This week we turn around the tables and I am the one getting interviewed! Welcome guest host Jeff Fruhwirth as he interviews me about topics I am passioniate about including how I got started blogging, the name change to Personal Profitability, how to get started freelancing, how to start travel hacking, and a secret glimpse into my next project.
Resources Mentioned & Related Concepts
- Sustainable Life Blog
- 5 Steps to Start a Side Hustle
- How to Grow Your Hobby into a Serious Income Source
- The Complete Beginner Guide to Travel Hacking
- Money Mola
Eric Rosenberg: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome back to the Personal Profitability Podcast. As always I am your host, Eric Rosenberg. And today we are doing something a little different. We’re joined by a guest we’ve had once before. But he’s not going to be the guest; I’m going to be the guest. So today with me is one of my very good friends, probably my best blogger buddy if you want to call him that, Jeff Fruhwirth. Give a shout out, say hello.
Jeff Fruhwirth: Hi everybody. Good to be back.
Eric: Jeff, you might remember from, he was the very first interview of the podcast, so that was episode number three. Now were about three, four months in. It’s exciting we’re still going and it’s fun to have Jeff back. So as always for our interviews, we have our beer of the day. What are you drinking as you interview me Jeff?
Jeff: Well since it’s eight minutes after noon as we are recording this, I want a little lighter and grabbed a Utica Club Pilsener Lager.
Eric: That’s a good one. I like Utica, that’s a good brewery. I like their stuff. They’re consistent, they’re good, they’re flavorful. And I’m about to open my beer, I’ve never open a beer on the air like this before I think so see how it goes. Hopefully I won’t explode beer on microphone ‘cause the microphone costs way more than a beer. And now are you all thirsty out there in podcast land? Remember if you’re, we love, I always say it, personal finance should be fun so please do join me in a beer if you are able. Obviously if you’re in the car or at work and work frowns up on those things do not have a beer. But if you are able to you can join us. I’m actually having a really cheap beer that’s not that great today, that’s Simpler Times Pilsner, you can only get them at Trader Joes. But they’re better than a PBR and cost about the same as the PBR, and it’s alright, refreshing on a hot day, so I give it a try. It’s not my favorite beer ever but for the cost it’s pretty good. So cheers, Jeff.
Eric: Alright, so as I briefly mentioned everybody what we’re doing today, Jeff is going to turn the microphone around and interview me. And ask me some questions about my own journey and everything I’ve done with my personal finances, with my businesses, all that good stuff. So from this point forward, the whole interview, the whole podcast is in Jeff’s hands. I’m hoping it’s in good hands. This is a total experiment from me. But I trust Jeff, he’s a great guy. So Jeff it is all yours.
Sharing Expertise through Blogging
Jeff: All right thanks a lot Eric. So, I have a few questions prepared for you today, just so all of your podcasters can get to know a little bit about you. Better if they’re not frequent readers of the blog, and if they haven’t been reading your blog for six and so years that you’ve been writing I think. Okay, so Eric, for those of you that haven’t been following along in here – blogging, journey from the very beginning, can you talk a bit about how you started Narrow Bridge Finance and then the transition from that to Personal Profitability.
Eric: Sure. So I first started in, it was actually just after college, I got my first job ever out of school, was in a bank. There’s a local original bank in Denver area and while I was working there, I learned all this great stuff. They gave as a huge training course on all things bank related. And I was on the management trainee program so they put quite a lot of work into teaching us everything we know to be a Branch Manager. And I was acting as the Branch Manager in my time there. And I learned everything about how checking accounts work and savings accounts, and CDs and retirement accounts, and IRAs, and the tax implications of all these. I was the person who approved mortgage loans and new credit cards and new line of credit that came through our branch, and all the things that relate to underwriting the loans and the credit scores and the credit reports. So every piece of any personal relationship with the bank, I wasn’t doing as much business stuff at that point. I was really focused on individuals. I got trained and learned how to do all of it. And when I left the bank, I left, I was there about 6 months, it wasn’t really the right fit for me in my career for what I wanted to do.
