Low Income Relief

Nicole Thelin, Founder

Utah, USA
Low Income Relief Low Income Relief
Experiencing poverty first-hand

For Nicole Thelin of LowIncomeRelief.com, writing was a career she'd always dreamed about but never thought would actually happen. When her husband was medically discharged from military service and unable to work, their family fell on hard times. "It was the first time I experienced poverty," Nicole shares. "We were moving around, staying with family and friends until we ran out of places to stay." Freelancing on website design and serving as the primary caregiver for her husband and one-year–old son, Nicole started looking for help. "I didn't have a computer at home so I went to the local library to search online for resources to help us," she recalls. "It wasn't easy finding things, but eventually I found information about community services, housing, and more."

Nicole and her family were able to get support for moving costs, get connected with a local food bank, find a home through a low-income housing program, and get medical care. "We literally went from being two weeks away from homelessness to having a beautiful home and the support we needed to get by."

Low Income Relief
Helping family and friends navigate assistance programs

Friends and family started leaning on Nicole for advice when they needed help as well, and each time, Nicole would write up a list of resources. "After about the 10th time someone asked me for the same resource list, I finally just decided to make a website people could visit," she recalls. In 2013, she bought the domain LowIncomeRelief.com and posted her first five articles on the site. One of them was inspired by a museum visit. "I visited a history museum with my family and saw on a placard that families using food stamps could enter for a reduced price of $2," she says "Though I didn't need the support, I was thrilled to see that low-income families could have access to this space as well." With that inspiration, Nicole went home and started researching to find other subsidized activities for people with EBT benefits. "I posted them on my site and forgot about it for a year."

Jump starting a business to help others

Then she got a check from AdSense for $800. "When I set up the site," she says, "I knew other websites earned money from ad revenue, so I decided to put one ad unit on every page. Then in March 2016, traffic on my activities article spiked and I received a check from AdSense for $800. It finally clicked in my mind - I could do something with my journalism skills to help people and connect them with resources. Ever since I got that first check, I've worked on LowIncomeRelief.com full time."

To this day, the site is almost entirely ad-supported, with the vast majority of revenue coming from AdSense. "I chose AdSense because it was by far the easiest ad platform to get started on," Nicole explains "And now I'm making more money with ad revenue than I could've ever imagined, more than 300x growth in the last few years, and it's blossomed into a business that supports me and my family of seven."

“This business has been fundamentally life-changing for me, and for the millions of people who visit the site.”
Nicole on her YouTube channel.
Nicole on her YouTube channel.
Helping millions of people navigate government assistance programs

With a sustainable income from ad revenue, Nicole has built the business into "something bigger than I ever could have imagined." She has hired a writing and research team of five who contribute to the site. The team focuses on creating quality content and helping make it easier to navigate government assistance programs. "A lot of what we write about is publicly available information," she says, "it's just that the government sometimes uses words that the average person doesn't understand, and some of these programs can be ridiculously complicated. We really dig through bills, assistance programs and requirements, and we work to translate that into something people can understand and that's actionable." Her focus on helpful, clear, and actionable content has made Low Income Relief a critical resource for people looking for assistance.

As she grows the business, Nicole is focused on supporting the readers who come to her for help. "I get flooded with comments from people saying amazing things like ‘I was able to feed my family because of this information,', or ‘I reduced my internet bill by $100 when you told me about this.' I get lots of pictures from people who send me photos of their kids at the zoo and say they never thought they'd be able to afford that experience," she shares. "It's definitely the highlight of what I do - seeing people take the information and do something amazing with it. This business has been fundamentally life-changing for me, and for the millions of people who visit the site."

About the Publisher

Nicole Thelin is the Founder of Low Income Relief, a website she started to help people experiencing poverty navigate assistance programs and find support. Low Income Relief shares resources on a variety of topics including food banks, homeless shelters, Section 8 housing, and more.
About the author