A Peek Into The Glamorous Life Of A Small Business Owner

Everyone knows that starting and running a small business is glamorous. In the past few weeks alone, I’ve read at least a half a dozen stories ranging from “How I made $1027.53 in a single day!” to “How you can work 4 hours a day and be rich as a small business owner!”.

Clearly, these guys are living the good life. What’s funny is that these business owners never mention how glamorous their lifestyle really is. They don’t mention the power, the freedom and the luxury that comes along with owning a small business.

On second thought, it’s probably because they don’t want to make their readers jealous.

Fortunately, I don’t care if I make you envious. I’m going to tell you about all of the “bling bling” that I experience on a day to day basis. For all of you who are new to the blog, my wife and I run an online wedding linens store. Here’s a sneak peek into our glamorous way of life.

I Answer To No One

One thing I love about owning a business is that I don’t answer to nor do I take any sort of crap from anyone. I don’t have to be nice or put up with any sort of abuse. Here’s a perfect example with a customer call I had the other day.

Customer:You sent me my order incorrectly. I ordered 20 inch napkins not 18 inch.
Me: We apologize for that. I will send you another set of 20 inch napkins ASAP
Customer: I need these napkins by tomorrow.
Me: I apologize sir, but in order to get them to you next day, we would need to ship them express mail. The cost of shipping would exceed the value of the napkins themselves.
Customer: So what don’t you understand about the situation? I need the napkins tomorrow. You screwed up, now make it right!
Customer: Hello? In case I’m not being clear, send my napkins express mail. I don’t care how much it costs and I’m not paying another dime. Just remember, you people are the ones who messed up, not me. This is a very important dinner party.
Me: Yes sir. We’ll do that right away sir.


As you can see, I handled that situation like a rebel. If I get a call like that again, I’ll be sure to tell them off as harshly as I did with this customer. Man, I just love having the power to do and say whatever I want! I feel the power surging through my veins.

I Work Whenever I Feel Like It


There’s nothing like being able to set your own hours and being in complete control of your own schedule. I work how long I want and when I want. Here’s a great example.

This customer called us at 7:30am on a Saturday morning. Normally, I wouldn’t have answered the call, but I just happened to be working that day (on my own volition of course).

Customer: Today is my sister’s wedding day. I received the wedding handkerchief that I ordered for her. It’s beautiful by the way. The only problem is that her name is misspelled. Her name is Karin and not Karen.
Me: Yikes! We’re sorry about that. Seeing as the wedding is today, I don’t think we have any time to do anything about it. We’d be happy to give you a full refund.
Customer: That’s what I wanted to ask you. The wedding is actually located 5-10 minutes away from your store. Would it be possible to get another one to us?
Me: You mean drive it over?
Customer: Or I could come and pick it up.
Me: …
Customer: We would really like to have these hankies as part of the photos.
Me: What time do you need them by?
Customer: Pictures start at 10:30.
Me: Ok I’ll be there. Send me the address and I’ll have someone drop them off.

Our embroiderist was not available so I had to sew the handkerchiefs myself and make the delivery on a Saturday morning. See what I mean? I just love dictating my schedule.

I Delegate All Of The Menial Tasks To Others

sitting by the pool

Man, my back is killing me today. Why? It’s because I spent all day partying. Yep, a big shipment of linens arrived and there was no one else around to help so I had to party with the linens all by myself.

Weighing in at 1000 pounds, this wasn’t our largest shipment but I had to unwrap and categorize each individual piece and put them on the appropriate shelf.

We received a lot of new products as well. You should have seen the paparazzi (my wife and I). They were all over the place, taking product photos, editing them in photoshop and then uploading them prominently to our online store website.

It was crazy! Total mayhem I tell you!

There were linens sprawled all over the place and the office was trashed by the end of the day. The linens and I sure know how to have a good time. As the big boss, it’s a good thing that I can delegate all of the crappy tasks to others so I can concentrate on leisure and recreation.

