Nick Shucet (00:31)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers Podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet. Today we have Tim Jordan from Carbon6 on the call. Tim, it's good to sit down and chat with you a little bit, man. 

I'm excited for the listeners to hear your story and how you got started on Amazon, where you're at now as the chief community officer at Carbon6. 

Go ahead and let us know a little bit about you and your story about how you did millions in the first year on Amazon and how you got a little bit of a war dog story for us.

Tim Jordan (01:06)

The War Dogs, we're talking about the movie with Jonah Hill, and I can't remember the other guy's name, where essentially they were selling stuff to the defense department. 

They were selling guns and, might have something. It's a crazy great movie.

Nick Shucet (01:16)

Michael something, I think, I forget.

Tim Jordan (01:21)

I was doing something similar, but I wasn't selling to the Department of Defense. I wasn't a gunrunner. 

I wasn't selling weapons, but when the US government was heavily into Iraq and Afghanistan, everything needed for infrastructure from diesel power generators to dump truck tires to food was all sourced through the State Department. 

I was working as a full-time firefighter and barely knew how to check an email. I was a firefighter paramedic. With our schedule, we had a lot of time off. We had a lot of downtime. We all had side hustles. 

I'd had some construction stuff and some various stuff. I got into this crazy opportunity where I could sit at the fire station on my computer and process these government RFQs and work these bids and get lower pricing so I could make some margin on it and then sell it. 

We were shipping containers, multiple containers every month overseas, and because we were shipping it overseas and it was for the government, I could go to these vendors and get crazy low pricing. 

Well, then one day I'm sitting around looking at this specifically an oil filter for a big mechanical truck, a big diesel truck. I'm buying them for four and a half bucks and they're selling on Amazon for $29.99. 

I thought, man, my pricing is so great. Surely I can make some money on this, but I didn't know you could sell on Amazon. I put a Craigslist ad out for someone to teach me to sell on eBay. 

I had this guy respond to this Craigslist ad and he was a member of another community. It was starting in some different things at Amazon and he came up, he looked at my wholesale list, and he's like dude, this is the holy grail. 

You've got everything. Where most people are restricted from brands and will sell it to you because they think it's all going overseas, but you should sell on Amazon. He introduced me to the idea of Amazon. 

We took off and did great. At one point, for about 18 months, as best we can tell, I was the largest seller of automotive filtration in the world online. I wasn't beating Advance Auto Parts and AutoZone, but online I was the biggest because I was selling on Amazon. 

Then I was selling wholesale through a website I set up and the pricing that I had, I wasn't following map pricing so I could beat all the map pricing in retail stores and everybody was buying my stuff and the vendors couldn't figure out who I was. 

They're like, oh, some dude selling Amazon because that was back before the seller's name was shown, but they're like, oh, it's not that guy, Tim. He's shipping all his stuff to Afghanistan.

I was shipping a lot of it, but I was also siphoning off a bunch to Amazon, which is cool.

Nick Shucet (03:43)

Nice, man. That's a good story about you getting in that game. Man, what year was that you got started on Amazon? 2015, nice. Those were good times for Amazon sellers. Well, and now you're here. Go back to that. 

Tim Jordan (03:59)

Yeah, I wish we'd go back to that.

Nick Shucet (04:04)

One big thing that sticks out that you said in there, Tim, is that how you were a firefighter, you could barely check an email. 

I know you do a lot with personal growth and development and that reminds me, I forget who it was, but they were talking about being a leader, and how you have to change constantly. 

You have to be willing to kind of change and reshape your identity, and who you think you are if you want to lead people.

I just would love to get your opinion on that and a little more about what your role is at Carbon6 now and what work is like for you today.

Tim Jordan (04:45)

Well, I wish I had some great wisdom that I could share about preparing yourself for growth or stretching into new positions and things like that, but I don't, because I've been pretty bad at it.

