My Latest Business Venture, and How it Chose Me

I launched a new business today:


Click to Visit EcomLab

A number of people send me emails asking more about my business ventures. What am I up to, how do I pick what businesses to start, and when am I going to blog about it.

I decided I’d give an inside look today.

First, I usually don’t pick the businesses I start. They often pick me.

I’ve been considering starting EcomLab for over a year.

If you’re a regular ForeverJobless reader, you know I started doing e-commerce stores over 2 years ago. I had a million questions when I got started. How do I find suppliers? How do I know what products to sell? What’s the best way to get traffic to the site? Should I hire someone to build my own store, or go with one of the shopping cart platforms? Should I start a store from scratch, or just buy one that’s already making money?

A lot of people who hear about my e-commerce experience assume I just knew this stuff already. Hell no. I didn’t have a clue about any of it when I started. In 2011 I started from scratch knowing ZERO about e-commerce stores.

I was looking for something new to try, and a friend who had made a bunch of money in e-commerce told me to give e-commerce stores a shot. He said it was pretty easy, didn’t take much money to start, and that I should just go for it. So, I did what any normal person would do…I said it sounded risky and I went and watched TV instead.


Just kidding.

I went for it.

I bought one store, and started another from scratch around the same time.

The site I bought was already making money. I had no idea what I was doing, and I always assumed sales would just vanish once I bought it. They didn’t.


“I could get used to this”, I thought. Then one day, a couple months down the road, a different order came in. Oh! This was the site I had started from scratch. It actually made a sale!

A week or two later…

Holy shit another sale!

It was pretty sporadic at first, but as the months went on, the store I started from scratch was getting orders every day, and eventually became a pretty good income source.


So it’s that easy, you just throw up some stores and the money starts coming in?

I wish.

I spent all sorts of time searching around forums, watching youtube videos, trying to find people to outsource things to, and googling anything and everything e-commerce. I was also lucky to have a good friend I could call to ask questions that would have taken me hours, or days on my own to figure out. Having my friend help guide the way was the biggest help by far.

I was always wondering why more people didn’t start e-commerce stores. Then, I realized…

“Duh? They don’t have a friend who crushes e-commerce they can just pick up the phone and call”.

I kept starting new stores, and buying more as well. There were so many untapped niches, that I got a little carried away. At one point I had about 20 active stores. (I’ve since sold some to keep my sanity)

I’d get asked all the time how to get into the e-commerce store business. I didn’t know exactly what to tell them…

“Well, you can sign up for a store here, you can Google around and find out X, Y or Z, you can visit this forum to learn SEO, I’d recommend talking to this guy about PPC, etc…”

There wasn’t even a go-to e-commerce store forum I could recommend.

I started thinking again about creating what is now EcomLab. I was busy with some other projects, and wanted to start writing some, so I decided to postpone doing anything for the time being.

Fast forward to August 21st, 2012. I put out a blog post that detailed several different ways I had made money in e-commerce:

Despite my blog only being 3 weeks old, I probably got 100 emails about that post.

Everyone had the same questions I’d had when I started with e-commerce stores:

What should I sell? How do I find suppliers? What’s the best way to get traffic? The list went on and on.

I wanted to say, “just start, you’ll figure it out.” I did, and I knew they could too.

However, I remembered back to how helpful it was to have my friend there to guide me through everything, and the same answer came back to me:

“Duh? They don’t have a friend who crushes e-commerce they can just pick up the phone and call”.

Several people wanted to hire me for consulting. While I wouldn’t mind doing consulting on a limited basis, I prefer to work on my own projects.

Okay, so I set up a service where I hire a few e-commerce guys and people can call in and chat with them?

Well, in theory that sounds okay, but besides being inefficient, it probably prices a lot of people out of the market. Charging people a high hourly rate to help you start an e-commerce store isn’t something I’d recommend to anyone. It wouldn’t make financial sense. Their money would be better spent elsewhere. I thought everyone should be able to afford e-commerce training.

So, I created EcomLab.

Instead of paying hourly rates to consultants, or paying even bigger agency fees, people can pay a small monthly fee to get access to actionable videos that give them the information they need.

The response to the e-commerce post is what finally pushed me over the fence to create EcomLab.

That’s why I say I didn’t pick this business, it picked me. There were plenty of times I said, “someone needs to start this.” And I’d go back to working on whatever I was working on. A while later I’d look around and there still wasn’t anyone filling that hole in the market. “Someone needs to start this”, I’d say again. Finally, I decided to do something about it.

Note: This is something very important that aspiring entrepreneurs often make a big mistake on. They focus on themselves first. “I want to make money” is their motivation for starting whatever business they start. They should instead focus on the needs of others.

