Hey, What's up, everyone? Welcome to the Million Dollar Seller podcast. Today, we have John Chartier on the show. John, Thanks for coming on today to chat with us, man. Why don’t you let us know where you’re calling in from?
John C: (00:19)
I’m calling in from Fort Mohave, Arizona. It’s in the middle of the desert.
Nice man. So, how do you like it out there?
John C: (00:29)
The view sounds nice.
John C: (00:34)
I mean, it’s a beautiful place to be, but you have to understand. I lived in an RV for three and a half years and that pandemic kinda put a damper on it. So I’m adjusting to having a house. I’m not used to it yet. We’ve been here five months but I’m not used to being in one place.
Is it a lot bigger than what you’re used to?
John C: (00:57)
It’s bigger but not a lot bigger. It is only a thousand square feet.
Okay! Yeah, man. It’s like... It’s kind of like having a bigger place is one of those things. It’s nice, but it is a lot more to take care of. It can be a little stressful sometimes. But, hey man, it’s exciting to be somewhere new every so often. So...
John C: (01:23)
It is yeah. We’re still gonna travel. I didn't sell my bus... I have a bus. It's a 43-foot luxury bus. We did not sell that. We agreed to six months before we do anything with it.
Okay. Okay. Well, man, that’s pretty interesting. I’m definitely excited to dig into that and, you know, figure out more about the RV and your travels. And how you’ve been able to continue to work through all this stuff, man. But why don’t we, you know, jump back to the beginning a little bit? To, you know, John back in the day, man. Like, what got you into entrepreneurship, so early on?
John C: (02:11)
Oh! That’s a can of worms that’s gonna pop eventually. I’ve been in business for 14 years. So to go back is 14 years ago. I was sleeping under the boardwalk in Atlantic City, in front of the Showboat Hotel Casino. And, I was arrested for Vagrancy, did 36 days in jail, came out, and went right back to the same spot. And, I started selling on eBay using the library computer—the public library computer.
And I just sold things I could find. I got into vacations way back then. I mean, this is a different time than back then. I was able to reproduce a vacation certificate that I sold on eBay, which no longer you have... you can’t sell them anymore. It was a sheet you filled out and you had to mail in $99 and you basically signed up for a three-day timeshare.
I sold that piece of paper for, I don’t know, several thousand times for $7.95 free shipping. And that’s how I got started. You know, I was able to get a bit of income and start to put my life back together. Alcohol played a part in the past of why I ended up there and I’m not sure actually how much you’re looking for. But from there, I built a business.
I was determined to sell flags. I started with the flag business, which I just lost during the pandemic. I just lost my flag supplier in December. They went under. American-made, it was an interesting journey. I mean, I did a lot of eBay. I know a lot of people we associate with are a hundred percent Amazon. I didn’t start on Amazon for eight years.
I was terrified of it. You know, I heard all the horror stories everybody else did. I sell a little differently than most people. I know a lot of people in MDS talk about private labels and all the things that they do, I buy and sell wholesale.
John C: (05:18)
And God has truly blessed me through it all. I mean, without my faith, I’d be nowhere. And it is evident that my faith got me to where I am through things that have happened in life. When I first started on Amazon, I was buying stuff at Dollar Tree and selling it on Amazon. And I was doing well. I mean, I wasn’t going crazy. And then I met an importer from China who imports stuff and I still deal with him to this day.
I buy all my stuff from him. He does all the sourcing, he handles... you know, I read about all the container prices going through, and I have none of that. Now, do I pay a premium? Yes. I pay a premium but he provides... Now this is over the years and with many face to face. I work face-to-face. I don’t do the email thing. I don’t do the phone.
If he says, “Hey! We need to talk,” I’m like, “Okay. I’ll be on a plane tomorrow and I’ll be there the day after.” And we sit down face to face. That was my first real wholesale contract. And we kind of played around with a private label. I still sell those products today. That bad... all the mistakes I made... If you find me, and really dig, you’ll see all my mistakes because everything I sold is still there.
