12 Things Discovered From Starting Two 7-Figure Lifestyle Businesses!
Steve Chou of “My Wife Quit Her Job” fame has made a list of 12 things he learned while starting not just one, but two different 7 figure lifestyle businesses from scratch. He created the businesses so that his wife could quit her job to stay home with the children, and because he wanted to spend plenty of time with his family.
That tells you right there that Steve does not believe in working 80 hour weeks, but instead creates businesses that conform to the lifestyle he seeks.
First, he started an online store that made 100K in profit the first year and has been growing ever since, now generating 7 figures per year. Next, he started a blog that became highly profitable in its third year, and now generates over a million dollars a year on its own.
Here’s what Steve learned on his journey of lifestyle businesses success…
1: Find out what you’re good at, and focus on that
Be hyper focused on one thing and be the best at it. Steve focused his wedding linens store on handkerchiefs and became the largest seller of hankies on the internet.
Then with his blog, he positioned himself as an e-commerce entrepreneur because there were few blogs out there that wrote about running a real online shop. He recommends finding the thing you have a shot at being the best at, to avoid blending with the rest of the crowd.
2: Work with People Who You Love and Who Challenge You
While Steve loves working with his wife, he’s also the first to admit that working with a spouse might not be right for everyone.
But if you can find someone with a complementary skill set who pushes you harder than you’ll push yourself, having this person will keep you motivated and moving forward.
3: Make Decisions and Execute
When you have no clue as to what to do, it’s really easy to sit on the sidelines until you choose a path. But the problem is you’ll never know which path is right until you pick something and go for it. If you’re feeling indecisive, take action anyway.
By getting off your butt, you begin to accumulate valuable data that you can use to make adjustments in what you do next. When Steve decided to launch an online course, he did nothing for six months because he didn’t know where to start.
Then one day he launched the course with ZERO content, pre-selling the class to 35 students at $299 each. Now he was forced to take action and create the course content. This class has since generated millions of dollars in revenue.
4: Build and Own as Much as You Can
While many would-be entrepreneurs take shortcuts and rely on third party services to run their websites, this limits flexibility and puts your business potentially at the mercy of someone else.
He explains that building your own site may increase your time to market, but in the long run it’s worth it. Good examples are Etsy and Ebay.
By relying on a third party for their primary sales channel, sellers are at the mercy of these companies when they drastically increase prices or change ranking algorithms. That’s why he recommends owning your own website, so you’re not at the mercy of someone else.
5: Understand the Underlying Principles of What You Are Outsourcing
Have you known someone who outsourced the creation of their WordPress website for a few thousand dollars? And then paid more money every time they needed to make a change or update to their site?
This is why it’s important that you have an understanding of what is involved in a job you outsource.
Yes, it’s absolutely terrific to hire others to do the work you don’t want to do. But you do need a basic understanding of what’s involved, so that you don’t get taken advantage of.
6: Establish a Routine and Stick with It
A great way to burn yourself out before you barely get started is to pull several all-nighters in a row. Instead, establish a set routine that allows you to gradually and steadily make progress over time.
Steve and his wife devoted Sunday mornings and various evenings to their first business. And their only objective each time was to accomplish one thing per day. By creating a priority list and checking off goals, they made consistent progress and their shop was soon ready to launch.
7: Treat Your Customers Like Royalty
If you treat a customer well, they return the favor and tell their friends about your business. But if you treat a customer poorly, you lose a lot more than just that single customer.
Did you know that the average business doesn’t hear from 96% of unhappy clients? Or that every dissatisfied customer will, on average, tell at least 9 other people? This means for every customer complaint you get, there could be 24 more customers who are unhappy but didn’t say anything.
And if those 24 customers tell 216 more people about their negative experience with your business, you’ve got a problem. But on the flip side, up to 70% of customers will do business again if their complaint is resolved, and up to 95% will do business again if the problem is resolved quickly.
That’s why you want to treat your customers like royalty and never underestimate word of mouth and social media.
8: Get Some Exercise
When Steve and his wife were working to start their first business, Steve stopped exercising. But then he noticed he felt listless from a lack of energy, and he’d lose focus easily.
Once he went back to lifting weights, running and playing sports, he was far more productive in his business.
9: Just Ship It
You can spend weeks (months or years) tweaking your website, perfecting your product, playing with your sales funnel… and the whole thing turns out to be crap anyway.
Or… you can get it DONE and ‘ship it.’ See what’s working, what’s not working, and make adjustments as you go.
As Steve says, if you are making too many minor tweaks, or if you’re second guessing yourself (for the 47th time) then you are likely stalling your business on purpose because you are afraid to launch. Just. Ship. It.
10: Don’t be TOO Cheap
It’s good to be frugal… to a point. But let’s say there’s a task you’re doing that takes you 20 minutes a day, or 2 ½ hours per week.
There is a software that will do the task for you, but you’re frugal and don’t want to pay the $20 a month for the software. Do you realize that when you factor the money saved versus the hours you spend on this task, you are basically ‘earning’ $2 an HOUR?? Is that all you’re worth?
Or could you perhaps use those 10 hours a month to make a LOT more than 20 lousy bucks? Think about this the next time you decide to ‘save’ money by doing a task manually that software can do for you.
In fact, think about this before you do anything. For example, let’s say you need some work done. To hire an outsourcer to do the work for you is going to cost $250. Ouch, right? But this is something that you are NOT GOOD AT.
You will need to LEARN how to do it, and then you’ll need to practice, and then you’ll need to work out the bugs or problems that you caused because you didn’t know what you were doing. You spend perhaps 10 hours or 100 hours (depends on what it is and how bad you are at it) to get this task done.
11: Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
You’re starting and running an internet business… not overthrowing a regime or blasting off to Mars. Have fun. Take time out and enjoy the process. Marvel at how much you’re learning.
Be thankful that you are doing something 90% of other people don’t even dare dream. And when you have your first big success, or your hundredth big success, don’t let it go to your head. The moment you do, you’re headed for a fall, pun intended.
No one likes a smug, self-centered know-it-all, especially your customers. But everyone likes a regular “joe” or “jane” who doesn’t take him or herself too seriously. And remember to poke fun at yourself every chance you get – your customers will love you for being real, rather than pretending to be something you’re not.
12: Be Inspired
Hang out with the right people to get inspired. Read stories of how other entrepreneurs built their businesses. Find like-minded people and start a mastermind, or a support group, or a combination of the two.
The best way to stay motivated is to be among those who inspire you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Because yes, you can!