This is an interview with Kelan & Brittany Kline from The Savvy Couple.
Hey, guys. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hey! We are Kelan and Brittany Kline, high school sweethearts from Rochester N.Y. ad the founders and co-owners behind the personal finance blog The Savvy Couple.
Our blog was started just over three years ago with the mission of helping families create more time and money in their lives so they have the freedom to do more of the things they love.
We do this by creating engaging content that helps our readers learn how to budget together, pay off debt quickly, and make money online.
We also created two highly effective printable workbooks The Budgeting Binder and The Debt Binder that have helped thousands of families take control of their spending and pay off massive amounts of debt.
What jobs did you have prior to starting an online business, and what made you want to become your own bosses?
We were your average American kids growing up. I dreamed of being a police officer and changing the world one bad guy at a time. Brittany dreamed of becoming a teacher and positively influencing our next generation.
We both went to school together at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration while Brittany graduated with a Masters in Elementary Education.
I worked as a Jail Deputy for two and a half years but I fell into a deep depression, working in a stressful environment. I had to let go of my dream of being a police officer.
I wanted to be a family man and being in law enforcement makes that very difficult to do. So we sat down and put it all on the table. We hated what our life currently looked like and mapped out what our dream life would look like.
That’s when we came across a few personal finance bloggers making an absolute killing online working from home. We instantly decided we want the same.
We earned our first $50 nine months later!
I left my job and within two months I had completely replaced my income working as a freelance digital marketer and online English teacher.
Less than two years in we hit our first $ 10,000-month blogging! It was the most incredible feeling in the world. It was validation for everything leading up until this point in our lives.
Less than three years after starting our blog we created our dream life. Both quitting our jobs, working from home, and spending more time as a family doing the things we love.
What was your first side hustle and how did it go?
I have been hustling since I was in elementary school. I always had that entrepreneur mindset and my parents were great at supporting it.
I did just about everything when it came to side hustling from lemonade stands, car washes, selling bulk candy at school, lawn cleanup, mowing, flipping items on eBay and eventually running a drop shipping business throughout high school and college.
Brittany also had side hustles throughout high school selling Avon, teaching dance classes, and babysitting.
All of this side hustling really helped us develop a different mindset when it came to money. I believe all of the experience we both had previous to starting our blog really helped us find success quickly.
Why did you choose blogging as a possible profitable side hustle?
Great question. We were actually going to start a home inspection business but came to a few realizations that pointed us towards an online business.
Starting a blog has very little investment upfront, low overhead, flexibility to work anywhere with internet, making passive income 24/7, and unlimited potential to earn income.
It was an easy decision once we laid everything out and saw how much potential starting a blog could really change our entire life.
When and why did you start The Savvy Couple?
We started our blog at the end of July 2016.
How long did it take you to make your first money as a finance blogger?
We hustled our butts off for nine full months before seeing any income come in from our blog. We would wake up before work to work on the blog, stay up late, gave up weekends, etc.
We made it a priority and cut things out of our life that were not adding value like vegging out in front of the TV.
How did you manage your money while growing the blog?
We have always been pretty good with our money. Budgeting, saving money, investing for our future is always something we have been passionate about since college.
Once we started our blog we made an effort to save up as much money as possible.
In those nine months, we were able to save up close to a year’s worth of salary. This made my decision to quit my job much easier knowing we had a big nest egg to rely on.
Once I was working on the blog full-time and it was making money our next goal was to crush our remaining $25,000 of student loans we had. We looked at our budget, cut where we could, and came up with a game plan to become debt-free.
We knew if we wanted the ultimate freedom of both quitting our jobs and working from home having debt hold us back was not an option. We were able to pay off all $25,000 in less than five months!
Read also: How Becky Started a Shopify Side Hustle a Paid Off $80K of Debt
What did you do to replace your income 2 months after quitting your job to blog full-time?
After quitting my job I knew I had to find freelance work so I had some income coming in on a regular basis.
Within a couple of weeks, I landed a remote digital marketing job through UpWork. It was a perfect position to learn digital marketing and get paid, a true win-win.
I also got hired by VIPKID to teach English online to Chinese students. It’s a great company and you have complete control over your work schedule. This was by far my favorite side hustle I have ever had.
Those two side hustles along with our blog starting to make money replaced my income very quickly.
How did you bring traffic to your blog in the first year?
We focused 90% of our time on learning Pinterest.
We knew this visual search engine is where our readers were hanging out and wanting their problems solved.
We learned how to create viral content that was click-worthy, valuable, and most importantly solved our reader’s problems.
Here is a video I put together on the Pinterest strategy we use. Make sure to subscribe to our channel!
What role does Pinterest play in your business?
