GF¢ 018: How Steve Chou’s Wife Replaced Her $100k Income With an Online Store

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Steve Chou’s wife wanted to quit her job so she could be a stay at home mom.  There was only one problem: she had a job making over $100k per year.

They had to figure out a way to replace her salary and for them, that was starting an online store.

steve chou my wife quit her job

I had the opportunity to interview Steve from the blog MyWife Quit Her Job.com who, as you can imagine, blogs about how his wife quit her job to become a stay at home mom.

While that doesn’t sound that exciting, what makes their story special is that his wife was able to develop a web based business from home that has replaced her former salary and currently brings in a 6 figure income.

If you’ve ever considered starting an online store, I strongly suggest you check out their site. They have tons of good information for anyone that is looking to get started.

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More From Steve

In addition to the podcast interview, Steve also answered the questions below. So thankful for all the info that he shares.

1For anybody that hasn’t visited your site, tell us what prompted you to start My Wife Quit Her Job.com?

Way back when my wife and I were still dating, she told me upfront that she was going to quit her job as soon as we had our first child. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure whether she was serious because the
cost of living here in the Silicon Valley is extremely high. Most families need 2 incomes over here just to get by with an average lifestyle.

But 5 years later after we got married and she finally did become pregnant, the reality of my wife quitting and us losing 50% of our income hit me like a ton of bricks. Realistically, my wife could have kept her job if absolutely necessary, but we both believed in having a parent stay at home with the kids especially during the early stages of childhood.

In any case, instead of forgoing 50% of our income, we decided to start an online business with the goal of supplanting her income within a year. Hence our store Bumblebee Linens was born.

2 What has been the three biggest challenges in becoming an internet entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge was probably the learning curve. My wife and I started with absolutely no knowledge about the web. Back then, we had no clue how to write html or php and had to learn everything from scratch. We also had no idea how to run a store let alone an internet business. Because the learning curve was so high, it was hard even getting started. But fortunately, our child provided us with the necessary motivation to get over this first hump.

The second biggest challenge was finding the time. Because we wanted to play it safe and save as much money as possible, both my wife and I kept our full time jobs while incubating our online business. Normally during the week, my wife and I would get home from work, relax a little bit, eat dinner and then watch tv until it was time for bed. With our business added to the mix, we had to give up something to make time to work on the store.

Giving up leisurely activities is tough to do because quite frankly, we are lazy and like to relax. But gradually over time, we got into this habit of working on our business for a few hours every night and on one day of the weekend. But settling into this routine took a lot of willpower.

The final challenge was launching the store only to find that no one was visiting our website. Sales were extremely slow for several months and we were really disheartened early on. In fact at several points, my wife and I wanted to call it quits because we weren’t seeing the results of our labor.

3 From you and your wife’s own experience, what would you say are some of the common reasons that people don’t make it with their online business?

Most people don’t make it because they expect instant gratification. Most people read a blog like JohnChow.com and think that it’s easy to launch an online business. As a result, when things don’t go that well early on, they give up. Starting a business takes perseverance and constant tweaking. You can’t just launch something, let it go on autopilot and still hope to be competitive.

The problem is that most people don’t treat their business like a living entity. You have to nurture it and give it constant care way before you are able to see the results.

4 I see that you welcomed another child. Congrats! As a father of two, I know it’s tough to manage life and business. What has been some of your struggles as a business owner and raising a family?

The toughest part is getting sleep. Thank goodness, our second one is sleeping through the night now so my wife and I can work on the business again without feeling exhausted. Outside of getting rest, the beauty of running a business online is that you can timeshift your schedule and work on it only when it is convenient to work. Having two kids hasn’t changed things much. My wife and I basically work on the business after the kids go to sleep around 8pm.

Back then when we were starting the business however, it was a different story. If you can help it, you should start your business ASAP before the kids come. Starting a business with kids is doable but you have to be extremely disciplined. I’m not so sure that we could have pulled it off if we had two kids running around right off the bat.

5 Was there ever a moment in your online venture that you thought you might not make it? If so, what did you do to get yourself through it?

There were many occasions when we both wanted to give up especially during the first 3 months. Back when we first launched, we weren’t selling much, web traffic was abysmal and we felt as though we devoted all of this time towards our business for nothing.

When you work so hard on something, you really want to see results. And when you don’t get any, it’s really tough. I can’t really describe the feeling in words. Fortunately, there were two things that kept us going.

For one thing, I didn’t want to take a 50% hit to our household income. I wanted my wife to stay at home with our newborn because it was extremely important to the both of us. The second thing was that maintaining the business required very little money. At about 40 bucks a month, we could keep the online store up indefinitely even if we didn’t sell a single thing.

That’s one of the beauties of the web. Starting and maintaining a business is extremely cheap to do with very little risk.

6 Any last tips for someone interested in starting an online business?

The best tip I can offer is to start a business now especially if you are young with no responsibilities. Starting a business is exponentially easier when you don’t have to worry about making your next mortgage payment or putting food on the table for your family.

Things have changed since the old days:

  • One, starting a business is cheap. Hell, you can throw up something for as little as 5 bucks a month.
  • Two, since the expenses are so low, you can ride out your business until it starts getting some traction.
  • And three, you can easily reach billions of customers across the globe.

The money making potential for an online business is exponential unlike a traditional brick and mortar business.

If you are interested in running an online store, I have written up detailed tutorials on how to begin. Come check them out at Online Store Tutorials.

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