The title is not meant to mislead you. Chris stepped back from selling 7 figures on Amazon this past year to allow him to focus on his family and his and his partners private label business. Can you find someone who shares the vision as well as you do? Can you give without expectation? Can you guess what you get back?
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect)
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Cool voice guy: [04:20] We’ll get the e-commerce momentum I guess. Well we’ll focus on the people the products and the process of Commerce selling today. Your host Stephen Peters and welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This
Stephen: [04:36] is episode [2:44]. Chris Guthrie you know what a great conversation guy killing it grows enormously has figured it out clearly has a plan. Life is great. And then stops and says no I’m going to do half of what I was doing. And I’m going to do this part of the business that I’m doing because that’s what I enjoyed the rest of it. I’ve got to find another way. How many of us are willing to do that. How many of us have that option. Because him and his wife are on the same page because there’s so because they communicate so well. I think that’s probably it. And he has a partner that he communicates because they’re family and there is a deep trust and a deep relationship there. He’s able to do that. And yet they the other family members by right in because they see it too and they benefit. That’s what you want. How can you do it. Well listen to Chris and you can see let’s get into the podcast. All
Stephen: [05:34] right welcome back to the e-commerce in a podcast very excited about today’s guest because I guess for the last I maybe it’s almost been two years I’ve been watching him from afar. We met at least once or twice and now I see a change and a change in such a positive way that I admire him in our pre-interview talk. We’re talking about I admire as a dad someone especially a man who makes a choice for his family but does it in the right way. I’m just so excited about Chris Guthrie. Welcome Chris. Hey thank you. You know you and I were together a couple weeks ago and I said to you I want to have you on especially as I heard your story has changed because flashback. I don’t know maybe two years ago we met you were killing it. You and your father in law were growing a business and really starting to grow. I mean you were. You were so in dare I say seven figures. I mean you know I don’t think so.
Chris: [06:32] Oh no. You are definitely each of us working on seven figures on our own and then we’re doing a lot of joint project together. Yeah.
Stephen: [06:40] And the sky was the limit. Right you guys were both like oh this is nothing. I you know I’m just getting started. I mean I got that vibe from me this was like I said a couple of years ago and I saw that and I’m like oh man they just get it. And
Speaker 7: [06:53] then you know we’ll get to the story of how and why decided to kind of step back and basically turn off the funds.
Stephen: [07:05] The big funnel that was giving you your sales and you make a choice and your choice is to choose your family and you got it do it get I get choked up. I wish somebody could see this because it really tells me you understand now you’re a young guy relative to me. And the fact that you understand your parents are proud. Let me just tell you as a parent they are proud. I hope your kids get to that place in their head even sooner than you did. Yeah. My hopes too. So I let it in. And so let’s go back first so because you’ve had a good career you had a big future. I mean it seems to me and I see this as a pattern and I guess no surprise for a lot of people listening is that you know a lot of successful people were probably successful at most everything they did this just might seem to come more natural to some people were they gravitate towards this.
Stephen: [08:00] But you had a successful career when you went to college. Did you plan on being in sales or marketing in some way. No I had no idea really where you’re going you’re you’re out going. Nobody ever said to you man you should be in sales.
Speaker 8: [08:16] No I mean it’s just never been something I’m interested in. I did inside sales. I sold cell phones when I was a teenager but that’s about it. That’s
Stephen: [08:25] pretty. You know I take some unissued like at the mall or something like that.
Chris: [08:29] Yeah you know I like AT&T stores. I like that.
Stephen: [08:32] OK. So you did that were your parents entrepreneurs in any way.
Chris: [08:36] No not really. Why. My father was a Vietnam veteran. He got you know in the war. He got a job at Procter and Gamble here in our town and he retired from there. So he was there for like 35 years or my mom was a stay at home mom so no I didn’t really have a lot of entrepreneurial influence. I did have an uncle who is a chiropractor on his practice and I always look up to him. So I say that’s probably the closest in my family. But
Stephen: [09:01] as far as you knew you go go to school get a job work for 30 some odd years and retire.
Chris: [09:09] Yep that’s what you know I was prepping myself to do.
Speaker 7: [09:13] And so what changed. I mean when you went to school what was your degree you were going for.
Chris: [09:19] It was and you know computer science I.T. open up that that type of feel.
Stephen: [09:24] And you were going to be a nerd. Yeah.
Chris: [09:27] Basically I mean I was always interested in computers and still you know some stuff thought about it but once I actually got out into the industry is just you know just a lot of politics as with almost every every career but a lot of politics a lot of you know just not fun stuff.
Stephen: [09:46] And I used the term nerd as a term of endearment because I applauded. I mean I mean because it’s like man they eventually will own the world but it’s true. The thing that throws me about you is I would have never picked you as a computer guy you are a sales guy. You are you’re you’re outcoached. I mean you make it a point to know everybody. You’re you know friendly. You know where does that come from. That’s not that’s not computer guy. I mean just telling you that’s not computer. I’ve been doing that for a long long time have had a ton of work for me. You’re not the typical computer guy.
Chris: [10:18] Well I’d have to say it’s not. I mean I wouldn’t say that it comes truly natural to me either. It’s definitely something I have to work on. I think naturally as you know if I just went by the flow I’d be an introvert. But you know I always have to constantly force myself to you know work on building relationships and not letting existing relationships go by the wayside. It’s definitely one of my challenges.
Stephen: [10:41] Now you did you get married right at a college.
Chris: [10:45] Pretty close. My wife and I both were the same age and we you know graduated with our undergrad she continued on with her master’s and I started working and we were out of college for about two years and got married.
Stephen: [10:59] OK. And so now you’re going to go get a job. You’re going to work there for 30 some odd years she’s going to go work somewhere. Whatever kids you know two kids a couple dogs house. Life is easy. Right.
