Find out everything you need to know to boost your organic rank.Download the NEW 2024 Organic Rank free white paper here.
Free Download
Find out everything you need to know to boost your organic rank.Download the NEW 2024 Organic Rank free white paper here.
Free Download
Are you prepared for 2024 fees? Download our free Amazon Fee
Stack White Paper
for 2024 to protect your business.
Carbon 6
NEW! Download the free Amazon
Fee Stack White Paper
for 2024.
Free Download
Free Download
Take your Seller Central operations off your to-do listHire us for around-the-clock Amazon account management!
Learn More
ManageByStats is now FREE! Get this ultimate, all-in-one tool suite to boost your profit on Amazon.
Learn More
We double our reimbursements efforts
to get you 20% more back from Amazon!
Learn More
7
MINUTE READ TIME
Published
February 27, 2024
|
Steve Chou
|
Partner Spotlight

How to Start a Successful Ecommerce Business Without Sacrificing Your Family Time

How to Start a Successful Ecommerce Business Without Sacrificing Your Family Time

Table of Contents

In 12 seconds, everything changed. 

It was late 2013, and the ecommerce business my wife and I had been growing for several years was being featured on NBC’s The Today Show. 

The mention was brief, a 12-second spot, but almost instantly, our orders exploded by over 700%. It’s a scenario most entrepreneurs dream of, but the stress piled on as soon as the initial excitement wore off. 

Our company is Bumblebee Linens, and today it’s an incredible success story — a 7-figure ecommerce business that sells embroidered handkerchiefs and linens for special occasions. 

But success didn’t always come easy. 

We started our company almost on a whim. My wife and I had a large box of handkerchiefs left over from our wedding that we’d ordered from a Chinese manufacturer. Not knowing what to do with the excess product, we decided to sell the handkerchiefs on eBay. 

To our surprise, they sold like hotcakes, and we realized we were on to something. After all, no one in the U.S. was selling high-quality ladies' handkerchiefs. 

When we started our ecommerce store, my wife had modest aspirations. She wanted to make $5000/month that we could use to pay the bills. But I had bigger goals. I knew my wife wanted to leave her financial analyst job, and I saw Bumblebee Linens as a way out. 

In our first year, the business we started for $630 made a $100,000 profit. We hustled hard. For the first several years, my wife embroidered every custom handkerchief. We were so busy that I did embroidery myself in the evenings after coming home from my job as an electrical engineer and putting the kids to bed. 

Business was booming, and we were approaching $1 million in sales and growing in the double and triple digits every year. But the hustle was beginning to take its toll. My wife had reached her breaking point. She no longer enjoyed the work. It was becoming repetitive and never seemed to end. 

We could both see that the pace of growth we were trying to maintain was harming our marriage. I was reluctant to hit the brakes on our business, but I wasn’t willing to jeopardize our marriage or time with our kids. 

My wife and I both realized that something needed to change.

Take Seller Central operations off your to-do list
Trust our team of experts with 24/7 account management!
Learn More
NEW! Download the free Amazon Fee Stack White Paper for 2024.
Free Download
NEW! Download the free How to Rank Organically on Amazon white paper.
Free Download
ManageByStats is now FREE!
Get the complete data suite to boost your profits.
Learn More
We double our reimbursements efforts to get you 20% more back
Learn More

Re-evaluating Our Priorities

We could see that making more money wasn’t improving our lives, so we went back to basics. We did away with setting crazy income goals, and my wife stepped back from the daily operations to focus more on the creative aspects of the business. 

We made an effort to enjoy and appreciate what we’d already achieved. We realized that we could continue growing the business while putting our family first and not killing ourselves in the process. 

Today, Bumblebee Linens is a 7-figure business. But it doesn’t consume our lives. My wife now has the freedom to work around her schedule. If she wants to spend time volunteering at our kids’ school, she can take the time to do that, and I left my full-time engineering job long ago. 

I spend about 20 hours a week running our businesses, which include an ecommerce store, a 7-figure ecommerce blog called MyWifeQuitHerJob, a YouTube Channel, a podcast, and an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit. I spend my time coaching basketball and volleyball and haven’t missed a family dinner or bedtime in years. 

Becoming a Family-First Entrepreneur

Opting out of the hustle culture that traps so many entrepreneurs saved our marriage and our business. But it meant doing things differently. We reordered our priorities, built better systems, and learned to let go. 

Here are five steps you can take to start an ecommerce business without sacrificing your family time. 

1. Stick To Your Strengths

Too many entrepreneurs believe that they need to start a business based on what they’re passionate about. They worry that if they don’t love the product or industry, they’ll eventually get sick of it. But pursuing your passion is bad business advice. 

Instead, understand where your abilities lie and focus on your strengths. That’s where you will be most effective. Remember that skills will almost always trump passion. The things you enjoy will come and go, but what you’re good at will stick with you. 

I wasn’t passionate about selling handkerchiefs when my wife and I launched Bumblebee Linens. But we quickly realized that we’d found a niche where we could be successful, and the more I learned about the industry and the different products, the more I appreciated the business.

Ecommerce wasn’t even our first choice – I dreamed of opening a brick-and-mortar store until I realized it would cost over $500k to get up and running. Instead, we went with plan B and started an ecommerce store for $600, and I'm so glad we made that decision.

Blog: Learn more about launching your own DTC Amazon business with our blog, 6 Tips for Launching and Scaling Your Amazon DTC Business: A Guide for Director-to-Consumer Sellers

2. Don’t Focus on Income Objectives 

It might seem counterintuitive to start a business and not make income your number one focus. After all, a company needs revenue to survive and grow. The problem is that you’re setting yourself up to never be satisfied by only focusing on profit. 

