We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Johnson II and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Eric, do you have a budget? how do you think about personal finances?
Yes, I have a budget that I maintain monthly. I think maintaining a proper budget is essential to managing your personal finances properly whether you make $30,000 a year or $300,000 a year. I have always been a very frugal person, only spending money on necessary items. Thankfully I have never got caught up in the need to impress people or try to make people think I was doing better than I was by buying nice things that I couldn’t necessarily afford. That mindset puts many people in a terrible place financially. I think your personal finances should be handled just like a business. Many people overlook the fact that they trade their time for money, and when they go out and blow the money that they just spent 40 hours in a week trying to make it diminishes how important their time is. It’s ok to have fun and have nice things, but those two things should never cause you to live paycheck to paycheck. You have to plan for those things just like you plan to pay your bills. That’s why maintaining a budget and having your bank accounts set up efficiently is so important. I like to save most of my money in order to have the ability to put it in to things that can make me money passively. I treat money as a tool that can give me more opportunities, or protect me in case I have an emergency that may prevent me from being able to work and actively make money for a short period of time.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I run a financial coaching business as well as a credit repair business. I started these businesses because when I was in college I noticed that the majority of my friends from similar upbringings had little to no financial education, while our peers seemed to have a far more superior understanding of finances. While I was serving as an Officer in the Marine Corps, I began to notice that many people were working in jobs that they didn’t particularly enjoy. This appeared to be caused by bad financial habits and lack of financial education more than lack of opportunity. The main thing that seemed to hold people back from pursuing their dreams was finances. I decided that I wanted to create a brand/business that would help people reach their goals by providing help with personal finances along with financial education. Through this I felt that I would not only be able to create a successful business but also provide a service that could impact families for future generations. In short, I wanted to create a business that would allow me to be the change that I wanted to see. Getting to where I am right now was not easy. There were many sleepless nights and times that I thought that business may not be for me, but I had the right people around me that kept pushing me when things got hard. Building my business while being in the military turned out to be a blessing as well. It allowed me to build my business on my terms without stressing about finances. That was one of the biggest lessons that I would pass to anyone thinking about starting a business. Don’t quit your day job trying to build a business because having that security takes away a ton of stress. I want the world to know that In The Smoker is a business that is centered around helping people create healthy financial habits that will allow them to reach their goals without the stress of being judged or ridiculed. I want everyone to have the tools to overcome the personal finance barrier and seek out more in life. I think the most important factor behind the success of my brand is allowing my customers to help me grow through feedback. I run a business that is dedicated to helping people better themselves, and in order to do that I need to know what my customers need help with. I don’t think I would be very successful if I tried to give people what I thought they needed. The more I can interact and have constructive conversations with people, the better services I can provide to future clients.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Jacksonville, NC which is because I was stationed there as a Marine. I love to cook so the first thing I would do when my friend came in to town would be to have a cookout. I would smoke a few slabs of ribs with all the sides. Since I live in a pretty small city places to go are limited. So I typically host events at my house where I cook and we all get together to have a good time. I have many of my frat brothers and military friends in the area so we always have a good time together. But I would without a doubt take my friends to Flavor Hills for brunch. It’s definitely the best place in the city to go drink with friends, eat good food and have fun in a friendly environment with good music. We are also located near a ton of beaches so I would plan to take my friend to Top Sail Beach or Emerald Isle Beach.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Mom- Shirley Bolden Step Dad – Wil Bolden
Friend – Andre Truss
Friend – Jeance Kelly

Website: www.Inthesmoker.com

Instagram: @inthesmoker

Facebook: @inthesmoker

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