Maximiliano Abreu Interview with Nick Shucet

Nick (0:57)

All right. What is up everyone? Welcome to the MDs podcast. I'm your host Nick Shucet. Today, we've got a really great guest on the show, a long-time MDS member, and he has a killer name. Max welcome to the show. Max, how are you doing today? 

Max (0:20):

Thank you. Stoked to be here.

Transition: Selling Textbooks to Retail Arbitrage

Nick (0:22):

Well, I'm really glad to have you on here. You know, definitely consider you a good friend, man. And I know MDs, you know, is one of the reasons we came together in addition to just being involved in e-commerce and selling on Amazon. I've had the pleasure of kicking it with you in person a couple of times, and we've always really enjoyed it. I think we even got a workout in, on a beach in Costa Rica. That was pretty fun, man.

So, we're really excited to bring you on the show today and let the audience get to know you a little better. And why don't you just kinda start off telling us, you know, how did you get into this crazy world of selling products on Amazon?

“One of the very first things that I did was when I opened up a bank account here in the US was I bought something online. I still remember it.”

Max (1:07):

Yeah, I mean, I'll try to keep it short, but basically, I've always had a fascination for being able to buy things online and kind of being able to make money online from your computer. And then, so I grew up in South America. I grew up in Paraguay. And back in the day, you know, I was in high school and couldn't really get things online there. Online shopping was kind of becoming, you know, a thing. But you couldn't get anything over there.

But I had the itch. I would check out all these deal sites and things like that, and I'm feeling like, oh man, that's so cool. You know, I could look at how cheap you can get things by stuffing coupons and, and all this kind of stuff. And so in 2009, I got the opportunity to go to the US to live and study. And so one of the very first things that I did was when I opened up a bank account here in the US I bought something online.

I still remember it. It was some pajamas and the whole experience was really cool. So fast forward to college days about senior year or so. I started researching how could I make money online and found out about being able to resell some textbooks. And so I would go around campus and kind of scan some textbooks and barcodes and resell them. And then I found out about, you know, retail arbitrage.

And so that's kind of what really took me down this rabbit hole to my journey on Amazon. So, yeah, that was around 2013, 2014 or so. And I don't know how far you want me to go into it, but that was kind of the beginning of it.

Retail Arbitrage: Committing and Partnering

Nick (3:03):

Okay, cool. So, yeah, man, you know, I, I definitely can relate to that got involved you know, through arbitrage in the beginning myself. What did that kind of look like for you in terms of growth? Like, where did you start and how did you begin to scale the retail arbitrage side of things?

“I made the decision that I was going to pursue [retail arbitrage] full time after I graduated college”

Max (3:25):

Yeah, so it was 2014. I was graduating that year from college, I believe. And so what I would do is I would just go down to, you know, Marshall's and some of these discount stores and buy toys and books and just started really, really small. But what really was kind of an inflection point that made a big difference was my roommate’s girlfriend found out that I was doing it, or she saw it, you know, around the house. Or I was getting boxes in and out.

And she said, “Oh, I've got a buddy in Texas that seems to be doing exactly what you're doing. And he's doing really well apparently.” And I didn't think much of it at the time, cause I didn't think someone was doing exactly what I was doing. You couldn't find much information about it online. So I connected with this guy and he had been doing it for about eight to 10 months and more than I was, and he was doing it full time. And that was kind of my aha moment of okay if this guy can do it, I can definitely do it.

And so that's when I made the decision that I was going to pursue that full time after I graduated college and at the time Garland who's been my business partner like for forever—he was my roommate and he had a couple of other job opportunities—I decided to partner with him and that's kind of what got us started 100% after college.

Graduating College to Pursue Retail Arbitrage Full-time

Nick (5:05):

OK, Cool. So you were in college. What were you going to college for?

Max (5:11):

International business.

Nick (5:12):

International business. Cool. And so, you know, what did your parents think of this plan to get out of college and start this reselling business?

Max (5:23):

You know, my mom's been an entrepreneur her whole life, so she didn't think much of it. I don't know if there was any opposition from Garland's parents either. We did get, I think it was, $3,000 each from both our parents and that was for everything. For living survive and start your business. Good luck. And so, that was it. But I think they were okay with it. I don't remember any opposition to it.

