So this week, I had to pleasure to interview Michelle, a full-time blogger that’s living the dream life – living financially free. And you know what the secret was? She started young. Michelle had some words to say and I think that some of her advice would be useful for anyone to follow. Michelle paid off her student loan of almost $40,000 before the age of 24. She has two undergraduate business degrees, honors, and a Finance MBA.
I think we all have something to take away from this interview, check it out.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
My name is Michelle and I run the blog Making Sense of Cents. It’s a personal finance blog mixed with a little bit of travel, self-employment, and some other topics as well. I love showing others how to do better with their finances, make more money, travel more, and so on. One of the most popular topics on my blog is side hustling, especially through starting a blog. Side hustling allowed me to pay off my student loans and it completely changed my life.
Oh yeah, I currently live full-time in my RV with my husband. We sold our house last year and have been traveling since!
What made you want to start your own blog?
I started my blog in August of 2011. Just one month before then, I didn’t even know blogs existed. I started one on a whim one day and the rest is history 🙂
What do you think made you stand out above the competition, and led you to success?
I’ve always been told from readers that they enjoy my style of writing. I like to write my blog posts in a conversational style. This makes it more fun for both me and my readers, plus it makes everything easier to understand. I also always make sure to provide high-quality content, I respond to every single email, message, and comment from readers, and more. I truly love blogging!
Personally, what are your biggest likes and dislikes about being an entrepreneur?
For me, there are definitely a lot more positives of being an entrepreneur than negatives. Positives include being my own boss, deciding how I will make an income, having unlimited income potential, creating my own schedule, and more. Negatives include how complicated taxes can be once you are an entrepreneur, especially an online one, as tax code isn’t so clear for us digital nomads.
What has been the biggest roadblock to overcome in your whole career?
I think the biggest roadblock has actually been myself. Lately, I have been completely different, but before I would hold myself back because I was too afraid. Too afraid of failure, too afraid of what may happen, too afraid of instability, and so on.
I’ve learned to kick those fears to the side because I know I’ll just regret something if I don’t try. It’s much better to try and fail than to wonder “What if?” for the rest of your life.
How did it feel being in debt? What should people nowadays do to try and avoid this?
Being in debt was stressful. I know my student loan debt wasn’t as high as some others out there, but it was too high for my comfort. I am the type of person who easily gets stressed out, so my debt drove me nuts.
My top tip is to only take on debt if it’s absolutely necessary. So many people take out too much extra when it comes to student loans just because it’s allowable. Then, they spend that extra on going out to eat, clothing, and more. You have to pay it back eventually, so it’s just not worth it!
How has your perspective changed about your day to day life now that you are free financially?
Getting rid of my debt completely changed my life. I felt much more comfortable leaving my day job so that I could pursue my business full-time, and that definitely paid off well.
What is the number 1 thing you think teenagers should focus on today in order to succeed later in life?
Oh, this is a tough question. I think teenagers should try to focus on everything, haha! Education is important, being happy is important, learning how to manage money is important, family is important, and so are connections and clubs. I think teenagers should learn great time management skills so that they can fit all of these important aspects into their life!
What do you do in your free time, when you’re not blogging or finding ways to make extra money?
RVing! My husband and I travel full-time. We love being outdoors so you can usually find us doing something outside every single day.
Thanks for your time, Michelle! If you guys want to check out her site, it’s Making Sense of Cents.
The takeaway from this: As a teenager, we need to start focusing on things, other than school. While having a strong education is very important, it’s necessary to realize that one must focus on other aspects of their life just as much: sports, hobbies, friends, connections, extra-curricular activities, family, and so much more! But about all, (and I completely agree with her) time management skills. That skill would be crucial if we truly want to stay happy and get work done in an efficient manner.
If you didn’t notice already, hard work definitely played a role in Michelle’s success. Don’t expect to achieve anything if you don’t put in the required work to do so.
So, what did you think of this interview? What are you taking away from Michelle’s advice? Is there anything else you would recommend a young teenager, or anyone for that matter, should do in order to be able to survive happily in the “real” world? Let us know in the comments!
Picture credits (in order, used with permission):