Hey there, welcome to this episode of the podcast! Today, I had the pleasure of chatting with e-commerce entrepreneur Steve Chou about his new book, “The Family First Entrepreneur.” Steve is a successful online business owner who has managed to prioritize his family and personal life while running his businesses.
In our conversation, Steve shares some valuable insights on how he manages to balance his work and family life, and how he has been able to build successful online businesses.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Setting boundaries: Steve emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries and finding ways to automate and delegate tasks to free up time. He shares some practical tips on how to do this effectively.
- Marketing strategy: Steve shares his marketing strategy for his e-commerce business, which involves framing ordinary products in a unique way and creating content around topics related to his target audience. He explains how this approach has helped him stand out in a crowded market.
- Redefining success: Steve and I discuss the prevalent goal of hitting the seven-figure mark and the importance of redefining success for oneself. Steve shares his own definition of success and how he has been able to achieve it.
If you’re an entrepreneur who is struggling to balance your work and family life, or if you’re looking for some practical tips on how to build a successful online business, then this episode is for you. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the conversation!
Links & Resources:
- The Art of Online Business website
- DM me on Instagram
- Visit my YouTube channel
- The Art of Online Business clips on YouTube
- Full episodes of The Art of Online Business Podcast on YouTube
- The Art of Online Business Podcast website
- Check out my Accelerator coaching program
Steve Chou’s Links:
- Visit Steve’s website
- Follow Steve on Twitter
- Follow Steve on Instagram
- Follow Steve on Pinterest
- Follow Steve on Facebook
- Check out Steve’s YouTube channel
Please support the podcast by giving an honest Rating/Review for the show on iTunes!
I wrote the book because I feel like most of the entrepreneurship advice out there today is, is wrong or it doesn’t apply to me because it’s, it’s written by single dudes who have no responsibilities except for work, right? And everywhere I go, I see people just preaching that you gotta hustle, you gotta work 80 hours a week. And that, that doesn’t apply to me, right? Cuz I wanna spend time with my family. And so I wrote the book to just teach people that, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to work 80 hours a week, you don’t have to hustle your butt off just to get ahead. Most of us who start businesses, and I’ll ask you this question too, Rick. Mm-hmm. We do it just for freedom really, right? Yep. We’re not trying to start the next a hundred million dollar company or next billion dollar company, we just want to spend time with our loved ones and just have a little bit of freedom. Yep. And if that’s what you want, then it can be easily achieved. You just have to set boundaries.
Hey, hey, what’s up my friends Rick here. Welcome to today’s episode on the podcast. I’m really excited about today’s guest today, Steve Chu. I’ve known him for years. He’s been on the podcast here before a couple times, but it’s been several years since he’s been on. And Steve runs two very successful online businesses. One is an e-comm business where he sells handkerchiefs, which we talk about here on the podcast today. And then his other businesses, or excuse me, other business is called My Wife Quit Her job. And that is a teaching business. He’s got courses and so forth and he’s got a very popular podcast YouTube channel. He and his wife have two teenage kids and he’s written this book called The Family First Entrepreneur. And as you know this, this is a message that is very near and dear to me because Steve has, has built the business that he has, the two business that he has while still being able to take plenty of time for his family and his friends and you know, his health and so forth.
And you know, as you, as you know, probably by now I’m on sabbatical right now and I explain it all in episode number 697 from a couple weeks ago. But yeah, this is such a, such an important topic and I’m so glad that, you know, when Steve reached out to let me know he’d written this book, I was like, absolutely, come on the show. Let’s talk about this. It’s such an important topic. And as you’re gonna hear, the first half of the book is for somebody who has yet to start a business, you know, starting a side hustle. And the second half of the book, which we talk a lot about here today, is for those of you who have businesses already, how to create more systems and processes and automation in the business. And so we dive into all that here today. Really, really great discussion with Steve. So without further ado, let’s go hang out with Steve. Chew. Steve, I should have checked before we hit record here when you were last on the podcast because it has been years.
Good Lord. I don’t even remember
I told you before we started recording and like Yeah, we’re, you know, 700 episodes in you’re like 700 episodes. I know. I feel it’s, to say that out loud is like, it’s a lot, it’s a lot of episodes. What are you up to on, on your show?
I four 50 or something. Let me see. Lemme know what I’m at.
Check when you get into the several hundreds that, that’s a lot.
I’m at 4 53.
Nice. Nice. So you
Doing more than one a week?
Yeah, I’ve been doing two per week. I do a Wednesday and a Friday for years now. I don’t wanna take credit for it, but I was one of the early ones to do a quick tip.
Ah, that’s like
A quick tip Friday, so yeah. But yeah, 700 something episodes. It’s nuts. So since it, it’s been a while since you’ve been on the show, I’d love to have you reintroduce yourself to my audience here.
