Accidental Entrepreneurs: From Pool Boy to Popular Blogger

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Matt was a pool boy before a lay off made him use his talents to develop a blog on the side. What came next turned his bad luck into a reversal of fortune.

Welcome back to our series on accidental entrepreneurs, where we’re interviewing full-time bloggers to see how they came to be in their current profession.

Since blogging isn’t an actual major, most full-time bloggers happened upon blogging purely by accident. Today, I’m featuring my friend Matt Giovanisci, who is perhaps best known for his amazing rapping skills, his incredible website designs, and his newest venture, Roasty Coffee. (Side note: Matt is a lot of fun to be around, so be sure be a part of his posse at the next FinCon. ;-))

I asked Matt what he did before he spent his time creating new brands, designing websites, and running his popular pool care website. He said, “Before I became a blogger I was a pool store manager by day and a lead singer guitarist in a rock band by night. In my past life I tried very hard to be a rockstar — like a real rockstar.”

A Self-Taught Web Designer

His moment came when his band needed a website, and since he likes to figure things out himself, he started to learn web design in between band practices and his pool manager job. The band eventually broke up, but the knowledge about web design and his pool store manager job stayed. Matt said, “I put those two strengths together (in something I call Passion Mashing) and created my blog back in 2007 which was aimed to educate pool and spa owners about water care.”

He used his knowledge to become a marketing director at two other companies and everything was going great until he got laid off from his primary job as a pool store manager. Of course, you can probably guess where this is going. Being laid off was the best thing that ever happened to him! Matt was able to use his unemployment money to support him while he developed his side projects. He said, “I gave myself one year to “make it.”

Making It

To say Matt has “made it” is definitely an understatement. He is now an incredibly successful full-time blogger. How did he get there? Matt said that he “focused heavily on writing very in-depth articles, filming entertaining how-to videos and designing infographics to get my brand out there.” During the early stages, when he was single, in debt, working as a pool boy and driving a fancy BMW, he also made the decision to get rid of all of it so that he could afford to make his business work. This commitment and passion towards being able to work for himself is what got him through some rough early stages and allowed him to get to where he is today.

Matt said, “When I think back to what happened, I can’t help but be grateful. I knew I always wanted to make my main source of income (and grow other brands as well). So when I was laid off, I took it as an opportunity and a government grant to start my business, and it worked. Thankfully!”
Matt was a pool boy before a lay off made him use his talents to develop a blog on the side. What came next turned his bad luck into a reversal of fortune.

Believing in Yourself


As one of my own side jobs, I coach people who want to get hired to write for blogs, and one thing I notice about a lot of new creative entrepreneurs is that they don’t believe they can do it even if they are really awesome! So when Matt told me, “I had no doubts in my abilities to make it. I wasn’t scared. I believed I had nothing to lose. Worst case: I’d go get a job,” I felt like cheering!

I believe this is exactly the attitude that makes the difference between people becoming self-employed and people who keep dreaming about it. You really need to have a confidence in your abilities and know deep down that your crazy work ethic will pull your through in the end. So if this is you, I say go for it!

Matt said, “The hardest part of the whole experience was feeling alone throughout the beginning process. If I were to do it all over again, I’d work very hard to surround myself with a plethora of supportive people. I think that would have made the whole transition much faster.”


Do you want to become a self-employed blogger? Tell us: what’s stopping you? How much do you love what you do now? What career or business idea have you always wanted to pursue but for one reason or another, haven’t acted on yet?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families. Check out her award winning blog,


  • what a great story! I like the term “passion mashing.” That’s kind of where I’m at right now too- I have a lot of passion, but trying to figure out how to meld my interests and make money at the same time is the challenging part!

  • I love when people can use a bad experience like getting laid off and turn it into the best thing that ever happened. This attitude is the difference between people who reach their goals and ones who just think about them all the time. I don’t want to be a full time blogger, but it’s still exciting to be able to do a few different things in case one of them doesn’t pan out or gets too oppressive.

  • I do want to be financially independent, but having my blog generate income to support my living expenses is not a requirement. I do this simply because I like it, mainly to meet others with similar passions and spread what I’ve learned over the years.

    I do have a dream of being self-employed, but I lack creativity that Matt definitely exhibits. But that’s just an excuse 🙂

  • Awesome story Matt!

    After years of procrastination I finally started a blog.

    The blog is about my journey and the people that read it first. However, I will admit that I had a thought when I first started “what if I can make money at this”.

    This was an itch that I promised to put off for the first 6-months of blogging. That way I could focus on the writing process while I found my voice.

    I also needed to grow an audience. I think the problem most new bloggers find is they try to focus on the money and they end up getting burned out.

    It’s the comments from my readers that get me most fired up. It’s my Alexa ranking improving week after week. It’s watching my numbers grow month after month in Google Analytics.

    I finally carved out sometime over the past 45 days to layer in some monetization and have been very surprised at the results.

    Right now it is all very passive stuff like Adsense and affiliate products.

    I like the idea of organically growing a business around the blog.

    I would totally love to be a full time blogger as long as I am able to keep it fun and engaging.



  • Liz says:

    Always love reading these stories! So inspiring.

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