James Edwards Interview with Nick Shucet

Nick (00:04) 

Alright. What is up, everyone? Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick, and today, we have James on the call. James, what's up, man? How are you doing today?

James (00:15) 

Hey yeah, I'm doing really well today, actually, beautiful day in Vancouver. So I'm enjoying it while we can.

Nick (00:22)

Nice, man. I gotta get up there someday. I've only ever been to Niagara Falls and that was like… I was a little... I was a little dude back then when I went.

James (00:32)

Yeah, no, it's a... it's absolutely gorgeous here when it's sunny. And it's not smoky at the moment, so we're doing well.

Nick (00:40)

Yeah. Nice. So we get… it gets smoky up there? Is that what, like a forest fire…

James (00:45)

Yeah. You know, we don't have any hurricanes or anything, but yeah, forest fires, especially this year, have been pretty bad. But yes, today is beautiful. So...

Nick (00:59)

So what... What's going on in the world of e-commerce and Amazon for you these days, man?

New Product Launch on Amazon Canada

James (01:04)

Well, actually I just, yesterday, launched a new product on Amazon Canada. I’d just recently bought a business. So I previously sold my old business and bought a new one about three months ago. And we're just starting the… They weren't on Amazon and starting to roll them out to Amazon. So you know, we're doing Canada first and so far, it's been really positive.

Which is great because I've been a little gun-shy. The last launch I did was not great. So now... so far so good and yeah, I'm really, really excited. Hopefully keeps growing.

Nick (01:47)

Nice, man. We're getting some stuff. I've got two different products, two different brands that we're getting into Canada now. One of them supplements and it's like… I got a... I got a guy I'm working with over there and he's like, “Yeah, you gotta give me this and that and this, and we got to know the age of the cows that the collagen” and like all this stuff. 

I'm like, “Wow, this is crazy!” And then he was like, “Yeah, it'll be like six months before you get approved.” I'm like, “holy crap, man! Like, this is serious.” 

Are you doing supplements at all in Canada or different, different names?

James (02:20)

No. I'm staying as... far away from supplements as I can for sure. We're beautiful though. So, you know, it's… Canada definitely was tougher to get a book for than the United States. We were approved in the United States, like long before… the ongoing process and longer wait times to get approved. But yeah, the competition here is so much less.

I mean the reward is less too, but yeah, you don't... I don't even know if you need to really do rebates or anything like that.

Nick (02:57)

That Sounds pretty good, man!

James (02:59)

Yeah. I kind of couldn't believe it. I was asking if anybody knew any rebate services for Canada and yeah, Brian Kelsey was just like, “Man, just PPC and you'll be fine.” 

I didn't believe him, but as always, yeah, he was right. So yeah… PPC and no reviews and we're already getting sales and it's looking good.

James’ Amazon Journey

Nick (03:19)

Oh man, it sounds like… reminds me of the good old days though. Man, I know you mentioned you've sold… so I know this isn't your first rodeo and you've been in the group for a little bit, but before we dive into that, how did you get wrapped up in this crazy world of Amazon?

A College Student’s Business

James (03:40)

I didn't want to, at all. Yeah, no, I always wanted to do my own business and my own thing. You know, I was a college kid—a business college student. And went to work for a guy. And of course, you know, as every college student knows so much better than the boss on how to do things. 

So I wanted to do my own business there and we just started doing like a traditional kind of… not a brick and mortar, but like a wholesale distribution model calling stores, getting things going, did our own website, which at the time was on Magento.

A Partner’s Advice

James (04:19)

And yeah, and then the… My business partner suggested we do Amazon, you know. He had some friends that were doing Amazon and I was kinda like, “You know, I don't want to be an Amazon guy. I want to like to build a brand. I'm not sure Amazon's the right place for that.” But like a month in, it was very clear that Amazon was where the time where the money was for the time and effort investment, you know?

Nick (04:43)

Yeah. And what year was that that you like... what year did you start doing your own thing? And, when did you start looking at Amazon?

Tippy-Toeing Into Amazon

James (04:52)

I think we started around 2007 doing—doing the “own thing.” And then I would say maybe six to nine months after that we started kind of just tippy-toeing into Amazon. We're in Canada too, so we tippy-toed into Amazon Canada. So even at… especially like, you know, ten— Oh my God, ten years ago!

Nick (05:17)

I hate it… when I'm talking about anything and it's like getting close to 10 years ago. I'm like, “Damn, I feel old!”

James (05:24)

Yeah. Yeah. Maybe it wasn't quite that long ago, but yeah. We... so we were... yeah, we just kind of like tippy-toed into Canada. And yeah, I mean, people started buying the glasses well, you know. Which was, at the time for us, just crazy if somebody just searched over the time we were doing blue light-blocking glasses. And yeah, people just started buying it. 

Nick (05:49)

So did you get into the blue light-blocking glasses? 

Was that just like an opportunity you saw or were you kinda like… was that something you were kind of like interested in at the moment?

