Although I admit to not being a huge fan of coupons, I’m always intrigued by those who manage to turn it into a worthwhile endeavor.
Today guest, Lauren Greutman from I Am THAT Lady, is a perfect example of this. It all began when she was in $40,000 worth of debt. But then, she turned it all around, and eventually built a 6-figure coupon blog. Not only that, but she’s figured out how couponing for only 2 hours per week can save you over $5,000 a year. That’s not a bad return on your time investment.
In this interview, Lauren also tells us a bit about how she delegates some of the major processes that keep her website successful, and how she’s managed to carve out a space in what has become an incredibly competitive (and saturated) niche.
Lauren, I really appreciate your passion on your site, “I am THAT Lady.” You have a lot of great content about saving money, getting coupons, budgeting, and being all around frugal. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey. Where did all of this coupon craziness begin, and what led you to creating your blog?
Thanks so much Eric! I do love what I do and wake up every day excited to go to work! I started using coupons out of necessity. My husband and I were 25 years old with over $40,000 worth of debt, running a $1,000 monthly deficit, and underwater in our mortgage. We were both working full time and had 1 child at that time. I really wanted to stop working at the restaurant I was working at, but we needed to cut back our budget.
We saw our grocery bill as the one place that we could immediately cut back. We realized we were spending around $1,000 per month on food (eating out, groceries etc.). We figured that we could cut back our budget to $200 per month if I learned who to use coupons. That is where the journey started 6 years ago. After learning how to save so much money I was asked to teach a coupon seminar. I started teaching those and I couldn’t keep up with all the questions, so I started ‘I am THAT Lady’ in 2010.
What has been your greatest success (or successes) so far with your blog?
I remember starting my blog and wanting to earn $300 per month so I could pay for my son’s private school tuition. It took me 10 months to make that $300 and I remember what an accomplishment that was. My biggest accomplishment to date is being able to retire my husband from his career as an actuary. He worked 12 hour days and only saw our four children for 45 minutes per day.
In February of 2014, he quit his job and now works at home with me on I am THAT Lady. We now make over 6 figures on ‘I am THAT Lady’ which is more than he made in his previous job.
The road to success is often filled with obstacles and failure. What has been your biggest failure to date with your blog, and what have you learned from it?
My biggest obstacle has been trying to do it all myself. For 2 years I ran IATL alone. Having 3 children and being pregnant with #4 made me realize how much I needed the help. Trying to do it all is not the best way. I learned that I need to delegate and let go of some things. I now delegate the things that I either don’t like doing, or I don’t need to be doing to grow my brand.
Delegating tasks seems to be one thing that doesn’t come easy to many entrepreneurs (or “solopreneurs”). What are some of the more time consuming tasks you’ve been able to delegate, and how did you find the people to delegate them to?
Delegating – I ask myself two questions. Do I NEED to be doing this? Can I find someone else to do it? If the answer is yes, then I hire it out. I have someone who posts the retail deals on my website, someone who handles my tech back-end problems, a designer on staff, a programmer, and also a bookkeeper.
I try to focus on the tasks that I am good at, that I enjoy doing, and that only I can do. I have found people mostly through referral.
It’s no secret that coupon/frugal/personal finance sites are plentiful on the internet, 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?
I think you have to be yourself. I get out in my community and teach seminars, help out with local charity events, and try to participate as much as possible. I truly have a heart for helping people! I make sure that every single deal that we post is checked over to make sure it is legit and working.
We triple check everything to make sure that it legit. I also like to show my failures. As a wife and mom of 4 I am very open about not ‘having it all together’, I think people can relate to that and stick around.
I’ll be honest: I’ve never been a fan of coupons – not because I don’t like saving money (who doesn’t?), but because I’m either too lazy or don’t feel like it’s worth the time to chase down $0.50 or $1 here and there. I know I’m wrong. 🙂 But I also know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Do you have any general couponing tips for someone like me, who may be in the wrong mindset about the whole thing?
You are not alone! There are so many people that feel the same way. I have this article that talks about “how to Spend 2 hours per week to make $5,200 per year” When you think of spending only a couple hours per week to make an extra $5,000 per year, it brings it into a different perspective doesn’t it? That is almost a 10% raise for some people!
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?
Once your pain of being in debt is greater than the pain of changing your spending habits, then you will make a change.
What are your favorite online resources?
I use Ahalogy for Pinterest scheduling, I also use the Facebook scheduler to schedule my posts to FB. I use leenk.me to automatically post my posts to twitter and a private Facebook group I have set up. Those are my favorites. I also use the Max Blog Press Subscriber plugin to collect emails for my list.
Finally, where can people find you online?
You can also get a Free Meal planning workbook by signing up for my weekly emails. (sign up here – http://www.iamthatlady.com/free-meal-planning-workbook/)
Thanks so much, Lauren!
What did you think about this interview with Lauren? Have you had any “big wins” using coupons? Leave a comment below!
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