Nick's interview with Jonathan Jesper

Nick: (00:17)

All right. What's up, everyone. Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet, and today we have Jonathan Jesper on the call. Jonathan, thanks for coming on, man. It's always good to chat with you. Super excited to have you on here and get to know you a little better.  Why don't you let everyone know just a little bit about yourself, where you're from, and where you're staying today?

I know you've moved around a little bit, so why don't you let us know about that?

A Brief Introduction to Jonathan Jesper?

Jonathan: (00:46)

Yeah, so my name's Jonathan Jesper. I am 33 years old now, getting older, and I have been married for 11 years. I have two kids, one on the way. I live in Las Vegas Nevada, about half the year and then I'm also in Puerto Rico. We made the move for tax purposes. And currently, I'm transitioning to Puerto Rico. So I'm in a hotel room right now. And I’ve been selling on Amazon since, I guess 2015, but more full-time was in 2016. So about five years now.

Nick: (01:19)

Oh man, I didn't know you had another one on the way.

Jonathan: (01:23)

Yeah, we were talking with Frankie and he was trying to convince us four is the way to go. So I was like, you know, okay, We'll do one more one at a time, step by step.

Nick: (01:37)

Nice. So how far in are you guys for number?

Jonathan: (01:42)

She'll be due in June.

Nick: (01:44)

Okay. Do you guys know if it's a boy or a girl yet?

Jonathan: (01:47)

A boy

Nick: (01:48)

Boy, nice. I know you already had, do you have a boy, a girl, and a boy?

Jonathan: (01:54)

Yeah, so we're playing with house money now. Really didn't matter to us what it was, because we'd got the basics covered. I feel sorry for people that have like three boys and they're like, okay, we'll do one more. And then, it's gotta be nerve-wracking like, please a girl.

Nick: (02:08)

Oh, man. Yeah, you and I are in the same boat. I just had, you know, I've got two with my current wife and one from an old relationship boy, girl, boy. So yeah, you're right. It's like you feel good about that.

Jonathan: (02:21)

I’m following in your footsteps then—boy, girl, boy.

Nick: (02:25)

Nice man. Well, that's super exciting, stoked to hear that. I didn't know you had another one on the way, man. That's great, super excited for you guys.  So yeah, man, you're in Puerto Rico now, and I know that you said you made that move for tax benefits. And I definitely want to dig into that, but I want to hear a little more about, you know, how you got into this crazy world of selling on Amazon. 

I know back in 2015, you know, it was kinda like the wild, wild west, a lot of doubt, but a lot of wins during that time. But I imagine some people kind of looked at you like you were crazy when you told them you were an Amazon seller. Or you were going to try and be an Amazon seller so tell us a little bit about how you got started and why Amazon.

The Entrepreneurial Journey

Jonathan: (03:15)

Sure. To tell that accurately though, I probably have to go back a little bit to the start of my entrepreneurial journey. A fun fact about me is I've never had a job in my life. After I finished high school I lived in a van for about three years and I imported these like window ornaments. They're from the Philippines, they're made out of seashells. And from the Philippines, it costs like $2, $1.50, $3 a unit.

And then I would literally just go to stores and parking lots, knock on doors, and just sell them. And I would sell them between like 20, 30, $40. And it was there that I kind of got this confidence. I learned a lot of lessons. If anyone ever wants to face their reality, just get some product and go knock on doors and try to sell it. You will be faced up against your limitations real quickly.

If anyone ever wants to face their reality, just get some product and go knock on doors and try to sell it. You will be faced up against your limitations real quickly.

But I learned a lot of valuable lessons. One of the deepest ones was that actual accomplishment and results were a very spiritual thing. It's not just by luck or talent. There are actual principles to success. During that time, I read a book called ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and it talked about, Napoleon Hill studying the most successful people and he was like, there are clear principles of success. And I experienced that selling stuff on the street.

...​​actual accomplishment and results are very spiritual things. It's not just by luck or talent.

And the other big confidence I got was, “Oh, I can make money.” It was a fun experience. I went all over the US, I went up through Canada, I went to Alaska. In Alaska, I flew out to indigenous villages, we can't get there by car and I would sell these to the natives just totally different experiences, I did. I went through Europe and did it. Tremendous life experience for me, it was the best training.

I did college, and I quit college, but I kind of viewed that time of my life as my real education time. And so that was my first taste of being an entrepreneur. After that, I was like, I want to build a business, I want to build a financial foundation. And to get to Amazon was just like failure, after failure, after failure.

The First Business Partnership

Jonathan: (05:26)

My first business was I partnered with my dad and we set up coffee machines inside Walgreens drug stores. At that time, McDonald's just released their cafe line and we're like, we can compete with them. Everyone goes into drug stores. People go to those a thousand, 2000 people visit a Walgreens a day, and people like coffee. So we thought it could work, in Asia and Europe, every corner store or a drug store or convenience store had a cappuccino machine.

So we set them up, it was really cool. I had like a little lamp, so you'd feel like you're going to a cafe and you can order a cappuccino mocha, those types of things. And we thought it was going to work. We set up 14 locations and we couldn't make it work. I think the highest we got was like eight sales a day. And that was a big hit. I was like 22.

