The Growth Opportunities of Selling on Amazon | Ian Sells
In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Ian Sells - Founder of MDS - talks about the growth opportunities of selling on Amazon, also more information about his life's journey. #IanSells #MDS
About Ian Sells founder of MDS -
Initially called the 50k+ group, Million Dollar Sellers (MDS) quickly evolved into a powerhouse community. Gaining traction with more and more successful 7-figure sellers, it became known as the only group with vetted, full-time, and proven Amazon sellers striving to forge their way on a rapidly growing marketplace that offered no roadmap or guidance.
From the very start, Give More, Get More, has defined our ethos. We require our members to have a highly active engagement to stay in our community. In addition, we've always had a strict policy of no info-marketers and no gurus.
Find the Full Episode Below
Yoni Mazor 0:00
Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of prime talk today I'm excited to have a unique, interesting, special guest. It's Ian sales. Yin is many things. So check this out. He's the founder of the million-dollar sellers, also known as MBS is a founder of elite sellers. He's also the founder of rebate key, he is still an Amazon seller. And he's still a seller after he made an exit selling in his Amazon business to try sale. So we're going to touch more on that during the episode, so stay tuned. Ian, welcome to the show.
Ian Sells 0:34
Hey, Yoni. Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.
Yoni Mazor 0:36
My pleasure. I was waiting for this episode for a long time. So I'm excited. And thank you for your time. Because this episode, today is going to be the story of you the story of in sales, you're going to share with us everything. Who are you? Where are you from? Where did you go up? How did you begin your professional career, station to station until we hit where you are today, in the world of E-commerce. So without further ado, let's jump right into it. Yeah,
Ian Sells 0:58
Thank you. Yeah, I can kind of start off by just saying, you know, I got started unconventionally. I was a real estate broker in California, I've been selling houses since 2004. Kind of got started right out of college.
Yoni Mazor 1:12
This bullet is fast. So let's just sit back. So let's start with the early beginning. Where were you born?
Ian Sells 1:19
Born in Los Angeles, Cedar Sinai. La sounds born or raised la moved to the Bay Area for high school. And then northern right of California, San Francisco, right, that's Bay Area, you know, Silicon Valley area kind of thing. Then I was there for about four years and then went to college at San Diego State. And that's where I kind of I still reside in San Diego and moved to Texas for a couple of years doing commercial real estate. But really,
Yoni Mazor 1:45
As you're growing up, I just want to set the environment you're growing up because it's very clear that you're a super entrepreneur and also very successful at it, I want to go back and kind of touch the elements. So growing up in California, La Barre, San Diego, fine. But as you were growing up your parents, for example, what kind of industries were they involved in?
Ian Sells 2:02
My father was in user design and music. My mom was in PR, so worked for a couple of big corporations, and, you know, really just kind of learned from them, like, how to be diligent and put your head down and work. I can remember though, like, I was always entrepreneurial from the beginning, you know, doing going to garage sales and finding things and buying and then taking them for free or $1, and then refurbishing them and selling them, or like selling five toys and go buy one new one right?
Yoni Mazor 2:35
On the streets, or this is ready. Yeah, you know, just
Ian Sells 2:37
just Yeah, on the streets, you know, have your garage sale, you go figure out how to flip things you understood before eBay, things like that. And
Yoni Mazor 2:45
What you do with the money just by yourself toys, you know, you know, like, as a kid, you just kind of
Ian Sells 2:49
Come up with a way like I was just able to, like, always have the new toy or whatever I wanted. Because I would get rid of a couple of toys and sell them off. And then I'd have extra cash on top of the cash I'd already had or you know, earning from allowance or whatever it was, you know, and so I was always able to, like, figure out how to, like, get the things I wanted quickly and, and do that I can remember like, one of the things that I think changed for me was I like every Sunday, I would read the Sunday newspaper, I was just thinking about this other day. And I would look at the ads that I wouldn't care about you know, the news, that wasn't my thing.
Ian Sells 3:19
It was like, I was so young, I would just look at the section where that all the ads, all the products. Now we're in the target that we're in, you know, Kmart, I think there was, you know, all these different stores back then circuit, city, whatever it was. And I would just kind of like to look at the prices of things. And I was just really interested in commerce, actually from an early age. And I think that's good back to how I kind of understand the marketplace, I can kind of understand what things costs. You know, I know what toothpaste costs, and what some people will never know, I already knew because I saw it in ads, you know, I knew what, you know, a nail file or like, whatever, you know, these things that you know, most people don't think about. So I can remember being interested in commerce. But early on.
Yoni Mazor 3:56
It's an interesting question. It's interesting because you got the sensitivity for the price points. But I think also between you caught up to the marketing approach. Yeah, all these big brands and billions of dollars throughout the year's investment there was a new absorb that from a young age, in addition to all that, I'm sure it's some of their products. If you had you know, an interest in them, you want to get it, you want to be able to generate extra cash to go get it. I think it's a unique early combination, which is off the beaten path. And I never heard of that kind of approach before. So I finally
Ian Sells 4:24
Yeah, very becoming very aware of like marketing and what works and what caught my attention and like what's a good deal? Like how do you know, if you see something for sale? How do you know it's a good deal? Just because I'm failed? That doesn't make it a good deal, right? That could be marketing.
Yoni Mazor 4:37
Today. I'm in my 30s I wasn't like that was growing up. So yeah. So I
Ian Sells 4:41
Think I from an early age, I always had that I had my first job. You know, when I was 15 scrubbing floors of the deli, worked the nose bagels, you know, rode my bike, I didn't have to work. You know, fortunately, my family had enough money to like, you know, provide a good life for us. But like I always just wanted to work, have my own money, have my freedom, you know?
Ian Sells 4:59
Got my car as soon as I could, I went and bought it by myself, my parents couldn't even go with me, I went there with my money and bought my first $5,000 car, you know, and that leaves me up, you know, through college and stuff like that. So, just really, like, always pushing forward on the envelope and always just trying to take action quickly. And just not being scared of, you know, what could happen. I have like, a no fear type of mentality, you know, it's like, I always tell me, like, what's the worst going to happen? You fail. So what you started again, like, it's not a big deal if you fail, right? So, but you witnessed a lot of people, who put roadblocks in front of them. And they
Yoni Mazor 5:36
Give you a, mentally for the most part, like, they
Ian Sells 5:39
Give you all the reasons why they can't do something, well, I want to start a business, but you know, I have a full time. So, you know, do it when you go to sleep, you know, stay up later, you know, like, I do the same thing. But when it comes to the gym, but that's my roadblock, you know, because I'm like, Oh, I got to work. And I got all these things to do. It's like no, like, is a gem, and yeah, but like, I just couldn't 40 so I'm like, I'm making a mental commitment. Like I have to block out that time I have taken care of myself for my family. But yeah, so back to this.
Yoni Mazor 6:06
Yeah. So now what I wanted to touch into the Sunday environment growing up, I want to touch the college years. Educational, so you went to you got your education in San Diego, you said
Ian Sells 6:14
Yes. Can you go to State University?
