Imagine being able to take your side hustle to the next level and quit your full-time job?
That’s exactly what Kelan and Brittany Kline managed to do after working on their blog for over a year. They were able to leave the shackles of their day job and go full-time with their passion project: The Savvy Couple, a blog and community that helps families organize their lives, simplify their finances and unlock the freedom to do more of the things they love.
We chat about how they get into blogging as a side hustle, how they first started making money and their future plans for their business and family.
Discovering the Idea of Blogging
Kelan and Brittany both had full-time jobs before getting into blogging. Brittany was a 4th-grade teacher, while Kelan worked in law enforcement and was a jail deputy.
Kelan wasn’t too happy in his job. He was doing forced overtime, had to work on weekends and felt burnt out. Although Brittany enjoyed her job, they were working opposite hours, and so weren’t able to see each other much.
Eventually, they sat down at the dinner table and decided to make a plan. They saw how other bloggers were making a full-time income, such as Michelle Schroeder Gardner and Bobby Hoyt. They saw their blogging income reports and decided that they could do it too.
One summer, they decided to get into blogging as a side hustle. The low upfront costs meant they could get started away.
How was their financial situation at the time?
- $40,000 in debt, most of it being Brittany’s student loan debt.
- And a mortgage payment that made them feel it was difficult to make ends meet
Brittany is the saver in the family whereas Kelan is the spender – this creates a nice balance in their marriage.
How They Made Their First Dollar
They started blogging in the summer and treated it mostly as a passion project. They shared stories, helpful tricks and wrote about how they budgeted and stayed frugal. For the first 9 months, they would work nights and weekends to get their blog off the ground.
At the 9 month mark, a company reached out to them for a $100 sponsorship deal. Although Kelan negotiated it down to $50 (lesson learned!), they immediately knew that this was a sign that they could make money blogging.
One week later, Kelan started making a plan to quit his job.
Related Interview: Building a Million Dollar Blog in Your 20’s – with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner
Transitioning into Blogging Full-Time
Kelan and Brittany had one year’s salary saved up and had successfully kept their expenses low. Kelan quit his job and picked up some freelance work. He was working with VIPKid and doing some digital marketing work for a company. This meant the transition into blogging was nice and smooth.
Brittany was 100% supportive of Kelan quitting his job. She saw how excited he got and discovered a new person in him when he stopped complaining about his job. This excitement is what encouraged her to consider quitting her job later on.
Four months into entrepreneurship, Kelan was wondering if he should focus on The Savvy Couple or on other freelance projects. He was making the same hourly rate with his blog as with his other side hustles.
His side hustles were teaching him a lot; the digital marketing work meant he could learn about SEO, WordPress and digital marketing, essential skills for his blog. After asking for some advice and thinking about it, he decided to take the leap of faith and focus 100% on the blog.
Related Interview: How to Make $10,000 Per Month Working From Home as a Writer – with Eric Rosenberg
How They Made $250,000 Last Year
Kelan and Brittany made a staggering $250,000 last year.
Nearly 50% of the money came through sponsorship deals. They had built an audience, an email list and a good social media following, so companies pay them to promote their products.
To many companies, it’s much cheaper to pay for ads through “micro-influencers” such as Kelan and Brittany than to pay for a TV ad or a billboard. The Savvy Couple only promotes products they use themselves. They have a reputation and are highly trusted by their audience, so they need the products to align with their brand.
Later that year, Kelan and Brittany had a baby daughter, Kallie. That's when Brittany decided she preferred to stay at home to be able to take care of her. Also, the blog was making more money in a month than she made in a year. It was a no brainer.
Plans for their Business, Money and Family
Thanks to booming business and efficient financial planning, the Kline family is now debt-free. They aren’t so stressed about their money, and instead are focused on building their legacy. As they say, they went from surviving to thriving.
Their next goal is to become financially free by 35. To Brittany, financially free means not having to worry about money. To Kelan, that means being able to drawdown 4% from their portfolio every year.
Currently, most of their money goes back into their business. Kelan takes out a salary, and they’re also able to max out their IRAs, contribute to their taxable accounts and keep their checking accounts as lean as possible. They’re also proud to say they have a Savvy Couple team, which consists of a Virtual Assistant and a freelance writer.
The new challenge has been managing their time between a baby, a business and their marriage. They’re still trying to figure it out: usually, Kelan does the work during the day and Brittany does it at night. They focus on getting 4 hours of solid focused work done each per day, totaling around 20-30 hours per week.
Related Article: 26 Smart Ways for Moms and Dads to Make More Money
Advice For Others
Kelan and Brittany have some excellent advice for others. When it comes to blogging, they say it's essential you’re doing something you're passionate about. It must be something you’re willing to work on full time. This is because when it comes to blogging, you’ll be putting a lot of upfront time and effort. If you love what you do, it’ll be easier to stay motivated.
For those who are looking to increase their blogging income, Kelan recommends to stop seeing the blog as a hobby and more as a business. Your blog needs to have a business model, and you need to treat it as a profession. Once that happens, stuff gets serious and so does the money! Creating an online job you love can be a true blessing.
Kelan and Brittany’s story is an inspiring adventure of managing finances, getting out of debt and working together to build a business that started out as a hobby. From thousands of dollars in debt to making over $250,000 in a year from a business they love, it's easy to see why their blog is so successful!
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