And collectively my dad and I lost a hundred grand on the project. So for me, it was a 50-grand hit.

Flowers for Graduates

Jonathan: (06:19)

And after that, I did a service where we sold flowers at school graduations. So we partnered with the school so that when people graduate, they could buy flowers for their graduates. And we would split and give a donation to the school for every product that we sold. That worked all right, but it was a little hard for me to scale.

The Shopping Mall Kiosks

Jonathan: (06:38)

And so then I did a physical products business, where we sold, we imported products and we sold them in kiosks, inside of a shopping mall. I feel like a lot of people who see this podcast will be like, what the hell is a shopping mall? That's how far we've gone in e-commerce and Amazon’s taking over.

I feel like a lot of people who see this podcast will be like, what the hell is a shopping mall? That's how far we've gone in e-commerce and Amazon’s taking over

But in 2011, 12 ish, a lot of people were still shopping at malls, especially at Christmas time. And so I set these stores. It was tense because I did adjust during Christmas time. So I would open up locations from black Friday till the first week. And I would open... whenever I do something like I always want to go big. So I tried to open up 12 locations across the country and it was a mess.

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I had employees stealing money. At one point a location wasn't working. I was like, why are the results so low? So I went and visited it and I found the employee with headphones on. Their feet up on the kiosk, just chilling, everyone walking by. We've had inventory issues. We were on the news because we didn't have our tax documents filed. So they interviewed and I had a poor high school student there men.

And we were interviewed by the company that was cheating the system and not filing their registration papers. And so she's getting interviewed, “How do you feel to be cheating the system?”

And we were interviewed by the company that was cheating the system and not filing their registration papers.

And I'm like, we literally set up 10 locations in like two weeks. And I'm like, no, we did this. I remember doing this. The next day I get a call and it's from the tax office. And they're like, we’re so sorry. I'm like what happened? And they're like, “Well, the news came by and asked if there are any businesses that didn't have their tax registrations done. We saw that yours was just filed, but it wasn't done yet.” I'm like, I filed it.

They’re like, “We know. The lady that was filing yours had yours on a stack of papers, but she was sick that day and she wasn't there to say, oh no, they're part of the registration. At the end of it all... And it's a fun story because it's how I got to Amazon. And I think it's a really good lesson. At the end of it all, I was about to break even or something like that, and then I got a call from my CPA saying there were actually two states we didn't file sales tax for yet.

And I'm like, “shit (I mean shoot) I don't know if I'm allowed to say that in this podcast. But shoot. And he's like, “yeah, you lost another, that's going to be a 20 grand. And then in my head, I'm like, I lost money again. At that point, I was really down, and I started to really ask myself, Jonathan, why are you so aggressive? Why do you like... why are you ambitious? Why don't you just do a simple side hustle?

You have enough skills. You can go and make some money, and you can do it on the side. You can work two days a week and you can pay for all your expenses. Everyone will look at you and they'll be like, oh, Jonathan's the man, like he only works two days a week. The rest of the day, he's got all this free time and he's having fun and playing video games and whatever else people want to do in their free time.

And it was so tempting. I'm like, “I could do that. And I would look good in front of other people. Instead, now, I feel like I'm a failure in front of other people. If anyone on the podcast is listening, if you’ve ever done something, you have to pass the Christmas test or the Thanksgiving test. And that is when you've kind of failed at something. It sucks to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas because then everyone that matters to you is like, so how's it going?

And especially if you have like a sibling or someone else that's doing really well. Then they're going to be gloating about oh I'm advanced in this. And this area and everyone's like, wow, you did such a good job. How are you doing Jonathan? And I’m like I failed another business. And I was really tempted to just say, you know what? I'm not going to play big anymore.

I'm just going to play it small. And at that moment, I thought to myself, if I did that, I imagined I was on my deathbed and I was looking back on my life and I decided to play it safe. How do I feel about myself?

When I imagined myself on my deathbed, looking back on my life decided to play it safe. How do I feel about myself?

And everyone else will think I lived an okay life. But I knew I had this burning dream in my heart. I had this desire to do something big and I chickened out. And I thought to myself, you know, I can't live like that, even if I go and strike out every single time for the rest of my life, it is better than being in that position and feeling that way. 

Success is The Progressive Realization of a Worthy Ideal

Jonathan: (11:09)

At that point, I came across a quote from Earl Nightingale. He was like one of the godfathers of personal development. And he said ‘success is the progressive realization of a worthy, ideal or dream’. And when he said that, it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal Nightingale

Most people think you're successful when you hit a certain financial number, but the problem with that is it doesn't matter how big you get. There are always people who have more, it's very subjective. Some people think you're successful when you have a job title when you reach a certain stage in your career.  But the same thing, there could be people above, below you.

And I know people that have accomplished a lot and they're miserable. And if someone's miserable, are you really successful? And that definition, what it really said is the minute you commit a dream, there's a dream in your heart. The minute you commit yourself to it and go forward from that point on you are successful because you are going after something you want and that matters. 

The minute you commit yourself to a dream and go forward, from that point on you are successful... You’re going after something you want and that matters.

And whether you're going up or you're going down, it's all part of the journey and it's a constant journey, but it's all part of your success.  And when I realized that I made a determination to myself, I'm like, I will never, ever quit on my dream. I was cleaning up one of my last small kiosks and it was the final one of the season.