Yoni Mazor 6:16
Look over there, we're just studying,
Ian Sells 6:18
I went, and I got admitted as a computer science major. And realized in the first semester that I was not going to be a programmer, and I was more of a business person. And I saw I joined the finance department had a real estate major, and I was getting interested in you know, other stuff. And, and I always said, like, if I'm going to sell something, I used to sell out Circuit City, I would sell computers and stuff.
Ian Sells 6:39
And so the mantra was like you're going to sell something or sell something expensive, right? So you can make bigger commissions. So you know, real estate, real estate. So I did that. And I ended up getting into that program. And I also joined a fraternity, a social fraternity or, you know, Sigma Pi if anybody's out there.
Ian Sells 6:57
But, you know, I was interested in real estate. So I took that course. And it was like, all you know, by the time you graduated, you didn't have to work in the industry for two years, you can get your broker's license right after you graduate. But for me, that wasn't good enough. I wanted to get my license and start working beforehand. So I took night school I went to night classes at Century 21 and got my real estate license before I even graduate, even though I could have waited. So I thought I always just had like, you know, push the envelope, right. And I remember my first real estate job was it was in the mortgage business. And as I was just doing cold calling.
Yoni Mazor 7:33
I want to sample you on this right now. So this is when you're breaking into the professional world, right? So you got your real estate license with 10 century 21 as the hub. So what year was that when he started working?
Ian Sells 7:42
Well, I mean, I worked through college to work through college. But this is where I started to, like really feel like, okay, this is what I want to do. And so and I could, you know, I always wanted to make money. So that was like always a driving force. It wasn't like I cared about working, I was like, I just want money and resources and be able to buy things I want trips I want. So you know, while in school, I didn't have to work, I got a job at a mortgage company. And I was just doing cold calling, you know, and this is like, two years before I graduated. And
Yoni Mazor 8:13
It was that when he was entering that company doing cold calling. I was still
Ian Sells 8:17
In college. So it was you know, it was like I was 20 or something like that. Right? 21. And I was just working for I was just making smile and dial and you know, it
Yoni Mazor 8:26
Was that like on the calendar, I was just wanting to sound like the
Ian Sells 8:30
2000 to 2000 to 2000.
Yoni Mazor 8:35
Selling why are you selling mortgages,
Ian Sells 8:36
I was at that time, you know, there was you'd have these teams that would call for mortgages. And then you'd have a loan officer that would do the closings, and then they go out there and find the deal. So I got in this business, it was just like they give you these papers, these lists of you know, addresses phone numbers and the bank name. And you call them and say, Hey, can I see a loan with Bank of America work with Bank of America? And we can lower your mortgage, you'd say about $5 less? Is that something you'd be interested in? Right? And that's literally like the start of the script?
Ian Sells 9:02
And of course, you'd say yeah, I'd be interested that oh, you work with being American cool, like great. But what I found was after working there for three, three weeks, I was like I was making 2530 bucks an hour, which was great, you know, but the guy I was working for was three years older than me. And he showed me his check. He made $100,000 in that month off deals that I was giving him and one month in one month, so I'm not a million dollars here. Yeah. $100,000 Closing Yes, he's a million dollars.
Ian Sells 9:29
Exactly. So you know, to me that was like okay, Bibles went off and that's why I went and got my real estate license because to be a loan officer, you need a license. So at that time, you didn't need a mortgage license you just need a real estate license so that's why I was expelled and I was like a company my license so did that he wouldn't promote me so I went to another company and I can remember they said this is a funny story is like it was literally like the boiler room right you go in there everybody standing around you these guys of all meathead and he just like he's like sink or swim do get on the calls and like I'm just dealing you know, like my face. The call was like, you know, got picked up to do my speech. He's like, yeah, that sounds great. When can you come out and I was like, sweet, so like, boom got like my first loan, like right there on the spot with like everybody looking around, you know, saying around me, you know, and I was like Oh cool. So then, you know, went out there and signed
Yoni Mazor 10:14
The yoga area, by the way, is Austin ego local COMMBUYS you go to San Diego, and you go ahead and sign up.
Ian Sells 10:19
Well, you get the loan app, and then you're going to go out there and you get all this document you guys were covering national regional law it was local, local San Diego stuff. So they got it. So that's just kind of like the sales business kind of go and then I started buying houses I made over $100,000 before I graduated, I bought my first house before I graduated. And then we started doing college rentals in the San Jose area and I buy a house affordable house, I'd add on two bedrooms, turned into a six-bedroom house rented out for like $5,000 a month and then I refinance take all my cash back out basically
Yoni Mazor 10:50
What year did you graduate those up started doing you know, started 2004 2004 Yeah, it doesn't for us. But that time we already have two or three years of business, you know, behind you, you got you to know, you're doing cold calling, but you also you know, you're a loan officer, right? Yeah, loan officer. Yep. So you're making 100 grand, but what else you already had you flipping real estate and renting out already at that point in 2004.
Ian Sells 11:14
Yeah, I bought my house before I graduated. So 2004 bought my first house right there, like a block no blocks from campus, you know?
Yoni Mazor 11:21
So these two years were super, hyper-aggressive for you, right? You take it easy graduate and go to that track. By the time you got there. You're ready. You're ready, like, you know, the 10 to 15 years into the industry into the mix in terms of speed. So that's kind of lightning speed. That's impressive. Okay. 2004 You graduated, you have a house, you're making, for lack of a better word making bank. What was the next move? Yeah. So
Ian Sells 11:40
I ended up partnering up with a couple of guys from my fraternity. One guy from my fraternity and one guy that worked with me, at the mortgage company, and within three years, we bought 100 houses in the neighborhood. We rented them out to college kids, we sold some of them, and we flipped them. We were driving prices high. We were built building College, mini college houses, you know, and renting them out, we put plasma TVs and hot tubs and all the houses. It was the early days, right? This would be for granite countertops, or even a thing and
Yoni Mazor 12:11
Like we work live environment for college students back into you know, yeah.
Ian Sells 12:17
So, you know, then my buddy had an idea to get a limo. So we had our limo drivers. We had our construction workers have drivers are night so we picked up college girls from the houses and take them to the bars. And you know, we had a great time. And then, you know, things started to change. The markets are changing as a, you know, things were changing the market. We had a run-in with the city attorney, he was trying to like people are opposing what we were doing because we're redeveloping neighborhoods,
Yoni Mazor 12:44
Gentrified it. Yeah.
Ian Sells 12:46
Well, you know, in real estate, it's called highest and best use, the highest and best use of the house that's walking into the campus is not for a senior citizen to retire in. It's for college housing. And that's really what we were doing and the prices were going up. But people still hated what we were doing cuz they don't want to live next to college kids because like, you live next to the college. And the college has grown right.
Ian Sells 13:04
So we started doing this in other neighborhoods. And there's because of our all of our students wanted to move to the beach and live next to the bars and stuff. So we started building 678 bedroom houses in the beach area, you know, taking these million our homes turning into one and a half million our homes and stuff like that. And people just started going up in arms about it. It was kind of like
Yoni Mazor 13:23
Our buddies from college. Yeah, and the fraternity,
Ian Sells 13:26
One from the fraternity and one I worked with in college. So yeah, I started talking fast. But, you know, we turned this into a business and we had, you know, over 100 houses under management, we had a property management company. And we ended up just, you know, moving on to we moved into commercial real estate, so we moved out to Texas and started buying, raising caps and capital.
