Podcast 64: How Steve Chou Built a 6-Figure eCommerce Store without Quitting His Day Job

By Spencer Haws |

I think you are going to really like the podcast today.  Perrin and I had a chance to sit down with Steve Chou from and talk about his eCommerce business.

Steve and his wife own the ecommerce store, Steve also has a training class on starting ecommerce stores at

Steve gives us the story of how he and his wife started their store which sells a large product line of personalized wedding handkerchiefs and linens. Since its inception in 2007, the store has grown significantly and now has earnings in the high six figures each year.

The act of setting up an eCommerce store probably isn't much of a stumbling block for people.  The real hard part is figuring out how to actually get traffic to your site once it's set up.

During the podcast we dive into 3 ways that Steve has gone about getting traffic and growing his eCommerce store:

1. Pay Per Click advertising

I was pleasantly surprised with the awesome nuggets of wisdom that Steve had to share on this subject.  They are using lots of different sources for PPC ads: Google, shopping ads, Amazon ads, Facebook, and several others.

It really is feasible if you are starting an ecommerce store to just start out with PPC ads from day 1 and get a positive ROI.  Steve is currently seeing about a 4x ROI on his advertising spend.  That's incredible!

About 1/3 of their traffic comes from paid sources.

2. Content and SEO

Steve's wife creates product tutorials and then they promote these as much as possible.  They also provide original content on all their category and sub-category pages that help with SEO.

About 30% of their traffic comes from SEO.

3. B2B Sales

They reach out to wedding and event planning businesses who would buy from them in bulk.  This helps to stabilize the business with repeat customers and bigger orders.

In addition, they reach out to wedding magazines or related publications to get mentions and traffic.  Finally, they were able to make it on the Today Show to get a nice bump in sales!

Overall, Steve shares several tips to increase orders, good SEO practices for ecommerce stores, and email targeting.

On previous podcasts we’ve talked about selling a product on Amazon and Steve explains how bumblebee linens uses Amazon. He talks about the advantages and disadvantages to using Amazon to sell products.

You can check out Steve’s blog and reach out to him at Or you can find his training course here:

If you enjoyed today’s episode please leave a rating on iTunes right here. And as always, feel free to leave a comment below…thanks!

Podcasts | 19 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding, and co-founding You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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Thanks for the interview Spencer. I had a blast!

Spencer Haws

Thanks for coming on and sharing great tips!

Eduardo Suzuki

Thanks Steve and Spencer for sharing this interview. It was very helpful.

Mohit Chauhan

Your Blog always inspires me to do something new…From this interview also i have got new ideas to boost my extra income…Thanks!


Great article and podcast. I thoroughly enjoy each and every episode.

Spencer Haws

Thank you Danny!

Spencer Haws

Good luck, Mohit!


I’m not 100% sure my last comment went through, but love these podcasts. Very helpful!


it looks like the course is designed for US citizens. How relevant would it be to non-US citizens wanting to sell in their own countries or non-US citizens wanting to sell in the US?

Spencer Haws

I’m sure it’s still applicable, but you might want to approach Steve with that question to make sure.

Steve Chou

Hey Mike,

I’ve got students from all over the world including Canada, Europe and even Saudi Arabia. Outside of the module on making your store legal, everything else applies to all countries


Hi Spencer
Great site with a wealth of fantastic info, freely given. Thanks.
Can I ask about images on the sites. I noticed images that would be unlikely to be free, or if free they would need attribution. I haven’t seen the cost of image licences in your financials. How do you and Perrin get your images?
Also the images in tables and reviews – I imagine the manufacturers would be happier to give these images to you, but what is the process of acquiring them?


Great Podcast!

It was lightly touched upon, I was wondering what kind of Customer Service you employ? Do you use a third party service or is all your CS in house?

Have you found a good management software to help manage all your different advertising avenues, store fronts and products? Just a fancy spreadsheet?

Thanks guys!


The interviews lately have been pretty cool, but they’re definitely way ahead of where I’m at with IM. Damn, if only I’d discovered all this stuff back in the heyday instead of 2014. 😛 Still, love the podcast, its great for my commute… 🙂 Wondering if you’ll ever get back to the state of all things niche? I know you guys are just going with what what’s going on in your world, which is great, but I’m still curious to know what the deal is for niche websites in 2015 as I’m still floundering around trying to get that stuff off the ground. This stuff is next level, and I’d say in two years I’ll be returning to these podcasts to take some more notes. Peace out!

Spencer Haws

Thanks for the feedback. We’ll get back to discussing niche sites at some point I’m sure.

Temitope Akinlonu

it’s not easy starting up an eccommerce store compared to an eccommerce amazon associate blog as you just do some setup and products are automatically uploaded. What Steve chou and his wife does is quite impressing and I really commend your efforts. You definitely worth all the income you made from the products. Keep it up.


Hi Spencer, I must say you are my role model in this Amazon and SEO business. I draw so much inspiration from your blog. I’m just starting out an Ecommerce Amazon affiliate store, started March this year. I must say it hasn’t been easy ranking and getting traffic. I am really astonishing about how he was able to achieve those revenue figures. I know my niche is very competitive but don’t know what the future holds. I read this blog daily to keep my self strong…

Spencer Haws

Thanks Paul…and good luck!


Thanks Spencer for this inspiring post. After this post I am strongly considering online store.

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