But I really enjoyed learning everything I learned and decided to start a blog about it. I already actually had my first blog about a year or two before. I started a blog about Israel and the Middle East. I really enjoyed blogging and thought this would be an opportunity to do something little more professional, and be really helpful to people rather than just spew out my political opinions on a far reaching region of the world. So that’s how I started. I just wanted to share everything I’ve learned while working in the bank with readers.
I also just finished my own undergraduate finance degree. So I was pretty academically educated in personal finance and I managed to get out of undergrad without any debt. I’ve spent actually had full ride scholarship that I earned through working in a Boy Scout Camp. And I had to spend out of pocket, it was a less than a thousand dollars, about six, seven hundred dollars on my last month’s rent when I run out of scholarship money. They had the scholarship covered room board tuition fees, everything in college. And I got out of school debt free and thought this is an increasingly rare thing that people get out of school debt free. And I wanted to share that story and help people with everything I learned at the bank. So that’s how I got started.
Eric: The move to Personal Profitability actually just came, the idea came last summer, mid 2014. It was kind of a funny aha moment, I was in the shower at my old rental, and you know the best ideas come in the shower, often for a lot of people. So I was sitting in the shower thinking about the blog and what it’s about. I was really having a, kind of an existential period thinking about the blog and everything. I just gone to the World Domination Summit which is a big kind of entrepreneurship travel, do your thing love fest that’s run here in Oregon, in Portland. And I was all gung-ho about everything. I really wanted to rejuvenate things and be the best online presence I could be. The core that, is a big question, that time it was called Narrow Bridge Finance and I had been doing it for about five years. What’s Narrow Bridge Finance really about? What do I want to help people do? I’m kind of wondering on the direction of everything. My posts at that time if you look were working all over the map as well, I think they were all good and helpful but, they weren’t super focus on one direction. And when I was standing in the shower, I have that aha moment I was like “Oh I know what’s it about”. The words ‘Personal Profitability’ popped into my head. And I hurried up and rinsed off and dried off and ran downstairs and my wife was standing in the kitchen. I said to my wife, “I just figured out what Narrow Bridge Finance is all about – Personal Profitability.
And that’s the direction I went with it and I rebranded, I re-launched the blog with a new name, PersonalProfitability.com instead of Narrow Bridge.net. So I got my own real dot com like a grownup. And I put the new design, the new homepage, I launched this podcast, I refocused the blog posts on four different silos, four different main categories, about growing your wealth, paying off your debt, things like that. And that’s how I got here today.
Jeff: Very cool. Seems like it took you a little while to kind of get focused but you finally made it in the end.
Eric: It only took five years to figure out what I was writing about.
Jeffery: Right. Sometimes it’s a little bit tougher than you think.
Working on an MBA Degree and Paying Off Student Loan Debt
Jeff: Okay, so Eric you talked a bit about being able to get through undergrad debt free yet there were still a quite a few posts on your site about paying off student loan debt, can you talk about how that came to be?
Eric: Sure. So, about a year after I graduated from undergrad, I had that time working in the bank. Actually after that I got a waiter job. I was a server for about three months and those are actually wonderful experience I’ve written all about that as well. But then I got my next real job which turned out to be the start of my real career, I got a job at a major telecom company in the Finance and Accounting side. And when I was looking for that job at the same time, I started applying for grad schools ‘cause I knew in the long run I wanted to get an MBA; it has a lot of pretty big career benefits. I knew in the short term it wasn’t probably going to do much for me but where it would really help would be ten years down the road if I was up for promotion or a job at the same time with someone else that would be the thing that really set me apart. So you know what, at the financial analyst, senior analyst level, maybe manager level there’s not a huge benefit to an MBA but from the next step from there I knew that there would be a benefit.
