together because they are financially tied to one another. For me, I would have to opt for money though, but that's perhaps easy to say because I am still so very much in love with my wife, who I've been with for over twenty years.

Work hard or play hard?

Work hard.

Cups in the cupboard: right side up or upside down?

Upside down... dust might settle in them otherwise. Yuck!

Chocolate or sex?

Can I have lots of both please?

Plan everything or wing it?

I do plan but I have to say I probably veer a lot more towards winging it!

Happiness or money?

I've got to go with money. Not because I believe that money necessarily makes me happy, but because large parts of my working life have made me unhappy. It's my belief that removing the money question from my life would free me to focus upon things that make me happy.

You can follow him on Twitter and Pinterest.

. . .

There's a new blogger every Sunday at 5pm, see you there!

Love, Han


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