Yoni Mazor 13:48
Is that when you made that Texas, Texas move that was like 2008 Nine. So that's the global financial meltdown.
Ian Sells 13:55
Yeah. Yeah, it reminds me, sorry, it was probably 2009 we moved out there in 2010 11. But
Yoni Mazor 14:02
The crisis like affected your business now triggered the move to Texas. You said okay, evolution is
Ian Sells 14:07
Now the financing for residential is starting to change. So we're like, Okay, we're gonna go to commercial, right.
Yoni Mazor 14:13
What would you do with it before you cast it out, you
Ian Sells 14:15
Know, kept captive. It was a cash cow, right? Everything was renting. You know, the college rentals. If you ever look into it, it's a great market to be a part of. But yeah, so we moved into commercial real estate. So that's how I got my chops in buying apartment buildings for the same price as the house in San Diego. I was buying a 500-unit or sorry, a 50-unit apartment building in Texas. So you're buying 15
Yoni Mazor 14:37
Austin area or
Ian Sells 14:38
No, we didn't well, we bought in Dallas. We bought in Amarillo, we won Houston we bought you know kind of all over. And you know, we said hey, if we can manage college kids, we can manage apartment buildings, you know, and tenants and so you know, like I said, for 500 hours already you buy houses you do or you can buy a fifth unit or building in Texas. So hey, let's get some more doors. There was a much more challenging operation than we expected. And then the market changed and there was no liquidity in the market, you couldn't sell these properties, you couldn't refinance them. So we had some hard money loans. So we had to really like reorganize and raise more capital, we had to like give out, give our properties back to the shareholders to help make them whole. And eventually, they all got out of those things. And we got out of that, too. But it was a great learning lesson of how the market impact can impact you. And so I wanted to start another business. If I did that, well,
Yoni Mazor 15:29
Let me get this straight and started coaching that so. So it seemed like a cycle, you were in the boom cycle, right? It was on the upside. And then there was we're turning down and there's, you know, the markets are dry, especially on the financing side. And crypto is, you know, inability to grow and maintain. So you look at liquidating the Texas portfolio or the entire real estate portfolio across the board.
Ian Sells 15:47
Just Texas, just Texas. Yeah, the thing that bothered college rentals is college was always in session. The rents can't come in, the property values did drop, but the rents still came in just fine. So
Yoni Mazor 15:57
That’s good. As long as that's, you're working with the government directly. So that's good. Okay, so what? So what did you make the more the next move is and what year did you liquidate Texas, and what do you move? Yeah, so
Ian Sells 16:07
I moved back to San Diego from Texas. And, you know, started my own real estate company. I was at my property management kind of split up with my partners, and we all split ways at that time. And we kind of just, everybody's got to kind of do their own thing. So I had a real estate company, a property management company, I was flipping houses and doing renovations and making money that way doing short sales where I was helping people like, you know, get out of foreclosure and things like that.
Ian Sells 16:35
And I started investing in some other businesses, I had cash and I was trying to figure out what the next move is. And we're getting tired of doing real estate. Now we have been in this business for almost 10 years, right, and kind of like what's the next move I don't want to go show houses all the time was a lot of work. started investing in a buddy from college, another good friend, did his first cash advance, bought some product in China, and has been out there a couple of times and started selling on Amazon and this has been in 2012 2013. So really early on, and he was able to all of us, like give him $5,000 All his friends and like we'd all do joint ventures on products
Yoni Mazor 17:11
That he found out about e-commerce slash Amazon, as far as you know, I believe
Ian Sells 17:15
He was just like, he was one of those guys that had a million ideas. And none of them were successful until this one was, you know, and so it's funny to hear from you guys get a lot of disguises like, you know, just always pushing the envelope and just kind of being scrappy and resourceful. Not everybody
Yoni Mazor 17:33
Doesn’t 1213 your buddy is pretty much the one that brought the e-Commerce slash Amazon knocking on your door. And yeah, he
Ian Sells 17:41
you know, I was already interested, I was trying to do affiliate marketing, I was trying to do all this other stuff, you know, trying to get out of the real estate business or, or find another way to have cash and other you know, income stream, right. And, and so you know, what I was working on and you know, didn't work. But this, I invested with him and it worked out. And then my first ship and our second shipment got seized by the government. Because we were importing at this time. We didn't know but we were importing counterfeit products. We didn't know they were counterfeit, you know, wow, this is early days. You didn't you're like, oh, I'm buying you know, original OEM, you know, I think it was I was selling Xbox hard drives. He was selling sign Heiser and Bluetooth speakers, you know, and headsets like yours, right? Are high-end. But he didn't know that they were fake. Until government because
Yoni Mazor 18:25
You’re reselling it. It wasn't like a private label movie. It was like, it wasn't a private label at the time. Yeah, that was a name brand. But it was actually on the counterfeiters,
Ian Sells 18:34
Because this is before you knew like Alibaba and the manufacturers just tell you that they're legit, you know? Oh, yeah. Cool. So you made your first book and you're like, oh, yeah, yeah. So So then he's like, Hey, I'm going to China. Do you want to come with me? I'm like, Yeah, let's go. So we went and stayed at a hostel, you know, went to the Canton Fair, you know, until you
Yoni Mazor 18:53
When you first hit China slash Canton Fair. Was that
Ian Sells 18:58
Like 2013 or 2014?
Yoni Mazor 19:00
You're already kind of tuned to the mix of the game. Yeah, we had already
Ian Sells 19:03
We had already I had already had a taste of E-commerce. And before that, I always, you know, because my comeback kind of your science, my real estate company kind of took off because I was good at marketing. And so I was doing I was able to get my website ranked likes to host for sale like number one or two, meaning this other guy was competing for that. And then I was I figured out Craigslist, I was able to do 1000 posts a day on Craigslist in the real estate section driving traffic to my website.
Ian Sells 19:30
So I was generating 20 3040 leads a day on my website, and I was selling them to agents and kind of making money that way. So kind of that your science like really played a role in life where I wanted to be and I always wanted to have a web, a software company and try to build a lot of them. I owned a company called I tried to build College Area rentals. Do I own that domain name in the early days, right because I'd always college rentals but never got it off the ground? But anyway, so you know, learn Amazon understood that this is a great business model it
Yoni Mazor 20:00
Makes money in China right Canton Fair. Was this a kind of an eye-opener? Or what was it? What happened there?
Ian Sells 20:03
Oh, I mean, I was already aware of, you know, this model. And it was just like, we were just going there to find new products to sell. These were our early days. And
Yoni Mazor 20:11
We were was resolved to pivot into your private label brand.
Ian Sells 20:15
Yeah. So that was kind of the how, you know, we realize you can't sell Microsoft hard drives, they don't allow you that,
Yoni Mazor 20:21
Right. I gotcha. I got it. So that pushed you to make the move into private label, which, looking back probably was the best decision and that's definitely
Ian Sells 20:29
Definitely yeah, this is why we started selling Bluetooth speakers, solar chargers, and, and power banks when anchor started, so the anchor was like, we were looking at anchor like, oh, there is competition. That's how early was because we would go to the factory and Andrew was products were being made in our factories, they were like, what are they doing? Right, so, so we like, you know, that was super early. And I'm like, you know, like, let's see what their mate you know, what their product looks like, and their stitching and all that stuff.
