Acuff rose out of obscurity years ago when he began the blog Stuff Christians Like, a site dedicated to the satire of the curious things that Christian do and why. After many entries, he was able to compile of bunch and produce his first book of the same name in 2010. “Like a satirical grenade, Acuff brings us the humor and honesty that galvanized more than a million online readers from more than 200 countries in a new portable version. Welcome to the funny side of faith,” says the back of the book.
The book was a hit, but not enough of one for Acuff to be able to leave his miserable office job. However, it did get the attention of Mr. Ramsey. Acuff wrote about his frustrations in his next book, Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job. “Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you'd love to do? What if you could blow up your dream without blowing up your life?”
Quitter gives practical answers to a somewhat unpractical situation that ultimately led him to his dream job working for Dave Ramsey. He quickly released his second book, Gazelles, Baby Steps and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me about Debt. The book pokes fun and celebrates “all things Dave Ramsey.” He followed that up with Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters in 2013, a book that “reveals the steps to getting "unstuck" and back onto the path of being awesome.”
Acuff had become a New York Times bestselling author of four books; he toured the country speaking regularly. He had achieved his dream job in what he described as the “three of the greatest years of our professional life.” This match, supposedly made in heaven, suddenly came to an end. He followed up the news on his Facebook page stating that he was not fired, that it didn’t having anything to do with a moral issue, and that it wasn’t an issue of money. In addition, he stated that he was not chasing the next big thing on the horizon.
So, what did happen? Enquiring minds and nosy Christians want to know.
“Sometimes people get disappointed when they ask, ‘What’s the next big thing?’ and I go, ‘I’m really seeing my family because I was traveling 120 days a year and now I’m not.” He thinks for a moment and then continues, “I didn’t realize how much of an entrepreneur I was. The challenge of working with Dave Ramsey is that he makes you want to be an entrepreneur. That guy hustles and teaches on entrepreneurism all the time.”
Not one for sitting still for too long, Acuff said that he never wanted to get to a point in life where he was writing books and giving speeches on how to be risky, when he wasn’t being risky himself. “I thought, what’s my risk?
And so, where are you? What exactly are you doing these days?
“Well, I will do another big book release and my wife will release a book this April. The blogs are ten times the size that they ever were, so I’m starting to figure out the audience and I’m starting to do a lot more consulting and coaching.” Acuff has become somewhat of social media expert as his blog is read by about 4 million people and he has close to about 200 thousand Twitter followers. “Everyone from companies to individual authors will ask ‘How do we grow a message in a disconnected world? How do we figure out how to stand out when there are 150 million results for the thing we care about?’ So we’re figuring things out.”
Going on 13 years now, Acuff is happily married to Jenny and lives in Nashville with their two elementary school-aged daughters. Things are settling down a bit, but he’s still dreaming. This has given Jenny motivation to write her own book, “How to Be Married to a Dreamer,” in which she will self-publish in April of this year. Given the success that Jon has had with his own books, I questioned why they would self-publish Jenny’s book. The reason is simple – Jenny is not same as Jon. Whereas Jon enjoys the process of speaking gigs and book signing tours, Jenny would say that that sounds horrible. She is often asked, “We know about Jon’s dream. Do you have a dream?” and it bugs her because it makes her feel that being a mom can’t be enough. She doesn’t want all the attention.