Why Chris left the American Dream to focus on blogging for a year [coaching session]

Chris Keep Thrifty do you even blog podcast

Chris (KeepThrifty.com) had a highly lucrative and secure career…which he just quit. To blog. For a year.

This episode is a bit different, as it’s half interview, half coaching session.

We dig into

  • Why you DON’T need a blog coach
  • Why the FIRE model isn’t for us πŸ˜‰
  • Tying our identities into our work
  • The circumstances to put in place BEFORE leaving your job to blog full-time
  • Chris and I hash out 3, 6, and 12 month goals, and put a strategy in place.

Special thanks to Chris for allowing me to be a part of his journey. I stand behind him 1,019% percent, and I know you’ll get some value out of this episode as well!

Listen to my episode with Chris at Keep Thrifty

or listen on Apple Podcasts \\ Google Podcasts

Show notes and referenced links

Key takeaways from today’s call with Chris

1 – Why you don’t need a blog coach.

Incoming rant: Why do you think you need a blog coach?

  • To “tell you what to do?” Ok great. This is perfect.
  • To “tell you how to do things?” This is not good.

There is a huge different between a coach and a teacher.

A teacher is one who imparts knowledge. Who provides you with resources. Who grades your work and hopefully offers you feedback.

Under no circumstances should you hire a blog coach for teaching purposes. You’d be wasting your time and money.

Instead, Google is your blog teacher. She has all the resources you can ever read, listen to, and watch.

A coach is one who pushes you. Who holds you accountable. Who looks at you with purely objective eyes and who knows exactly what to tell you so you might step up your game and win.

Hire a blog coach only when you understand why you want one. If you’re looking for someone to hold you hand and teach you, you’re wasting your money. If you’ve got game already and ready to work, hire an experienced and objective individual who pushes the hell out you.


2 – The circumstances to nail down BEFORE you quit your job to blog.

One should never quit their job on a whim, blogging or not.

It’s incredible important to plan ahead, save up a “living fun” for the first several month when your side-project isn’t producing full-time cash.

  • For Chris, it was opportunity. A perfect combination of cash windfall and life choices allowed him to create this one year mini-retirement.
  • For my Bobby, it was saving up enough cash for 2 years worth of living.
  • For me, it was finding somewhere to live mortgage and rent free and with low utilities, making my monthly expenses drop significantly.

If you’re unable to engineer this type of situation, you shouldn’t quit your job yet. Simple.

3 – Chris’s growth strategies

Post more content – If you’re really looking to grow, once a week is the MINIMUM amount of content you should produce.

(note: never sacrifice quality of course)

2.5-3 pieces of content/week seems to be the sweet spot for growth, and additionally, it’s generally a great idea to experiment with other content formats!

YouTube videos, podcasts, live-streams, etc can be an excellent way to produce more content every week, without adding on a whole lot more time.

Chris is going to experiment with podcasting, summarizing and reading his weekly blog posts. This is a fantastic idea, as it will allow him to reach a whole new audience….AND add additional value to his existing value (now they can imbibe his content on their commute…just after they finish the Do You Even Blog podcast)

Grow Twitter following – Chris has decent traffic at the moment, but it is wildly unpredictable and relies on getting featured on 3rd party websites.

While these are great, they can be unpredictable. Chris is hoping to increase his baseline traffic, leading to more consistency.

Since his Twitter following is decent already (and purely organic), focusing on Twitter growth will be a relatively quick way to grow baseline traffic.

Manually reach out for Patreon patrons – Do not underestimate the power of manual outreach, especially when money involves.

People only give money to individuals they know and trust, and manual outreach is 10x more personal than social shares or email blasts.

Chris is going to reach out to loved ones and close friends and build some social proof on his Patreon page. This will keep his family updated on what he’s up to (they DO want to know…in their eyes he just quit his job of 13 years!), and sets him up for growth in months 2-3.

Comment below with your thoughts on this 1-year case study

Do you think checking in with Chris every quarter will add value to YOUR blog career?

If so, (or if not) please let me know in the comments! Looking forward to hear what you think!

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20 Responses

  1. This is fun. I love following along with a project.

    Not too dissimilar from the concept of people wanting to track other people’s net worth. There’s just something interesting about knowing the behind the scenes scoop.

    Can’t wait to hear more!

    1. Sweet! +1 internets to Chris today.

      (and I totally agree. In fact, I think Do You Even Reality TV? can’t be too far off)

  2. I really enjoyed this episode, Pete. Different for sure. I’m glad Chris wanted to come on the air and share his experiences with us. I especially like the idea of recording your blog posts. I’ve actually thought about doing this a bit because I know I don’t always have time to read posts but I do listen to anything on commutes.

    1. Me too Darren. So much easier the sound fluent than reading OTHER people’s content (tried that before. Sounded terrible lol)

    2. I’m glad you enjoyed the episode Darren. I can say from my first experience with doing an audio version of one of my article that it was pretty painless. I downloaded Garage Band on my mac, pulled up my post and read it out loud. I had 2 stumbles to edit out which was straightforward enough and then I just had to get the file uploaded.

      All told, it probably took me 30 minutes, which I expect to drop next time around. Hopefully my readers find it valuable. I’m going to have to work on tracking downloads to see how its doing!

  3. An idea for Chris’ thrifty app for marketing purposes. If he was to market this service through financial advisors and charge new users maybe $10 per year for an annual license or something, that could be a pretty good way to monetize that. It’s often recommended for people to manually track their expenses especially when they don’t have a great handle on it. Just an idea. Best of luck, great interview!

  4. Hey Pete,

    I discovered your podcast about 2 weeks ago and have been binge-listening to it ever since. If I’m going for a walk with my baby girl, doing house chores, or commuting to and from work, I have my headphones plugged in listening to you.
    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the coaching format you did in this episode. It has loads of actionable advice for us novices.
    I’m excited to listen to all the episodes ahead and have already started to implement your advice on my blog https://optimizemy.life
    Thanks for all the infos and keep up the good work!

    1. Aw. Such kind words Bogdan! I appreciate that, and happy listening!

      Let me know if you ever need anything.

  5. I too am binge listening and trying to catchup. This was a great episode because although he is far ahead of where I am at, I can see myslef in his shoes. Most of the interviews are from giants of the interwebs and it seems out of reach. Hearing actionable steps for someone still struggling makes it all seem a bit more real. Very cool. Hopefully more of these along the way.

  6. Love the idea that your second content can also be featured in more than one place. For example, do a Youtube video… and then post it on your blog etc. It doesn’t all have to be the same. That is my biggest issue. I hate doing the same process or same thing again and again. Love this diversity – don’t chase rabbits – don’t follow shiny objects- stay interested problem solving idea! LOVE IT

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