Ian Sells 21:00
And, and they were early too. And so, you know, we joined an entrepreneurship group, like an accelerator here in San Diego, that was helping us. And it was made up of a bunch of CEOs that ran other consumer products, very traditional companies, and for the most part, you know, they understood Amazon, but they didn't think of Amazon as, as the thing. So we had this company that was doing a ton of sales on Amazon.
Ian Sells 21:26
And they are like, you need a patent you need. You need a moat around your business, you need to get into retail because that's where it's at, right? And if you want to raise money, you know, we'll help you put together a deck so, but you can't raise money without a pad, you know. So we did all of these things for years. I look at it as robbing Peter to pay Paul, right. We're like making money on Amazon. But we're spending all of it to try to go to trade shows and get our sore chargers into Walmart and, you know, target and Cabala’s and
Yoni Mazor 21:56
Trying to do the reverse pyramid. You know, you're born on eCommerce penetrated,
Ian Sells 21:59
Right? Because e-commerce was so eCommerce was so early that back then, all of the people who are giving you advice, didn't understand it. And we didn't either. And we were chasing the shiny object, which is like you’re big
Yoni Mazor 22:12
Box to kind of market but the real industry of retail would say yeah, you're like fill in the masses of people in the brick and mortar. So that is where you have a real business, right? Yeah, yeah. Fast forward a few years later, different ballgame. We'll get there. But yeah,
Ian Sells 22:25
Yeah. So you know, we went to trade shows we would you got into to Walmart, we got checks from Walmart, you know, and the idea was like, oh, Walmart's, you make an order Costas, you make an order, you're going to make a million dollars, you know, and we had, we had done a million plus and sales on Amazon. And in the early days, within a year or two of the business.
Ian Sells 22:41
So we were already doing well, we were making money. But we were, we were trying to build a premium brand. When we had we had this thing called a black box mentality. We just bypass and put it in a black box. And that was it, right? And we thought we'd sell it for less, we were the low-cost leader. So anchor can be expensive, but we tell the same thing because Andrew was buying off-the-shelf products as well, they weren't developing things in the early days, right, they were selling the same things we were at a higher price or trying to but they weren't trying to get retails.
Ian Sells 23:10
So and retail you didn't even a higher price because you need those, you know, those 50 60% margins for the retailer. So Amazon was not that way you want to have the cheapest price or to drive sales, right. So yeah, we spent a lot of effort and time and money on doing that versus chasing Amazon. And so you know, looking back like well we could have been anchored you know if we had just focused on Amazon and just launched more products and did that you know,
Yoni Mazor 23:34
I mean, I've been to China I've seen anchor around the store is this you know, so we're another day eventually got to where they need to be, but I guess they credit their mirth firstly, I guess an E-commerce or instead of that land for a good amount of time until they I guess maybe maximize your growth right and say, Okay, where can we go next? Right, you realize your full potential when you're saying you guys thought you reach your full potential and that's why you got to go to brick and mortar what? Maybe effectively you had the potential to go 10x on generics and those elements like anchor did
Ian Sells 24:01
ya interview Oh, no anchor if you don't know started by x Google guys. So they were already very connected, understood it, knew the market, and were focused on what they were doing. They saw it took a while to get their foothold, but they were early right in the early bird catches the worm and they were early in the electronic space are the same products. We you know, we had products that rank better for Bluetooth speakers and stuff like that. But we just didn't take advantage of that market timing.
Ian Sells 24:25
So market timing, you know, for me in my life, my career has been, you know, a problem. Real Estate Market timing screwed me, you know, when I was making a big, you know, made millions of dollars out of our college and then lost a ton in the market crash, right? Then we have this new thing where we're you're ramping up our Amazon's brand, we're super early and everybody tells you you go the other way. And so you didn't take advantage of the market, right? And then the market runs you out. And so I ended up we ended up selling that business off and I and my partner also split ways to he wanted to run his own business do his thing and I kind of want to continue Amazon? Do
Yoni Mazor 25:01
Did you see that too? What was that? What was?
Ian Sells 25:04
Like 2014? Or 15? Yeah, earlier. So we sold our first Amazon business for multi-million. Our Amazon business in 2015
Yoni Mazor 25:12
Is a pretty aggregator world. This is Oh, yeah, this is early. This is before they were even babies. Yeah. My biblical years earlier. Yeah.
Ian Sells 25:20
So, you know, I already knew I was still doing real estate, you know, but I already knew the power of Amazon. So when we did that,
Yoni Mazor 25:26
So all this whole time, just to remind everybody, you still had your back pocket? The San Diego real estate business? Correct?
Ian Sells 25:31
Yeah, I was still selling houses and making money because you know, you need money to invest in these things, right. So, you know, you're starting your business, you can't take cash out of it, right? You got to keep rolling it out. Until it gets to a point where you can and you can get some leverage. But for me, you know, real estate was very helpful for understanding leverage, right? Because when you buy a house, you don't pay for it in cash you put on debt. Debt is good if it's good debt, and mortgage debt is good debt.
Ian Sells 25:58
And my dad was covered, I didn't have the My house is to this day, don't cost me any money, I own real estate for free, right, because I put them down payment down. But the word mortgage the renovations, and then you know, since I started buying so long, though, those properties have now gone up more than double in value. And I can take back my initial investment and still cover the rent. So I have zero money down on properties in San Diego and they're cash-flow positive.
Yoni Mazor 26:30
Something else again. But the cost of refinancing as we inflation does its magic, and it grows, you recycle the dead, you take the equity out and restart the whole thing. So you
Ian Sells 26:39
Don’t you know, your parents probably all live the other fallacy or you get to a certain point in life where you don't want that I understand that. But before that happens, you shouldn't be taking advantage of that low-interest rate, right? Like how else how you can't even get a 3% loan on your business. But you can get a 3% loan on your house. So use that money invested in the stock market, you'll earn 10% If you invest in sap 500, right, so you can make that delta the 7% on your money. So paying off your mortgage, and having a house paid off isn't an asset to you, it's costing you money because you can have two assets making money because it's going to still go up in value over time. Right?
