This is an interview with Eric Holland of High Five Dad.
Hey, Eric. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi! My name is Eric and I run High Five Dad as well as a small Facebook ads agency. I am the proud father of two boys, Sawyer and Cooper who keep my wife and I on our toes!
I am blessed to married to my beautiful wife Michelle for nearly 10 years now.
When did you start your blog and what is it about?
I started High Five Dad back in early August 2017. High Five Dad focuses on three main topics, making money, saving money, and sharing parenting tips. The goal is to help families understand their finances better so that they can live life better.
What or who inspired you to get into blogging?
Here is a funny story…
When Sawyer was 3 he HATED… absolutely HATED sleeping in his bed alone. So rather then fight every night, I would just lay on the floor next to him until he fell asleep.
I would scroll through Facebook waiting for the little guy to start snoring away…
At that time I kept getting hit with Facebook ads from Bobby over at Millennial Money Man…
I read about how he was a music teacher who paid off all his student loans quickly! At that point, my wife and I were both in the education sector and both had a ton of student loans so it resonated with me…
Then I stumbled upon one of his income reports!?@!@#@
This man was making over $10,000 a month blogging!!!
I told Bobby this and I still think it’s true…
I thought “If he can figure this blogging thing out, so can I”.
So after months of reading his blog, I finally bought a domain and started High Five Dad.
How did you earn your first $100 as a blogger?
My first $100 is not nearly as interesting as my first dollar…
Early on my blogging journey, I came across a podcast called Do You Even Blog. It was rather new at the time and Pete was running a 30-day challenge.
Basically it was an accountability group with some structured assignments.
The first challenge was to make your first dollar.
The idea is that once you change your mindset about your blog and the value that you can offer and asking for money, that you can eventually increase your revenue.
Being in the personal finance space, I jumped at the opportunity to reach out to J.Money from Budgets are Sexy.
On his website, he had an image of a dollar bill with his name on it…
So I used that as my pitch…
A dollar for a dollar…
I asked if he would pay me $1 to have his fancy dollar displayed on my page for a month…
The funny thing is making that first dollar really did break down that mental barrier about asking for money.
Over the next month, I scouted out a variety of sponsors that I felt aligned with my idea about personal finance and pitched them on sponsored posts or sidebar sponsors.
Two responded back and agreed to $150 each but if it wasn’t for earning that first dollar, I would have never had the confidence to pitch any of them.
What techniques did you use to get traffic in the first year?
My first year I literally had no idea what I was doing in regards to traffic… When you are first starting out you have no audience, Google doesn’t know who you are, so you are just blogging into the space…
So I did what every rookie does… I would try and share my posts in Facebook groups, on twitter, on those “Share Posts” that you see on Facebook everywhere… Basically I spammed my posts…
Warning for those that are reading this… Don’t spam your posts. For one, it takes a lot of time… two, it really is not sustainable… and three, it’s just bad.
At about the 6 month mark, Google finally started ranking 1 of my posts and I started to get a steady trickle of people coming in.
I realized how cool that was. The idea that people were searching on Google and my post was coming up and people were visiting it.
I also jumped into the Pinterest world rather quickly. My pins are still a work in progress but again, getting free traffic was worth it.
How did you make Facebook ads work for you?
Facebook ads was the little trick that I used to help grow my traffic quickly. After about a year and a half in, I was bringing in about 15,000 users per month.
That was great, but I still was terrible at monetizing them. I didn’t have google ads on my site because I was waiting to get enough traffic to join Mediavine.
I had already dabbled with Facebook ads previously on another business so I knew the power of the targeting. I decided to take a couple of posts that were already doing well with Google and use those as my traffic posts.
I used Facebook to target people that I thought would read and share my posts…it worked.
At one point I was getting .005 clicks to my site! Less than a penny per visitor!
I was able to leverage that traffic to increase my email subscribers which increased my foundation. Additionally, it pushed my traffic high enough to get approved for Mediavine.
Now because of the momentum that the site is getting, I don’t use Facebook ads for traffic.
How much are you currently earning from your blog and in what ways?
Directly from my blog, the site brings in between $1600-$1900 per month.
About 60-65% of that comes from ads. The other 35-40% of the income comes from affiliate links that are sprinkled throughout the site.
But the interesting that happens when you start a side hustle is you learn and build a variety of new skills that you can use for income.
For me, I refined my understanding of facebook ads with my blog and now I use that same skill to help local companies run ads for their business.