Max’s Initial Business Struggles

Nick (5:57):

Okay. So what kind of struggles did you guys face as you first entered the business together and really like started working on scaling the amount of products you were purchasing, the stores you were visiting, and things like that?

Max (6:16):

Yeah. I mean all sorts of stuff, right? You're just running a business in general, right? You're just learning as you go. I mean, when I moved down there I moved from Oklahoma to Florida to start the business. And it's funny when I got to Florida, I was looking for a place where we would live —a rental.

Image credit: TopProperties.

And it was really important for me to have to make sure that the house had a two-car garage so that we could run the business out of there. But anywhere or everywhere that I looked to try to apply for a house they would ask me, you know, what's your income history and what's going to be your job? And so then I realized that I had to convince these people that, “Hey, I'm starting a business and I promise I'll pay rent on time.”

And so that proved to be a little bit challenging. But after about a month or so of search found the house, and found the lady who gave us a chance.  And to this day I still stay in touch with her. So it's pretty cool. But then as far as other struggles, you know, retail arbitrage has its own struggles of its kind. You know, we quickly outgrew our space and you know, had to figure out how to hire employees. 

I mean, you name it. Amazon has its own struggles as you're well aware that they can shut you down at any moment. You know, we've been suspended multiple, multiple times already, so, and not to scare anybody, but pretty much we've seen it all.

Nick (7:51):

Yeah. You know, one of my favorite things about retail arbitrage specifically is the low barrier of entry. Especially back then, you know, it's a little more difficult now, especially if you want to get into selling some of these products that can really lead to a successful business. But back then, man, like without retail arbitrage, you know, someone like me would have not been able to jump into private label where a lot of us end up as we kind of evolve with this e-commerce world, especially on Amazon.

What’s kind of your take on that as far as retail arbitrage, allowing you to get into this space? And not only that, but you know, it sounds like you mentioned two people in your journey that were kind of pivotal in helping you become successful. The guy in Texas and this woman who, you know, took a shot on a young kid and let them move into their house.

“But the challenge that retail arbitrage has... it's just hard to scale. You're only as good as your last deal and you're just constantly having to hustle.”

Max (8:53):

Yeah. For sure. I mean, there's been a lot of other people to thank, not just them. But as far as the journey from retail arbitrage over to private label you know, we're forever grateful for being able to start small. You didn't need much money. You didn't need much of anything to get started. Even if you aren't necessarily making any money at first, it's good just to see the transaction and in the process of, “Okay, I’ve bought this at this store, and then I patched it up.

I sent it Amazon received it, and then I sold it. I got paid. That's awesome.” You know, how can I do that again, and again, and again and again? So it's a pretty cool feeling, right? And anybody can get started. And so that was really, really cool. But the challenge that retail arbitrage has, you know, you're well aware of it as well as it's just hard to scale. You're only as good as your last deal and you're just constantly having to hustle.

And so that with a lot of other things made us transition over to private label.

The Best Retail Arbitrage Products

Nick (10:08):

Do you remember the first product you guys sold? Which store did you go to?

Max (10:15):

Well, with college, I would say it was at Marshall's and it was like it was either Marshall's or Ross. I remember it was like a toy story art kit, and then it was like a Marvel walkie-talkie and another—I think—toy story plush.

I remember those were the first three. Yeah.

Image credit: Amazon. Toy Story Kit.

Nick (10:38)

When I was doing arbitrage, like the business was constantly blowing my mind, just like, you know, the products we were selling and, you know—even if I back up a little bit—I started out on E-bay and that was even more of like a unique, interesting world. You know, the main thing that was limiting me kind of becoming successful was wondering why these people were buying these products from me.

And be like, “Oh, no toy story kit, who the heck wants that thing?” You know, like I didn't have kids that age or anything like that. So I really had to remove my personal opinion, like out of the business. It just kept getting in the way. Are there any products that stick out to you that you were surprised sold or, or one that really kind of just took your business to the next level?

Max (11:34)

As far as products that sold—I mean, if we're talking, you know, we're still on the retail arbitrage side of things—anything ‘discontinued.’ The discontinued genres are what really blew my mind.

