I am BEYOND excited to present this chat with my good friend (and Online Impact member) Eric Holland from High Five Dad.
Eric quit his job less than two weeks ago.
And this podcast was recorded on his first Monday NOT working full-time!
We chat about
- How Eric PLANNED for this transition
- His monetization strategies leading up till now
- His gameplan going forward to make this work (hint: diversify income!)
If you’re a member of this Blog Tribe looking to go full-time (but not sure if can make this transition work), this episode is. for. you.
Listen to my episode with Eric Holland from High Five Dador listen on Apple Podcasts \\ Google Podcasts
Anddddd here’s the full podcast transcripts:
Pete McPherson 0:00
Eric, welcome to the show.
Thank you. Glad to be on your show, finally.
Pete McPherson 3:02
So this is going to be a little bit of an experimental episode. And to kick that off a why it’s going to be a little bit experimental and what we’re going to talk about, Eric, I’m wondering if you might share with us how you felt a few weeks ago, or maybe in a month or two ago? I’m not exactly sure when you actually got promoted in your job, is that correct?
Yeah, I did couple about a month ago, just got promoted. And it was one of those weird, awkward type of feelings. Because in the back of my mind, when I got, you know, noticed, I was being promoted. And I had a conversation with my supervisor at the time, in the back of my head, was this idea that I may not be at that job for much longer, the the idea of quitting my job. And trying something online, has been there for a little while.
So it was, it’s kind of like this weird mix reaction where men your entire career trying to get promoted, get promoted. And then you get promoted. And then in the back your heads like, I don’t know if I’m going to be here much longer.
Pete McPherson 4:06
Sure. So you don’t have to share the name of the company you work for, but give us like a just a 32nd overview of what you did.
If I go into details, it may give a little bit too much. And you hit enter
Pete McPherson 4:20
Can we just say education,
Education. So education, and I actually worked in a department that had a number of things that got put under us.
So as I moved up through the ladder, more and more things got put in there. So it was like the learning management system, the gradebook platform, the assessment platform for the state. And then, in this most recent transition to more departments got added to us that would just, you know, add to the different elements, but it wasn’t a clear cut Job had more work.
Pete McPherson 4:55
All right, we’re going to come back and discuss this overall transition, and just a second. But fast forward to today, today’s Monday, when recording this, by the way, Friday, was actually your last job. So today is technically your first like week day, I normally would have been at work, but now I’m free. Or now I’m petrified. Or now I’m unemployed or whatever.
So I gotta ask you like, how are you feeling today? What did you feel when you woke up this morning?
It’s weird, because I guess you don’t know what you’re going to feel on that day, can read about it, you hear other people’s stories about it. And you don’t know how you’re going to feel when you wake up.
For me, like the morning routine was identical to what it was on a normal work day. I have two kids and a wife. So you know, got up at 530 took a shower, got got the boys lunch ready for school, help my wife out the door brought my one year old to daycare.
And then at that moment, it was because the daycare is like two minutes away from where I work. So it was kind of like, do I take the left? Or do I take the right.
And for me, it was the first time that I didn’t go that the other Street and I and I turned around and headed home. And it still hasn’t hit me quite yet.
I still are getting notifications on my calendar on my phone that you know, I have a meeting that I’m supposed to be at or people are at work just still texting me. They’re like, Hey, I didn’t see you. And I’m just like, I’m not there anymore.
Pete McPherson 6:22
But it’s, you know, for me, it’s been in the back of my head for a while that I was going to make this transition. So I feel like it wasn’t one of those, you know, rash quick decisions, which I feel like if I did that I would have woke up like in night terrors. But I think right now, it’s just kind of like, I wouldn’t call it a vacation mode.
But I don’t think the reality is hitting yet that I don’t have a real job.
Pete McPherson 6:51
Interesting. So let’s backtrack a little bit. And why don’t you tell us about your blog, specifically, like two or three things I’m looking for here, Eric? Number one, just introduce it like, Who are you? Where can we find you to? I’d love to know when you started precisely. I think I know. But I know the listeners don’t. And then we’re actually going to transition into the transition, the transition of quitting the job but then, you know, moving this on, but really quick.
