Kylie Travers is an amazing human. Being recognised as one of Australia’s leading bloggers is one thing, but it’s story of how Kylie reached this point that is truly inspiring.
Our paths crossed recently while recording a podcast for Finder; afterwards I had the privilege of chatting to Kylie one-one-one.
For anyone doing it tough right now; whether your are out of a job, just out of a luck, an entrepreneur-in-the-making, a parent with youngsters, maybe craving adventure, or simply some inspiration….you owe it to yourself to read on – this is an interview not to be missed!
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself…
I own The Thrifty Issue, a site helping Australian mums make and save money. Having gone from homeless single mum on Centrelink to multiple international award-winning CEO, author, speaker and charity ambassador I share all my tips to help other mums make the most of their money.
I am passionate about empowering women through financial independence, particularly due to my past experience of domestic violence, homelessness, paralysis and other life obstacles. You never know what life will throw at you so it’s best to be prepared and educate yourself so you can turn those obstacles into opportunities.
Along with The Thrifty Issue, I do travel, finance and marketing consulting and freelance writing. I especially love working with locally owned businesses in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, having spent much of my time there in the past 18 months, helping them expand their businesses.
Last year, I became a diver and even diving in a crocodile den, travelled around the islands and hiked through Slovenia as I believe in living a life you love and getting paid to do it. Everything about my life is aimed at enjoying life, spending quality time with my loved ones, empowering others, being true to myself and being financially free.
I’m currently based on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, with my partner and two daughters aged 11 and 12. We’ve been here a couple of months since being repatriated from the Solomon Islands and cannot imagine living anywhere else.
What is the Thrifty Issue all about, and who is your target market?
The Thrifty Issue is aimed at Aussie mums aged 25 to 45 and shares ways to make and save money which I personally do or have tried. I don’t promote anything I haven’t done and I’ve even trialled medical testing so I could write about it for my readers. It’s crucial to me that everything I share is relevant, I can back it up with personal experience and it is things other people can do. I love knowing the content I share has helped Aussie mums stay at home with their kids longer, pay off debt, have side hustles, leave abusive relationships and solve numerous issues in their lives.
How long have you been at it?
I purchased The Thrifty Issue in 2014 with the intention of flipping it. I was buying and selling a few sites at the time and this I got for a great price. Once I had it, I loved the community so much I decided not to sell. I started blogging at the end of 2009 with a different site and since then have founded or bought then sold a few sites.
In the past few years, my personal life took a lot of time with child custody (I won plus a 5 year protection order) and working on my travel career, so The Thrifty Issue took a backseat. I’m back doing more now that court is behind me.
Why did you get started – what was your motivation & inspiration?
I bought it to flip for a profit and actually made back the purchase price within a week. However, because I loved the community, I decided to keep it. My motivation for finance blogging and writing was originally about setting a goal to be a millionaire by the time I was 30. Blogging went well and it enabled me to leave my abusive marriage, I landed a book contract, international speaking and numerous awards. I then used my platforms to raise awareness and funds for homelessness and domestic violence, managing to raise over $30,000,000 within a few years for my selected charities.
So the motivation and inspiration behind everything I have done has been about empowering women as well as doing it flexibly around my own children due to how messy our personal life was at this time.
Is The Thrifty Issue your full time gig?
I make a full time income from it but work only a few hours a week now as I have been travelling extensively. I don’t think I have ever worked full time hours on it but it has completely supported my daughters and I, including their extra medical needs (my eldest has autism) and the high legal costs of custody. So it does well.
I prefer to have multiple streams of income and only work school hours so I structured my business and life this way. I’ve not really worked in a job for most of my adult life as writing and being self employed worked better for me and gave me flexibility.
What are your preferred avenues for monetisation?
Affiliate marketing is by far my favourite. Writing about things I use, how to save money with them, exclusive discounts for my readers from different companies etc. It is the easiest in my view because once the content is up, it makes money without any extra effort from me.
I also love ads (I am with MediaVine), my eBooks which again I like because once they are up, I don’t have to do much more and occasionally I will do sponsored posts but I am extremely particular about which brands I will do that for.
My preference is to monetise in a way where I don’t have to do much e.g. the affiliates and ads, and which I can expand easily through marketing.
What are the marketing tools & providers you recommend (for
blogging, hosting, domain registration, email marketing, automation
Siteground is the best hosting service I’ve used and I have used a few due to buying and selling sites. I use WordPress on all my sites which is easy to install through Siteground.
Domains are often done through CrazyDomains as they’re cheap and have a cashback option with another site. Email I use Convertkit. I used others but have found conversions and click throughs way better with Convertkit and it is easy to use.
I outsource some of the automation and scheduling of things such as Tailwind for Pinterest to my VA.
We are going through a bit of a change at The Thrifty Issue after I spent so much time away (the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu do not have reliable internet) and reviewing many of the tools we have used previously to streamline many of the things we do.
Can you explain your approach to writing awesome content consistently?
I have a content plan but for the most part, I am a creative and write when inspired. It’s not the best approach but it works for me. I write about things my readers want to know, things I am doing and I am always authentic, honest and thorough.
I don’t specifically write for SEO but I do use tools to ensure what I have written has good SEO.
Any advice for budding entrepreneurs seeking to follow a similar path?
Firstly, do not compare yourself to others and realise many people are full of it. Lots of income reports don’t include the expenses for their business and lifestyle plus they have been doing it longer. Be true to yourself and what you want but be smart and do market research to ensure what you want to do is viable.
Decide on the lifestyle you want, how much you want to make and go for it. Be sure to include the extra expenses such as tax, retirement, insurance etc that many forget when working out your goal amount. Break it down into achievable steps and follow your plan. Everything about my life, business and choices have been based on financial freedom and enjoying life with my family. Money wasn’t the main motivator but if it is for you, be more disciplined with a routine than I am.
When I was starting out, I got clear on my goals, knew the life I wanted then created a motivation wall and specific plan of action. My goals were written everywhere and every day I did something to get me closer to my goal. This meant, when I wanted to take time off to travel and when I had to take time off due to court, it was easy to do. Know what is important to you and structure the business around that.
Too often, I see people get so caught up in their business they lose their family and freedom. Focus on your true life goal and don’t lose everything in the pursuit of money, fame or success.