While not directly related to my blog, it is because of my blog that I have the social proof and skill set to show them that I know what I am doing. Currently, this side hustle is bringing in just over $2000 per month.
Read also: How to Make Money Blogging: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Monetizing a Blog
You don’t write many articles, like other bloggers, but you still get good traffic. What’s your secret?
Sometimes it’s good to be lucky…
Ha. Yes. I know I am like the anti-blogger out there in regards to article output.
The advice people give is to blog consistently. I do agree that it is important to do. Now that I am doing this full time, my goal is to increase my writing…
However, if you want my “secret” its this…
I realized early that most people reading my site don’t care about what I ate for breakfast, or what I did this weekend… I would imagine that is true for most blogs out there.
People searching on Google or Pinterest are searching for an answer to something… not what I ate for breakfast.
When I shifted away from blogging about me and began trying to understand what people were searching for, it helped.
My current traffic strategy is this:
SEO: Find long-tail keywords in my niche which are bringing in 2000-4000 searches per month and target those with great posts. Do outreach and try to get those articles linked back to.
Pinterest: Search for items that are performing well in my niche and use the skyscraper technique to make them better.
Read also: How I Increased My Pinterest Traffic by 778% in 2 Months
When did you decide to turn your side hustle into your full-time job?
Last August we had finally paid off our entire student loans but we continued to save. We didn’t have a plan for the money but we kept saving.
My wife and I have been talking about me quitting my job for a while but It was never a truly serious conversation until this past June.
In June the blog continued to grow and my other side hustle was also starting to make money. My day job was… well, it was getting to the point where I could not see myself working there.
I stood back and thought can I do this for 20 more years and the answer was no. I was just numb thinking about it.
Michelle and I looked at our savings and what the blog was bringing in and figured out if I don’t try this now that I would look back in 20 years and regret it.
Read also: How Becky Paid Off $80K of Debt Thanks to Her Side Hustle
What did you do right before quitting your job?
Michelle and I prayed… A LOT.
I also made about 20 different spreadsheets… Ha. Being a personal finance blogger, I tried to project out our budget over the next 12 months. I came up with various scenarios to make sure we would be fine financially.
At the end of the day and 20 spreadsheets later… it was clear, even if I failed miserably we would be fine.
How has life changed since becoming a full-time blogger?
The idea still hasn’t quite hit me yet. It’s been almost a month now and I still hesitate to tell some people what I am doing.
Even though I probably work the same amount of hours as I did with my other job and there is still stress, it’s different. I get to control a lot more of my day and projects that I am working on.
When the boys come home at 4, I can shut down the computer and go for a walk or play ball with them. Before, I would get home around 5:30 and was still answering calls or responding to emails.
There is still stress, don’t get me wrong. At the end of the day, I still have to work to make money but the difference is I am fully in control of what I am working on and I have the ability to try out a 100 other things.
So the biggest thing that has changed is the amount of control over what I am doing.
What are your top tips for other dads who want to be self-employed and work from home?
Yikes… Top tips… I am a planner and I don’t think anyone should just quit without thinking it out but here would be my top tips.
Start a Side Hustle… Today.
It doesn’t matter if it’s blogging, mowing yards, flipping items on eBay, etc.
Start one today. Starting a side hustle while you have income coming in, allows you to determine if that side hustle is actually something you like doing.
It also teaches you how to make money on your own. That may sound weird but most people have always had a job, so it may seem odd to set your own prices, charge people, and sell to people.
This gives you practice and allows you to figure out if its for you.
Ok, I am a planner and not everyone is but I think it’s super important. Everyone’s finances are different so I don’t have a magic number but you need to have some sort of savings.
Your business may crush it out of the gate and you may never need to dip into your savings but having that safety net allows your business time to grow without putting financial stress on your family.
Last but not least, have open communication with your family. I could never do this without the support of my wife.
Read also: How This 25-Year-Old Became Her Own Boss and Makes $15K/Month Blogging
What’s next for you and High Five Dad?
Next up for High Five Dad is first to increase my posts…
While we have some posts working well, we want to continue to increase the volume of posts. Now that I have more time to research articles, my goal is to have better longer posts that help my readers.
I also want to redesign the site a bit better to help the readers navigate easier based upon their needs and goals.
For me personally, I want to continue to develop a better work/life balance.
Even though I am now self-employed, I still struggle with this. I want to make sure that I didn’t substitute one 10 hour a day job for another. I left my other job so that I could have more time with my family and I need to remain committed to making that happen.
Stock Photo from Vasin Lee @ Shutterstock