Yeah, so my name is Steve Chu. I run an e-commerce store with my wife selling kerchiefs firstname.lastname@example.org. And I also teach e-commerce over at my wife quitter job.com. I’ve run a podcast since 2016 called My Wife Quitter job. It’s got order 53 episodes. I also have a YouTube channel, which has over 200 K subs teaching e-commerce. And I also run an annual e-commerce conference called The Seller Summit, which I’ve run for the past seven years.
So you’re not busy at all.
It actually isn’t that much, Rick. As long as you repurpose a lot of your content. Yeah, I mean we could talk about that today too.
And you have two kids?
I have two kids, yes. They’re teenagers now though, so they’re a little bit older than yours. Wait,
They are. I didn’t know
That. They’re teenagers now, right? It’s been a long time. Holy cow.
I mean, we’re gonna be talking about about that and your new book today. I was, when, when I first, when I found out about the book, I was like, yes, wholeheartedly yes on this topic because you know, when this episode comes, comes out, I’m on sabbatical and to, you know, it’s this topic very near and dear to my heart. I would love for you. Before we dive into that discussion, I actually use your example of how you sell handkerchiefs by, you know, your marketing. You’re not just, not just marketing handkerchiefs, you’re mar you’re talking about other things that somebody who would want to be buying handkerchiefs mm-hmm. would have interest in. And I use that example a lot actually in talking to accelerators and stuff like that. So can you just share real quick like what your sort of primary marketing strategy is for the business?
So if you think about this way, when I sell, when I say I sell Handker chips, it sounds kind of dull, right? You’re like, Hey, what am I gonna do with this piece of cloth? But if you just take something ordinary and you frame it in a different way, it makes it much easier to sell. So we sell handkerchiefs for weddings where you can have the bride and groom and the wedding date embroidered on the handkerchief. We sell handkerchiefs for funerals, we sell handkerchiefs for baptisms. And as soon as you frame it in a certain way, people are like, oh, I get it. I want one for my wedding, or I want one for my baptism mm-hmm. and that sort of thing. Yeah. Yeah.
And don’t you also create content, so for like around weddings for example, like other wedding related content
We do. So the idea with the content is not necessarily to attract people interested in handkerchiefs, but to attract the type of people who would buy our products. Right? So I guess the bottom of the funnel articles that we write are ones that are like, you know, wedding gifts for the bride or the best groomsman gifts and that sort of thing. People are ready to buy and they see that piece of content. And we purposely list our products, obviously at the top in addition to other products. And that stuff ranks in Google, generates a ton of traffic and it leads to sales.
Are you getting, I’m just curious, are you getting, do you get affiliate revenue on any of the other products that you’re recommending? Yes.
Yeah. So for things that we can’t find a direct affiliate program for, we just choose Amazon. Yeah. But most stores these days actually have an affiliate program and you can get for, for physical products, it’s usually around 10 to 15%. Okay. Yeah.
I mean it’s, it’s super smart and it’s that what you just described is what I, what I share as an example for a lot of people is like, you’re selling handkerchiefs, but you know your target audience so well. So it’s not like you’re just creating content around handkerchiefs. You’re actually creating content around like, you know, bridal gifts or, you know, pla wedding planning or that type of stuff. So yeah, it’s not always a specific direct connection.
And I don’t know when the last time we talked, but we probably talked like a decade ago, I’m not sure. But since then we’ve actually been focusing a lot more also on repeat business. And you would think that, you know, people who shop for wedding hins don’t buy more than once. Right? I, I know the divorce rate is high in this, in this country mm-hmm. , but most likely they’re not. But it turns out that our repeat customer rate is about 12%, which is kind of low for a store.
But those people generate 36% of our annual revenue and here’s why. Oh wow.
I was looking through our customer list and I noticed that there were people who were buying an unusually large amount of linens, like people who are buying like a hundred handkerchiefs, that’s not normal. Yeah. People who are buying 40 dozen napkins, that’s not normal. So I actually got on the phone with them and I said, Hey, I, I just noticed you guys ordered a lot, what do you guys do? And it turns out their event and wedding planners. And so now what I do is I literally go down the list and it’s actually automatically extracted now for people who purchase an unusually large amount. We get on the phone and we just say, Hey, here’s a coupon code, here’s a dedicated rep so that whenever you need something, we’ll make sure it gets there. And then we get those customers for life and, and they buy often they buy in large quantity.
Super smart. I love it. Another lesson that I’m always sharing, especially with the students that I work with, is like, don’t be afraid to, you know, and I dunno if you jumped on Zoom with them or whatever, but have a conversation with your, with your customers, especially the ones who are quote unquote, your ideal people to learn. Like you just said, Hey, you know, thanks for buying so much. I’m just curious what you do. Like gives you invaluable insight.
