Nick Shucet had big dreams as a kid. However, at 12, school and life taught him to view those dreams as unrealistic.
Before Amazon, he worked with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District as a plant operator. A job he was grateful for due to his past experiences and reputation. Albeit, that also changed when he caught himself three times dozing off on the stirring.
He took out a loan to start a landscaping job with his buddy, but disagreements made him lose his friend and $20,000 loan.
When another friend told him about dropshipping on eBay, he agreed, reluctantly. However, he gave it all he had and eventually started to sell on Amazon in 2015.
In this interview you’ll learn these from Nick:
Let’s dive in.
Hey, what's up, everyone. Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet.
Today we've got Ian sells the founder of MDS on the show and we're actually going to switch it up. Ian will interview me today, so it's going to be pretty interesting. I'll go ahead and pass this off to Ian and let him take over.
Hey Nick, thanks so much. This is such a pleasure and an honor to like sit here and interview you about your store and your life because it's pretty amazing.
I think everybody will really love to hear how you got started on Amazon. How you overcame so much adversity and challenges in your life, and help build that gap bridge for you to connect with the audience.
I'm so excited to have you here. You've been an insanely valuable member of MDS, and having you on the team means the world to me. So I feel honored to sit here and interview you.
Thanks so much for the opportunity.
Yeah, man. Awesome. I definitely appreciate you saying that and it's such a cool organization to be a part of. It was so great when you decided to bring me in.
I'll never forget that day when you and Eugene hit me up. I was out with my wife at a bed and breakfast or something like that. We were doing a little staycation. It's been so much fun being a part of the team and working together.
Actually, my initial memory of approaching you about it was down in Costa Rica. We were sitting at the bar together and having a chat. I was like, “I really want Nick to be a part of MDS in a more substantial way.
So it's been awesome to make that happen.
Without further ado, let's jump into this and really dig into the meats and potatoes of Nick Shucet, and how you really got started.
So maybe you can just start off by telling us when you start on Amazon and, what really got you started there.
I got started back in 2015 and it definitely came from a long journey of terrible decisions.
I had big dreams as a kid, wanted to do great things. But those dreams got smashed as I went through school. And life really beat me up and put me on a bad path
Right before my Amazon journey, I was working a job for the Hampton Roads Sanitation District doing shift work as a plant operator. I was literally in charge of a six-story furnace, burning the sewage of Hampton roads.
So, at this point in my life already been through a lot, you know, I've already overcome a lot of adversity.
I was grateful for this job. My son had just been born, when I took this job.
It was great on paper. I was alright, I'm going to take care of my family.
This shift work wrecked me, man. We were doing these seven to 10-day rotating shifts. You could never get used to anything.
I fell asleep at the wheel three times driving home. The third time I woke up to me driving off the road into the grass. Thankfully, there was no crash, and nobody got hurt. But that was the wake-up call.
It didn’t matter how good the job was on paper. I have to get out of this.
So, the next day I called my buddy on the way home from my shift and told him we should do that landscaping business we've always talked about. He had the work, I had experience.
I remember getting a loan from Wells Fargo on the way home from work for 20 grand. I couldn't believe they gave it to me literally like 30 minutes on the phone.
I guess it was because I had that job and they knew I had a payroll. I'm not really sure why, but they gave me that loan.
I called my buddy back and said, “let's get a Bobcat.” That was the plan we had set. We were going to get a Bobcat and start doing these landscaping jobs at these beach communities.
So, we did man, we kicked it off.
But it went terribly.
My buddy didn't really want to make the changes I thought we needed to make, to run a good business. So, I lost a good friend and 20 grand in that journey.
So is that when you started on Amazon?
That led me to Amazon. My past made it impossible to get a job.
People didn't want to hire me because of my history with drugs and alcohol. Even though they loved talking to me, and the interviews went great. But then they'd have to do the thing most businesses do.
In the end, they’ll say they can't make it happen. So I got told “no” a lot.
I had to move back in with my dad and kept trying to get jobs, but kept getting told, no.
Then, a friend came across and said, “Hey man, check out this dropshipping thing on eBay.”
It sounded like a big scam, but I was in such a bad position. I was willing to give it a shot and I had 20 bucks for this training. That was all I had in my bank account and a credit card.
