This is the sixth interview of my interview series, where I interview bloggers blogging about Early Retirement, Personal Finance, and related topics. I have published my first book recently, and I am writing my second book, which will be on what I learned interviewing millionaires. As you can see, I love interviewing people.
This time, I bring you Erik from The Mastermind Within. I hope you enjoy it.
Q1 – Who is Erik?
Erik is a 24-year old living in Minnesota in the United States. He is passionate about learning and helping others become more successful. In his spare time, he loves playing various sports (golf, basketball, softball, etc.) and reading.
(Now to 1st person) I’ve been working on myself for the past 5 years in an effort to become more valuable to the people around me. Growing up, I was very quiet and reserved. I was a little bit socially awkward, but always aware and a great listener. I’m excellent with names, faces, and other aspects of human interaction. Now, I’m continuing to improve on my communication, public speaking, and writing to continue to grow.
[Ben: I think that is what makes your Quora and blog posts so valuable. You are quite of a learner, I can see that!]
Q2 – What do you do for a living and what do you like the most about it?
In my day job, I work at a regional bank performing statistical analysis. I have 3 computer screens and run analytics for credit risk each day. Other days, I’m involved in presenting our model’s results to regulators or senior management.
I love building things – I love to code and build models. I’m good at picturing a solution to a problem and then implementing it.
What I don’t like about it is it ties up my time and is not scalable. I’m not a revenue producing analyst, as a result I’m not going to get commissions or big bonuses. It motivates me to work on my side hustles.
[Ben: Dude, that sounds like a pretty awesome job! This actually reminds me of my previous job…]
Q3 – Why did you start your blog and what is you main goal with it?
I was sitting with my good friend Henry in Late December 2016 and we were brainstorming business ideas. We were sitting in his living room hanging out when I said, “hey, let’s start a blog and do book reviews. We both read a book a week, why can’t we spend 2 hours a week just writing up our thoughts on each book and get Amazon Affiliate revenue?” We started The Mastermind Within in December 2016 and are almost 9 months old.
The main goal is to provide value and help people. At the end of the day, money doesn’t matter. Many people will start a blog to make money and that’s not our goal. We are looking to increase the value of our site by offering freebies. In April, we came out with a FREE Debt Destruction Tool. With the Debt Destruction Tool, you type in your debts and it calculates your interest savings for the snowball and avalanche methods.
Eventually, we hope to build it into a community where like-minded individuals can come and openly share their thoughts. We do book reviews, personal finance help, posts on entrepreneurship, and self-development.
[Ben: I think you guys are hitting your goals. I can see a lotta value on your blog…]
Q4 – Any big plans for your blog for the near future?
YES. For The Mastermind Within, we are looking to continue to provide value through freebies. I’m working on standardizing my income statement and balance sheet reporting I do for my own personal finances as a giveaway to our readers and subscribers. I’m going to continue to look to produce solid content with actionable steps. We are focusing on some SEO and it’s been paying off as the months go on. We are only making a few bucks a month, but this should increase over time.
One new thing for me and my business partner Jake is a Kombucha Subscription box service called HOWLinfuse. Kombucha tea is a fizzy, fermented tea which has probiotics and a great taste. Many people in the United States home brew Kombucha, but there does not exist a subscription box which will send you the ingredients and instruction required. We are currently bootstrapping this company and grinding it out each day and night. We launch June 1st.
For HOWLinfuse, we are going big. We are doing a Kickstarter campaign, a Thunderclap campaign, and working with various virtual assistants to help with social media, graphic design, and general feedback on our ideas. This is a fantastic learning experience for me and something I’m super excited about!
[Ben: Sounds like really big projects! I wish you all the best!]
Q5 – At what age are you most likely to retire from your day job?
I’m targeting March 2018 to leave my day job. I will be 25, but I don’t think it will be retirement. For an actual retirement, I’m not sure. I want to be financially free by 35 – but I’m sure I will continue to work and strive for the next big thing whenever I get to financial freedom!