Deciding the Niche

James (05:59)

Again, I've just got to give all the credit to my business partner. We’ve been… so at the time we were work colleagues and had been talking about kind of like doing our own thing, but didn't have anything to do—like didn't know what we wanted to do. And we… but we worked in natural health kind of supplements and, you know, anything kind of natural.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

James (06:23)

And our boss at the time had brought in these blue light-blocking glasses. They were like 150 bucks. He got them from Brazil, you know. Paid another hundred bucks in duties and they broke within like three days of him using them. But we both thought it was a good idea. He really pushed me harder than I was probably... without him, I probably wouldn't have taken the dive, but he was certainly right.

And yeah. And then we just kind of sourced it out of China.

Nick (06:54)

Nice. So is that the one that you guys ended up selling?

James (06:59)

Yeah. So yeah, so we started with the blue light glasses you know, one pair and then diversified a bunch. And then brought on sunglasses and driving glasses and a few other kinds of niche products, just like… As we started to kind of expand just the Amazon space.  And yeah, it just went really well. And we kind of we... I mean, we flipped out to like... blue light glasses blew up.

Nick (07:30)

Right. Asprey, man… I feel like Dave Asprey was a big player in…

James (07:35)

Yeah, totally. I mean, yeah, we… I think if we had been maybe a year earlier or something, we would have been able to really go crazy, but even still with the timing you know, we went... It was great for us. Yeah. Super good.

James’ Early Struggles On Amazon


So how quickly… like, what did that first year look like for you guys? Did you guys go past a million in like 12 months?

James (07:57)

Oh God, no, no. I mean, we were, we were making like, you know, 50,000 a year, so that million dollars, it was like wild dreams. I think our first-year target was sales of $250,000. And my partner thought I was crazy for setting that as our goal. And I think we like… we well surpassed it. And yeah, and so I think it took like three years, three or four years maybe to get to a million in revenue. It may have been two. 

But yeah, no, at the start, I mean, you know, I, I assume for everybody you're really kind of just making it work wherever you can. You know, we had, I remember like going into the bank, having like a check in my hand from the bank or from a customer going to the bank saying, “Look, I need you to cash this check because I got to pay for more glasses of my supplier. Like, please, please like just wave the holding period.”

And yeah. Oh my God. Yeah. So it was like… yeah, it was really scrappy, but we also got like really lucky too, you know. We worked with some great people who really believed in the glasses and really, really pushed them too… so on the wholesale side which really helped. Yeah.

James’ Response to Business Challenges

Nick (09:22)

Are there any guiding principles that you guys kind of leaned on to get through these early struggles? Or are you guys kind of just more… I feel like when I started out, I was very reactive when this happened, so I would try this and do that. Now I'm a little more structured. Right? We've got EOS, we've got the group, we're doing all these things. What was that like for you?

Starting Without Hesitation

James (09:47)

Yeah, I mean I mentioned earlier that like I had to kind of be pushed into even starting the business. So the biggest thing that I kind of learned was, when you're not sure like how to do something, just kind of like start it and figure it out. And like, don't hesitate.I was always like a big planner and like, you know, before I was going to do anything, I needed to have a template plan.

And that, of course, you're spending years sometimes planning. And you know, it all goes away the first week when you start executing and something comes up that you didn't anticipate. So yeah, so it was... that was the big thing for me.

Keep Trying Until You See What Works

James (10:31)

It’s like, when we had a problem, you know, just dive into it, see it like... try, try this, try that, try it, you know, and see what works. And yeah, I think just don't get like freaked out and just you know, just try no…. That was kind of—kind of what worked for us.

Nick (10:48)

Yeah, man. I tend to like to bounce around between extremes when it comes to planning or just doing things like I'm either on one end or the other. And where I get the most benefit is when I take time to kind of like figure out how to be in the middle. And I... and like that applies to like a lot of things in my life personally. 

Is there something you use now in your business that helps you kind of deal with these problems a little bit quicker and be a little better prepared for them?

Project Management Tools

James (11:22)

Yeah, we use…. I mean, we use ClickUp, same as everybody, right, to track tasks and that sort of thing. 

Process Documentation

James (11:28)

I think I also like having… I don't like to have a process for the creative stuff sometimes, because I think it sometimes just leads to problems. But having a process for like the VA's especially, really like having like detailed what to do.

So just having that knowledge and having it documented, I find super helpful as well. None of this is like groundbreaking stuff, but also I feel like I am learning more and maybe it's just getting older and not taking enough supplements. I forget stuff more. So having things like documented you know, is when you go back and say like…. I even have like a spreadsheet of like, you know, the tools that I use.

So, you know what was that thing that we use for giveaways back, you know, two years ago, some stuff like that? So yeah, nothing great. Nothing groundbreaking. I try and do like the morning routine, same as everybody. 

Help From the MDS Accountability Group

James (12:28)

And then also I got to give credit to MDS, you know, this accountability group thing that you guys did. I found it super helpful. Just kind of like getting me in the goal-setting mindset and trying to write down at the beginning of each day. I have like three things I'm hoping to get accomplished that day.

And you know, if it's noon and I've only gotten one or none of them accomplished, then just putting my head down, getting those three buses out before doing anything else.