Why don’t you give us the lowdown on who you are? Where can people find you like what do you blog about? When did you start?
Yep, so my blog is highfivedad.com. And we really blog a lot about like personal finance and family and family tips. Really trying to give people dad’s family families a way to make money, save money, and just some helpful family tips out there.
As I was going through the blog today, because I don’t think I’d have done like a blog audit. And no while I was like, Man, this is a really crappy blog. Which is it’s funny because I’m, you know, it was getting prepared for the podcast going.
Alright, let’s look to see how great I am. And then Oh, man, I got some work to do. So the blog started back in, I think august of 2017. Okay, or maybe July 2017. So about two years ago.
And really, the story is funny, because it just goes to the the idea of the power behind Facebook and Facebook ads and Facebook ad targeting, you know, my two year old or three year old at the time, didn’t like to go to bed by himself. So you know, I would lay down next to his bed, you know, he would lay in his bed, and I lay on the floor, just kind of, you know, talking to them. And then well, he was going to sleep, I would be laying on the floor, scrolling through Facebook, and then getting hit with all these ads. And Bobby from millennial money man must have been targeting, you know, guys in the middle age, you know, looking to save money, make money.
And I would land on his blog, probably once a week, once every other week about how this music teacher, you know, quit his job, made this blog and started making money. And this is before Millennium money man like blew up to what it is today.
So this is before his courses and all that where he was still making, you know, decent 810 thousand dollars a month. And I was like, Man, what is this blogging world?
Right? And fast forward…talk to my wife is like, I think I’m going to start a blog. She’s like, what is a blog? Like?
Yeah, like, I guess when you’re not in the blogging world, you don’t realize that half the things that you search on the internet is a blog?
That’s like, No, no, it’s fine that, you know, I’ll do this, you know, maybe I’ll make a little bit of money and who knows where we’ll end up, right? And then fast forward two years, like, he just quit your job. Now you’re playing online, blogging.
How Eric has grown (and monetized) his blog so far.
Pete McPherson 9:48
Okay, so this is a great transition. Two questions for you, Eric.
The second one–tell you the second one first, just to keep myself accountable for actually coming back to it. I want to hear about the the pre planning, not necessarily what you’re going to do now that you’ve quit your job in order to grow the blog, or to do more freelancing or to make more money or to start your own business or whatever that looks like.
But everything you did before actually turning in your notice, I want to hear kind of like what that planning look like, Okay, I’m going to need this amount of money in order to quit my job, or I need to have these things in place before I quit my job.
That’s actually bullet point number two. I’m going to ask you about that in a second. But right now, I want to hear how you grew the income because as I understand it, you’re making more than 1000 less than $5,000 a month from just the blog. Is that correct?
Pete McPherson 10:44
Okay, tell me a little bit about how you’ve grown that the best two years.
So I may be one of the worst bloggers that you’ve ever interviewed.
As as, as doing you know, the site audit, I was like, you always end up comparing yourself to like other people out there. He’s got their things together. And I look at my blog, I’m like, man, I don’t have my things together like everyone else, which I think is is good for, you know, some of your listeners, because I think people who are, have their blogs polished and perfect. And I don’t think that’s real for some of those brand new bloggers out there.
Or people in year one or year two who think, man, I’m never going to make it. Yeah. So like, in reality, like, if you go back and look at like my blogging, I basically do everything wrong. You know, the idea that you you need the blog, you know, once a week, once or twice a week to get engagement. I don’t think the last article I posted on there, I think it was in like July.
And when you look back at how many articles I’ve done this year, I think it’s like six or seven. It’s not like I’m not the typical, like, Hey, I’m going to go write two articles a week, I’m going to blast my email list, I’m going to do this. If you look at like, the way that my blog has kind of grown, it’s like in Sprint’s, like, I’ll work two or three months, try a technique really, you know, intense, whether that’s writing two or three articles, whether that’s, you know, focus in SEO, whether that’s focused on Pinterest, and then for whatever reason, you know, blogger burnout, or life gets in the way, like I take the foot off the accelerator, but then I always come back and kind of like reflect like, did this work?