“As far as products that sold, anything ‘discontinued.’ The discontinued genres are what really blew my mind… selling for like 10X, 15X, 20X, what it used to.”

Anything healthy and beautiful. You know, mostly health and beauty is where you'll see a lot of outrageous prices being paid for things that are no longer found.  So, things like even floss—floss for your teeth; a particular flavor of it when it gets discontinued start selling for like 10X, 15X, 20X, what it used to. The bounce dryer bars were really good for a while.

I think if you search on Amazon right now for bounce dryer bars, they might still be on there for probably $200 or $400 or something for just dryer bars. So, those kinds of things were always fun, but like kind of crazy to see that people are so attached to products like that.

Nick (12:40):

It's definitely interesting to see the stuff that people just, you know, they reorder, they get used to using that and they just kind of get comfortable and they just keep ordering it, man. Like the business still blows my mind, honestly. I still see stuff happen. Of course, we have all these struggles and we're frustrated about how Amazon treats us sometimes.

But I still have things happen where I'm just like, “Oh my God, I can't believe I sold that many units of this product” or, you know, “I threw this listing up on a whim and it's selling.” And it's just so crazy, this world of e-commerce, it still seems kind of untapped in certain ways, even for guys like us who have been at it for five-plus years.

Max’s Amazon Journey: Helping Amazon Sellers, Managing Brands, and then Private Label

Nick (13:34):

Let's talk a little more about kind of your evolution in the business and where your journey has taken you. I know you've done things like help other people get started with their businesses. I know you were really into that for a little bit, and I think you've done some brand management as well. And as you mentioned, now you're into private label. So can you kind of dig into that journey for us a little bit?

Max (13:56)

Yeah, for sure. We've pretty much done it all. As far as Amazon, we've almost done it all.

You know,

  • Wholesale
  • Retail arbitrage
  • Private label and
  • Some brand management

So, you know, we started with retail arbitrage. We were scaling that operation quite a bit. We got to eight figures a year and we had multiple employees and warehouses and things like that. But in the back of my mind, especially, once we joined MDS right, and started being surrounded by people that were strictly private label, seeing people sell their businesses for multiple seven figures—seven, eight figures.

After just a couple of years of being in business, we realized that no matter how big we got, we never had a sellable business.

“I've made private label our 100% focus, and it's been amazing. It's been a fun journey for sure.”

You know, there's been some wholesale businesses that have gotten pretty big and that have sold, but it's definitely the exception to the rule. So, going through that journey and realizing that we started inching our way towards that [private label]. And then, we also quickly realized that once we started seeing some success on the private label side, we said that this requires a hundred percent of our focus if we really want to hit it out of the park.

Also when COVID kind of hit it was kind of the perfect storm for us to pull the plug on things and, strictly move over to private label. We've also—like you said—done some teaching and we were doing some coaching and it was great.

Max sharing a student’s success story. Screenshot from Facebook.

It was super rewarding. It was amazing. All the while, we ourselves were making the shift over to private label yet, we were in charge of teaching retail, arbitrage, and wholesale. And so, it didn't feel right you know, having to teach something that we're moving away from. So, we parted from that. And I've made private labels our 100% focus, and it's been amazing. It's been a fun journey for sure.

And there's quite a bit more to go. So, we're excited for the future as well.

On empowering people to grow your private label business

Nick (16:31):

Yeah. I can relate to a lot of that and I always feel like you and Garland, like you guys, have always been one step ahead of me and I've kind of watched you guys and, honestly kind of followed in your footsteps. Because, you know, I also saw the shift and I also wanted to shift my business towards having that sellable asset as well. And you guys definitely took the leap before me.

But COVID also forced me to pivot in a bunch of different ways. And it's funny, cause I pivoted to a bunch of different things and now I have all this different stuff going on and it's all kind of going really well. So I'm not willing to let go of it really. But I've just hired more team members and kind of empowered people to take control of certain aspects of the business and reward them properly. 

And that's actually an idea that you and Garland really helped me come to terms with the idea of not trying to do it all on my own and empowering other people and rewarding them properly, so they're really motivated to do what they need to do to keep these businesses growing. How are you guys leveraging those skills that you have for your private label business?

