How We Got Motivated to Start Our Own Business

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In theory, it shouldn’t have required much courage at all for us to start an online business. Opening a business, especially on the web, is about as cheap and easy as it gets.

All it takes is 10 bucks for a domain name and as little as 5 bucks a month for some web hosting to throw up a website. There are already a plethora of open source web packages already written and presented nicely for you to use and everything is extremely well documented.

There is almost zero financial risk involved, so why was it so hard for us to start? Personally, I think my wife and I needed some time to gather the necessary emotional courage to begin. Starting a business of any kind requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, and to devote a large portion of your time to any endeavor and have the possibility of having it eventually fail can be pretty daunting.

Taking risks is extremely easy for some people. Some people are just fine living month to month, racking up huge amounts of credit card debt, taking out second mortgages on the house and soliciting their friends to bootstrap their company. If one company fails, they go ahead and start another one.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who would never start their own business, rely solely on a job for their primary source of income, keep all of their cash in CDs and checking accounts and never invest a dime in anything.

My wife and I fall somewhere in between. Personality wise, we are fairly conservative people. We are financially stable, would never risk a large portion of our money on a single venture or investment and certainly would never monetarily overextend ourselves. We definitely don’t come across as the entrepreneurial type. Even though we’ve always been intrigued by entrepreneurship and have always talked about starting something together, we never felt the urgency to pull the trigger until a series of events pushed us to finally go for it. Some of these events, which I will describe below, were gradual whereas certain things just slapped us right across the face.

My Wife Wanted to Quit Her Job (Slap in the face!)

When I first met my wife, she laid down the terms up front that she was going to be a housewife and quit her job as soon as we had our first child. While I full on believe in the philosophy of having a parent stay at home with the child, in the back of my mind I was always worried about the financial strain this would cause us because we’d be living on a single income. Our situation was further exacerbated by the fact that we both live in Silicon Valley where things are ridiculously expensive.

If you want a reasonably sized house in a good school district over here, you have to pay about 1.2 million dollars. To add a little more reality to the numbers, lets say you put down 25% cash and take out a 900k loan at 6%. This would amount to around $5400 a month just for the mortgage in addition to $1500 a month for property tax. In addition to just housing costs, you have to consider that you’ll need to start saving for your childs education in 18 years. For my child, it’s estimated that tuition at Stanford(hope she can get in) will cost about 150k a year. If you factor in all of your living costs, the numbers can get downright frightening. It was clear that we needed other sources of income besides my single salary.

Because spending time with the family also became our top priority, we also wanted to maximize our time spent together. How does starting your own business allow you to spend more time with the family? At first glance, this seems counterintuitive. You might think that starting a new venture would take away time from the family and require a much larger time investment than a regular salaried job. In reality however, our business has allowed my wife to stay at home full time with our child. The business has also allowed us to decouple our time to create a much more flexible environment in which we can dictate our own schedule.

We Were Getting Killed On Taxes

Prior to starting our business, I used to just sit back and watch Uncle Sam ream us every April 15th. Every year since I could remember, we would have to write 5 figure checks of our hard earned money to the government at the end of the year.

I used to look at my paystub and wonder why this mysterious FICA, social security and CA person was taking over 31 percent of my paycheck away right off the bat. We were getting robbed!

Starting a business has allowed us to pay for many of our items tax free so effectively we save around 31% on many of the things that we would be buying anyways. There are many other ways that our business has saved us money which I will thoroughly enumerate in a future post.

We Needed Financial Security

My wife and I used to always discuss how much money we’d have to keep around in case one or both of us lost our jobs. We worry much less now since we now have multiple sources of income thanks to our business. Now that we have some experience under our belt, our plan is to start many businesses over time to diversify our income stream. Why shouldn’t the same principles of trading stocks apply to real life as well? Diversification is the key.