Speaker 9: [11:09] Yeah.
Stephen: [11:11] Quote unquote easy. And so what was your what was the first job that you took out of college.
Chris: [11:17] It is actually my father an author. It got me the job at the company he worked at and your father in law Scott. Yes got me in key and it was just doing some data processing at a company make an okay money for my age you know being like I don’t know what 21 year in California though there’s no such thing as okay money in California.
Speaker 10: [11:41] That is true. I think it’s a very expensive place.
Stephen: [11:45] OK. So so you get this job and when you went to work there was this going to be the company was this the one that you were like OK 35 years 30 and done right. That’s what it is. Right. 30 years get my pension and then I get to do what I want to do.
Chris: [12:00] I mean that was definitely in the realm of possibilities. I know I was already so long ago I can’t remember exactly how I felt about it but I stuck with that industry for eight years and it had its ups and downs and I went No I started with a bigger company then moved over to a start up. And you know it was good. I got paid great money. And you know I was pretty flexible but there was still something missing pressure in the startup.
Stephen: [12:25] Now was this pre dotcom explosion or post. Oh OK so post post post.com explosion a startup used to be amazing was the best thing in the world. Then it had a negative connotation. Now I don’t know about California if it’s ever had a negative connotation in the rest of the real world where you know the other the rest of us live it would it would be a place that we like. Oh that’s scary.
Speaker 7: [12:50] That’s risky. Was it risky for you. I mean was it exciting. Was it that drove you there.
Chris: [12:57] Other than money it was actually kind of forced the larger company I had worked at they decided to close the California Office and over 85 lost our jobs. We had 60 days until they were to close the office. And in term I did take a job at a high school I was a computer tech and it was just insanely overwhelming and reinforce the more that like tech like kind of computer maintenance side definitely wasn’t where I wanted to be. And then some folks that I had previously worked with started their company and they called me and basically begged me to come work for them because they were overwhelmed overwhelmed and I went to work with them and it was great for two three years and then that company started growing and we started you know a lot more rules and regulations because that is what it is.
Stephen: [13:49] You like the deal because I think we’re going to lead somewhere with this. You like the lack or maybe the flexibility I guess when you are independence and all that stuff. Now you don’t have that with them. I mean with that company right is it evolved. And so that that was something that I think people should pay attention to. Right so there’s a little clue that you know I don’t like when it gets to be so rigid. Right yeah. And are you a creative computer person. I mean are you one of those guys that just can see a problem and write code to figure it out or are you more that technical guy.
Chris: [14:26] I’d say more technical I can I can be when when needed creative but definitely not one of my strong suits.
Stephen: [14:33] OK OK OK so a couple of years life is good. Really good. And then the rules come. They hired a CFO and they hire H.R. person or something like that. Yeah pretty much starts being what I used to be when so. So they bring them on and they put a bunch of rules and you say this isn’t what I wanted.
Chris: [14:54] Oh for sure. And you know just kind of in that same time period I’ve just stumbled upon a podcast about someone talking about retail arbitrage and I want to say it was Pat Flynn It seems like a lot of people kind of interview with Jessica. Fact that yeah that was it. Absolutely. And from there I was working the day job full time and I think that night that I heard that podcast I went out to Walgreens in a big lots and bought like you know probably$100 worth of stuff at the time I was just like oh my god how can I be spending 100 dollars on something. And
Speaker 10: [15:33] you know how did you get it. I mean what did you say.
Stephen: [15:35] What did you use to scan back then. Oh I think red laser or something like that.
Chris: [15:40] One of those programs I think scan power was just out but it was you know definitely not what it is now. OK
Stephen: [15:49] . So you got it app and downloaded it in your tech guy. And so you went out and said Let me go see now living in California. Prices are a little bit different than they are in the rest of the world. And so you still found profitable merchandise Oh yeah for sure.
Chris: [16:04] I mean there was definitely a lot of trial and error. I mean I you know probably broke even on a lot of stuff. But that’s you know as many people allude to in this business it’s kind of hard to lose money if you’re doing things right. You know unless you just really really mess up on a purchase and you can usually break even if not lose like maybe a buck or two. So I kind of had that reassurance because Jessica Larousse said that. And then just even some stuff I started listing prescreen uses like just go out and try and do it. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen.
Speaker 7: [16:34] The way you mentioned about not losing my make my just doing things right. What is what is doing things right mean to you. Well what did I guess I should say.
Chris: [16:45] Doing things right mean to you back in as opposed to that to now because I’m I’m assuming there are significantly different well I mean actually there are kind of not too different than just consistency and you know just not getting caught up. And what’s the phrase I’m looking for in like where you just keep researching and research no one paralysis analysis no business with that.
Stephen: [17:13] So are you do use your gut or do you use that data. And I know a computer nerd is going to tell me the data. Right. And so I think this is very common in American like Dusty you know having hard and fast rules that are generally good will do the job right. And as you say worst case scenario McKinley’s says you write it down to break even and you move on. Right. That’s a smart business. Now were you did you especially as you get better at it did you start taking chances and risks because ultimately that’s where the value is right when you can buy the hot toy before anybody knows it. And then all of a sudden it becomes hot. You make the most money. Right. Oh for sure.
Chris: [17:55] Yeah I mean eventually you know actually not eventually just shortly after I started I realized and then I thought my father in law into the business also and we realized together that you know we have to be doing things differently. So one of them for arbitrageur is one of the things that really I helped I think helps set me apart compared to a lot of other sellers was just taking the time to just create new listings for products in that create a multipack or create a bundle and you can you know really stand out from the competition and eventually someone’s going to discover you’re listing and harp on it but usually gives you enough time especially in the retail arbitrage world where you only have product for a limited time.