So I thought it’s worth, it’s worth the cost and the effort and I decided to go for it. I did my MBA at the University of Denver, which is a private school in Denver. And I worked full time while going to school full time to help pay for it. But it was still an estimated full attendance cost of $90,000, which includes room and board and whatnot so I was going to have to pay that anyway. But $90,000 is no chunk of change and the tuition was sixty, seventy thousand dollars for the whole program, so that was a lot of money plus very expensive business school books. I was going to work and that helped pay for big part of it. I ended up with about $40,000 in student loans that I had to take out to help pay for it so, it was not, I didn’t get out free and clear like I did from undergrad.
Jeff: That’s a lot of money for that fancy pants MBA degree.
Eric: I actually have it, I’m looking at the framed certificate now. It’s funny you think about it, when you go to high school you’re working from when you’re five years old till your eighteen for a half of sheet of paper, that says you graduated and you can get a job that’s a little better than everyone else’s job. Then you go to college for four years or five years for some people maybe be longer, to get a full size sheet of paper that says you can get an even better job. And then I spent ninety thousand dollars for a slightly enlarged sheet of paper that says I can get a better job than that. So it’s funny to think about, the piece of paper you got when you graduate, your diploma.
But yeah it was a huge investment but I think it did pay off. I actually, my job after that first telecom job I mentioned, I got about a couple months after I graduated, five six months after I graduated. Somebody who worked on another big telecom company from my MBA Program, and sent me a note on LinkedIn and said, ‘hey we have an opening on my team and we’re looking for someone with finance and telecom experience’, and I came to mind for him. And that was my next job, and it gave me, about a five or six thousand dollar raise and not huge. But if you think about just that direct job I got because of having gone to the MBA Program which there’s no way I would have that without, if over your career in five-six thousand dollars a year, you never lose that anytime you move your raises usually go with you, unless you really take a big change in career path. So over, I don’t know I could do the math and figure how long would take for that five thousand dollars to add up to ninety thousand but…
Jeff: Eighteen years
Eric: Eight years?
Eric: Eighteen? Okay so when I’ll be, I don’t know, about ten more years, I will have paid for with just that move. But also because of the MBA I got another raise. My next job I got, the one that moved me to Portland, came with about 40% raise. I don’t think there’s any way I would have gotten out without MBA. That’s close to my salary now and I don’t want to disclose what I make at my day job, I do disclose everything I make online, totally up to me. But I don’t ever totally disclose my day job income, but I’ll say that 40% raise, it paid for the MBA and a lot less than eighteen years or will have paid for it a lot less than eighteen years.
Denver Roots and the Decision to Move to Portland
Jeff: That’s pretty interesting. So you said you moved to Portland after living your second telecom job. Can you talk about that a bit, I mean you were pretty well established in Denver. I know that you went to high school there and you have lived there for quite a while, you went to University in the area and then you also got your MBA at the University of Denver. So you seem to, you’re pretty well rooted in Denver, so I’m sure that picking up and moving to Portland would’ve been a relatively difficult proposition or had a lot of moving parts at least?
Eric: Yes. That was a really a big move. One of the bigger decisions, I think I ever probably made in my life, was that one. And we moved to Denver when I was five years old, actually moved on my fifth birthday from Indianapolis, that’s with them before and this was when my dad got a new job offer, a company that ended up getting bopped by Sam’s club. He was a higher up person in the company, so it’s a good opportunity for the family and a good move. And I started kindergarten in Denver. And my sister was born in Denver, my little sister. So we were definitely a long time Denver family. We’ve been there twenty something, how old I was when I left, probably about twenty-twenty five years.
