How To Get Rich – 20 Lessons On Making Money When Lifestyle Is Your Priority

This post is a collection of principles I live by on how to get rich without sacrificing your family life.

When it comes to business and life, my primary goal is to be the best Dad that I can be.

Making money and getting rich are secondary objectives and most people don’t believe that you can have both.

But if you approach building wealth with the proper mindset, then you can make lots of money and have the lifestyle you want at the same time.

Now I want to preface this post by saying that I’m not filthy rich. I can’t afford to buy a private jet, nor will you ever see me on an episode of MTV cribs:)

But I do run multiple 7 figure businesses that are very profitable and I spend a lot of time with my family. Almost too much:)!

As a result, the principles in this post may not apply if you are trying to make a billion dollars like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg.

But if you aspire to make a few million dollars per year where family is a priority, then continue on.

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How To Get Rich Without Sacrificing Your Family Time – A Video Overview

Lesson #1 – You Can’t Get Rich Unless You Build Money Generating Assets

Not all money is created equal.

When you work a day job, you are paid based on your time. And because there are only 24 hours in a day, your earning potential is forever capped by the amount of time you can work.

As a result, your day job will never make you life changing money. Instead of spending all of your time working for some else, you need to build up a collection of money generating assets.

An asset is something you own that makes money while you sleep. It’s an army that you command (human or machine) that builds wealth 24 hours per day without your intervention.

Now there are many ways to create income generating properties that are well covered in my post on how to become a millionaire

But here are some assets that I’ve built up in the last 20 years.

  • Real Estate – My house continues to appreciate year after year
  • My ecommerce store at – My online store generates 7 figures per year
  • My blog and podcast at – These 2 properties collectively generate 7 figures per year
  • My annual ecommerce conference at – This conference generates 6 figures in revenue per year
  • My portfolio of stocks and mutual funds – The return rate varies but generally goes up and to the right
  • My You Tube channelClick here to subscribe

Bottom line, income generating assets buy you freedom! After all, if you are spending all of your time working, then you aren’t spending time with your loved ones.

Lesson #2 – Build An Asset That Adds Value To The World

Out of all the assets I own, my online businesses make me the most money. And in general, the more value your asset can provide, the more money you will make.

As a result, whenever I invest my time in creating a brand new asset, I always make sure that it provides tangible value to the end customer.

Now this principle may seem like common sense but every single day, I get emails from readers asking me about AliExpress Dropshipping, Ebay Dropshipping and other get rich quick ecommerce business models.

In fact, the Internet is filled with schemes that promise a quick buck at the expense of selling junk or ripping someone off. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Before you invest your time into starting a business, you must first ask yourself whether you are providing value or whether you are making money at the expense of someone else.

If you provide value, your asset will stand the test of time. My wife and I have been running our ecommerce store for over 13 years now and I’ve been running for 11 years.

Don’t get sucked into get rich quick money schemes because they will eventually fall apart. Focus on building value and the money will come.

Lesson #3 – Keep Employment To A Minimum

Whenever I meet new entrepreneurs at a conference, usually the second or third question I get asked is how many people I have on my team.

Now for some reason, people tend to use headcount as a measuring stick for business success, so I always get a little sheepish when I say that I only have 1 VA on my staff over at

The truth is that I’m extremely cautious when it comes to hiring employees.

I believe that every business should have the minimum amount of human labor possible and that you should only hire when you’ve completely exhausted all other avenues.

Human labor is the highest maintenance method to grow a business.

You have to deal with personalities. You have to manage employee morale. You have to have leadership skills.

If you aren’t a good leader, then guess what? Your employees won’t work as hard or they’ll leave.

Instead, I focus on computers to grow my business. If I can write a piece of code to replace a human, I will do it. Computers don’t complain. They work 24/7 and they never get tired.

Hell, is a 7 figure business largely because of software. And I only need 1 employee to keep it running.

Can I scale to 10 million dollars on just 1 employee? Probably not. But my primary goal is to be a good Dad:)

Will 10 million dollars make me a better father? Most likely not.

