Today’s guest is Holly Johnson – the blogger behind Club Thrifty, a personal finance blog that started in 2012 and has since grown in popularity. So popular, in fact, that the income (and writing jobs) that Holly earned as a result allowed her to quit her “9 to 5” job.
This is definitely one of our shorter interviews we’ve published on The Daily Interview, but it’s worth the quick read. Holly shares some insights about her success with her blog and freelance writing.
I asked her about how someone might find success in freelance writing like she has – and her answer may surprise you.
Enjoy, and have a nice weekend.
Holly, I’m a big fan of what you’ve created with Club Thrifty. I really like the content you’ve written about budgeting, saving money, and doing cool things like remodeling your kitchen in a frugal way. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey. How did Club Thrify begin, and what was it that ultimately led to you quitting your regular “9 to 5” job to pursue your blog/online business full time?
My husband started Club Thrifty in 2012, after starting our own journey out of debt and toward financial independence. I began as just a blogger, but soon found a ton of freelance opportunities that began providing a tidy part-time income.
At a certain point, my online income surpassed what I was earning at my regular job, which made it incredibly easy to quit. And since I left my job in April of last year, I’ve at least doubled my income every month, which means it was the right decision.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far with your blog and online business?
Club Thrifty is our first online endeavor, and I’m very proud of what its become in such a short amount of time. I get as many as 30,000 unique visits per month and earn lots of income from different sources like affiliate links and Google Adsense.
(Note from The Daily Interview: For a deeper insight in how her blog and freelance writing is doing lately, you can check out her February Income report. She earned $5,565 in February – nice job Holly!)
My blog also allows me to showcase my writing skills, and that’s how I get most of my writing jobs. As a writer who never actually studied writing at college level, I’m proud to say that my writing has been featured on Fox Business, the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and many other popular publications.
That’s great that you’ve found a way to diversify your income sources. What has been your favorite way to monetize Club Thrifty?
My favorite type of income is affiliate income that I earn when people click on links and buy something after visiting my site. It’s the best kind of income to earn because it takes little effort on my part after the fact. It also builds on itself.
Success always seems to look easier than it is. As we all know, failure along the way is a big part of how people ultimately find success. What do you consider to be your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
I fail all the time in small ways. One of my biggest weaknesses is being scared of technology. I hate learning about computer-related topics, and I get frustrated really easily. I’m working on embracing technology more often, and it’s working so far.
It’s no secret that there are tons of frugal/personal finance sites on the internet today, and you have clearly carved yourself out a very respectable part of that niche. What do you attribute your success to? Or put more generally, how do you think people can best compete in a highly competitive space as you have?
The reason I believe I’ve been so successful is that I’m always myself. That might mean saying outrageous things or making fun of myself, or acting really angry about something that’s driving me nuts.
A lot of people tell me that talking to me through Skype is just like reading my blog, because I type exactly what I’m thinking at any given moment. It may be stupid at times, but it’s usually not boring.
I noticed that a large part of your income comes from writing for other blogs and publications, and you seem to be very successful with this. For someone who wants to supplement their income by freelance writing, how do you recommend that they get started?
Be polite. Return emails. Spend less time asking “how” to get freelance jobs and more time working to figure it out yourself. I hate it when people ask me that. It’s almost like they want me to tell them about a magical website that only posts that most sought-after jobs. There isn’t one.
(Note from The Daily Interview: For some more detailed tips that Holly has about getting freelance writing jobs, you can read her post about how to get freelance writing jobs.)
Looking generally at starting and growing a successful blog: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Stop asking how to do something, and just start doing it. [Click here to tweet this]
Finally, where can people find you online?
I write at Club Thrifty almost every day, at Get Rich Slowly every other Wednesday, at Frugal Travel Guy every Friday, and at U.S. News & World Report’s Money Blog every other Friday. I’m basically everywhere! If you want to reach me, you can do so at www.clubthrifty.com by clicking on my “Contact” or “Hire Me” page. Also, you can tweet me at @ClubThrifty if you want. I love it when people tweet me!
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