So I gave it a shot and went pretty hard at it. Three months in, I made my first sale. I think I sold a hat and made a few pennies and just took it from there.
It kind of snowballed.
Then I bought the training. It was 500 bucks to learn how to sell on Amazon. It was another 90 days exploded, man.
In my first month, I got suspended because of so many sales and not enough feedback. Um, and that's how I got started on Amazon back in 2015.
From there, I started to play in the other world of selling on Amazon and all the different methods.
You started with the wholesale stuff.
I started with dropshipping, actually.
More like a blend of drop shipping, retail, or arbitrage. And, and then I saw that arbitrage had some issues and started to reach out to wholesale dropshipping and continued down that route. And just kept getting deeper and deeper into it from there.
So let's go back now. You were saying you had some issues with getting a job. Do you want to take us all the way back and tell us the story about what led you to this?
Yeah. Happy to dig into that, man.
You know, as a kid, I just feel like I had really big dreams, really big hopes. I wanted to do really cool stuff. I think everybody can identify with feeling that way.
Then you grow up a little older, I started to feel that life isn't what I thought it was. At 12 years old I was super depressed when I looked back. At that moment, I wasn’t looking at it that way anymore.
But I had trouble being by myself. I didn't have much self-confidence in a lot of things.
With sports, I felt pretty comfortable. But, I just didn't really feel very confident anything with anything else, like my relationships with friends, women, and so on.
But I had this big hunger to do really big things that I felt couldn't be fulfilled. I didn't have my father to guide me and point me in that direction because he was super busy uh, with his work and, and handling his own stuff.
So I think the biggest factor that led me down this path was that fire kind of burning inside me to do something great and not knowing how to capitalize on it.
So, I turned to that life of drugs and alcohol and partying to numb the pain and it worked at the time. It kept me comfortable with where I was, but eventually, put me in some really bad situations.
I've been incarcerated. I probably spent two years of my life incarcerated due to getting in trouble with different types of drugs and situations I was putting myself in.
Then I got addicted to drugs and ended up being homeless. I was sleeping in a vehicle for six months of my life. Then my friends helped me out, which pushed me a little bit deeper into that lifestyle.
Initially, what I got in big trouble for was drug distribution. I was trying to figure out a way to make money to survive. So, I definitely had that entrepreneurial spirit to make it happen but directed it at the wrong thing.
I think that that resonates with probably a lot of people trying to figure out ways to be happy. They try to figure out how to come up with some money early on in life.
I got goosebumps just listening to you talk about how that all transpired because I think a lot of people have stories like this that they can connect with. It doesn't start easy.
And being an entrepreneur allows you to have freedom and flexibility to do whatever you want.
All those people that said, “sorry! You sound great, you could definitely do this job, but your record has an issue.”
You had some struggles, you had family issues and it led you on a path that doesn't support you to have a great future on paper. But that doesn't mean anything about you personally. So, that's just amazing.
You were able to get out of that situation. You got this other job that you were falling asleep at the wheel. You said you needed something more and kept taking control of your life.
Do you feel like you were meant to be an entrepreneur?
Yeah. I definitely think it’s that burning desire inside of me to always view the world as so big with so much opportunity.
I've got three kids at home and I feel it's a common thread between all of us as we come into this world. We see so much opportunity till we go to school.
School kind of narrows our world down and they try to fit us into this box. And I rebelled against that very hard because it didn’t seem like a future that I wanted anything to do with.
So can you pin pinpoint one or two things that actually turned things around for you that made you say “I gotta just change.”
Yeah. The biggest factor was that moment when I was sitting in a cop car, cuffs on. I clearly knew I was addicted to drugs.
I was in the middle of getting this distribution charge and I was actually grateful that it was happening. At this point, I had already spent two years of my life behind bars and knew I was addicted outta control. But I knew this was the turning point for me.
And that put me on a three-year journey of recovery. I went to a rehab place, got out of there, went to what's called an Oxford house and lived there for three years and really discovered myself.
I learned to be myself and be comfortable with myself, and the person I wanted to become. So that was the number one pivotable moment in my, my life.
Number two was coming back home from that experience and trying to make a relationship work that really wasn't ever gonna work. And again, that stemmed from my lack of confidence. I didn't know if another woman was ever going to love me.
