Profile of Success – Gnarly Parts and Accessories

Gnarly Parts and Accessories is an online seller of dirt bike parts. The company was founded in 1999 by Dave Chow, who happens to be my younger brother. Over the years, Dave has managed to grow Gnarly Parts from a business ran out of our dad’s garage into a business that grossed over $400,000 in 2008.

Today, Gnarly Parts is ran out of a Dave’s house in Chilliwack. Dave purchased the house last year as a fixer upper. The previous owner was building a 1,000 square foot addition but passed away before finishing. Dave turned that addition into the retail and warehouse area for Gnarly Parts. The commute from home to office is just down the hall.

Gnarly Parts

While my brother is not a blogger, we can still learn many things from his online business and apply them to our blogging business.

Be Passionate About What You Do

Much of Gnarly Parts success stems from Dave’s passion for dirt bike riding. He’s out on the trails every weekend. He moved his family to Chilliwack so he wouldn’t have to drive so far to get to the trails. They’re practically in his backyard now. He races in and sponsors many dirt bike events. All Gnarly Parts employees are dirt bike enthusiasts and ride with the boss on weekends.

I have always said you should blog on a topic that you’re passionate about if you want to make it big as a blogger. If you’re not passionate about your topic, you won’t stick around long enough to see the fruits of your labor. As you can see, passion applies to all business and not just blogging. If you really love what you do, it will show through and people will want to do business with you.

Know Your Market Inside Out

This actually ties in with passion. If you’re passionate about your product (or topics), you will go through great lengths to learn everything there is to know about it. Dave reads all the trade mags, attends the dealer trade shows, knows the current standings in the world dirt bike championship, etc. Gnarly Parts is a success because Dave knows his market and his products inside out.

As a blogger, you need to know your topic inside out. One of the main reasons people will come to read your blog is because you know the stuff you’re blogging about. If you’re not passionate about your topics, you’re going to take short cuts in research and learning because it feels too much like work. If you don’t want your blog to feel like work, then pick a topic that you have a passion for and knowledge of.

Build The Relationship

Much of Gnarly Parts sales come from repeat customers and word of mouth. In business, relationship with the customers is extremely important. In blogging, relationship with your readers is just as important.

You will go a long way by thinking of your blog as a business and your readers as customers. The better your serve your customers, the more likely they will buy from you again and recommend you to their friends.

Too many blogger fall into the Google trap. They depend on Google for most of their traffic and write their posts to please the Google bot. The only problem is, a post written for the bot is almost unreadable for humans. Build that relationship with your readers and write for them, not Google.

Maximize Revenue From Your Traffic

The Gnarly Parts site gets about 2,000 page views per day. That’s not a lot of traffic. However, it’s targeted traffic. All the visitors are dirt bike enthusiasts and because of that, the site generates over $400,000 in sales.

Getting targeted traffic is great but it’s only half the battle. What’s more important is maximizing the revenue from that traffic. If Gnarly Parts was a blog running Google AdSense, those 2,000 page views would barely make $5 a day. As an online store selling its own products, it makes a ton more.

As a money making blogger, you should always try to maximize the revenue you’re getting per page view. Start thinking outside the box. Too many bloggers get stuck in the advertising trap because they think advertising is the only way a blog makes money. I’ve lost count on the number of blogs I’ve seen running Google AdSense and nothing else. And they wonder why they’re not making any money by blogging.

There are tons of methods for a blog to make money that are more effective than just advertising. Things like affiliate referrals and selling your own products can be far more lucrative than just running Google ads.


41 thoughts on “Profile of Success – Gnarly Parts and Accessories”

  1. Go Dave! I bought a dirtbike seat from him. Great service!

    1. A comment first hand from a customer!! I might just have to buy a dirtbike so that I can check out what Johns brother is all about!!

      1. Buy a dirtbike seat instead..

        You will still get to check out what Johns brother is all about, and you’ll get a cheaper deal while at it.. 😈

        1. LOL

          Then I can start my own business making chairs out of dirtbike seats!! For those that love the feel of a dirtbike, but can’t afford the big expense lol

          1. Why not make a dirtbike yourself? Make the exo-skeleton.

    2. Ben Pei says:

      Are you serious?

      1. Yes, I used to be a motocross regional champion you know.

  2. Tyrone Shum says:

    I totally agree with you John. I started my Dragonboating business based on my passion and with that it has made it so much easier to sell and promote the products. Nowadays I chosen to purse my life passion – business and that’s why I have decided to choose that new path.

    1. Ben Pei says:

      Dragon boating? How do you integrate it with the internet?

    2. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of dragon boating!

  3. Carl Nelson says:

    Good to see Dave doing something he loves, after his print shop closed. Better than working at some shitty job! Good going Dave

  4. jesse says:

    What is a Dirk bike lol , just buggin , I love the odd spelling errors gives you more personality :O , sounds like a very profitable business

  5. Sounds like Dave needs to create a blog for the website and hook into social media to gain some more traffic to his store. 🙂

    1. Ben Pei says:

      He doesn’t have to.. This very post did all the job..