So, so now we actually kind of have that automated a little bit in the post-purchase sequence for email uhhuh. We have them fill out a survey and one of the questions is, are you a business, are you a inventor wedding planner? And they pre-filter out themselves. And then for those people we have an email that says, Hey, I’d like to set up a call. Let’s, let’s talk.
That’s great. Yeah. I’m just curious how, what kind of percentage you get to fill out that, fill out that short questionnaire. Oh, the survey?
Yeah. I would say it’s like I, single digits
Yeah. Percentage wise.
And that’s a, like, it’s great perspective because so many people are like, oh, I only had, you know, whatever this many people fill out the, you know, survey or what have you. But that’s reality. Like, that’s like perspective, like that’s kind of normal. Right. So that’s really, really smart what you’re doing there Now.
I was just gonna say, sorry, on the, on the survey thing. Yeah. If you want to get them to fill it out more, you give ’em an incentive upfront. Like, you’ve filled this out, you get a 10% off coupon or a $10 gift card, that, that will greatly boost it.
I like that. Yeah. Yeah. And there’s different ways you can do that like to, to incentivize them. It doesn’t always have to be, you know, like e-com. Yeah. But if someone’s not e-comm, it doesn’t have to be like, oh, I’ll give you 15 minutes of my time. It doesn’t have to be, you know, sure. It might be like a Starbucks gift card or something like that. I’ll buy your next coffee or what have you. Yep. So the book’s called The Family First Entrepreneur. And I, I really wanna talk on so many different levels about this as I, as I talked about why, or one thing that affected was affecting me greatly prior to deciding to take a sabbatical was my time with Maya, my daughter who’s four. And my time with Amy, my wife. Like, you know, I would find myself getting very short with Maya, for example.
And I would just be, you know, she knew something was wrong and my mind would be in other, you know, a million other places when I was at the playground with her just up the block or, you know, we’re playing Peppa Pig or Bluey or whatever it was. And that’s not, you know, the kind of father that I want, I wanna be where I’m never present emotionally and, and mentally with, with, with her and then with Amy, like we’d be talking and my, I’d have like brain fog or my brain would be somewhere else too. And I wasn’t able to focus on her. Again. Another example of where I wasn’t, you know, being present and as I was trying to figure out what was going on, I was like, well wait a minute, I only work, only work like 25 hours a week. And so, but I was like, I felt like I was going, going, going still and not able to shut off in the evening and, and all this other stuff.
And so that, those were big, you know, contributing factors to making the decision to take some time off so that when you and I connected about this book, I was like, us great timing. Right? Like this topic I think is so important because, I mean, at the very beginning you just shared all the things that you’re doing and you have two teenagers and your businesses are really successful. And so what are you talking about specifically in the book? I mean I obviously the family first entrepreneur Yep. Can tell a lot from that title, but why did you write the book?
I wrote the book because I feel like most of the entrepreneurship advice out there today is, is wrong or doesn’t apply to me because it’s, it’s written by single dudes who have no responsibilities except for work. Right. And everywhere I go, I see people just preaching that you gotta hustle, you gotta work 80 hours a week and that, that doesn’t apply to me. Right? Cuz I wanna spend time with my family. And so I wrote the book to just teach people that it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to work 80 hours a week, you don’t have to hustle your butt off just to get ahead. Um, most of us who start businesses, and I’ll ask you this question too, Rick, we do it just for freedom really, right? Yep. We’re not trying to start the next a hundred million dollar company or next billion dollar company, we just want to spend time with our loved ones and just have a little bit of freedom. Yep. And if that’s what you want, then it can be easily achieved. You just have to set boundaries
When you say so. So somebody listening right now can be like, okay, that’s all well and good, but fill in the blank. And there’s a whole list of things that Sure come up in their head like, oh, I can’t do that. Or wait a minute, how, like, how am I gonna market myself? How am I going to attract people into the business and all this other stuff when, you know, I’m a mom or I’m a dad or, or whatever it might be. And I have all these other, you know, my ener, I have no energy and, and I have all these other responsibilities and so forth. What are your, what are your thoughts when people come up with those sort of well thoughts?
Yeah, so those just sound like excuses to me. Just to be frank, like at, at the, at the peak I was running two seven figure businesses, I was working a full-time job as an engineering director and I was a father to two kids. And if you really want something, you can make it work. Now that during those conditions before I quit, they weren’t perfect because I was still working nights mm-hmm. and, and weekends for that. But, you know, now that I’ve quit that job, I work about 20 hours a week. I still run the two seven figure businesses and my whole afternoon, Hey Rick, you’ll get to this point with your kids, but my afternoons are literally just driving Yeah. Driving them around, taking the activities, coaching their teams and that sort of thing. So I actually don’t even have time to work more than the amount that I work unless I want to sacrifice like the coaching or whatnot. Sure. So your original question was how can people do this? And especially around now, like we’re, we’re in a recession right now, right. People are losing their jobs left and right. I have friends who’ve lost their jobs around here and it’s really hard to find another job when there’s so many people looking for a job at the same time. Yeah.