Ian Sells 27:16
There are dips. But yeah, so that leverage, so I understood that. So I, when we sold our business off, I was like, Okay, I'm going to start my own Amazon business, but I don't want to do electronics anymore. Because it requires so much customer service. And it's like, a lot of time, it wasn't competitive that time it was just like things break the USB ports, you know, you're getting cheap electronics in China, right? And consumers don't know how to use it. And they tell you is broken when it's not. So I got into fitness. And I was like, I'm going to sell, you know, I had those loot bags, were one of my first sellers, you know, I bought them for 70 cents or whatever, three-pack, and I had one of the best sellers. Now that was my first product. You know, before they became like, crazy China, you know, the competition I got ran out. But I started to move up the ranks or buy more expensive products or started building out a brand. And, you know, and so we didn't
Yoni Mazor 28:09
Have to cash out. And so the Amazon business right away, you start to 15 or the you
Ian Sells 28:15
Know, it wasn't retirement money, we sold it off, got some cash, you know, I got paid back the profits that I invested, essentially. And I was like, Okay, well, I'm not going to not do Amazon, this is great. But I'm still doing my real estate thing. So I invested in a new Amazon business. Right away. It
Yoni Mazor 28:29
Was like, you know,
Ian Sells 28:30
Yeah, so I just, I already had, I already knew the model, right? I already knew some of the mechanics of it, although I didn't know enough about it. Because my partner kind of handled the Amazon side. And I handled the retail side because, you know, my background in sales, right? So I was the one talking to retail or going to trade shows doing these things. He was running the Amazon stuff, you know, and helping out with sales as well. But so, I knew it was a great model, I love that you can make money while you're sleeping.
Ian Sells 28:55
You can't do that in real estate, right? Or selling houses, right. That's how I make my income. And so I started my brand and fitness and went to China found more suppliers and, and started to go every six months or a year or something twice a year, I go to China for two or three years, and I build a brand build my relationship with the factory, and just kept buying more and more from the same factory because I like that, you know, I love to go around and I was just building out the brand.
Yoni Mazor 29:23
Yeah, he's killing your relationship with the supplier. And it's steadier. It's more scalable. Yeah,
Ian Sells 29:28
Yeah. So that kind of led me to look for more support on how to build Amazon and scale that part of my business up. And that's how MDS started. And our sellers view it was I was I joined a bunch of Facebook groups at that time. It was like, you know, Scott Volker and, and Manny coats, right, and I'm watching that stuff. And then talking there was another group that was like getting to $10,000 a month in sales to be in this group. And so that was he already had that and I told the guys like, look, you know, I'm now you know, six months later or five Much later I was out
Ian Sells 30:00
I'm at 50k a month, okay, you need it, you need to, you know, raise the bar, I needed that we need another group to talk about these higher-level conversations. Because I don't want to see the screen and back then I was like screenshots? Is this a good product to launch? Everybody would post their screenshots of like, you know, Jungle Scout, and it's like, is this a good product to launch? And you're like, you know, and I was just tired of that, right? I'm trying to scale my business and already understood the economics of it. So he's, no, I'm good. I don't want to do that. So I was like, Okay, you might if I start the 50k, enough group, and he said, sure, go ahead.
Yoni Mazor 30:26
I did this is a manual or Scott, no, this
Ian Sells 30:28
Is this New Year, guys? There was a, there was a guy TEN CATE, he had a 10k group, right. And so I just started this group. And it wasn't a business or anything like that. It was just basically like a place to hang out and talk with other entrepreneurs, that were doing the same thing as me, and at that time, there weren't any courses. There were no guys. Even Scott Manley. We’re figuring it out. On the fly, right? There was no, you're
Yoni Mazor 30:49
Saying the early Genesis in the seeds of MDS million dollar sellers group was a festival group that you kind of, you know, evolved in, it wasn't
Ian Sells 30:57
Like it was, it was a place for me to talk with like-minded people who were doing the same thing. There was no cost, right? It was just a group and grassroots. It was your mastermind group, right. And so, you know, here and there, people were talking and, and people would, you know, invite their friends, and I would check their screenshots, and back, then I would say, Okay, send me a screenshot of your photo ID and do a P sign in front of your sales, I knew it was legit. And then we'd have a conversation, I interview you, you make sure you're a legit person, and, and all that stuff, I'm willing to contribute, and when they join the group, and so on, so forth. So you know, that that kind of grew as my business grew, you know, everybody alongside me was kind of doing the same thing, right? We were all helping each other. We were trying to, you know, your account got shut down, or you're listening or here's this will work for me and cost-share and, you know, tactical things, right?
Yoni Mazor 31:41
Because of the number of members of the group, what was it started with a five and 50? It was like 10, and
Ian Sells 31:47
50, then, you know, whatever. We didn't start, I'll get to that point in a second. But basically, we're all helping each other. We're all paving our roads. And then, you know, going to China, we go to China, and I'd be like posting the view, like, who's here and we meet up and like, all sudden, China wasn't lonely anymore. Right? I'd have friends and we met up. And that's where I met Eugene, who works with me. We met at a spa in China, like, you know, for massages. Yeah, foot massages hanging out, like just, you know, like, you know, got dinner and got some drinks. And like, usually, when you're in China for two weeks, you're working your butt off. It was a slog, right, like, you're going from factory to factory. Definitely draining, and like you're by yourself, and then you wake up in the morning and do it again. And you know, it's like, you got to get so much done while you're out there.
Yoni Mazor 32:35
So, this, you know, this group on Facebook is starting to fizzle while he was out. I was 17.
Ian Sells 32:41
I think we started in 2016 or 2017. Yeah, remember? So yeah. So, you know, it continued to grow, and people loved it. And we would have we had our first event in China, you know, basically a meet up like at a hotel and my hotel I was staying, I was like, I got the ballroom and all the guys and MBAs kind of met up, we share stories. And we met up and went out to drinks and we went to Canton Fair, we walked around together, that was the beginning of like, building this community. And so, you know, the community got up to like, 150 people.
Yoni Mazor 33:10
It was called something else. It was, it was a
Ian Sells 33:13
50k group, and then it was the 100k group. And then we started calling it the mmm, the million-dollar mastermind. It was like an internal thing that we didn't change the name or anything like that. But like, I didn't like the name. Mmm, sounds dumb. So, you know, we got to 150 members. And it was a lot of work to manage it and like, had to kick people out.
Ian Sells 33:32
And people were there were moles and people like leaking information. And you know, everybody wanted to be this private, secret secretive. Right, you know, and we're all willing to help each other. But like, that's it like, we started with this, you know, no, Guru no salesperson, like it was just sellers. Right? And not that there was anything wrong with those people or anything like that. But we weren't, you know, we were trying to be first we were the ones coming up with these ideas. We wanted to utilize the first and be ahead of the game. And these guys were you know, once you're doing, you know, a million dollars revenue at that time, you're probably making 20% profit margins. I think today is a lot less. But you know, that's when you probably click quit your full-time job, right? You're like, okay, now I made 20 grand this year, and I’m going to go full time on this. I'm going to take it and see where I can take it. Right.
Yoni Mazor 34:14
Right. Um, so I guess I you know, as a potential your, your, your vision of the environment, that was that your vision that development is helping sellers, right. So there's a certain edge and you want to keep it that way and you don't want to contaminate it with whatever you know. So outside organizations or somebody's Yeah, well, marathons. Oh, originally and on purpose. Yeah, a few guys. That was part of the vision.
Ian Sells 34:35
Yes, that was part of the vision, you know, develop the vision developed over time because it was for me, it was just purely to be around people that are doing what I'm doing so I can get my business up. So you know, so 150 people I said, Hey, guys, I wrote in as the group like, Hey, guys, I don't want any more people in that group. It's already too much work for me, but I'll let people in anybody refer if I'm going to charge them money but you guys are all free.