Would I be able to overcome this terrible past? So I kept myself there and it caused a lot of friction and stumbling blocks.
Another pivotal moment in my life was when I broke away from that relationship and said, “you know what? I don't know. I'm scared, still. I don't know if someone else is gonna love me, but that's better than dealing with this situation that I've kept myself in.
And that led me just to continue down this path of self-development. I think this really gave me some good skills that I've carried into how I run my business and how I operate in my day-to-day life.
Let's dig into that because I think that's really part of your whole aura and life. These new things that you became passionate about, almost addicted to, probably in a way that replaced the bad habits and the bad things.
Do you want to talk about those types of activities?
Yeah. My first one was definitely health. When I was living in Winchester, Virginia where the Oxford house was, I was working on organic community-supported agriculture. Even before it was a big trendy thing.
I was working on this farm and became obsessed with it. So, it hit me out of nowhere. I just really rad myself up in it and, uh, got into things like mindset. I started exercising consistently and developed a passion for helping other people be healthy as well.
So that was like a big one for me. It helped me find something that I wrapped myself up in. And, it put me on a path to understand why I was the way I was in the past and really wanted to figure out how to fix these things from their causes.
So, I figured if I could identify the cause of something, then I could have a path on how to fix it.
And that's definitely carried over into business as well. If a number isn't right in the business, then I can go down the path to figure out what went wrong. If I know what went wrong, I can figure out what I want to do to fix it.
It just took a lot of work.
I like to use the example of how I overcame the fear of communicating with a woman. I was afraid of rejection till I realized that, “Hey, rejection's really not that bad. it's, it's part of the game.”
So, I just started putting myself out there more and not being afraid of failure. I started taking failure as a lesson and turning it into a positive thing. And putting that spin on it helped me a lot too.
That's key for entrepreneurs. I always tell people the same thing. You have to fail in order to win, and you wanna fail a lot.
And those, you don't worry about. it’s just okay, move on to the next one. You don't need to take it so personally.
I think that definitely separates an entrepreneur from somebody who really wants to start their own business. They're scared to fail and entrepreneurs are like, “Hmm. You know, who cares?”
So what if I fail, I'm gonna start another thing. I'm gonna try another thing, you know, I'm gonna put myself out there. So I think I really resonate with that.
And about the fitness and how you identified a problem, it sounded to me like you're building SOPs back in the day literally for your life. Which is kind of cool. That probably translates tremendously into your current business your role with MDS as well.
Do you want to talk about how you operate your business and with what level of organization you do that?.
Yeah. When it comes to my business, I really try, probably to a fault, to really care about the people I'm bringing in. I want to put them in a position that they want to be in. Something that they're good at and they want to explore those skills.
So, we use traction from the entrepreneur's operating system to build out those functions on a chart and say, “Hey, where do you want to be?” What do you want to grow into?
What do you want out of your life? because in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about myself and what I went through. I think of people trying to fit me into a box that I don't want to be in. So I wanna surround myself with people that want to be here.
They're excited to come to work, so that's a big thing for me.
I think sometimes I look at that too much and I end up burning myself because the other individual doesn’t reciprocate it. I actually care, that’s why I try to help them out. So sometimes, there's that disconnect there.
But, I try to bring good people into the organization and keep it structured. That experience I went through at the Oxford house taught me about the power of structure.
I think a lot of entrepreneurs like to do things on a whim. We like the excitement that comes with it. But what I’ve realized is that structure allows me to be able to do things on a whim while making sure I don’t screw other things up.
If I have the structure and the system in place, then I can be that sporadic guy that goes surfing when the waves get good. And I just found out last night and, you know, tomorrow I'm calling out of work but things keep moving because the system and the structure are there.
It was hard to get through that hurdle because I resisted the structure at first thinking there was this boring life on the other side of it. But there definitely wasn't. It allowed me to have more freedom.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And I witness it in all the processes that you put out there and the structure that you create. It definitely shows how the business can operate without you in it, which is pretty cool. And I think you've been able to build that in some of your Amazon businesses.
So, when you have success in your business, do you do anything to reward yourself—some sort of perk. How do you treat yourself well, now that you don't abuse liquor and alcohol and stuff? How do you take care of yourself and make yourself feel happy?