Q6 – What do you plan on doing after retirement?
When I retire, I want to do a few things: volunteer and give back my time and skills to help younger people achieve their goals.
Right now I participate in mentoring for high school and college students. To be able to give back is something that is incredibly important to me. You make a living by you get through your job, but you make a life by what you give!
Another thing I plan doing is being active with my family and friends. I love playing a variety of sports: golf, basketball, softball and like to work out at the gym.
Also, I want to travel to many different places and widen my perspective on the world.
Q7 – What investments do you like the best, and why?
I really like real estate. I have a house and have 2 roommates paying me rent. It’s a fantastic deal for me because my roommates almost cover my mortgage – I get to live practically for free!
- Real estate is:
- Accessible – Anyone can buy it
- Appreciable – Can increase in value over time
- Leverageable – You can buy on margin and borrow against equity
- Rentable – Cash flow baby!
- Improvable – Through sweat equity or contracting out
- Deductible/Depreciable/Deferrable – Amazing tax benefits
Personally, I think the stock market is a casino, but I still do get the company match and max out my IRA.
[Ben: a casino where you take calculated shots, though ;-)]
Q8 – How about eleven places you love that you’ve visited or have lived in?
I’ve lived in 2 places:
- Born in Wisconsin
- Lived in Minnesota for the past 20 years
I haven’t traveled much, which is something I’m looking to do once I get my businesses off the ground. Honestly, can only give you 6 places! This seems to be an area of weakness for me to address in the near future!
6 places I love that I’ve visited
- It’s paradise.
- The mountains, the atmosphere, andthe people are all great
- Hot and cool scenery
- Lots of fantastic French history
- Northern Minnesota to friend’s and family’s cabins
- Serene, peaceful, and beautiful
[Ben: that is a nice list, I think you’ve traveled more than you think!]
Q9 – What are your goals for 2017?
I have a few blog goals, personal goals, and some newer goals.
For the blog, I’m looking to get 15k views in a month by the end of 2017. I want to have 250 posts on The Mastermind Within. Right now we are averaging about 4k views a month and are on pace for 240 posts – time will tell if we can reach our goal!
Personally, I’m reading 75 books in 2017. I’ve read 25 in the first 4 months, and am looking to crush 6-8 books in May. I want to widen my perspective on the world – what better way than to do it through books!
Another personal goal of mine is to save/invest/build equity of $35,000 in 2017. I’ve been able to get through about $18,000 of that goal so far 🙂
For other goals, I’m looking to experiment. I’m only 24 – why shouldn’t I look to take a bunch of risks? Why not go talk to that super cute girl at the coffee shop? Why not work 18 hour days so I can work 2 hour days in the future? What can I do now that I won’t regret later?
That is what excites me about HOWLinfuse. I bought into a majority share of a company for less than $5k and now have the potential to crush it. We are the FIRST Kombucha Tea subscription box. What’s interesting… while I’ve brewed kombucha a few times and enjoy it, I’m by no means an expert and am learning each and every day. That’s the beauty of it – the entrepreneurship process is amazing and I’m learning each and every day!
[Ben: you guys are doing GREAT! I love the health benefits of Kombucha, BTW. You ship to Portugal? 🙂 ]
Q10 – What did you like the most about my blog, From Cents to Retirement? Do you have any advice for me?
I like how you mix lifestyle with your investment goals. I also love your pictures! I hope to visit you someday when I’m successful, financially free, and travelling the world!!
My advice for you is to work every day towards your goals. Consistent effort over time will lead to massive results. I’m pretty sure you already do this given your blog posts and determination, but it’s still a crucial point to make.
I’m pretty sure we would get along very well J We both have a strong work ethic and I know you will reach your goal of 670k sooner rather than later!
Thank you for interviewing me Ben!!! This was a whole lot of fun!
[Ben: please do visit me! Thanks for sticking around too!]