And a lady walks up to me and she's like, “Oh, we have a store closing. And to just want to let you know, letting everyone know today's going to be 70% off.” 70% off? that's a good margin. And at that time I've heard the rumblings that you could actually sell something on Amazon. People are telling me about it like 2012 and 11 and I was like, nah, no, you can't sell anything on Amazon.

Like, and that's just like, you know, like simple things.  But I thought you know, I'll give it a try. Now what I should be doing is just doing something conservative, but I'm always aggressive. So I took the biggest credit card I had and I put $10,000 on that credit card.  I bought out one-third of the store like everyone was just watching me. I literally just was coming out of the store, going into my kiosk with like one-third of the merchandise.

And I was listing it on Amazon. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, putting in boxes with tape. And then carrying it over to where they have the shipping and having a UPS guy come in. I had my own show like I took up a big section of that mall. It was like the Jonathan Jesper show there, and I shipped it all off.

The Lightbulb Moment

Jonathan: (13:37)

Then I woke up two days later when I woke up and looked at my phone, and everyone who first sells on Amazon knows this feeling when you get that email, it says, congratulations, your items sold, and I sold like 30 items while I was sleeping. And I was like, wait for a second, no employees, I didn't have to stand around waiting for customers. I didn't have to convince a customer, I didn't have to talk to anyone.

I didn't have to have the inventory issues, I just put stuff in a box and shipped it away.  The light bulb went off. Then from there, I tried retail arbitrage where it's the same thing, you find things that are on sale you buy them, ship them, and then you make the difference. I did wholesale, the problem with both retail arbitrage and wholesale is, that retail arbitrage was hard because it required me to have to go out and find products all the time.

Wholesale was difficult because I was competing with other people on the same products and it would be a race to the price and I couldn't control the quality.

The Amazing Selling Machine

Jonathan: (14:36)

Then I discovered a course called ‘The Amazing Selling Machine’ And they talked about selling your own private label products. And ‘they had me at hello,’ like the first sentence I knew like that's what I got to do.

And so I jumped in, did it, and just started building ever since.

Nick: (14:53)

Man, that is such a great story. And I can relate to it so much. And it kind of gives me goosebumps listening to it. Because it's similar to mine, except like at some point I gave up, you know? I did give up but I can relate to that burning desire inside. Like you got to do more, man, you got to do more. And you know, I turned to some pretty bad things to kind of numb that voice inside of me.

But you know, it's like something bigger than myself wasn't going to let it not happen. Right.  Like you, I still ended up in similar positions. You know, so man, that's just so cool that you just kept taking that risk and that you didn't give up.

And I'm just so stoked for you man because that's such a great story.  And that's the type of stuff that really, you know, could motivate someone in my position, 10 years ago. And maybe they're on the verge of giving up and they're just like, no way, Jonathan didn't give up, I'm not giving up. I have that burning desire. This is what success looks like for me and I'm going to accept the ups and downs because there are always ups and downs, right?

Like no matter where you go, no matter what path you walk in life, you're going to fall down. You just got to get back up and keep going

Jonathan Jesper: The Best MDS Host

Jonathan: (16:19)

A hundred percent. And I have huge respect for you and our story, every time I meet you I tell you about it. Talking about this stuff. There's probably nobody else I'd rather have hosted the podcast. And you talk about this stuff. 

Overcoming Barriers

Jonathan: (16:30)

I mean, it's pretty deep, it's deep stuff. And I know for some people it comes easy and for other people, you have to overcome a lot of barriers, a lot of personal doubts, and a lot of personal limitations. And I started to build this narrative that I failed at business. 

This Is Not a Disney Movie

Jonathan: (16:45)

And one thing I want to say is that this is not a Disney movie. It's not like I sell on Amazon. And then it's happily ever after from that on, I actually have more stories, and more failures, and more than doubting myself. Like, am I an imposter?


Jonathan: (16:57)

Can I really do it? There's a chapter in ‘Think and Grow Rich’ called Persistence. One of the things Napoleon Hill did, and he study the equivalent of the Elon Musk and the Jeff Bezos of his day. He also studied people that failed and he was really clear. There's a huge difference between, these really ultra achievers and the failures and it's the principles they practice. And the one that he said stood out the most was persistence.

The Invisible Hand Gives Up When You Don’t

Jonathan: (16:57)

He says it's almost like for some people this invisible hand is guiding you almost like preventing you from succeeding. But at some point, if you don't give up the hand gives up and lets go, and then you have more success faster than you ever thought possible. Then you're like, well, where was all the success hiding all these lean years? And so if there's anyone listening, you're in a similar position, you can make every mistake in the book.

You can go bankrupt, you can do this, but as long as you don't quit. Eventually, you'll figure it out. There has to be a way, it's almost like a law. The thing is, many people quit, and quitting is the only failure that I see.

The Passion to Motivate People

Nick: (18:01)

Yeah. I truly believe that. Like if you have a vision, you have a goal, you have a dream and you work towards it and you don't give up. It will become a reality. I truly 100% believe that the only time you really fail is when you throw in the towel and you just stop trying. You know, it's amazing to realize that for yourself.

