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Blogging and Beyond: Ruth Soukup’s Budgeting Exercise is Now an Expanding Business

Aug 23, 2018 05:00AM

Ruth Soukup went from overspending to overseeing a business where she doles out words of wisdom about budgeting, declut - tering and other life-improving skills. Her Living Well Spending Less website gets about a million page views a month

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, livingwellspendingless.com, 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.

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.

“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.”

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.

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.

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.”


Beth Luberecki is a Nokomis, Florida–based freelance writer and regular contributor to TOTI Media. Learn more about her at bethluberecki.com.