Nick (12:56)

Yeah, man, I think you touched on some pretty critical stuff that, you know, so many of us go through. One, like you’ve mentioned, was the creative side of things and not having a process for that. And I don't really consider myself a creative person from a graphic standpoint. I mean, I think like in EOS terms, they, you know, they talk about visionaries and I'm definitely a visionary.

And visionaries are definitely creative in a way that they can visualize a big project, like all coming together, in my opinion. Like we're creative from that standpoint. But man, when you would ask me to like write an email or create a, you know, design for above the fold on a website or something like that, like, man, I would just freeze up. And I was always looking for something to help me with that. 

What I found was I think they call them like 'frameworks', you know, from a copywriting standpoint, they have that AIDA, the attention, interest, desire, action problem, agitate the solution. And those things, once I started to come across that stuff, it gave me something to like to go off of. And that stuff became super helpful and kind of like unlocked another piece of myself that I never really was able to do. 

Have you looked at any of that stuff or like read up on any of that stuff?

Setting Up a Framework For Success

James (14:36)

I haven't read about any of that. Like, at all. But I was talking with a kind of business coach, therapist kind of guy. And one of the things that I found super helpful for like... pretty similar is the framework thing. Like having... What is it like... If you have a task, like for me, I procrastinate all the time on things I don't want to do. But I think usually it's like... I just don't have a framework for what success looks like for that specific task. 

Maybe it's something new I'm trying. So like having some, like, what is... what does success look like? What are… What makes a new product good? Those sorts of things, having like a little checklist on things. But then not being so rigid in that as well. That like, you know, when something, you know, you can go a little color a little outside the lines…. 

Nick (15:28)

Yeah, man, I agree with you too. It's like it, having those targets helps me get started. And then just in my mind, I know that like, Hey, this number, you know, like you said, you set that $250,000 number. Like, “Hey, maybe it's wrong, but at least we know where we're going.” Instead of just kinda like throwing ourselves out there it kind of falls back on the writing thing for me.

I remember I was working on writing something and the guy was like, “Well, who are you writing to? And I was like,” I don't know, like people interested in health, you know?” And they were like, “Well, that's pretty broad. You know?” And then I learned about customer avatars and personas and, you know, they told me, “Hey, you're, you know, you're having a conversation with one person”. 

And when I hit... when they told me that, then it clicked. I was like, “Oh, I get that.” Like, yeah, I wouldn't try and go so broad if you know, sitting down at the bar with James and we're talking about, you know, something like... it's going to be very defined, very specific.

James (16:32)

That's good. I'm gonna have to apply that when I'm writing stuff now. Yeah. That copywriting has actually been a huge struggle for me. Ongoing. So…but I liked that one-person thing, yeah, I'm gonna… I'm gonna use that.

Nick (16:50)

Yeah man, and it was pretty helpful and... and stuff like that has been... has really saved me because it allows me to teach that stuff to other people or at least find someone who knows what the hell they're doing. You know, like now I know what to look for.

James discusses His Struggle With Hiring

James (17:08)

Yeah. Yeah. That's, I mean, that's a whole other struggle. That's something I still struggle with, like finding the right people. And maybe it's just like… for me, I just don't have the patience for it. Or the, you know... we all deal with like contractors and like sometimes it's not worth doing. You know, like the, you know, five-week-long interview process for a graphic designer you're going to use for like one product, one time. 

So, so, but... yeah, I needed to be more rigid with that. I kind of am just like the no… you know, like with... especially with the graphic designer, you know, we'll try, we'll see. And then when you find somebody you like, just stick with them.

Nick (17:46)

Yeah. Finding good people is tough, man. I really lean on Upwork a lot these days, and Fiverr a little bit. 

I've gotten pretty decent at hiring, but it's still... Even if you're good at hiring, it's still hard in my opinion.

James (18:05)

Totally. Yeah. There are a lot of people out there who want to do the bare minimum, which I guess we all do. Right.

Nick (18:13)

Yeah. We're all looking for that way out. I feel like it just... yeah, man, I'm with you there definitely. I have shared a lot of those same struggles. But even that being said you were able to, you know, sell your business, which is a big goal for a lot of us in the community. What did that look like for you? Like you know, how much did you sell for, did you work with a broker or do it yourself?

How James Sold His Amazon Business

James (18:40)

We worked with multiple brokers. It was a long period for us. We're Canadians, it was a Canadian company. And we wanted to do a share sale as opposed to an asset sale. So, as you can imagine, there are not a lot of American buyers who want to buy shares in a Canadian company. But because, you know, it's a huge tax benefit for Canadians, if you can do the share sale.

So even at a lower multiple, it is like... you know, it was almost tax-free on sales. So it was… yeah, it's really advantageous. So I think our multiple, I don't remember a hundred percent because, you know, it was during COVID and, you know, sales were going all over the place and the sale process took so long, but I think it was around 2.5.

Okay. So I mean, you know, not for anything sexy like that, but when we started to like, look at, like... It was better… it was almost a better deal for us at 2.5x than four and an asset sale. So yeah… So it was really good to sell… We ended up finding a good broker and, you know, we just found a guy that was interested. But that process took a long time. 

