Student Shop: How Brandon Started A Profitable Online Store Selling Backyard Games

This is a post written by Brandon, a student in my Create A Profitable Online Store Course. What’s funny about Brandon is that he signed up for my class, quietly watched all the videos and then launched an online store selling washer toss and polish horseshoe games that was profitable right off the bat.

From the point when he signed up for my class, we exchanged like 3 emails. And the only time we actually spoke to each other was when he asked for my opinion on his niche prior to pulling the trigger. After performing the due diligence on his product idea, I told him it was all good and off he went!

Anyways, I’m still continually amazed by how diverse the students in the class are. Some people just run with the videos and zoom ahead while others require a little more hand holding. Nevertheless, here’s Brandon’s online story.

Polish Horseshoes

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Starting A Business As A Total Noob

This is the first business that I’ve started of any kind. I have a banking/finance background, and although it pays pretty well, it just wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Being stuck behind a desk in a cubicle or office all day every day didn’t appeal to me.

I knew I wanted to start my own online business in order to free myself from that monotony and have more time to pursue more fulfilling activities in my life. So I decided to pursue the washer toss niche because it was something I really enjoyed and had fond memories of playing while growing up.

Right away I knew it was going to take a lot of work to start an online business, so it was important for me to start a business that involved a passion of mine. Although it’s certainly not a requirement, passion for your niche is important because you’re more likely to go that extra mile to succeed.

And because of this passion, you are also more likely to be knowledgeable about your niche and enjoy what you’re doing. In fact, a lot of the work that I did for my business didn’t even feel like work because I enjoyed washer toss games so much.

Putting The Pieces Together

washer toss gameOnce I settled on my niche it became obvious pretty quickly what my selling point was going to be: offering the highest quality washer toss sets on the internet.

Growing up, it was always really hard to find a well-made game anywhere. Most of the washer toss sets were either really cheap or just poorly made.

So one day my dad decided to build one himself because he is fairly handy, and it was by far a lot better than anything anyone else was selling.

Later, when I told him that I was thinking about starting a business involving washer toss, we quickly agreed that we should partner and he would build the games and I would build the website.

When I built the website, I chose the open source route over the fully hosted for a few reasons:

  • It allowed me full control over the website
  • It was a lot cheaper
  • If for some reason this business didn’t work out, I could apply everything I learned to a new online store.

Getting Help

Create A Profitable Online Store

However, I had no prior website experience whatsoever. This is one of the main reasons I decided to join Steve’s Create A Profitable Online Store course. His comprehensive videos walked me though all the technical stuff of setting up my store.

But what’s great about Steve’s course is that he covers a lot more about starting an online store than just the technical things; from how to find your niche, to how you should contact vendors, to web design and SEO, to advertising and much more.

Everything is thoughtfully laid out so I knew exactly what steps I needed to take next in setting up my business. The other great thing about the course is the forum where all of the students can post their questions and share their experiences and tips with everybody. It’s a really great online community. Everyone is extremely helpful and encouraging.

It took just over year from when I joined Steve’s class to when the store went live. Both my dad and I work full time jobs, so finding both time and energy to start a business was tough. Since we are selling our own products, we first had to set up an efficient manufacturing process in addition to setting up an online store for the first time.

Going Live


The hardest part was not getting overwhelmed with everything. There were plenty of times where we got discouraged and thought about quitting. But in the back of my mind I knew that it could actually work and be successful if we stuck it out.

After over a year, we were finally ready to go live. Even though we thought there was a chance that we could be successful, we were still very nervous that we would fail because there was no way we could know for sure until we actually launched.

We got our first sale exactly one week after we went live. Even though it was a small order, it was a huge relief and it felt like a 1000 lb weight was lifted off us.

Since we just started we obviously weren’t ranking in Google search yet, and we weren’t using Google Adwords or had any backlinks at the time so we thought it was amazing that a customer was not only able to find us, but also place an order without having any history or reputation built up.

It gave us the confidence boost we needed, and soon after we started receiving larger orders on a regular basis.

In fact, we received 27 orders and generated $2,780 in revenue in our first two months of business!

Update: Today, Brandon’s site is ranking on the front page of Google and he is making sales without spending any money on advertising.

Lessons Learned

What I learned throughout my experience of starting my online store is the value of patience. Starting my business was a lot of work, especially since everything was new to me, and it was easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated at times.

The best thing I did to ensure that I didn’t become complacent was that I worked on the business every single day, even for as little as five to ten minutes, just to make sure that I was making progress and keeping the momentum going.