And more than ever, I feel like everyone needs to just have something on the side. Right. Doesn’t have to be huge. You just need to have some options because some of those can maybe someday turn into something that can make significant money. Like, just to give you an example on our handkerchief store, we started that store cuz my wife wanted to quit and stay at home with the kids. And our goal with that business was like, Hey, if you can make five grand a month, that’s good enough. We’re good. And it wasn’t a whole lot of work early on because we weren’t getting that many orders.
And now it’s a seven figure business. Right. It’s just something that you do on the side. And this is what I recommend if, if you can do something, I, I always recommend that people don’t choose what they’re passionate about because just kind of passions change over time. Sure. But if you’ve been working for a while, chances you have, you have skills that you use all the time. And so just start something, you know, with what you’re good at already or that you have knowledge in.
Do you take people through this type of process or what have you in the book?
I do. Yeah. In fact, there’s a whole chapter on just implementation and brainstorming mm-hmm. and I throw out a bunch of examples. Like, so in the book I talk about keep it simple, just try to earn a thousand dollars in 90 days. And when you talk to someone who’s never started a business that that actually seems pretty insurmountable, right? Mm-hmm. , but you know, there’s a, there’s a way that you can do it that makes it really achievable. So let’s, let’s just throw some examples. Do, do you want to go down this path? I, I dunno, we wanna go down this episode. Totally. All right. So let’s look at my skillset right now. Let’s say I, I don’t teach e-com, I don’t run a store or nothing prior to any of this. I was pretty good with Photoshop, right? And so, you know, I could, one of the funny things I used to do is I used to superimpose other people’s heads on other people’s bodies and, you know, just for fun, right? Mm-hmm. .
But I, I, you know, as I got into e-commerce, I found that people on Amazon, they really need to have their product on a white background. Hmm. But you know, you don’t usually take photos like that. So if I wanted to make a thousand dollars in 90 days, I might put together a quick and dirty tutorial on how people can put their images on a white background. I just find out where these people, these Amazon sellers hang out. Maybe just look on Facebook, there’s tons of groups for everything that you can think of and just say, Hey, I know you guys are Amazon sellers, I thought this video might be helpful. Ingra, share yourself into that community and then maybe say, Hey, you know, I have some other tutorials I can help out and make your product photos pop, sign it for my email list. And maybe I might turn those into a course or a class of some sort. I might do consulting mm-hmm. just, you know, selling your time is an easy way to just make some extra cash also. Sure. And just take it from there.
So I just posted in, in our accelerator group, I said, you know, when it comes down to it, business is easy. The core of business is easy, right? You, you have some form of expertise in your example that you just use. It’s Photoshop and there’s a problem that you can solve with that expertise. You mentioned like the white backgrounds, and then there are people that need the help of you, you know, with the expertise that you provide. And you just mentioned like Amazon sellers, okay, now we need to get in front of them. And so it just, and you just listed it right out there. And when it really is, when you bring it down to it, I don’t wanna oversimplify it, but it really is like that the core of what we’re doing as business owners or somebody starting a business is as simple as, all right, I have an expertise. These are the type of people I want to help. This is the problem I’m helping them with. Where are they? What’s my messaging? What do I actually do for them? Et cetera.
I mean, I think fundamentally it’s easy. I think the hard part is not getting carried away with it and having it consume your life personally.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think too, you mentioned boundaries earlier. Now I, I, I think that as I, I mentioned this in my podcast episode here where I talk about the sabbatical and I said, I think one of the big reasons why that contributed to the burnout was that I didn’t set very good boundaries for myself. And what I mean by that is, like from a, an emotional level, I tend to, I, I just put my everything into, when I’m working with somebody, I put my everything into it and I take a lot of that onto my shoulders. And so, which is going past a self boundary that I need to have, if that makes sense now. Yeah. When you’re talking about boundaries as far as when you have a family or you’re starting something or it’s a side hustle, what have you, what types of boundaries are you talking about there?
Yeah, so I, I think it starts with understanding a couple things. So have you heard of the four burners theory, Rick?
No I haven’t.
The four burners theory states that your life is composed of four burners, family, friends, health and work. And in order to be really good at one thing, you have to turn off at least one burner. If you wanna be really good at something, you have to turn off two. And if you’re Elon Musk, you turn off three and the work burner is all you got. Mm-hmm. Right. So basically what this is about, it’s about trade-offs and priorities. Right? You can’t do it all. Right? So if you wanna be really good at work, you gotta turn down some of your other burners. So it’s really just figuring out what your boundaries are and what your priorities are. So family and health are probably my top two. Yep. And so if I want to work and work and health are kind of tied, something like that. But basically if I want to turn up the work burner, something else has gotta go down.
