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349 : Jason Clarke – Hire or partner with talent and learn from them
22nd October 2018 • eCommerce Momentum Podcast • eCommerce Momentum Podcast
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We revisit Jason’s rules and goals from when we last talked over 2 1/2 years ago. Guess what, they haven’t changed. Sure the numbers got bigger but Jason’s goal of helping others still stands. His goal of building a bigger network still stands. His work ethic is right up there with the best. And guess what? His business is growing. Is he lucky or just consistent? You tell me.


Jason’s backstory and first interview back in May 2016

Jason’s FB contact





Gaye’s Million Dollar Arbitrage List


Scope from Sellerlabs

Tactical Arbitrage – Get an 18 day free trial with code: “Tactical”

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Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)

Jason:                                   [00:00]                     No, no, it’s true, and you know, it’s, you know, people don’t really know the backstory, we haven’t really shared that much, but you know, we had our official business meeting in early January of this year and we literally locked ourselves in a hotel room for four days and basically all the numbers were out there, everything was out at the good, the bad, and the ugly to get down to the bottom line to see if this partnership would work and uh, you know, asking somebody to move across country who was running a seven figure successful business and to change the way of life to merge into another seven figure business is very challenging.

Cool voice guy:                  [00:36]                     Welcome to the ecommerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of newcomers selling today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.

Stephen:                             [00:49]                     He wanted to talk a few moments about some sponsors scope from sellerlabs. Um, when’s the last time you created a listing? Right? And when you create that listing, you’ve got to come up with the keywords, right? It’s all key word dependent. I don’t care if it’s a private label or wholesale. You’ve got to get it right. Well, what’s the best way to get it right? And if you’re selling a similar product that’s really successful, you go and you take and use their keywords and that’s what scope does for you. It’s a phenomenal tool brought to you again by seller labs. The leaders in technology when it comes to Amazon, right now, they are just crushing it with all their products, but scope allows you to get that listing right. Get ranked for those key words as fast as possible. Therefore you get the sales, so go to, forward slash scope.

Stephen:                             [01:38]                     Use the code word momentum. Save a little bit of money, get some free key words to test, try it out and see if you see an improvement. If you don’t adjust, what’s cool about what I love about a seller labs is that you then message and say, Hey, I didn’t get this right, tyler. Hey Jeff, this isn’t working right. What am I doing wrong? And Boom, you’re going to get the help you need and that’s what you’re going to get from solar lamps. And it’s a very special group that had been very, I’ve been very fortunate to be connected with them. And again, I look over time they’ve delivered every single time, you know, same thing I could say for Karen from solutions for ecommerce. I mean she’s been carrying my account for a couple of years now and our account, my wife and I, and she really does handle things for us.

Stephen:                             [02:19]                     Um, I mentioned, uh, just last week we created a new listing with, I forget how many variations, but again, all the flat files uploaded done as I needed. I pop in, so she’ll send me a template, I pop in some information and then boom, it’s handled, await. These pictures weren’t done right, blah, blah blah. This UPC, Nita poom modified adjusted. And again, the communication’s been phenomenal too. I get an email back saying, hey, this was done or this, you’re missing this, Steve. Hey, you got to do this. So, you know, we had those challenges too. And that’s why I like working with somebody who’s been doing it. I’ve been doing it for a long time to do, you know Karen also does listings for Ebay. Yep. Lots of them. So if you want to build out that channel, which of course you should, it’s q four. You should be selling everywhere you can.

Stephen:                             [03:05]                     Karen can help you with that too. So you gotTa tell her I’ve sent you. So you’re going to go to solutions four ecommerce forward slash momentum. You’re going to save 50 bucks every single month. You’ve got to save that $50. But more importantly, you’re going to get an inventory health report. Um, did you just get hit with monthly longterm storage fees? Well guess what? If you haven’t, they’re coming. You want to get that inventory right and she can help you with that. You gotta tell her I sent you again solutions the number for ecommerce forward slash momentum will get you into that. Save the 50 bucks. Get that inventory health report though. That’s really, really important. Get that going right away. And I don’t want to miss my coach when it comes to retail arbor online or when I have a question. And I do not that we don’t, we don’t really do much of it anymore, but when I do have a question, I go to Gaye Lisby because why?

Stephen:                             [03:49]                     Because she’s really, she is a coach. I mean, she’s really phenomenal, but she also puts out a daily list and you’re going to get that list five days a week. You’re going to get tons of leads, the number of, uh, agreed to amount that you’re supposed to get. She at least she usually gets to those in the four days. And then the fifth day seems to be a bonus most of the time. Phenomenal Group, small amount of buyers where this list is going to. And the best thing is the nuggets that you learn. Hey, why is the red one better than the blue? One? Gaye can help you with those questions. I saw, hey, I got, um, I got to the dreaded letter about a brand. Here’s the, here’s the way you approach it. Hey receipts, how do you, what’s the best practice? I saw her leaving instructions, teaching me the accountant how to do a better job with it.

Stephen:                             [04:34]                     And it’s phenomenal. So it’s Gaye Lisby, um, made a million dollars selling. Um, I’ll have the link in here. You’ve got to use the, my, my link and it does help me, I don’t want to say it that way, but um, it’s part of the amazing freedom with Andy, slam inslee, Iran Hirsch corn, and nate’s lamins. So you know, you can trust. Okay, so come out to the website, take a look at it, and you will get a savings and you can get two weeks free right now only through my link. You get two weeks free. Try it. You don’t like it? I get it back off. But right now is the time to make money. Get cash flow going right now. And so join you. Get two weeks free. The only way you’re gonna get the two weeks for these. If you use my link, it’s on this episode.