What is completely ironic is that I used to think that having a steady job was the most secure position to be in. Now that I’ve seen the rise and fall of several economic cycles do I now believe that not to be the case. Just recently, my wife’s former company announced massive layoffs in her group. Months ago, everything was peachy. One thing I’ve learned is that situations within companies can change quickly and drastically. Even if you are very senior in your company, all it takes is a management shift and you could be out on the street.

We Wanted a Flexible Work Schedule

One of the bad things about having a job is that you have to be physically present in order to make money. In most cases, a job requires you to be present at fixed hours during the day and you usually have to work 5 or more days in the week. This was a bit too inflexible for us.

The great thing about having a business, at least in our case, is that we can make money 24 hours a day. We don’t have to be physically present to take orders or accept money since a computer takes care of everything for us. Sure, there’s a lot work involved in maintaining the business but we can choose to do everything on our own time.

I Wanted to Call the Shots For a Change

Ok, this bullet point is somewhat of a misnomer since I still don’t call the shots in the household, my wife does… However, I’m still second in command which yields me a lot of authority and decision making prowess despite requiring approval from the first in command.

I’m very happy at my current job, but there are times when I disagree with some of the decisions management makes. Unfortunately, in many cases, I have little or no say in the matter. Its nice to be able to come home and be in control of fully functional money making business and to know that you started it from the ground up.

I Wanted To Reap The Profits

I used to dedicate my life to work and was the epitome of an ideal employee. I would work nights and weekends to see a project through and I would sacrifice a lot of my free time in doing so. My main problem was that ever since I was kid, I’d been conditioned by my teachers and peers to follow a single monotonous path. I would graduate from college, get a steady job at a stable company, work my hardest for a steady salary, build up my 401k and retire at age 65.

So its not surprising that I have in fact followed this exact path. Over the years though I’ve become increasingly frustrated. In all of my years of dedication with the companies I have worked for, not once have I ever been sufficiently rewarded for my efforts. I’m not talking about raises and bonuses. What I’m referring to is a direct percentage share of the revenue and profits as a result of my work.

I’d work my butt off and invent something really innovative only to have my company own all of the intellectual property. Sure, I get paid my steady salary with a few bonuses and raises sprinkled in there, but I never get to reap the full benefits of my invention. Even though I might have made my company hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over time, I’d never see even a single cent of this upside.

Its extremely satisfying to be able to take all of the profit in its entirety from a business that you personally own.

Gathering the Courage

Looking back, starting our own business was one of the best decisions we ever made. If you ask my wife, she’ll insist that the root cause of our success was due to her desire to quit her job. Though I will not publicly refute the validity of that statement, there is something to be said about forcing yourself or putting yourself in a situation that makes you take action. Recently, a close friend of mine took the plunge and quit his job to start a business from scratch. Seeing as his life is now sink or swim, I’m sure that he’ll find a way to be successful. Either that, or he may end up staying on our living room couch:) In any case, I admire his decision because it took major guts.

For most people, a hybrid approach is probably more palatable. If you are married, have you or your spouse quit his/her job and focus on a business plan exclusively. That way you at least have one income to rely on should things go south. If you’re single, you’ve got nothing to lose anyways.

The best thing is that once you overcome that fear, you will never regret it. Going out on your own will open up your mind and allow you to recognize other money making opportunities when they arise. Once you see these opportunities, you will then have the ability to act on them quickly and decisively. The important lesson that my wife and I learned was to stop thinking and start implementing.

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 absolutely free!

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20 thoughts on “How We Got Motivated to Start Our Own Business”

  1. Jarad says:

    I just read your ebook “Create a profitable online store in 5 easy steps” and it was a great read! Simple, concise, and to the point. You are a great writer and I really enjoy your site. I’m highly skilled in developing websites and have made several affiliate-based websites but your book has made me consider the possibility of venturing into the realm of sourcing.

  2. I’m sharing this with my grandson who will be facing college in another year. . . and possibly a mountain of education debt and no job waiting for him. It’s a new world, and your book and website are going to be helpful to a lot of people.

