Today we are sharing with you our interview with an incredibly successful Youtuber and blogger, Nicole Thelin. Nicole is the founder of the well-known Youtube channel Low Income Relief and the homonymous blog.
It’s a true pleasure to publish this interview today, as I really admire her work.
Sira: It’s an honor to speak with you today, Nicole. I would love to know more about your story and your background. Give us some details about your journey as an influencer and digital entrepreneur.
Nicole: Sometimes, our best stories start in the most unlikely places. My journey to digital entrepreneurship began when my husband was abruptly medically discharged from the US Army. We found ourselves on the wrong side of the country, unsure how we would get home or what we would do next.
We really struggled for a while. Both of us were able to get jobs fairly quickly, but we couldn’t afford a place to live. We moved around, staying with friends and family members for several weeks. It didn’t take long for our situation to become unsustainable, and we discovered we had two weeks to find a solution or we would be on the streets.
I started spending every available moment at the local library, trying to figure out how we would survive. I looked for help everywhere. It was the first time in my life that I encountered things like section 8 and low income housing… but I quickly discovered that there were a wealth of resources out there that I had never heard of before.
Within two weeks, we were living in a beautiful townhouse in a nice neighborhood. Several community agencies had contributed to our move-in costs. A food bank filled our cupboards and refrigerator with needed food. Someone else donated furniture. Within just two weeks, we had gone from the brink of homelessness to perfectly stable.
It was exactly what we needed when we needed it. We were able to move away from those benefits fairly quickly, but our story could have been very different if we hadn’t received that pivotal help at exactly the right moment.
Over the years, I developed a reputation as a resource guru among my friends and family. People would always call me whenever they needed help with rent, with a sick pet, or whatever.
In 2013, I decided to put my skills as a web content writer and journalist to good use. I bought the LowIncomeRelief.com domain and started publishing articles there. It went viral with just five articles on it, and it’s been my full-time job ever since.
What’s your niche and why should someone choose you over your competitors in your field?
Technically we’re in personal finance, but a lot of people don’t think of us that way because we specifically serve people who don’t have any money. We overlap quite a bit with nonprofits, but we aren’t a nonprofit either. It’s a weird field.
There are several other websites and YouTube channels that are covering the same topics, but Low Income Relief stands apart because of our integrity. We present the most complete, accurate picture of whatever we’re covering, and we do so in a way that is honest and honors our reader’s struggles. I have refused a lot of sponsorships because I won’t work with brands that would prey on my already vulnerable audience.
What are the three things that mostly helped your online business succeed?
First, my background in journalism was priceless. I started writing for newspapers when I was 16, so I’m very comfortable reporting on topics, conducting interviews, researching in-depth and writing according to a professional style guide.
Second, I type ridiculously fast and I read even faster. I am able to create a lot of quality content very quickly. My typing speed has been measured above 200 words per minute at times.
Third, our mission keeps me motivated even when things are hard. My primary purpose is to help people, and that’s the most important thing to me.
What are your three biggest accomplishments?
My biggest accomplishment is passing 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. I recently received my Silver Play Button and I’m very proud of that.
Other than that, I measure my accomplishments by the impact we’ve had on people’s lives. You can see a list of ways that we’ve helped people at LowIncomeRelief.com/reviews. Whenever I have a hard day, that’s where I go for a quick pick-me-up.
What are your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge is finding people who are as passionate about this work as I am. It’s really hard to find content writers who are willing to dig deep enough into the programs we’re reporting on. A lot of people have been conditioned to churn out articles as quickly as possible, but I’m more interested in quality.
It’s also a challenge to keep up with evolving technology. Life was certainly easier when all I had to do was research and report on things. Now, we also have to create videos, engage on social media, and do other things like that in order to stay on top of the changing media landscape.
How do you overcome those challenges?
I just stay focused on our mission statement and the feedback we get from our readers. It keeps me going even when things are hard.
What’s your piece of advice for readers who want to achieve wealth and success in life?
Find something you’re passionate about and work on that. You need something that will keep you going, even when you haven’t been monetized yet or things aren’t working out or the algorithm penalizes you. There’s a lot of variables in life and you can’t control them all, so focus on what you can do today. Take one step at a time, and keep pushing forward.
What do you think is the key to a truly successful online business?
If you’re looking for a quick money-grab, you’re not going to be persistent and you’re not going to be able to connect with your audience authentically. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll go a lot farther a lot faster.
What’s your business model? How does your online business make money?
Low Income Relief is supported by advertising.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
Hopefully, we’ll still be here doing exactly what we’re doing now: making videos, researching articles, and helping our audience get through hard times. I’d love to see us roll out some more merch, bring more people on board so we can be more engaged and responsive, and get more experts on our team to help create content.
What’s your piece of advice for people who want to quit their 9-5 job and start a business?
Don’t wait to start until you’ve quit your job. It can take a while to get monetized and start bringing in enough money to replace your job. Start now. Even if you only have a few minutes a day, start building an audience and doing what you can do.
How can people find you?
Do you have any app, digital course, or book you would like our readers to know about?
I wish! That’s in our five-year plan for sure.