We worked with website closers

We worked with website closers at first for a year because we were locked in with them on a contract for a year. And that just didn't work at all. They... I mean, like, I know they're big in the MDS group and a lot of people have really good things to say about them.

I don't know if it was just our business lost, wanting to do a share sale makes it more complicated, but yeah, it was like, I felt like they were really pushing us to take some offers that we weren't interested in. 

We Had Luck On Our Side 

And then you know, COVID happened and like everything kind of went crazy. And so we ended up changing brokers to website properties and I think it was just luck, you know, but they found a Canadian guy that wanted to buy it. And it all just kind of lined up. I mean, Chris was great. But yeah, that process was long. 

And yeah, we… I did a big post on it, but I think it's important as well, something we learned kind of the hard way is, you know, we're still like... “Okay, we're gonna list it to sell,” you know, people are telling us a multiple of three like that's going to be great. Okay. Let's just list it, you know, three months it'll be sold for good. And so then, you know, the fire goes away pretty hard. 

You're like the marathon guy and like the final stretch and you're just like, oh, okay. I'll just, you know, I'll just jog it in here at the end. So we, yeah… it was a rough year to the final year. So we had to like really… I think, six months in focusing and try and like really bring things back around and, you know, redo a lot of stuff and tweak some stuff.

But you know, we got there.

How Much James and His Partner Sold Their Business

Nick (21:58)

Nice. So you guys ended up selling for did you say two and a half multiple or two and a half million?

James (22:04)

I think it's all... it's always weird cause we, you know… Canadian US currency, but I think he ended up selling for around three American... 3 million American… So yeah, it was again, yeah. I… you know I'm pretty happy. And it was the right... hundred percent the right time for us to get out. You know, we had a huge bump with COVID.

You know, the competitors were coming in, and the blue light glasses, like, you know, like Chinese sellers were selling two pairs of glasses at half the price that we were selling one pair. But yeah, no, yeah. I mean like, yeah, it all worked out. I think we're happy we sold. I certainly am. Yeah, you know, you miss parts of it, but you know, you… and starting up again is actually some ways scarier than starting up the first time, you know?

Recent Hassle Experienced Using Amazon

Nick (23:04)

Yeah. Especially now with how much more competitive it's gotten and now they make you jump through all these hoops like just to get an Amazon account. You know, back in the day, like I don't… When I started my first account, I don't think I did it. It was like, you know, name, first name, last name, email, maybe a phone, or... Here you go, you're in there. 

Now they're like, yeah. “Where is your business address?” “Give us your business license, give us a utility bill.” It's like opening a bank account or something. it's gotten way more difficult.

James: (23:40)

Yeah. I—I think yeah... I don't know. I don't know what the answer is, cause I think they're mostly doing it for good reasons, but it gets in the plate in... in the area here where like, there are a lot of guys that are trying to follow the rules, you know, for the most part. You know, everybody's doing rebates, you know, there's a little bit of like maybe some gray area stuff here and there. But for the most part, we're trying to play by the rules. 

And you’re just like terrified every time you get an email from Amazon, every time you interact with somebody, I certainly am lik… as you say, like opening my second account, as it took like six months because you know. I'm Canadian, we… this time we opened an American company, so like there's bank account stuff and they were concerned about the previous business that I had had, you know? 

So it was, yeah, it was... it's not great for Amazon. I'm sure they'll figure it out eventually. Well, I hope they'll figure it out eventually. But yeah, it feels really bad when there are people that are blatantly breaking the rules. And for them, it's no consequence, right? Cause they'll just like throw up another account.

They got... they seem to have passports on, you know, their Rolodex or whatever, but for the guys that are burner accounts, man, tough. It's tough up there for sure.

Nick (24:58)

It's like you hear about all that, you know, within the past month or so that big crackdown on, on the big brands kinda. And it's like, you know, they're just like, they're probably… they probably already had another account or something like, you know, they probably didn't even skip a beat man. Who knows? I don't know, but hopefully, Amazon can get that under control.

James (25:20)

I'm hopeful. I'm really hopeful. I think like... I think Amazon kind of wants to do the right thing. You know, they see sentiments kind of changing a little bit. And I think people are more and more, a little wary about the stuff they're getting on Amazon, which is a huge problem for Amazon as a company.

So I think that will push them towards trying to crack down on some of this stuff and dealing with people that are selling crap and you know, manipulating things and more so... So I'm hopeful, but you know, I'm always… eternally hopeful, so… 

Nick (25:56)

Yeah, man, I'm hopeful too. I'm just definitely not putting all my eggs in one basket, you know. And that's the other thing I love about MDS is... you know, we've got the investments group. We've got the Shopify group, we just kicked off the health group. As you know, there are other ways we can network and make money together and still work towards our goals without getting beat up by Amazon so much.

Diversifying Your Business Off Of Amazon

James (26:24)

Yeah. That was really nice for our business too. It was like we have... we were diversified off of Amazon as well. So, you know, I mean, Amazon was huge for us obviously, but we weren't going to be destitute if Amazon went away, you know, a little deed there. So yeah, I agree. I think, you know, diversifying risk is really smart.