But it's really cool to like when you believe that anyone can do that and you have that desire to really speak that to other people and motivate them to keep trying to accomplish what they want to accomplish. And, you know, I think that's a passion of yours based on some conversations that we've had. I know it's a passion of mine to motivate people, man, to just not give up. Because when you really lose, you just give up.

Trying to drive with the parking brake on will blow up the engine.

And when that flips switches, you truly realize that like, Hey, anything is possible. Anybody can accomplish this. And I think that is like, it's not just business, right? Like it's, maybe you're addicted to drugs, maybe you're in a terrible relationship or, you know, you grew up with a bad family and you want to have a great family for yourself one day. Like, you know, those types of things can seem out of reach. 

You know, when you've spent life as a drug addict or you grew up with a terrible family or you know, you've failed at multiple businesses or whatever the case may be. I can relate to that feeling of like, feeling like no one else is going to want to be with me again, or no business idea is going to work out or, I grew up with a broken family, so I'm never going to have a whole family you know, stuff like that man, it can be very, very sad and depressing for a lot of people.

And I think that's great, like when I tell my story, it's kinda like how you said... well, I got to go back to this part and it might, it doesn't really have to do with Amazon, but you know, this is how I got started on this path. And I can trace mine back very far, you know, to being a little kid when my parents first divorced.That's really when my journey began in my opinion.

And it sounds like that's kind of what you were saying about being in that van and living in the van and getting those seashells. And that's crazy that you started out there, man, because you're right. Like selling stuff door to door. I've had some of these experiences too is tough, man. Like you got to have some kahunas to do that, man. Like that's a big, that's huge, man.

So did you do any sales training for the door-to-door stuff or did you just kind of walk?

Success Is Based on Internal Principles

Jonathan: (21:04)

It's more the opposite, I thought I was a pretty good speaker. And so I would just try to convince people, right? And I would try to convince people with my intellect and my talking and my charm and like those kinds of things. And I couldn't break through.

And at one point I just shortened what I said, I almost didn't do any of my manipulation tactics. Instead, I just focused on:

  • How excited am I
  • How happy am I
  • How grateful am I
  • How much am I caring about the person I'm talking to, 

And by saying less, but having this energy people said yes, and they wanted to support and help me more and I broke through. And what I realized is that success again, is based on internal principles. Almost everything that matters is based on internal principles.

It's not what you say. It's not what you do. So some people on Amazon they're like, what's the tactic, and tactics can help for sure. What's the big strategy I need, but you gotta make sure your mindset's right. It's like trying to drive with the parking brake on, you're going to blow up the engine. And so when our mindset’s right, even if we have the wrong facts, the wrong tactics, we'll get the right one. 

...when our mindset’s right, even if we have the wrong facts, and the wrong tactics, we'll get the right one.

I have had crazy experiences where I met the right person at the right time to help me get to the next level. Almost like, how could this be by coincidence? What a coincidence, I needed that. You know, I really believe that there are these kinds of internal principles that kind of guide our lives and they guide success too. And that's the thing I learned selling stuff on the street. It's not your talent, It's not what you say, It's not what you do.

A few big lessons were, if I was focusing on the other person, which is out of my control, I would get scared, they're going to reject me, they're going to close the door, they're going to say no. I would look at their facial expression and be worried, but I can't control all that.

if I was focusing on the other person, I’d get scared that they'd reject me and close the door... I would look at their facial expression and be worried. But I can't control all that.

When I learned to only focus on what I can control my attitude, how I feel, what I'm doing, my why, why I'm doing it, and my goals, then I would have power. The second I would focus on what their reaction was going to be, I lost all that power. And there's something about being in the zone, when you're in the zone, people who play sports, know it. You did everything when you're in the zone, It's just like, there's this energy there, It's like, you can't lose.

when you're in the zone, as people who play sports would know, you experience the energy that makes you feel you can't lose.

I would make more in an hour and sometimes I would like three days when I'm in the zone but it's not by random chance, It's somehow being locked in mentally and following the correct principles and you can get the result.

Nick: (23:41)

Nice man. So I imagine having all that experience and skills and carrying that into Amazon was like, you know, Amazon just probably multiplied a lot of those skills that you had developed. So I know you, you did the reselling thing for a little bit on Amazon. But why don't you dig into, you know, how you got to a million dollars in revenue on Amazon? And what did that look like for you from a business and personal perspective?

Jonathan Jesper: My Favorite Story

Jonathan: (24:11)

Sure. I have another story that goes with that too. So I'm on this podcast, I'll tell my favorite stories. So my wife and I were pregnant with our first son and we had our list of what products we wanted to do. And we decided to focus on a baby product. And it was like baby bowls and spoons and like feeding supplies. And so we launched that and then we launched complimentary items. 

At first, I was focusing on other things. And then it took a while. The logistics didn't work, the sourcing didn't work.

Over the Million-Dollar Mark

Jonathan: (24:41)

Then I just looked at my product and I'm like, wait for a second, I could probably make a bunch of different products out of this one product. So we made a set with like bowls, spoons, Mashable made that a set. I did the fork and spoon by itself as a fork and spoon set and made that a product. And I did those kinds of things, and then we started scaling. Then we got over 100K a month and then we went over the million-dollar mark.