I Can Sit Back And Watch The Money Roll In


Once your business reaches a certain point, you can just click on the autopilot and watch the money roll in. Now’s the time to purchase that large, comfy office chair, sit back and relax.

Me: What do you mean you can’t locate 2 tons worth of linens?????
Customs Agent: We apologize but we don’t have a record of your shipment anywhere.
Me: Those linens are worth 25,000 dollars. I’m absolutely positive they arrived today. I received a phone call from Mrs. Wu indicating that they were at the dock.
Customs Agent: We’ll look again, but we’ve haven’t seen any shipment that large.


I took this call at my day job and I was stressed out as hell because we absolutely needed that shipment in order to fulfill a large order for one of our biggest customers.

25k might not sound like a lot to some businesses, but for us, it was a good chunk of change. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything about it. All I could do was sit back and wait for the call.

**3 hours pass**

Customs Agent: Sir, we finally located your shipment.
Me: Thank God!!! Thank you so much for looking for them!!! Now if you don’t mind, I need to go home and change my underwear.
Customs Agent: Haha, you’re very welcome. We apologize for the confusion.

Don’t let other business owners deceive you. Running a small business is all about sitting back on your throne and watching your bank account grow.

Too Much Glam?


So can you cope with all of the glam? The late nights of partying and mental and physical abuse can be a bit much for anyone to handle.

Next time you hear glorified tales or outrageous stories about someone making ridiculous amounts of cash in a short period of time with a small business, be sure to take these things with a grain of salt.

Making money and running a small business takes a lot of energy and requires a tremendous amount of time. There are many perks but there are disadvantages as well.

Despite the downsides, I wouldn’t give up our small business for anything. The glam can be tiresome at times, but my wife and I get to spend more time with each other and with our little daughter. Running a small business might be too much for some people, but it’s definitely the right fit for us.

Editors Note: I wrote this post back in November 17, 2008 during a time when I was getting frustrated with all of the get rich quick schemes and money making articles I was reading online.

Anyway I love maintaining an online diary because I can take a step back in time and remember how I was feeling during the heat of the grind. Hope you enjoyed the read.

Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?

If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's free and you'll receive weekly ecommerce tips and strategies!

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About Steve Chou

Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com

His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times,  Entrepreneur and MSNBC.  

He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.

In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts

To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.  

Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses. 

50 thoughts on “A Peek Into The Glamorous Life Of A Small Business Owner”

  1. Richard McLaughlin says:

    Hey, don’t let the truth out. People only want to hear that things are always perfect.

  2. Steve says:

    Hi Rich,

    Just like being a part of the magician’s guild. You can’t reveal your secrets. Consider me a rogue magician.

  3. Giovanna Garcia says:

    Hi Steve.

    I like your post. You are honest, and people need that! Very insightful.

    Thank You,

    Giovanna Garcia

  4. Trevor says:

    Having your own business is definitely a leverage.

    Seeing people I know owning their own business and being successful, it definitely inspires me too!

  5. Carla says:

    Very funny and well written post!

    Your post makes me feel so much better about a very discouraging comment I received not too long ago (not on my primary blog). She meant well, but she bit me pretty hard at the same time. Though it wasn’t a customer issue, your post still helped me remember that business owners do have to take a fair amount of crap – justified or not. I can’t wait until I get customers and have to deal with what you mentioned on this and previous posts!

  6. Steve says:

    @Giovanna – Thanks for the comment! I was kind of getting tired of reading all of the “make money online” and “get rich quick” articles I’ve been seeing lately.

    @Trevor – Thanks Trevor. I’m going to hit up your blog as soon as I’m done responding to replies.

    @Carla – I’m glad this post made you feel better. You never really hear about the crap and the menial tasks that business owners have to go through. Most people just post about the numbers and the amount of money earned. I went and took a look at your store. It looks very nice!

  7. Carla says:

    @Steve – Thank you!

    The menial tasks stat LONG before you see your first check/sale/commission, etc. I think that’s what people don’t understand either.

    Thankfully, I am still having fun.