Lesson #4 – Your Business Provides More Security Than Your Day Job

Over the years, I’ve had countless arguments with readers about whether running your own business is more stable than your day job.

And aside from the fact that your job will never make you life changing money, I sincerely believe that it is less secure as well.

Now the level of your job security will vary depending on what you do for a living, but here’s my take based on experience.

Back when I hired engineers for my tech company, I created job recs for specific roles. For example, the last hire I made was for a junior microprocessor designer with a specific set of hardware design skills.

Now the engineer I ultimately hired was great at what he did and he eventually left the company for another position. But was his departure catastrophic to the company? Not really. I simply replaced him with another engineer of a similar caliber. My point?

When you are hired for a specific role at a company, you are essentially replaceable. Every aspect of a job can be taught. And especially in the case of engineers, you will eventually be competing with someone younger than you who knows more than you.

On the flip side, can I ever be replaced at my ecommerce store or my blog? Not as long as I’m the boss.

Lesson #5 – You Have To Create Your Own Luck

When it comes to success in business and life, luck always plays a factor.

But have you ever noticed that certain people are luckier than others on a consistent basis? When good things happen seemingly by chance over and over again, it’s no longer luck. It’s skill.

A reader once asked me whether I could replicate my success if I started all over again from scratch. And the answer is absolutely.

If I lost everything and had to start with nothing, I’m confident that I could rebuild everything within 5-10 years.

When it comes to getting lucky, it is like playing the lottery. And the more you hustle, the more lottery tickets you get.

For example, without my podcast and my blog, I would never have “randomly” met the sponsors that support me every single day. If I didn’t attend conferences, I would never have met my business partner.

When you put yourself out there whether it be with a blog, podcast or YouTube channel, you are building a unique brand that naturally attracts other people.

Because I have covered ecommerce strategy for over a decade now, I’m now well known in this field. So guess what? Whenever someone needs help in this department, they naturally gravitate towards me.

Now is it pure luck that potential students are able to find me? Absolutely. But I’ve drastically increased my chances by being discoverable online.

Lesson #6 – You Must Learn How To Sell

In order to build wealth, you have to learn how to sell. Prior to my Internet life, I was an engineering director who stared at a computer screen all day.

I was great at building stuff but horrible at selling. In fact, I still remember the first live presentation that I gave to sell my course. It was terrible!

Even though I ended up selling 35 seats, I literally trembled when it came time to present my offer.

Now if you are terrible at sales like I used to be, the good news is that sales and marketing is a skill that you can learn over time.

Most people think you have to be sleazy and pushy to get someone to buy. But the reality is that sales and marketing is about communication and authenticity more than anything else.

Just tell it like how it is and your product will sell itself as long as you are providing value to your customers.

Regardless of how uncomfortable you feel, you will get much farther in life by devoting a portion of your studies towards human psychology and learning how to market yourself.

Lesson #7 – Building Wealth Always Takes Time

Most people believe that getting rich either happens quickly or doesn’t happen at all.

But almost every entrepreneur I know built up their wealth gradually over time.

If you look at my businesses, my assets didn’t start making money right away. My blog didn’t start making significant money until after year 3. My podcast took a few years as well.

Building wealth is almost never caused by a sudden windfall of money. Most assets build up little by little over time and collectively, they add up to a significant sum.

Using my YouTube channel as an example. I literally started my channel 2 weeks ago and right now my video views are low:)

But I plan on producing 1 video per week for this channel FOREVER! Why? Because I know that in a year or 2, my YouTube channel will generate leads and eventually become a significant factor in my business.

Thanks to the Internet, there are so many ways to make money. Just pick one and stick with it!

Lesson #8 – Live Below Your Means Even If You Have The Money

Even though my wife and I wouldn’t mind buying a larger house or remodeling our kitchen, we’ve purposely chosen to live below our means.

Now we could certainly afford to buy a new car, a new house or go on more extravagant vacations, but having more money in the bank means more freedom.

Right now, I don’t have to worry about money at all and I sincerely believe that people who live below their means enjoy a peace of mind that people who spend extravagantly can’t comprehend.

