Making A 6 Figure Income With Our Online Store – How Much Work Does It Take?

A few people have emailed me lately asking questions about how much time we spend running our store on a day to day basis and I completely understand why. Running a business can be difficult and time consuming so it’s important to understand what one is getting into before taking the plunge. I even received one email from a reader who asked.

Why would I want to open an ecommerce site as opposed to something much more passive like affiliate marketing or blogging?

Passive Income?

First off, I just want to emphasize that no business is truly passive. No matter what, you have to put in a good amount of time and work upfront.

In addition, there’s always some amount of effort involved to maintain your income stream once it has been established. The other thing I want to say is that if your purpose is to make money, blogging is a lousy way to do it.

But what about affiliate marketing? The main difference between opening an ecommerce store as opposed to running a niche affiliate site is that an online store has the potential to make a lot more money upfront in a shorter period of time.

I don’t think that my wife and I could have made 100K within a year by promoting other peoples’ products. We also wanted to create a business that we could cultivate and grow, a business where we had more control over our own destiny.

The disadvantage of running an ecommerce site is that the income is more active in the beginning but later transitions to passive as you hire employees and put your store on autopilot.

The attraction of affiliate marketing is that the income starts out more passive (there are no goods to ship or customer support issues to deal with) and remains passive which is why a lot of people do it.

What Our Schedule Looks Like

With our online store, most of the heavy lifting and late nights were spent getting our business off the ground. Once all of the major kinks were ironed out, everything became much smoother and there is now much less work involved.

In any case, here’s what our typical weekday looks like. I’m only going to talk about the weekdays because we close the store on weekends so we can enjoy family time together.

The beauty of running an online store is that even though we are closed, our servers continue to take orders 24/7.

The Morning

First off, my wife tries to sleep as late as possible in the morning so she’s well rested enough to take care of the kids for the entire day.

I get up at around 7am to write a blog post or answer emails for I like writing in the mornings because the house is completely quiet.

Sometimes I have up to a full hour to write but it all depends on what time my son and daughter decide to wake up. Sometimes my daughter makes it all the way till 9am.

Sometimes she gets up at 8am. I basically write or revise my articles until I hear her scream “DADDY! MOMMY!!! DAAAAADDDY!!! MOOOOMMY!”.

My son on the other hand is far less demanding. Once he wakes up, I give him his morning bottle which takes about 10 minutes (he’s a fast eater) and then I put him back down to sleep.

My daughter requires more attention so once she’s up, I grab her, play with her for a little bit and give her a glass of milk and breakfast.

By this time my wife wakes up as well and starts getting ready for her day. By 9-9:15am, I’m usually out the door and off to my day job as an electrical engineer.

During The Day

My wife gets to spend time with the kids all day. Most of the correspondence that we receive in regards to the business is via email and she responds to them at her leisure. We also have some hired help come in to pack and process orders so my wife can focus on the kids.

But in general, the days are more or less free for my wife. She might take our kids to the park which is 2 blocks away. Sometimes she takes them out to the mall or reads to them outside. The day is very pleasant for her as long as the kids aren’t in a bad mood:)

I come home for lunch 3-4 days out of the week to eat with the family and to take care of any miscellaneous business correspondence that my wife couldn’t get to in the morning.

This may include rush deliveries, returning phone calls or sending out some emails. Depending on the season, the number of last minute rush orders varies. Typically, it’s not too bad. On some occasions, I have to make a quick trip to the Post Office or Fed Ex.

At Night

We always make it a rule that we all have to eat dinner together. Dinner usually begins between 6-6:30pm. After dinner, my wife and I play with the kids for an hour or so and then send them up to my office.

Why the office? It’s because at 7:45pm, we use Skype so the kids can speak to their Grandma. We all talk in front of the webcam until about 8pm which is around the time when both kids get tired and need to go to sleep.

At this point in the night is when things get a little busier. After putting the kids to bed around 8pm is when we take care of the remaining business related tasks.

This sometimes includes packing miscellaneous orders that arrived after hours, printing shipping labels, adding content to the website and/or general business development.

The first thing that my wife does is to go through the days orders and prepares them for shipment. Everything is pretty much automated and each package is weighed and shipping labels are printed.

During peak periods, the amount of shipments can be very large but generally the workload is not too bad. We plan on outsourcing this task to our helpers as soon as we can decouple the shipping operations from our Paypal account.

During this time, I work on ways to expand the business, revise articles on my blog or do miscellaneous tasks that my wife needs me to do. On most nights, we are done by 9:30-10pm and get to bed no later than 11pm.

