Today I am very pleased to introduce you an amazing husband and wife team who work from home, making money from their online store.
In this interview they cover how they made their first $100,000 online selling wedding linens and handkerchiefs and how running their own Internet business has changed their lives!
I understand you went from earning zero to $100,000 in the span of one year with our online store, what made you take your first steps online?
My wife used to have a steady job working as a financial analyst that made over six figures a year. But when she became pregnant with our child, we both decided that it was best that she quit her job in order to take care of our daughter full time.
As you can imagine, taking a six figure pay cut can be pretty devastating to a household’s finances, so when she became pregnant with our child, we immediately started planning ways to replace her lost income. What attracted us to an online business was
1. You don’t have to present to make money.
2. Your business can run 24 hours day even while you sleep
3. Managing an online business is something that can be maintained with less time and effort once things are all set up.
4. You can manage the business from home.
What advise would you give to other Internet entrepreneurs trying to make money with online stores? Anything that has helped you conversions?
This might sound a bit cliche but my advice is to stick with it even if things don’t start out how you expect. When my wife and I first launched our online store, we received very few orders in the first several months and contemplated closing up shop. We also made a bunch of mistakes early on that nearly killed our business. For example, when we first opened up, we only accepted Paypal payments and nothing else. Pretty dumb I know, but honestly we had very little idea what we were doing in the beginning.
But over time, we started recognizing and fixing the problems with our store. Slowly but surely orders started trickling in and in the course of a year, sales started to spike.
If I had to pinpoint one aspect of our business that has led to more conversions, it would be our commitment to customer service and the fact that we provide customers with free tutorials on creative ways to use our products. Word of mouth for any store is of the utmost importance. If you take care of your customers, they’ll come back and bring their friends too.
How has creating your own blog helped you further your income online? What’s your top tip for bloggers?
Honestly, I don’t use the blog to promote our online store much at all. I created MyWifeQuitHerJob.com to let people know that there are better ways to spend your time and make a living other than with a day job. I’m especially trying to reach out to the parents out there who want to spend more time with their children.
As for income, the extra money from the blog provides my wife and I even greater freedom and financial peace of mind. What I love about blogging is the community. I’ve met many new people and contacts, many of whom I keep in touch with on a regular basis. Hell, I wished I’d started blogging a long time ago.
My top tip for bloggers is to have fun with it and not take things too seriously. If you write from the heart, the traffic will come first and the money will soon follow.
How did you go about finding a product to sell and what advise would you give to others trying to find there own product?
You’ve probably heard this before, but in general it’s ideal if you pick a product that you are passionate about. But realistically speaking, your passions may not necessarily translate to a profitable selling product. The key to finding a good product to sell is
1. Pick a product that is generally hard to find. My wife and I settled on wedding linens because when we got married, my wife had a hard time finding handkerchiefs at our nearby stores.
2. Pick a product that has sentimental value. We chose wedding keepsakes because the value of the product isn’t necessarily in the cost of materials but in the memories they provide.
3. Pick a product or market where you have connections. If you have friends or family that have existing businesses, tap their expertise!
Running an Internet Business gives you choices and freedom to do what you want, when you want. What would you say the Internet Lifestyle is for you?
The internet lifestyle allows my wife and I to spend more time with our baby girl. That was always the end goal. Today, my wife devotes about a couple of hours a day on the business and then plays with our daughter the rest of the time. Initially, we were hoping to just replace my wife’s income, but our online store has really taken off and has far exceeded our expectations. Now we can concentrate on spending time with each other rather than worrying about our finances.
When I first started online I decided to open an online store selling sports clothes, one of my biggest problems was keeping organized. For example what was sold, who was shipped what, have they got it in the right size and so on. What’s your top tip for keeping organized while running your online stores?
Actually, the free open source shopping carts that you can find online have really matured. Today, it’s much easier to keep organized and manage inventory thanks to computers and new software. You might want to give it a try again Michael. You’d be surprised to see how far the software has come.
I understand that you first started your online business because you wanted to stay at home with your child and still earn at least your old salary, what would you say to other mothers our there wanting to do the same thing?
I say go for it especially since it is so inexpensive to start and maintain a website. When my wife and I first opened our online store, we spent a grand total of $629.90. This amount also includes the computer and digital camera we bought to launch the store. Seriously though, it only costs 5 dollars a month to maintain a website and most shipping carriers will give you their shipping boxes for free. It’s a no brainer to start an online business.
What would you say is the biggest single reason for your success?
The biggest single reason for our success is that we got off of our butts and took some action. It’s really tempting to remain on the sidelines and endlessly gather information but at some point you have buckle down and tell yourself, “Alright, let’s do this”.
What advice would you give to people just starting out with an online business?
My best advice would be to read my tutorials and take advantage of the many free software packages out there. If you are building a blog, use wordpress. If you are starting a store, use oscMax or zenCart. There is so much software out there already written for you that it’s very easy to get started at a very low cost.
The other thing I would say is that the conditions don’t have to be ideal. I would rather throw something up immediately rather than wait until everything is perfect. Businesses take time to develop and the sooner you start the better.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is to hang out with other entrepreneurs and avoid negative people. Most of you have probably encountered friends and family that have doubted your ideas. When starting any business, it’s important to stay motivated. And there’s no better way to maintain your enthusiasm than to hang out with people that share your same goals. In that respect, retireat21.com is a great resource to see what other entrepreneurs are up to.
At MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, I write a good deal of my posts about entrepreneurship because honestly, it’s not hard to start a business. The hardest part is getting your ass off the couch and staying motivated.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding making money online?
This is an easy one. When my wife and I first launched our store, we were so hung up on making money and profits that we missed out on some key opportunities to improve our customer loyalty and word of mouth. If I were to start over again, I would tell myself to go out of my way to please every single customer even if it means sacrificing some profit or even taking a loss.
Thanks very much for the interview, Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
Well, we are expecting another child very soon so things are about to get busier. We’re busy prepping for the new baby…