We recently had the opportunity to interview Jon Shugart, co-founder of Book Profits, and learn how online entrepreneurs are discovering the profit potential on the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.
Jon Shugart, CEO of Book Profits, obtained his Bachelor of Science in mathematics with honors from North Georgia College & University. Mr. Shugart received his Masters of Education Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi. However, after teaching high school mathematics for four years, Mr. Shugart caught the technology bug and enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology to study Computer Science in the year 2000. It was that decision that has led him down the path he is currently on.
Over the past 19 years, Jon Shugart has followed his passion for technology and entrepreneurship and he has built several multi-million dollar businesses from scratch along the way. But more important to him than just the revenue is that the they have helped improve the quality of their customers’ lives.
What is Book Profits?
With our Book Profits system, we teach two ways to make money on Amazon. The first and easiest method is utilizing Amazon and other online Trade-In programs that will pay you for books that you find online – at a price more than you originally paid. The other method is learning how to become an Amazon reseller and finding books that you can earn a profit by re-selling them. This is called book arbitrage.
Can you share a recent success story?
We had a recent college graduate who had no money at all, but he was able to get a credit card with a $5,000 line of credit. It was an Amazon store credit card. He took that $5,000 and with the trade-ins, in his very first month he made an extra $4,800. So he had $9,800 in his first month. He took that $9,800, and then he started buying to resell. In his first year with the Book Profits system, starting with just the $5,000 credit card, he ended up doing over $150,000. And about half of that was profit, he told me. Imagine that! About $75,000 to $80,000 was profit in his very first year with Book Profits. You can’t get a job like that out of college!
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business and what steps have you taken in response?
Fortunately, COVID-19 has not had a negative impact on our business. Everyone on the team was already remote and our product is software and training, so people can consume it from any computer device and not need personal interaction. The good news for us is that book sales actually have gone up because people were at home more and looking for things to read since they couldn’t go out like they used to.
How do you see the future of remote working and remote learning affecting your business?
I think it will have a positive impact on our business. People will have more free time since they do not have to drive to work and a lot of folks will be looking to start a business on the side that they can do from home, which is exactly what we offer.
How has the recent movement toward greater diversity and inclusion for minorities affected your business planning?
Our business was already inclusive by its very nature, so we really haven’t had to change anything or plan differently.
What qualities and skills do you look for when hiring new talent?
The qualities that we look for are self-managing and high follow-through with attention to details. Because our team is remote, we depend on everyone to follow through and manage their day efficiently so that we can provide the best experience for our customers.
What questions do you ask during an interview?
The number one question we ask is are you comfortable working remotely and managing your day. There are some people that need more structure and more interaction than what we offer, so we like to be upfront with that question.
How do you motivate your team for outstanding results?
This is actually counter-intuitive, but we do not focus on externally motivating our team at all. Instead, we focus on finding people that are internally motivated to do a fantastic job and who get satisfaction from it. We have found that when we tried to externally motivate people with money or some other method, it never lasted and they kept looking for the next prize to do a good job.
How do you help create and sustain the culture of your company?
We have to set the example from the top down. So we do our best to exemplify the culture and qualities that we want in our team. Then, others will follow and it builds from there. It is never a “Do What I Say, Not What I Do” situation if you want to sustain the culture of a company.
How do you handle difficult clients and customers?
We do our best to be fair and understanding with these types of customers and put ourselves in their shoes. Everyone deserves respect until they don’t.
Tell us about a skill you taught yourself. How did you go about learning?
I learned to juggle as a teenager through sheer repetition.
What made you choose Georgia as headquarters?
I live and grew up in Georgia, so it has always been home. The state is pro-business, so I felt like it would be a great place to grow the company.
What does your company do to help the community?
We donate textbooks for students that can’t afford them.
What advice do you have for someone interested in starting their own company?
The biggest piece of advice I would give someone that wants to start their own company is to make sure you are prepared to work harder than you ever have before and be in a position to live as lean as you can. Then never give up until you have achieved the success you desire.
Why is Georgia a great place to live and work?
Georgia has great weather most of the year and there are mountains, beaches and big cities all close by. Also, Atlanta has one of the biggest airports in the world, so you can travel anywhere easily.
Thank you to Book Profits co-founder Jon Shugart for sharing the secret to his success as an entrepreneur buying and selling on Amazon and teaching anyone how they can make money on the world’s largest online retailer.
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