So usually I turn down the friends burner mm-hmm. For example. Yep. It’s not that I neglect them or anything, but you know, I know that, you know, if I don’t talk to them for a while, there’s still gonna be friends in that sort of thing. Sure. So that’s the first part of it, understanding that you can’t do it all. Yeah. The second part of it with the boundaries is a little harder. And I can just only talk about my own experiences here. Like I have an ego when it comes to business and, and part of that problem lies with the fact that I’m a part of these mastermind groups where I hear about these people that are just making millions of dollars. And when I hear stuff like that, I was like, I want to do that. Yeah. I want to be able to have like a million dollar launch or, or whatever. Yeah.
And that makes me work a little bit harder and go beyond and forget why I started the businesses in the first place. Yeah. Right. I’m not sure if this has ever happened to you, Rick. So for me it’s been about welling that ego, right? Yep. I belong to this group from Stanford, it’s called the Mayfield Fellows Group. And that group was originally founded, it’s sponsored by the venture capitalist firm, Mayfield Fund, where it’s designed to make you join a venture back startup and eventually exit for millions and hundreds of millions of dollars. Anyway, every year we have this retreat and we share what we’ve been up to and like, everyone’s like, oh yeah, I just had a $400 million exit. Uh, Kevin Systrom of Instagram is part of that group mm-hmm. . And then it comes to me and I’m like still saying Hanks, , uh, you know, still blogging. It, it hurts my ego. Yeah. You know, so the way I quell my ego today is one, I have no revenue goals anymore cuz there’s, it’s pointless. I don’t spend that much money. Like I’m very frugal. Yeah. And I already make way more than I spend. So part of it is figuring out how much you need just to live Yep. And then paying yourself that and just treating everything else like gravy. Yep.
And the second thing is you need to keep your mind active Right. To, to call that ego. So every year I just focus on one thing. This year it’s the year of the book. So all my energies go towards marking the book. Last year it was YouTube and I managed to hit 200 K subs. The year before that it was TikTok. The year before that, I think it was Google performance max ads. Mm-hmm. , you know, just every year I just do one thing and as long as I’m learning, that’s been able to quell my ego.
Yeah. So you mentioned like you, you’re compare yourself to other, you know, like these huge, huge launches or big access or what have you. Yeah. And this point that you bring up is something that I think is so important and I, I talk about it quite a bit here in the show where as, you know, in this, in the online space, it’s, it’s the sort of the, the level that everybody’s shooting for is that seven figure mark, that million dollar mark. Right. And like, hey, I did it. I talk about it all the time. I did, I was shooting for it too because I figured, like I’ve made it quote unquote when I hit seven figures and then when I hit it in the first four years, which I’m super grateful for. And I, I don’t minimize that, but I remember hitting it and I’m like, okay, what, like now what?
You know, and when I mean you, you know, you talk to people and, and about their business and if you say like, Hey, what’s what are you trying to do? What’s your goal? And like, oh, hey, wanna hit a million that wanna do seven figures? Yep. Whenever I hear that from people, I’m like, okay, great. Why? What’s the why behind that? Right? Yeah. And nine times outta 10 it is because, you know, this is what I, this I I will know I’m an expert at that point, or I will know I’ve made it at that point. And I’ve been talking a lot more about this recently where why not redefine what that success looks like to you in terms of just so you just, like you just said Steve, it’s like, all right, how much money do I need to live? And maybe you’re adding on a little bit more because you want to, I don’t know, whatever, and you’re investing or saving for whatever. And like, what if that’s the goal? And what if that goal is a hundred thousand dollars or $50,000 or 400, whatever it might be. Now there’s meaning behind that goal. And I think that not only does it start to shift people’s perspective, but it’s also hard, I think for people to wrap their head around because it’s been so ingrained and talked about the online space for years and years and years, this whole seven figure level. What are your thoughts on that? L l
Lemme tell you this something Rick, and, and you’ve probably had more people on your podcast than I have as guests. I once had this guy on, he hit 2 million in six months and the whole episode we were talking about how we did it and like cheering him on and everything. I hit the record button, I had the stop button and I was like, dude, how painful is that? It must have been really horrible. And he was like, oh man, I was so stressed out, burned out during that time. It was not fun. And I wish I had that part on the recording, cuz those are the stories that most people don’t hear about. Yeah. I was in a mastermind group once where one of the guys wanted to hit seven figures, just so you were just talking about, but he was making a healthy six figure profit with like one person on his team, but he really wanted to hit seven figures. So he expanded his team, he hired like 15 people and he managed to hit seven figures. When we looked at his profit number, it was actually less than he made without the Yeah. And all of a sudden he’s like managing all these people that he doesn’t wanna be doing either, so. Right. You don’t hear about those stories either publicly.