      1. He could still do what Steve said & get even more out of it.

  6. Congrats to your brother! I think we all start out with AdSense because of all the hype and think that it will take off from there, but there’s so many problems with why it doesn’t usually work.

    Plus, if you’re not getting a good amount of immediate clicks, they lower your per-click rate anyhow, so there goes even more money.

  7. Great to read about this success story! Everything and anything that is done with love, passion, integrity and reliability is sure to have success. Congrats Dave! Thanks for sharing John…

  8. J.D. Meier says:

    I like your point about how relevancy and conversions can trump having larger traffic that’s either untargeted, or doesn’t lead to conversions.

    It’s a simple point but easy to forget.

  9. Harry Tran says:

    That’s always nice to see success created from taking a passion and making it into a business. Rather than the countless amount of businesses that are set up solely as money makers where the boss doesn’t want to be in the office at all.

    And weird why that ceramic cat is in every Asian owned business.

    1. John Chow says:

      The cat brings luck!

      1. Harry Tran says:

        Than maybe I should pick one up I could use a bit of luck lately, but I’m more of a dog person myself.

  10. He he he, Internet Marketing or Parts/Accessories selling, the Chows have “money making” in their blood, obviously. Interesting to read about your younger brother’s progress and yes – thanks for the interesting and helpful hints. I enjoyed reading them, :).

  11. Melissa says:

    Your brother should definitely start a blog. Dirt bike parts is a great niche and I’m sure he’d do well. What’s stopping him from blogging? Too busy? His store looks really nice btw.

    1. Dave Chow says:

      I was going to do a blog but running a full time retail/online business, updating all 50,000 items on my site every year (new models bikes come out). Doing a print catalog and answering phones is really time consuming.

      I still might do one if I can get more help here. I think you guys that make money blogging is living the dream. You can do it anywhere there is internet. I love what I do but I can’t be shipping parts from a beach on Hawaii.

      Thanks for the kind words about my shop.

  12. Adsense Fan says:

    Great artiles. Thank you John.

  13. Reyn Aria says:

    Congratulations to your bro, John! Passion is truly an inevitable element every entrepreneur must have to succeed big time. And I totally agree with the importance of driving targeted traffic and proper monetization to your website.

  14. Great to read about this success story! Everything and anything that is done with love, passion, integrity and reliability is sure to have success. Congrats Dave!

  15. CC says:

    很好的文章,从一些小地方都可以想到跟博客赚钱的关系,厉害!

  16. CC says:

    where is my comment?
    i use chinese post a comment
    but icant find it。

  17. Ben Pei says:

    Aww the Chow brothers are doing so well and getting $400,000 from the money cake. Good job!

  18. Marco says:

    Hey John, we want to see a picture of your brother too! I want to know which one looks more evil!

  19. I think a site could only succeed once it has targeted audience arriving to it. And as you said what better than getting 2000 targeted visitors rather than 20000 visitors who would bounce off. And yes, the mix of the blogging experience would definitely raise the bar for a regular business.

    I have one question if you could get me an answer to: Does the design of the online store is of great importance when it comes to convert first time visitors to repeat visitors and eventually customers? Either you, or Dave could answer this.

    John, the reason I am asking you this is cause, somewhere in blogging, the design of the blog would also make such a difference, wouldn’t it?

    …Sahil

    1. Dave Chow says:

      I think the design of an Ecommerce site very important. It can make or break the sale. If a customer can’t find what he/she is looking for quickly he will just leave. Also at checkout, the less steps the better.

      When I first started my site I used a bought site. It didn’t offer much option on the way it look and I didn’t convert many sales. After that I changed over to a very moditifed version of OSC. Now the site is easy to browse and is very search engine friendly.

      You are correct that target vistors are the only way to go. I get most of my visitors from search engines. I list very well under Google, Yahoo and MSN. I think this article is going to help my ranking as well.

  20. apples says:

    Great case study.

    As an aside, I wish some of my sites got 2,000 visitors per day, even if you don’t think that’s alot! 🙂

  21. That’s pretty cool. Reminds me of the Whateverlife story. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. And I agree that Adsense is not the only way to make money.

  22. arshad says:

    You have an awesome blog.Thanks a lot 🙂

  23. Seems like the “CHOW” status runs in the family, but how about your daughters and wife? 😉

    -Mike

  24. This was a really enjoyable post. My take away was two fold: do business in areas that you are passionate about, and take the time and pay the money to stay up to date in your field. The return on education is very high, and that is my plan for this year with my businesses: spend more time and more money around the industries represented by my businesses.

  25. BusinessX says:

    Really enjoyed the piece about maximizing revenue from something other than adsense or advertising. Numbers don’t lie and making $400K from 2,000 page views is something great.

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