How Kristin Larsen Went from $38K in Debt to a Full-Time Blog Income in 3 Years

This is an interview with Kristin Larsen from Believe in a Budget.

Hey, Kristin. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

Hi! I’m Kristin and the creator behind Believe In A Budget and the co-creator of

I had tremendous results with Pinterest early on and as a result, was hired by fellow bloggers and businesses to grow their Pinterest accounts. 

This lead to carving out a new career path in the virtual assistant world and started my own Pinterest management company.

Within ten months of starting my blog, I was able to quit my 9-5 job to blog and work online full time. 

In my first full year as a blogger I made just under $100,000! 

Today, Believe In A Budget shares side hustle and income earning ideas, as well as helps new entrepreneurs navigate their way online to starting a profitable blog and business. 

I’m also a Pinterest educator with a suite of products, which includes my most popular program How to Become a Pinterest VA TODAY!.

When did you start Believe in a Budget and what topics do you cover?

I started Believe In A Budget in January of 2015. I wanted to share my personal finance journey, including all of the different side hustles I had tried over the years. 

I figured if I could share some of my side hustle experiences with others, maybe it would help someone else who was looking to earn extra income.

Today I still write about side hustles and have expanded into higher end side hustles and how to start a profitable blog.

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When was the first time it began getting more attention and traffic and why?

In my first few months as a new blogger, I had little to no traffic. I was averaging a few thousand page views per month.

Once I started using Pinterest, my traffic shot up. In less than a year my traffic exploded from 5,000 monthly page views to over 230,000 monthly page views. 

What’s the primary source of traffic?

Today it’s primarily a healthy mix of Google and Pinterest, with Facebook and other smaller referrals. 

I’ve always had great results with Pinterest since 2015, but know it’s important to be diverse, so I have focused on SEO and Google for the past couple of years. 

How are you currently earning from your blog?

I am so glad I tracked and shared my online income reports for the past four years. I love being able to see where I was at different times in my journey. 

My reports ranged from making my first $60 to over $100,000 per month! Every blogger is at a different phase with their online income, and I like knowing that my income reports can provide inspiration and helpful tips for all incomes.

My strategy from the start has always been to have multiple income streams and that hasn’t changed. 

My reason behind this is incase one income stream decreases, hopefully another income stream will increase and stay balanced out.

Today my income primarily comes from my products and courses, affiliate marketing, followed by limited client work and ad income

What’s your favorite blog monetization method and why?

I’ve worked really hard to write content that is helpful and personal as I want to be as authentic as possible. 

Having a strong email funnel has really helped readers get to know me, understand my journey and most importantly, help them with their needs. 

My email funnel is all automated, so I’m able to earn income at all times of the day. 

Of course, a lot of my traffic comes from Pinterest and Google, so creating evergreen content is incredibly helpful.

How can bloggers earn money from Pinterest?

How to Easily Get 100K Pinterest Views in 1 Month: 8 Pinterest Tips for Bloggers
Stock Photo from Denys Prykhodov @ Shutterstock

I have a strong Pinterest marketing plan, so I basically get paid to play on Pinterest. 

I educate brands and students all the time on how powerful Pinterest can be for their blog and business.

Creating pins that lead to blog posts, products, affiliate links, email opt-in forms and more are all really effective ways to make money from Pinterest. 

When did you decide to create your first product and how did it go?

My very first product was an eBook about mystery shopping and small side hustles. I was really happy with the results!

It was really different from other ebooks because it was so niche specific, and the topic fit my audience perfectly.

How does a 6-figure product launch look like?

These launches are really fun and rewarding, but also include a lot of work before, during an post launch.

This is a year-round business, but twice a year we step it up a notch and open enrollment to the public.

Gina Horkey, my partner and co-founder of Pinterest VA, go into launch mode well before the launch date. We have a small but mighty team to keep everything running smoothly. 

There’s a lot to cover on our check lists, like email marketing, work flows, responding to the huge amount of emails we receive, hopping online to do Facebook lives, interviews and any technical challenges that could arise. 

Once the launch ends, we are still working.

Welcoming all the new students inside our community is fun and hectic and we host a ton of online, live events.

We pride ourselves on being super active, and making ourselves available to students and alumni.

Additionally, we regularly update the program material. What started out as a small side hustle project outside of Believe In A Budget has turned into a full scale business! 

Read also: The Side Hustles That Earn This Dad $100K/Year on Top of His Full-Time Job

What were the biggest challenges to becoming a full-time blogger?

The hardest part was really just getting started and sticking with it. I had a full time day job and a long commute at the time, so I had to make blogging a priority in my spare time.

For most of the first year, I spent all my free time learning about blogging. I traded in happy hours and hanging out with friends to spend time on my laptop. 

I was pretty determined that I would make it as a full time blogger and it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t succeed.

Fortunately, I was able to quit my job ten months after I started my blog so all my sacrifices and hustling paid off! 

Read also: How This 25-Year-Old Became Her Own Boss and Earns $15K/Month Blogging

How many hours do you work per week?

I typically work 40 hours during the work week. This includes Believe In A Budget and my joint-venture, unless I am on vacation. 

Right now I try to take evenings and weekends off to spend time with family and friends.

This year I’ve been fortunate to do go on a few vacations already, where I can reduce my work time to about an hour per day. 

I used to worry about taking vacations early on in my blogging career, but now I don’t stress it. I have well organized system in place so my blog can still function and thrive without me for short periods of time.

What aspects of your blogging business are you outsourcing?

Right now, I still do most of the legwork for Believe In A Budget. I have monthly tech support, a writer/editor for some of my blog posts and occasional email support. 

I’m smart enough to know what my strengths and weaknesses are, and what it the best use of my time, so I will outsource one off projects. This includes things like creating workbooks or editing videos.

For PinterestVA, it’s a completely different business model. Our team includes tech support, a writer/editor, admin support inside our private Facebook community and email support. 

What’s next for you and Believe in a Budget?

Believe In A Budget still has so much room for growth and potential. The site continues to grow each year and there is so much more I want to do with it. 

Some of my readers have been around since the beginning, and thanks to feedback, my blog has started covering new topics that I never thought I would write about. 

Later this year I plan to release a new product as well as a brand new work getaway opportunity for a small group of entrepreneurs. These work sessions will be really unique and I can’t wait to share more information on this! 

Stock Photo from BONNINSTUDIO @ Shutterstock

In this interiew, Kristin Larsen from Believe In A Budget shares how she started her blog and earned $100K in her first full year blogging: #makemoneyblogging #bloggingtips #bloggingforbeginners #makemoneyonline #sidehustles