It's just tough with Amazon being such a good you know, dollar per dollar, where you're spending your time and your money is the... highest reward is there, but I guess there's also high risk. Yeah.

Nick (27:00)

Yeah. I still bounce kind of back and forth a little bit on that one. And it's like you said, the return on Amazon is just so good. Like it's hard to make sense in my mind of like, you know, not focusing on it cause it's just... it's insane how much bigger they are than everyone else. But I wonder when they'll cap out, I mean they just keep growing and growing and growing. It's crazy.

James: (27:29)

Yeah. I, I don't know. We'll see. They seem to yeah… just be getting bigger and bigger. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. I mean, at some point, you know, Walmart's coming for them too. I mean, they haven't really figured out their online stuff yet, but you know, they got a lot of money to spend on it and probably... It seems like the patience and interest… 

Nick (27:51)

Yeah. We sent some product into Walmart for a client of ours and I mean, it had a big old UPC label on it and they were like, “We can't scan this label.” Like, yeah. Oh, what are you guys using to scan? I mean, it was literally the biggest UPC label I've ever seen on a product, like nothing wrong with it. 200 units, you know, and I'm like, well, you know, like what are you guys doing, man?

I don't know. So yeah. Hopefully, they'll figure it out. They're definitely trying. They are definitely trying….

Comparing Walmart With Amazon

James (28:23)

We have… Yeah, those are our stories too with Walmart.You know, like the hoops to jump through, I think it's like the transition from like, you know, the… if you haven't dealt with like wholesale like big... big box wholesalers, you know, they got so many hoops to jump through you know, and the forms to fill out and like it's just a nightmare. 

So I think, you know, a lot of the e-commerce guys that are like, you know, for the most part on Amazon. You know, if you're, if you're approved in the category, you know, you just throw it. Which is another thing, but you just throw it up. You can say whatever you want on the title. Like, you know, it's for the most part, it's really easy. And I think I'm smashing into that.

With Walmart they're… they've still got like a lot of the big box kind of you know, bureaucracy to deal with.

Nick (29:12)

Yeah. That's a good point.

James (29:16)

So hopefully they'll get there. I... you know, I think everybody, well, all the sellers want bigger channels anyway,

What James is Doing Differently in His New Business

Nick (29:24)

So man, you sold around COVID, so not too long ago, you started up a new brand. I imagine you've learned a lot and you're probably doing some things differently this go-around. What are you doing differently from what you did before?

James (29:40)

Wow. Doing much... like everything is... we're doing better. Like, you know, having the listing actually graphically designed, you know, like you know, keyword research, all this sort of stuff, but at the same time, it's way more competitive. And with the COVID stuff too, like the skew limits in place or the you know, the coming and going skew limits and the... that adds a whole new wrinkle of fun stuff to deal with. 

So I... yeah, I think the big thing for me is, is trying to do... the big, different thing is I'm trying to be cognizant of, you know, a launch actually being a launch, you know, make… making it a huge event where like, we're going to put a lot of effort and a lot of dollars behind trying to get things going. 

And that's part of our strategy with going into Canada first to having some reviews that we have in Canada now that all the reviews are saying, having the reviews in Canada, to be able to now launch in the United States with reviews already there. 

Nick (30:50) Ooh, I like... that's... I like that you launching, you get stuff in Canada going, and you get some reviews that are going to be easier to get, and then you get that... 

I haven't heard anybody mention that. You hear people mention talk like... you start in the US and then you branch out and you get the reviews there, but you're taking an opposite approach.

James (31:09)

Yeah. I mean… I think I brought it up before. I don't know why nobody else is doing it, or maybe they are. Yeah, because once the reviews kind of commingle… you yeah, you're good to go. I mean, it's… it probably is not as good from an algorithm standpoint of having the reviews actually in that marketplace. And I don't know if they show up quite the same way.

But you know, when you look at the product, it says, you know, 400 reviews or whatever. Going in with 400 reviews, it’s sure a lot better than, you know, zero. So yeah, I think that's something we're doing. And then also now, I mean, like we bought a business that has some, you know, subscribers, you know, a brand behind it. So being able to remarket to those people is really nice too.

James Discusses the New Business He Bought and Moving it to Amazon

Nick (31:58)

So you guys bought... I forgot that you mentioned that you bought a brand this time that was off— not on Amazon yet.

James (32:06)

Yeah. Those are tough to find. Yeah, they got scared of the… or of the approval process. Cause it's like health and beauty, so you have, like to do that, that process, and if you haven't done it before, it can be a little intimidating, I guess. 

So yeah, they were just doing website sales with Facebook traffic and were doing relatively well, saw a huge bump in COVID as everybody did, but now yeah, being able to go to Amazon and telling all of the customers you know, “Hey, go buy us on Amazon”.

Or as well, like, you know, when I bought the company, I was looking on Amazon, there were like, you know, 500 monthly searches on Amazon for the product brand. And there's nothing there. So that's just like, you know, lost revenue if you're not there.

Nick (32:57)

Nice, man. That sounds great. That's a solid strategy. How did you find the... how did you find that brand for sale? Did you use a marketplace that lists that stuff, or what?