Or did this not work?
Pete McPherson 12:30
Okay, so you’re a terrible blogger, literally the worst I’ve ever interviewed. Totally joking. And you have done these little sprints you call it where you try these strategies out every now and then how, how specifically, has it monetize them?
Yep. So I was one of the early members of Pete 30 Day Challenge.
And you know, I, a lot of bloggers out there you jump in the first course or the second course that you see. And I was like, Oh, yeah, one of the first challenges that you had on there was, you know, ask someone for $1. So, you know, of course, I think everyone in the group like email J money is like, “Hey, I’m doing this challenge. Hey, can I get $1?”
Apparently, I was one of the first ones. And I sent him a message through I think face or rock star forum as like, “Hey, this is my idea. You have a dollars your logo with your face on it, would you give me $1?”
Pete McPherson 13:26
And I’ll put them on my Facebook or on my, on my website?
And he’s like, Sure.
So I made my first dollar there.
And then from there, I was like, once you get past the idea of asking people for money. It’s like this, like mental barrier, like, Oh, yeah, it’s $1.
So then, you know, over the next, you know, two months, it was like, All right, let’s try to find some other sponsors. So that was like my first, you know, adventure into making money on the blog was trying to get sponsors. So I worked a couple different companies, and you know, I landed a $500 sponsor, I was like, oh, man, this is really good.
Well, then you get to the point where, like, I’m not tired again. So you know, there are things that work, and then all sudden, like, I would get tired. And I’d be like, Oh, let me try this other thing. So I think in January of 2018, maybe February, I taken, you know, two or three months off, I hadn’t blogged at all had even logged into my, my Google Analytics hadn’t done anything. And then I came back to blogging, I looked at my Google Analytics, and there was a post in that was getting all this organic traffic from Google.
And I’m like, wait, I’m just getting free traffic, like, I’m not doing anything, I haven’t done anything. In three months, I haven’t promoted and on Twitter haven’t done all of this.
Now sudden, I’ve gotten at that point, three 4000 page views just for nothing. So I really began to, like, optimize that, that one post, and kind of play around a little bit with some SEO, just kind of see where it was going to go. In that one post, you know, went from 3000 a month to like 15,000 a month.
And I I knew just by being in that in the blog world, that media mind you needed, you know, 30,000 sessions or 25,000 sessions, something around there.
So I knew if I could get my my stats up that high, that I could start making money on on traffic, which is, it’s nice to have money just rolling in for not doing anything. So I spent about a month using Facebook ads to target and this, the the post I can point people to the posted is a dumb post, but because it has nothing to do with personal finance, but it’s about fast past it at Disney, you know, we live in just outside of Orlando. So we go to Disney.
So I have this, this hack that I call it that allows people to get a lot of fast passes, which if you’re Disney fan, and you want to get the most of your money, like it’s beneficial.
So I start targeting people who like Disney with this ad, and I’m getting, you know, half a penny to one penny sent a click. So I knew Yeah, Disney fans are crazy. Like literally, like, if you want to start a blog, do Disney blog, and just start targeting people on Facebook, they share it with everyone they know.
And there’s a ton of Facebook groups that they’ll share to like, I would go on to my Google Analytics. And I would have a spike of like 2000 people because they would drop it in a in a Facebook group. And all of a sudden, you know, everyone’s clicking, clicking, clicking, and then it would die. Because like the the post, the admin as a group would like kill it or something.
But just by using Facebook ads, I was able to grow my traffic to over the threshold needed for media vine. And then I pulled back Facebook ads, because I the whole goal was just to get to that, you know, 25 or 30,000 sessions, so that I can qualify for mediavine, and then I would start working on things that were more personal finance ish. Okay, so traffic right now.
And then I have a couple affiliate posts that are on the site that are using some SEO in some back linking that really kind of flush it out. So it’s about right now the income is about 70% traffic. So through media, vine and about 30% affiliate income.