Stephen:                             [05:13]                     Come on out and give it a try. You will not be disappointed. Again, you’re going to see me in there. So reach out if I can help you too. Let’s get into the podcast. Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode 349. Jason Clark, man. Oh Man. I’m so excited to have him back on. It’s been a long, long time. Which are you here? How long it’s been since I had them on. I can’t believe it. I mean, both him and I both were like really? Because we’ve seen each other so many times around the country. Very inspiring and very inspiring for two reasons. Um, the, what was true two and a half years ago, I guess I let out of the bag is still true today and it’s even more true. It’s emphasized. And I think this is a good example of what can be when you put your head down and do the work.

Stephen:                             [05:57]                     Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t see the shiny object. You just put your head down, do the work. No, you’re gonna. Hit It on some rocks every so often and you know who’s your boo boos and move on. Right? And just keep going and going and going and build that network even stronger. And, uh, we get into some details here that I think are really gonna help you. It’s a neat place that I’m seeing a few business people willing to do. Um, and Jason is a great example of it. Let’s get into the podcast. Alright, welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. I’m very, very excited, very excited about this gas. Gets a return guest and what blows me away when I went to look and I always go back and look and you know, when was the last time we talked? It was in May of 2016, so two plus years ago, episode 99. Jason Clark. Welcome back, Jason.

Jason:                                   [06:50]                     Steven, I cannot believe it’s been that long. It seems like it was yesterday. And uh, congratulations to you. I can’t believe you’re the several hundred episodes in. Ah, what, what number are we up to today?

Stephen:                             [07:00]                     Uh, you know, I just don’t know because I do a little bit advanced. So it’s [3:40] something, maybe three to [3:50]. I mean, it’s, it’s got to be close to that. Isn’t that crazy? Millions of downloads. I’ve been very, very fortunate and I’m, I’m, I’m very humbled by it. I am. I’m very humbled.

Jason:                                   [07:14]                     Well, it’s A. Anybody who’s been in the ECOMMERCE world for the last couple of years, you’re definitely a go to a. there’s so much wealth of information on your podcast that I’ve been fortunate enough to help myself scale from being guests 99 to being number [3:40] or whatever now. So, uh, without your podcast I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. So thank you. I appreciate it. And congratulations on all your success.

Stephen:                             [07:39]                     That’s very kind of you. Um, so let’s go back to number 99. Here we go. This is my, and I write these headlines are the titles, right? These episode titles based on what I get from the episodes, things that I take away, things that have stuck with me and I think everybody has something to offer, but here are the key points that I had back then. Solid work ethic. I’ve made a formula. This is a formula. Jason, get ready. There’s math, we’re gonna. Have to do math. Solid work ethic with some smarts. And a growing network equals results now, two plus years ago, right? Two and a half years ago almost. That’s what I said. And so let’s go through it right now. I’m going to, I’m going to take us through and I’m gonna stop at one of them. Solid work ethic. Anybody who watches Jason, anybody who’s read anything he’s written, has always seen his solid work ethic. What’s the number that you look at? What’s that one number? You use? The one percent, the 99 percent better than your competitors.

Jason:                                   [08:37]                     Ninety nine percent of everybody around you and that should get you to a successful

Stephen:                             [08:42]                     business. Okay? So two and a half years later, that formula has been true. I’ve watched him, I’ve seen him around the country, we met running. These been to my warehouse, we’ve been around and that has not changed. 100 percent. So for two and a half years I thought was going to be easy. I thought you were going to be sitting on a beach sipping Margaritas. Now, solid work ethic. Okay? Now let’s go on smarts. You know, one of the things that I appreciate about Jason is you were willing to admit that you don’t know everything, that others have something to offer and you’re willing to take advice. You’re actually out seeking advice and slash or learning fair, a hundred percent fair. You have to, you have to. It’s a, it doesn’t matter if you’re an expert in the field, become an expert in another field. Diversify. Um, I’ve been, I’ve been humbled so many times by brand new resellers in the game.

Stephen:                             [09:36]                     That’s so true. That’s so true though. They look up to people like yourself or, or your friends and myself and uh, and they ended up the, they ended up telling you a small piece of information and helping you to actually move the needle of your seven figure company. It’s crazy. So it’s 100 percent true. One hundred percent true that, you know, and it, it bothers me a little bit when somebody says, Oh, I’m not a big. I’m like, dude, I’m a part time seller a part time. So I don’t plan a changing in that. Okay. Uh, I’ve been selling for a long time, but I have no clue on a whole bunch of things. You have something to offer and your perspective from where you come from. That’s one of the cool things that we’re both in the green room in it. It’s very cool to see some of the backgrounds and what they bring.

Stephen:                             [10:17]                     It brings perspective. Would you agree? Yes, it does. A, it’s, um, perspective is very, very important. You have to have it. If you don’t, I think it’s a very easy way to get smacked right in the face when you don’t expect it. So I’m just always be open to learning a new perspective from somebody else. I think it really helps you out, not as a business owner, but as a person. All right, let’s add the last piece of that formula at the probably the most important piece. Okay. So solid work ethic, very important. Don’t want to downplay it. Just being smart, very important. However, you can hire smart too, so I don’t want to downplay that yet. You can hire people and you should hire people smarter than you and smarter than me, but this is probably the most important. I think you would agree to this growing network.

Stephen:                             [11:02]                     This was two and a half years ago. You were saying this. How true is it today? Nothing has changed. Uh, I mean basically the show’s over, Steven, we can shut it down. It’s the identical, right? Nothing has changed. We just answered all the things. If you want to be successful in ecommerce, that’s it. So I’ll work that I think gets smart or hire smart and then build your network and you’ll have the results period. I mean it’s, that’s big. That’s literally the biggest thing I did this year was hire somebody a smart to join the team and I’m sure we’ll get into that real soon. Yeah. And, and I want to take it because there are two big plays you made this past year. Big plays not little place. Um, and I, I don’t know if they both fit in the 12 months. I think they both fit into calendar 12 months and in two different places.