James (33:11)

Yeah, I used Quiet Light Brokers. Yeah. I think they were on some Mobile Calls with Jamie, which is where I kind of got turned on to them and they've… they were great. You know, they had a really nice presentation with all the financials and stuff. And you know, having gone through it from the seller perspective as well, I think you know, it gives you a lot of leverage and knowledge about how to buy. 

So yeah, it was really great. I was really looking for a company that wasn't on Amazon or had a limited presence on Amazon. You know, being able to just kind of turn that and flip it over to Amazon for some immediate gains while trying to figure out all the direct commerce Shopify stuff. So yeah, so that… it's been good, you know, I've definitely been struggling cause since we bought it, the whole iOS.

The iOS-14 thing came out with Facebook ads now not working as well, which I can't believe, I didn't see it. Didn't think about that. I was like listening to it in the news and like, “Oh yeah, this is going to suck for everybody.” Well, I'm buying a company that uses Facebook ads, but yeah, it's been good.

Nick (34:28)

Have you looked at doing any like man... we had a great call with a guy that does YouTube ads. I still feel like there are so many untapped things online and YouTube seems like... dude, I mean, it just seems like there's so much opportunity on YouTube and some of these places, have you guys looked at that stuff as well?

James (34:49)

That's like…. that's this week for me. I'm going to be really taking a look at YouTube and TikTok. I mean, everybody's talking about TikTok and I’m kind of worried I've already missed the bubble on that, but I don't think that's true. I think that… 

Nick (35:03)

Yeah, probably not always that way.

James (35:08)

Yeah. You're always a year late, right? You know, like no matter what,

Nick (35:12)

One thing I've realized, like even with crypto and stuff like that, like man, like we... I feel like, you know, with a community like ours, we catch wind of that stuff so early. And then it can... a year can go by and it makes us feel like we missed it. But in reality, like we're still so far ahead from an informational standpoint.

And it's like, we've talked about earlier in the call, like just take action and get started a little bit if you're really interested in it and you know, see where it takes you. So yeah, lots of good information in the groups that we catch wind of pretty early. You should definitely check out the mobile call with the guy from YouTube. It's... I'm pretty sure it's up on the website.

You know, the member's site, he had some good stuff in there.

James (36:06)

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Jamie's been killing it for years with calls. Yeah. It's awesome that there's more stuff coming out too now with like some of the... like I know Rory did a call on some Facebook ads and stuff and yeah, this is great stuff…. 

Nick (36:23)

Yeah. We're getting the same… We're trying to get the same thing going in the Shopify group that's going on in the Amazon group. And yeah, you're right. Jamie has been crushing it with the mogul calls, man, and he kinda of whipped that up himself, you know, years ago. And men that's been happening for, since I can remember, like 2017 I think, that he's been doing those—maybe even longer. That's when I came into the group. So I'm not sure what not too sure.

Effect of COVID On James’ Business

James (36:52)

Yeah, I... it was awesome too when like COVID was like first starting to... and like, you know, everybody's like, has no idea what's going on being in like those calls too, where like, everybody's like trying to figure it out. And some of the people, you know, got at the time had people in China, like can tell what's going on. Like the news wasn't like, super-duper covering it.

Like, I… that... another example of like being ahead of the curve. Like I was... I, yeah... like I was telling like, “Hey, like you get mom and dad, you guys gotta be like a little careful for this, as you know, it's not… it's going to be over here eventually…”

with the first product I brought in before I bought this company, you know, we had a price that was about 15 bucks and then all of a sudden, like you get a reorder and your shipping cost are almost like three bucks a unit.

Nick (37:32)

Yeah, man. That's a good point about just, just being ahead of the curve on information like that as well. No… and now the effects that are still lingering. I mean, we see it with the shipping and the cost of containers and the backlog and the inventory limits. Like the cost of goods on everything going up like this COVID effect is... has changed so many things and it's probably going to be a new normal for so many things.

James (38:06)

Yeah. I don't know. We'll see. Certainly, I hope the shipping rates go back down

Nick (38:14)

If they don't, all of our prices are going up, so…. 

James (38:18)

For sure. Yeah, I… yeah. The shipping stuff has definitely killed me too. You know, like you have a product... with the first product I brought in before I bought this company, you know, we had a price that like about 15 bucks. And then all of a sudden, like you get a reorder and your shipping cost is almost like three bucks a unit. Yeah. So…

Nick (38:40)

That's not a good surprise.

James (38:42)

No. It's definitely not. But yeah. Maybe, you know, maybe prices will start going up and you know, maybe we'll be able to keep them there a little while after.

Nick (38:59)

Well, James, before we wrap up here, man, I have a couple of quick questions for you. And then we'll start to wrap up the call here, man. Let's see here. All right. What is... what's one thing either in business or personal life that you hear a lot of people say that you don't agree with?

What James Thinks About EOS

James (39:24)

Oh! How spicy do we want to get? I... I'm like… I think we touched on it a little bit earlier, but I think that whole process thing. And I understand why a lot of the MDS members are big into EOS because it's really easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and trying to get those processes figured out. But I think we're probably going a little bit too far on some of those things where it does like end up stifling some creativity or like things.