“Once you get a taste of a person doing something way better than you thought they could do it, but also that you thought that you could do yourself, then I think it completely changes your mindset on tackling things and being able to really move to that next level of truly being a business owner”

Max (17:51):

For sure. First of all, I appreciate you saying that. It's really encouraging to hear that, but you know, I think that every entrepreneur goes through that, you know, and especially every person that kind of bootstraps things and starts from the ground up—realizing that there are people out there that can do something better than you could ever do it.

If the answer is yes to whatever it is that you're doing right now, then you should look for that person, especially if whatever it is that you're doing, whatever model that you're in, if you've proven that it's successful and that it can work. We got a taste of success and so, therefore, you know, how can I pour gasoline on this fire and really leverage this? And it's at some point you have to look to people and make a bet on those people.

So once you get a taste of a person doing something way better than you thought they could do it, but also that you thought that you could do yourself, then I think it completely changes your mindset on tackling things and being able to really move to that next level of truly being a business owner and in steering the ship—getting your hands dirty whenever you need to.

But you know, truly building that system and leading and being a visionary and empowering people, and yes, they will make mistakes, but at the end of the day, you need people to grow, especially if you're trying to grow significantly. So, yeah, I would say once you get a taste of it, it's hard to not look for the truly A-plus people to take on things, take things from your plate.

On building your dream team

Nick (19:54):

Yeah. I definitely agree, man. That's another thing that kind of blows my mind, which isn't unique just to our business. But when you find the right people and you work with the right people and your network with like guys in MDs, you just realize that the only thing limiting yourself is you and you know, that these people just really help us reach for our highest potential.

And it's great to be in a position where you can bring people into that world along with you and really help them reach their potential as well I know I sometimes seem to forget like just how great of a business we have, not just in terms of performance, but, you know, being able to work online and grow the business so much. And you know, still, really remove ourselves.

It's almost like the more we take ourselves out of it, the better it does. And in a lot of ways, and that's a skill I'm still trying to learn and I have to stop myself almost daily, like, you know, “Why am I doing this?” You know, like, “Why am I doing this task?” Like “This shouldn't be me.” And then how can I empower my team to really develop the skills they need to, take their position to the next level?

And it's always great when you see people go to that next level. You know, it's personally rewarding. It's good for the business and it's just good for them. Like, you can see how excited they get about it. And it's just so great to be in a position where we can do stuff like that.

“I truly enjoy doing life with the people that we've brought on in our team’s Amazon. So might as well have fun doing it”

Max (21:34):

For sure. Plus if you're the captain of the ship. So you get to craft the environment that you work in and live in every day. If you want to make a business where you're hanging out at the beach all the time and not being involved with it, you surely can. But, you know, we tried to really make culture a big part of our business, because if you're going to be on this journey for, I don't know, however many years, you might as well enjoy it and do it with people that you want to be around.

And so I just got back from a two-week break and vacation, I was telling the team that like, I was so grateful to be back because I truly enjoy the process. You know, I truly enjoy doing life with the people that we've brought on in our team’s Amazon. So might as well have fun doing it, you know.

Balancing your personal and business values

Nick (22:34):

That's great, man. That's you know, I think every person in the world wants to be in that position where they really truly enjoy what they're doing. And it reminds me of a conversation that you and I had a while back, but we were talking about money. And I think I brought up the idea that people say like, money is the root of all evil. I was like I disagree with that—like I still do.

And you made a comment that always stuck with me. I forgot exactly what you said, but you said something along the lines of “Money allows you to really be who you are,” like it maximizes a lot of qualities about you. It can either highlight the good ones, you know, or it can highlight the bad ones, but it really boils down to who you are. And, you know, you've mentioned being a visionary and how you really enjoy the position that you're in.

So really like, you know, how do you tie your personal identity to your business and how does that kind of, how do you balance that?

I try as much as I can to not tie my identity to things that can change… but it is hard. It is a struggle because it is a huge part of your business and when things don't go the way you want... you feel like a part of you is missing”

Max (23:45):

I identify as a whole different subject for me. I think as far as personal identity, you know, I try to get that from God, you know. I'm a Christian—I'm a man of faith. And I believe that the word of God is true. And so a lot of what I believe about myself comes from that place. And so, I would say most of my identity comes from my faith.