So my advice to anyone starting their own business is to be patient. A successful business isn’t a get rich quick scheme. A lot of people get discouraged when they don’t see results right away. But if you stick with it, over the long term success can happen.

photo credit: danmachold

Want To Learn More?

Create  A Profitable Online StoreDid you enjoy reading Brandon’s story? If you would like to create your own profitable online store and join a community of like minded entrepreneurs, then sign up for my full blown course on how to create a profitable online store.

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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. 

16 thoughts on “Student Shop: How Brandon Started A Profitable Online Store Selling Backyard Games”

  1. Natashia says:

    Very encouraging… Thank you for sharing your story!!!

  2. Jim Juris says:

    Fantastic story Brandon. I think that you chose a wonderful niche. You made a wise decision to choose a niche that you were familiar with and something that you really enjoyed as you were growing up.

    From the small screenshot that I see of your website, it looks terrific.

    There are several things that I feel that you did, in addition to picking a niche that you were passionate about, that contributed to your success. One of them was taking the course that Steve offers. Finding a mentor to get you started was a very smart move.

    Another important step was doing thorough research for your niche.

    Taking your time and working on this business every day was also a good move.

    From reading your story I believe that your business will be very successful. One of the reasons that I can say that is because you did not depend on Google to get your first sale. Google is not the only way to market to your target market. Depending on Google as your primary source for website traffic can be fatal to your business.

    Your photos and prices look great too. I have been selling online for ten years and I see very few beginners who do all of the things that are necessary to running a successful business, and to do them correctly, when they are just getting started selling online. I know what it takes to be successful selling online and you have done everything correctly right from the start. That is a huge accomplishment.

    Keep up the great work.

  3. Assaf says:

    @Brandon, your story is really encouraging and I like your niche and products. It is a great combination of craft, enthusiasm and business – well done.

    One thing that I’m very curious about is where did you get your first few sales from? You mentioned that it was not traffic coming from Google but did not mention where it came from.

    1. Brandon says:

      Hi Assaf,

      Thanks for the kind words. I should have been more clear on that. The sale did come from organic Google traffic, not Adwords. At the time, we were ranked very low in search, around 120-130, so what was so surprising was that someone was able to find us without any advertising or backlinks.

  4. Leonica Tan says:

    Hi Brandon,

    Thanks for sharing your amazing experience and journey with us, I’m really excited for you. It really just made me think to myself “what am I waiting for? Why am I so afraid to start?”. I enrolled in Steve’s class 7 months ago and I’ve let unimportant things in my life get in my way. After reading your story, an “alarm clock” went off in my head and you inspired me not to hit snooze once and for all and hit the dismiss button on everything that’s holding me back. Thank you, and I wish you and your father a fruitful journey 🙂


  5. Jim Juris says:

    Brandon, I would like to recommend checking out selling on Amazon one of these days. You may find that Amazon sales may be far higher than sales from your website sales.

  6. Martin says:

    Brandon, so proud of you mate! It’s great to see someone actually putting their plan into action and not just sitting around wondering “what if I tried it..” It’s great to hear the success you’ve had so far and long may it continue for you!!

  7. Donny @ Personal Income says:

    This is another testimonial how all it takes is an idea and a lot of action to start an online business. It is great because if you are strapped for cash, there are so many free researches and tools online that you can use to help get you started.

  8. Rick Atkins says:

    Great idea for a product website……if you think outside the box a little bit, there are always niche ideas that will work.

  9. Cristin Frank says:

    Hi Brandon, thanks for sharing your story! I think it’s so special that you’re working with your dad.

  10. Kim says:

    It seems as though to really become a success you have to manufacture you own products in some way to sell. Alot of your student stories involve people with business backgrounds with connections with people who are skilled in manufacturing or have some creative ability.

    I know buying your course would help me greatly but I just can’t afford to, I am currently saving up the money to launch my store hopefully next year.

    1. Steve says:

      Hi Kim,

      Everyone is creative in their own way and no, you don’t have to manufacture your own products in order to be successful. Also, most of the students in my class do not have business backgrounds or any special technical skills.

      Enough with the excuses:)

  11. Jennifer says:

    I tried getting onto Brandon’s site but it’s not working? Great story!

  12. dave says:

    I’m curious about the manufacturing and its scalability. I like the ownership you have over the quality control but have you, or do you intend to hire that out? Perhaps you create a foolproof template and creation vid and than have dad focus on new products.
    You could even sell the how to materials and even prefab kits as well.
    Great story, very encouraging. Best of luck to you.

  13. geometry dash meltdown says:

    Enough with the excuses:) 🙂

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