Yeah. I like to do a really nice dinner with my wife. I'm not afraid to hit the spa and get a little boujee as well. So, a good massage or something like that goes a long way.
However, my biggest thing is definitely surfing. Planning and having surf trips, because I earned it. I just get such a reward out of that time in nature, away from the computer, doing something that I love.
So I try to reward myself with whatever I'm feeling like doing at the moment. If it's Friday, and I've had a good week and I finished strong, I can call my wife, depending on the moment. I can say, “Hey, babe, let's go do this.”
She's usually down for just about anything. So, she makes it easy for me.
I think you touched on something about going on a trip and getting away and detaching. I think you've mentioned to me casually about how that really changes sometimes your frame of mind or business. And you've been able to build this business that's organized and runs itself, slightly without you there.
But what do you gain when you step away for a couple of days and go surfing and completely unplug. How does that improve or change your attitude with the business?
It really allows me to come back focused. I don't know exactly what happens to me that does it. But it's something I've noticed over the past couple of years whenever I come back from a surf trip. It also happens on the MDS trips as well.
It seems like everything becomes clear. All this stuff I've been wondering, “what do I do? how do I handle this situation?” It's like, it gives me the time to come up with better answers, that I'm confident in.
Then when I get back, it's just clear on what I need to do and I make the space for it on my calendar. And I just dig in and knock it out.
So, I think it's that space that it gives me, that allows me to think through the answers a little more. As opposed to saying, ”crap, I have to jump to a meeting, let me put that thought on pause. and hopefully I'll get back to it.” Yeah. Um, so I think it's that space to come up with those answers.
And the way my mind works, which I think happens to a lot of us, is we'll come up with 10 answers for one problem in a matter of 60 seconds. Then you’ll play out all these scenarios in your head and come up with the top three. And that's what I want to chase down.
I totally agree with that, because when I step away and I go on a vacation, I actually try to unplug a little bit. It gives me so much space and all of a sudden, new ideas just flow into my head or new ways to solve problems.
I think like an entrepreneur and the leader of the companies, we're always trying to answer questions really quickly. As you said, it goes in one way when there are other ways to do it. We don't take the time because we're always busy with different things.
And we're just switching gears 12 times a minute, that you don't really get the space. So I think it's really great to unplug a little bit
But you also touched on how your friends took you on this path of negativity in the past. You mentioned that going to an MDS event will give you some more space and ideas. And you also come back rejuvenated.
Let's talk about who you hang out with, your community, and how MDS really fits in. How does that build you up? And what have you gained out of it?
My previous group of friends pushed me deeper into the life I was already wrapped up in. I've always had that mindset of standing out and being really good at whatever I'm doing. So, when I was living that life in that world of drugs and partying I wanted to be the best at it.
And my friends would push and encouraged me to do crazy things that just got me in more trouble. It threatened my health because I had a couple of near-death experiences doing questionable things. I was going to say they always wanted to lift me up, but I didn’t feel like I was being lifted up.
Now that I look back on it, it was more of pushing me deeper down.
When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I didn't really have a community anymore. It was me, and that was about it. Then I brought my wife in and, and it was a little bit after that, that I got into MDS.
As I became more active in that community, at first I felt I didn't have anything to share with these people. They're not going to get any value out of what I'm doing, which was wrong.
I was definitely doing a lot and that was just a limiting belief. I felt I didn't have anything to offer, it’s all been shared. But that doesn't even matter anyway.
Even if it had already been shared, maybe there's some guy who's on Facebook today at this moment that needs to hear that message.
So, I started to become more active in the community and started to quickly realize that this is my fricking tribe, man. These are my people I've been looking for all my fricking life.
Finally, I'm surrounded by people who are not judgemental, who, just support you for who you are and will always push you to do better. Not beat you up when you're doing terribly.
It's brought me so much motivation, clarity and such a good community. And it's just amazing that it's onlin, man.
It's hard to believe that you could feel so close to a group of people, but be thousands of miles away from them at the same time. So it's been an absolute game changer in my business. But more importantly in my personal life.
Yeah, totally. It's amazing the kind of people that have come into this group slowly over time. We continue to build slowly and we always look for the right type of person because we don't want to let everybody in there.