So, somewhere in that time frame, twenty four years maybe in Denver. And it was a big part of my identity. I’m still Denver Eric on Twitter, I’m from Denver, I thought about changing it but haven’t yet. So it was definitely a big thing to pick up and move. I had friends, multi over decade and had friendships, some friends from when I was in kindergarten that I still keep in touch with. People I’ve known twenty years are all still in Denver. But I thought I’d always had kind of an itch to try something else. Most of my itches were the move internationally. I’ve looked very seriously moving to Israel at one point. I still play with the idea of moving to London at some point. So I can’t tell I’ll never still live internationally, it’s on my life list to spend six months in Europe. So some point I will do that. If it’s on my list I’ll do it.
But originally before I decided to move to Portland, I was thinking about moving to New York City. A big part of that was I dated most of the Jewish girls in Denver that I thought I was going date ever. And for me marrying a Jewish girl was an important thing, I wasn’t going to marry anyone else. I’m pretty religious guy and I had run out of Jewish girls in Denver that seemed to be the type that I would be interested in dating or would be interested in dating me, one of the two. And I was thinking I want to move in New York, there are plenty of Jewish girls there and with a finance degree no problem in finding a job. But then I did find my nice Jewish girl in Denver, who’s now my wife, and she was definitely not a New York City type. So New York City became, it was not a place we’re gonna move in at that point.
And we talked a lot about where we might want to move. So I was really having this itch I felt like I had to go somewhere and I hadn’t picked why I’d love Denver, spent a lot of time there. I didn’t pick Denver, it was picked for me by family. I’d never really picked where I was going to live outside of Colorado and I moved to Boulder for college and couple times in Denver that I’d pick. But I never picked somewhere that I wanted to live just because I wanted to live there.
And my wife, then fiancé, and then I, we checked out Seattle, we checked out Portland, we talked about San Diego and Portland was the one that we decided was the winner and we just picked. I found a job here. I’d applied online to, probably fifty jobs, a lot of jobs. Once I made up my mind that I was going and we both agreed we were going to go, I applied for tons of tons of jobs. One of them I applied for, the recruiter for that job emailed me back and said that this job isn’t going to work for you but we have another that might be a great fit. And we had couple of phone calls and there are couple phone interviews and a Skype interview, and three weeks later I was on the way to Portland.
Transition to Freelance Work
Jeff: Okay, Eric. You got a job and moved to Portland. I was under the impression that pretty much nobody under the age of 35 in Portland even had a job. That’s nice that you got one beforehand. You also do a little freelance work on the side. Can you tell me how you got started and maybe give a few tips for somebody who’s looking to start freelancing and earning a little side income to pay down their debt or save for a move or just start building their own business so they can quit their job and work for themselves?
Eric: Sure. So I started freelancing kind of accidentally but it was all related to what was then Narrow Bridge Finance. I always insisted on doing all of my own web design work, even if it was stressful and frustrating. Because at that point it saved me a lot of money. I wasn’t making a lot of money on the blog, so I wanted to make sure the money I was making I got to keep. I didn’t want to be losing money on my online enterprises.
So I just learned how to do it all myself. I became very good with WordPress and online hosting and all these other things. And I started helping out friends when they wanted to start blogs. Some of my other finance blogging friends asked for help moving blogs from one host to another, going from Blogger to WordPress. There’s all sorts of maintenance things that go into blogging behind the scenes that I did so many times, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me to do it. But for people who’ve never done it before was pretty big. So I started helping friends for free initially then figured out maybe I’ll charge a little bit for this. And a little bit you know, grew and grew and I kept raising my rates.
That’s how I became an online WordPress consultant. I do quite a few designs, I just finished one actually last night for studenomics.com for my friend Martin. I’m always working on new designs and helping people out. And that has become a pretty good income source. For really close friends I give a buddy discount but for most people I charge a decent rate for all the work I put in. It’s not easy, it’s not zero hours. I’m not just taking a template and clicking deploy. There’s a lot of work and thought design that goes into it. And that is a valued skill. I looked at what other freelancers were charging for that type of skill and I was way under the market initially and I raised my rates up to be more competitive with what other people are doing. So it’s worth my time to invest all that time into someone’s site design.