Frustration May Sometimes Tempt You to Quit

Jonathan: (25:03)

Why I want to share next is because you mentioned, man, so now I have all this training. I'm like this Ph.D. in sales and results and achievement that must have multiplied in your Amazon business and why I want to talk about that. A lot of people may get frustrated because of similar challenges where things come to them again and again. 

And so we had a situation in Amazon where our product went from almost breaking the thousand review mark, which at that time was huge. And overnight it went to zero. And it tanked the sales. At that time, I just invited some really close friends of mine to move to Las Vegas where I am and helped me build this business together. All of a sudden our revenue declined and I felt like an imposter.

Like what do I do? Do I tell them that like, sorry guys, yeah I know you flew down here to help me with this dream? We had this dream, we all wanted to do it together, but I'm not that good. It didn't work. We're not going to do it.

Fighting Fear to Stay Confident

Jonathan: (26:08)

And I was so tempted to do that because then I felt I could escape this feeling of my not feeling confident and fear. And I also had the same thoughts again. Wow. Maybe I just got lucky with the baby products because here I am again, and it's looking like another failure again, here we are again, the same spot. 

When I felt all those things though, the previous experience taught me is I can't give up and not listen to those things, but it was obvious that I'm still building my self-image. I'm still working on that true self-confidence because I would still doubt myself. It still comes up. It's not like you graduate. And all of a sudden you're immune to feeling the same emotions anymore.

High-Level Sellers Also Have Challenges

Jonathan: (26:48)

Probably a lot of people on the podcast. They're thinking these high-level sellers, high-level people. That probably it's easy for them. It's hard for me, but it's easy for them. And I want to share, that I keep hitting those same walls, again and again, just can't give up. So I didn't know what to do, but just did whatever I could to persevere. And I'm at a conference and in the conference and I'm talking to someone.

The Orlando Trip

Jonathan: (27:15)

A friend comes up to me, “Jonathan, there's a seller. He's got a strategy that no one's doing. It's totally different, and I think you would benefit.  At that time, crypto was first exploding and someone was talking to me about crypto. So I kind of felt obligated, I wanted to still talk. I'm like it sounds really cool, but I'm talking to this person right now.

I don't really want to. And he's like, oh, don't worry. I'll record it for you. I was like that’s sneaky. Thank you. And he records the conversation. I get the recording and this guy's blowing me away. He does things that are totally out of the box, but I'm like, this could work. At the end of the recording. Thank goodness, he's only talking to like a small group of people. He's like, I like you guys, you guys are really cool. 

I'll give you my phone number. If any of you guys would like a question, feel free to contact me. I'll be happy to help. So he gave me the phone number. I have the recording, I write down their phone number and I'm like, I don't think he's going to remember who was actually there. So I call him up, and he's like, “Hello?” I'm like, “Hey, thank you so much for sharing at the conference.

Just wanted to say like, it was so awesome hearing that.” “Oh, no problem, happy to help. I'm like “You mentioned, you were in Orlando, right?” He's like, “Yeah, I live in Orlando.” I'm like, “That's so funny. I'm in Orlando tomorrow.” And he's like, “Really? Who would have thought.” I know coincidence? And he's like, “Okay, well you want to have lunch.” I'm like, “Yeah, let's have lunch since I'm in Orlando tomorrow.” 

“It'll be great. I'll see you tomorrow.” Sure. I hang up right away, and tell my wife, honey, I'm sorry. I'm going to Orlando tomorrow. I had a plane ticket, take the red-eye, don't sleep. Take the red-eye, 'cause I'm in Vegas. They're Eastern time. So there’s the time zone. So I'll take the red-eye. I land at like 10 and get the rental car. Didn't sleep, go meet him for lunch, sit down with him. I told him exactly my situation.

I don't sugarcoat anything. And I'm like, what would you do if you were in my shoes? And he like, “Grace of God, this person was just like, I would launch this kind of product from, and I'll give you the supplier. And I would use this kind of strategy to launch it.” And I wrote it down. I implemented it. And in three months we five X, the whole business. 

Nick: (29:41)

Different product or the same?

Jonathan: (29:44)

This is in the supplement space. So now I'm primarily in the supplement space. We barely do any volume in the baby space.

Nick: (29:51)

Okay. And is that what got you to a million in revenue?

Jonathan: (29:56)

No, the Baby products did 

Nick: (29:58)

And that's the one that you lost your reviews on?

Jonathan: (30:01)


Nick: (30:02)

Okay. And so how was that? did you still have no employees just still?

The Team That Believed in the Dream

Jonathan: (30:10)

No, I had that team. As I shared, I brought team members and they moved to Vegas. Like they left their comfort and their livelihood to come join me. Cause I'm like, no if we're going to build it, let's do it all together. Same area.

Nick: (30:21)

Nice. So you were able to keep them around?

Jonathan: (30:24)

Yeah, right. I was able to. Well, I want to give props to them. They really believed in the dream too. So they said, Jonathan, don't worry about paying us for a while.

Nick: (30:33)


Jonathan: (30:34)

And so they really did their part and I'm forever grateful. Like those people who would believe in me when I don't even believe in myself. And that they would buy into it like that much.