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I mean, it’s so, it’s so true. Like, would you rather have, you know, $200,000 business where your profit margin is super high or would you rather have million dollar business where your profit margin maybe, maybe isn’t as as high? It’s, I think it’s something it’s so good for. I’m so glad you bring that up because it’s, it’s something that the perspective is not talked about enough. So
It is not, I mean, I, I would say I, I know for me, ego has always been that problem just because I hang out with so many successful people. Right? Yeah. It’s tough. Yeah. So for me, ego is always the problem, not necessarily the time or the, the mindset, but once I, I, I, let me just tell you the backstory. What, what ended up happening is we, we hit a million bucks in our business and I was so excited and I just kept moving the flagpole, like, okay, great. Mm-hmm. , let’s, let’s let’s grow another 30% next year. And then finally my wife broke down and she said, I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m burned out. What is the point of doing all this? And that’s when we started making changes. That’s when we stopped the revenue goals. That’s when we just took a step back because growing fast is actually very painful. It’s not fun. Yeah.
That’s what most people don’t realize. Yeah.
So what can people expect with the book? You know, we’ve talked about Yeah. So like a lot of what, what is pretty prevalent in, in the online space, but I love how you talked about, you know, people are losing their job and, and you know, having, creating something for themselves. What can people expect as they open up the book and start going through it?
So the book is divided into two parts. The first part is really for those people who don’t have a side hustle yet, and just getting them to start one and getting the courage to, to find something and start it. The second part of the book is about systems and automation and how to now let the business consume you. We can talk about the latter half of the book if you want.
I was just gonna say my audience loves, loves that conversation as much as I do. So yeah, let’s, let’s chat about that. I,
I’ll just, I’ll just give you like a little nugget. For example, for my business, I don’t focus on social media that much. And the reason why is because my friends who do it well, Instagram and Facebook, my Friday does Instagram well posts seven times a day. My Freddy does Facebook well, posts 21 times a day, and when they stop posting, that traffic goes away. Hmm. Right. So I think of social media as kind like a hamster wheel. So I focus on things where I can do it once and get the traffic for a long time. So, for example, s c I have a post that I wrote 10 years ago, still generates a ton of traffic. I have YouTube videos that I shown three years ago still generate me email, subs and traffic every single day. So I tend to focus on those properties.
I’m so glad. It’s just one
Glad you bring that up because Yeah. I mean, and you’ve been podcasting for a while also mm-hmm. , same sort of thing, like 453 episodes. Somebody can go back and listen to 20, number 27 or whatever and get a lot of value from it. Yeah. You know, as, as people do, as looking through and saying, Ooh, I like that topic right there. I really wanna listen to that episode. But it’s something that you did several, several years ago. And I also wanna point out to everybody listening right now, this is, you know, I’ve done an episode about you do not need social media in order to have a successful business. Oh
Really? You I did.
Okay. Yeah, because I mean, you’re a perfect example, Steve. And like I, and I don’t do hardly any either. And what I see is a lot of people feel that pressure of needing to do social media because that’s what they keep hearing. And I love how you, like, it’s a, it’s a hamster wheel and when you stop doing it, the the return on that will likely stop as well. So, all right. What’s another automation or systems and process that?
So this one’s a little bit more controversial, but I don’t like employees. I prefer automation over employees. So one of my businesses, my wife quit her job, it makes a million dollars in profit and I just have one VA in the Philippines. That’s it. And this is part of the reason I, so I used to be an engineering director, I had a team and they, they were great at, at working. But what I found is like you have to deal with a lot of issues. What most people don’t realize is that when you have a lot of people under you, there’s like an overhead of just keeping them interested, keeping them motivated and that sort of thing. And that ends up being quite a bit of work.
So I don’t want a big team ever. And I’m of the opinion, and you can correct me, give gimme your opinion, Rick, if all you wanna do is make a couple million bucks, you don’t need a large team. If you wanna start like the next Facebook or whatever, then you need a team. But just to make a good living and spend time with your family, you definitely don’t.
So I know that people are listening right now and they’re like, wait a minute, you have million dollar profit in your, my wife quit her job business with one Filipino assistant. What? Let’s break that down for a second. Sure.
Yeah. So that particular business, my wife quit. Her job is all about content. And content is probably the most scalable business that you can create. So I mentioned the blog posts, right? Those rank and search and the YouTube videos just generate traffic. I guide them to an email list and I always try to grab an email and an s m s list and my email list goes into, I, I, I get people into what I call my six day mini course that teaches them how to start selling online mm-hmm. and now Seeds into my full-blown class. I, I’m sure you have something similar Rick. And it’s just this nice automated cycle where I’m just getting sales of my classes and as part of the class I also refer out products where I get a cut of the sale as well. Mm-hmm. . And a lot of it just kind of comes in without a whole lot of upkeep.