Speaker 8: [18:38] Right. Eating go deep on it. Right. Right. You know or at least not to the end. I can get in and out before and anybody else finds my pack. Is that still true today. I’d say yeah for sure.
Chris: [18:51] It’s still true today. I’d say that people are hopping on listings a lot quicker than they used to. But for sure I mean it’s just an easy way to differentiate.
Speaker 7: [19:03] How did you get your father in law involved in it.
Chris: [19:07] You know he and I had tried multiple entrepreneurial ventures either independently from each other or together prior to Amazon and we had kind of both gone to kind of been in a slump in that we kind of both lost the spark. We had tried you know on another business we actually lost a little bit of money on it together and we kind of this put our heads down and just work in our day jobs and that went on for like nine months and then all of a sudden I started doing the retail stuff for about two weeks and then I hopped on the phone with Dan and I was like Dude you’ve got to be going out there because this isn’t making me money already and that you know like a day or two later he went out on his first trip and Ding ding ding ding ding gets involved in how downhill from there.
Stephen: [19:50] You know when you think about where you were. Right. Why were you looking for a side hustle. I mean did you. Were you looking for a way out. Were you looking to get away from what you had or were you just looking for a way to supplement what you have until you get it while you were doing a job search.
Speaker 8: [20:10] I’d say to get away from what I was getting myself stuck into I was just. So this was going to be an out for you. Yes. For sure.
Stephen: [20:20] No well OK. It wasn’t just an escapism it wasn’t something you let you buy time. This was you were going. You were looking for the answer. Yes sir. How about Scott. Was
Speaker 11: [20:33] he in the same boat.
Stephen: [20:37] It’s hard to say. I’ll have him on and I’ll ask him that question. But it’s just interesting to me what’s interesting to me is the relationship you guys have that you’re that so much on the same page and he’s older than you. Not that much but he’s still older than you. And to see that. Did you guys connect immediately. I mean he was one of those things.
Speaker 8: [20:59] You know I actually I’ve known him since I was 11 years old. So now you’ve had different phases of our relationship.
Chris: [21:06] OK. I’d say once I became it like a 21 year old adults then maybe we can have a beer together. I think that’s where our relationship changed. OK.
Speaker 10: [21:18] We can you know we looked at you at the same level as you looked at him.
Stephen: [21:24] Yeah for sure. OK. OK. So things start clicking he’s clicking you’re clicking. Did you set up your own little group almost in like hey go to Target and buy you know pens or stamps something on my desk and take measures. Yeah and him then feed you.
Chris: [21:43] Oh yeah. We’re 100 percent transparent what we like to call each other is co-operative competitors. We both run our own Amazon accounts at least in the past. Now we do have a joint Amazon account like it’s kind of a third account that we own together. And but we’ve always been really transparent like here these deals are those deals. And then we even had other people in our group also you know just have to contribute a lot of the early success to little mini mastermind groups.
Stephen: [22:12] So we know what kind of personality you have if you had to describe Scott what type of person would you say. Was he a marketing guy or a computer nerd sales guy trying to be an accountant. I
Speaker 12: [22:23] think he and I are really similar. A computer nerd.
Stephen: [22:26] OK. So he’s a computer nerd too. Just a little bit older a little more experienced. And so when you are looking for a partner to partner up with someone usually they say you know opposites attract and that kind of thing. I mean is your advice if you had to do it over again would you look for somebody that was those similar traits.
Chris: [22:46] I mean I’ve had no issues thus far. So I’d say Yeah I mean it worked for me.
Stephen: [22:52] OK. OK. I just I agree with you. I think that it’s so smart that you partnered up especially for retail arm you partnered up with somebody relatively lives relatively close to you right or at that time.
Chris: [23:05] So we’ve always been kind of far from each other you guys at least 400 miles apart.
Stephen: [23:09] Oh Jesus I forget how big California is. You see I can’t forget. I’m you know naive at that. So. So there is a huge geography. But but you connected and so you can do things together. So I always think that that’s a better idea because two heads are definitely not. Well you know one plus one does not equal to what equals three or four right. Oh for sure. MAN Oh yeah. Did he pull you up too. You know because it gets old threader days that this was a job.
Chris: [23:39] Oh yeah. We we we constantly do it for each other. And you know we we try to or we’re always looking for you know the next thing you know not necessarily to like shift the whole business model but you know you always got to be on your toes especially in this online space. So you know it’s encouraging whenever one of us comes up with an idea or we discover another like product Nash or something like that and that helps kind of like rejuvenate our feelings about this.
Stephen: [24:05] Now does it hurt that there’s two people going in on the new buy box somebody else has to buy box and you guys are coming and there’s two of you. Has that hurt.
Chris: [24:13] No and in fact I think if anything it’s kind of helped because sometimes we’ll hold a price higher and we’re both together. And you know sometimes it forces other sellers to like I at least I feel like other sellers see that and they’re like this someone do they know something we don’t know and like maybe they’ll lift their prices so hard or they’re reprice or catches up. I
Stephen: [24:34] mean you know you think about your price or mine will raise prices just as well not just as fast. Way slower than it lowers but lowers prices very quickly. So. So I’m just trying to go through the benefits of having that like minded like skilled good relationship. Trusting person working with you. So so far it sounds like a great opportunity. When you when you think about it and you’ve added a third wheel every so often how does that change the dynamics of the relationship or has it.
Speaker 9: [25:08] I think it definitely has. Especially more recently we’re both trying to work on our strengths so that we can both benefit. So
Chris: [25:19] we’re it’s definitely a I scratch his back and scratch his line especially with the joint venture. So like you know I do a lot of the computer work a lot of the research while he goes out and is helping me still supplement my retail arbitraging. So is working on as we’re working on joint projects together either liking a wholesale bundles of private label or you know like that I do a lot of that at least you know I’d probably say 80 percent of that while he’s still out there using my credit card and you know purchasing retail arm and then he takes it back to his team and they prep and pack and ship it.