Like, you know, nothing goes a hundred percent to the process. I think that possibly, like, I think. You know, I'm trying to couch it a little bit because I know it's been super successful for so many people. I don't want to detract from that. But I do think that we can get too overdependent on our processes. And then we just turn into like these big companies that are bogged down in bureaucracy. 

So I think you have to be careful of like, not creating work when you're making these processes.

Nick (40:28)

Yeah. That's a good, that's a good point, man. It's a, you know... you got to find that middle ground kind of like we mentioned earlier and still allow for the right people to have that opportunity to be innovative and solve problems creatively and step out of bounds a little bit. I'm a big believer that rules are meant to be broken, you know? 

James (40:52)

Yeah. For sure. I kind of agree with that too

Nick (40:56)

Yeah. Nice man. That's a good one. That's a good one to bring up. And it's interesting cause I'm pretty heavy on processes right now at the moment. Like but I'm in brand management, so, you know, man, you got like six different companies we're dealing with and the processes help a little bit—well, a lot when it comes to all those different moving parts. 

But I totally agree with what you're saying, man. We still have to have that opportunity to innovate and create new stuff.

James (41:27)

Yeah. I guess make sure the processes are working for you and you're not working for the Processes.

James Speaks On New Habits

Nick (41:31)

I like that. That's a good way to say it. Yeah. Nice man. I like that. That's a good mantra. All right. What is… what's one habit that you're working on right now? 

James (41:42)

Well, right now I'm trying to get back to the gym. So that's you know, a little pudgier here than I was before COVID so that's one. But I think for me, it's sticking with stuff. You know, I've had this morning routine and then it slips for a week and like, it's really tough to get back on the whole… on the horse with that stuff. 

So just like keeping a focus on that, and yeah, for the more... for the... doing the morning routine every morning having, like for me, it's just like three or four things. I'm trying to do and just knock those out before anybody else in the house is up and I'm disturbed and I get that all taken care of

James’ Morning Routine

Nick (42:32)

What are a couple of... what's a couple of things you're doing for your mornings?

James (42:36)

Well, number one is goals for the day. So three goals for the day: try and set those out. Try and do a little bit of exercise or at least go outside, and walk. The weather is nice and smoothie and a glass of water in the morning.

Nick (42:51)

Nice. That's a good one, man. Yeah, those are good. That's kinda similar to what I've been doing. I used to have a pretty intense morning routine, but I've slowed down a little bit, but yeah, just like getting water before drinking three cups of coffee, don't go straight for the coffee.

James (43:14)

I drink way too much coffee, so I can relate to that.

Nick (43:14)

Yeah, me too, man. I'm trying to get a 10-minute walk-in. Like those... that was huge for me during COVID. We, you know, the gym shutting down and stuff like that. And I had just had another kid that was born, like couldn't exercise, really. As it was... just wasn't realistic for me, but a crackdown on my diet and ten-minute walks. That was my goal. Ten-minute walks each day.

And three goals are definitely solid, man. Gotta prioritize things. I mean, I've been doing some interesting reading on, habits and I shared something in the group. But one thing I found out recently is that when it becomes a habit, there's actually a different part of your brain that deals with it. And like doesn't really have to think about it. So it's pretty interesting how those habits work and I think it's a great thing to focus on.

James (44:11)

Yeah. Super agree. Yeah. I'm sure you've read the ‘Atomic Habits’. Yeah, I say this about every book, but that's one of my favorite books like that... I don't read many and that's like... was definitely like a life-changing book. As well about like, you know, like small habits, you know, you don't need to like… if you're trying to do a morning routine, just start with like a smoothie or start with like three goals or something like that. And then build on top of that, you know, you don't need to… I’m bad for this— I'm sure most entrepreneurs are. 

You don't need to go the whole hog all at once, you know, just start slowly. And then it builds as... as you say, it becomes easier and easier as you're doing it.

Nick (44:54)

Yeah, man, I used to be… I used to try to do so much at once. Like I'm going to do keto, intermittent fasting, juice, and like not eat any bad stuff and stop drinking, like all at the same time. It doesn't work out that way.

James (45:11)

Yeah. You gotta make... and make it easy on yourself too. Cause like every day… every habit, there's going to be days where you don't want to do it. So try and make it as easy as possible for when you know, when you need to push

Nick (45:24)

And you’re building momentum on those small wins like that's what's key. And when you achieve that one goal, you're like, “S**t! I can... I'm going to do another one.” You know? And instead of the opposite where you set a bunch of goals, you don't do any of them. And then you feel like a piece of crap and you have no motivation left.

every habit, there's going to be days where you don't want to do it. So try and make it as easy as possible for when you know, when you need to push

James (45:44)

Yeah. It's yeah... It actually, is. I can't believe how much that is true. Like I just… Just getting up for me, the first thing I actually do each morning is brushing my teeth, which I'm not sure if that's actually good or not, but starting with like the brushing, the teeth, I noticed like, you know, like how hard is it to brush to teeth?