A lot of people are providing products or services because they want to make money off of them, not because they’re offering something of value. That’s where most people get things confused. Don’t go into e-commerce stores, blogging, or anything else unless you plan to add value for people. If the reason you’re getting into something is just to try and make money, you’re doing it wrong. If instead, you’re getting into something because you think it can add value to people, you don’t have to worry about trying to make money with it, it will come because it’s something people need/want.

Why not just release a book, or a course?

Two big reasons:

1. As the e-commerce landscape changes, EcomLab is able to keep people up to date on how you should change your strategy. Everything from Google algorithm changes, to new opportunities that arise for generating traffic, to tax changes, to new product sourcing opportunities, etc… That’s why a membership site makes a lot of sense. Basically up to date e-commerce training, and a constent stream of new ideas to implement into your business. Also, as our members give us feedback on what they’re struggling most with, we can create that content and release it.

The goal is to create the greatest amount of value for customers as possible, and with the ability to release many new videos every month, it’s easy to help solve the biggest issues as they come up. If a member makes some progress but hits a plateau, maybe we’ll do a review of their site and turn that into a video to help other members too. If a member has a phenomenal success story, maybe we’ll feature a case study about their store for other members. If a lot of members want to hear from a specific expert on a subject, we’ll do our best to bring them on for a future video. That’s the reason I chose to make EcomLab a membership site that keeps helping people as they progress with their stores. It was where I felt the biggest need in the market was, and it’s what I would have wanted if I was starting over in e-commerce.

2. Because there are a lot of people out there who are experts at their specific area of e-commerce. I may have some decent experience with e-commerce stores, but there’s plenty of areas I wouldn’t consider myself an expert at. Instead of me trying to train members at each and every aspect of e-commerce, it’d be much more valuable if members learned subjects from people who are experts at whatever sub-niche within e-commerce they specialize in. So, we contacted all sorts of people in the e-commerce space who are experts at each individual subject, and they’re going to be coming on and making videos to help make the training as valuable as possible. Experts on everything from SEO, PPC, product manufacturing, e-commerce store optimization, email marketing, etc…

“Wait, will you be making videos too?”


I’ll be going into detailed examples on EcomLab with case studies from stores I’ve owned. I’ll be showing where I found some of my best deals when buying sites, how I found some totally untapped niches, how to work with suppliers, some untapped traffic sources for your e-commerce store that pretty much no one is taking advantage of, and much more.

I’ll be taking a lot of e-commerce store examples similar to what was in this post:, and going into much more depth, and giving specific examples, so that the “luck” I had on those deals can be replicated by members. Rather than reading about it, look over my shoulder as I share my screen with you and walk you through it.

I’ve learned a lot since being in the e-commerce store business. I want to save people the hassle of making the same mistakes I did, and help members uncover opportunities I think most people miss.

We’ll be interviewing e-commerce experts like Neil Patel, and there’s even an e-commerce forum to trade stories with others who are building e-commerce stores. If you’re in the e-commerce store business already, or you’re interested in starting one, come introduce yourself.

I got a lot of interest when I mentioned the possibility of this blog post about the new business on my Facebook Page. If you liked this post and would like to continue hearing updates and getting an inside look on how EcomLab is doing, and how I’m growing it, leave a comment and let me

41 Responses to “My Latest Business Venture, and How it Chose Me”

  1. Steve

    Perhaps some earning reports would be useful (as in SPI blog) to give us an idea of the profitability of your e-commerce operations.

    Might be great validation for those cynics who view this blog as a clever marketing platform for your new subscription site…

    • Billy


      I’ve considered starting an e-commerce store from scratch on EcomLab, and detailing 100% of the process in the videos. Not sure when I will do it, but that’s probably going to happen at some point. If/when I do that, I’ll be revealing the numbers on the store I do it with so people can follow along.

  2. Amanda L Grossman

    Good luck with your launch and business! It sounds like you went through the process with e-commerce sites that motivated your post here:

    • Billy

      Yes, definitely Amanda. I had way too much on my plate, and treated my e-commerce store operation as more of a fund I invested in than a specific business. Would have grown a lot faster if I focused on 1 site and scaled it up.

  3. craig

    Awesome, thanks a ton for sharing your wisdom and experience with us. This should be an awesome resource. I can’t wait to dive in! Thanks Billy.

  4. CEBenz


    Good to hear. I know I’m still missing some things.

    I also think clarification on “adding value” would be a good thing. Unless someone tunes into the the Lifestyle Business Podcast or TMF, they may not understand what that means.


    • Billy

      Thanks for the feedback— you talking about a post on “how to add value”, or just a description of what that is?

  5. Harrison Li

    Hey Billy,

    This is an awesome idea, your blog is always an inspiration to me… I’ve never missed a single email. I hope this membership site will eventually lead to something along the lines of Khan Academy but for entrepreneurship, there’s surely a big market for this!

    BTW, the “Click to Visit Ecom Lab” link needs to be added with a https:// because it doesn’t work now. 🙂

  6. Brian

    Commerce definitely seems to be popular among the IM crowd too as there was a big product launch couple months for big ecom course.

