Ruth Soukup is a true American success story. Once her husband put her and their family on a budget, the mom-of-two got serious about dollars and cents, and is now a 7-figure millionaire. Today, she’s teaching others how to reach the same level of success, even if it means doing it scared.
How did you get started blogging?
I started my blog in 2010, not because I was some money guru. It was really the opposite. My husband and I were fighting about money because I was going to Target—a lot! I had two little kids at home and was usually looking for a way to get out of the house.
Target is easy and fun. No matter what you go there for, it’s always a $300 trip.
Every time! So that was part of the problem. We got into this big fight and finally at the end of it he said, “I’m putting you on a budget. If you want to spend it all on socks..” which is really weird because we live in Florida and we don’t really wear socks. [laughs] So he put me on this very strict budget and that’s when I decided to start my blog, Living Well Spending Less.
It was amazing how quickly the accountabilities really started to make a difference in my life, but it was also interesting how many other people were struggling with the same thing. That connected with people and the business and the blog started to grow from there.
I think a lot of people struggle with money but don’t want to admit that they are. So it’s a relatable thing.
It’s amazing how much money permeates everything that we do. When we’re stressed about money, that stress will translate to our marriage and to how good we feel about ourselves. When our wallet is out of control and our spending is out of control, our lives feel out of control.
Over the years, my passions have sort of shifted not just focused on budgeting because I feel that I’ve gotten better control but I’m interested in learning how to do other things more efficiently. How can I spend my time more wisely and spend less time in the kitchen? That’s been a really fun thing and it’s been great to take my readers along on that journey. I have a planner and I love talking about time management, goal-setting, and all of those things.
I live for that stuff. I’m all about productivity and list-making. Honestly, I’ll make a list of things—
You’ve already done! [laughs] I do that too!
So when did you actually start to embrace budgeting?
That took a little while. I started the blog and then I started couponing. That was one of the first ways that I saved money. I realized that if I was going to get a certain amount of money a month for everything, then I need to use it wisely. If I spend less money on food, then I have more money for…shoes! Really, a noble purpose there! As I was doing that, it was about at that time that the show Extreme Couponing came out. I had started doing it right before the show came out, and that’s when my blog took off because people were searching for couponing and found me.
My husband and I wound up taking a Financial Peace University class. They were offering it at our church and my husband didn’t want to go, but it was for couples. What it did for us was that it gave us an opportunity to talk about money without fighting, which we had never really done before. It helped him to understand where I was coming from and it helped me to understand where he was coming from. Dave Ramsey calls it Gazelle Mentality, where you really want to succeed. We wound up paying off our mortgage and we became 100% debt-free. That was a game changer to get us on the same page which we had never been before.
Do you ever have slip ups now when it comes to money? You mentioned shoes a couple of times.
Yes, I do love shoes. I’m at a point now where I’m better at making money but I live within my means. We have some things that we’re really frugal on, and thankfully my business has been really successful. We have been really blessed. But we are debt-free, we own a rental property debt-free; I just bought a headquarters building and paid cash for that. We share a car and drive a 2002 Tahoe, so there are so many ways in which we’re frugal, but there are ways that I like to splurge. I would say that shoes are probably still my biggest splurge.
I think that’s the balance. There are two ways to go rich. First is to want everything you have and two is to have everything that you want. Most of us are not going to have everything we want if we’re not satisfied with little, we’re not going to be satisfied with a lot. But we can always work on contentment. The other side of that is that you can go out and make more money. I have this business and a blog and I grew it into a 7-figure business, which is pretty amazing. But I was also able to teach other people how to do that. First I wrote a book called How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul. It was kind of random and I never expected it to go anywhere. It went to #2 on the Amazon list the day it came out, so I realized that people were interested in this topic.
From there, some people wanted to know more and asked if I could do consulting. I tried that for a while, but people were asking the same questions over and over again. They wanted to know step-by-step how to be successful. I started this course, called Elite Blog Academy in 2014, and we now have over 8,000 students. We have had incredible success stories, of people who started from zero and now have 6- and 7-figure businesses. It’s been so cool to watch. I teach out learning how to refine your message, meaning figure out what you want to say, what you’re good at, and who you’re writing to. Start creating some amazing content and connect with your audience, and figure out a way to perfect your presentation. Then, you have to grow your audience. It’s only hard because some people try to start it too early. Then we talk about monetizing your blog. Finally, it’s about building your business and systematizing what you’re doing and how to do it better.
Let’s talk about Do It Scared, which is an awesome name!
I would say that is my heart. It almost feels like a culmination of everything that I’ve been talking about for the last eight years. It’s one of the core values of my company and my own personal motto for a lot of my adult life. I talk about it with my Elite Blog Academy students and also at Living Well, Spending Less. It’s something we all face. We’re all scared of something and it’s about courage and taking action in the face of fear. Sometimes you just have to take that step, even though you don’t know what the step after that will be. I’m starting this podcast, and I’m super pumped about it. It’s a chance to talk about facing your fears, overcoming adversity, and doing what you love, which is important for everyone.