What did the planning look like before his quit his job?
Pete McPherson 17:39
Okay, that’s awesome. Kudos to you, by the way. Well done, Eric.
So that second bullet point I spoke of earlier, as you’re you got a promotion, right. And you kind of have that weird feeling of like, Oh, this is awesome. I’m glad. But I don’t know if I actually want to be doing this forever, let alone the next two months, apparently. So what did the planning look like? When you’re giving the person you’re starting to sit down?
Maybe with your family and talking it through? What did the planning look like before you could quit?
Yeah, so you know, being in the personal finance space, we’re like Excel junkies.
And so I think, you know, over the last three or four months, I’ve created so many Excel charts with so many different scenarios of like, what could be what couldn’t be that, I think I was driving my wife crazy, like, you know, we would take our current level of income and say, well, we reduce it to this, and we cut out our savings, you know, what is the minimum that we need. And, you know, we’ve been blessed, that we’ve had the opportunity to, through the blogging income, and just through good budgeting skills, put away, you know, 20 or 30% of our income every month into savings.
So our entire idea, you know, what, before we got married, you know, we did the Dave Ramsey thing. Now, we still need both, that Dave Ramsey, you know, didn’t necessarily get my wife and I on this on the same page, in finances, but we’re at least in the same book, because she is a spender, and I’m a saver.
But being able to have those open conversations prepared us for all right, we need a savings, we need an emergency emergency fund. Because at any day, you know, you quit, or you can lose your job. And you’d want an opportunity to find the job that you want. Without just taking the first thing that pops up, or in this case, it’s given us the opportunity, you know, take a risk and take the you know, I call it an adventure to see what, what’s possible out there.
Pete McPherson 19:42
So just to clarify, and you don’t have to share your exact numbers, of course, but you’re not completely, like totally financially independent.
“I don’t, I don’t care ever again, if I make a single dime, like I’m set up.” You’re probably not there yet. Is that correct? You just have like a really good situation going from saving, you’re able to have an adventure, so to speak?
Yeah, definitely not fire whatsoever.
I mean, maybe the leanest of lean fires, that that’s out there. But no, I think we were in a good spot where, let’s say the blog crashed and the internet went down for the rest of the year, we’d be fine. And then you know, I’d go out looking for a real job.
Pete McPherson 20:27
Okay. So before I move on to going forward, like what does that plan strategy?
So obviously, worst case scenario is probably not going to have the internet’s not going to go down, you’re probably going to continue to make money and hopefully grow and make more money from the blog. Before that, though, Did I miss anything on the planning? So you guys saved? Obviously, having a, you know, I don’t care what you call an emergency fund, freedom fund, saving up to have a mini retirement or whatever, that is almost impossible to quit your job.
Without that, wouldn’t you say?
Yeah, I honestly, I think the two years leading up to this, the, because I think if you would have asked me two years ago, Eric, would you be willing to quit your job?
Just right then and there…And I would say no, you’re crazy.
But I think over two years of learning and realizing that, you know, the nine to five, the job, the career that people you know, you go to school, you go to college. And it’s like this idea that you have to have this job, you have to go down this career. Like, I don’t think I was ready at that point two years ago, just to say, No, I’m done with that. Right?
I think over two years, you just mentally prepare yourself for, hey, there are there are other things you can do in this world. There’s other other jobs you can do. There’s other ways to make money than what you’ve always traditionally thought we had just went on vacation for Fourth of July. And I looked at my wife, I said, you know, all these people around here, you know, they look generally pretty happy.
And they’re not doing what I’m doing. And I think it was that realization that if you’re not happy with where you are in your job, you can build a way out of that. And I think it just took me two years to one, save up and have finances, the finances to do it.
But then really that mental peace, like getting in your own head like now I can’t do this. I’ve, I’ve worked my entire career to get to this point.
Because the position that I’m stepping down from like, I’m at the top of where I’ve always wanted to be. And then sometimes you realize when you’re at the top, like the view, isn’t that great? Yeah, totally. I mean,
Pete McPherson 22:42
that’s like a good soundbite. I’m gonna put that at the top of the show there. I love that.