Amazon offered me a $1,500 loan. And what you have to understand is, When I started, I didn’t have anything. So, a $1,500 loan was a lot of money to help build the business. And the first thing I did was, I spent 16 hours on dollartree.com and amazon.com. I would take and find the product on Amazon from DollarTree and see if I could make a little bit of money.
And I had an entire plan before I accepted the loan.
Okay, Nice. That’s impressive, man.
John C: (08:09)
I currently owe Amazon less than a hundred thousand dollars, which will play out later in the story, but I have worked on borrowed money for the last six and a half years. I am finally going to own my business in a year outright. I will own every piece of it. So, every time they offered me a loan, I took it because it was for a little bit more. And, anybody listening to this should know that cashflow is the most important thing you can learn.
I have always emphasized the importance of sales in the first 12 years of business. If you follow me at all or if you read anything I’d write, “If you don’t have enough money, sell more.” It took me a lot of hard knocks and a lot of hitting different bottoms along the way to understand that cash flow is the most important thing that you have in this industry.
The availability of cash to make the next deal is the most important thing. So, I got to where I was doing... Let’s back up a little bit. I went to Orlando on Chris Green.
If you don’t have enough money, sell more!
Yeah... Yeah... I know Chris Green.
John C: (09:36)
Chris Green was big on the circuit back then and when the sea hit, he would have a scan power.
Yeah... Yeah... Scan power. Yep!
John C: (09:49)
He had these scan power conferences. Sam was offering a program back then. It was $10,000 ACE. I don’t know if you know of it or not.
I haven’t heard of that one.
John C: (10:04)
Well, Sam wanted me to join that. He was doing a million in sales and had a deal with Sony for movies. And I was really intrigued. He said, “Listen, you gotta come to this conference in Orlando." We went to Orlando, I met these four guys and I'll never forget. I still talk to them. They were giving something like this... an interview. I held up my hand when they were talking about it and wouldn’t take my hand down.
I was clear in my throat and I won’t forget it because it was the first prime day that Amazon had and everybody was studying their phones, now, how much are their sales? And I’m just sitting there nice and calm. I never looked at my phone. My business was a hundred percent drop ship. I had no inventory except for what I was buying and selling from Dollar Tree.
All my flags were drop-shipped on eBay and Amazon, so I wasn’t worried about it. I had an entire system. I looked at my phone in the morning and I was done. These four guys were talking about doing hundreds of thousands of dollars a month and they were known in it back then. They were known as the Young Guns. I just kept my hand up and finally in the middle of their talk, they said “Okay, What?” and I said “Oh! How do I become one of you?”
The little guy on the end is now my partner. And everybody started laughing but that’s my personality. I have this just right out in the open personality. After the conference, I got to sit with them and have lunch. It turned out that they had a product that they had bought and shipped to Amazon. It became Hazmat. While these guys didn’t buy 500 of an item, they tried to corner the market.
They would travel ungodly amounts of hours to buy this stuff. They came to me and said “We don’t know how to ship anything. The only thing we know how to do is to buy it, ship it into FBA, and get our money back.” We have all this product. Can you help us? And that’s how that relationship started. I was trying to retire then.
John C: (12:38)
I found $30,000 a month, a nice income, drop-ship, and no employees. None of the stress that you hear about today and these guys just kind of twisted a knife in my side. They gave me a challenge you can’t do what we’re doing. And before we finished lunch, I said to him “Not only am I gonna be able to sell a million dollars a year on Amazon, I’m gonna do it hands-free.”
I'm still working on it, I’m not quite there. I work less than five hours a week now. I’m not gonna hide that fact. I do work and I still work in the business. So from there, it was just a challenge of growing and I’m kind of hardheaded. I don’t know which one to call it. I just became so laser-focused that I would work between 16 to 18 hours a day to reach my target.
The only thing I wanted was to be able to send them a screenshot of my phone that I had a hundred thousand in sales on Amazon. That was my goal. ASD came along, never heard of that? I’ve never heard of a show in Vegas where you can go, buy stuff, and meet people. I went there, made another contact and my business was growing.
The income was growing but there wasn’t any cash. It would come in and it would go out. Debt seems to do that a lot especially when you get into much bigger numbers. I couldn’t work... now, I’m married at this point in life.