Yoni Mazor 34:59
Buddy who was beating the three legacies, yeah, there's a legacy. And
Ian Sells 35:04
The only reason I can charge it is because of you guys, so I appreciate that type of thing. And that's where we started. And that that was just a Facebook group, right? And so you know, whatever. So I said, I'm going to charge 997. Everybody said, you’re crazy, no one's going to pay that. I said I don't care. We don't need more people away. We're good. Like, we got plenty of people. And people started to pay.
Ian Sells 35:20
And so you know, that was great. And we started, I hired a VA, and we started to curate content, and we started to do stuff. And then we throw our first event in Cancun. And like, we had 90 members show up out of 180, or something like that, you know, almost 50% of the membership showed up. That was pretty crazy. And everybody just wanted to build their relationships even more, because we had these like, online relationships. We even have side chats, we have zoom calls, or it didn't zoom at the time. And we were just like, I don't know how we communicate back then.
Yoni Mazor 35:48
Maybe Skype, Skype,
Ian Sells 35:51
Right, or Google Hangouts or something like that. And yeah, so we, we just did that. And, and everybody loved getting together. And it fortified the solidified the networking, and building relationships that people now had their first babies on that trip. And they got, you know, they met, they brought their, their girlfriend who they got married to, and people met their business partners that there for life, and they're there, you know, because this is like, you have your friends from college. And I do too. And I have my friends from growing up. But these are the guys that like, inspire me, these are the guys that like when we have conversations, it's not about football. It's literally about like ideas. And this is like you walk away from every conversation you have with an entrepreneur, especially in E-commerce was like Aha moments and ideas and we just love to like,
Yoni Mazor 36:32
Share attorneys' spirit for E-commerce entrepreneurs.
Ian Sells 36:35
Yeah. So yeah, so that's kind of what MDS has become. And so I put out a vote and I said, hey, guys, like, I want to change the name. And, you know, here's the, here's the different names and, and, and everyone's like, you know, MDS or nm or like, million-dollar something rather, and, and basically, the vote wasn't for MDS, and somebody's like, that sounds like a disease, you know, I gotta kiss the MDS. So, I was like, you know, I already bought the domain names and don't like it too bad.
Ian Sells 37:04
So that was like, one of the things I did where it was like, kind of, kind of run MBs, like a, you know, like, a democracy, right? It's basically like, I don't make the decisions for the group. We have an advisory council now, like, everybody kind of has a say in what happens, but I am guiding the vision, I do have a bigger picture. And now we're becoming the eCommerce Entrepreneurs Organization. So that's the future like people join MDS for they stay for a long time, whether it's for investments or lifestyle, you know because these are your lifelong friends and kind of grew up together. And so we want to continue to curate events and community and an openness and investment opportunities for people in this space, even after you sell your business. So that's kind of like our new way forward, right. And so
Yoni Mazor 37:46
That’s where the vision is.
Ian Sells 37:48
Yeah. So Amazon is just that was the beginning. Now we do DDC, and we're moving on to all the other things, but become the entrepreneur organization. We're building out chapters in every different city. And so really, a bigger vision now has become of MDS, and we're now over 500 members.
Ian Sells 38:04
And we grow slowly. So we aren't the group that grows, whoever will pay us can come in, you have to apply, you have to be approved that you go through multiple interviews, you have to meet our core values, right, give more get more what would mom say we have a lot of values in the group. And so if you don't abide by those, you get booted, we don't care if you're a paying member. And if you don't contribute, you're going to get booted so we care about the community and the engagement. And as curious,
Yoni Mazor 38:28
It is curated for value engagement and participation and you know, evaluate, the impact stays in the maintains.
Ian Sells 38:36
Yeah, so really, you join because you want to, and you get value out of there, whether it's personal, you know, check-in for your health or Amazon's almost ruined my business. And I'm just like stressing out and I need help, you know, 25 people jump on a call you and give you advice. Very stressful. Yeah. There, everybody in the MDS is very supportive of each other. And that's kind of the atmosphere that we built from the beginning. And it just kind of grown from there. So.
Yoni Mazor 39:05
Okay, so this is on the NDA side, but along the lines, I think he also was able to make another exit, right? I want to maybe touch that station and then lead into also rebate key and seller elite. This is very robust for you. We do a whole eight-hour series. I want to touch on stations also. So let's make progress and touch those as well.
Ian Sells 39:24
Yeah, so I'll just kind of go through those. But basically, you know, through this business-building end, yes. You know, I got to the point where, you know, my business had grown over 6 million in revenue. You know, and I saw the vision of MDS at that point, you know, we had gotten to three or 400 members, whatever, and I knew where I wanted to go with that rebate key was also becoming very big at a time, I wanted to focus on my software. I, you know, from my computer science days, like I was interested I was building websites when I was a kid, all that stuff. So going back, I wanted to have a software business versus a product business. That's kind of where my passion was. And I just liked the business model. So I wanted to focus on that.
Ian Sells 40:06
So that's why I decided to put my business for sale. And I sold right before COVID. top-selling product and exercise home and fitness. And, and I wanted to build relationships with Rosco because it was early days. And I just knew that they had what it takes. And I knew that they would be a good partner for him yes, as well. And so I wanted to make that deal. So I didn't go anywhere else, I just kind of was like, I want to sell and I want to sell quickly. Because I don't want to get hit by the market were like this, you know, you lose everything because you didn't sell in time you got to sell on the upswing guy know when to sell like, you can't tie the market perfectly, you can't hit the top or the bottom right, you got to know you got to tell him up. So I sold on the OP, and
Yoni Mazor 40:48
Younger man where there's still potential for more, so the buyer was buying it, you're not telling
Ian Sells 40:52
Me before you plateau or you like your stock, right? You want to sell when business is going well, and things are going well. And you know, unfortunately for me, I sold a little bit before the craze before the multiples increased. But, you know, I also built up other businesses that were worthwhile. And so for me, it was the opportunity cost of putting my time into MBs. And key and then I had a new seller coming out pretty soon too. So for me, it was like, Okay, I need to get I need to focus on this stuff, and not on my Amazon business, which is where all my liability was holding all this inventory. Inventory. If Amazon shuts you down, or you lose your views or whatever, you're kind of screwed, right? So and I wasn't putting enough time into it so so that business and that went very smoothly with radio you know, what we agreed to happened, you know, really proud of, of what they, they, you know, offered me. And then they, unfortunately, got lucky because I sold my business right before COVID Which, you know, could have been a bad thing, right, because a lot of businesses tanked and COVID then there was a lot of as they sell well, home gym equipment accelerated. But I might not have been able to keep up with demand, whereas they bought my business and put a million RPO on day one before they even have an urn out. If
Yoni Mazor 42:04
You did, it's all good. I do have an urn out.
