Blog­ging and Be­yond

Ruth Soukup’s bud­get­ing ex­er­cise is now an ex­pand­ing busi­ness

RSWLiving - - Contents - BY BETH LU­BERECKI

In 2010, Ruth Soukup never could have imag­ined that she’d be shar­ing her thoughts with more than a mil­lion peo­ple via a blog, pod­cast and best-selling books. At that point, she was a stay-at-home mom with a Tar­get shop­ping prob­lem that was wreak­ing havoc on her mar­riage. Know­ing she had to change, Soukup started her blog, liv­ing­well­spend­in­g­, to re­place her buy­ing habit and help hold her­self ac­count­able, writ­ing about ways to save money and find hap­pi­ness in the life she had. “I’ve al­ways liked to write, and I was try­ing to fig­ure out how to live well and spend less,” Soukup ex­plains. “I had no in­ten­tion of turn­ing it into a busi­ness. It was just lit­er­ally some­thing to do that wasn’t go­ing to Tar­get ev­ery day.”

But the Punta Gorda, Florida, res­i­dent re­al­ized she was on to some­thing that could make money—and maybe one day al­low her hus­band to quit the aero­space engi­neer­ing job he hated and stay home with their two daugh­ters. “He looked at me and said, ‘Honey, that is the stu­pid­est thing you’ve ever said. You can­not make money on a blog,’ ” re­calls Soukup.

She proved him wrong. By 2013, the blog’s au­di­ence had grown to more than a mil­lion visi­tors a month—and her hus­band was able to quit his job so she could fo­cus full time on the blog. “It felt like a very big scary leap,” she says. “But he came home and the very next month my in­come sky­rock­eted. Hav­ing that time to be fully fo­cused on blog­ging is when it re­ally took off.”

A mil­lion page views per month and al­most 700,000 fol­low­ers on Face­book are im­pres­sive stats that have helped Soukup land money-mak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties such as spon­sored posts. But the num­ber that means the most to her is the 1 mil­lion sub­scribers on her email news­let­ter list.

“I have no con­trol over Face­book or In­sta­gram and their al­go­rithms,” she says. “It’s not that we don’t use all of those tools; we def­i­nitely do. But my ad­vice is never build your plat­form on some­one else’s plat­form. I have more con­trol over email, and it’s more in­ti­mate, too.”

Soukup has found that she’s not the only one who strug­gles with stick­ing to a bud­get, stay­ing or­ga­nized or get­ting din­ner on the ta­ble. “I think that for women es­pe­cially we have this idea that we’re sup­posed to be com­pletely bal­anced in all ar­eas of life,” she says.

“Yet if you look at peo­ple who are out there just crush­ing it, it’s usu­ally not be­cause they’re bal­anced. It’s be­cause they’ve cho­sen to be ‘all in’ in one or two ar­eas. That’s one of the things I love about ‘Liv­ing Well Spend­ing Less’—it helps women fig­ure out bet­ter sys­tems to do those things we feel like we have to do with­out feel­ing guilty about it.”

Now Soukup’s busi­ness has moved be­yond just the blog. She’s au­thored sev­eral books, in­clud­ing the best-selling Liv­ing

Well, Spend­ing Less and How to Blog for Profit With­out Selling Your Soul. And she be­gan cre­at­ing prod­ucts af­ter read­ers clam­ored for a phys­i­cal ver­sion of a dig­i­tal home-plan­ning work­book she de­vel­oped.

When Soukup kept get­ting ques­tions about how to mone­tize a blog and cre­ate a suc­cess­ful busi­ness like hers, she launched Elite Blog Academy in 2014. It’s an on­line boot camp that’s trained 8,000 stu­dents so far. “We’ve lit­er­ally taught thou­sands of peo­ple how to do what I do and cre­ate six- and seven-fig­ure busi­nesses,” she says.

Her mul­ti­fac­eted com­pany is housed in a charm­ing cot­tage she pur­chased in down­town Punta Gorda in 2017. That’s where she does photo shoots, writes blog posts and books, houses vis­it­ing re­mote staff mem­bers (she has 14 full-time em­ploy­ees) and works on her lat­est ven­ture—the Do It Scared pod­cast.

“Do it scared” has been a long­time motto for Soukup. The pod­cast dis­cusses top­ics such as qui­et­ing neg­a­tive voices in your head. She’s work­ing on a Do It Scared book that comes out in 2019. “I just feel so pas­sion­ate about help­ing peo­ple face their fears, over­come ad­ver­sity and truly cre­ate a life they love. It’s never too late to go af­ter your dreams.”

Soukup and her hus­band are no longer bur­dened by debt and have more money to “play with” these days. But she still prac­tices what she preaches. “There are so many ways that we are still fru­gal. My hus­band and I still share our 2002 Ta­hoe. We pretty much only buy BOGOs [at Publix] ev­ery week. But I like know­ing that some­times I can splurge and not feel guilty about it. I still re­ally like shoes.”

Ruth Soukup has au­thored sev­eral pop­u­lar books that give read­ers money-sav­ing tips and ad­vice on top­ics like or­ga­niz­ing and blo gging.

A new flo­ral ver­sion of the Liv­ing Well Plan­ner launches in Septem­ber. Soukop first cre­ated the plan­ner af­ter read­ers asked for a phys­i­cal ver­sion of a dig­i­tal work­book she de­vel­oped.

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