    1. @Pat
      I’m glad that you found the book helpful. Please let your grandson know that he can feel free to send me any questions he may have.

  3. Hi,
    This was a great post. I recently turned 24 and was laid off from teaching this summer. Prior to that I was trying to operate an online lace wig business, by me being off this summer, I feel that I accomploshed a lot. Everyone else kept stressing me about finding a job, but I was focused on my business and if I had to do it all over again I did. Now, I am back to teaching part time at a private school, but I don’t know I feel stuck because I want to do so well and feel like I am not doing as well as I would like to. I recently got your eBook I hope to read it soon. Any suggestions on how I can diversify lace wigs. I currently make custom made lace wigs and sell wholesale for those that want to wait. I also teach classes too.

  4. Hi Steve,
    I hope you can help me. I have a website that I need developed as well as the best products to start marketing. The website is TdkMarketing.com Please let me know the next step to take. I have the site being hosted by Zebradots.
    Please email me your suggestions. I feel that you are knowledgeable and more real than many so called online experts.

    Thanks

    Ike
    Amakanih@Aol.com

  5. Ronnie says:

    I’m so happy I found a great couple to rub shoulders with who have already created a store.

    So many so called “How To” websites want to sell you a bill of goods that they themselves took from another site. It’s refreshing to read what these folks have done and to learn from them.

    I’m thinking of retiring but not quitting work. I’d like to create a profitable site
    that allows my wife to work with as well.

    I’ll check back often to this blog.

    Good job

    Ronnie
    Minneapolis,MN

    1. @Ronnie
      Thanks a lot for the kind words. Hope you come back!

  6. Ronnie says:

    You’re very welcome.

    My first goal is to find a niche to satisfy.

    Then I’ll be ready to move to step two.

    Thank you Steve

    Ronnie

  7. Well said! I was too working my butt off to make somebody rich. Never did i realised that i had givened my life and time off to be leveraged by my company i used to work.

    Muren@
    feng shui singapre

  8. DENISE ROTHSCHILD says:

    hi steve you gave me some good support on how can i get my own buisness going. yes im in fear of quiting my job ive been there for five years: im just tired of making minimum wages. i have great ideals in my mind like taking care of the elderly and the disables.. get my own transpotation and find a building so that they will have a place to stay but it has to be a non profit buisness.thanks for your uplifting words on this .

  9. Mariana says:

    Great site! As a SAHM for 5 years, and four kids (surprise twins!) now, I’ve been trying to re-enter the workforce, with little success. Now I’m thinking that my only choice is to start a business – it feels scary, but I see other people do it, so I just have to convince myself that I can do it too.

    1. Wow, 2 set of twins! All I can say is that you can raise 4 kids, starting a business should be a breeze.

  10. So many great points here! The flexible work schedule and getting killed on taxes hit home! These are just two of the many reasons that I started a part time internet adventure. I still have a very long way to go but I am ready for the journey! Thanks for the great article and motivational tips!

  11. Steve,
    Thanks for the great info you provided in your five day short course series. I will be purchasing the full course very soon. Brief, concise, informative. Great job

    1. Thanks Norman.

      Looking forward to having you in the class!

  12. I have been watching your posts all the time,very helpful! Especially the short series!
    I will consider buy your course when i get paid!
    Kimi

  13. Hi Steve, beautiful family :)

    There is no-one that can put a spin on one’s perspective as their child or children can.

    Many of us tend to do our best when we are in a “sink or swim” position; however, it takes real guts to up and quit a job on the mere pursuit of being one’s own boss. If the job is already lost, then it could be viewed as a blessing in disguise with nothing to lose and everything to gain to start the business of our dreams. Thanks to the Internet, we can pursue so many different income streams – all with the flexibility of spending more of our time with our family.

    You are an interesting writer, and I enjoy reading your posts!

    Continue writing, and all the very best!

  14. Your post are very helpful, thank you very much both of you ❤❤❤

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