Stephen:                             [11:48]                     Toys r us and bond time. And I know there’ve been a lot of other things and I don’t want to miss them, but this is, these are two big place, right? Is that a fair way to say it? A bigger than most people realize? Yeah. Bigger than most people realize. And what’s cool to me is what you learned at Toysrus you apply to Ponte on. Again, that’s where I go back to as being smart is that, hm, we learned some things. And so we mixed up our game a little bit. We changed it and then we brought more people in. So what I’m talking about here is Jason made a mega a run at toys r us and you bought. Do you know how many states you went to?

Jason:                                   [12:29]                     Well, I, we had four different teams out there and I wasn’t, I’m usually a big logistics person, but my business partner Jonathan cleaner is excellent in logistics as well. So, um, I let him, uh, he wanted to take the lead on that and we agreed that that would be the. I’ll get him back on, we’ll dig deeper in that. I don’t know, probably 15.

Stephen:                             [12:54]                     I don’t know when. And we got to get to the Jonathan Story. I mean, I wanted to get there but um, to, to, to figure out what that is and we’re talking scaled, we’re talking six figure purchases. Um, you know, all throughout buying at different levels, dollar cost averaging, is that a fair way to say it to? Absolutely. We definitely made those plays. So what that means is that they were buying some things at $10 and then they bought some things at $5 and so therefore, if they only bought one of each, there [7:50] is their cost, right? So they make their money and so when you can buy and you can start buying volume and you start getting the benefit of all those different things you can, you can bring the prices down. Um, and overall you make money. So just want to make sure we get that.

Stephen:                             [13:38]                     That’s a very important play when one of these big chains goes out of business. Um, how do you, how do you not though consider you? He said, how many states did you say I lost, I guess 15 or so. 15 states. That means a lot of stores, but there are still hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of more stories that you didn’t get to that all that inventory was going to also get thrown in to the mix potentially. How do you get past that fear right there? You know what I’m talking about where it’s like cheese, I’m going to sink six plus figures into inventory that quite frankly could be readily available all across the country and people could be buying it at my price or even a little bit cheaper.

Jason:                                   [14:25]                     Well, I think you, well one comes with experience. Uh, you know, this is my fourth full time year on the Amazon Platform, um, to know your data, meaning no, the product three, no, the season if that product or those products were all. Obviously toysrus is heavily seasonal with a. So there’s a lot you avoided then. Uh, actually no, there’s not much we did avoid to be honest, you know, if a fatality tomorrow, I’m selling pumpkins today, you know, so uh,

Stephen:                             [14:54]                     you had different liquidators into your case too is one of the things we found out with toys r us is that they use different liquidators and you had some different opportunities and we did, it was very interesting because some of the communication about pricing and stuff. So we were you able to negotiate better pricing based on volumes that you guys were buying?

Jason:                                   [15:13]                     You know, it’s kind of a misconception at least in retail store closings with these, at least these larger ones because they are it up and buy some of these bigger companies to run these liquidations and they are very corporate and they’re kind of run by the book. So there is a little bit of wiggle room particularly on fixtures, but there’s really not a lot of wiggle room generally at all until the last couple of days. On occasion you might find somebody to play ball a week out, but usually no

Stephen:                             [15:45]                     in the last couple of days you’re not scaling. I’ve been the last couple of days. It’s scraps, it’s what’s left and you know, you’ll take what you can get, but that’s not a scale. What you were talking about, what you were doing is you are buying scaled in those states.

Jason:                                   [15:57]                     Correct? We were, and I, I, you had mentioned the last couple of days being scraps. You could say it’s scraps, but if you have enough logistics and in data and team and play and in information than. I don’t really call it scraps. I call it shovels. You may be shoveling scraps, but you’re shoveling, um, because you know, you know, getting something for almost free. The risk has been on.

Stephen:                             [16:24]                     Yeah, you’re down to a penny. You’re not even at ten cents on the dollar. You’re below that. I mean, I agree with you there. I mean, you’re way, way, way, way, way, way down. Okay. Alright. So you brought a big team member in to help with this. How did that, who started the conversation?

Jason:                                   [16:43]                     I think it was actually me a couple of years ago, uh, became friends with Jonathan leader a couple of years ago. King, the lego kingpin, everybody. And it’s still true, it may not be involved that much in Lego anymore because he’s busy, uh, helping us scale our company but make no mistake, he knows more about as probably anybody I know. So, uh, but yeah, bringing him in was huge. It was probably me, um, you know, I was scaling running a company by myself and as you know, that can be very hard personally on your time, on your personal life and there’s only 24 hours a day. I think I mentioned that on your, on the last show and that doesn’t change for a five figure seller or a seven figure seller and you need to have quality of life so you need, you need help. And Jonathan’s amazing. And our relationship was just always good. Very, very smart. Um, we’re, we’re kind of opposites, which are

Stephen:                             [17:37]                     good and bad about that because I think that that’s one of those things that, um, I just had somebody on Andrew Mapper gayness and he’s a number two at a company. He knows it. That’s what he wants to. He’s great at it. He’s a lawyer, but he’s, he’s a number two. He’s running operations for a company because it fits his lifestyle and I got a message from somebody today saying, thank you. They listened to the episode twice because it was what he needed to hear because he’s like, privately sent this note. Sorry, I’m not going to call you out. Who you are said I think I’m a number two, and I’m like, I get it. I’m a number two. My myself, Steve here is saying I’m a number two. I’ve always been a number two in the companies that have worked were in corporate. I never wanted to be number one. I don’t like it. I don’t like the stuff. So what are the skillsets? Because I think people see it as a failure if you’re a number two and it’s like I always take a Gary v saying the top seven guy, the first seven hires at Google, make a heck of a lot more money than anybody else on the planet. Pretty much. Right? So, so what is it that isn’t a failure for somebody to be a number two?