It’s Not Too Bad

Originally when we had our second child, I thought that we were going to die. But we now have a pretty good system in place that is manageable.

As soon as my daughter starts preschool full time, we will look to continue outsourcing more and more of the business either by hiring more help or finding additional contractors.

The idea is to free up some more time so that we can pursue some of our other business ideas. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I plan on launching my course on how to start an online business sometime in the latter half of the year and I’m pretty excited.

This course will include a full blown lesson plan that teaches all of the ins and outs of starting and running an online store with very little initial cash outlay. In addition to all of this, my wife has been itching to pursue some other business ideas which I’ll be documenting in the future.

Is Running Our Store Passive?

I would definitely say no…but it’s getting there. The good thing is that my wife is able to spend time with both kids from when they wake up until they go to bed.

Although we still have to do some amount of work every night, it’s only for a few hours and the amount of money our online store brings in is more than enough to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.

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!

Note: This post above may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase when clicking a link. Please consult our privacy policy for more information.

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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. 

38 thoughts on “Making A 6 Figure Income With Our Online Store – How Much Work Does It Take?”

  1. Tyler Wells, CPA says:

    $100,000K within a year of starting your business is absolutely awesome and I’ll bet that most who read this blog would agree that it is pretty exceptional.

    If this is a typical day of normal operations now, what about in the start-up phase? Did you use some vacation time or find additional time to get the site up and running, to find suppliers, and start your advertising campaign.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Steve says:

      I think I’ve talked about the startup phase quite a bit already in some of my early articles. In the beginning when my wife and I didn’t have any kids, we had much more free time. Basically, we devoted nights and weekends to our business for several months straight until we had our affairs in order. Never took a day of vacation. But your question makes me think that I should go back and re-live the old days. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Steven Aitchison says:

    Hi Steve

    This is a great article, it’s really interesting to find out how others spend their day whilst making an income from home. It’s also great that your wife gets to spend a lot of time with the kids, which is a by product of all the hard work you both put in at the beginning of your venture. Great stuff.

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks! My wife and I are definitely happy with the outcome. Now we just need to find a way for me to quit my job and spend more time with the kids! Joking aside, I really like my current occupation but being able to time shift the work would be nice.

  3. Christie says:

    As always, great article Steve. You definitely have two jobs, but in one of them you’re building something that totally belongs to you and your family, so that must be very satisfying. Looking forward to the online business course!

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks! I put my online store course plans out there so I could be held accountable for finishing it on time. I’m excited for the launch!

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  5. Joel says:

    Very much looking forward to your online business course.

    1. Steve says:

      @Joel @Josh
      Thanks! I enjoyed sharing my schedule, however mundane it appears to be:)

  6. Josh Tremblay says:


    You are a great teacher! Thanks for giving us a peak into your schedule. Very insightful.


  7. Thursday Bram says:

    I’m definitely impressed with your schedule: you seem to have achieved a great work/life balance for your whole family. I know a lot of entrepreneurs feel that they have to make a choice between the two to accomplish everything they want to, but you’ve made it clear that isn’t the case.

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks. Achieving a good work/life balance has always been one of my primary goals. I’m not the type of entrepreneur who is willing to sacrifice all of my free time to start the next big thing though I respect those that do. It’s just not in my DNA. Family is too important.

  8. Fred @ Extra Income Daily says:


    You are writing some great articles. I can’t wait to you release your course.


    1. Steve says:

      Thanks man! Oh and thanks for the mention on your blog the other day as well

  9. Meghashyam Chirravoori says:

    I am just starting out on the path to making income from my site. But what I really liked about your post was the real-life possibility of making a six figure income from my website one day. I loved the genuine way in which you told us all about your day.

    Thanks for sharing and also, for giving me hope. 🙂

    1. Steve says:

      It is definitely doable and within a reasonable time frame as well. Good luck and feel free to ask me questions anytime!

  10. Phil says:

    Steve & Company:

    I appreciate reading all your tips, etc. I started a Yahoo online store a few years ago that did not work out too well. I received 3 orders in 8 months. The costs were not that bad—$37.00 / mo.—but I couldn’t think of any way to increase my orders. One thing that was maddening was the steady volume of solicitations from folks who could “guarantee” to increase my order volume if I would just pay them $800 to insert the correct words (somewhere or other). So I sh–canned the whole shebang.

    I want to get back into it and your approach is enticing. But I have one question: What are you getting out of it??? Is your blog increasing your store volume, or are you just the sort of people who have an overwhelming desire to help others???—or, down the road (3 orders later) is there a “guarantee” to increase my orders for a healthy fee??? No offense intended.