But you know, it's hard to not let things like success and while you're building a business and being an entrepreneur and all of those things, they are a really big part of your life. So it's hard to not let that also be part of your identity. But I would say that those things can be gone tomorrow. You know—God forbid—I get in an accident. I can't be an entrepreneur anymore. But to me, that's a variable.

And so I try as much as I can to not tie my identity to things that can change. But I tie it to my faith. That's kind of steady, it's a rock and it's something that's never going to change. But, but it is hard. It is a struggle because it is a huge part of your business and when things don't go the way you want or where things get removed, do you feel like a part of you is missing and things like that? So it is—it is a struggle as well.

I'm not gonna pretend to not have my identity tied into what I'm doing.

Nick (25:42):

Do you think your success in business has kind of allowed you to have more time and more space to focus on your faith, to focus on your personal relationships, and other areas of interest in your own life?

“I think it's really about setting up what is a priority in your life, what comes first above everything and then acting accordingly”

Max (26:01):

I think so. It's hard to say because I've never not had it. I've always been a business owner. So I haven't been stuck in this like nine to five to really have something to compare it to. But I would say it does offer a lot of freedom to be able to focus on other things. But, but I will say this, like, if you really think that say your faith or your personal relationships or any of those things are important in your life then you'll make sure to get it done before anything else; you'll still make time.

And so, I think it's really about setting up what is a priority in your life, what comes first above everything, and then acting accordingly—things still get mixed up here and there. But I think that you can always reflect on, “Okay, what's really important in my life,” and kind of recalibrate yourself when things start getting out of order. At least you have a conceptual model that you believe in on what's first, no matter what.

And, you know, self-awareness is a huge reflection on this kind of stuff; It’s huge to make sure you're still aligned to what you set out to accomplish or to be like.

A business owner’s freedom versus the security of a 9-to-5

Nick (27:25):

Man, that's such a—I feel like that's such a unique position that you're in your life; where you got into this business and it's become successful and you haven't had to live that other side. I mean, I know I did—worked a lot of jobs where I just hated it. That's why I struggled with school so much because you know—all the jobs like that I saw, I was like, I don't want to do any of that. You know, like, I don't want to work nine to five.

I don't want to have to ask for my birthday off, you know, like, not even that I'm going to take my bro. Like, I don't even really take my birthday off now, but, you know, 'cause I enjoy what I'm doing. But the idea of having to request permission to be off of work on my birthday or visit my family on Christmas, like that was depressing for me. And that really spun me down a pretty bad rabbit hole.

That's, you know, a whole nother story. But do you think some of that played into your attraction to being a business owner? What led you to go down that path?

Max (28:36):

Yeah, so a couple of things I will say. My wife likes to remind me sometimes that I like, “Oh, I wish you had a job. So you would know what I'm talking about.” You know, I never got a taste of it, and my mom has also told me things like that. And I think there is a benefit, obviously because you go through stuff that you say, “I never want to do this,” or “I want to make sure that if I ever run my company, I don't run it this way.”

So there is a lot of value in that too. But I will say like once I started—you know, my mom was an entrepreneur growing up and Garland’s dad owns a construction company also—then when I started to see some success and started to see that, “Hey, this might work out,” I kind of told myself, like, “I'll make sure I never have a job,” you know, just because it sounds cool.

And so I, mean at this point I highly doubt I will ever have a job. So, it's cool that, that has kind of kept its word. But I will say that it did probably come with a lot of downfalls because I didn't know when it came to hiring employees. I had no one, I mean, just a lot of things you learn along the way what to do, what not to do. And, I didn't really have much to go off of, so that's not like it was always you know, amazing and easy. So yeah.

What keeps you going even in tough times?

Nick (30:19):

What are a couple of things that kept you focused when you were going through the tough times? To keep pushing forward?