Now what I've been good at is jumping into opportunities head first, not knowing how deep the water is or if I'm gonna get eaten by a shark or an alligator, and just figuring it out. Most of my time in the past 10 years has been like drinking from a fire hose. 

Taking on too much water, just swallowing as fast as I can so I don't drown. Retroactively, there's been a lot of growth. I've learned a lot of things. 

I've had very little business experience, had zero digital marketing experience, and jumped into this opportunity that forced me to learn. 

A lot of times I was trying to catch up my skill set or my maturity to the opportunities that I had, which was fast, but it was also reckless and very stressful and made a lot of mistakes along the way. 

It's funny watching people who are much more meticulous and maybe thoughtful is not the right word, but intentional about the way that they approach opportunities. 

The way that they build things is based on their known skill set or based on the amount of time that they know it's going to take them to gain that skill set. 

I've always been jealous of those people because that's never been me. I've just jumped in and tried to swim. Now luckily I've jumped into a lot of water and learned to swim in a lot of it and gained a lot of knowledge and skills, but I have a long way to go. 

That happened with my role with Carbon6 as I was figuring out this e-commerce thing. There are a lot of things that I just was not good at. I'm not great operationally or organizationally. I'm bad at making hires. 

What I was good at was building relationships, finding valuable relationships, and providing value to relationships. 

What that meant was that I was able to get involved in small mastermind communities of sellers, share what I was doing, learn from others, and build mentorships and friendships that helped me to sell, grow, and create other businesses and service businesses.

Tim Jordan (06:52)

Those relationships and understanding people, understanding Amazon sellers, understanding the solopreneurship that we oftentimes work through as Amazon sellers were able to help me get by for a while. 

Then present myself or be presented with different opportunities where I could grow. Carbon6 was that. I started talking to our CEO, Justin, about just the ecosystem. 

I saw him at some of these events where he was snooping around before Carbon6 went public and got to be buddies with him. 

Spent a lot of time just talking about the Amazon seller, talking about the problems that we have, talking about the various communities, and talking about the human ecosystem of e-commerce. 

Eventually, that led to them offering me a position with Carbon6. The first thing that he talked about was equity in the company. I thought, well, that sounds great. It's a fast-growing company it looks like. 

It'd be great to have equity. Then the second thing he said was we want you to come on and be an executive. I think I said something like, absolutely not. The reason for that was, I know that I'm not a great full-time employee in a lot of positions. 

I've had other full-time, even executive positions in this space at other service providers. It's tough for me to operate in a more structured environment. 

An environment that forces me to be a little bit more corporate because you have a big team and you have a lot more responsibility. Eventually, he talked me into it. Didn't take him long. I think three and a half minutes probably. 

Since then I've been stretching and growing and learning from incredible mentors and colleagues, especially on the executive team at Carbon6 who come from a more traditional business. 

My role right now is focused on community. Going back to that first thing I talked about relationships and understanding people. As chief community officer, I have multiple roles, but one is to advocate for the community of Carbon6. 

Service providers, software companies, logistic companies, and fintech companies, all impact us as sellers because we need them as part of the ecosystem. 

I get to be a voice in the executive team from the seller's perspective on things that should be happening, and things that we should be doing, and acting as an advisor. 

The other thing I get to do is advocate for Carbon6 back to the community.

Tim Jordan (09:16)

Whether it's content, whether it’s getting involved in sponsoring events or sponsoring communities like MDS, I get to be heavily involved in that. 

It's a pretty sweet gig and get to learn a lot every day and interact with some cool people and still get to operate my Amazon businesses on the side. It's a pretty cool thing.

Nick Shucet (09:35)

That's such a great story. I share a lot of the same feelings, Tim, around structure. However I have found when I do set up some structure on my own, I tend to thrive in it. Of course, I don't want to be a slave to someone else's structure. 

I like to surf, if the waves get good, I wanna go surfing. The structure that I set up for myself allows me to do that. Have you found that within your own? 