Jason:                                   [18:40]                     I mean I don’t consider Jonathan and number two, and I know you weren’t saying that, but

Stephen:                             [18:45]                     yeah, you know what I mean, what makes basically they’re walking away from their business and coming in to work in your business or partnering up with you, but give it kind of giving up the solo life to work with somebody. Maybe that’s a better way to say it.

Jason:                                   [18:57]                     Well, you started it off in the podcast here about, you know, one person or anything knowing everything and networking. Well Jonathan became my business partner because of networking and networking with him and it didn’t matter how big that I got. There’s, I could not know everything. I could not handle everything. So I needed to bring on somebody to fill in the holes, to fill in the things that was an expert at the things that I didn’t know. So Jonathan complimented me as a business person and to some degree I knew things that he didn’t, that I was an expert in and complimented him. So you put two pieces of Swiss cheese together, but if you line them up right, you don’t see any holes.

Stephen:                             [19:39]                     It’s such a. well put phrase because I think about, you know, he was running a pretty good logistics operation down there. You have a lot of skews, you’re moving a lot of skew, especially if you’re buying a bunch of stuff from toys r us, you’re moving a whole bunch of new skews through and so bringing that together, there’s not a big learning curve. Right? I mean, he’s not like he couldn’t when he got to Vegas. I mean he was ready to work.

Jason:                                   [19:59]                     He was, I mean, that’s a big deal. It’s a huge mental. Uh, it was a mental break for me. It was wonderful. So, um, you know, that’s. And that’s part of the value that he came to the team with is knowing that he could basically just jump on a moving train and he did and it’s been amazing.

Stephen:                             [20:19]                     He can jump on, um, without you staring over his shoulders. I mean, I think that’s part of the relationship too, is you had already had confidence in him, right? You had some tweaking to do, but you already had confidence in him.

Jason:                                   [20:31]                     Well, I, I have to laugh, Steven, because I’m actually in my Home Office and Jonathan’s a office. His desk is literally in front of me where I stare her

Stephen:                             [20:41]                     over his shoulder to shoulder. Dude, I’m sorry, Jonathan. I Apologize, but no,

Jason:                                   [20:48]                     uh, no, not at all. It’s, I don’t, I don’t show over his shoulder and uh, often I need him to come over and stay over my shoulder and make sure I’m not screwing it up for him and for everybody else that we employ and yeah, so now it’s definitely not that type of relationship nor ignored. I would want that.

Stephen:                             [21:03]                     So let me make, let me see this. Indie Islam is what my friend says. There were two key parts to his business. The first was when he brought his nephew in, Nathan into his business, gave him half of his business, his business more than doubled, tripled, whatever, and then they bring in yoga as I call them, Lee Ron, who’s smarter than all of us and their business just continues to explode. Would you say, and be honest, I’m looking for real honesty here because this is a point where I think people are getting to right now. I see this, you see this out there, there’s a definite, there’s a buzz out there about this. Would you say that this past year that you’re [inaudible] your business has grown pretty exponential, which you credit the hiring of Jonathan and his ego’s going to go right through the roof, but the hiring of a key talent, let’s call it that, and now he goes even going to get better. He’s going to get a shirt made saying key talent, but, but do what I’m saying. Would you say that that was the biggest pivot and your business for, for the explosion in Your Business? Is that, is that fair?

Jason:                                   [22:10]                     I think there’s a saying where it says, always hire somebody smarter than you. I did or I joined with Jonathan Smarter than me. Jonathan’s always been smarter than me and I told him that 20 times. Um, he’s very good.

Stephen:                             [22:21]                     Oh, he’s, he’s low. He doesn’t speak a lot. He’s quiet, but

Jason:                                   [22:25]                     he’s, he knows. He knows and, and, and no matter what happens in the future with me, without me, Jonathan, you know, Jonathan will be extremely successful. He brings a uniqueness to the table that I don’t have. He’s very humble. I’m very loud and obnoxious sometimes and very, um, uh, emotional and I wear my emotions on my sleeve. He is what I call him, the moderator. He’ll just sit there and listen and absorb it. He’s a sponge and then he’ll slowly coming out in hill. He’s the voice of reason and he, he walks me off the ledge a lot and that is one of the key reasons why I wanted to work with him on a day to day basis. We do not agree every day, uh, we did not expect that happen or do we want that? Uh, but, uh, he is a massive asset and I’m a, is definitely the best decision I have made since deciding to go into business full time.

Stephen:                             [23:21]                     And in fairness, again, I want you to, I want you to commit to this that one of the reasons that your business has been able to grow as, as quickly and as large as it has, is because of hiring talent. Absolutely. Okay. Um, alright. So, so what I want to get to though is other people are thinking about this, right? They’re sitting there saying, how do they, how do you give up control? Because that means you bring in somebody smart. Guess what? They don’t get to use their smarts, their not going to stick around, right? So it’s very important that you got to give up control. And me, I’m a control freak. I was a controller for a long time. Right? And so how do you give that stuff up, Jason?

Jason:                                   [24:00]                     It’s hard. You know, I’m a very, uh, you know, I feel I can do it all and I know I could, but there’s only so much time in a day and it’s just not worth it. You basically have to commit and say you, you are not the boss, you, your shared boss and uh, you need to share in the decisions. And, uh, it’s hard some days and we go at it sometimes, like, like any good partnership does, and I am equally as fault, probably more at fault than I’m wrong more than years probably, but it’s hard. It’s very hard to do.

Stephen:                             [24:31]                     Think about it like a marriage. Is it like a, is a, is it like that? I mean, where you have to put in to see a working relationship like that?

