Steve Chou writes about entrepreneurship and how to start an online store over at MyWifeQuitHerJob.com. In addition, he and his wife run an online store selling wedding handkerchiefs and wedding linens at BumblebeeLinens.com. This story is part of our Reader Stories series. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here's how.
My wife and I are conservative people at heart, and we don't like taking chances. In other words, we're not the type of people that gamble at the casinos. We're not the type of people that make risky investments. And we were certainly not the type of people that risk their own money to start a business.
Back then, my wife and I were your average married couple. We both worked full time jobs. Financially, we had nothing to complain about as we lived well within our means with an occasional splurge. We both made a decent living and managed to pocket a sizable portion of our income every month.
All told, our lives appeared very stable and on the surface, we came across as just another married couple living a happy life. But on the inside, we had a few issues. For one thing, our lives were monotonous and boring. Since we weren't doing anything meaningful with our time, we lacked a sense of purpose and felt as though we were just going through the motions. The other major problem was that my wife wasn't happy with her career.
Everyday, I'd witness the same routine. My wife would drag herself out of bed, get dressed with her eyes half open, grab a light breakfast and get ready for work. And every time when she was just about to leave the house, she would mutter “Okay honey, I'm off to the hell hole I call my job” and trudge out the door.
Things weren't much better when she got home from work. We would quickly eat a light dinner and then listlessly watch television the rest of the night. In fact watching television was what we did best. At the time, I could tell you what was happening on almost every single show on television. My wife even created a spreadsheet of our television schedule so we would never miss a show (This was before DVR). It was pretty sad, and I knew that I hit a personal low when I became an avid fan of “The True Hollywood Story”. Ugh!
Now imagine having to live through this routine day in and day out. Imagine having to drag yourself out of the house everyday to a place where you don't even want to be for most of the day. Imagine wasting your nights away watching television every single night.
That was our life. Until one day my wife discovered that she was pregnant with our first child! It's hard to express in words what went through my mind when I saw that plus sign on the stick, but it was like an atomic bomb went off in my head.
For one thing, I got a sudden injection of motivation and enthusiasm. All of a sudden, I felt like I needed to get off my butt and become a better person. I felt like I needed to be more responsible and to take charge of my life. I felt like I needed to get my act together and provide for my family.
As millions of thoughts swirled through my head, my primary concern became financial security. We needed a bigger house. We needed to live in a better school district. We needed to start a college education fund. We needed an emergency fund so large that we could survive even if I lost my job or got laid off.
As for my wife, she wanted to quit her job so she could take care of our child full time. She didn't want to miss a single minute of our baby's childhood.
Huh? What? Quit her job? At the time, my wife made over $100,000 a year. Without another source of income and with the additional expense of having a child, it would seriously cramp our lifestyle and our financial health.
Don't get me wrong, I fully supported my wife's decision to stay at home as I'm a firm believer of having a parent take care of a young child. But the financial burden was going to be tremendous. As a result, we needed to find another way to make money and replace her six figure salary.
After brainstorming different ideas, my wife and I decided to start our own business online. Starting a business on the internet was an attractive solution because
- We didn't have to be physically present to make money. A computer could take orders for us even while we slept.
- There was little or no overhead to maintain our website.
- My wife could shift the work until after our children fell asleep.
Pain, Hard Work And Success
Because my wife and I are extremely conservative people, we decided to play it safe. Instead of my wife quitting her job right away, we decided that it was best that we start our little business venture on the side while still working full time.
It was tough, but we spent the next several months working nights and weekends to get our little online store ready for prime time. After watching one too many episodes of “The True Hollywood Story”, we also decided to call it quits on watching TV.
When we finally launched our online store, things were tough early on and business was slow. But gradually, we started making sales and things started to snowball. Within the span of a year, we managed to make over $100,000 to replace my wife's salary and she quit her job!
Today, my wife stays at home with our kids and runs the business while I blog about entrepreneurship and how to open an online store at MyWifeQuitHerJob.com.
Why Not Take A Chance?
Today, my wife and I are very thankful that we had the motivation to start our online business as it has truly been a godsend. Instead of wasting our lives away watching television, our business has given us a sense of purpose and fulfillment. After all, we created something that we could call our own. We created a source of income that was stable. We became our own boss so we could never be fired.
Most people think that starting your own business is too risky. But take it from two of the most risk-averse people you'll ever meet, it's not bad! We initially invested only $629.90 to start, and today we run a six figure business that has been growing in the double and triple digits every year.
Not only that, but the operating costs are ridiculously low. Thanks to the internet, it only costs us about $80 a month to maintain our website so we can pretty much stay in business indefinitely.
If you're willing to take a small chance, then I highly recommend going out on your own with an online business. Even if you fail, you'll grow from the experience. But who knows? You might even make enough money to quit your day job!