Are you looking to become wealthy? Do you aspire to be filthy rich? Well chances are you are going about it all wrong.
Before you can give yourself a shot at making life changing money, you must first develop the proper mindset.
Recently, I had a Facebook Messenger conversation with a reader seeking business advice.
- He currently works 3 jobs that together require 90 hours per week.
- He is single with no children.
- He saves 30% of his income every month.
On the surface, he’s doing pretty well and saving 30% of his income is no small feat. And based on our limited interactions, he strikes me as an extremely motivated and hard worker.
But he wants to make more money. In fact, he wants to be really wealthy.
Steve, I’ve been following your mini course and I want to make as much money as possible. I’m 26 years old and and am willing to do whatever it takes. Should I start a business? Or should I take on another job, save and invest? What would you do?
Editor’s Note: You can ask me a question on Facebook Messenger any time by clicking on this link. I will almost always reply if you are concise:)
In this post, I will answer this reader’s question along with the 6 mindset changes required to make life changing wealth.
Get My Free Mini Course On How To Start A Successful Ecommerce Store
If you are interested in starting an ecommerce business, I put together a comprehensive package of resources that will help you launch your own online store from complete scratch. Be sure to grab it before you leave!
Mindset #1: Working A Job Will Never Make You Life Changing Money
Not long ago, I worked a corporate job as an engineering director at a Fortune 500 company designing microprocessors. I was getting paid fairly well (>$200K per year) and I was pretty happy at work.
Editor’s Note: Depending on where you live, this might sound like a lot of money. But where I live, this level of income is par for the course if you want a good house in a decent school district. Regardless, the actual dollar amount is irrelevant.
I worked at this company for 17 straight years and my average annual raise was on the order of 3-5% every year.
Actually I take that back.
There were 2 occasions when I threatened to leave for another company and received a 10-20% raise on the spot. But besides those 2 instances, I was mostly stuck with modest, single digit increases from year to year.
Now today, I consider a 3-5% salary increase unattractive but I remember back in the day that a 3-5% increase felt incredible!
5% of 200K = 10K and I was thrilled with the extra spending money.
However once I started my ecommerce business with my wife and we were achieving double and triple digit growth every year, my 3-5% raises started feeling paltry in comparison.
My day job income became even more irrelevant when my blog started taking off. Starting in 2012, consecutive years of 50-100% growth ballooned it into a 7 figure business!
Here’s the revenue timeline for MyWifeQuitHerJob.com
In 2012, I broke 6 figures for the first time.
In 2013, I made $171,000.
In 2014, I broke $350,000.
In 2015, I hit $712,000.
In 2016, I hit over $1,000,000
In 2017, I broke $1.4M
When I finally quit my engineering career in 2016, my businesses were making 8X more than my job. Not only that but they required only a fraction of the number of hours I was spending at work.
Plus, I didn’t have to be physically present at an office and I set my own schedule.
If you want to making life changing money, working MORE jobs is NEVER the answer. You need to build something that you can call your own.
Related: If you are interested in learning how to start your own online store, click here to take my FREE 6 day mini course on ecommerce.
Mindset #2: Working A Job Is NOT Safer Than Running A Business
It took me many years to realize that my steady day job was actually not that steady.
When I was an engineering director, I was making a healthy 6 figure salary and this was enough money to pay my mortgage and all of my bills.
In fact, the temptation of a steady paycheck pretty much eliminated any desire to start my own business. After all, why should I risk my own money and time when I can get a “guaranteed paycheck” from month to month?
The problem is that your paycheck is NEVER guaranteed and it can disappear in an instant.
Having worked in the Silicon Valley for 20 years, I lived through 2 major recessions, the dot com bust of 2002 and the financial crisis of 2007.
And during both of those periods, I saw many of my colleagues get laid off and lose their jobs. No paycheck is safe!