Max (30:27):

Yeah, for me a lot of it has been:

  1. Knowing that we're in an industry that is booming
  2. Knowing that there have been other people that have been able to make it work
  3. Seeing other people's success

I think [these things have] been really instrumental for Garland and me. You know, we're really competitive. We used to be collegiate athletes and we've just always had this competitiveness about us and we just have a lot of fun being that way. And so it's always been about like, “Oh, look at that person, look at what they did. Well, surely we can do it. Surely we can figure it out, you know, if they can do it, we can do it.”

And so that kind of mentality has kind of—I think—kept us on our toes because there's always in this space—you know—there's always bigger fish. And you know, they say comparisons aren't the best thing, but it can definitely motivate you for more. And to keep pushing.

Dealing with social resistance and building powerful networks

Nick (31:32):

Yeah. I can relate to that so hard. I remember being in Facebook groups back in the day and people post in their screenshots of their sales and so many people would get off about it. You know, why are you sharing that? It's unrealistic. I saw that. And I'm like, “Oh, if he did it, I can do it.” You know? So every time I saw someone post something like that, it just got me so excited.

And you know, that's why back in the day, I would share some screenshots and stuff as well, because I wanted to motivate people. But then of course, you know, for every one person you motivate, you get 10 people who are disgusted with you as a human being. Did you ever deal with any of that?

“but we were able to build a solid network of people that we trust and they're lifelong friends…
That's the same case now with MDS. We have an amazing community. I don't need to look elsewhere”

Max (32:19):

Yeah, yeah, I obviously went through that as well. In the beginning, we joined pretty much every Facebook group we could find that was our source of information. There weren't any of the courses that you see nowadays. It wasn't mainstream. So, that’s what's cool. It's always been a—not in every Facebook group—but there's always been a camaraderie feel of like, “Hey us against Amazon” in the sense that we're all in this together.

We're all figuring it out. And again, that's not every Facebook group. But yeah, we went through all that. Luckily even on the retail arbitrage side of things, when we used to be in the reselling business, we quickly, well, I wouldn't say quickly, but we were able to build a solid network of people that we trust and they're lifelong friends. And once we had that, it was like we didn't need to go elsewhere for any other group or any of that stuff.

So I would say that's huge. And that's important. That's the same case now with MDS, right? We have an amazing community. I don't need to look elsewhere—especially if we're talking about Amazon stuff. Yeah.

MDS: Find lifelong friends, partnerships, and people just like you

Nick (33:35):

Yeah. And it's slowly growing to like, just about anything else.

  • They've got all these subgroups now
  • The investment group is popping off like crazy.
  • We've got the Shopify group that we're really giving a lot of love to right now.

And I'm really excited to see where these things grow. I agree with you, man.

Like when I joined MDS, it was just another Facebook group. But I quickly realized like, holy crap, like this is like next level people. And, you know, then I go to my first event and I'm like, “Oh, wow.” Like, everyone's kind of just like me. Like, it was this different vibe that I got from the people in this group. And I continue to get it from this day. And it's such a blessing to be so involved with the group now.

What are some of your other favorite things about the MDS group that you've gotten out of it?


Max (32:19):

I would say we've become lifelong friends. We’ve gotten some partnerships out of that. But it's just cool to know that there are people just like you rowing in the same direction. Going for the same goal. It's a safe place for you to be able to share your success. That's not something you can do everywhere. You can't just brag about your sales or your profits or any of that stuff to people who can't relate.

So it's, it's been really cool to have those groups of people that are similar to you, they're rowing in the same direction. They're just as ambitious and you get to learn from them too. They have different backgrounds, different levels of expertise, and different opportunities, right outside of Amazon. That's been cool. So yeah, a lot of things.

Are you the visionary or the integrator?

Nick (35:35):

Awesome, man. So are you the visionary or the integrator between you and Garland? 

Max (35:41):

So actually with the private label, we have a third partner and so that's got a whole nother story of its own. But he's amazing. He's incredible. I tell him every day. So amongst the three of us, you know, running through EOS that you're mentioning that has a visionary and an integrator, we actually couldn't really clearly define things.

Image credit: The Entourage. Steve Jobs is a visitionary and Steve Wozniak is an integrator

But if I had to, I always joke that Garland is definitely the visionary just cause he's more visionary, more big picture, and he's always very optimistic. And I was stuck in a role previously when it was only the two of us as integrator because I just wasn't as visionary as him, you know, but I really wasn't a good integrator anyway. Until, you know, our third partner, Shane came along and that's when I realized like, whoa, that's what a solid integrator looks like.

