In 2007, Steve Chou and his wife Jennifer were living a pretty normal life — one where they both got up and went to work whether they wanted to or not. Steve was a Director of Engineering and Jennifer worked as a financial analyst. They both earned six figures in their respective careers, and they both made it work, but they weren’t necessarily happy.
Steve recalls how Jennifer always seemed sad at breakfast each morning — and how she referred to her ball and chain as the “hellhole she called her job.”
But she had to keep going — they both had to — for a simple reason. Finances. Both of them earned sizeable salaries they couldn’t simply give up.
“She kept going because we needed her income,” says Steve.
Building an Online Business from Scratch
But all of that changed in 2007 when Jennifer became pregnant. The pair wanted one of them to be able to stay home with the kids, but they weren’t sure how to make it happen — at least, until they thought back to when they first got married.
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Chou recalls how the couple had to search all over the world to find handkerchiefs for their wedding. They searched so far and wide, in fact, that they wound up buying handkerchiefs in bulk from China.
Their initial order was for 300 or more units, but they only needed 5 or 6 for the wedding. To get rid of the rest, the couple turned to eBay.
Funny enough, the handkerchiefs they were left with sold online like hotcakes, and the Chous had always wondered if there was a business opportunity there.
They decided to give it a whirl and started an ecommerce store to resell handkerchiefs they purchased in bulk, which meant following up with factories in China once again to negotiate a deal that could help them maximize their profits. The pair also decided to offer customized handkerchiefs with initials or family names, doing much of the grunt work themselves.
But their plans didn’t go off without a hitch— especially not at first.
“When we started our store, we had zero sales,” said Chou.
Eventually though, he wound up talking to his brother-in-law, whointroduced him to Google AdWords. As Steve learned about ads, he discovered he could drive potential leads to his website instead of waiting for them to come to him.
“When I started running ads, I got a sale right away,” said Chou. “That’s how I knew it could work.”
Steve also learned how to write content that brought in organic search traffic that created even more sales. And within one year, the pair made over $100,000 in profit from their store, Bumblebee Linens, leading Jennifer to quit her job when her maternity leave was over.
Their Secret to Success
Looking back, Chou says their success came about due to a variety of lucky circumstances. Not only did he randomly learn about Google AdWords from a family member, but Steve says he also ran into an old friend who had just started his own ecommerce store. He also got into blogging at a time when it was easier to drive traffic to his sales page, creating even more conversions and profits over time.
And that’s part of the reason Chou says the key to success is trying different things when you get discouraged. Far too many people give up when the first strategy they try doesn’t work out, and it’s a shame because you never know if the next thing you try might be what you’re waiting for.
“Reach out to people you know and be willing to do the legwork,” he says. Instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along, sometimes you have to learn from other people’s stories, successes, and failures. But you’ll never know what worked for other people in the business world unless you ask.
You should also be willing to do the dirty work and the learning. For example, Chou did a lot of the nitty gritty work for their handkerchief business at first, including running the sewing machines. He also spent a lot of time cold-calling potential collaborators and learning all he could about ecommerce and online marketing.
How Life is Different Now
These days, the couple no longer spends long days at jobs they don’t enjoy. Instead, they spend the bulk of their time working on their ecommerce store and other online businesses.
Steve even began documenting their journey to business success at MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, which led to other profitable ventures like courses, a podcast for entrepreneurs, and a conference.
“Now we make many times more than we did at our jobs,” says Chou.
The couple also has a lot more time to spend with their children. Steve coaches several of their children’s sports teams, and they spend mornings helping the kids get ready for school instead of rushing out the door.
Chou says he’s most proud of the fact that his family took a chance and went out on their own without knowing a single thing about ecommerce or blogging.
He’s also proud that they’re teaching their children to follow in their footsteps with their own ecommerce store — Kid In Charge.
This article and its images are copyrighted by the person/people that wrote it and/or the website that published it. We just share it as informative material. Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jrose/2019/06/10/couple-built-online-store-making-over-1-million-per-year-to-spend-more-time-with-family/#484d835751fd by Jeff Rose