Nick: (30:47)

Yeah. You know, and I think that goes back to kind of what we were talking about, that kind of unknown force out there. It starts to attract these people to you in your life in different ways that are just it can be very supportive and very helpful. And I've had those experiences in my life as well. I've had a friend of mine, a long-time friend of mine lose his job due to COVID.

And he was like, Nick, I want to learn Amazon. He's like, “I want to work for you, you don't have to pay me, I just want to learn, I want you to teach me everything.” And like, he's been coming on the level 10 meetings and like doing stuff on his own, and now we're launching a product together. And you know, I think I'm going to give him a position in the brand management company.

And it's just amazing. That unknown force man. That thing bigger than ourselves, that's out there. It just blows my mind constantly on a regular basis. It's amazing when people like that can be put in your life and just really help you take things to the next level.

Persevere for That Burning Desire

Jonathan: (31:59)

I agree, man. I think that there's definitely something bigger and that's why this stuff can't be like by accident or by circumstance. And there's something you mentioned before, that you were sharing that really resonated with. And you mentioned when people have a desire and they really want to do something. I just want to highlight that point too, because I think the most important thing you need to persevere and have persistence is that desire.

When you have a burning passion or this dream in your heart that matters to you, it's the why, it's the fuel that can keep you going. Even when you're facing difficulties.  And why I think the principle works, and that you won't fail is because, I believe the reason that you have this desire, the reason you have the spark, this passion, is because that seed of greatness is in you to do it. And if it wasn't, you wouldn't resonate with that idea at all. 

Therefore you won't have a seed of greatness in you, this desire that you can't fulfill. It's actually a really cool thing. Most of us get scared because we don't want to be honest about our dreams. It's like, it's hard, but this fear of failure, we don't want to go after it. But it's actually that cave, we fear to enter, that holds the treasure we actually seek.

Nick: (33:14)

Yeah man, I really liked the way you described those things, you know. I always, get a little long-winded when I talk about those things. But I think the way that you described them, people who may not have that burning desire to do these really big things that seem ridiculous could start to understand it a little bit. Because like, it is something that I don't know where it came from, you know. It was just there in me always.

And it was why school was depressing to me because, it just taught me to, go get a job and retire one day. And you know, just, that's not what I wanted. And then like just starting to enjoy life, it just kind of made it worse. You know? Like I didn't want to have to ask for vacations. I didn't want to have to not surf when the waves were good. I wanted to be able to spend time with my family on my own time. Right? 

Those were the things that were really important to me. And those things didn't seem attainable from what was being taught to me. And that's definitely a big part of what sent me down this weird path that I fortunately somehow still ended up selling on Amazon. I mean, right before I started selling on Amazon was like the worst time of my life.

Right. But like, if that didn't happen, if that terrible time didn't happen, I would have never given some weird $20 training on how to sell on eBay a shot, you know. I'm like, no, I'm good at my job. You know, I'm good here just being kind of comfortable. But yeah, all that stuff had to happen for me to really open my mind again, back to that big dream, that big vision, that burning desire instead of continuing to just numb it.

No Such Thing as a Bad Experience

Jonathan: (35:20)

You highlighted something that's really, really deep and crucial. Because understanding my story, if that baby product didn't get zero reviews, I might not have been so hungry to learn. I might've been content. I may not even have been at that conference. Right. Like, because I was in a spot, I was so hungry and willing to learn that when I heard someone could help me when I heard something could work, I jumped on that thing. 

And so now it looked like that's the worst thing that could ever happen, but it actually was a great thing that happened. And so there's no such thing as a bad experience. There's an old Buddhist principle. I think it’s the Buddhist principle of, this person going to the farmer and he's like, “Oh, you have such good luck, bad luck.” He's like good luck, bad luck. Who knows?

At the end of it, it comes, his son breaks his leg and can't work on the farm. He's like, oh my gosh, the son broke his leg. That's such bad luck. He's like good luck, bad luck. Who knows? And then they come to house to house notifying everyone's oldest son has to go to war, but in his house, his son can't go to war, because he has a broken leg. 

The point is that we often judge experiences, instead of just saying yes and accepting. We're judging experiences because we have our plan of how we think things should go. And based on our experience, we're like, “Oh no, this is not part of the plan.” But we're like a radar screen, right? And our radar screens are this big, the world is like this big. We can only see things on our radar screen.

And we're like, this doesn't fit in my radar screen though what's happening. If we knew what was outside the radar screen, we wouldn't be worried at all. We were like, please let everything... let it all burn to the ground. I'm getting a mansion next.

Faith and Gratitude

Jonathan: (37:02)

You know, we wouldn't worry at all. So I think that's a big part of trusting and faith. I think in life if we want to be happy, we always have to have two things, faith, and gratitude all the time. It doesn't matter what's happening to us. And it's a skill that's not easy to do, but what you shared, I was just reflecting on it. Like, yeah. If that thing hadn't happened to my baby products, I wouldn't have been hungry for that opportunity.

I know there's someone that listening to this podcast, something crazy is going on in your life, just know it's actually going to be, and it's going to help you. It's going to be an asset.

Nick: (37:35)

Yeah. And it's crazy, man. I've almost trained myself. When bad things do happen, I'm immediately like, “Something good's coming. I'm going to learn something from this. Or it's going to put me in a position that I wouldn't be in if this didn't happen. And I start looking for the blessing, that's going to follow this terrible thing that just happened to me.