Stephen: [25:54] Well you know you’ve definitely have figured out your lanes that you both want to be in. Right. I mean he he seems to enjoy that operational side or at least controlling it. I don’t know whether he he’s running it day to day but he’s controlling that side of it and he seems to love that.
Chris: [26:11] Yeah I’d say definitely he’s better suited for that than I am. I will get into. I had my own operational side being that we’re 400 miles away apart from each other.
Speaker 8: [26:23] And you had a big team. I
Chris: [26:25] you know I had a decent sized team especially during the fourth quarters and yeah and now I don’t have one any more.
Stephen: [26:33] Did you have buyers for you or were you doing all the buying. No
Speaker 9: [26:37] I was still doing buying but I had buyers OK add up to three.
Stephen: [26:41] OK. So up to three and then bringing it all back to your place.
Speaker 8: [26:44] At this point is it a garage or is it a warehouse started in the garage moved to a warehouse and then back on back in the garage.
Stephen: [26:52] Right. OK. So it started in the garage though and these people will come into the house. How does that go for the relationship. Now we haven’t talked about your spouse but how was she onboard with what you were doing. My
Chris: [27:04] wife is amazing and so supportive. In fact in my first year where I was still working the day job but working on Amazon on my lunch hours before work and late into the evening she supported me 100 percent every single step. And but near the end of the year that this was back in 2013 2014 somewhere in there. And she was so supportive she gave me an ultimatum need you need to quit Amazon or you need to quit your day job and pick on me. And I think you should quit your day.
Speaker 7: [27:38] What is it. Because
Stephen: [27:40] I mean and I know we had this discussion so I know I know the answer. When you talk you weren’t talking about your day job right. When you. Family dinners especially right because it’s now it’s your father in law right. So when your Thanksgiving dinner the discussion probably moved over to the business right. I mean naturally bright it doesn’t matter.
Chris: [28:02] And you know we. We definitely get stares every once in a while from different family members. So we’ll try to rein it back in and move off of amazon business.
Stephen: [28:12] But it wasn’t about your job. I mean just what was the clues. I mean you know obviously what made you more happy than the other but it comes with the cost of responsibility and a lack of structure. But sometimes the lack of structure can be just as stressful as the structure.
Speaker 7: [28:27] Right. I mean you knew which one you wanted to do. Right. Was
Speaker 8: [28:33] it good. Was it certain it was a certain in your mind.
Chris: [28:36] It was definitely certain now that I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. I mean I would say that it’s been an easy road for sure. I mean I struggle and why.
Stephen: [28:48] I mean you know what. Because I’ll be honest with you.
Speaker 13: [28:50] I mean not many people are willing to talk about the struggle you know please do. A
Speaker 12: [28:57] I’m a conservative conservative financially at least and so that was definitely a big struggle for me just you know having having all that weight on my shoulders just knowing that I got to make this income. And it was it was just different than collecting a paycheck. And you know knowing I had a salary salary coming in. So that was one of the things. But also just you alluded to it just the inconsistency was hard. It was hard for me to nail down a routine that that worked for me because it always seems like when you’re running your own business you’re always putting out fires whether it’s something small but it all takes away your time.
Chris: [29:33] And I didn’t realize I was getting into that would I change it. No I wouldn’t for anything. But you know inconsistency and just just having all those you know all that wearing all the hats especially in the beginning.
Stephen: [29:50] Well let’s give some advice to people because a bunch of people thinking about you know you see post all the time hey should I quit my full time job should I go do this all the time. You know I love it. I know you know I’m doing 30000 a month. I know that if I go full time I can do 70000 a month I just need the time. It’s not that easy is it. Oh no. Why not. No because. Well there’s no factor of risk. I mean first to me that’s the number one thing you’ve got to factor in there is risk. Right. Your account can be closed. You could get in a car. I just talked to one of my wholesalers major wholesaler and I sent her a note just saying hey you know we moved our corporate address moved in our warehouse blah blah blah and she’s like Steeves.
Stephen: [30:30] And I said you know I haven’t heard anything whatever and she goes oh sorry I’ve been out for six weeks she lives in California and she was in a major car accident and she’s like I’ve been out for six weeks. Somebody’s rear ended her at 60 miles an hour.
Speaker 7: [30:43] Now I wonder if she has a job or she works for that big giant company. But what happens when you’re the person in your business you’re it you’re the cock in the wheel and now you’re down for six weeks. What would that do to your business if you borrowed money to buy all that stuff right. Forget it.
Chris: [31:02] Fortunately for me because my wife and I have always made these in money when we were both working day jobs that you know we were financially prepared. When I quit my day job we could have already you know about nine to 12 months of living expenses saved up in the bank. So
Stephen: [31:20] you could have handle that six weeks you had that six weeks covered so there’s there’s risk mitigation so there’s a big piece of advice number one mitigate your risk by having in your case as you said nine months. Right. Was that number decided by her or decided by you but enough to keep her comfortable.
Speaker 7: [31:38] You know what I mean there’s a comfort factor right that you want them to have your spouse whether it be husband or wife that you want them to be able to say yeah this is the right thing. That’s my number. It’s not a million dollars you know.
Chris: [31:52] I have to say the numbers probably come from or from me. My wife she’s probably more a risk taker than I am so interesting. Yeah. So you know she probably would have been fine with three months of living expenses but I wanted to be. No. Yes. Take it up Bambridge further.
Stephen: [32:08] OK. All right. So you really hedged your bets so risk mitigate your risk right minimize that risk. That sounds like it does.
