Brittany is a teacher by trade, the fulfillment of a lifelong career dream. She holds an M.S. degree in education, and began teaching after graduation.
Kelan’s career path has been less settled. After receiving his B.B.A with a concentration in finance, he bounced between several different occupations within a few years including insurance sales, UPS driver, ecommerce, jail deputy, and most recent office manager.
How did their occupations lead them into blogging?
While Brittany was comfortable as a teacher, Kelan was not. With each job change he hoped to find a position that would bring him that elusive combination of happiness and more freedom.
None of it was leading in that direction.
To remedy the situation, he was beginning a home inspection business. That’s when he discovered blogging. It held the prospect of making money online, which is hardly an uncommon desire these days.
And apart from Kelan’s career conundrum, there were other factors in the couple’s lives providing additional motivation. With Brittany working days as a teacher, Kelan worked nights as a jail deputy. They also had more than $40,000 in student loan debts that they couldn’t seem to crack, even with Kelan working overtime shifts.
The combination of all the above – along with the missing sense of control – was what turned them to blogging. The original strategy was to start a blog focusing on personal finance. Specifically living a happy life on a frugal budget. That was something they had experience in and knew they could help others with.
They reckoned if their blog could be a good side hustle and earn them an extra $500 per month it would help them find that better future.
It did that, and more. A whole lot more!
The Road from Start-up Blog to a Six Figure Income
The Klines began their blog, The Savvy Couple, in July of 2016. That means they went from zero to $100,000-plus in barely three years! That’s what makes their story compelling, in addition to the fact that they used blogging as their path out of the rat race.
As you might imagine, the trek toward six figures started off inconspicuously. They made no money at all for the first eight months.
If you’re considering taking the plunge into blogging, this is an outcome you should fully expect. It can be shorter or longer, but going several months – or even a year or more – without earning any income is a big part of what causes so many blogs to fail, and would-be bloggers to quit.
But the Klines didn’t quit. In Month #9, they finally hit paid dirt – $50!
And that’s when Kelan did quit – his job that is. He made the decision to become a full-time blogger.
Risk Reduction and Taking the Dreaded “Leap of Faith”
Now that isn’t advice he’d give to other would-be bloggers, but he made the decision because the couple had “removed most of the risk involved with that decision”. That risk removal included the following:
- They had close to a year’s worth of salary saved up.
- They cut their living expenses in their budget to a minimum.
- Kelan had a back-up plan to revive the home inspection idea in case the blog didn’t work.
- He also took freelance work after quitting his job.
That freelance work included a remote digital marketing position that also helped him learn online marketing. He also taught English online every morning. The basic idea was to make sure there was at least some income coming in at all times.
Kelan took that step that all entrepreneurs will eventually face – the leap of faith to make the new venture a full-time occupation. By doing what was necessary to make it work, he replaced the income from his full-time job in just a few short months.
The next goal: to spring Brittany out of her job and into the blogging venture.
That meant the income from the blog would need to be enough to support the entire family. By their reckoning, they needed to hit $10,000 per month – six months in a row – before making the full transition into blogging for Brittany as well.
They hit the $10,000 income mark on the blog for the first time in June, 2018. But as is typical of blogging, that income level didn’t prove consistent.
The Savvy Couple’s Income Pattern
The graph prepared by the Klines below tracks the progress of The Savvy Couple’s income since the blog began, through this past May when it earned more than $43,000:
The Savvy Couple blogging income
The Savvy Couple
The up-and-down nature of the income is a situation nearly all successful bloggers are very familiar with. But notice on the graph the general trend line is moving consistently higher. Though the blog may not earn at least $10,000 each and every month, the higher earning months easily offset the lower ones.
And as you can see from the graph, the couple have clearly made well in excess of $100,000 from their blog in the past 12 months. That income level has enabled them to pay off their remaining student loan debt of $25,000 in just five months, as well is to grow their net worth to over $100,000 before turning 30!
What Blogging Has Done for The Klines, Apart from Money
If you’re at all curious about blogging, the income it can produce is a natural attraction. But like many other successful bloggers, the Klines have discovered the incredible satisfaction that goes beyond income.
“Being a teacher was my dream, but also God put me on this Earth to be a mother,” says Brittany. “I want to be able to teach my daughter and spend as much time as possible together with my family. We only get one life to live. I want to spend mine making unforgettable memories with my family. I did not want to look back on my life and think I gave more to my students than to my own children.”