Many people I know immediately upgrade their lifestyle as soon as they start making significant money but it also keeps them wanting more and more.

When you upgrade your lifestyle, your expectations increase and you establish a new normal. This “new normal” is much more expensive to maintain and you aren’t necessarily happier as a result.

For example, I could buy a much larger house that costs twice as much, but will it make me twice as happy? Is a much larger house going to make me a much better Dad? Probably not.

Once you make some money, you should still live like your old humble self so you never have to worry about money again.

Basically, you want to get to the point where you can say that you’re done. You’re retired. And that you’re going to work on the things that you WANT to work on and spend time with the people who you WANT to spend time with.

Lesson #9 – Be Stingy With Business Expenses

Living below your means also applies to business as well.

My friend Joe Valley recently gave a presentation to the students in my class on how to value and sell your business. And one key takeaway that I left with is that every dollar you save with your business results in 3-4 more dollars in your bank account.

Here’s why.

When it comes time to sell your business, most ecommerce businesses sell at a 3-4X multiple of your earnings. As a result, every extra dollar earned is 3-4 more dollars more you can sell your business for.

Those of you who have followed me for a long time know that I always try to code my own apps instead of paying recurring monthly fees.

If there’s an application that I can code up in a week or less and it saves me $50/month, I will take the time and write it myself.

Now obviously if you are trying to scale your business quickly, it makes sense to just pay the money rather than figure things out yourself.

But it all depends on your goals and your expected increase in sales as a result of using the new tool.

Overall, my philosophy is to fiercely cut recurring costs as much as I can and haggle with my vendors for EVERYTHING.

If you do not ask, you will not receive and keeping costs down always leads to more freedom and peace of mind for your business.

Lesson #10 – Play The Long Game

When it comes to building wealth in business and relationships, it always pays to play the long game.

In general, I will not start any business that I don’t plan on running forever. Nor will I ever heavily invest in any relationship that I don’t plan on maintaining for the long haul. Why?

Because I believe that the principle of compound interest applies to everything in life.

If you aren’t familiar with compound interest, it’s the principle by which money grows in your investment account. For example, if you start with $1000 and it grows at 10% per year. By year 30, you’ll have 17X the money because the earnings pile up over time.

Compound interest always starts out slow but grows exponentially over time.

Blogging is the perfect business model to illustrate this principle. When I first started, it made no money in year 1. Year 2, it started making enough to pay the mortgage. But by year 3, it made enough to replace my day job income. Today in year 10+, it makes 7 figures!

When it comes to relationships, building trust takes time. And in order to be successful, you have to work with other people. Figuring out who you can depend on requires a tremendous amount of time.

Today, the relationships that I’ve built in the past decade make up a huge part of my business revenue. Without my business partners, I would never be where I am today.

Whatever you decide to build, make sure that it is something that you plan on maintaining for the long haul.

Lesson #11 – Choose Your Business Partners Wisely

Up until 2016, I refused to partner with anyone because I was scared. After all, I kept hearing horror stories from friends on how their business partnerships were a complete disaster.

Some friends had their partners outright steal from them.
Some friends complained that their partners weren’t holding up their end of the bargain.
Others complained that their partners kept making boneheaded decisions.

There are so many ways for partnerships to go wrong so I’ve been extra careful in choosing who I work with.

In general, I look for 4 main character traits.

  • My partner has to have a good head on his or her shoulders – I need to trust that he or she will make the best possible decision in any given situation based on the available information.
  • My partner has to have integrity – I need to know that he or she will not intentionally do anything illegal or try to rip me off
  • My partner has to be motivated to put in the work – Having a smart partner is a given. But sometimes smart people may not be motivated to put in the work. The effort level must be equal.
  • My partner has to be driven by logic, not emotion – In my experience, the people with the least emotions tend to have the best judgement. Heat of the moment decisions tend to be non-optimal.

If you can find a partner that possesses these traits, then it will not only add value to your business but it will make running it more fun as well.