Ian Sells 42:06
But at that time, it was capped. So I wasn't uncapped, you know, which I wish it was, but it wasn't. But so we did hit our cap, and I hit my cap within six months, you know, my business got that money, I think they made their money back in about 12 months or nine months from buying me out, which is, which is unfortunate for me. But at the same time, hindsight is always 2020, I was able to invest in the stock market at a low, right, because COVID tanked and I was able to put some of that money away and you know, invest that wisely. And just focus on other businesses. So things were going well with those other businesses and the software for a while. And then as you know, recently, we had a little bit of a hiccup with Amazon. So you know,
Yoni Mazor 42:45
If and cancel let me see the trajectory. So Rebecca was kind of a boy you realize you will you know, you also have a computer science background and you're savvy with software and technology. So rebate key was born from that neighbor in a nutshell, rebate key, I'm not too familiar with, to be honest. So rebate key, in a nutshell, it was a platform where consumers can get offers a product, right to buy at a heavily discounted with the rebate, and then you know, that helps the sellers to, you know, to to, you know, get traffic listings can convert and generate sales, through the incentives of rebates. And then that you also launched elite seller, which is a platform for Amazon, third-party sellers to get key statistics, statistics and data analytics on a variety of things, which was insightful for the business to make it, you know, also more successful. So that was a design for each platform, correct?
Ian Sells 43:32
Yeah, they're different software's completely different software,
Yoni Mazor 43:35
Different platforms, different purposes. But what happened, I guess recently, you can share with us.
Ian Sells 43:40
Yeah, yeah, well, I can just give you a little backstory, the read, he was an idea. I had kind of gone back to my days working in Circuit City. And it was basically like, we'd tell printers and computers, and they'd have these like cash back rebates, you'd have to come to UBC and you mail it into the mail-in rebate. And that's Fry's Electronics High City. It kind of doesn't exist as much anymore. But I was I was realizing like, everybody was getting better this time. It was like Viral Launch every giving present coupon codes and launching their products and boosting BSR all that stuff. And I was like, this is super easy for Amazon track. It's not good for Amazon, right?
Ian Sells 44:14
Because they're losing money on commission because they're now not able to charge the 15% on a $40 item. It's not one cent, right? And so and so rebates are used and developed for brands to market on platforms, in marketplaces, and retail. That doesn't hurt the retailer's actual bottom line, right? You still go if you go to the car dealership, you get a manufacturer's rebate, right, and that still exists. It's Ford, because every Ford dealerships own independently, right. But those guys already have negotiated rates with Ford. So Ford, actually as a parent company, saying, hey, buyer, go buy our truck in this store and we'll give you an extra $1,500. That's real money from the manufacturer.
Ian Sells 44:51
So it's an incentive that doesn't hurt the actual store owner. In this case, Amazon will still get full-price sales or at Target they would still get full-price sales. So really key was the idea of like facilitating this, like a simple cash back rebate. And we want to do it in a way that was very above-board legit, like, I wanted to build this, this, this software that was going to grow forever and not be a launch software. And we never marketed as a launch software. We never marketed as a site that manipulates Amazon, things like that. But we ended up becoming the leader in rebates. And it kind of changed the game when it came to, you know, how do you launch products, why people use rebate key to use other launch services, it
Yoni Mazor 45:29
Became a staple thing for me.
Ian Sells 45:31
And I, you know, kind of came up with the idea. And my partner Leo Kahn was like, hey, let's do it. And the funny thing is, we posted an MBs. And everyone's like, that's a great idea. And so is that, hey, we'll raise some money. And we thought maybe we get the 2030 Grand to go build this project, actually, in 24 hours. And yes, we raise $100,000, you know, with no agreement, just because of our, you know, integrity and the space and who we are, and the community we built, like everyone's willing to give us money to go build as they believed in what we can build. And so come, you know, fast forward to, you know, just a few months ago, rebate key was the largest rebate platform, we had. We had, we've almost paid out $100 million in actual rebates.
Ian Sells 46:10
We have products that are 100% rebates, we have products that are temperament rebates, we were just rolling out our mobile application, and we had nearly a million shoppers on the platform. So we were signing up between 500,000 people a day on the platform from SEO referral marketing, and Facebook. So you know, people that would like to say that it was a small pool are a million people in the group. Yeah, some people can get more deals than others. But like it was a first come first serve thing.
Ian Sells 46:35
So really had a great platform. And we were traditional, you know, transitioning the business into this, like, you know, retail coupon rebate platform for third-party sellers. That's that was the vision is not to launch post-Amazon is actually to be the Vacutainer Ebates for third-party sellers. Because those sites work for affiliate networks. And they work for big brands. But you as a small seller, can't promote your products on Abates or Rakuten, right, they don't have a way for you to do that. But we had over 30,000 merchants promoting their products on our site. So really built a big audience and was, you know, ready to take it to the next level. And Amazon came out and made a change and decided that they don't want any outside of marketing anymore. And I think it's kind of ridiculous what they did, because, first of all, they attacked us in a way that was not at the highest integrity, you know, that of Amazon, they don't care for sellers and things like that. But they didn't notify us in any way that they were going to change their terms of service, or give us a way to make adjustments, adjustments to the business, right. And we were an approved Amazon
Yoni Mazor 47:43
Service services. You can
Ian Sells 47:45
Go to Amazon Seller Central, and find your app connect rebate key was approved as a rebate platform. You know, we were doing everything above-board open marketplace, even the Amazon themselves could shop there, we weren't hiding anything. It was all completely open to anyone that wanted to use the rebate key even. You know, the sellers didn't sign up once their campaigns we had no hands.
Yoni Mazor 48:04
I don't think it was anything to do. More Amazon's changing their terms of service. And because of that change, this model doesn't apply anymore. It's not it doesn't mild anymore. It's okay. So you do you do? Ask me about the new announcements? No, so
Ian Sells 48:19
We got unfairly targeted. And so you know, that did hurt a bit. But you know, we're working on making key great again.
Yoni Mazor 48:29
Making the key you got to make an entrance. Yeah,
Ian Sells 48:31
Right. Right. But rebate key never needed Amazon's connection. So we didn't have to do that we did that for the Amazon committee so that they would feel confident using the rebate key. And so that's where I think Amazon messed up they use that against us. And they notified all the sellers that have connected their accounts that Amazon allows them to connect their accounts, and they use that and tell them, hey, you're doing something wrong.
Ian Sells 48:54
Well, how was it wrong if it was approved by your platform, so and if there's anything wrong with Amazon software that's connected to Amazon, or approved by Amazon, they should notify that the software application, they're going to change their terms of service, or that they're doing something that they don't like, and they have a right to cure? That's how it should work. And that's how it works in a lot of places. So
Yoni Mazor 49:12
What you're saying, yeah, there's kind of communication, a communication relationship, or kind of confusion where Amazon could have chosen the West, hey, this is application providers, or partners, correct. As partners, we should communicate, hey, we're about to make a policy change. Because, you know, there's, you probably you should consider making changes, so you can still provide your services in one form or another and do that and you mature together instead of that they, they kind of, they, they wanted to do the application user and said they're not going to fit it. So the communication is kind of backward. It's going like this right? So yeah, I got it. So and this also affected elite Taylor, I assume. Yeah.
Ian Sells 49:48
Yeah. So also the seller by other projects, you know, got entangled in this mess. And so they kind of, I don't know if it was because of, you know, us or whatever, but, also, the seller was doing things that other Are software's platforms we're doing but we got singled out on that one as well. Now, I will say that that one, you know, it was a new software platform, and we have this new thing.