Kelan adds: “We now have complete control over our lives. We have no one else telling us when to come to work, how long we are going to stay, and how much we are going to make. We get to decide all of that on our own. If we want to take a vacation, we just take it. We get to travel so much more than we used to.”
The couple makes an effort to finish working each day by 3 pm or 4 pm, giving them more family time. This is especially important now they have their daughter, Kallie. They wake up around 5 am to get in a few hours of uninterrupted work, then head to the gym as a family at mid-morning.
They also embrace the idea of being able to use their blog to help families take complete control over their time and money, so they too will find freedom to do more of the things they love in life.
Blogging has been so good for the Klines that they openly share their success and strategies with others.
What Does it Take to Be a Successful Blogger?
By now, you’re probably wondering if you can do what Brittany and Kelan have done by starting your own blog. They believe you can, and in fact they dedicate much of their blog to help you do just that.
We’ve already discussed how the Klines pre-positioned Kelan to transition into blogging full-time by removing risks. That included saving money for living expenses, doing freelance work to generate a steady income, and having a Plan B in case the blog failed.
If you hope to make blogging a full-time venture, you should use a similar strategy.
The Klines also warn that building a successful blog will take a lot of hard work. This is a critical realization going into the venture, since your effort can be short-circuited early if you think it will be easy. It will take months before you begin seeing your first revenue, and several years before it becomes a full-time income.
Choosing the right blogging niche is also mission-critical. There are hundreds of different blogging niches, but it’s important to choose those that will be easiest to monetize.
Kelan recommends the following niches:
- How to make money
- Personal finance
- Health and fitness
- Beauty and fashion
- Personal development
The Savvy Couple focuses on how to make money online and personal finance, but adds a solid mix of lifestyle and personal development.
They also recommend reinvesting a significant percentage of your blogging income – as much as 50% early on – back into the blog. Blogging is like any other type of business, where you will need to spend a certain amount of money to make more money.
Specific Strategies Kelan and Brittany Recommend for Would-be Bloggers
The Klines recommend doing plenty of research before launching your blog. Learn the ins and outs of popular blogging tools, like WordPress – a very common blogging dashboard, and learn all you can about social media marketing. Follow other blogs regularly, and carefully study how they create content, what social media platforms they focus on, and how they monetize their blogs.
“A good exercise we have anyone do that is considering starting a blog is have them sit down for 10 minutes and write down as many article ideas as possible,” advises Kelan. “You should be able to come up with at least 100. If you struggle to come up with that many, you might adjust your niche.”
They also recommend the most basic first step of getting started. “Don’t over analyze things,” says Kelan. “Take massive action and make things happen in your life.”
Kelan also recommends surrounding yourself with other bloggers. Follow other successful bloggers on a regular basis. Comment on their websites, swap emails, and join blogger networking groups, especially on Facebook.
The Klines even have their own Facebook group, Blogging With Purpose.
Other resources they offer include their step-by-step tutorial on how to start a successful money-making blog and their free Profitable Blog Bootcamp and Workbook.
The bootcamp and workbook will show you how to:
- Create a successful mindset
- Design an ideal avatar
- Develop a workable monetization strategy
- Create purposeful content
- Drive traffic to your blog
- Implement email marketing
- Create systems to save time and scale
The Klines are so dedicated to helping others follow their path into income earning blogging that they make all these resources available to their readers for free.
What Not to Do If You Want to Become a Successful Blogger
Kelan warns that you should not think of blogging as a get rich quick scheme. “It’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had in my life,” he warns. “And I used to babysit 53 violent inmates by myself when I was a jail deputy.”
He stresses being ready for a learning curve. If you’ve never had a blog in the past, especially one that generates income, you’ll be learning the business from the ground up. You’ll need to be open and teachable.
The time factor is another hurdle many new bloggers may not be ready for. Kelan stresses it will take a good 6 to 12 months before you even begin to make money, and get a grasp of how to run a successful money-making blog.
Most of all, he stresses the need to treat your blog as a business, not a hobby. That means having a good work ethic, and working on your blog on a daily basis.
Can Anyone Really Create a Money-Making Blog?
If “anyone” includes those who are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the business of blogging, then the answer is a resounding yes! But don’t think it will happen without those important first ingredients of time and effort.
The Klines had very ordinary jobs before going into blogging, and had to learn the whole process from scratch. But now that they’ve been working at for three years, they’ve hit pay dirt with a six-figure income.
They, and many other bloggers, are willing to share their blogging secrets with others. It’s a matter of being ready to commit to a journey that will be difficult at first, but will lead to a life of higher income, more freedom, and options most only dream of.