I'm sure you have some type of structure day to day that you lean on a little bit, but can you identify with anything like that?

Tim Jordan (10:13)

Absolutely. I'll tell you, the thing that helped me the most with structuring what I do is starting to be selective about what I do. What I mean is, I've had this bad problem of saying yes to everything.

Tim Jordan (10:27)

I can do that. Let me help here. Let me jump in and be involved in this. A lot of those things that I want to be involved with. 

Whether it's my ego or whether it's just curiosity, or whether it's just wanting to help, somebody else or a different team, there might be things that I'm naturally good at. 

It'd be hard for me if our CFO called and said, Tim, I need your help processing these spreadsheets and figuring this out. 

I would say, sure, let me jump in it, but dude, I'm the last person in the world you want touching the finances and the financial planning.

Tim Jordan (10:57)

When I was filling up my day-to-day so to speak and the projects I was doing with things that I'm not naturally good at. 

Or things that I was going to have to stretch myself for even things that ultimately wouldn't move the needle it was hard to have any sort of structure because I kept failing at a lot of it. 

I would try to set up goals or habits or timelines for projects and they kept just failing. Once I started filtering out what I put into my agenda then it was easier to put a structure in place

That structure isn't super refined. 

I'm not doing a lot of 25-minute sprints and five minutes off. I'm not in the 5 AM club taking a cold shower every morning and working from 5:15 to 6. Some people are much more structured. 

By just eliminating a lot of the noise, when I do have time to sit and work, it goes pretty fast. I can usually knock out a lot of it in a big chunk.

Nick Shucet (11:55)

I love hearing stories like this because one, you don't hear enough of them. Two, I love things that go against, let's call it traditional knowledge. The world is changing and that's the one thing I would love for people to get out of this podcast. 

It's the success stories of entrepreneurs in this digital world or this new world where you can focus on what you love to do and be successful with it and find people who appreciate you for what you do, what you're good at, what you enjoy doing and staying focused on it. 

The world needs more of that in my opinion because people would just be happier because they're doing what they love to do. That's what I get out of your story, Tim. It's like someone who stayed, you sound like a very self-aware individual.

Nick Shucet (12:49)

You sound like someone who can adapt to anything, any situation that you're put into. You bring value to every relationship you're in because you're there just trying to add value. Adding value to sellers adds value to Carbon6 and everybody's winning in that relationship.

Those opportunities are out there now. It would just be great to see more people take that leap of faith, whatever it is, I had the same thing, Tim, where I would say yes to anything. What's that one saying, trying to figure out how to fly on the way down? 

That was me. How to build an airplane while you're flying, man.

Tim Jordan (13:29)

How to build an airplane while you're flying.

Nick Shucet (13:36)

I'm a little more refined these days and it's great, but I have stayed true to myself and the things I love to do and sometimes that means hard decisions have to be made. It is what it is, man. I think that's what the world needs to hear, a little more of those stories. 

Kudos to you for that, man. 

Nick Shucet (13:58)

I want to hear more about Carbon6, what they're doing in the industry, and some cool stuff that you're heading up. It's great to have you guys so involved with MDS now. I love seeing you guys at the events. 

We just had the yacht trip in Miami and it was so cool seeing you down there. I'm excited about MDS Inspire, which Carbon6 is hosting. We're going to have three great days of masterminds and great content with a lot of great people. 

Why don't you let us know a little bit about you know the Carbon6 MDS relationship, what you guys have going on there, and I would love to know some exciting projects you guys are working on too.

Tim Jordan (14:45)

I'll start just by explaining some of my initial excitement about Carbon6. Carbon6 was developed in this thesis that there were a lot of fragmented and individual software companies that are out in the space that was built by sellers. 

There would be some benefits starting to blend some of those together and share data and things like that. 

What the founders and then folks like myself feel strongly about with Carbon6 is that this entire magic of marketplace e-commerce isn't just the software, it's also the communities. It's also the expertise. 