So what is the assistant doing?
The assistant is the person who’s editing my podcasts, editing my videos, and she actually helps me deal with my email load as well.
But everything else is automated.
Everything else is pretty much automated. So I, I can break down my 20 hours for you if you guys want. I, I finish all my content creation on Mondays. So I post two YouTube videos a week and I post one blog post a week. I do have writers, I don’t consider them employees, they’re kind of like contract contract writers. Mm-hmm. , but you can call ’em employees if you want. So even on the content side, I have a system down where, let’s just talk about YouTube cuz video is like probably the most intimidating thing that you can do, right? Sure. Prior to me starting my channel, I was very intimidated to YouTube, which is why I didn’t do it for many, many years. Yeah. Because it would take 20 minutes to set the light and then editing the video and all that stuff. So before I committed to starting that channel, what I did was I filmed a video and I edited it and I recorded myself editing it.
Ah. And then
I just turned that over to I, I looked for a video editor in the Philippines and I turned over that video and we kind of iterated on these videos. I didn’t publish anything on YouTube yet. And then I filmed a bunch of videos and just kind of ironed down that system between the editing and, and whatnot. And so when I was ready to launch, I had a couple of videos in the bank and then now I have the system where all I gotta do is record and then I just throw it overboard to the editor and it comes out perfect. So I can literally do a YouTube video now in like 20 minutes. So it’s all about systems. Yeah. Yep. Yeah.
Did you know how, I’m just curious, did you know how to edit when you, when you were recording yourself editing? Were you a good,
So what I did was I edited my first one and I just kind of figured out what I wanted. And that first episode probably took me like a day to edit. Yeah. Yeah. Just to be clear. And then when it came time to filming, I already had the system down. So on the second video I just filmed myself editing and I just kind of narrated what I like, where I, you know, want the jump cuts and that sort of thing. And that’s what I turned over.
I think that the, what a lot of people don’t want to do is that upfront work of recording themselves doing it because, you know, they have this whole, you know, we all, we all do. Like I can just do it myself. So much easier to do that. What are your, what would you say to somebody who’s like, well this, this is only gonna take me a few minutes to do it because I know exactly how to do it and it would take me all this time to explain what I need done to somebody, you know, on the team or what have you.
Yeah, so I, I I, I have different opinions on this. So if they really enjoy doing that in the first couple minutes mm-hmm. , I would say keep going. Like, I generally don’t try to hire someone until it becomes painful actually. Hmm. So if you enjoy doing it, great. I did not like video editing. I did not like podcast editing. Yeah. And there’s one point that I forgot to mention. I didn’t actually launch my YouTube channel until I had the editor and everything in place. Cuz I know that if I launched a channel with me editing it, I would’ve, there’s this pressure to post like every week, right? Yeah. I would’ve burned myself out and probably would’ve stopped had I not had everything in place. Yeah. So I’m a believer in having the system in place before you actually even launch.
And, and just curious when you, it’s such a good point that you did it yourself. You recorded yourself doing it. And then I’m assuming that you said that you found an editor, so it wasn’t somebody who didn’t know video editing, it was somebody who actually knew video editing. Correct. Correct. So they can elevate what you were doing. They can kind of get a gauge of like, oh, okay, I see what Steve’s wanting there and doing. And they use their own expertise to kind of elevate that.
And I think this is what people don’t realize also is that there’s labor overseas that’s very good. Amazingly skilled labor like in the Philippines for example, that you can hire for a fraction of the cost of in the us. And let me tell you my, my employees that I’ve, I’ve worked with in the Philippines, they’ve been better than the people I’ve been able to find locally. And I don’t know if it’s cultural, but the attitude’s just different. Like they want to do a really good job and go beyond because they wanna please you. And maybe it’s, maybe it has something to do with the Asian culture. I, I don’t know. But I’ve just had really good luck with everyone I’ve worked
With. Yeah. Yeah. I have two full-time Filipino assistants and they’re just the most amazing. Yeah, they’re, they’re, they’re so great. Yeah. So first half of the book starting a side hustle, second half is more about what we’re talking about here. Mm-hmm. is the systems, systems product, automation systems really how to really, how to accomplish scaling your business to whatever you want it to scale it to without, you know, getting in the way of what is most important in terms of family and the life that you wanna live.
Yeah. I mean I go into a lot more of the automation stuff. Sure. A lot of it has to do with email. S m s I mean, one thing that I really believe in also is selling more to your existing customers. We had that example earlier about, you know, finding those event and wedding planners. There’s, there’s more to it obviously here, here’s the thing, most people always focus on customer acquisition and you teach Facebook ads, right? Mm-hmm. and you know that acquiring a customer is pretty expensive. Yep. On the e-com side, if you’re getting a two x retired ad spend, that’s pretty good. Yeah. On the e-com side. Whereas if you’re selling to people who already trust you and already open up their wallet for you, it’s so much easier to sell to them. Sure. And those people be, provide a solid base so that when you’re getting new customers, you’re just kind of building up that solid base of customers. And it’s basically how to leverage those repeat customers. Are
You reselling to on the, my my wife Quitter job side in that business? Are you reselling to them?