Jason:                                   [24:39]                     It’s worse than a marriage because there is some benefits you don’t get with business partners, but, uh, that, that other kind of love. But uh, um, no, it is, it’s a complete relationship. It is, it is literally a marriage. Um, and I think if you don’t play fair, uh, it will turn into a divorce, a just like a regular marriage and you’ve seen it. I’ve seen it and hopefully that never turns out.

Stephen:                             [25:04]                     Do you just have to pay attention to it? It’s a very important. So again, right? So I want people to think about this. We have seen talent now Jonathan’s talent, right? And so there are examples that we’ve seen those outliers. We’ve seen those people who were out there listen to my show, you’re going to hear several hundred of them. And I met a guy, I was thinking about this earlier before our call. I’m at resonate. Uh, Jeff, uh, uh, from sellerlabs introduced me to him. It’s a resonate conference and he was running his own Amazon business and doing really well and answering logistic questions for people. And finally this company from California said, look, do we need you? And they brought them out there to run pace. Legit. I haven’t had them on the show yet. I’m going to soon. It’s me, but this is a really big seller that said, okay, I’m giving up my business and going to work for somebody.

Stephen:                             [25:53]                     Um, he isn’t failing. He’s, he has his line in the sand saying, my family is this, this, this, and this. These are the absolutes. And they been for him because he’s that much of a talent for their business to get to that next level. And I think that people have to pay attention to that. Um, and if you see somebody and they have talent, don’t, you know, I think, uh, Bob Steele, you know, like that dude, he could do anything for anybody, anybody company that let him go, they are fools because he had it. That would be a guy you would hire, right? I mean, so, so I just want people to start thinking about that, that if there’s another way to grow your business and it doesn’t have to come on your back. Now the challenge is you gotTa Pony Up, you know, this has to work right here and this isn’t cheap and Jonathan’s not cheap, right? This false.

Jason:                                   [26:37]                     No, no, it’s true. And you know, it’s, you know, people don’t really know the backstory. We haven’t really shared that much. You know, we had our official business meeting in early January of this year and we literally locked ourselves in a hotel room for four days and basically all the numbers were out there. Everything was out of the good, the bad and the ugly to get down to the bottom line to see if this partnership would work. And, uh, you know, asking somebody to move across country who was running a seven figure successful business and to change the way of life to merge into another seven figure business is very challenging. And, you know, luckily we were friends before and we really made sure that the partnership agreement was in the best interest of both of us. And there were concessions that I added without him even asking for and vice versa just to show good faith, you know, he, he wanted to make sure that it was a good deal for myself as well as me adding it for him.

Jason:                                   [27:36]                     And uh, it was not easy. Um, I can tell you right now, you know, I’ve worked for a major bank and corporations and had been in board rooms and things like that and under real corporate pressure. And that was the exact same feeling that I had after four days. The very frazzled but it needed to be done. These are two people’s lives that have businesses that technically neither one of us needed each other, but we wanted to put the puzzle together to make a pretty picture. Or one plus one doesn’t equal two. Correct? Correct. Yeah. See, that’s the key right there. One plus one doesn’t equal two. So, you know, yeah, you could, you could, you could do it, but it all comes at a cost a few now together. You guys can do it and it’s different and it is different working with somebody.

Jason:                                   [28:19]                     How different is it? Especially on the top line decision making in those things? Isn’t it nice to have somebody to talk to about that stuff? It is a, you know, I mean, when you’re talking about top line, you know, that’s obviously the, you know, it’s the foundation of your business because you don’t have any, uh, you know, how many sales you’re done. So you have to, you have to work at that. And I’m, you know, I’m going to make mistakes and I need him. He’s like a brother, you know, he, he’s going to have my back and uh, you know, and when you have talented people on board and they should not come cheap talent does not fall off the truck. And um, he has my back and vice versa. Um, it, it takes a lot of the pressure off, you know, we do wholesale and when you’re spending 10, 20, $30,000 on one skew, you know, I run, everything gets run through the both of us and even if he doesn’t care, I want that backup decision from him because I will make mistakes like anybody else and it could be a costly one.

Jason:                                   [29:17]                     So thank God I have somebody with his talent and his smarts to sit there and bounce a bounce the ideas back and forth. Oh, the other thing is he brings his perspective, again, as we talked about earlier, perspective is so important and he’s already been a seller for such a long time. That perspective he brings to the table and again, there’s no learning curve. It’s immediate. It’s like, Hey Jason, I’ve done that and here’s what we did. How, here’s, how to,

Stephen:                             [29:42]                     here’s this, that’s a big deal again, and you have to pay for it and I hope more people think about this stuff because the other opportunity is, you know, even just sharing warehouse space in different places like that and you get to see people’s work ethic, those kind of things that you can reduce costs and take advantage of opportunities I just think are so important. All right, so let’s go on because toys are us. Wasn’t good enough. I mean, you guys killed it, you crushed it. You sensitive bottom, scrape the bottom. No, and then all of a sudden I get a message saying, steven, we’re coming to your warehouse. Uh, we need some space to do some things. Could you send some pallets to Vegas for me? And Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, of course. Right. And so what happens is this truck backs in and is full. It’s full and full, but it’s not just jason,

Jason:                                   [30:34]                     who else was with you? Well, we had, um, our existing staff. Of course we had Jonathan there and we had other people. We had a, um, Jason Sloan and current friends that we, the professor, the professor, prof sales, everybody, um, and who we had met through networking in the Green Room when I know you wanted to talk about networking and these partnerships with Jason and car and it worked out great for them. It worked out great for us. It was kind of like bringing on Jonathan. We wanted to work with people that we knew, people that were available, people that we liked and respected and were wanted to work with us and to solve this logistics problem. And when you ask people to go on the road for weeks, let alone a month, that list gets real short, real quick. And we are extremely fortunate to have them work with us.