    Please respond.


    1. Steve says:

      I originally started this blog to document my experiences opening our store. It’s definitely not increasing my store volume and I doubt that my readers are interested in purchasing wedding linens:). I get several things out of this blog. One, I enjoy interacting with my community of readers. Two, I get a bit of ad and affiliate revenue in the process. Three, I get the satisfaction of helping others start their businesses.

      But wait there’s more! If you act now, I will send not one but two free guides that will guarantee that you’ll make $20000/month from home while working only minutes a day! All for the low price of $19.99!

      Let me take a look at your store if you still have it and I’ll give you some suggestions, no strings attached:)

  11. snowy says:

    Good article and very interesting, but I’ve gotta say that it’s your day-job hours that allow much of this to happen. I work in construction and deal with dozens of EEs, and not a one could even dream of leaving home at 9, coming home for lunch and getting back for dinner at 6 (neither could I, my spouse or many people I know in non-EE work either). Not even close. Maybe I missed the part where you’re doing day-job stuff in the evening, but either way you and your family are extremely lucky to have that rare kind of schedule.

    1. Steve says:

      Indeed, I’m blessed to have a great day job. To be fair during crunch time, there are times when I have to log in and do work in the evening but it’s usually not the norm. It’s all about getting the work done as opposed to the number of hours physically worked. I’m usually in the zone and extremely focused whenever I’m in the office.

  12. Carla | Green and Chic says:

    Wow, you sound like you have a lot of balance in your day-to-day life. I still struggle with that now though I don’t have a family to take care of and no longer have a 45+ hour week day-job. Its been almost two years and I still haven’t gotten into the groove yet…

  13. Laura Roeder says:

    It’s refreshing to read a post from someone who truly puts their family first! We all have the choice to put family dinners and chats with grandma on the calendar every single day, but most choose to be “too busy”. I really love reading another perspective!

    1. Steve says:

      Hi Laura
      Thanks for stopping by. “Family” is the reason that my wife and I do the things that we do with our business and free time. I’m glad you left a comment because it brought your excellent blog and website to my attention!

  14. fiona says:

    love it.. thank you! just getting started and getting all the pieces together.. your site and info our priceless as there are moments when i drown a little in research and comparing..

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  16. Bob says:

    hello steve, what basically product do you sell online? What is your site for your online store?

  17. M Sikander says:

    I am also running an online business with some other work as well.
    I am really inspired by your articles, it helps me in lot of things.

    I was thinking to quit my day job and start this online store, I am running right now ,on large scale. What are your opinions on that?
    and One more thing,
    How much do you earn through the e-store you are running??
    if you want to ignore the question, you can..

    Thanks and Regards

  18. couponclone says:

    I read your article looks good . Would like to partner with you ? Contact me . . Thanks

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  20. siya says:

    Hello Steve. Please don’t quit your day job yet. It provides a kind of structure and the extra income doesn’t hurt.
    Besides, with your business becoming more passive and automated, what would you do with all your free time?
    I’m happy you’ve found success with your business. Its inspiring

  21. Hubert Samuel says:

    Thanks for this insightful post Steve!
    I work full time and my wife is at home taking care of our new born. I would like to also quit my job in due time and spend more time with my family but there are still a lot of things to consider like:

    – Health insurance for my wife, baby and i.
    – What happens if things don’t work out as planned?

    Here are my questions Steve:
    Why do you still work as an electrical engineer?
    Why don’t you go full time into this? and if you do, do you have a different approach to the concerns above?
    Thank you

  22. Kimberly Vandertie says:

    I am somewhat disabled and need to work from home and cover the income I had before having to resign. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have the time and willing to do whatever it takes to get my income flowing in. I understand the basics of all of this and have marketing experience.

  23. Kim Vandertie says:

    Just starting and I have to make this work as I need at least a $70k a year job to take care of my four teenage boys. I’m recently becoming disabled to where I cannot work out of the house.

  24. Sartaj says:

    Dear Steve.

    I read your article and it was heartwarming how you and your wife manage your whole life and your kids are so so adorable. Also I signed up for your e-book.

    What I want to ask you is that there are many courses out there for email marketing, for example by lurn. How relevant are email marketing courses when it comes to running an online e-commerce store and can we run a consultation business out of email marketing? I would like to know because I always wanted my own clothing store and I am paying out of my nose to begin with hence I need to sure.
    Your advice will be really valuable.

    Thank you in advance.

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