I remember one particular friend (single mom) who had just bought a house and signed her daughter up for private school when she discovered that she’d lost her job. She was devastated and eventually had to pull her child out of school.
During the dot com bust, I remember being terrified about getting laid off as well which caused me great anxiety. I couldn’t sleep at night and I was worried about suddenly losing 100% of my income.
Bottom line, before you pursue entrepreneurship, you must first realize that there are no guarantees in life. Both running a business and working a day job each carry their own risks.
Having worked a day job for over 20 years and multiple businesses for over 12 years, I can definitively say that running a business carries far less financial risk in the long run.
Whereas you can lose 100% of your income overnight with your job, you will rarely experience the same outcome with your own business.
In the worse case scenario, your business will decline gradually which will give you ample time to plan ahead.
Mindset #3: You Have To Forgo The Short Term And Focus On Long Term Gains
When the reader(who I mentioned earlier in this post) asked me for advice on how to make more money, my first reply was…
Dude, you have to quit one of your jobs.
To which he replied
I like having the extra money and I save most of it every month. Without the 3rd job, I’d be almost living paycheck to paycheck.
First off, I don’t blame this reader for not wanting to quit. After all, he’s saving 30% of his income and his strategy is fundamentally sound.
The problem however, is that he’s probably exhausted by the time he gets home from work (he works 90+ hours/week) and he likely doesn’t have the energy to do much else.
I have no idea how much he saves from month to month, but I’m guessing that his 3rd job only makes him a small incremental amount of money.
In my mind, working a 3rd job is the result of short term thinking.
Should you work for someone else and make an extra thousand dollars per month now?
Or should you work hard for yourself, build something on your own and potentially make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in the future?
If you can pay all of your living expenses with your current job, then you should invest all of your extra time in starting your own business.
This way there is very little risk. Meanwhile, you are building on something that could potentially make you life changing money in the future.
Mindset #4: Starting A Business Doesn’t Have To Be Risky
When I was young, I used to think that starting a business involved pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a risky investment.
But thanks to the Internet, you can build an online business for less than $10 if you are strapped for cash.
If you’ve followed my blog since 2009, you know that I started a bunch of other businesses before I settled on an ecommerce store selling handkerchiefs and all of those businesses cost me practically no money to start.
For example, early on in my online career, I ran a Craigslist/Ebay arbitrage business.
Every day, I would comb through Craigslist for great deals on electronics. And whenever I saw a great deal, I would immediately pounce on it and then list the product on Ebay.
At the height of this business, I was making close to $1500 a month before I shut it down.
I started MyWifeQuitHerJob.com for less than $10 and today it’s a 7 figure business.
My wife and I started Bumblebee Linens for only $630 and it’s a 7 figure business as well.
On my podcast, I’ve interviewed several business owners who started with 0 dollars.
For example, Joe Jitsukawa of JK films started out making You Tube videos for free and now runs a 7 figure video business.
You can listen to his interview below…
Bottom line, you do not need any money at all to start an online business but the required level of investment depends on your monetary goals.
In general, the more money that you are willing to invest, the faster you can make significant money.
Here’s a rough breakdown of different business models that you can pursue depending on your startup capital.
- Start A Blog (Startup Cost < $10) – If you want to start a business that is more passive in nature, then blogging might be a good fit. By sharing your thoughts and ideas on the Internet, you can build traffic that you can later monetize with ads, affiliate offers and your own products. Click Here For A Full Tutorial
- Start A Dropshipped Store (Startup Cost < $100) – With a dropship store, you can sell goods online without having to invest money in inventory. Click Here For More Info.
- Sell Products On Amazon (Startup Cost >$1000) – By leveraging Amazon’s vast marketplace, you can sell your own products on Amazon and start making money immediately. I’ve had students in my class make 6 figures in as little as 3 months with $1k in startup capital. Click Here For A Full Tutorial
- Sell Products On Your Own Store (Startup Cost >$100 + Inventory) – By selling your products on your own website, you can own the entire shopping experience and maximize your profits. One of the students in my ecommerce course makes over 3 million dollars selling insoles on her website. Click Here For A Full Tutorial
Mindset #5: You Must Stick With Your Business For At Least 3 Years
The number one question I get asked is how fast you can make money with an online business.