John C: (14:41)
We had a small double-wide trailer that we lived in and we were gonna look at housing. We went to an open house and there’s this old big—I mean, real big bulky guy sitting inside. He said, “Oh, you came for my autograph." I’m like “Dude, I don’t know who the F you are. You’d want my autograph, I’m worth more than you are.” And they were like... “Whoa, whoa, whoa... that’s the hammer.”
I’m like “Who the hell is the hammer?” So they would bring these pictures over and show me that “His name is Dave “The Hammer” Schultz." He is the record holder for the most fights, the most everything in the national hockey league. Means a hell of beans to me. I know nothing about sports. Nothing at all. I don’t know this guy. He used to defend Bobby Clark.
I know that name. So, I was like okay... whatever. So, we went back to looking at the house.I thought nothing of him. I never got his autograph. The owner of the neighborhood... the development, where they’re building new houses... The owner of that whole development... his son came to give Dave his paycheck because they hired him during the signing.
And I’m like “Are you still..." He walked in the door and I was like “Are you still stealing your kid’s Thomas the Train things?” He was a car dealer I used to go knock on his door and sell him flags at the dealership. And when I would stop by, he was taking pictures selling these trains on eBay. Cause he had paid $3 for them for his kids. His kids played with them and stopped playing with them and they were bringing about $20 to $30 on eBay.
So, he was doing it to recoup the money from all the trains he bought the kid. I was like “Are you still stealing trains on eBay?” And he’s like “Oh my God! I haven’t seen you in forever. How are you?” And I’m like... We got talking and Dave Schultz must have been tuning into this. We got talking and he asked, “How’re you doing on eBay?” I said “Yeah, I still sell on eBay but Amazon, man, Amazon is just off the hook.
I said, “I’m so busy that I need to buy a house to run the bottom.”
John C: (17:40)
We were looking at a split level and the bottom was unfinished... that walked out to a two-car garage. So, I’m thinking the office, warehouse, and UPS can stop right there and pick all my stuff up for me. We went back and forth about it and we were talking about how he was selling on there. And Dave was very quiet. Now, the owner left and we said our goodbyes, Dave came up and said “Can we have lunch?” I’m like “Okay... whatever.”
My wife gave him our number, my cell phone number, I didn’t hear from him for like two weeks. And he eventually called and said, “This is Dave Schultz.” I’m like “Dave, who?” I didn’t remember talking to him. He says “I’d like to take you to lunch." I’m like “Okay... Whatever. We can go talk... I’m not a business guy. I got a Harley T-shirt on, I’m the old street thug, face to face... there’s no dog and pony shows with me, you get what you get with me.”
So, we go and by the end of the conversation, by the end of lunch, he wants to invest in my company.
John C: (19:12)
I’m like “Wait a minute. You’re some famous dude.” When we walked into the restaurant, everybody knew who he was. “Can we have your picture?” So, we actually put a deal together. He and I put a deal together. We wrote it out, signed contracts, the whole nine yards as an investor. His role in the whole deal was to bring me people to help grow the business.
Cause he still went to the Philadelphia rank, you know, the ice skating, the hockey rank thing... like I said I’m not a big sports guy... the arena. He would go around to all the boxes and meet all the rich people. He says to me, “I got this guy I need you to meet.” I said “Okay.” He said “This is his company,” I said “Okay.” He says “We’ll be able to get involved in this.” I’m like “Yeah... whatever.”
So, he sets up a meeting. I looked him up on Amazon and the company sells directly to Amazon. I’m like, “How am I gonna make money? He sells direct to Amazon? How can I make money with this product?”
John C: (20:42)
He comes down and walks into the meeting, I turn around and the F are you going to stop selling to Amazon? I have no time for you. I gotta make money.” I turned around and went back to work. And he was like... he looked at Dave, he looked around and he’s like “What’s going on here?” And that’s what I mean “You get what you get with me.”
You get real and I didn’t find this out until right before he came in that he was actually selling to Amazon. We sat down and had lunch and I’m like “I can’t. How do I compete? How do I compete against Amazon with your product?” You show me a way to do it and I’m all in. And then, I went and did a little more research and I did a little thinking and I purchased $400,000 worth of the product last year to resell on Amazon. We made a deal and I made an order with him.