Jason:                                   [31:34]                     And what was even better is there such fun people and we had so much fun and so many labs. So, so staying at airbnbs and 18 nineties farm houses for weeks and traveling the country and putting together the logistics and the good, the bad and the ugly and really just getting in there and grinding and learning some skills from them and helping them in skills that they need for their Amazon and even Ebay business and things like that. So it was wonderful and he was, we could not have done it without them to the level of success that we did. So we’re super grateful and they’re still working with us, which is outstanding and we’re just a world with top happy again and

Stephen:                             [32:14]                     not the learning curve. Right. I mean, I’m sure there was some right because they’re a little bit newer to Amazon, but they still knew how to do things right. And so having that and having what I also like is again, a different perspective, they come from a different part of the country, right? So they’re buying different things right, for their business and so they can also see stuff from a different point of view and being willing to accept those points of view. That’s a maturity issue. Jason. I’m not so sure I’m good at that. I mean, I think about it with my boys sometimes I’m like, Oh, you know, I don’t like. I’m like, ah, you know, they’re right and I don’t like being wrong, you know, and it’s hard. And so having that, how do you, especially with, you know, I guess you’re not all type A’s. I guess I shouldn’t say it that way and you’re all smart and you’ll know what you’re doing. So you know that. Does that get challenging?

Jason:                                   [33:02]                     Oh, absolutely. You don’t want all, you don’t want a whole bunch of type a’s in a room that can get ugly real quick. No, you know, but uh, it, it’s challenging. Of course the challenge of, you know, we’re very fortunate that they’re both extremely smart people and you know, as far as that learning curve for them, I would say by day four, they pretty much had everything down at we had asked them to do for us and at that point, um, you know, they were great and they, they brought ideas and suggestions to the team and um, it worked out great for us. So

Stephen:                             [33:35]                     it was a win win, we can’t forget Julie and Julie is another seller, a Canadian friend who is a, I’ve had on the show, phenomenal seller, also has different perspectives and, and did a lot of the heavy lifting too. So I don’t want to miss that because I don’t want to get in trouble there. Alright. So let’s just keep talking. Yeah, I know. So let’s just keep talking about this. So, so what I, what I again, I want to go back to the formula at the beginning of the show we talked about here, solid work ethic. How, how many states was bon ton.

Jason:                                   [34:05]                     Where did you start? What did you guys start this? Iowa. I never did count the store but it doesn’t matter. It was Iowa. We made purchases from 123 locations.

Stephen:                             [34:17]                     One hundred and 23 locations. And I mean it’s not like they were buying, you know, this crazy stuff. I mean it was just normal stuff. That’s almost the normal stuff that sells. Um, again, you weren’t able to make giant. You weren’t getting giant concessions from these liquidators, right? Zero. Okay. But because you knew what you were buying and they gave you access to buy it, I think that’s the big advantage there, right? You’ve got access to it, scan away, do whatever, you know. No, no limits. There were everybody else’s secretive. This isn’t done that way. And so at the 110 store, how easy was it for you guys to just go in and say this, this, this, this. I mean is like, is it wrote at that point?

Jason:                                   [35:02]                     Uh, probably wrote by the 15th store. Um, but, uh, yeah, it’s crowded. It gets harder in one way because it’s monotonous, but it does get easier in other ways. But you know, I do want to preface that I’m doing things like that can be very costly because it’s really easy to go out there and buy a lot of goods. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you don’t know the brands, you don’t know the products, you can step step in a warehouse full of stuff stays in, you know, we always end up with x amount of skews that just, it’s just kinda like, you know, what’s the hot toy for q, You know, you buy 10 of them, one or two is probably not going to work out and you just have to accept that. So it’s the same thing. But luckily for us, we’re, we’re fairly well capitalized and uh, we know what we’re doing in that area.

Jason:                                   [35:50]                     And um, so it’s a formality for us. It’s just basically plug and play. But that came with about four years of experience. Uh, so, uh, it’s, it’s, it can be good, but you definitely have to put the first couple times I did something like that, I did not do very well. I did okay, but it was just probably add as much as I could do it at a normal retail location. But this is where time and skills and really the data, the data’s important. We put in several months of data and logistics well in advance, so this isn’t, hey, you know, a toys r us is going out tomorrow, let’s just go start scanning it. It was much more than that. Well, let’s talk about that. What did you learn from toys r us that you did differently at bon ton of toys? R us was different than any of the stores that have dealt with that situation because the nostalgia factor kicked in and what I mean by that was his early in the process of them going under and starting to discount goods, they were flying off the shelf because people just wanted to go there and buy.

Jason:                                   [36:50]                     So it wasn’t as fruitful as normal. Uh, so it did change things a little bit. Um, but uh, to me it really is plug and play because I know the differences, but also here to make this point that, that selling those collectibles and stuff is easy and anybody can do it, right? So, so all the sellers for everything right there, you know, grabbing that same jump, my video games and stuff, everybody’s got skills and I mean, you know, they have very little toys. They have a little bit of toys but they don’t really carry to it. That wasn’t their thing. Instead of 12 skews or toys more challenging. Right? Because you’re buying clothing and shoes and things like that. Much more challenging. It is, it, it, you know, it’s just like if you go to a, a, you know, a tire center going in a business and you don’t really know tires.

Jason:                                   [37:40]                     It’s very Greek to you. You have to put in the work, you have to learn, brands you have to learn. Is that stuff even good here in the US? Maybe it’s better to move it on a different platform or different. How do you do that research? Because I think that’s a good point. So you’re saying that, how did you do that research in advance? Uh, like I do all my big research. I will fly to an area of country and spend days to not a week there. And really, if you want to do big things, you have to really dig in with a big shovel. If you want to build that big castle and I, you got to get out there and you’ve got to put boots on the ground and you have to put out money. You got it, put in money, you got to figure out, is this going to be worth my time to bring out multiple people to get penske trucks to spend, you know, six figures of money within a week or a month or however it is, you know, these are not light decisions.