Stephen: [32:15] What’s the other things that you weren’t prepared for that if you got through it but you wish you knew or you wish you accounted for more not that you would change anything. Do you get what I mean do you get when you know the things that I mean you know I think about today. Right so today I go. I in between moving warehouses my new warehouse is being constructed right beautiful. I mean it’s an old building the retrofitting and it’s stunning what I’m going to have. And that’s why I’m staying with it because I could have left a couple of times. Supposed to be in in June. That is supposed to be in September. Now it’s October and today’s what the middle of October and still that can be done. Now we’re hoping for January and so I’m forever going over and there’s an issue and there’s a problem oh and now they want to do this and they have to put sprinklers in and they have to do this now.
Stephen: [33:06] Then you have to go through these blueprints and you have to have all these conversations and it always slows down you know and it’s outside of your control. In the meantime I’ve had to extend my lease at my other place. Right. These all sound like little easy things. None of them are easy. That’s my point. That’s what I would say to people. Every one of these things our time sucks and sometimes you could lose a half a day on it. Has it been your experience. I hope for sure.
Chris: [33:32] I mean even from you know you just get a nasty email from stellar performance about a and that you’re selling and you have to just drop everything you’re doing to work on that. Not that I’ve ever been suspended but you know there are still things that come through the pipeline or whenever I was scaling and I had employees all of a sudden on a day that we really expected that we needed to get stuff out the door then both of them happened to call in sick.
Speaker 10: [33:57] Their life happened right. Their life happened first.
Chris: [34:00] Yeah absolutely. Outside of your control Yeah they’re human. You know they are. I can’t I can’t blame them for anything that happened. But yeah I mean just you know. You said it really well you know just these little things can add up to losing so much production time.
Stephen: [34:16] So the plan then to go from 30 to 70 has a chink in it because that’s the problem I have sometimes it’s like things outside of my can. I mean the positive to own you know warehouse is great. You know not owning it renting a warehouse is great because you don’t have the stuff in the house right. It definitely helps a marriage. However it comes with issues there’s an electro I’m getting cable installed on Monday right and then a no they’re only running the wire. Tuesday they’re going to install. Well that’s their plan. Unless their life happens right or whatever. And so all these things are things that you have to factor in. And I don’t think people factored them in so I’m going to try and get some some real advice here so. So
Speaker 7: [34:53] we already said mitigate the risk mitigate. How would you say that we can take and adjust your expectations. What would you say for somebody looking back to your circumstance when you went to full time what you thought and what you actually got. How different was it.
Stephen: [35:12] I mean you thought you were Superman right you thought you were Superman. I can just work in nonstop. Right
Speaker 9: [35:17] right.
Chris: [35:19] You know what my expectations definitely turned out to be different.
Speaker 12: [35:24] And I just have to say you know just had you know either time or money into whatever you’re doing you know so just because you’re you’re doing 30000 a month now to get to 70. You have to work double that. If you’re doing it go on and on your own you’re probably going to have to work more than that.
Chris: [35:40] The larger a large scale the more money it takes to make things happen. Usually you’re going to have to start accepting lower returns on your money. So you’re going to you know you think that oh if I sell 60000 when I’m 30 I’m going to make double the profit. Well now your profit probably isn’t going to be there. And then another part of stealing is you think OK well I’m going to outsource you know some of this I’m going to bring in help for prepping and packing and that absolutely does save you time. But that also cost you money. So you just have to take it all into consideration.
Stephen: [36:11] Now you know I think it was perfectly put That’s exactly what we were looking for is. So rather than expecting to double time and effort and money go two or three times and then just to get to that same link. Well that’s not sustainable. Yes you’re right. So adjust your expectations instead of being hey I’m doing 30 I mean to get to 70 or 60. Now I’m going to do 30. I’m going to get to 40 and then I can get. Once I get to that level and figure out because there’s a whole bunch of things you figure out then you can get to 50 and then you can get to 60. I think that’s very well put. So at this point when you were when you took the plunge you were in was it sales I mean for lack of a better term is that what you would call it.
Chris: [36:52] Oh no. And I was I was actually in a similar industry that used to be and we were in the print industry.
Stephen: [36:58] Yeah. But I mean I guess you were a customer rep. I mean I don’t know how to describe it.
Speaker 12: [37:03] Oh no no no no. Actually I was I was doing you know database and mail piece design.
Stephen: [37:08] Oh I’m totally losing it.
Speaker 10: [37:09] OK. So you’re right you’re right. No no I get it. I know exactly we mean I’m sorry I messed it up but I get what you mean.
Stephen: [37:15] So you were there helping them do these massive mailings helping all these data get converted to be able to send it out. Correct right. OK. And did you love that business.
Chris: [37:27] I don’t think I ever did. I would I wouldn’t go as far as that. I
Stephen: [37:30] loved it. But there are parts of it that you liked that you brought into your new business.
Chris: [37:36] Oh for sure. Something I’d love was you know being able to solve solve bigger problems. You know like just doing the same thing day in day out this gets just gets boring and just you know just wears you down. And so you know before like you know all of a sudden we need to develop a whole new you know production platform you know on the computer. And that was the part I love that the special big project so you know I can take that into my Amazon business like what I enjoy doing is building new listings and bringing new product to market and doing keyword research and running PPC ads and something bad versus going out and scanning barcodes and you know loading stuff in my truck and they’re unloading it and prepping and packing it where Scott.
Stephen: [38:19] Right. Because you have a partner that’s his thing. That’s his live he loves. Yeah. And he’s good. He loves that.
Chris: [38:24] Yeah he’s good at it and he loves to travel. You know and he doesn’t have younger children like IDs so he has that flexibility to get in his truck and trailer and just load that puppy up be gone for a week and then come back on and then rinse and repeat.