Lesson #12 – Always Be Learning

Even though I teach a class on how to start an online store and a class on how to start a blog, I full on admit that I don’t know everything.

Both blogging and ecommerce changes quickly and you have to adapt to these changes in order to survive. After all, just because your business is doing well today does not mean that it will last forever.

As a result, I’m always on the lookout for new strategies and constantly learning new things.

In fact, I believe that every entrepreneur should read books, blogs and tutorials every day!

However, the most important aspect of the learning process is to maintain an open mind and never consider yourself an expert.

Despite the fact that I’ve been running my online courses for almost a decade, I continuously pick up new things from the students in my class!

The other aspect of learning worth mentioning is that you have to get your hands dirty.

Reading a book or watching a tutorial is one thing, but taking action and doing is infinitely better. So if you’ve been stuck in the analysis paralysis phase for too long, then just get started with what you’ve got!

Lesson #13 – Outsource Repetitive Tasks

Even though I try to keep my team as lean as possible, I always outsource as many repetitive tasks as possible. Here’s why.

Once a task becomes repetitive, it means that you are no longer learning.

And when you are no longer learning, the task becomes a waste of your time.

Obviously, your first choice should be to outsource repetitive tasks to a machine by writing code. But if you have to, outsource to another human.

Lesson #14 – Learn How To Code

Most of you are not trained programmers. But if you are running an online business, you should at least be able to read and modify minor parts of your website code.

I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs rely on their web developer every time they need even the smallest of tweaks made to their websites. And this sucks.

Not only do you have to patiently wait for them to do the work but you soon become dependent on them for every little thing.

Developer costs can quickly add up so why not invest some of your time towards learning how to code?

The best form of leverage for any business is software.

When you know how to code, you can command an army of machines who will work tirelessly for you.

Even if you are tech averse, it pays to understand how programming languages work. You don’t have to be an coding expert but being fluent is often good enough.

Think about it this way. It is highly likely that sometime in the future, machines will render human labor obsolete. So would you rather be replaced by a robot or be the one who designs the robots?

Lesson #15 – Pick a Business With High Barriers To Entry

Most new entrepreneurs tend to gravitate towards business models that are easy to start with little financial risk.

And this is the main reason why dropshipping is so popular.

But doing something just because “it is easy” is absolutely the wrong way to think about your business.

If your business is easy to start, then you’ll always have more competition.

So instead of looking for “easy ways” to start a business, try to think about aspects of your business that are painful to replicate.

For our ecommerce store, we do personalization for our products because it is a major pain in the a$$.

Running embroidery machines 24/7 is difficult because there’s a steep learning curve and the machines break all of the time.

If someone wants to copy our business, it will be much more difficult to replicate our personalized offerings without significant investment.

Similarly when it comes to content creation, it is much harder to create video than it is to write a blog post or produce a podcast. As a result, producing video will give your business a leg up over the competition.

Go with what’s hard and your life will be easier.

Lesson #16 – Don’t Be Too Stingy With Your Business

When it comes to building a money making asset, you can’t be overly cheap. Keeping your business lean is one thing, but refusing to invest in essential tools is another matter entirely.

I’ve had students and readers refuse to pay $40 for a research tool that would save them hundreds of hours of time.
I’ve had new store owners refuse to invest in a good shopping cart like Shopify or BigCommerce in favor of cheaper, inferior platforms like Wix.

In order to run an effective business, making forward progress is your top priority and you have to properly value your time.

When you’re first getting started, I recommend that you assign yourself an hourly rate. For example if you work a day job, then take your hourly pay and multiply it by 2.

If the tool that you are too cheap to buy will save you more money than what your time is worth, then buy the tool.

The same principle applies to outsourcing repetitive tasks with your business.

By assigning a dollar value to your time, it allows you to justify your business spend and avoid “frugality syndrome”.

Lesson #17 – Take Criticism With An Open Mind

Back in the day, I refused to ask for help because I was afraid of what people might say.

And whenever I did receive negative feedback, I would immediately get defensive and lock myself in the nearest room:)

But over the years, I’ve learned to channel the energy of negative comments directly towards improving my business.