My opening order with his company was $12,000. And he tried to talk me out of it because he was friends with Dave Schultz and he didn’t want to see his friendship get jeopardized over my purchase. I pushed back and said “Was my credit card declined? He said “No,” I said, “then ship the product.” And I eventually called him like a week later and said I needed more.
And he couldn’t believe it. Because I told him what I was doing, and he said “That would never work.”
John C: (22:30)
Eventually, I made a deal. I helped him broker a deal with Disney and Walmart on an exclusive. I’m not allowed to talk about it, I was never allowed to. I helped put this thing together, I wasn’t allowed to sell the product. It was a little hurtful. That I wasn’t able to sell the product on Amazon. The product never made it to Amazon. It was only sold in Walmart.
So, that’s how I became... (pauses). That’s where my growth came from. I mean, during all that time, I took a lot of loans. Go back two years, I mean, all I did was Buy, sell, buy, sell, buy, sell. I didn’t spend time on Facebook. I was invited to join MDS, I joined and honestly, I didn’t even open the group up for nine months. I did not go, I’m not a Facebook person.
I get up in the morning, I write a post on Facebook. I have a journal that I keep on Facebook. I’ve been writing on that every day for... I started in 2016. I think I was doing less than half a million dollars a year when I started and I write every day about my business. I do know every single day about my business. There are only 400 people who read it. It’s a private group.
It’s an open membership but I just don’t publicize it. And that’s what happened. In 2019, everything was going wonderful. And California came after me for sales tax.
John C: (26:17)
I have an accountant that handles my money. I cannot tell you how much is in my checking account today in my business account, I cannot tell you when the bills are due for the business, they run the finance.
John C: (24:40)
We hired the firm, the lawyers in Atlantic City that represents the casinos for sales tax and tax issues. And they said, “Listen, we think we can beat California but it’s going to cost you more than they’re asking for.” I said, “Okay, what do we do?” He said “I think we don’t do anything and we follow what 80% of the sellers didn’t do. Didn’t acknowledge it.."
My faith did not allow me to do that. I couldn’t sleep at night about it and I couldn’t do anything. So, I made a deal with the devil and I agreed to pay California. I gave them all my information, my checking account numbers, and everything. I made a deal for 12 payments and paid back a huge amount of money, like Ferrari-sized money. They got all the numbers and called back a week later to say “Well, we’ve changed our laws again, we’re gonna take six payments from you.
Whether you can make the payments or not, we’ll hit your checking account every 30 seconds until the payments go through. We’ll take whatever you have in your account and wipe it out.” I’m like “Okay.” When I made the last payment, it was Thursday. I made the last payment to them. They took the money on a Thursday. My payroll was due on a Friday and I had $3 left in the checking account and payroll due the next day.
This is my faith, again. American Express offered me a $25,000 personal loan at about 10 o’clock Thursday night in an email. I took that and made payroll the next day. My wife didn’t know until last year about that. Then COVID came and I had just received all my inventory in February. I shipped it in by truck.
John C: (26:53)
I had four trucks headed to Amazon and Amazon parked them because what I sell is non-essential. So, after California just about wiped me out, I’m on leverage and borrowed money from Amazon, my product sitting in their yard and I was wiped out again. It was so close and well... that’s my story. I’m sticking to it! You can ask me all the questions you want but I get on a roll and I apologize.
I probably should have let you in there. I’m kind of Gary V, take over man!
It’s a good story. I think what’s amazing is clearly how you’re a very intelligent person. You’re a risk taker, you don’t mess around and honestly, I can relate to having trouble with drugs and alcohol. I struggled with that stuff, in and out of trouble. I was really young. I was younger. I kind of cleaned my act around 19, ... was when I decided like “Hey, I need to figure this out because I’m going down a pretty bad path.
And then like it was between 19 and 25 where I actually started trying to get my craft together between. And then by the time I was 25, I had finally left my past behind me, confidently, and had figured some things out. Now, I’m married with three kids and a couple of businesses and haven’t been in trouble for like ten years, so I can relate to that.