So I would still say Garland's the visionary, you know, Shane is the integrator. And I'm usually a fly on the wall or just try to knock in the way and try to make myself useful wherever I can.

Nick (37:05):

Funny, man, we had the lady that came on to do the EOS workshop and I always thought I was like unique cause I had these big grand visions and stuff like this and it's super optimistic. And then she hit me with the statistic that for every integrator there are 10 visionaries. And I was like, it—I guess I'm not that special. After all, but it's like, you're right, man.

Like, and she's right. The integrators are the ones that the visionaries need because we will gravitate to like any shiny red apple. And I always have to get myself in check. And honestly, I don't. I just figured that out like this year, to be honest.

“...focus when you've got something that works.
You should be putting 90% of your focus into that. And maybe just 10% on some new opportunities”

Max (37:56):

What's been really helpful for us with that—because I agree—I think every entrepreneur struggles with that. And for us, it's been about setting really big goals. Where it's like, whoa, this is kind of scary. And then working backward from that on how you plan on executing and then just having some accountability. That's the beauty of having some business partners is that the moment one of us starts to drift on like, “Hey, what do you guys think about this?”

You know the other two kinds of snap the other one back into direction in flow and saying, “No, this is too big. Like what we're doing is working, let's just focus.” And so that's just such a huge part of the journey is being able to focus when you've got something that works. You should be putting 90% of your focus into that. And maybe just 10% on some new opportunities and things like that. But I would say 90 to 95% of it should be on getting whatever it is you set out to do done.

Setting big goals that motivate you

Nick (39:12):

Yeah, absolutely, man. I totally agree with you. You know, as we start to wrap up here, you mentioned that you guys like to set big goals and I think that's a great idea. Like, you know, for me that really hit home because that would keep me excited as someone who identifies as that visionary. If I have that big goal, like, “Hey, I'm gonna sell this business for a hundred million dollars one day” I can wake up and get excited about that for a while.

So what is one of the big goals that you guys are working on?

“So we wanted to 10X where we were at by December of 2022. And only then re-evaluate on what's the next step... everything's focused towards that goal to 10X by December of 2022.”

Max (39:47):

Yeah, so it was a journey kind of getting to this goal. You know, we kind of played with a bunch of different ideas and then realized like, no, we just need to put our head down and go in this space. And so we wanted to 10X where we were at by December of 2022. And only then re-evaluate on what's the next step. But anybody that comes into the organization or anything like that, everything's focused towards that goal to 10X by December of 2022.

And we're calling it Apollo 22. That's our mission. And it's kind of it's everywhere. We probably need to do a better job of putting it everywhere, you know, getting t-shirts and things like that, having fun with it. But we're calling it that 'cause we're going to the moon and yeah.

What numbers are you going after?

Nick (40:44):

What does 10X look like for you guys? What number are you guys going after?

Max (40:48):

Yeah, so by December—the month of December 2022—we want to be at $100 million in EBITDA run rate. So, yeah, it's pretty aggressive. But you know, we figured if we even get close to that, it'll be pretty good.

Nick (41:12):

Well, I figure if you guys hit that like I said, I'm always a little bit behind you, so I don't mind being one to two years on that call.

Max (41:22):

For sure, like, you got to think about this—you gotta think about this. We're also three owners. We kind of feed off each other. But we also got to split the pie three ways. So, yeah.

Nick (41:37):

Well, it's great that you guys have that team together and it seems to really be working for you guys. I don't think I've met Shane in person yet, but I have had a couple of conversations with them and it seems like a great guy. Definitely very smart. And I'm excited to watch you guys hit that goal. I know you're going to do it. And just super stoked to have met you guys through this community and even being able to be this close to something that big is just amazing, man.

Thank you so much for coming on Max. It's always a pleasure to sit down and chat with you looking forward to kicking it with you guys in person again soon, hopefully. And man, just thank you, Max. I really appreciate your time. Thanks for coming on.

Max (42:25):

For sure. Thank you guys. It was a blast. Appreciate it. All right.

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