And now you start to develop this confidence that you can overcome anything that's thrown at you. Cause I'm sure you can relate, man. Like it never really gets easy selling on Amazon. Like you just start to be able to deal with these problems quicker through like, you know, you have, maybe you have standard operating procedures or maybe you've hired a general manager or something.

And now, you know, they're taking on this load while you continue to focus on other things. So it's not that Amazon never gets easy. Right? Like it, you just start to handle these situations differently.And you talked a little bit about mindset earlier and it just starts to change. And you just start to look at things differently. And that's what makes it easier. 

When things start to change up here, that's how we make this business work for us. Right? That's the great thing about Amazon, is they handle so much for you on the logistics side of things, that you can really build this big business and really enjoy life. 

You know, whatever that looks like for you, whether it's spending time with your family, you know, maybe it's rock climbing all the time. Or for me it's surfing, right? Like that's what I want to be able to do. what does business look like for you now, Jonathan, and what are some of the things you're working on?

Overcoming Challenges Help You Inspire Others

Jonathan: (39:28)

Right now, I'm actually in part of another challenge. I didn't talk about it because I feel like it's another chapter in my story.

I feel like I'm getting more and more of these like bullets in the chamber of, “Oh yeah. Do you think you want to give up? Well, here's one experience I have, and here's another.

And I keep thinking, I graduated. Like I’ve already been through it. I already committed. I'm not going to give up, but I keep going through shit. I don't know, maybe it's to keep inspiring people, but I'm going through one right now. And what do I want to do? I'm always looking, like you mentioned, looking for the blessings. I'm always trying to find the gold in the situation I meet.

The Easter Analogy

Jonathan: (40:02)

I kind of give an analogy, it's Easter time, so I'm always looking for the Easter egg. If people are going to an Easter egg hunt, they could easily pass these Easter eggs. But when you're looking for an Easter egg, it could be the tiniest little sliver of like a foil wrapper of chocolate hiding behind a plant. You'll see it because you're looking for it. And I'm looking for these experiences.

Practicing Letting Go

Jonathan: (40:23)

And also I'm actually becoming happier because I realized when we had this challenge, I got scared. And why I got scared is because now we have gotten to this higher level of success. I'm scared to lose it. And I'm scared to go down and why am I scared? Why am I scared to lose it? Because my ego and my rate are getting comfortable with being a successful business owner.

And I don't want to be viewed as a less successful business owner. I'm losing this thing that gives me the stimulation and I'm practicing just letting it go. I have everything in my life I need to be happy. That's one thing. Also, I think people want to sell on Amazon and want to build a business. There's so much value. There are so many good things.

But it will not provide you that deep internal fulfillment you're looking for. That comes separately. You know, I talked to a big seller last week, he does over 50 million in revenue a year. And he goes,” You know when I was happiest? When I had a job making 50,000 a year, that's when I was my happiest.” It's like, well then what are we doing all this for?

And if anything, when you have more success, it's easier to use that as stimulation and inflate your ego. And then you become disconnected from the stuff that matters.

Who Am I as a Person?

Jonathan: (41:39)

I was listening to a, I guess he's almost a billionaire and I'm on the Tim Ferriss podcast. His name is Neval, and he was talking about how he's trying to separate himself from anything. Like he used to be so excited about the material success in the car and the house and those kinds of things. But now he's just trying to separate himself.  He's like happiness is an internal thing.

it's an inside job and it's a skill, it's a skill we have to develop. And so I do want to give that recommendation, to anyone thinking about selling on Amazon. Because once you taste some revenue and some success, it can be a drug, but it doesn't define you. And, as long as you know that and you're working on that, then you can enjoy so much with the freedom to spend time with your family.

Go on vacations, to do what you want, when you want. You have that more time and money, freedom.  And what am I working on? Well one, I'm working on all these interests. I'll always talk about this internal stuff first because, for me, that's the main thing. I think money and results are great, but the real benefit of what we get when we accomplish things is who we become as people.

That's the reward. When we die, it's not like we take our bestseller badge with us, you know, it's not gonna say on my tombstone, one of the first products, I got to a hundred thousand ratings. It's who am I as a person. That's the real value. On the practical side, I'm really trying to learn to be a better CEO. I'm trying to learn to understand my numbers better and to set processes better. 

And I have a dream, by the end of the year, I really want to get into another type of business too. So I'm trying to make a lot of things automated in my business so that I could be free. Cause I really believe if the business can't run without you, you don't have a business. You have a job.

Nick: (43:24)

Right. Absolutely. Yeah. And it's tight. It's easy to get caught up in that man. And that's, you know what I'm working on right now. And I just came back. The one thing I realized, is this is something I still have a lot of work to do myself on. Like I was gone for 10 days. Right. And I always make the mistake of being like, oh no, I'm going to work. I'll be available. I can do this. I can do that. 

But I get there and I'm in Central America, like hours away from any city. And the internet is terrible. Like, I can get like 10 minutes at a time before it shuts down because there are like eight other people there trying to use this terrible internet. And, you know, by day three, I'm like, all right, screw it. I'm not even going to try anymore. And guess what?