If you are not currently a part of a mastermind group, then I highly recommend that you either join or form one of your own.

Without getting feedback from unbiased parties, you could be overlooking glaring weaknesses in your business that are impossible to spot on your own.

I’ve been meeting with my ecommerce mastermind once per month for nearly 6 years now and this group was directly responsible for improving my conversion rate by 46%.

Even though the feedback I often get from my mastermind is blunt and painful to hear, applying their suggestions always gets good results.

Lesson #18 – No One Can Copy Your Personality

I’m often asked by other entrepreneurs why I have my face and name plastered all over my blog. After all, using my name and face makes eventually selling my business problematic.

But in the face of competition that increases year after year, my best form of differentiation is my personality.

After all, no one can copy me. No one can copy my skills or my sense of humor.

By establishing a strong personal brand, I’m effectively future proofing my business.

So if you can gather the courage to put yourself out there and show off your personality to the world, then good things will happen.

Talk about your failures. Talk about your triumphs.

There are ALWAYS people out there who want to hear your story.

Lesson #19 – Prioritize Your Tasks Based On Impact Not Urgency

This principle often gets me into trouble with my wife because I sometimes have to prioritize other tasks over what my wife needs me to do:)

Here’s an example conversation

Wife: Steve, I need this product graphic fixed immediately! It’s wrong on our site and we’ll lose out on sales.

Me: How many product photos are broken?

Wife: Just one.

Me: How many units of this product sells per day?

Wife: None yet. It’s a brand new product.

Me: Would it be ok if I do this next week? I’ve got some other things on my plate that are higher priority.

Wife: Would it be ok if you slept on the couch tonight?

Every decision that you make with your time can have long term effects. If you spend all of your time putting out fires and tending to mini emergencies, then your business will never make progress.

Now I’m not telling you to stop putting out fires or to not listen to your spouse, but you should consider that fixing what is urgent isn’t necessarily the right thing to do.

Sometimes it’s ok to leave things broken if there are bigger, more impactful tasks at hand.

Lesson #20 – You Will Succeed…Eventually

This is perhaps the most important principle of all. If you start a business and stick with it forever, you will eventually succeed.

In this day and age, everyone is fickle as hell and the reason 9 out of 10 businesses fail is because people simply give up.

Everybody wants results immediately but almost no one has the patience. Get rich quick is a myth. You have to put in the time. You have to put in the hours.

You have to build up your skill set and be great at what you do. You have to make your business a part of your routine and keep doing it every single day.

As soon as you start keeping track or setting expectations, you’ll get impatient and give up.

There are so many businesses out there that are successful simply because they weathered the storm. When the going gets tough, the weak drop out but the strong survive.

If you can make your business a part of your permanent lifestyle, then you will outlast everyone else.

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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

His blog,, 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,, 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. 

4 thoughts on “How To Get Rich – 20 Lessons On Making Money When Lifestyle Is Your Priority”

  1. Shrikant Saxena says:

    Wonderful list!

    I will share it on fb, twitter and personally email every relative of mine because every lesson in the list is equivalent to gold.

    I’m following you for almost one year, and let me mention that I’m following others in this space for a decade but still I made the most progress after reading and re-reading your posts for almost a year. Within a year, I was able to start my ecommerce store and earn enough to quit my day job.

    Thanks for sharing Steve!

  2. Marie says:

    Great article – very informative. I’m curious to see your P&L. I see you’ve outlined your revenues. And that you claim only 1 virtual employee. So what are your expenses? How much do you spend on software, advertising, ecom goods, etc.?

  3. Shawn says:

    Seriously, I love your writings and your posts. I read this entire article from the beginning until leaving this comment here.

    I’m impressed and at the same time, I feel a little frustrated because like you, I’m a blogger since 2015. And I have been publishing new articles at least twice a week until today. Yet, I’m still trying to crack the code to making money from my blog.

    I want to thank you Steve, for showing me what’s possible. If you can do it, so can I. Cheers. 🙂

  4. f says:


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