And like your journey with getting started as well. I started out on eBay, a $20 course on drop shipping. I had just moved back with my father after losing a job and had like 20 bucks and I couldn’t get another job. So, I was like “Well, I’m gonna give this $20 drop shipping thing, a shot.” And, I look at it as a blessing that I went through all those struggles because I don’t think I would have ever given it attention - this dropshipping, this internet thing.
I would’ve just gone... continued to bang my head against the wall, going the traditional route. So, I’m curious, how did you end up under, I think you said it was like a bridge or a boardwalk.
John C: (29:40)
I was under the boardwalk. It was a lifelong thing. I was molested at the age of 13. This is tough for me. I was raped at gunpoint at the age of 17 by a male cop and his partner. I grew up in the slums. There were five of us that slept on a hide-a-bed—a loveseat hide-a-bed. My mum, my two brothers and my sister. I was babysat by the President of a gang.
His wife babysat me when I was younger. So, I’m a street thug by nature. When the cop raped me, I really got into alcohol. I was a senior in high school and I had no way out. This culture we live in now is just, you know, I don’t understand how people think because of the color of your skin, you have an advantage or a disadvantage. I came from the worst of the worst places in the world that I could ever find and there was no way out.
One day in high school, a guy said “If you join the army, we’ll give you a cash bonus.” And that was my saving grace. That was the moment I was saved from gangs, from all of it because it took me out. It took me out of the area and it gave me... but back then, you know, I’m 55. When I was in, I was 18.
John C: (32:07)
The drinking age was 21 except for on base. After PT in the morning, you went into the barracks and we didn’t have soda machines. We had beer machines, 25 cents for a Budweiser. I drank heavily. I did. I came out of the military. I got a general discharge for an injury, a medical discharge but it falls under a general discharge. A lot of things were going on. It was 1987.
Ronald Reagan was President and he was letting people out. And I was like, I want out. I can’t take it anymore. I was in Germany. I was always drunk. I came back and my family was poor. I was like, I’m not going back there. I’m gonna end up doing things that I shouldn’t be doing. So, I went to Charleston, South Carolina and I met a guy named Jackie B. Cooper who supposedly at the time was the greatest car salesman.
John C: (33:23)
I got a job selling cars and I kept running from my problems. I was in South Carolina, North Carolina, Michigan, and all over the world. And I ended up fathering two children with a woman I sold the car to. We lived together and things were bad. They were never good. I tried to make them good because I never had a father. So I wanted to be a father.
No matter what, it didn’t end well. So, Christmas morning... now if I cried I’ll get through it. Christmas morning, my daughter’s 27, so, 25 years ago, Christmas morning, I was invited over to see my children on Christmas. I wasn’t living there. We were separated. I knocked on the door. There was no answer. I knocked on the door. There was no answer.
It took me about 30 seconds. And I realized they were gone. That was 25 years ago. I haven’t seen or heard from my children in 25 years.
Wow. That’s tough man.
John C: (34:47)
I was sober. I was sober at the time. I got clean and I was sober but my kids were gone. And the most dangerous person in the world is a man with nothing. Because he has nothing to live for. I stayed sober. I got into some criminal activity and ended up with a motorcycle - a 2006 Yamaha V-Star that was brand new. And I said “I gotta do something, I gotta turn my life around somehow” and I started riding for soldiers, killed in action.
I was putting my life back together and the state of New Jersey said I hadn’t paid child support in 10 years, even though the child support was set aside - a whole thing. They took my driver’s license, I lost my job and that’s how I ended up under the boardwalk. I sold cars for a living but without a driver’s license, you couldn’t be insured by the car dealership, so, nobody would hire you.
Once, I got under there, I felt sorry for myself. I understand the entitlement mentality a little bit because I watched everybody get welfare checks and handouts as well. I struggled to get a shower. I learned how to get into the Atlantic City Yacht Club. There’s a five-digit code on the gate that gets you in, that same code works on the shower rooms.