It's also the educators. It’s all of those things that combine. When Carbon6 was coming together, they weren't just acquiring software companies, they were acquiring Amazon expertise and they're acquiring traditional SaaS and traditional business expertise. 

We've got executives who don't come from the e-commerce world, but they come from the software world and know how to make amazing software or how to build efficient teams and customer service systems that will help sellers. 

We also acquired experts like our Chelsea Cohen, who founded SoStocked. We got Vanessa Hung. We got Clayton Atchison who is now an external traffic expert, he was a big Amazon seller. 

When we combine all of that, it creates something important. Without community, it would be a really hard one for Carbon6 to sell. 

Selfishly, it's a lot easier to sell our solutions through communities because the digital marketing footprint is hard to establish just for traditional marketing. Also, it creates a feedback loop where we can learn.

We can understand what people need in the industry, we can put our finger on the pulse of the industry and respond to it. I recently sat down with our Chief Product Officer several months ago now, and he said, Tim, I want you to look at this list that we've been creating. 

He'd been working with Amazon sellers, agencies, big sellers, small sellers, everybody. It was a list of all of the actions that Amazon sellers have to perform to stay in business and succeed. It was over 200 items. 

Tim Jordan (16:57)

From various pieces of keyword research, to purchase ordering, to receiving samples, to running PPC, everything. It's over 200 items and Carbon6 only took care of a few of those, a handful of those. 

We thought about how cool is it that we have an opportunity to continue to provide solutions that make sellers' jobs easy. I never would have been successful on Amazon without Jungle Scout. I needed a keyword research tool. 

Amazon gave us that data so the third-party services and software and data providers are very imperative to us. 

Carbon6 is pretty exciting because we start with a great base of expertise and software but now we can look at that entire holistic view of needs. 

Not saying we're getting the logistics business or anything like that but there are a lot of those things that we can help facilitate for sellers and we already have the solutions for them we just needed to put them all together and make them accessible.

Nick Shucet (17:54)

I can attest. In Miami, the presentation that you did, that I believe Vanessa put together and you communicated to us at the masterminds on behalf of Carbon6. It was so spot on man. The community needed that in such a big way. 

To understand the lingo that Seller Central is using behind the scenes and these methods of using a flat file to get things done faster because, on Amazon, time is of the essence. We want to get our listings back up as quickly as possible or whatever issue we're facing. 

We want to fix that stuff quickly. Knowing the right word to use when communicating with Seller Central, is the secret sauce.

Nick Shucet (18:41)

That's what you brought to that presentation in Miami. If you're in MDS, you can get access to that presentation. 

Tim, for anybody listening, if you have anywhere you wanna direct them to get access to that resource or Vanessa or if there's a tool that you guys have that can help with that stuff.

Tim Jordan (19:03)

MDS Inspire. Come to MDS Inspire. A bunch of us are going to be there. Vanessa is going even deeper on a lot of that stuff. It'd be a great place to come access that information.

Nick Shucet (19:17)

Amazing. That's exciting that she's going to be there. I'm looking forward to getting some more flat file info. Although to be honest, Tim, we've got a Carbon6 company handling a lot of our Amazon stuff over at D8a Driven. 

That has been a great relationship working with those guys. It has allowed me to not be just an Amazon guy anymore. 

As much as I love getting an Amazon and banging some stuff out and making some money and making some moves, I can't always be the Amazon guy to get where I'm going, which brings me back to the leadership thing, man. 

I had to make a change, I had to dive into something new. Maybe you've got some advice for some people who are struggling with that. 

I've got a couple of things that have worked for me recently, but what would you say to someone who's going with that identity shift where they're like, man, I've been doing this for so long, and now I want to go down this route. 

I want to be a CEO. I want to be a COO or I am a CEO and I need to stop micromanaging my Amazon stuff. Do you have any advice you would give to someone for that?