Stephen: [38:37] I think that’s really the best way to end that tip section is to bring the part of what you were doing that you enjoyed the best part of it. Bring it into this business and embrace that and go all in on that and then outsource the rest. I mean is that fair. Oh yeah for sure. All right so we get there. You mean Meanwhile you start crankin. Business is good. You’re getting seven figures Scott it in seven figures you guys have figured it out. You’ve got the answer.
Speaker 10: [39:06] And what changed was it sudden let me ask it this way.
Speaker 7: [39:11] Was it a sudden like an epiphany. You wake up in the middle. Oh my God I see the light. Or was it. This is Dragon and I’m missing and I want this.
Chris: [39:24] And it was leading you somewhere and it was definitely a slower process it was leading me to where we are today just near the end like of me doing full time retail arbitrage. It just was starting to wear me down. It felt like I was like when I was at the end of working in you know the corporate world was looking for the clues. I
Stephen: [39:47] mean was it. So it it brought you back to that unhappy place you were out right. Yeah. No fulfillment. It was going through the motions.
Chris: [39:55] Yeah it definitely was. You know I used to like be excited to wake up and you know go out and hit a bunch of stores and fill up my truck or fill up a trailer and it began to start to feel like a burden and kind like and just I wasn’t enjoying it. Whereas before like you know once I spent several thousand dollars in a day and you know I’d be super excited about it. And then near the end there it was just like OK well now I’m just maintaining.
Stephen: [40:21] OK. So there’s a big clue. How about your family. I mean at this point do you have kids. And what was going on there for you. I mean when you came home did you bring home that attitude.
Chris: [40:33] Yeah. I mean I was definitely in some bad mood some days when I came home and you know I tried not to let that influence when I walked in the door but it’s really hard not to.
Stephen: [40:42] Right right. I mean did you and your wife talk about it. Oh yeah for sure. So. So she saw. And let’s face it she kind of helped push you over the edge saying choose. And at that point and this is this is this is a moment for me to think about at that point.
Speaker 7: [40:58] Did you have a regret and think you made the wrong choice.
Chris: [41:02] I’ve thought of you ever once while. I mean I always know a couple of minutes later I realized I didn’t make the wrong choice. But yeah for sure sometimes when I read that it just feels like the weight of the world on your shoulders whenever you have three you know full time you know team team members that are on your payroll that you love.
Stephen: [41:20] Right you see him every day. You love him right.
Chris: [41:22] I mean this is real whenever you know you have a lot on your shoulders and you got to just be running a business. But also you know again I was doing retard’s so I had to make sure my shoppers were out there shopping or I had to go out there and shop to make sure that everybody had enough work.
Stephen: [41:38] That’s a lot of responsibility and I think that’s one of the things that I think people don’t realize either to scale to that 70000 or hundred thousand you are going to need help. And now that changes as think of shark tank when he says that we’re one of those guys saying look it’s different when you have a partner as opposed to an investor. There’s a big difference right there are different expectations. Investor doesn’t care. He cares about his return period. That’s what they are. That’s their model where a partner or what have you. It’s a different relationship. Ok so things start to go and you start to say hmm. But you’re having an incredible I mean you make it probably the most money you’ve ever made. You’re live in large.
Speaker 7: [42:17] Not that you’re living large but you’re saying hey it starts to wear. When was the point you decided I want to change.
Chris: [42:30] I’d say early 2017.
Stephen: [42:32] OK so early 2017. Now at this point you’ve got a partner and Scott and you’ve got a partner and his daughter your wife. And so who gets to hear it first.
Speaker 10: [42:44] I don’t want to get in trouble to lie if you have to please. I talked to my wife. There you go. That’s the right answer no matter what you put it. How did that conversation go. You know it.
Chris: [42:56] We had been talking about it just in small conversations and you know her seeing me stressed out earlier this year you know just just random times throughout the months and the early early part of the year and then she’s a school teacher by trade but she’d been off for about three years you know with our with our kids and I’m earning a full time income just by doing retired child flipping and you know that’s starting to get stressful. And then earlier about April or May this year was about the time where she was going to start applying to go back to work to be a teacher. That was the time when she should be putting applications and sending resumes out. So you know she’s like she asked me should I be doing this work. I want to help you I want to see you happier than you are right now. And so it was you know it was a collective That’s a keeper did.
Stephen: [43:42] Yes a keep. And now I get it. I mean it. To be able to recking and for you to be mature enough to take it because a lot of guys would be you know oh I can handle it all. I’m Superman. I’m you know I don’t need feelings I can do it right. No definitely. I
Chris: [43:57] had those feelings. But you know I’m I’m not too big to let them lead my decision.
Speaker 7: [44:03] That’s a big deal. That’s a very mature thing to say as a young man. And so she she’s taken the lead and going to get the big job and they you know benefits and all that kind of stuff. Was that what did the shoulders finally start to go down a little bit. I mean was that like the air let out of the room just like.
Chris: [44:26] Literally it was whenever we whenever she got the word that she got hired at at school district local. That’s probably one of the best paying school districts in the entire nation fortunately. So she’s earning you know pretty pretty good money for what she’s doing. And you know and now our plan is that you know I can stop doing retail are so that I can focus on the things that are more scalable and require less physical work and not have to have a physical team here in front of me. So you know stuff like outsourcing the prep centers and working on private label and yet you still stay with your partner. And
Stephen: [45:05] so to me there is a decision so now at some point you had to bring Scott into that decision. Right. So how does that conversation go.
Chris: [45:14] I it was it was an interesting one but he actually you know was cornered he saw the writing on the wall. So you know wasn’t all that hard. It was just like kind of an affirmation of OK this is going to happen and these guys will tell me what I can do to help.