So I learned how to take showers. I learned how to look presentable and I survived. My faith kept me through it. A friend of mine invited me over to Florida. I went to Florida. Mom called me, I was couch surfing in Florida.
John C: (37:28)
Mom called me to come home and that her husband had Alzheimer’s and had blown through everything that she had worked all her life for, which was nothing more than a little fallen-down house. That’s how I ended up under the boardwalk. I did help mom. Mom does work for me now... she doesn’t work. My wife is an amazing person. She loves to tell everybody “His mom gets a check for being his mom.”
My mom gets to do whatever she wants. She wanted to go to the Daytona 500 and I probably spent 15 grand in four days. She got to sign the start-finish line with a marker and she was six people from Lady Antebellum for the concert. She got to sit in our RV and look out the window as the cars came out of turn two and dropped down in front of her to go into turn three at the Daytona International Speedway.
That was what she wanted, that’s what we did for her. And I’m not a race fan. I don’t know any racers, I know nothing about it but she wanted to do it and we went. Am I successful? Yes, I’m successful. I did well. I’ve done well for myself. I’m proud of what I’ve done. From where I came to what I have, it’s an amazing journey.
John C: (39:15)
But if you look at my lifestyle, I live in a small house. It’s not even a house, it’s a trailer. We live in a double-wide trailer. I run a multimillion-dollar company, we live in a double-wide. People laugh at me. My office is right back here. It’s the second bedroom. I have no office. I have no warehouse. I have shoe-stringed everything and now that I have, I don’t know what to do.
And I’ve been blessed with so much. I feel like I’m slacking. The company I was talking about, the one Dave Schultz helped me get, I could call the owner right now, he’ll answer the phone by the second ring. I don’t care where he is. He will answer the phone to take my call. That company did $950million last year in sales, I have all the credit in the world with them.
I can have whatever I want and I feel like I’m letting them down. Because I only buy $400,000 worth of stuff.
John C: (40:33)
I just don’t have the drive anymore. I’ve lost the drive. I’ve entered a new stage of life that I can’t figure out that you’re gonna struggle with someday. You get to a point where you ask yourself “What is enough? What is enough?” If you read my writings, and if you look through them, I’m always asking “What is enough?” It is my favorite question to ask.
When I go into a business, I ask the business owner “What is enough?” My wife and I have more income than we know what to do with. Now, do I have retirement money put away? Now, I’m trying to save for retirement. I don’t understand any of that. Don’t ask me about stocks. I know nothing of real estate. have no clue. I’m sure we overpaid for the house but it was cheap.
My wife gets whatever you want. She said she wanted the house and I told the guy “Okay. I’ll buy the house.” My wife was like “Do you like it?” I said “It doesn’t matter, you like it. So, I enjoy life. I do enjoy life. It’s tough. I looked for this podcast, but I can’t find it. I’m not very smart, you said I was smart. I’m hard-headed. Honestly, I’m hard-headed.
I don’t give up easy. I get determined about something. I watch you guys, I say you guys... the younger generation. I read the post and I’m like “Holy cow, man.” There was one guy last year, who was talking about his product on Ellen... Dude, that’s sick. You know you guys talk about Groupon and all these things that you’re (pauses)... when I started on eBay, the image requirement was 400 by 400.
That was the minimum size of an image. It was probably five years later that they made me change all the images on my listings because they were too small. The changes are happening at lightning speed. And the one thing I can say is forget about you, no matter what it is. Amazon, right now has a storage issue. Step out of you for a minute and try and see their plight too.
John C: (43:41)
I know, it’s hurting some of my friends, it’s hurting some of the people in the group, it’s hurting a lot of people, these new storage limits that they didn’t announce, that they just kind of slapped. But if you’re gonna be in business, remember it’s not always you. You need to see it from all sides and find a way through. That’s what I’ve done. That’s the only thing I’ve done.
When eBay makes changes, instead of complaining on Facebook which is a very common thing to do, I try to see how it would improve my business by conforming to the changes.
Yeah. It is definitely a better attitude to have, in my opinion. It allows you to move forward a little bit quicker than just being frustrated.
John C: (44:38)
And I apologize for dominating the conversation. It is my personality.