Most people check their ego out of the door and they're willing to help you out. And the more you give to the community, the more you get out of it. So, as you came in, you're like, “what do I have the offer?”
Then you start offering off stuff and all of a sudden everybody's helping you out. And you're becoming known and respected in the community. I think that probably really gives you a lot of self confidence in yourself.
And, of course, the values that you get out of learning from other people in other parts of the world.
It really gives you this eye opening experience. It’s funny, we're an Amazon group, but we have so much more that that MDS community offers people. We have all the latest and greatest, and we have the people that are on the forefront of every little thing.
We have people that do a million dollars right up to over a hundred million dollars a year in the group. And they’re willing to help at no cost at all. So it's really cool to, to get that out of the group.
When you joined the group, were you doing a million dollars? Did you join after that? At what point did you decide to join MDS?
It was like 2017 when we hit the million dollar mark. And then a little bit after that I got into MDS.
I got into Amazon throught affiliate marketing. And, although I didn't do the affiliate side, I just did the Amazon thing.
I would share my sales because when I was not doing so well online, people would share their sales and it would motivate me. I'd say, “that guy can do it, so I can do it.”
So, I shared something on my Facebook one day and, and Sean Cannon said, “Hey, you should join MDs.” And, I think he like tagged you or something like that. And I messaged you with a screenshot and some bunny ears and my eye ID, I think.
Yeah. We had a pretty fun process back then. That's how it started. But now, obviously interviews and stuff.
Some people said “I wanted to join and I waited too long.” You can't wait to join a community that offers so much value to you as an individual. I think what I learned from the community, and I didn't start it intentionally at all was just that, these are the people that I resonate with.
I have my college friends, my earlier friends, and we have family friends. But when I go on trips with people from here, I could talk to anybody brand new and we have so much to talk about. And, we have similar ideas and we literally walk away from every meeting with an idea that we're going to do this.
Then your entrepreneur self has to go. You don't need another job or another business. You have to literally say no at this point.
So it's pretty funny how that works out.
Let's wrap up with a couple of standard questions. I think, you know, people might want to know about you. What's the best business advice that you ever received?
I think the best business advice I've ever received is to just focus on like one to three things and put yourself in a role that you enjoy being in. And that’s because I naturally want to be all over the place. I naturally want to learn as much as possible and I want to learn it really well.
And it just doesn't play out the way we think it does in our head when we try to do those things. So, when someone told me that, it flipped it for me and made me realize, “Hey, you don't have to be good at everything. You really need to be amazing at like one or two things.”
Alright. So you wake up with the same skills and life experiences, but your business has gone and you have to start all over again. What would you do?
I’d definitely still get into e-commerce, but I’d do it differently.
I’d set up my organizational chart right off the bat. I’d be trying to hire the right People for those right positions. And, keep myself where I'm best.
I’d lead that team to grow the business in whatever niche that I'm gonna get into. But I still think eCommerce is a great decision.
What kind of advice would you give to people that are listening out there, and are selling right now or, or wanting to get in? What kind of advice do you give people that are in that situation?
If you've gotten into Amazon or e-commerce, or any type of business, honestly, don't be afraid of failure. Flip the script on.
We were raised to think of failure as an end point, instead of a stepping stone for something else. So if you can flip the script in your mind, start to train your mind to look at certain situations differently. Now you're leveraging failure instead of shying away from it.
So you failled? mistakes happen. Something goes wrong. Okay. What can I do differently next time?
Just keep going. And I think there's a lot of areas where we have that opportunity to take a step back and say, “Hey, do I really need to think about this this way? Where did this come from? Where did this idea that failure is a bad thing come from?
And if you think about it, someone else taught it to you. Someone else ingrained that belief in you, it's not really yours.
So come up with your own belief on the situations that you're encountering. And you'll feel more empowered when you encounter them and have to move forward.
I totally agree with that.
So, one thing I'm trying to work on is my perfect morning. Can you quickly tell us what your morning looks like? I think you have a pretty good routine.
Yeah. When I wake up in the morning, I don't look at my phone.
Lately, I've been waking up at 6:15am, so I get up somewhat early. I like to have that space to myself where everyone else is still sleeping. If I'm having trouble getting up, I'll actually do some pushups or jumping jacks to snap myself out of it.