In parallel to that, also because of the blog I became, I’d like to think a much better writer. I wouldn’t say I’m the best writer by any means, but I’ve improved a lot. If you go way back into my oldest posts they’re not all that great. And my newer posts, I’d like to think they’re pretty good and they’re always getting better I think. We can always improve in anything we do.
But the online writing also led to a freelance direction. I started writing on some other sites for small fee. It began pretty low and that fee has grown overtime. It started, I think my first freelance post I was doing were about $25 a post. Which for, still for a brand new freelancer, isn’t a bad rate. It’s not the best rate but it’s not bad for getting started out. And I grew my rate from there, quite a bit. Now I, I can’t say what all my top rates are, but I have done posts for some clients in the $300 range. I typically do more than a hundred to two hundred dollar range, some over two hundred, but mostly in the one hundred-two hundred dollar range and that number is continuing to rise as my skills are more refined and my expert status is more recognized and in demand.
Jeff: Very cool.
Jeff: So for someone who would want to get started as a freelancer what would you suggest, I mean you kind of have two separate freelancing gigs going on – you do the WordPress, technical help and design and everything related to that and you also do blog post writing and longer features style article writing, which one would you recommend someone focusing on if they wanted to get started?
Eric: I would look at what you’re good at and what you already enjoy. If you like code and the challenge of, you know, looking at PHP and CSS and HTML, and putting the puzzle together, and figuring out how to overcome sometimes very frustrating challenges, web design can be very lucrative. There are people who charge ten times what I do. They probably put more time but not ten times as much as I put in for each site. So that can be very lucrative.
There’s always people looking for websites. Every business now no matter what should have an online presence. It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant or a plumber or a multinational corporation. You should always have some sort of online presence; that’s your own website that you control. And that means there’s a lot of companies out there who need your services. You have to be willing to pitch yourselves and market yourselves. And that’s true with any freelance job. You can’t assume people will just come to you, but sometimes they do which is always nice, I’ve had people who just come to me. But generally you have to get out there and hustle and apply and look for the jobs and look for the gigs and network a lot. And for website design networking is huge and getting your name out there and putting yourself out there. For so, if you’re more technically inclined that’s a great way to go. If you are less technical obviously, that’s not something that will appeal to you and writing might appeal to you a lot more.
But there’s a lot of other different types of freelance gigs outside of those two as well. I have my sister-in-law is building a growing graphic design business. That is something that I have very little skills and knowledge in. I can do just enough to help people or put some images together on a websites that I build. But whenever I need a logos or anything I actually point even my own clients to her because I know she’ll do a much better job than I could ever do on a graphic design. She’s creative and clever and fun. So she’s building that business that something that I can’t do. So really find what you’re good at and what you enjoy. That is something somebody would be willing to pay money for. And you can look, one place to look for ideas is go to Fiverr, fiverr.com and see what people are paying five bucks for. And now there’s add on gigs you can make way more than five dollars from Fiverr. That is a place to see what people are doing online for money. You can see all the different categories of gigs. You can also look at formerly ODesk. That’s where I find some other freelancers I’ve hired who are more technical developers who can create custom plugins, things like that. It’s now called upwork.com instead of ODesk; so that’s a weird one to say, from ODesk to Upwork. Upwork is another place to look. You can list your skills, you can see what categories people are hiring for and take some qualification tests, even the show that you are well qualified and deserving of being hired. So you can start on one of those places and see what other people are doing and maybe even sign up yourself and list your own skills and start building up a client base.
Jeff: Okay those sound like some great tips for anyone, and as usual the most important part of any tip that you get online or off is to actually take action on the advice.
Eric: Yes. I’ve seen so many people just talk about what they’re going to do and keep trying to learn more and more and more about being the best at it. But unless you just start, you’ll never make a dollar. You can’t sell something that’s not for sale. So even if you’re not totally ready yet, just dive in and give it a shot. You can learn along the way. So there’s definitely been WordPress issues and even some writing things that would come up that I haven’t known how to do it, I had to learn. They make me better and more valuable. But I’ve always been able to figure it out.
