“From Avocation To Vocation: How I Turned My Hobby Into A Career” With Kelan Kline

I think more than anything it’s important to surround yourself by positive people who support you. Make friends with other business owners and never be afraid to ask for help from others. As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

I think more than anything it’s important to surround yourself by positive people who support you. Make friends with other business owners and never be afraid to ask for help from others.

As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelan Kline.co-founder of the personal finance blog, The Savvy Couple. Kelan and his wife Brittany started their blog as a side hustle and quickly turned it into a six-figure online business allowing them both to quit their jobs and work from home. They have helped thousands of families from all over the world learn how to budget their money, make money online, and find the freedom to do more of the things they love.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I was brought up in a middle-class family in Rochester, N.Y. I had the most supportive parents in the world. I have an older sister and younger brother and my parents made a point to always include us in the personal finance and budgeting conversations. From a young age I was taught to save, invest, and budget my money. It was something that I always enjoyed learning about and watching my money grow.

At age 13, I started to look for ways to make extra money other than picking up more chores around the house. My dad introduced me to eBay and how you can sell your old things online and earn income from other people buying them.

I quickly sold off just about everything I owned. Then when I ran out of my own things to sell I started selling things around the house. Mostly items I was given permission to sell, but some I was not. I became obsessed with making money online.

My upbringing, experiences, and education all lead me to starting a personal finance blog with the dream of making it big someday.

What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?

I think for me the catalyst started back when I was 13 years old. When I first learned you could make money online a light bulb went off in my head. It seemed so much better than getting a real job and working for someone else. It showed me the freedom you can have when you work for yourself. It was the spark that started my entrepreneurial sprit.

The ah ha moment for me came after graduating college with my B.A.A. and trying my hand at a few different careers. They included insurance sales, UPS driver, jail deputy, and office manager.

Every single one of those jobs took away my freedom. I knew I needed to do something on my own.

My wife and I started our blog as a hobby to share the ways we save money, make extra money side hustling, and take back control over our time. After nine months of hustling we made our first bit of income from it. The rest is history.

There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?

We knew other people were running successful blogs and making a great amount of money from them. So, we just had to figure out how to differentiate ourselves. I knew working a normal job was not for me so I committed to learning how to run a successful blog and failure was not an option.

My advice is to look around at the market and see how others are making money with your hobby. Learn from them and implement it for yourself.

What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?

If you truly want to create your dream life and make a living from your hobbies and passions you need to take action. Take action every single day to make your dream turn into a reality. Take away the risk by cutting your expenses, save a good nest egg, and fully commit to making it happen.

It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?

Running a business is ever changing. It’s one of the aspects of being a business owner that I absolutely love. No day is ever the exact same.

There are days I do not enjoy the things I am doing, but I know they must get done. But a majority of the days I love every second of it. I love the challenge. I love the people. I love being able to work with my wife.

Once you get to a certain point in your business you are able to outsource and create systems for others to do the grunt work while you take more of a manager roll. So, anything that you don’t enjoy doing I suggest outsourcing.

What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?

I enjoy the risk and challenge. It keeps you motivated and pushing forward for the bigger mission. It is absolutely a roller coaster of emotions and the highs are high and the lows are low. It’s learning to deal with those and stay level headed to keep the business moving in the right direction.

I think more than anything it’s important to surround yourself by positive people who support you. Make friends with other business owners and never be afraid to ask for help from others.

Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?

Yes absolutely. The amount of times I have questioned myself is kind of embarrassing. In the beginning, during the hustle stage of growing, I thought about going back and getting a real job a handful of times. But then I would think back to the times I would be forced to work overtime at the jail or get denied all of my vacation time and it would keep me motivated to keep pushing forward.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most impactful and meaningful thing that has happened since leading our business is being able to retire Brittany from teaching. This was a HUGE goal we had after we started to make money with our blog and to put in the work and watch it actually happen was an incredible journey to be a part of.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The one mistake that always comes to my mind is when we made our first bit of income. We had a company come to us and want to sponsor an article on our site. They offered us $100 and for some reason I felt bad and negotiated the opposite way to $50. We still look back and laugh at this experience.

I think failures like this can be the best teachers in life. From this early on experience I gained so much knowledge and confidence to negotiate with brands.

Now, when we are working with brands on sponsorships and marketing campaigns it’s not abnormal to negotiate thousands of dollars more than they have budgeted.

Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?

God. He has had his hand on this entire journey. I pray and listen to God’s direction all the time when it comes to leading our business. I know my purpose in life is helping others find their happiness and freedom in life.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Yes. We have families email us or send us messages all the time telling us we have changed their lives. Whether it’s simply motivating them to make a change, helping them learn how to control their money, or pay off their debt we are making a positive impact all over the place.

What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The movement I would want to start is helping families understand you don’t have to be stuck at a 9–5 job you hate to pay the bills and build wealth.

There are so many new opportunities out there to make money online in today’s society. If you want to work from home, spend more time with your family, and spend more time pursuing your passions, you can!

You are not stuck and our mission at The Savvy Couple is to help your dream life become a reality. Let us help you find your freedom!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The only thing worse than starting something and failing…is not starting something.” — Seth Godin.

The biggest fear I have in life is sitting on my death bed with regrets. I remind myself every morning of the blessed life I am living and challenge myself to live my life to the fullest.

The worst mistake you can make in life is giving up on your dreams and settling. Take massive action and create the dream life you have always wanted to live.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to sit down with Warren Buffet and talk about investing and how we can positively impact more people with our business.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

You might also like...


“Create systems for everything.”, with Kelan Kline

by Ben Ari

“Start early, the earlier you start the better!” With Jason Hartman & Kelan Kline

by Jason Hartman

I Survived An Eating Disorder and So Can You: With Limor Weinstein & Kelan Kline of the Savvy Couple

by Limor Weinstein, MA., LMHC., FAED
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.