Millennial Spotlights/ Millennials/ Money Matters

Millennial Spotlight: Jen Hayes

I’m Jen.  By day, I am an HR professional and by night, I am a frugal lifestyle blogger and freelance writer.

​I am passionate about helping fellow millennials to make smarter financial choices.  After I finished grad school in 2013, I found myself underemployed and buried in $75,000 of student loan debt.

A friend recommended Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover and I was hooked.  My husband and I are now hustling to pay off our combined $117,000 of student loans in just three years.  I write about getting out of debt, living frugally, and earning extra income on my blog Frugal Millennial.

What type of products of services does your business offer?

​The Frugal Millennial blog offers financial advice and tips for how to pay off debt quickly, save money, and build wealth.  I’d also like to offer e-books and possibly some online courses in the future.

How did you get started with The Frugal Millennial?

I was browsing Pinterest one day when I came across the blog A Beautiful Mess.  At the time, I had never heard of a “lifestyle” blog and I was fascinated by the idea.  I thought “I could actually do something like this!”  I wanted to write about a variety of topics but I needed some kind of overarching theme that would tie everything together.  I’m most passionate about frugality so that’s what I chose.

I wanted it to be a lifestyle blog rather than a niche personal finance blog because I find lifestyle blogs more interesting.  While I LOVE personal finance, it can be a bit dull at times and I couldn’t see myself writing about investment funds.  I’d rather write about fun topics like how to find free yoga classes or how to save money on puppy-related expenses.

What’s been the hardest part about starting your own business?

I think that a lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into blogging.  It’s fun, but it’s still work!  It’s also difficult to make money if you don’t have enough traffic.  The earning potential is unlimited, but in the beginning, you probably won’t be earning much.

Other people also don’t really take blogging seriously.  If I say I can’t do something because I need to write a freelance article or work on my blog, people seem confused by that.  They see blogging as more of a hobby than a side hustle or a job.

When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to unwind and refocus?

​I like to do yoga, go for long walks with my husband and our pug, or listen to music.

What resources have you found helpful in blazing your own trail?

It was Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover that first got me started on my journey toward financial freedom.  I also love listening to his radio show and my husband and I recently completed Financial Peace University.

Personal finance blogs and lifestyle blogs have also been very helpful.  Some of the blogs that have inspired me are Making Sense of Cents, Finance girl, The Budget Mama, and Living Well Spending Less.  Ruth Soukup’s book, How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, is a fantastic resource for bloggers who are interested in monetizing their websites.

If you could spend one day with any famous person, who would it be and why?

Dave Ramsey!  I would ask him for advice on so many things.  I’ve learned so much from his book and his class, but it would be nice to be able to ask him for more specific advice for my particular situation.

What’s currently on your radar? Tell us about your latest project.

​I have been trying out more affiliate marketing.  When I first started generating income from my blog, I was more focused on sponsored posts and freelance writing.  What makes affiliate marketing so appealing is that it’s passive income.  There are bloggers who make several thousand dollars every month just from affiliate marketing.  That’s my goal.

What advice do you have for today’s millennial professional?

​Make time for side hustles.  Most of us aren’t fortunate enough to pursue our dreams full-time and you may have to work some crappy jobs that you dislike.  But you can still find ways to follow your passion on the side.  Whether it’s starting a blog, running an Etsy shop, or starting a pet sitting business, there are so many options for side hustles these days.  This can be a good source of side income which will help you to pay off debt and/or build savings.  And who knows, it may eventually turn into a full-time job.

How can our readers connect with you?

​By day, I am an HR professional and by night, I am a frugal lifestyle blogger and freelance writer.  My husband and I are working toward paying off our combined $117,000 of student loans in just three years.  I write about getting out of debt, living frugally, and earning extra income on my blog Frugal Millennial.  You can find me on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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