  8. Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard running your own business lets you set your own schedule… as in 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you like that schedule then your all set!

    Shoot… the only thing I run is a blog and I feel like it takes up half my free time.

  9. Steve says:

    Hi Ashley,

    Indeed it does sometimes feel like 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. But realistically, it’s not too bad once things are up and running smoothly. It’s always the emergency situations that you remember the most.

  10. Hunter Nuttall says:

    18 inch napkins? How dare you! Surely the event would have been ruined and your customer would be the laughing stock of the community!

    Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Do people really love their napkins that much? Thanks for sharing this dose of reality with us.

  11. Steve says:

    Hey Hunter,

    The unfortunate fact is that when you are a small business, word of mouth is crucial. In this case, we were clearly at fault so I felt that it was the right thing to do. If you want to read some more crazy stories, check out our customer stories

  12. Ross says:

    Heh heh – nicely done…. For a split second at the start of this post I actually thought you were serious! I love the tone that this is written in, helps dispell the “get rich and live a perfect lifestyle!” claims…

    Interesting to hear your insider view on all of this, congratulations for sticking with it and being successful!

  13. David Siteman Garland says:

    Yup, that sounds about right, haha. The “get rich without putting time in” is definitely a joke. Many don’t realize that brand building and business building are more than just a little bit time consuming 🙂

    As in 18 hour days….
    As in working weekends….
    As in major sacrifices…
    As in the coffee economy being very happy because you need 1923934 cups day….

    But the bottom line is if your business is scalable, you can remove yourself from the annoying things years down the line (did I say years?!?!).

    Sigh….one more reason that you better be passionate!

  14. Bleu Panda says:

    You “gotcha” me! I love this creative post!
    From the outside, the small business lifestyle does appear to be easier. I know that you all struggle and work extra hard to get started, but then I tend to believe that it’s smooth sailing once you are established. However, this post testifies to the entrepreneurial spirit of persistence and self-motivation.

    You mention about the freedom you get to spend time with your family. What about the quantity and quality of the small biz’s social life with other friends, etc.? – Others who also comment on this post and have their own business – Carla? Trevor?

    I work in the corporate setting and used to believe that my few hours a week for socializing after work is great freedom. I can leave the office and not care about the state of the company, so to speak. However, compared to the 10+ hours / day I can spend at work, I’d have to question that trade-off. It appears to me that although your hours working on the business may be long, you are spending that time much more purposefully. It’s like while I am renting time from my life, you are investing time into yours.

    Great post, thanks for the insight!

  15. Irene | Light Beckons says:

    Steve, you made me laugh out loud while staring at my miserable laptop (and my mom looked at me and shook her head – that’s not good I think). I absolutely love your wit and the wisdom of this post! You and your wife are serious business people! If I have friends who are getting hitched, I’d send them your way for some cool napkins and a dash of outstanding customer service. 🙂

  16. shea says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I enjoyed it so much I subscribed twice.

  17. Steve says:

    Hey Ross,

    Thanks for the kind comments. Lately I’ve just been kind of fed up with all of the get rich quick schemes. Honestly, I’d like to review them for myself and write a few articles about them but I’m too cheap:)

    Hi Bleu,

    Once again, a very thought provoking comment. I think I’m going to write a post about it. Stay tuned.

    Hi Irene,

    I’m so glad that I could make you laugh! Sometimes I get into these sarcastic moods and this article is what results.

    Hi Shea,

    Thanks for the comment! If you have a website, I’d love to take a look at your paintings. I’m fairly sure that Ebay is not the way to go if you want to sell them.

    Hey Dave,

    So very true. It’s definitely a tradeoff and a roller coaster ride, but it’s all worth it. So how did you manage to get your own show? I’m very impressed. Can’t wait to check it out next week.

  18. Brandi Pierce says:

    So true! Life gets crazy when you are a one- (or in your case two-) person show.

    Great article. Love your writing style. You might enjoy my blog when you have a spare moment — I know those are hard to find and I’m sure I just set myself back by reading and responding. lol! 😉 Worth it though. I needed a pick me up.