Jeff: Alright. So let’s move on to the last question I have prepared. I noticed on your site and on your podcast, you talked about travel quite a bit. You seem to go quite a few places, I mean, you and I have been internet friends since 2009 or 2010 and you’ve gone to Spain since I’ve known you. You just got back from there, you’ve gone to Canada, you’ve gone to California multiple times, you’ve gone to Israel I believe, New York City.
Eric: You’re just talking about the last couple months there.
Jeff: Can you tell everybody how much all that cost for you and how you can save money while doing all that?
Eric: Sure. So, I have, so Jeff eluded I talk about travel hacking a lot. All these trips would not be possible if I had to pay full price. The plane tickets, if you pay list price can be a lot of money, thousands of dollars for big international trips. Hotels, also a hundred dollars a night. There’s a reasonable hotel rate for a lot of hotels, but nice hotels can cost hundreds and hundreds a night especially if you’re on a multi-week trip that can add up to thousands of dollars very quickly.
I do what is commonly called as travel hacking. That is trying to take advantage, not illegally or breaking the rules, but within the frameworks of how the system works. Try to earn and build up a huge point and mile balance as cheaply as possible. To use those for free and discounted travel around the world. And as Jeff mentioned, since I’ve started travel hacking, my biggest international trips have been two trips to Israel. One solo, actually it was with my mom, but I paid for my own way. And one with my wife, who then my girlfriend, we went to my cousin’s wedding in Tel Aviv and all around Israel. One trip, my first big travel hacking with a friend to London, Paris and Amsterdam. And just the last three weeks ago I got back from two weeks in Spain, Gibraltar and Portugal. And actually just this morning I booked to flight to Sta. Barbara and then another one to L.A. We have two trips to California coming up. One of them was nearly free, the other one for two us from Portland to L.A round trip was seventeen thousand miles and twenty dollars out of pocket. And the seventeen thousand miles cost me almost nothing, so, it was a twenty-twenty five dollar trip to California for our flights. So doing this is just added, it takes a little bit of work and actually a lot of work and a lot of time. So I’ll give you a quick high level of how I get started with travel hacking so you can keep learning. I have a post on this that I’ll put in show notes, so you can see my, it’s actually almost more than an eBook than a post, it’s about eight to ten thousand words. It’s pretty big and detailed.
The basic idea of how I travel hack is you look for the best signup bonus credit card offers available today that would work with the airlines and travel habits that you have. So if you live in Denver, having a lot of United miles will be really great coz United as a huge hub there. But having a ton of American Airline miles not as useful because you have to go through Dallas, let’s say to go most places, or Phoenix. There’s a big gateway hub the cities that airlines have, and Denver was really easy, because we had United and SouthWest and Frontier all with major hubs and operations in Denver. Living in Portland we have a quite a bit more limited. We have Alaska Airlines here which is a little tougher to get miles for there’s still ways to do it.
But you have to really think about what airlines you use in, what places you want to travel, or travel regularly, if you travel to whatever city in America to go back home and visit family, you want to be able to get there easily. If you like crossing the pond and go in to Europe, you want to get there easily so, you have to think about that. There’s a few big travel rewards cards, some come from Chase, some come from Barkley cards, some come from City Bank, they’re the biggest for the travel hacking cards, there’s others out there. And when you sign up you get this big sign up bonuses, fifty thousand miles. My best was a hundred thousand American miles for a card. And some of these cards do have a renewal fees you have to plan out when you want to close the cards, if you want to keep them open year to year. There’s many of them I do because the value I get from the miles and free travel I calculated is worth more than the annual fee. But it’s not always the case, you have to plan that out.