It’s extremely important to us. There is nothing better than a platform that drives free organic traffic to your blog.
Once you really dig in and realize Pinterest is just a visual search engine much like Google is a text search engine you can really start driving traffic.
Read also: 7 Silly Pinterest Mistakes I Was Making
How did you earn your first $1,000 blogging?
The first month our blog made $1,000 on its own we earned money from three primary categories (much like we still do). Display ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships.
How much is your blog currently making and in what ways?
In our third year of blogging we are averaging over $20,000/month.
Below is a rough breakdown of where it’s coming from.
- Sponsorships – 45%
- Display Ads – 25%
- Affiliate Marketing – 20%
- Products/Courses – 10%
What’s your favorite blog monetization method and why?
We have really found success with landing sponsorships with our blog. It’s by far our favorite way of making money with our blog.
It’s a very high ROI on our time, we get to work with brands we love, it lets us use our creativity in marketing.
It’s by no means passive income but a single sponsorship can turn a terrible month into an incredible one. I personally love negotiating so that plays a big part in why I love doing sponsorships.
When did you take email marketing seriously and how did you grow your list?
This was one of our biggest failures in our blogging journey. We neglected our email list the entire first year of our blogging journey. It still hurts me inside to say that.
As bloggers, our email list is our most valuable asset. It’s the only direct contact platform we own to reach our readers, followers, and customers that we have.
Once we switched to ConvertKit and focused on creating opt-ins that solve ONE problem as quickly as possible we started growing our email list very quickly.
Our goal by the end of this year is to top 25,000 email subscribers.
What are the courses that helped you become successful bloggers?
All of the courses, resources, tools, apps, etc that we have used to grow our blog can be found in this article I wrote about the best blogging resources.
You once earned over $43,000 in a single month. How did that happen?
Lots of things came together that month.
We had a couple successful affiliate marketing launches of products that matched perfectly with our readership. We landed a massive sponsorship. And of course, traffic was pouring in from Pinterest and Google.
It was just one of those months where everything was clicking.
This was the month where Brittany and I looked at each other and said “we just made more in a single month than you do the entire year as a teacher. I think it’s time we consider you leaving”.
A few months later Brittany finished out her school year teaching and put in her notice to join me full-time running our business.
How did you make your blog attractive to sponsors over the years?
A couple things come into play when making your business attractive for sponsorships.
You need a beautiful and professional site. Companies want to work with people who look like they know what they are doing.
You need an excellent media kit that shows off what your business is all about, your readership demographics, social media stats, email subscriber, etc.
Lastly, you need to put in the work to find these sponsorship opportunities.
Go to other blogs to see who they are working with, join sponsorship networks, reach out via phone or email to brand you want to work with and have a good pitch ready.
The biggest thing is making the partnership all about THEM. How can you benefit them? If you can serve there needs better than anyone else you can make a lot of money.
What do you do to land new clients for sponsored content?
Once I know a company is interested in working with us I make sure to continue to keep them interested by asking their needs and what a successful sponsorship would look like together.
I then have them tell me their budget. I rarely if ever give them a price list.
I want to know what type of budget they have to do a marketing campaign with us. Once I know their budget I put together a marketing proposal to fit into their budget.
Read also: How Megan Became a Full-Time Pinterest Manager and Landed Her 1st Client in a Month
How does your typical day look like ever since you’re both working on the blog full-time?
It’s changed over the years. When it was just me I would wake up around 6 AM knock out the most important things first, go to the gym, grab lunch, and work until Brittany got home around 3 PM.
Now that Brittany is home full-time and we have a one-year-old daughter our schedule is much different. It takes a lot of discipline, communication, and flexibility once you have a child in the equation.
I still wake up early between 5-6 AM to get a few hours of uninterrupted work in.
Once Kallie and Brittany wake up we have breakfast then go to the gym. I will usually get back to work around 11 AM and work until around 2 PM.
Then I take over watching Kallie and give Brittany some self-time until her second nap around 4 PM. Brittany and I will both work on the business or around the house until 5 PM. We have dinner together and hang out as a family until around 7-8 PM.
I try to go to bed before 10 PM. Brittany starts her workday after Kallie goes to bed from 8-12 PM.
That’s what our perfectly scheduled day looks like but it rarely goes that well. So we are flexible and make sure we get our work every day and also focus on the important things in life like spending quality time together.
What’s next for you and the Savvy Couple?
We have a TON of things coming in the future. We feel like we are just getting started with our business. Over the next year, we are focusing on creating our own products and courses to offer to our readers to better their financial future.
We would love to work on our public speaking and start doing paid speaking gigs in the future.
We are SO blessed to be in the situation we are. We are going to continue to pray and have God guide our business and lives as a whole.