I hate when I lay in bed after waking up. Like, I just don't feel good about myself when I do that. So, I really try to get up, get out of the bed and start moving. And I usually either work out or do a 10 minute meditation on the head space app.
Then I'll have breakfast, hang out with the family for a little bit and then go into work.
Nice. What's your favorite business book?
I think I'll have to say ‘Traction.’ It's having that system that’s critical for me.
A great one. Best personal book suggestion?
My best personal book is one that really helped me get out of my depression and addiction. It's called awareness by Anthony DeMelo and the book totally changed my life.
It gave me insight into how to be comfortable with who I wanted to be and, and how to actually show up and be that person in real life. So, I highly highly recommend that book. It's a great one.
That's good. And what's one thing that you're trying to change in your life right now, or a habit you're trying to fix or improve.
Right now, there's definitely a few that I'm working on. But the biggest one is being more intentional about the time I spend with my family.
So, a lot of us entrepreneurs get into business to make our own schedule. We want to be with our family more
But, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that while we're on this mission to build this business. I've started setting like blocks in my calendar. Now we do pancake breakfast every Wednesday and the kids get excited about it.
It's on my calendar. I'm reminded about it. I'm thinking about it.
Sundays, the weather's finally getting warm, so we're doing beach days every Sunday. So, the biggest thing I'm working on right now is being intentional about the time I'm, I'm spending with my family and not being on my phone when I'm with them.
I think you can be so much more present when you just put your phone down. Nothing is going to fall apart in the next 30 minutes.
Being intentional about it really does help and you can actually let go and enjoy your family and your kids. So really cool stuff. It's such an honor to interview you and have you here hosting the show and being a key member of the team.
Your story from where you were in your life and how you were able to pull yourself out of it. How you just keep redirecting your energy and taking it to where you got is crazily inspiring.
And I think you're gonna inspire tons of other people just by listening to this. Stories like this aren't unique. You’ll realize that you aren't the only one that has this type of issue.
I've heard this over and over from different members and people that start from being homeless or addicted to drugs. All you really need is inspiration, some guidance, some idea that you can do it right. And not be scared of failing.
Sometimes people get stuck. That's where having the support group and the community of people that are just like, you will really continue to inspire you over and over. And that's what we found through creating MDS and growing it and taking it to the next level.
I think it's just amazing to see that you’re hosting the Million Dollar Sellers podcasts. So interviewing amazing entrepreneurs, and you being one of them.
So congrats to you for being part of the team really appreciate everything, and looking forward to so much more.
Yeah, man. I appreciate everything you said and your bringing me in on the team. It means a lot to me.
And I have trouble believing that there's someone out there struggling with drugs or selling drugs want to be there. Nobody really wants to be there.
I've been around some pretty interesting characters and if you dig into their story, they just ended up there. They're just trying to do the best they can. And then society pegs them as this criminal or this outlaw or, or something like that.
And it's not always the case.
It's like the alcohol. You can drink a lot and you have so much fun while you're doing it. But then, the next day you're just sick.
So yeah, you keep drinking alcohol and you never get sick. And you just keep down that path or you go, I don't like feeling this way. I'm gonna stop drinking so much or I'm gonna drink less.
And then enjoy the next day.
I learned that with my kids. I can't drink too much, have a great time while I'm doing it, then I'm miserable the next day or two. I'm not focused because my head's cloudy.
The kids need so much attention at the age they're at. So you learn from that and you're able to pull yourself out of it.
So, with your story, it's amazing that you were able to do that and see where you've come. And I think you should be proud of yourself. And I think other people are proud of you as well.
I'm definitely hoping my story gets people, or someone out of that bad stuff I was into and gets 'em on a path. I see people them as risk takers and that's what it takes to be a good entrepreneur.
You gotta be able to take risks. And if you carry that over into a different world there's just so much opportunity, uh, laying on the other side.
Awesome. Well, I think that wraps it up for today. Your story is amazing, you you've joined an amazing community, you joined us. I'm so fortunate to have you on the team and I can't wait to see what else is to come. So Nick Shucet, thank you so much.
Thanks for having me and doing the interview.