Eric: But you also, when you sign up for these cards, have to hit a minimum spend level within a certain number of months to get the big bonus. So one example, the Chase Sapphire prefer, the last I saw, you’ve to spend $3000 within three months to get a forty thousand point bonus. That’s always changing so by the time you hear this it might be outdated. But those types of deals are very common. But sometimes if you sign for, I often sign up for multiple cards in the same day for credit reporting reasons, which I get into more detail about in those blog posts, but when you sign up for three or four cards in a day that have a two to five thousand dollars minimum spend, one of them I had to sign up for I think had a fifteen thousand dollars spend I had to get for a hundred thousand miles. All of the sudden you had to spend $20000 on your credit cards in three, four months which is a lot more money that most of us earn not alone could spend on credit cards.
So there’s this technique used called ‘manufactured spending’ where you go buy gift cards and reloadable bank cards and cash cards with your credit card. So when you swipe the card it looks like a credit card purchase, you spent five hundred dollars or thousand dollars. But really out of pocket you only spent five dollars. And you can cash out those gift cards and cash reloadable cards to pay off your credit card bills, it’s kind of a cycle. And you’re not really spending that money. So that’s the basics of how it works.
There’s also the other side of how you use it. Booking reward travels not as easy because with cash you click buy and it’s done with awards you have to buy the best seats, and you don’t want to pay, there’s discounted seats and double price seats depending on what your airline is. They’re called super saver awards or something like that. And you don’t want to, you get half the value per mile that you could get.
So there’s a lot of moving parts to it but it’s totally durable, totally, anyone can do it if you have good credits score that’s a big part of it and you manage your credit well. If you spend uncontrollably when you have credit cards, this is not for you. But if you have good credit card habits and you think ahead, and are willing to plan and do work, you can really go anywhere in the world without spending all that much money.
I have enough miles and points right now, that I could take myself to Europe and back, not including my wife, I think five or six times. So with my wife there’d be two or three round trips to Europe or it takes more points to go to Asia sometimes or Australia. We could go anywhere in the world right now for free with our miles or very close to it, and at least once or twice and that’s for the two of us. So there’s a lot of great value to that. When I just went on my trip to Spain we used miles to get there and you know the routings not always super easy when you use miles. We had a couple stops both ways but they weren’t too bad. And we also got, we stayed in hostels for part of our trip in Spain to save some money, and we stayed in a five star Sheraton in downtown Lisbon using a combination of cash and points. There’s differently you can use your points at hotels some are fully points, some are fully cash. Or you can do a combination of cash and points. Not usually gives you a better point value and if you just did all points. So we stayed in a room that with a little thing on the back of the door, so this room normally costs four hundred and fifty euros a night, we had it for seventy five euros a night.
There’s lots of great tricks you can do and use and it will save you tons of money on travel. And I think I really recommend anyone, if travelling the world, the world’s a big place, and if you’ve never been outside for your comfort zone you can learn a lot about people and yourself and the whole world by going to see it. It’s all out there waiting for you.
Jeff: That’s a lot of information and for those of you who might be a little overwhelmed I highly recommend you check out the Ultimate Beginner’s guide to travel hacking, I believe Eric called it, on the site that will give you few good places to get started.
Jeff: One last question Eric before I keep you too long, what’s next for you and your wife and I guess your family now, and Personal Profitability and your freelance business?
Eric: Sure. So as Jeff slightly eluded to something that I’ve shared with my email subscribers, will be the first time I’m saying it on the podcast I am expecting my first child with my wife, obviously it takes two to make a baby, so yeah, we’re expecting a new child. We don’t know the gender yet. We just found out couple months ago, and we are so excited to be new parents. It’s the right time and the right step for us, we’re absolutely thrilled. So that is a big change. When I’ve been working my full time job and doing all my freelance stuff and my own blogs on the side, it’s a lot of hours, it takes a lot of time to do all of this.