Stephen: [45:30] Oh that’s awesome because he’s hearing it from his daughter right. I mean he’s here and you know that side of it are from his wife right because she’s tough and her mom or whatever. And so that probably muddies up the water. But the fact that you guys were able to come to a place where you get to do what you do so well and he benefits he gets to do what he does so well and you benefit is a wonderful place to get to. I mean it’s still not one plus one equals two. Right it’s still probably a little bit more than two even though you pulled back a lot of pressure. And so now you’re working on a private label. Are you seeing Hey I have some downtime. I get to do because I mean I’m assuming you know it’s a lot.
Stephen: [46:10] Well we go back to the beginning conversation where you said you love creating listings you love doing the research you love all that stuff that you’re your lane and you get to do that. It’s a very very very cool place to get to. Do you think you could have gotten there two or three years ago like instantly from day one.
Chris: [46:31] It’s hard to say no. I lean towards no because I’ve learned so much about just selling online and selling on Amazon specifically that I’ve gotten from retail arbitrageurs that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Stephen: [46:45] But he also pointed out it would be a lot of while I could if I could. Right. You know you know that you know wondering oh what if I would have you know we read back on that track. Now you know and it’s not like you weren’t successful you were incredibly successful but you’re like me this is my lane.
Speaker 14: [47:01] This is what I want. And I think that I I hope I just hope more people make this choice and say you know what this part of the business I love I don’t like these other parts. I’m going to find someone however not just pay him. You know and I’m all for prep centers and stuff like that too. But can it go deeper than that. Can the relationship go deeper where I can offer them value too. If you could find that kind of partner.
Stephen: [47:25] Have you met other people out in the in our little world out here that are in that same type of relationship not necessarily related but you can see the depth of partnership is more than just you know a business partnership for sure. I
Chris: [47:39] have to say it’s more of the rarity but I’ve seen it occasionally.
Stephen: [47:43] And I’m hopeful more people consider that kind of thing you know with boundaries right. I mean there have to be real relatively clear boundaries. Now do you guys have a formal agreement or is it a handshake handshake just a handshake and so you know what’s expected of you and he knows what’s expected of him. However things will happen. Life’s going to happen right.
Chris: [48:02] Right. And it’s always family first so it doesn’t matter. You know and that’s that’s that’s how family works. You know you don’t you don’t do things expect things in return. You just do it because it’s going to benefit everybody.
Stephen: [48:16] So like my sermon I give I. I love that. It’s exactly the right attitude right. You give without expectation and you get tenfold. Right. Right. Because it just happens. So what’s next right. So you’re working on private label Scott still run in the operational side of the business. Some of your stuff some of his stuff he’s involved in private label with you. Obviously the best part of you know I mean you don’t have to worry. I mean it’s a whole bunch of cool things. First off you’re on the West Coast so that’s easy to get stuff in check be. Or I guess if we go that way.
Speaker 7: [48:51] That was it. Be you already have a distribution channel and you already know it really really well. See you have a place to receive product to prep and process product. You have the ability to create the right listings. You know do all those different things. I mean to me it sounds like it’s a really well thought out plan.
Speaker 9: [49:14] Yeah. When you say it like that.
Speaker 10: [49:16] Well it’s true.
Stephen: [49:17] But you guys this isn’t by accident. I mean don’t be so naive to you know oh you know it just happens. Now this is my plan. I mean this is obviously a well thought out plan because you put all the pieces together to be successful. Matter of fact where I see it is you guys are building scale that you can blow through.
Speaker 7: [49:35] You know let’s face it you’ve already brought a private label or two to market whether successful or not you learned a ton. Right. You just took a course advanced yourself. It’s easier now isn’t it. Oh for sure. And you know in our conversation you’re like Steve I think I’ve found another niche. And so it’s like the barriers to entry are kind of gone right because you got the money so I’ve worked out you don’t have any of the in and none inhibition. You don’t have any of the inhibitors holding you back. And so to me it seems like you guys could scale very very quickly on the private label side.
Chris: [50:12] Right. And that’s definitely the goal. And not just 100 percent privately why there we’re still. We’ve always done like wholesale bundles really well. So we’ll continue always to those a lot of them are seasonal. Yeah I mean it is definitely easier to scale now. I feel at least for on my side because I don’t have these other burdens I don’t have the team members to manage. I don’t have you know the warehouse rent to pay and all that type of stuff. Now one of my challenges now is that my wife and I have reversed roles and I’m more of a stay at home dad so my time is limited and I have to focus when I have time to do it so I have certain hours during the day I can work and after that then I’m on dad duty.
Stephen: [50:52] Right. And they’re going to get sick and they you know any time you go anywhere near people they’re going to get sick right. They’re going to bring home different things so the plans you need real fluid. No that’s the wrong word you need. You need a very liquid lifestyle right now. Right. OK.
Speaker 7: [51:08] Eben flow right. Thinking about that. OK. Specifically. So you’re working full time. Could you see yourself jumping into this new role from day one. I want to leave my full time job I want to just go and create products and do all these different things. Do you think that that also brings that set of issues definitely.
Chris: [51:34] From day one I think I would have been too scared to do that. It was just. It was easier to flip stuff retail arbitrage and they feel less risky. And whether it really is or not you know that’s to be said but I don’t think I would have had the confidence and I was just a lot younger you know.
Stephen: [51:52] Mm hmm. And so now when you talk about your future you and your wife and I mean what how does that conversation go. Because you know I mean you guys the way you’ve designed it I mean she sounds like she has a really strong career the great future great benefits all those things that the stability that you need in your life right to have some kind of you know I don’t know just structure I guess. And then the liquid that you have the liquid part of your life you could fill in for her in so many ways right. Right. Absolutely. You know it’s funny. Yesterday in my wife’s car light came on. Cold first time and she panicked too. I didn’t even look at what it was turned out to be. Just a low tire sensor or whatever but I was able to go during the day when she was at work.