Before I talk about the plan. I this just came up not in my notes. I’m curious, though, will say that are other people out there listening who are at the top or not, they think they want to quit their jobs, like corporate job, their full gig and do other stuff with us blogging, freelance and starting a small business or all the above, like whatever that looks like, and will say there, they don’t have the freedom fund, so to speak.
How can YOU prepare to go full-time?
Can you give like a tip or two on how they might start today in preparation for like, two to three years from now?
Like, is there anything they can do in the next, like, 24 hours to just take that first baby step to getting to that point? Either financially or mentally? By the way?
Yeah, the simplest advice is start.
And what if one of the things I don’t know if I’ve shared with you is tried different things. Like blogging isn’t the first thing that I tried to do to make money off online. Like before, before blogging, like I had run Facebook ads, I was, I don’t know if you know, t spring where you can design t shirts.
And then you know, people buy them.
So before my blog, like I was outsourcing to for a specific niche, and then targeting that niche in with Facebook ads.
So making some profit there. But it was one of those things where it’s like, you know, I wasn’t, it didn’t really push me. And then before that I was trying something else and before, like, you start so that person who’s looking, they’re in a career right now, think about, you know, when you’re doing a side hustle, like, It’s alright, if you fail, just fail fast. And then try something new.
Like, don’t just give up because you failed on your first adventure. Now think of you know, whether it be blogging, whether it be you know, Amazon affiliate, whether it be Facebook, side, hustle, you know, doing ads, or podcasting, I mean, there are a lot of different ways to make money, try a couple until you get good at one of them like that.
Pete McPherson 24:47
And one more note from Pete here, lest anybody with shiny object syndrome, I.e. me, I’m your homeboy, Pete, by the way, all those out there with shiny object syndrome.
Yes, Eric is coming, try new things, but don’t do what I did, which is always look for a reason something failed, I would always look for now the sudden that that didn’t make a whole lot of money.
Even when I like had like, some real successes and my own online business adventures, I was always really quick to say, Oh, no, that wasn’t good enough, let me try something completely different.
And I think that’s actually a bad way to go about it, I think that a better way to go about it, is to try a bunch of different things.
But always be on the lookout for, oh, wait, there’s something here, this is a positive sign, there could be an opportunity here, look for small ways in which something does work. Rather than doesn’t work. I’m just gonna throw that in there. I wrote about this in a past blog post.
But there you go. Thank you, Eric.
What’s Eric’s current blog monetization strategy for making this work?
Switching gears a little bit, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your current strategy, the current plan now that you, you’re officially quit, today’s day number one of the the first day of the rest of your life, Eric, not to be too corny there. So what’s the plan? Give me the overall strategy now.
So like, really trying to be strategic in in one aspect, but then also trying to think, you know, big picture. So when you have a, you know, a real job, quote, unquote, real job, and then you’re doing a side hustle, you know, you have some income coming in from this.
And then you have your side hustle income. He, you mentioned that the internet may not crash and die, I completely agree. But what might happen is Pinterest stops loving you or Google stops loving your competitor comes in and takes your keywords and then your ranking goes down, and then your one income, cash flow is completely gone.
Pete McPherson 26:45
So I’m going to try to spread out and create multiple cash flows.
Because if one of those cash flows, you know, crashes and burns, it’s alright, because I have three other ones or I have four other ones, it’s coming that same mentality of you know, I have this real job, and I have this side income job, you know, you have to cash flows, if one of them were to go away, you still have the other one coming in.
So, you know, I kind of like bucket it out of different things that I want to do, to kind of bring in some of those. So, you know, high five dad is is like the one big project that, you know, if I, if I’m thinking about it in terms of my my job, like that’s my my main job now.
And so that’s, you know, increasing article output, obviously, researching keywords, and being able to find the affiliates that match my message.
And my group, because affiliate income will help, you know, not just focus on the traffic piece, and then really redefine the site to tell my story more, which you know, involves quitting my job and using the income, they based upon saving and budgeting that I was able to take this adventure, and then using that kind of that story, through email marketing, to really start segmenting my list to groups that want to make money, and then groups that want to save money.