No man! I got a couple of minutes. I can dig in a little bit. I think what’s really important about your story and you know, honestly, it’s why I’m pretty open about mine is because, in our culture, it’s changing a little bit but, when I was younger and I’m sure when you were younger, you would agree that people with drug and alcohol problems or a criminal history, you used to be looked as like “You’re done.”
Like “Oh, you’ve got a criminal record. Oh, You’ve got an alcohol problem,” like your life’s over. You’re done. And if you made it out on the other side, you’re like the half a percent and hardly anyone’s gonna be able to replicate those results and what it leads to is a bunch of people who hide their problems. Which makes it worse, in my opinion.
Because now you’re scared to talk to people and talking to people is really what you need to do. So you can get through it and start moving in the right direction. But, if someone like yourself is open and honest about what they’ve been through, then, it’s that glimmer of hope. It’s like, “Hey, I can accomplish this too. I can do this too.” You know, like my issues, no matter how difficult they’ve been or where they stem from, don’t define who I am moving forward.
And, you know, it really hit hard to me cause I was going through a tough time and I was looking for a job, my father knew someone who worked at the sanitation district in Hampton Road. And I met with this guy and I told him. I said “Hey man, I’ve been going through a really hard time. I can’t get a job. Nobody will give me a job. I need a job, I really want to work. I just had a son—my first child.” I need a job bad.
I was open and honest with him about everything. And he said “You know what, Nick? I’m going through the same thing with my kids that are your age. And I hope... He said “You’ve given me hope that they can get better. That they can want to do better and actually get better.” So, I guarantee that there’s someone who’s gonna listen to this podcast who either they’re struggling with something and they’ve been afraid to admit it and they’re gonna get hope out of it.
Or they’ve got a kid. You know, it’s a father or a mother that has a kid that is thinking “Oh my God! Is my child doomed forever? Like am I gonna be taking care of them forever?” And it is moments like this, times on this show where they can see that, “Hey, someone can get outta this.” What were you like 40, 41 when you said 14 years ago, that you started on?
John C: (47:45)
Yeah. I was just turning 41 when I started.
Yeah... And you didn’t give up. You mentioned Gary V earlier. He’s always talking about that, right? “Like you’re 20, you’re 21. You’ve got time. Stop trying to figure it all out. Be a little patient with yourself.” And it just kind of hits at home.
Be a little patient with yourself
John C: (48:15)
You watch these kids and they’re kids to me but they’re not. They build a million-dollar business overnight. They don’t have any... I don’t want to say struggles but coming up with the struggles. People always say, “What do you regret most in life? You know, what would you change in life?” There’s a lot of things that people would... there’s nothing I would change.
Not a single step because more than hope, I found faith. Faith that no matter what happens, if I wake up tomorrow, I have another day to try and do something.
John C: (49:12)
I mean, sure, Hope plays a part of it but you got more than Hope. You gotta have a... In the Bible, it says you have to have a mustard seed of faith. I don’t care what your religious background is. It says to have a mustard seed of faith. A mustard seed is the smallest seed on earth. You know, if I was able to muster up that much faith, maybe I could get somewhere.
When I started my business, my goal was... and I frequently write about this, never to take another piece of pizza or add a trash can to have dinner. You know, I’ve done that. It was never to build this multimillion-dollar company that I was offered 2 million dollars for in 2019. Cash plus all the... and I didn’t sell it. I’ll never sell it. I’m not interested in selling it.
It’s my story. It’s just... it’s who I am but it was never to do all this. And now what do I do? I help people. I had a guy on my payroll who helped me. I stayed on his couch in Florida. I felt kind of... part of this company was because of all the help he provided with me along the way. Sometimes, just by listening to all the struggles I was having. I paid him $600 a week. He did absolutely nothing.
I’ve had... my employees have stolen cars from me, they’ve stolen money, products. I don’t know how to hire anybody. This is for the people who have lived the darkest part of their lives. I don’t know how to hire anybody. I don’t know how to manage people. I know nothing about business. If you have a little bit of faith, and you actually get off your ass and go to work and put your head down and do it day after day, life will turn around.