Tim Jordan (20:33)

I think that it would start with transparency and vulnerability. If you're thinking you need to make a change and maybe you're just trying to think and decide if this change is necessary? Should I make it? 

Then once you decide, hey, I'm going to start moving into this different position, this different role, trying to figure out how to do it. Both of those have been done before. 

Some people have more experience and more wisdom in that than you do. What I've identified about myself for sure is that as an entrepreneur, at least with an entrepreneurial spirit, we like to just grab the bull by the horns and do everything ourselves.

Well, there are a lot of things that I can do by myself, but wouldn't it be much easier with some help, with some guidance, with someone who's already done this before? 

For me, I started trying to be more open about difficult decisions I'm trying to make or with stretches that I'm trying to make or changes that I'm trying to make with those around me because a lot of them are going to have great advice. 

I remember when I first brought our first baby home. Me and my wife brought the first baby home and it was a disaster. Nothing was going right. The baby was colicky, screaming all the time.

Tim Jordan (21:43)

I was going crazy because I felt like I couldn't fix anything. We had well-meaning older friends, older moms, and grandmas that would come to the house and check on us and they'd offer a piece of advice. 

My wife would get so mad, I'm glad she won't listen to this, she'd get so mad. They'd leave and she'd say, who do they think they are telling me how to raise and take care of my baby? I know better than they do, it's my baby. 

One day I looked at her and said, no you don't, you're a rookie, you've never done this before.

Tim Jordan (22:13)

What on earth makes you think that you know better than this lady who has raised four kids and 17 grandkids? What? 

Now I will admit she's right about her caring more about that baby than anybody else and she will get to know that child more than me, but when it's a three-day baby and it's your first baby, we're absolute rookies. 

For us or at least me in business, I try to avoid that mentality of thinking I know it all and thinking I already have a game plan and just let other people know what I'm trying to do, what I'm trying to accomplish, and then let them pitch in and help me navigate that. 

It helps eliminate a lot of potential problems for myself that I would like to avoid not having learned the hard way.

Nick Shucet (23:00)

Nice, man. That's very well said and it's a simple thing. Don't act like you know it all and you can get some advice from some people that have some experience with something that you don't. 

There's a lot of wisdom in admitting you don't know something. Being open and honest with the people, especially at Carbon6. I remember I think it was two years ago.

Nick Shucet (23:26)

Justin had invited me and Eugene over, you guys had gotten a house down in Florida. I think it was the first yacht day when Justin was there. 

The first year that you guys came, I got to meet some of the Carbon6 guys and it was just cool to be surrounded by all these people that had accomplished something on their own and now they were coming together and joining forces and you could feel the energy in there. 

You could feel the excitement. You could feel the entrepreneurial energy hadn't been squashed. 

I know Justin has said that before, where he wants these people to just keep being entrepreneurs but doing it together with Carbon6, and I think that's a great philosophy. 

I'm excited to see how it all plays out for you guys.

Tim Jordan (24:11)

We were having a big office night meeting in Toronto, I think two weeks ago. There was a marketing team meeting. I think there were seven or eight of us in the room and six of us had businesses on the side and the scene. 

Naseem, one of our execs commented like, look how entrepreneurial this room is. Everything from every angle is being led and driven by entrepreneurs, which is cool.

Nick Shucet (24:35)

It's great. Well, I'm excited to see you guys at MDS Inspire. That's happening March 3rd through 6th. I'm flying out there on the second. It sounds like I'm gonna see you there Tim. I'm excited to hang out again with you and the Carbon6 crew, man

Tim Jordan (24:52)

I appreciate you putting all this together and doing what you can for the MDS community. We love being a part of everything that MDS is doing and hope we can continue to for a long time.

Nick Shucet (25:04)

You're welcome, Tim. Thanks for coming on, man. I look forward to seeing you in Vegas.

Tim Jordan (25:08)

All right, sounds good. Take care.

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