Skint Dad

Ricky and Naomi Willis, Co-founders

Hull, England
Ricky, Naomi, and their children. The Skint Dad website.
Struggling with debt and transitioning careers

Ricky and Naomi Willis were both working full-time but struggling to pay for everything. A quick look at their budget revealed just how much money they were spending on childcare, including a full-time nursery, after school clubs, and travel in and out of London. The Willis’ began discussing options for how to save money and came to the conclusion that Ricky would quit his job so they could balance childcare costs, but then were faced with a new challenge.

“Within a month of being a full-time stay at home dad, I realized how bored I was, and we were still struggling with money and bills piling up,” he says.

As a way to find support, he initially looked for parent groups before Naomi came up with the idea to start a blog about becoming a stay at home dad.

“We didn’t know anything about domain names, we were just going back and forth and thought - ‘what about Skint Dad?’” Ricky recalls. “We started a WordPress site and within a couple of weeks we bought the domain outright.”

Ricky and Naomi outside.
Going viral for their vulnerability

Ricky began making short posts about parenting, how to do it on a budget, and debt. At that point in their lives Ricky and Naomi were facing £42,000 GBP of debt (roughly $50,000 USD), a number Naomi did not want published on the blog.

“I didn’t want to air out our laundry to everyone,” she explains. “But when I went to sleep, Ricky published a post that included the amount of debt we were in. And when I woke up, he said ‘I’ve got to tell you something but it’s good news.’”

Ricky’s article had gone viral. Their story was published in a newspaper and the site received a surge of readers.

“All of a sudden we had all these viewers coming through to our site and it grew very quickly after that,” Naomi says.

“We just recently hit the six figure threshold and it feels like an unbelievable achievement.”
Turning Skint Dad into a business

They continued to post about how they were getting out of debt, until a reader recommended they enter the Smartest Shopper competition, which came with a cash prize of £10,000 pounds.

Ricky won, propelling the website into the mainstream press, even landing him a subsequent trip to a coupon event in Texas.

It was at that point that Ricky and Naomi began thinking about how they could turn Skint Dad into a business.

“Naomi was still working full time in HR and I found out about AdSense and put it on the site maybe 6 months to a year into it, and I remember earning our first penny and we just watched it grow,” Ricky says. “I remember when we earned the first pound and it was astronomical that we were sitting there and made something from absolutely nothing. We were making money from this random idea that we had sitting around the dinner table. And I thought if we can make a pound, maybe we can just keep going.”

So they set goals and kept going until they reached them.

“Having the ad revenue as a consistent income stream gave us the confidence that this could be a real thing,” Ricky explains.

It took about three to four years to replace Ricky’s income - around 2016 they started earning more than £1,500 a month from AdSense. “We were making money every day without having to rely on someone reaching out to us for a sponsored post,” Ricky says. “And it was really reliable, that’s where AdSense stood out compared to other networks.”

They cultivated a loyal audience, with nearly 90% of their traffic finding them organically. Soon, their traffic passed the 25,000 visits monthly threshold and they took the leap to Google Certified Publishing Partner, Mediavine, to help them earn more ad revenue. “We doubled our daily ads income,” says Ricky. With the increased earnings, they started hiring freelance writers to support the business. And eventually, Ricky and Naomi became six-figure bloggers. “We just recently hit the six figure threshold and it feels like an unbelievable achievement,” says Naomi.

Photo of a grocery bill.
Building a better future for their children

To keep the business running smoothly, Naomi and Ricky use Google Workspace. “We’re all in on Google tools,” says Ricky. “We use Google Docs to do things more collaboratively and do all of our planning in Sheets, it allows us to work more efficiently.” And to keep churning out content, “we use Google Analytics to spot trends that we should write about or that resonate with our audience,” says Naomi.

As their penny pinching business blossoms, Naomi and Ricky are motivated to create a better legacy for their kids. “We want to make sure our mistakes don’t impact our kids,” says Ricky. “We want them to be able to live life in a more positive way and we believe Skint Dad can help to change their lives for the better and help others along the way.”

About the Publisher

Fed up with being skint and struggling to make ends meet, husband and wife team Ricky and Naomi Willis launched Skint Dad to help other people in the same boat. Skint Dad has grown into one of the largest money blogs in the UK.
The Skint Dad logo.