PTM 007: Making Extra Money by Starting a Personalized Gift Books Company with Your Friends with Chris Sonjeow of

Part Time Money PodcastIn today's podcast I speak with Chris Sonjeow of (just in time for Valentine's Day). Chris' company designs personalized gift books for special occasions. Chris shares some excellent tips for starting a business with friends and marketing a unique product. He also shares the story of how the got their product featured on Digg Nation and the Today Show. If you're in the product business for yourself, you don't want to miss that part. Here's a quick synopsis from Chris about his story.

Myself and 3 other friends started a business called as a side project. We can officially say that we are all now full time employees to our own business and loving it. We have also hired on two new people and moved into our own office. Ours is a rare success story during an economic downturn. We would love to share how we did it and some of the pitfalls to overcome.

Listen to the Podcast


Here are the questions I ask Chris:

  • Why did you want to make part-time money?
  • Where were you working at the time?
  • Who came up with the idea for the lovebook?
  • When did you spend your time working on the business?
  • What drove you to stick with the project, spending extra time doing this?
  • What were you doing at the design company? were your partners working there?
  • What was your financial motivation for this?
  • What skills did you need to start the business?
  • How did you start selling your idea to the general public?
  • How did you get on the today show?
  • How did you structure the business to protect each others interest?
  • When did you go full-time? was that scary?
  • How did you handle health insurance?
  • What mistakes do people make when starting a business with friends?
  • Tell me the unique value proposition of and tell me what's next for you guys.

Love Book OnlineWin a LoveBook™!
Chris at has generously offered to give away a free LoveBook™ (a $24.95 value) to one lucky listener.
To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling us what your favorite Valentine's Day gift is. I'll select a winner randomly next Friday, the 11th and email you the promocode. One entry per person, thanks! This giveaway is now closed. Sorry.

To see the full transcript click show

About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. Thanks, everyone! “traci” is our winner by random selection. Congrats, traci! I’ll forward the code to your email.

  2. I admit it. For valentine’s day and every day, I’m a chocolate girl. Anything and everything chocolate, the darker the better. Maybe with some gooey caramely stuff inside is tops on my wish list.

  3. my favourite valentines gift is to be loved

  4. My favorite Vday gift? Well, nothing beats the good ol’ bunch of roses 🙂

  5. My favorite V-day gift would definitely be enjoying a nice home-cooked meal with some music on and enjoying time with loved ones!

  6. My favorite gift is taking the day off to hang out.

  7. Thanks, Moe. Sounds like a great night out. Thanks for your comment.

  8. great podcast!
    my favourite valentines gift would be a night out to a small venue for great live music and a glass of red wine.

  9. my husband’s work requires him to stay and travel to different places. he is only given a few days off. so this year, my only wish is to spend Valentine’s together with him and for him to be with me for my ultrasound for our first baby 😀

  10. My husband knows that I love games, so no matter what the small valentines “gift” is, he turns it into a treasure hunt leaving me clues throughout the day till I find it. It’s my favorite. No wonder I married him. 🙂

  11. My favorite gift was concert tickets. Great Valentines Day!

  12. Thanks, traci! I like that gift. It’s cheap too! 😉

  13. I’m a sucker for quality time on Valentine’s day. I like weekends away or quiet dinners spent just talking.

    You have some great information that you’re sharing here!

  14. Krysti Sumpter says:

    my favorite gift on Valentines day would be some Rainbow roses.

  15. Thanks for the comments, guys.

  16. Good idea for a business, and a good listen. I’m not sure I agree with LT so much, but then again I’ve worked as a consultant for years, and I never really enjoy doing heavy-duty socializing with clients; I prefer to do the work and get out. But that may be exactly the mindset needed for a startup…

  17. enjoyed your pod with Chris Sonjeow, good work. a good idea can be developed with a group. spend time hamering the idea to get to the passion of why would someone want to click the thing and lay down the $. trust your group but sign on the botton line of who owns what and what rights and responsibilities each partner has. Before going out full bore with and idea, make sure you can live with your partners 24/7. Go camping as a group, do other outings as a team to build trust and respect. Partnerships are hard for the long run so have an exit plan as will. Protect yourself and respect your partners. And try to fnd that great idea that’s just out there waiting to be posted so everone can go click.