It's pretty easy, you know, half asleep sitting there brushing your teeth. But once you get, you know, like once you do that, you're like, “Okay, now the next thing I do is I go get my glass of water.” Like, you know, you just kind of fall into the rhythm

Nick (46:13)

Yeah. And I liked the brushing your teeth example because the one thing I've... I realize it's like, “Hey, if I forget to brush my teeth, I don't just stop brushing my teeth forever. Right?”

James (46:25)

Hopefully not

Nick (45:16)

Hopefully not like... and that's the true like... that's a true habit. Like you're going to get back on track. So yeah, that's a perfect example, man. All right. So I was going to ask you about a book suggestion. You mentioned ‘Atomic Habits.’ Is that the one you would suggest people go read or is there something else on your mind?

James (46:46)

I got another one that I really enjoyed that nobody's talking about. So, it's by the Net... one of the Netflix co-founders called “That Will Never Work”. And it's just fantastic, very similar to like “Shoe Dog.” You know, it's a story about like how they started... they started Netflix and all the troubles they ran into and you know, some crazy stuff.

But like, it also like reinforces that you know, just jump into it, like you know, he talks about like all these ideas he's had and like he mentors people and they have these great ideas that they've been working on for years. The first thing you want to do is so easy now with, you know, a website and Shopify and stuff, it's just crash it against reality. 

But yeah, super entertaining book. I would highly recommend it. I did the audiobook in like two days. It was, it was awesome. And it's read by him too, so… 

Nick: (47:44)

Okay. Nice. That's a good one. I don't think I've heard anyone suggest that one, man. I'm going to have to check that out.

James (47:50)

Yeah. One of the few I made it through. That's good.

Nick (47:54)

Yeah. I don't read as much as I used to, man. I definitely miss it.

James (47:58)

Well, kids will do that.

A Successful vs. An Unsuccessful Amazon Seller

Nick (48:01)

Kids will do a lot. All right, man. I have one more question for you. What do you think sets a successful Amazon seller apart from an unsuccessful one?


James (48:15)

I don't know. I don't know anymore, maybe luck you know, like as much as we all want to deny it you know, luck plays a huge factor. I think there's something to be said for the fundamentals, which a lot of us miss. Or we had at the start and then we get bogged down in like the hacks and the tricks and the rebates and the… I think that's an easy one to miss. 


Like if you actually have a really great product it might not be a success overnight, but it will work. 

Pushing Without Hesitations

And, maybe like a little bit of that, no hesitation stuff too. Like there are so many things that go wrong the whole way along pushing through that and like, not getting too scared, I guess. I mean, it's easy for me to say I had like a big safety net, but yeah. You know, like pushing through when the pain points happen, I guess that would be a good one too. 

But I… If like… it's the true answer, I would have a hundred percent say luck. I mean, it's not yeah... it's not a great answer, but that'd be one

Nick (49:27)

Yeah, man. And I... I'm with you there. So it's such a big marketplace, so much going on. 

Like there definitely is some luck involved and, you know. and I think you touched on persistence. Like just not giving up with all the crap that Amazon throws at us. 

James (49:45)

Yeah. That's a nicer one, to go with. 


You can focus. Yeah. You can be persistent. Yeah. I think that's true. 

Quality of Product

And making good...getting a good product or making a good product. You know, like… you know, don't get all your friends to give it a five-star review. If it sucks, you're going to eventually get those one-star reviews and you're toast. So 

Nick (50:06)

Yeah… That’s the one I think that a lot of people overlook too. It's like, Hey, if you just create a really good product, like... you know, you've got an edge because there is so much junk out there. You know, just coming off Alibaba or AliExpress or whatever. Take a little time to do some digging into the reviews, you know, find out what the customers are complaining about, and differentiate your product a little bit. 

Like, you can really come out on top, man. I'm still surprised at some of the stuff I've created just by looking at the reviews and stuff. And like, you know, in my mind, I'm like, "Man, like, I don't know, this thing seems kind of junky or a little weird or something." But I took the time to like understand the pain points of the customers and, and it shows up, you know, it definitely shows, yeah. 

James (50:58)

It does. That stuff makes a difference over time. You know. We're all impatient and we want, you know, success overnight and like the talks about earlier the hack to make it all, you know, a million dollars in one year or whatever. But like those fundamentals really matter. 

Continued Innovation

And I think continued innovation is another one, you know, like things have changed so much. You know, continuing to like... you know, the creative stuff was huge. And now everybody's got that done. So it's on to the next thing.

Nick (51:27)

Yeah. Well, James man, lots of good information you shared. I really appreciate you coming on, man. Thanks a lot. It's been good chatting with you. I hope to get to meet you at one of these in-person events sometime soon. I know we've got the Jackson Whole One coming up and a lot of events planned in the future, so I'm sure our paths will cross there sometime soon.

James (51:54)

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much for having me. It's a, yeah, it's a pleasure to talk to anybody right now and yes, it's great. It's great to impart my full wisdom to everybody. So, I appreciate it.

Nick (50:52)

I appreciate it, James. Thanks again, man.

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