It may not be... Listen, I’m not gonna promise you “If you put your head down and work, you’re gonna have a million dollar business.” I was blessed. I still don’t know why God blessed me with it. But if you put your head down and work, life will get better. And you know that. If you’ve had struggles with drugs and alcohol, you’d understand that.
Yeah, man, it’s amazing and inspiring and that’s the message that people need to hear. That you don’t have to strive for perfection. It is progress over perfection, hands down, especially when you’re coming out of some dark times or struggling a little bit. If you wanna get perfect, get perfect later once you’ve already made it pretty far. And then you’ve got only a few things to look at.
But when life is tough, you just gotta keep moving forward and take a couple of steps in that direction and take it one day at a time. I remember when I was trying to turn my life around, the biggest hurdle was thinking about what life would be like a year from now, two years from now. And then you just get all in your head and start worrying about all these problems and you kind of freeze up.
But if you take it one step at a time, one goal at a time, it’s a little easier to make it happen. I think you’ve got some great advice. I think people are gonna wanna know where they can read the stuff that you’re sharing. I think you’ve got a YouTube channel as well. I think it’d be a disservice not to mention it, honestly man.
John C: (53:16)
I do have a YouTube channel. I don’t even know the name of it. It was called The Homeless Millionaire. Now, it’s a lot of videos that I put up that are just kaleidoscopes, and things like that make me relax a little. I don’t talk much. If you really wanna read about my past, I’m all over Facebook. I didn’t even know people followed me until I did a show like this with Steve... I even forget his last name.
I had all these people come out of the woodwork and say, “We’ve been following you since you were in eBay for mums or something. It was one of the first eBay groups that I found. If you just friend me on Facebook, that’s the easiest way to find me. It’s Facebook. My group is easy. It’s “No BS Ecommerce.” That’s my private group and don't think it’s an active group.
It’s not an active group. It really is... from the beginning, it was a journal for me. And you get to watch my crazy mind work through whether it was warehouse problems or cash flow problems. Whatever it is, over the years through the different sizes. From the time I was doing about 500,000 a year to where I am now. I hope to be somewhere around 4 million this year—God willing.
Because I don’t understand it, I can’t understand it… The other biggest piece of advice I can tell you is “Don’t be scared to ask for help.” There are other groups besides MDS, if you’re not at that level and you can’t... ask for help! I don’t know how many times I said “Guys, I don’t know what I’m doing,” and someone said, “Oh, I had that problem last week.”
I was talking to someone last night by text and they were like “This is what’s going on.” I’m like “Dude! I just went through that, a year ago. Let me tell you what I did.”
...Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Yeah... Community is important and that’s the best thing I love about MDS. The network, the people, the friendships, and the ability to solve problems so quickly in business is an absolute game changers for a lot of members in MDS. And you can post anything in there.
John C: (56:08)
I wanna put a plug on MDS. I’m not big on paid groups. I’m not big on paying money out. First of all, I have a lot of debt that I’ve been paying off. So, I don’t have a lot of money. MDS is probably one of the game-changing groups for anybody. And I don't care who you think you are. I’ve seen that dude who was on Ellen’s 12 Days of Christmas ask questions about that group.
There’s nobody that knows all the answers and as a team, that group’s ama... it’s the only group that I’m in. It’s the only group that I participate in other than my own journal. It’s the only group I participate in. So, I think it’s an amazing thing. I don’t know if you’re part of it, of the admins, or what... I just think it’s an amazing group.
Well, we’re glad that you’re getting a lot of value out of it. There are definitely a lot of people, hard at work, growing the group. But it’s the members that make it so amazing. Guys like you and the other people you see in the group are just open and honest with each other. Willing to get together and talk about business. That’s where the magic comes in, in my opinion.
John, thanks so much for coming on. I’m excited to get to know you more and chat with you.
John C: (57:36)
Santa Monica, baby! Santa Monica
Santa Monica. So, I’m looking forward to that. I think we definitely have a few topics we can relate to and chat about.
I’m really looking forward to that. Thanks for coming on. I really appreciate it.
John C: (57:52)
Anytime, man. Anytime, Anything. Thank you.