Jason:                                   [38:27]                     You really have to know what you’re doing. Um, yeah, maybe you’re lucky. Maybe you have one or two stores in town and it may be easy just to drive down there and hopefully you do. But in, in some of these instances, that was not the case. So if you’re a run a successful operation, thankfully. So if I’m going to pull my team on the road for a week or four weeks in a row and know that I’m giving up my existing retail or wholesale operation to do something else, it has to be at least the same of what I thought would come in, but probably significant more. You’re asking for your staff to be away from their family and often that can’t be the case. Sometimes you can fly people in during the week, but they have to fly back on the weekend because maybe they have children and things like that. Maybe they have a child care and they need to do things like that. So there’s a lot of variables when you’re dealing with being on the road, not only for yourself but when you have staff involved. So it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Stephen:                             [39:22]                     Yeah, it’s, it’s really not. And what you described, you know, investing that going and doing the groundwork, right? Really seeing if this opportunity is real. Nobody’s doing that, Jason, to be honest with very, very few people are doing that. Hence the reason you’re having the success you are. I also just saw that you were in la, um, you went to California for a bit. You’re in vegas normally. Um, what I, what I appreciated about it was you were living life though too. To me that’s the big joy, isn’t it? I mean that your life is happening and you have a successful business and that kind of cool.

Jason:                                   [40:01]                     It is, you know, you know, I, my daughter will be graduating high school and 20 bucks don’t even start. So it, it’s, it’s ticking off every day and I plan to move somewhere in a different part of the country at that time is wait, wait for her to go off to college. And so now I’m in the process of looking for an area of the country that I want to spend the next segment of my life. And so, you know, I was recently able to fly up to the Oregon area and basically look at housing, look at areas and go from there. And Luckily my business afforded me to do that because you know, Jonathan was here and he was able to keep the wheels turn in and our staff is wonderful and they continue to do what they do well and while I’m there I might as well do a little bit of business while I’m there and paid for the trip. So very blessed to have that ability to travel. Like I could come see you tomorrow and pay for that trip just from the experience I have. So what we do is a wonderful thing

Stephen:                             [40:56]                     when, you know, it’s interesting you say that, that Jonathan’s air to keep the wheels on the bus. Um, how has your role evolved? Because I would think that, you know, in the past you were the one, you know, creating the to do list and getting older things, making sure we have the goals and we all have a plan and blah blah blah. Now some of that is partially handled, but Jonathan, right. How, how, how is different, is it for you now and in your new role?

Jason:                                   [41:22]                     Um, a lot of the, a building as I like to say Jonathan does, so he is, he’s a great builder, you know, I think Jonathan is a great builder of companies and I know he’s very young, he’s much younger than me, but I see him being wildly successful, you know, by the time he’s ready to call it a day and uh, he knows how to put things on paper and build. So I’ve had the opportunity to watch him do that and learn from him so I can, you know, you segment, you say, okay, you know, what is his heels, what is he is great at, what is he a better at than me move those items over to him, let him shine in that department for the company and learn while you’re, while you’re at it. And then when he’s done, he can present those to myself or the staff and say, Hey, this is what we came up with.

Jason:                                   [42:09]                     Let’s have a discussion and go from there. So being able to pass off a lot of the decision making to him, it just makes it easy, you know, and um, I can work on building the company or maintaining the company in other areas. I’m always looking six months ahead and I think any successful business person should be looking six months if not year or years ahead because waves are always coming at you and if you’re not looking forward, um, you are looking behind you on occasion you might get, you might get run over there. So we’re always looking to pivot because as you know, with the ecommerce, things can move very fast and they’d get ugly quick. So, um, being able to go back and forth with him and let him handle, you know, half of those things allows me to be available to put my eyes on things that we’re currently working on or other things we’ve kind of want to do in the future.

Stephen:                             [43:00]                     Well, let’s talk about this because I want to make sure people hear this too because they’re going to listen to us and say, oh my God, this is the best thing. Everything’s great and this and that. Everything isn’t great all the time, right Jason? I mean, everything isn’t great challenge like you call them waves. Um, sometimes there, there are tsunamis, right? I mean there are challenges coming in and I see a whole bunch of people to spend a whole bunch of different things. What, what are you doing when you’re working on the business? Is it allowing you to sharpen those other areas to make sure they don’t get dull and they don’t get

Jason:                                   [43:32]                     overlooked? I think that’s important. You have to. I mean, you, you always have to sharpen your tools and uh, um, you know, I, I think you’re as great as your weakest link, you know, you always have to sharpen yourself and your and your teammates as well, you know, and you never know. You know, we, we had a staff of six and now we’re down to five. Unfortunately we had to let one of our full time staff go about six or seven weeks ago, which was unfortunate. You get on going into q four and it definitely will put a little bit more workload on myself and Jonathan when we should be maybe working on some other things, but, um, you have to keep people sharp. You have to cross train, whether it’s you’re prepping staff or even to joint business owners, kind of help train or coach each other on the weaknesses that Jonathan has and the weaknesses that I have. So it’s just the smart thing to do. You should always sharpen all the tools you have. Everybody should be sharp. You

Stephen:                             [44:29]                     just admitted, you have a weakness I think is a good sign that you’re willing to learn, right? So if you know it all, guess what? Nobody’s going to teach you anything. It’s true and that’s, that’s the way it is, right? Okay, good.

Jason:                                   [44:40]                     And if you say you know it all, then nobody’s going to want to teach anything because they’re going to look at you in that way and they’re doing fine. I’m not going to even waste my time with you. So, uh, be humble.