And I have to now think about prioritizing my time because obviously, I don’t want to be the workaholic dad that doesn’t spend time with my kids especially when they’re little and growing up. So, I have been working, I have brought on a new VA, a new virtual assistant whose helping take off some of the load of repetitive tasks and things that I don’t like doing as much for the blogs. She’s doing some of the formatting and the scheduling of my blog post, something that I’ve always done for myself. I’ve had, on and off had freelance writers writing on the site to help out as well, and they’re continuing on. I have one freelance writer right now and with him and the VA together, those are posts I hardly have to do a thing with which is really nice, so I just give them one time edit myself. I also actually have a VA that helps edit these podcasts episode so, you won’t hear it when you’re listening, but Jeff and I had some technical issues with our connection, and the VA that I have will edit all of those out and make it a nice good experience for you. And that’s time that I’m now saving for spending with my family and preparing to spend with my family.
So next big steps I’m keeping going with all the things that I’m doing and enjoying. I have been scaling back a little bit on my web design work because that’s pretty time intensive for the ROI that I get out of it. And I’m refocusing some of my efforts on my best clients for both web design and freelance writing.
And I’m starting a new venture also on the side, with, this time I found a partner. And you can go see the site if you’re looking at it, as this has been recorded you’re just going to get a landing page with an email form, but the website behind it will be opening at the coming weeks, it’s called Money Mola, which is M-O-N-E-Y M-O-L-A dot com. And the idea is, it’s a site to help people who lend money to family and friends better manage that so it’ll let you user auto pay and the same type of loan amortization tools that you get when you get a loan from the bank except you don’t have to go through a bank. So if you’re loaning a five hundred dollars to a cousin or if you have a rich uncle who people come to for money you can track all these loans now, whether it’s to family or friend, you can manage all that together. And we’ll see how that goes we’re not live yet, but we’re going to be starting at the end of June hopefully. We’ll start out the testing, so I’ll be calling out friends like Jeff to test that out, to see how it works. In July we’ll start adding the Auto Pay and ACH features so people can pay each other through our website. And hopefully in August or September timeframe before FinCon comes up and we’re all together with my finance blogger friends. We want to have the whole site ready to go and up and live. So if we’re on schedule, within a couple months, I’ll also be a tech web entrepreneur.
Jeff: That’s a quite a bit of things you got on your plate, Eric.
Eric: I keep busy and I’ll still find time to have a beer and go ride my bike from time to time. So, cheers!
Jeff: Alright, well thanks for giving me the opportunity to lead your podcast, and sitting down with me to help your readers get to know little bit more about you.
Eric: Thank you, everyone knows how to find me, I’m at personalprofitabiltiy.com or hopefully you are subscribed to the podcast. You can find it on iTunes or Stitcher. And if you have a moment to leave a rating hopefully leave a good one, I’d really appreciate it, it helps me a lot. If you want to know more about Jeff you can find him at sustainablelifeblog.com. He’s also on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else. Is there anything else you want people to know on how to find you Jeff?
Jeff: No, those are the best places to find me online.
Eric: Great, so you had a sustainablelifeblog.com and you can find Jeff. He’s doing lots of projects too. We talked, as I mentioned, I think it was episode three so you can go back and listen to my interview of Jeff of what he’s doing. He’s doing some SEO work which is really great helping out other bloggers and website owners to improve their websites. He has his own blog and his own baby who he just had. How old is your daughter now? Year and a half?
Jeff: Fifteen months
Eric: Fifteen months? So I’ve been lucky enough to meet his daughter. She’s totally adorable. So I’ll be joining Jeff in the path of fatherhood. And he is a great guy lives Wyoming, he does some very cool stuff. So please do give him a visit and check out the show notes at, this will be at, personalprofitability.com You can click on the little podcast logo on the homepage there at the bottom, and that will take you to the list of all the podcast episodes or you can check it out on iTunes.
So thank you everybody so much for listening. It really means a lot that you took the time to hang out with us today. And I hope you find it helpful and useful. If you have any questions, you can all shoot me an email at [email protected] And until next time, my friends, stay profitable.