    Ah, the joys of self-employment. Wouldn’t change it for the world though.

    Cheers! =) B

  19. Steve says:

    Hi Brandi,

    Thanks for the comment. Actually we do have some hired help that comes by. It just so happens that they are never around in emergencies! I’ll definitely check out your blog as soon as I’m done responding to comments.

  20. Lindsay says:

    Grin, love the conversation examples. I couldn’t handle the customer service aspect of running a real business (blogging for profit is as close as I get), but am inspired by your success. Enjoyed reading your about story. Congratulations!

  21. Gerard says:

    Hi Steve

    As you know, I just quit my job to go full-time with our home business. Your post is a timely reminder to those people who think having a website is a big get rich quick scheme.

    It’s not. It’s a business.

    I can’t count the amount of pretenders who’ve tried to do the same thing, only to run away screaming when they realise that building an audience is hard and the revenues won’t fund the champagne lifestyle they’re dreaming of.

    I’ve had a business meeting this morning to talk about our plans. We know where we want to be in the next year or so, and how we’re planning to get there. Now we’re going to roll up our sleeves and make it happen. The market is completely oversaturated with people telling you how easy it is to make money online. It isn’t – it’s a cheap market to enter, but that’s it.

  22. Steve says:

    Hi Gerard,

    I wish you the best of luck on your business plans. If you ever need any advice or support, feel free to drop me a line!

    Hi Lindsay,

    I took a look at your blog as well and you are an amazing writer. I will definitely be stopping by often.

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  25. Manufacturers Representative says:

    Well, this is a really funny post! Anyway, I think some of the customer service can be outsourced for you to free up more time to manage on things that really matter in your business, such as ensuring the orders are correctly produced according to the customer’s requirements. From what I notice, most of the problems stem from spelling errors and measurement errors.

    Maybe a more elaborate purchase form that helps to capture more details from the customer and having them confirm to it before the order actually is produced will help minimize errors like these.

  26. David Turnbull says:

    Hah, great post. I think I’m lucky in that I enjoy even the least glamorous parts of my work (playing around with databases, doing basic coding etc) but it’s still nice to bring business back down to Earth as to not be caught off guard when something eventually happens that isn’t like what the Guru’s so desperately promote. 🙂

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  28. MaryKay Harris says:

    That was soo funny , I think I have tears.

  29. Jeremiah Johnson of Best Carry On Luggage says:

    I have heard the statement, “I want to work for myself so I can make my own schedule.” What a joke! If anyone thinks that its less work to work for yourself then they should keep their day job. You will work longer, harder and many times for less money just to have the luxury to say that you work for yourself. It definitely has its advantages but it certainly is not all roses.

  30. Cynthia says:

    What! You mean there’s WORK involved? Wow! Never thought of that. ^_^

  31. Harry says:

    Hi there, I like your post BUT the customer stories are not good. Why? Because on the other side we are ALL customers and want to be treated with respect. So YOU had sent the wrong size napkin? Why send these in the first place? And you could not confirm the SPELLING on an item before printing? Bad service. Look, I am a business owner too, but the customer is the MOST important part of the business. If you understand that, you will automatically roll in tons of money because the customers COME BACK AND ALSO RECOMMEND YOU to their friends which means you stay in business and steadily grow it. Good luck to you, hope it works out for you. Harry

  32. mike says:

    If you are not running a 12hr shift 7 days…you’re not working hard enough. LOL why do we put ourselves through this again? Good read indeed.

  33. (another) Ross says:

    Hi Steve,
    I, too, a small business owner, but I’m in the service industry. As a Massage Therapist, and a married man, I have to juggle the needs of my patients with the needs of my family. Just like you, people have no shyness about calling, texting, emailing me at all times of the day, and most of them want an instant response. Well, that and because I am a fellow in a female dominated field, I’d better answer the phone or else I lose yet another few dollars.
    I’ve been in this profession for 12 years, and there’s no such thing as guaranteed income. Especially since my treatment style is curative; once your pain is gone, you don’t need additional therapy.
    Anyhow, continued good fortune with your business.

