As part of my series about and executives that overcame adversity to achieve great success”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelan Kline.
Kelan Kline is the co-founder of the popular personal finance blog The Savvy Couple. Kelan and his wife Brittany started their blog as a side hustle and quickly turned it into a $10,000/month online business. They recently were able to pay off $25,000 worth of debt in only 5 months using primarily money earned from their blog. They have helped thousands of families from all over the world organize their finances, take control of their lives, and find their freedom.
Jason Crowley: Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Kelan Kline: This is one of my favorite questions to answer! Like most entrepreneurs, I eventually hated every job I had. I never liked other people telling me what to do and always seemed to get very bored with every job I had.
After graduating college with my bachelor’s in business administration, I tried a few different career paths including insurance sales, UPS delivery driver, jail deputy, culinary office manager, and home inspector. I quickly realized after trying so many jobs that I would only find happiness working for myself. I needed to do my own thing, set my own hours, make my own income, and create my own freedom.
At this point, I went back to school and became a licensed home inspector in New York. At the same time, I was going through school, I came across these “normal people” making a ton of money running a simple blog. I was very intrigued and eventually convinced Brittany that we should start a personal finance blog as a side hustle.
Nine months went by and we still had not made any money. But we were having a blast sharing our story and helping others manage their money. Out of nowhere, we had a company reach out to us and wanted to pay us $50 to place an ad on our site. It was the first time we made money with our blog and I was hooked.
A few weeks later, I told Brittany that this is what I wanted to do full-time. I quit my job in May 2017 and the rest is history.
Crowley: Can you share your story of when you were on the brink of failure? First, take us back to what it was like during the darkest days.
Kline: I have had many failures in my life. But, there is one that really sticks out because it almost took my life.
My second year working as a jail deputy going down the career path of law enforcement I fell into a very deep and dark depression. Something that I had never experienced or had to deal with before. It was the scariest and hardest thing I have gone through in my life.
I was unable to see into the future and felt my world collapsing on all sides. I thought I was stuck working as a jail deputy for the rest of my life. Literally “doing time” with the inmates.
We had recently just bought our first house and had to start paying off our student loans. We also had bills coming at us from everywhere that needed to be paid. Brittany was still seeking a teaching job, which meant I was the sole breadwinner at that time. I was forced to stick it out so we would not lose
At that time in my life, I felt like life was not worth living. I honestly did not want to be alive anymore. Luckily, by the grace of God, I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After trusting God’s plan for myself and slowly breaking through my depression, I was able to get my mental health back in order and get out of the job.
I am thankful every day for going through that experience because it is what drives me and motivates me to help change our readers lives each and every day.
I don’t want anyone to be stuck at a job that is physically and emotionally killing them. There are always options! You are never stuck doing something you don’t want to do.
Crowley: What was your mindset during such a challenging time? Where did you get the drive to keep going when things were so hard?
Kline: I found my strength in prayer and my incredible wife, Brittany. I owe my life to Brittany. She was and still is the guardian angel that got me through my depression. Depression is a weird thing because it is impossible to think clearly, have direction, and know that the situation you are in is only temporary. It will pass, it always does.
It was the first time I had ever dealt with anything involving my mental health. I have always been a very happy-go-lucky person. Going through this helped form the “never quit” mentality I hold on to and live out every day.
Once I was able to understand that everything in life is temporary, my depression quickly became a thing of the past.
Life is such a blessing and we should all be living it like it is our last day on Earth.
Crowley: Tell us how you were able to overcome such adversity and achieve massive success? What did the next chapter look like?
Kline: For me, it all started with overcoming my depression and leaving the career path I dreamed of my entire life. All I wanted to do since I was a young boy was became a police officer. I did everything in my power to make it happen, including becoming a licensed EMT and volunteer firefighter.
Before I left my job as a jail deputy, I went through the very competitive process of transferring to road patrol. I got the call that I got into the academy and my heart told me to turn it down. It was not the life I thought I wanted. The hours, stress, and time away from family was the exact opposite of what I wanted.
After turning down the road patrol position, I took a part-time job as an office manager to figure things out. I knew I wanted to be a business owner it was just a matter of figuring out what type of business I would be the most successful with.
Since I truly wanted ultimate freedom, starting an online business was the perfect fit.
Brittany and I saved up enough money for me to quit my part-time job and focus 100% on our blog. Within a couple of months of quitting, I was able to replace my income by picking up freelance work while I continued to grow our blog.
Over the next year or so, I continued to learn every single day, surround myself with successful mentors, and continued to not be afraid to try new things and fail.
Our blog now reaches over 250,000 readers every month, earns anywhere from $8k-$13 in revenue per month, and has a team of 5 part-time employees.
Crowley: Based on your experience, can you share 3 actionable pieces of advice about how to develop the mindset needed to persevere through adversity?
To be a business owner, you must have a no-quit, must-win attitude. The ups and downs of being an entrepreneur can be hard to deal with. I have found that morning meditation can help build this no-quit mindset.
2. Big Picture Goal Setting
As a business owner, you need to track your progress. It is impossible to know if you are heading in the right direction without tracking your progress. You should set goals often and check back in with them. The book 12 Week Year is a great place to start when you are totally new to setting and achieving goals. Find your vision in life and let that guide you as your north star.
3. Don’t Compare Yourself With Others
When you are trying to grow your business, it is very important to understand you are on your own journey. Comparison is the root of unhappiness. Focus on your own growth instead of others. It is important to keep an eye on your competition, but even more important to focus on your own results.
Crowley: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Kline: Absolutely! I fully believe that to achieve success, you to need have people around you supporting you. I can’t think of any business owner that has made it 100% on their own.
I knew that getting into the blogging community and making friends with the “big players” was important. So, from day one, I started networking and building real relationships with bloggers making upwards of $100k per month. Over time these same people became my mentors and more importantly my good friends.
Coaching and mentorship are vastly underrated and underused by business owners. Entrepreneurs by nature are stubborn thinking we know it all or can do it all by ourselves. One of the best investments you can make with the highest ROI for your business is paying someone to coach/mentor you as you grow.
I have also found mastermind groups to be extremely helpful as well.
Surround yourself with the people you aspire to be someday and your chances of making that happen will greatly improve.
Crowley: Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Kline: Yes! We have a bunch of products and courses that we are working on this year to help our readers achieve the life they want to live. We are committed to helping them find their freedom we have.
We recently launched The Savvy Couple Shop and plan on packing it full of useful products this year.
Crowley: You are a person of great influence. 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. 🙂
Kline: The movement I would want to start is helping families understand you don’t have to be stuck at a terrible 9–5 job 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. We want to help you find your freedom!
Crowley: Any parting words of wisdom that you would like to share?
Kline: If you have ever thought about being a business owner, do it!
We get one precious life to live, do not waste it. The last thing you are going to want to play through in your head on your deathbed is all of your regrets.
Go make it happen. Create the life you dream of. You can do it!
Crowley: How can our readers follow you on social media?
Kline: You can find us on all major social media channels with the @thesavvycouple handle. Or follow the links below.