Ask yourself this question. How much is enough? 

It’s been proven that businesses that place all of their focus on profit are less successful. Instead, set objectives that will help make your life better. Create systems that free you up to spend time on the things that matter the most. 

Here are some business goals that will grow your business while freeing up your time: 

  • Improve the quality of your products 
  • Implement technology and tools that will improve efficiency 
  • Improve your customer service (happy customers require fewer contact points) 
  • Provide leadership opportunities to your strongest employees 
  • Increase employee engagement (and reduce turnover)
Tool: Improve your operational efficiency with data-backed insights and recommendations from D8aDriven.

3. Align Your Priorities to Your Values

As you establish your business objectives, make sure they align with your values. If your goal is to only work 30 hours a week and have weekends off, make sure your systems match your goals. If you dream of owning a remote business that you can manage anywhere in the world, don’t tie yourself down to a physical location. 

As long as your business objectives and priorities align with your values, it will be easier for you to stay committed to them. Like building habits, it can be easy to fall back into old ways of doing things. 

4. Delegate Responsibilities to Avoid Burnout 

Entrepreneurs tend to want to do it all themselves, but as your business grows, performing every role is unsustainable. Your business and your family will suffer. 

Instead, delegate routine tasks to your employees or a virtual assistant. This will free you up to focus on things only you can do, such as product development, marketing, managing, thought leadership in your industry, etc. 

For example, because my wife no longer spends hundreds of hours embroidering handkerchiefs, she can focus on more creative aspects of the business such as making product decisions, and spend more time with our kids. 

One note of caution: it is possible to over-delegate. If you outsource yourself right out of your business, it will fail. Never delegate the critical tasks that require your unique skills and knowledge.

Tool: Want to automate parts of your inventory management process? Work with a tool like SoStocked for a customizable solution to your inventory management struggles.

5. Hire Well 

Delegating is critical, but so is hiring well since an excellent employee is like a godsend. However, the wrong hire can be a nightmare. Instead of freeing you up to do other things, a bad employee can force you to spend more time in your business, managing their performance and fixing their mistakes.  

Also, be strategic in the way you schedule your employees. Always ensure the right person is doing the job at the right time. This will set your employees up for success and help your business run more efficiently. 

If you have an employee who is shy and not great with people, don’t have them handling customer service inquiries. Don’t be afraid to give your highest performers more responsibility – it will keep them engaged and make them feel valued.

Video: Watch Steve Simonson share his secrets to scaling effectively in our exclusive interview. Spoiler: the answer is people.
NEW! Download the free How to Rank Organically on Amazon white paper.
Free Download

Final Thoughts 

A family-first approach to running an ecommerce business is based on the idea that your business should make your life better, not worse. But if you’re starting a business today, you’ll face the same pressure to embrace the hustle. 

The gurus and the influencers will tell you that to get ahead, your business must be your only focus. They’ll tell you that there will be time to sit back and relax someday. 

But you don’t have to fall into the same trap we fell into early in our business. 

Focus on your strengths rather than your passion. Instead of chasing profit, choose business objectives that align with your values. Don’t try to do it on your own – as your business grows, bring the right people on board who can help you with the routine tasks. This will allow you to focus on the work you love and give you the flexibility to spend more time with your family. 

Today, our two businesses bring in over $2.5 million in annual revenue and continue to grow each year at a pace we can easily handle. Our balanced approach allows us to do what we love without sacrificing family time. 

My biggest takeaway: We may not have made it to this point if we hadn’t hit the reset button.

Recent Newsletters

Insights: 2 brand new tools, our latest comic, and more
Carbon6 Team
Apr 11, 2024
News & Announcements
Insights: 2 brand new tools, our latest comic, and more
Prime Day prep is already underway for many sellers, with the Prime Day Deal submission deal open from now to May 3.
See Article
Insights: New product updates, our new comics & free events
Carbon6 Team
Feb 29, 2024
News & Announcements
Insights: New product updates, our new comics & free events
Happy March bonus February! Make the most of the additional day this leap year with our new-look newsletter! This month we are LEAPing into some big events: MDS Inspire, Prosper Show, Business Growth Hacks Live, and EUSECON are all in the next few weeks. PLUS we have two virtual events that you won't want to miss.
See Article
Insights: Free webinar, plus tool updates & more!
Carbon6 Team
Feb 1, 2024
News & Announcements
Insights: Free webinar, plus tool updates & more!
Welcome to month two of 2024! We’re kicking off February with a free webinar this afternoon on Navigating Amazon’s Increasing Fee Stack, along with announcing a new upgrade plan from ScanUnlimited, and a partnership with Top Dog’s new UnderDog University course.
See Article

Recent Posts

How to Improve Organic Ranking on Amazon in 2024
Clayton Atchison
Apr 16, 2024
For Your Business
How to Improve Organic Ranking on Amazon in 2024
Discover how to improve organic ranking on Amazon with our blog series! Learn essential strategies and pro tips to boost visibility and drive sales.
See Article
Advertising on TikTok: Should You Or Shouldn’t You?
David McDaniel
Apr 11, 2024
For Your Business
Advertising on TikTok: Should You Or Shouldn’t You?
Contemplating advertising on TikTok? Unravel the mysteries of this social media giant and decide if it’s right for your marketing strategy.
See Article
Insights: 2 brand new tools, our latest comic, and more
Carbon6 Team
Apr 11, 2024
News & Announcements
Insights: 2 brand new tools, our latest comic, and more
Prime Day prep is already underway for many sellers, with the Prime Day Deal submission deal open from now to May 3.
See Article