Nothing went wrong. Right? Like he came back, my office is still here. The business is still moving. And it's like, I do this thing where I get in my head where I think I'm like way more important than I really am. And it was a huge revelation for me where it's just like, all right, let's take some time when I get back to figure out what Nick really needs to be doing, you know. 

Cause I have a lot of goals outside of business. I want to spend more time with my kids, more time with my wife, taking care of myself more. Whether it's, you know, meditating, exercising, relaxing, reading, whatever it is, those things that you talked about.Those things that really fulfill who you really are and what you're really trying to do. Things that bring happiness. 

Cause it's not the revenue from the Amazon business. You know, it's not those things for me, you know, it's these other things that can kind of get mixed up and definitely something I have a lot of work to do on and it's beautiful stuff.

Don’t Let the Numbers Dictate How You Feel

Jonathan: (45:18)

But at least you're acknowledging it. I can't tell you how many people I know running this business that don’t even acknowledge that side. It's just, it's a drug, it's become so easy just to get so into, the more revenue I can do. But what I hate is, I hate having how I feel dictated by what the numbers on a spreadsheet say.

Oh man, or checking like, I don't know, the Cashcow, HelloProfit, whatever people are using to check that dictates how I'm feeling at all. Gosh, I don't like that.

Nick: (45:43)

Yeah. Well, man, I know we've got this really great community of entrepreneurs around us as well. Right? Like how has that played into your success from a business perspective, but more importantly, like your personal life? Right. Like I know, I think it's great to be surrounded by other members in this community that we're a part of that. 

You know, it's how you and I met. Right? Like we wouldn't know each other. Maybe something would have brought us together, but you know, the MDS is what made it happen, right? Like how does that play into your life and your business?

The Power Of Networking

Jonathan: (46:23)

Sure. So I shared already the power of what happened when I met someone and he had the answer to my question. That I'll have them through networking. I was at a conference and I went to Orlando and I met the seller and the seller is not part of MDS. And sometimes we like to do things on our own. And I guess it's like some part, it can be a part of ego too. Like I'll just figure it out myself. 

But there's a huge benefit in a community. And what I found was even my recent business challenge, beyond just people helping me with some strategies I could do. People are calling me like Jonathan, how are you doing men? People that went through my exact challenge, are even worse than me. And I'm like, wait, you went through it worse than me, but you're concerned about me.

Like, you're more concerned about me, when it's happening to me than I was about you. And it happened to you. And it's really moving to have people that are invested that care about you. It's more we all understand what it takes and what kind of like game we're playing. And it's like a big family. I feel like MDS is like a big family and it's beyond just how you doing on taxes or strategy.

But caring about how you doing as a person and talking about stuff that matters. And then you meet awesome people. You get cool ideas. My philosophy now, after I joined MDS I changed my philosophy, and how I build my business. I build the relationships and the relationships build the business. That's the power I had after I joined MDS. 

So this is an incredible community. And I recommend anyone that's starting, what should you do? Well, what are the things you should do is, go find other people who are also starting a business, network with them, and then find people who have already built what you want and go learn from them too.

‘I Know I Can Do It’ Is a Powerful Feeling

Jonathan: (48:00)

And what's going to happen is, the other thing is when you're surrounded by people, even if they're ahead of us the best, it starts to normalize that level. It's not this inconceivable thing that I don't know if I can do or not. It's like, well shoot if they can do it, I can do it. And once you get that belief all, it's like I talked about before my experience, like selling stuff on the street.

When you're in the zone, once you get that belief, I can do it. like that train, right, that train wants to go up. In a little children's story that train wants to go up. I think again at one point it's like, I know I can do it. Oh, that's powerful. When someone knows they can do something, watch out. 

And so for me, MDS is like, I get amazing strategies, tactics, opportunities, I meet people, but it's also like just being around this kind of people, creates this power and this belief that we can do more than we think we can. 

Nick: (48:54)

Absolutely. Man. That's a great way to explain it. And I just feel so fired up whenever I'm really networking with that community whether it's a virtual event or an in-person event. Like I've never been motivation is a little fickle, right? Like you can't really depend on motivation. Maybe it's something else.

But when I come back from an event it's like, I'm motivated for like at least 90 days, you know, like it I'm just so inspired, so motivated, and just so fired up, and before COVID it was almost like it was like event to event. 

Like it had enough juice in the tank to keep me going from each event. So I'm super excited to get back these in-person events and, and just kick it with such a great community of people, man. Jonathan, thank you so much for coming on. You are an amazing individual. Thank you so much for sharing your story. If anybody wants to get in touch with you how can they find you, man?

Jonathan: (49:56)

Probably Facebook is the best, message me it’s Jonathan Jesper. I believe I'm one of the only ones. If you see this video, you'll know what my face is like. I have a Japanese wife and pretty cute kids. So hit me up there. I'm happy to help in any way I can.

Nick: (06:46)

All right, Jonathan, thanks again, man. Looking forward to talking to you again soon.

Jonathan: (06:51)

Yeah, man. I'm excited to see you in Mexico.

Nick: (06:53)

Absolutely. Yeah. I'm stoked for that one, man. Glad you guys are coming.

Jonathan: (06:58)

Yeah. And then it's going to be fun. Thanks for having me on.

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