Yeah, so I have two products on the My Wife Quitter job side. Mm-hmm and I have a ton of affiliate products. So people are in one class. I might introduce them to another class or I’ll just talk about tools that I use. Yeah.
Leads to revenue as well. So it’s similar on the, in on the info side as well. Yeah.
Yeah. I like it. Where can people connect get this book? Cause this is something that, like I mentioned, the message is so important and very timely, like on a personal level and I, you know, it’s this, I don’t want people sacrificing, you know, I always talk about build your business around your life, not the other way around. And what you’re doing here is almost like a blueprint for, for doing these things. Whether somebody’s just starting out or they already have an existing business, how to make that more efficient to free up time. And I’d love to get your comment here as we wrap up. Like I, I think what’s most important is when people are able to free up that time doing the types of things that you’re teaching in the book. It’s what they do with that time. Rather than, like you mentioned before, like, Ooh, I can do this now I can add this to the cuz like I’ve freed up this time in the business, I can start doing this stuff. But Right. It’s like making that decision of what to do with that time now.
(00:40:42) – And this is why I only do one thing every year, to be honest with you, because it’s really easy to get caught up in a bunch of different things and what ends up happening, you do a bunch of different things, you don’t do anything well. Yep. Right. You don’t do any one thing. Well and as long as you stick to that discipline, I mean, another one of my philosophies is I, I won’t even start anything unless I commit to it for at least two to three years. Usually longer than that even. And I don’t start anything until I have like a piece of my schedule that I can dedicate to that. Like the YouTube channel for example. Yeah. Like I didn’t have six hours to dedicate to a video, but once I found the editor I got 30 minutes. So I’ll pencil that in on Monday. Yeah. And then I can maintain that forever.
Yeah, we can talk forever about that.
I love it. , where could people get the book?
Yeah, so the book, the best way is actually go to the family first entrepreneur.com. Okay. And the reason why I want you guys to go there is because I’m offering these amazing bonuses for ordering the book. I’m giving away a three day workshop on how to get started with e-commerce and specifically print on demand. The reason why I chose Print on Demand is because it costs practically no money to start. And it’s kinda like a gateway drug to running an e-commerce store. Like my nine and 11 year old kids start an e-commerce store with print on demand selling entrepreneurial t-shirts and they made a thousand dollars in their first month. Oh really? My little kids can do it. So can you. I also have a two day workshop on content. So in that two day workshop I talk about blogging, podcasting, and YouTube if you want to go into that business. And then I’m also doing this six week, what I call a family first challenge. And that one’s gonna be interactive. I’m gonna be in a Facebook group and help you guys find out what your next tide hustle is gonna be.
And you get all those bonuses just for prayering the book. And you can get the book anywhere. It’s, it’s available everywhere. Amazon bars and Nobles. Why not? Gotcha.
But, but best way to get all these bonuses that you just mentioned. The family first entrepreneur.com. That’s correct. Awesome. I’ll link the book up in the show notes obviously, and I’ll also link up other like how to connect with where else can people connect with you. Steve, easiest
Way is just go over to my wife quitter job.com Okay. Centered for my free 60 day mini course if you wanna check it out. Yep. It’s a group of lessons if you wanna learn how to sell online and if you guys ever wanna meet up in person, go to seller summit.com. It’s an event that I’ve been running for the last seven years. Alright. I forgot. If you guys are getting married, I’ll hook you up with some Hanks over a bonnet. Bonus.
Bonus. Yeah. Awesome. Steve, thanks my man for coming on here. So great to catch up with you and talk about this. Like I mentioned, this is such an important topic and thanks for writing a book about this. It’s the family first entrepreneur.com, everybody go pick up a copy, go to that site to get all the bonuses and stuff that Steve just mentioned. And thanks so much Steve, I appreciate it, man. Yeah,
Thanks for having me, Rick. Appreciate it.
All right, hope you enjoyed that conversation here with Steve. I’ll link up the book and his other websites over on my show notes page for today’s episode, which email@example.com and just go to the podcast section. You’ll see my episode, see my episode with Steve right there. Also, real quick, if you have not yet left a quick rating review for the show over on Apple Podcast, it’s still a really big help for the show to support. It takes like 10 seconds to do. And also make sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss any episodes. If you are listening like on Spotify or whatever, you click that follow button so that you don’t miss any episodes. Thank you as always my friend for listening to today. I appreciate you. Until next time, be well and I’ll chat with you soon.