Okay, from there, you can then use, you know, whether I’m creating a digital product, or creating a printable or, or some sort of other cash flow opportunity within there.
So now, you know, let’s say that there’s a group on my list that are all about making money. Well, you know, I can either pitch them all the different side hustle affiliates out there, so whether that’s one of your courses, whether that’s Bobby’s courses, or whether that’s whoever’s courses out there, you know, targeting there, or do I bring them in and kind of nurture them and, you know, help them create their own blog and do coaching.
So that that’s one like half, that’s one revenue source.
And then for the other group, you know, who said money, they, you know, they want principles, they want budget, guys, they want booklets they want, you know, maybe one on one coaching on how to save money.
So that’s one of those, you know, income flow, so that that’s where I’m going with high five dad. But then also, I think it’s important to have, you know, other sources of income. So like, these are my side hustlers for my blog now.
So that’s, you know, creating a traffic site, you know, something that may be that, you know, super passionate about, but I know will do really well in traffic, so that I can just, you know, just basically, you know, working on trying to get income from traffic. So it’s not super passionate, but I know it would work. So just outsourcing some article creation and being able to get some income there. And then also working on Facebook advertising.
So that’s been big.
For me, just personally, you know, some of the ways that made money early, and then some of the ways I was able to grow my blog, like, I know how to do that. And I know I can help you there, whether it’s bloggers or other local businesses, use Facebook advertising to grow their business.
Pete McPherson 30:15
Okay, so answer me this. Eric, are you planning to work on all these things full time now?
Like, are you going to be working roughly like eight hours a day going forward on this business?
I mean, since this is the only source of income of them bringing in, it will probably be the same amount of time that I would be at a regular job.
You know, so I, I’ve kind of sketched out a small idea of like, what my day would look like, just to make sure that I’m accountable. Because, you know, my wife is taking the adventure with me too. And I don’t want her to think that I’m just sitting on the couch all day. So really being passionate and really being focused on growing these different projects forward. I think, you know, working on it from nine to five, and then when the kids go to bed doing the same sort of hustle that was doing, growing, growing the blog, you know, once the kids go to bed, then continuing working on on that business until it is successful.
Pete McPherson 31:12
Okay, that’s awesome. I think we had responded to this. I’m gonna wrap this up here, Eric.
But do you want to do like a follow up call to just kind of discuss how like, how things are going show off? What an awesome blogger you became, since you were a terrible blogger, apparently, the worst of the interview, and now you can be an awesome blogger.
You want to do one of those? And if so, when do you think would be a great time to like schedule that in?
Yeah, I think that would be great.
I’m trying to think what would be a good time frame, whether we do in six months, or what we do in three months? But just kind of checking in on me to see, you know, did I think I made the worst decision of my career, and I’m regretting it now.
Or if things are all roses, and I’m out there, you know, making a million dollars, or I think it’ll probably be somewhere in the middle where it’s a struggle. But I’m seeing I’m beginning to start seeing sciences success. I’m down.
Pete McPherson 32:05
Yeah, let’s do like four months, four months, not quarterly. That’s like, a little bit too soon. But six months is a little bit too far. Let’s try like four months. I’ll pencil that in. Well, Eric, first of all, kudos to you, brother like this.
This is awesome.
I just love this story. In general, I’m really glad that you and your wife have kind of done a great job setting this up even before you, you really knew you were setting it up. So kudos to you. I think it’s super exciting. I know you’re probably going to get like some nervous breakdown, maybe like a week from now or something like that. But you’ll bounce back.
And I just also want to thank you for you know, being vulnerable, sharing where you’re at sharing how this went down. And looking forward to see where this goes.
Pete McPherson 32:45
Thanks for coming on.
Whew. That was a lot.
Are you dreaming of going full-time now?
Or if you’re already blogging/self-employed–what were some tips and tricks you learned along the way?
Drop us a comment–and give Eric a virtual high five ✋✋