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  35. Catherine says:

    Funniest. Post. Ever. I need to order a hankie to wipe away the tears streaming down my face 🙂

    I especially love the fact that you are secure enough in your manhood to embroider napkins yourself.

    My husband and I should have our online business up and running in the next 6 weeks or so… I imagine we’ll be RICH in 7! I’m already shopping for hammocks and a large selection of romance novels so that I might while away my days in the same kind of luxurious lifestyle as you and your wife.

    p.s. Loving the online course–we couldn’t possibly do this without you!

    1. Steve C says:

      Thanks Catherine!
      This is actually an older post which describes how my wife and I were feeling when we first started out. Thankfully, things are now much much easier:)

  36. Tram Tran says:

    Hahaha, I can totally relate.

    Though working in Fashion may look glamorous, it is not. You should see me packing 400 boxes of clothes =D IT’S FUN.


  37. Karin says:

    I loved this article… I was on the verge of a full breakdown so decided to Google “small business stress” and I somehow ended up here. Thanks for this, I really needed it. I laughed till I cried. Then I cried some more, this time not from laughing. But it was a good release of frustration.

    My jewellery business is one year old now, and it’s recently started getting busy. Which is great, but it also means that I’ve stayed up working in my studio until 4-7 am the past few days, and today I finally had time to log onto my email inbox, and seeing all those emails that I need to attend to is what finally cracked me.

    Please tell me it gets better, if only a little!!!

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  39. Diem Le-Duong says:

    Great article and well written with great humor! I laughed so loud I startled my 4-year old daughter. lol.. Being married to a business owner of four franchises isn’t glamorous at all either! It’s always nice to read real life struggles of owning your own business. I am married to one, I work full-time, and recently started a jewelry business part-time. I googled “glamorous of owning a business” to reach out and cope with these real struggles that being your own boss isn’t as glamorous as people think but it will eventually pay off! Thanks for the humorous article!

  40. A Campbel says:

    This is just awesome Steve :).
    It reminds of a book I recently read by MJ Demarco Millionaire FastLane where
    he mentioned exactly the same thing. People only see events they dont see the process behind it.
    Great inspirational article.

    Thank you again

  41. Jeremy Robinson says:

    I really appreciate and respect when authors go against the trend of promising “overnight riches on the internet” and tell it like it really is. There are so many internet marketers making unrealistic claims that sometimes it seems like the whole industry is one big Ponzi scheme!

    The truth is you can make money in any business – internet or otherwise – if you’re willing to work hard, work smart and persist. And being an entrepreneur is not for everyone!

    I’ve tried to take a similar approach on my blog and have several posts along the same lines, such as this one:


  42. Xyz from Financial Path. says:

    Can’t agree more with “I Delegate All Of The Menial Tasks To Others”. It is SO important to not get overwhelmed by the little day to day stuff. You can easily end up wasting 4h of your day on menial task…

  43. Jim LaValley says:

    “Despite the downsides, I wouldn’t give up our small business for anything.” That is what makes this article. Thanks for sharing.


  44. Fernando says:

    Basically. Usually we’re involved in the environmental report that they do in the planning stage. We have to do measurements of existing noise and predict how much the train will increase that noise level.

  45. Hussein Chahine says:

    This is fantastic. Isn’t it a joy to be able to run your own business? The hours can sometimes be crazy and the risks are high but, in the end, it is well worth it. Love this piece.

  46. Irene says:

    Thanks for the refreshing read Steve! I’m in the same boat – 2 kids under 3, working a FT job and running a side business…my poor husband! The glamorous lifestyle and 5 hours of sleep per night is catching up. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world! Something about it is still very raw and exciting and the deep satisfaction is not something I could find at my dayjob.

    I appreciate your articles as they inspire me…I’m always hungry to learn more and making goals so one day I can do this Full time!

    Now off to pack more orders 🙂


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