Ian Sells 50:07
And we were kind of helping people launch products, which is kind of been going on forever. And you know, that's a Viral Launch. You know, they never had an issue with Amazon saying, Hey, you can't do launches, they were called Viral Launch, right? They're giving out coupon codes, never got a slap by Amazon. So we're the first platform that helps people like launch products, getting got in trouble with Amazon, which was sucks. Because, you know, first always sucking, right? But you know, hey, it happens. So we
Yoni Mazor 50:37
also probably the first to come back and rebound and the way for others to say okay, and also for Amazon, hopefully going forward to communicate with his, you know, application providers, solution providers to, to mature together with AI, and ultimately, to learn the lesson, not just for you guys, also with Amazon to pave the way the future holds will be more solidified. And I
Ian Sells 50:54
hope this happens, you know, this is the same thing that happens to sellers, too, they get their products shut down, out of nowhere for a false claim on a fake thing, they should be checking these things before they do that, you know, it's like, shoot first. And it's just not fair to the sellers. We're helping build Amazon's business, they should take better care of all of us, right? We're providing marketing services, we're bringing new customers to Amazon's platform, you know, we're trying to do everything right.
Ian Sells 51:18
And there are plenty of people doing things wrong. But this did happen. And they did change the terms of service, which is fine because it does impact everybody in how they operate. But I like to use the analogy of like, you know, driving 75 on the freeway, right? You know, there's feeling 65, but there's, there's one copy pulls one car over, right? That's kind of how I look at it, we got pulled over. And that's fine. And you know, and I was, we were doing those things. And maybe we got carried away. And we were trying to help sellers. And that was all at the base of it was it was to help more sellers.
Yoni Mazor 51:50
Because we're here to help. And yeah, this is a learning curve for I guess, also, super large body super large machinery, sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. And vice versa. And sellers, solution providers, and even Amazon, all get trapped in all these environments. Yeah. But as long as your heart is in the right place you usually can get out of it, and pave the way forward. So okay, so that's what happened with the rebate key.
Ian Sells 52:16
The seller was able to remove the things that Amazon had to communicate with them, they didn't change the Terms of Service against what we were doing, and we had 19 core modules. Two of them were things that Amazon didn't like, we were able to remove those and apply as often as a POA. And I don't even think they had a process for
Yoni Mazor 52:36
Paving the way to features no longer acceptable, your adjustment moving fine. Now, that's the process that should have been done anyway, it's done in a very odd way. But hopefully, now they realize, oh, this is probably how we should do this going forward with these guys, all the rest of the providers. So okay, got it
Ian Sells 52:53
Back online, and things are good there. And you know, we're still building out features and at least tell her the backstory there as I was running an agency also why this was growing because I need more cash and so I was helping other people locally in San Diego, their businesses. And so I was using spreadsheets and you know, 50 different tools to run my business I think all our sellers are still doing that.
Ian Sells 53:12
And so elite sellers dashboards are kind of built from that, like, you know, running multiple accounts and needing to see more data analytics and understanding your metrics and so now little is a great platform to do you know, that type of stuff, data analytics, multi-accounts, user permissions, build your team scale, that kind of stuff. And that's kind of where these are lives now and it's approved by Amazon so glad we got that one back online
Yoni Mazor 53:34
got it so on top of all that you have to cast your Amazon business you create a launch another brand so you're back in the game still selling on Amazon, correct?
Ian Sells 53:41
Yeah, I had another brand already for previously. So I have multiple brands. So I sold the main one. And now Yeah, so I still run the brand, you know, kind of keeping in line it is a million-dollar brand. But you know, I don't add products I kind of just scale it and use it on the weeds. Yeah. Honestly, I put in like a few hours a week on it. And that's about it. And it's just great to like you know, test things and like have a brand that you can use to like you know, with your software and understand the sellers right because I'm still really in 20 you got to
Yoni Mazor 54:10
Be there you got to play it to understand the hearts of them the sellers and help out. Okay, I want to kind of body the episode and do a quick summary to see what we got so far. See if it's all correct. So one reason California 2002 already kind of started, you know, your professional career as you know, you know, selling mortgages and you're doing it while still in college. 2004 You graduate out of college, and then in 2006 you kind of get into the real estate game into actually buying real estate and investing in real estate. Then around 2008 do with your partners and one of them was from college and other ones from the area from the other job and then 2009 you head into Texas and what do you kind of a, you know, realize that there's also opportunity there, you cash out of it around 2012 And then you move into you know, your friend was kind of dabbling with Amazon eCommerce.
Yoni Mazor 54:58
So you jump into the car hammer space all along, and you still have your real estate portfolio in San Diego running. And then you started with Amazon and kind of the reselling side and then flipped into 2013, I believe into the Canton Fair, you realize you don't need to go private label, which you do. And then to do that in New York, you set up with your partners, and then 2015, you guys cash it out, you sell it out, then you right away move again into building your brand, I guess two of them. And then one of them already got sold during 2010, the data show, but all between the lines around 2017, you know, million-dollar seller, the committee because it was the seeds were sown, you know, from social media having you know, a Facebook group called 50,000, sellers, 100,000, sellers, groups and stuff like that to MDS million dollar sellers, which blew up now it's you know, 500, seller strong and has its original captains and looking to the future, it's really on making good, safe, healthy environment for E-commerce entrepreneurs to grow and explode.
Yoni Mazor 56:00
And then also rebate, he was also born with that experience, we'll discuss that. And then also the seller. And then he also had an agency. And then also you still have the other brand that you are still carrying after selling the first round to the treasurer. So we got everything correctly so far. Yeah. Just enough. Now. So this is crazy. Fascinating. So thank you so much. I enjoyed it a lot. I want to kind of close the episode with two points and try to do it quickly. Right. So the first one will be if somebody wants to reach out and connect, where they can find you. So you can get a hands-off? And the last thing will be very sure what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Ian Sells 56:35
Yeah, well, if you want to reach out to me, go to em sells on Facebook, or you go to my LinkedIn, or E and a million-dollar sellers.com is a great way as well. And if you're doing over a million dollars in revenue, and you want to join an entrepreneur, group, check out milling ourselves.com, we have a whole process there. For the viewers out there that are listening. My advice is always just to do it right. As Nike says like, there's no reason not to try, you will fail, you probably will fail multiple times, and even successful people fail in their life.
Ian Sells 57:04
And you just keep going, it doesn't matter. You don't have to worry about that. So I always just say keep trying and test and pay attention to the data. And then also take a step back and think about what is the future of this because I think one of the things I've been able to do is see a bigger picture. And, and go okay, what can MDS become what can you know, it used to become what can keep become and so it wasn't just to be this like narrow focus, right? But you have to start somewhere. To find your niche and just go and do something that you're passionate about.
Yoni Mazor 57:36
Love it beautiful stuff, find your niche. Be passionate about what you do, don't be afraid to fail or you will fail but when the moment you just conceive is going to create all these new paths and beautiful paths and growth. The end is a perfect demonstration of that. Alright, so I hope everybody enjoyed this different healthy next time.
Yoni Mazor 57:51
Take care everybody