Stephen: [52:42] I am on set of keys grabbed a car took it to the garage told her afterwards Hey by the way your car’s of the garage. Oh but it was so cool to be at that place in my life. I’ve always had a desk job so I never would leave work ever you know. And so it would be so to be able to have that that makes life easier for her. Right. Do you feel like you’re sewing more into your wife’s life now because you’re able to take in when she comes home stressed from work. I mean let’s face it it’s a job right. She’s going to get I’m stressed that you can take a different nurturing role yourself.
Chris: [53:16] Oh yeah absolutely. And it’s actually been quite eye opening and fun. You know it’s been I’ve been able to take a lot of stuff off her shoulders. She’s always been responsible for. I’m trying out myself.
Speaker 10: [53:29] You know I just have also a newfound respect and she made it look easy right in the house. Oh yeah. That’s what I always like.
Stephen: [53:37] I’m like wait you’ve got to do that. And she’s like oh yeah every week I’m like oh God can we hire somebody. Exactly. That’s awesome dude. I am. I’m telling you as a dad I’m so proud of you because it just I hope more people realize so you can have it all. Chris Guthrie right you can have it all. If you’re willing to take less but be more intentional about what you want to read. OK. So let’s let’s close out with this. So the goal of the podcast is to help people move forward. Right
Stephen: [54:09] . And so we gave a bunch of tips and especially for those who are thinking about taking that full time we really go back and listen to that again because I think that’s very powerful all three of those steps are very very important things you need to think about. But let’s talk about the person who stuck right there stuck there selling that 30000 a month. They don’t have a partner yet and maybe that’s what you’re going to say.
Speaker 7: [54:30] They just struggling on their own. What’s your advice to help them get past that point of stock.
Chris: [54:39] Well my solution was to quit my job and make it happen. But I’d have to say now that I look back you know just we got to you know whether you have a partner or team member or a mastermind that you can bounce ideas on and maybe then they can help you with some of the responsibilities maybe you can do since that for them they can do some stuff for you. Definitely just you know not trying to go it alone for sure.
Stephen: [55:07] And I think that’s so powerful and you’re right you have skills that Scott doesn’t have. Scott has skills that you don’t have. Not that you can’t do them but they’re natural for him and your stuff’s natural for you. You bring them together as we said it’s not one plus one equals two it’s three or four. And I think that’s so powerful. I love it. I love it. I love it. So how can I get somebody has a fall. QUESTION What’s the best way for them to get in touch with you.
Chris: [55:32] Just pretty much Facebook you know Facebook backlash.
Stephen: [55:36] Chris Guthrie there is another Chris Guthrie out there this is not the marketing Chris Guthrie right. I’m not the director marketer although he did dabble in that some but that is not him. He is not that guy. So I mean I’m so excited for you.
Speaker 7: [55:51] I just I can’t wait to get another update because I just love the fact that while things are working you make a drastic adjustment because you can say while on surface it was all working. This
Speaker 14: [56:05] part is the part I liked. I want this. That is powerful powerful stuff and I hope more people realize it. Let me ask you this. I know I’ve said it was a last but do you feel more fulfilled. I guess that’s where I want to go with it is just the difference of Chris today versus when he was selling a million dollars for absolutely more fulfilled.
Speaker 9: [56:30] I feel like I’m actually not just like maintaining something I’m building something. And
Chris: [56:38] also that’s on my family life. I’m spending a lot more time with them and I get to see my kids more every day. You know we’re just you know we’re we’re prepping for the future.
Stephen: [56:49] You know I think about Matt Cartland I’m giving a talk and I’m using him as a reference point because he said you know Steve I’ve go to a lot of the plays and stuff like that. He said many times I’m the only dad there. Oh yeah. And he’s like that’s so powerful to me. And you could see it in the spouses of these other men and they’re like Man I wish my husband would be so mad. Very very very cool. So I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much I can’t wait to get another another update from you. All right thanks for having me. Take
Stephen: [57:18] care. How strong is that interview. Now think about that. Are you willing to make those adjustments in your life knowing that you’re going to have to change a whole bunch of other stuff. I don’t think most people are because they are too close to it too. They don’t have the ability to bounce it off of others. So you really need to take what he’s saying about a master mind. I’m not sure I love that term as much because I think it’s deeper than a mastermind I think it has to be a relationship a deeper relationship. But finding those like minded people and talking about life because guess what you’ve got. My kids or husband kids or parents or friends or illnesses and problems and challenges. Well guess what they do too. So by bringing that into the conversation it gets deeper.
Stephen: [58:04] That’s how your life becomes your business and your business becomes your life. That’s when that’s a positive seamless thing that transition between the two. And it’s just such a great place to be. And I think Chris has figured it out. It’s so neat to see him and Scott and I will have gone on shortly because I just again I just think that this is such a powerful story that I hope more people here you know check out the sponsors you know solutions re commers you know Karen Locher she is killing it. She is adding people on left and right and managing it well. And again you know it’s Q4. I get notes boom there handle you know smaller labs scope. I can’t say enough about it because I use it so often. I hope you are to get that headlines right you get those those keywords right get the title right.
Stephen: [58:50] I called the headline. Get that right. You got to. And so our labs product scope is just awesome. So it’s Celebes dotcom slash scope. The key word is momentum. To use the word get it and get some savings. Comer’s mentum dotcom. Take care.
Cool voice guy: [59:07] Thanks for listening to the covers of all my blog as bobolinks mentioned today can be found at combers momentum com under this episode. Please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.