And I absolutely detest this question because …
- It depends on your work ethic – There’s no magic formula and everyone works at their own pace. There is also some amount of luck and timing involved as well.
- It demonstrates short term thinking – Most people who ask this question are in a hurry and will rarely succeed in business.
- It limits your persistence – If I were to tell you that success can be achieved in 3 months, then you would probably give up on your business after 3 months if you saw no results.
Instead of asking me how quickly you can make a buck, you should ask yourself how long you are willing to make consistent progress with your business.
Are you willing to stick with it for at least 3 years no matter what the outcome? Are you willing to slog through the low periods and make no money for an extended period of time?
Most people overestimate how much they can accomplish in a year but vastly underestimate what they can achieve in 3 years or more.
With my blog, I made practically no money for 3 years. No one was reading my posts and my Mom routinely gave me lip service for wasting time on such a pointless endeavor.
But I decided from the start that I was going to maintain my blog for at least 5 years no matter what the outcome.
Even though I didn’t make a dollar for 3 straight years, a few of my posts eventually grabbed the attention of large publications and I established a strong readership over time.
Once my blog caught fire, making money was easy but I never would have seen a penny had I quit within the first 3 years.
Bottom line, you should pursue your business with the goal of sticking with it for at least 3 years no matter what. With a long term mindset, you will be prepared to weather through any storm.
Mindset #6: It’s Never Too Late To Start Any Project
Other popular questions that I get asked all the time are
- Is it too late to start a business?
- Is the market too saturated to start?
- Don’t 90% of businesses fail?
If you are asking yourself these questions, then you are simply making excuses for yourself.
The best time to get started is yesterday! In fact, I wish that I started my online businesses straight out of college. If I knew back then what I know today, then I’d be all powerful.
According to Duke University, the Kauffman Foundation, the Founder Institute, and Northwestern, the average entrepreneur is 40 years old when launching his or her first business.
The average age of leaders of high-growth startups is 45 years old.
The reality is that not everything you try is going to work out so it pays to experiment with different business models to see what sticks.
In other words, you should plant a number of money seeds in hopes that something might grow into something special.
In the grand scheme of things, your first business will probably not be a home run but you’ll probably score at least a base hit and the experience will be priceless.
For example, my Ebay/Craiglist arbitrage business made $1500/month and was a decent base hit. But because it wasn’t a scalable business, I shut it down and parlayed the ecommerce skills I gained in the process to launch Bumblebee Linens.
MyWifeQuitHerJob.com felt like a total failure during the first few years mainly because my writing sucked. But over time, I improved my writing skills and started publishing articles people actually wanted to read.
Bottom line, failure is all about interpretation. Technically, my ebay business and blog “failed”. But in reality, I was learning how to hone my skills to build a better mouse trap in the future.
A Wise Chinese Man Once Said…
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop – Confuscious
This is the mindset you must have when you build a business.
If you take a look at all of the most successful companies out there, you’ll notice that they all share one common trait. It took them many years to get there.
FedEx didn’t make a single dollar for 5 years. Neither did Amazon…or Tesla…or ESPN.
But they all decided to play the long game.
If your goal is to become super rich and wealthy, then you need to build something of value and never stop.
Related Posts In Entrepreneurship
- How To Find A Career Path That Makes You Happy (Without Getting Pressured Into It)
- How To Find What Makes You Happy And My Reflections On Life After Quitting My Job
- How To Start A Business With No Money. Here’s Exactly What I’d Do
- 4 Skills Every Well Rounded Internet Entrepreneur Should Have
- Read This If You Are Hustling Hard But Not Seeing Results With Your Business
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.