    There is very good free commerce training and a forum from guys who have 7figure commerce businesses if people were looking.

    • Steve

      could you expand please 🙂

      • Brett

        Possibly Brown Box Formula? I have been through it, it’s a good course. Looking forward to hearing from Billy though.

    • Cyberseraph

      @Brian: Thanks for the info about the free commerce training.

      Would you mind to share the link?

  7. mick

    Nice post and great idea. I will be looking for ideas to help me run my latest ecommerce site called this will be a massive boost for me

    • Billy

      Awesome Mick. Definitely introduce yourself in the forum. I’m sure others at EcomLab would love to follow your progress with it.

  8. Mike

    I agree what would set you apart is showing actual profits not just sales figures.

    There are a ton of sites out there that tell you they did X amount in sales per month. To me that is useless.

    How do you know if the advice is good or not if you don’t even know what the final numbers are? Little to no good in my opinion.

    • Billy

      Just mentioned above, but wanted to make sure you saw: I’ve considered starting an e-commerce store from scratch on EcomLab, and detailing 100% of the process in the videos. Not sure when I will do it, but that’s probably going to happen at some point. If/when I do that, I’ll be revealing the numbers on the store I do it with so people can follow along.

      Also, I may make a blog post sometime in the near future detailing a case study(including numbers) of one of my stores.

      • Brandon

        I know people love to see the “numbers” as validation, but when does it stop? People want to see the numbers, so you show them the numbers.

        Then people want proof of the numbers, so you show them proof of the numbers. Then they want proof of the proof.

        Seeing the numbers are nice, but I think people should focus on the quality of the content and how they use that content to make their own numbers better.

        Personally, it doesn’t matter much to me what a person’s numbers are if the content is solid and the person genuinely cares, which will come across in their posts.

        Don’t get lost in numbers, get lost in the content.

        – Brandon

    • Billy

      I think people get excited in seeing the numbers.

      I agree though, content is what matters. I think Mike was referring to the fact that it sometimes helps to see who is real, but I don’t think he was referring to ForeverJobless specifically, just stating it generally.

      Part of why I got into blogging is because I felt like there were a lot of people giving make money advice who clearly didn’t know how to make money. I could tell by their content, but many newer entrepreneurs can’t, that’s why they follow them.

  9. Max Burn

    Interesting idea – already own one eCommerce store but would be interested in expanding. Have signed up for the free trial so I will be very keen to see how good the information is.

    Best of luck with the venture Billy.

    • Billy

      Awesome, thanks Max! Definitely introduce yourself in the forums, I’d love to hear about your experience with your current store, and I’m sure many others would be interested in following your progress as you expand as well.

  10. Joe

    hey Billy,
    I like a lot the web design of, did you design it yourself?

    Who is the developer?

    Thanks and good luck

    • Billy

      Hey Joe,

      Nope, I’m not a design guy at all. I just give my feedback and let them know what I like. The design was a combo effort between our developers, and my man Mike from If you’re looking for a developer I can email you the info.

  11. Ivo

    Hi Billy,

    I have been reading your blog from the beginning, and I really like it along with your style and a funny note, even the cartoon drawing. Something like this would be really helpful. There is no substitute for having somebody to teach you correctly and ease the beginner mistakes, it is so much faster to learn.

    Thank you.

  12. Brandon

    The comic is awesome! Love it!


    • Billy

      That was one of my favorites as well. Mike does good work.

      • Brandon

        Do you know how Mike creates his comics? I wouldn’t mind throwing a few in here and there when creating my posts, but I’m not wanting to buy expensive software.

        I’m frugal…not cheap. : )


  13. Nate

    check your priv message on ecomlab 🙂

  14. Levar

    Finnaly my prayers have been answered!
    Being a NEWBIE to the whole ecomm thing I have been wandering around aimlessly…Google algorithm..SEO..PPC? I have been reading everything possible day in and day out without direction. EcomLab seems to be the exact source I have been looking for!!

    can’t wait to get started

    Thanks Billy

  15. Regev Elya

    Good luck with the new business mate, I was actually planning to launch something pretty similar (though not about ecommerce) in my local market here in Israel. I’m sure Ecomlab will do great, your business-spidey-sense is sharp

  16. Brandon

    Great idea! It sounds perfect for someone who is trying to balance career, family, etc. with the ambition to start an eCommerce site.

  17. Billy

    Billy (or if anybody knows), where do you buy your ecommerce store from? Flippa?

  18. Omar

    This is interesting. I was actually referred to your site by somebody who does the same thing, Andrew of

    What I liked momentarily about your story (but it was never responded by you in any of my blog comments) was “How do you source ecommerce businesses to purchase?” and I hoped it was something other than

    Mentioning how to scout for ecommerce businesses for sale would be sweet.


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