Stephen:                             [44:51]                     This relationship with Jonathan has been going on for a couple of years, is friendship in that and so I think that’s the key is that, you know, if you’re thinking about this, somebody who’s listening saying, hey, how do I mean? Because I get people all the time, like how do I get in groups like you do? And I’m like, you’ve got to be helpful to people. You’ve got to be friendly to people, you got to put yourself out there and it’s hard. It’s hard sometimes, but guess what, you know, you do that and then, and with no expectation, I want to ask for anything but then you win. Right? And so when you’re looking for those relationships, what you want to do is to find, not necessarily, like you said, you don’t want all type a’s so you don’t want necessarily like minded, um, maybe smart, wise or whatever, you know, knowledge wise. Right? Do you want different perspectives? I guess, back to perspective? Um, but those exist and you just got to put yourself out there and then start developing them now because who knows? I mean, did you think you would be here at this point, two and a half years later?

Stephen:                             [45:47]                     I was hopeful, but did you think you’d be hiring, you know, this level talent bringing in the company and that, I mean, did you, did you really?

Jason:                                   [45:54]                     No, I didn’t. You know, I, I kind of looked six months to a year in advance and so for me to look forward two to three years to say I’m going to partner with a nother seven-figure cellar, that was definitely not on my mental radar. Nope.

Stephen:                             [46:09]                     Very cool dude. Um, what I want to, I want to make sure that we get for people. Well, a couple things. First off, if you want to reach out to Jason, he’s all over facebook, you know, you have a question. You want to follow up with him. He’s in the green room. That’s another place he post some stuff. I’m not as much as he used to. He’s a little busy but he’ll get back to it, but he does when he goes on a rant. It’s a good rant and it will inspire you. That absolutely inspire you. And I’ll have a link in this episode, but I want to make sure that we end with value for people because this is somebody who a I admire. I’ve watched for two and a half years. I’ve known him more than that, but I’ve watched them consistently. Just no excuses, putting his head down, doing the work, hitting a road bump like everybody else, pivoting, adjusting, figuring it out, adjusting, buying stuff didn’t sell.

Stephen:                             [46:58]                     Liquidating stuff, moving on, not buying it again, smarter, right? He gets smarter and smarter and like you said, merging with somebody and really taken it to this next level. So I want to think about that seller who’s struggling. I’ve seen a few people stop selling. I’m very hopeful that nobody stopped selling. I hope they just get past this hurdle. I’ve seen a few people’s Amazon companies go bankrupt because of debt. I see some people, I’m going back to their full time job, which is cool. If they realize that they don’t want to run a business and they get that out of their system. Okay, cool. I’m 100 percent with you. I love that, but I want to get past that. I want to help that person who’s who’s, who’s probably started on Ebay, grinding out doing the yard sale thing and then they went to thrift stores and they’ve been grinding out and they started selling on Amazon and they’re having some success, but they’re not having the bond on level success. Jason, and I’m not saying that everybody needs to get to that level, but that confident buying is what I’m looking for. What’s the advice that you would give for those people that just haven’t hit that stride yet?

Jason:                                   [48:07]                     Well, it’s a to let everybody know on the podcast, I didn’t know this question was coming and while you were going through that, I looked at my white board here and I see a quote that my beautiful, a 17 year old daughter wrote on my whiteboard behind my back a month ago and it says all limitations are self imposed. Don’t be the person who holds you back from infinite success. First of all, I, I, I taught her. Well apparently she’s given me advice, but basically, you know, don’t you control you? Yes, there is market influences. Things are going to happen. Things happen to the most wealthiest people in the world every day. Expect that it will not be easy at any level. E, Bay, poshmark, Amazon, brick and mortar, you will have product problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re a five figure seller, a seven figure seller, you will have to grind some days, might not be a grind, but you have to expect this and you have to be realistic with yourself.

Jason:                                   [49:10]                     Also in the world, be commerce. There is so much data out there. We’re all on computers. Use It if you like a brand, if you see something in a store, Google that, see what other 50 stores sell it. Maybe you can find a source that sells a cheaper. You’re already making profit on it. Now you’ve found another store in your area that you didn’t even know that sold that skew and they’re selling it for 20 percent cheaper. Take the extra time late at night when things are quiet to research your products that are doing well or brands that you’re interested in selling, you’d be shocked. What you’ll find it will blow your mind and you’ll realize you’ve been driving by that source every single day for years and not collecting that bag of money, so put in the time, I assure you it is out there everywhere. Small towns, big towns, even in different countries, so just believe in yourself and work hard.

Stephen:                             [50:05]                     Oh Man. All right. Here we’re going back over the formula. This is the formula two and a half years later, it still holds true solid work ethic with smarts, add to it, a growing network and really a very, uh, a real talented growing network and you’re going to have successful results. And Jason Clark is a great example, that dude, you inspire me so much. I’m very thankful to get to know you and to see you grow and to see you help other people so much. And it’s just, it’s, it’s just really awesome. And iron man. I, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success. Thank you Steve, and thanks everybody. Have a good day and good luck everybody. What a great guy. It’s just so neat to see somebody figure it out and just keep figuring it out and realizing, hey, you know, I can do this on my own or I can do it with others, and guess what, if I’m going to do it with others, I’m going to surround myself with talent and I’m the talent, you know, Jonathan and Julie and Jason and Caren plus the others on the team.

Stephen:                             [51:12]                     I mean, just phenomenal. That’s what it takes. If you really want to swing for the fences you’ve gotta have, you know, it’s not just one player on a team that’s a whole team and I think Jason has really done a great job. Um, reach out. Again, if you have questions to him or me if you want, I’m just a great guy who’s really, really doing the work. Put your head down, do the work, hire talent and learn from them to grow your Amazon business. That’s my takeaway. ECOMMERCE Take care.

Cool voice guy:                  [51:40]                     Thanks for listening to the ECOMMERCE momentum. All the links mentioned today can be found at ecommerce momentum. Doug, come under this episode number. Please remember to subscribe and the lake us on itunes.