The Benefits of Challenges

What if instead of balking at challenges and being guarded about them we welcomed them as the next building block for success? Would that change our perspective and our response?

Most people see challenges as something that is happening that should not be happening i.e. this isn’t fair, this shouldn’t be happening to me.

However, when you look back on your life, it will likely be that you did not go through unscathed and unerringly and that is a good thing. Life isn’t static and neither are we.

silhouette photography of boat on water during sunset

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” ~ African Proverb

How could you ever learn to run faster as a child if did not you fall down or start off slow?

Yet, as adults we tend to veer away from life’s challenges as something unwanted. We seek to avoid them or desire someone else to sort it out for us. As children we just naturally problem solved i.e. got back up again.

As adults we tend to wrap a story around why we fell and whose fault it was, lol!

In our Book Arb business we have made tons of mistakes and that is how we have learned. Each time we have encountered a new challenge, we have had to learn to flex a new muscle and to eliminate the challenge and thereby become stronger.

That is why our business continues to grow because we continue to grow. It’s not an absence of challenges that brings this about but the very presence of them.

It’s called natural evolution. How could we become super successful unless we passed through the successful phase?

A life without challenge is like an ocean without a tide. It doesn’t exist. Nor do we really want it to.

scenic view of beach

What if instead of balking at challenges and being guarded about them we welcomed them as the next building block for success? Would that change our perspective and our response?

What if we celebrate the challenge as a fantastic way to grow ourselves and our business, answered prayers as it were, do you think the solutions would come easier and the whole journey would be made more fun?

“An obstacle is often a stepping stone.” ~ William Prescott

So if challenges are a good thing. Then surely the opportunity to find fun ways to interact with them is a good thing. We move forward and gain another victory – a good thing.

By eliminating them not as something unwanted but as making room for the next stepping stone our forward motion and success is assured.

When we bought books that were not that profitable, we learned to read the Keepa charts more accurately and to buy books that were more profitable. When we repriced in an unproductive way, we learned to reprice much more effectively. When we had gated books we found a solution for that. You get the point.

We have become more skilled at making money in our Book Arb business because we met challenges, not because we didn’t.

sunset beach people sunrise

That is why we are becoming so successful now. Plus, our road and learning curve to success has been made all the more pleasant and short by travelling this road with other book arbers who are also meeting and eliminating challenges in their businesses.

“Success is a continuing thing. It is growth and development. It is achieving one thing and using that as a stepping stone to achieve something else.” ~ John C. Maxwell

Next, I will discuss how creating financing for our business has changed my approach to life and the success we are experiencing…..

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Changing The Rules

From childhood we are all prescribed with rules to live by, be they verbal or non verbal and unless we question those rules we can live out our lives following someone else’s conclusions for what is a good life.

Sometimes those rules make sense, like be kind to others and they will be kind to you. And sometimes the rules don’t make sense at all like, this is the way our family thinks about X, it’s the way we have always thought about X and it’s the way you should think about X.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3256330">Gerd Altmann</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3256330">Pixabay</a>

When it comes to owning a business the rules of the game usually state that for the first 3 years, if you make it that far, you will not make any money. What kind of rule is that? And yet people just seem to accept that as fact because someone told someone who told someone until it became accepted “wisdom.”

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
~ The Dalai Lama

Well first of all Book Arbitrage in the way we have been taught to do it blows that out of the water. From month one, if you follow the guidelines, you can expect to turn a profit. Well now that’s a little bit different from 3 years of stress and struggle isn’t it?

But these are not the rules I am talking about changing today. I am speaking about creating the landscape we wish to create in order to make our success even more automatic and momentous. Why not, we get to approach this anyway we choose.

In changing rules I often remember the lessons I learned when we were travelling around the world a few years ago. When we were in Cape Town, South Africa, we desired to visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela had been in prison for many years.

When we tried to make the arrangements to go we were told that there was no availability and that there was no way we could visit this tourist attraction in the next week.

Because I had been in South Africa previously working as part of the Peace & Reconciliation effort I knew how important visiting this site was to understanding the history and spiritual heart of their story and I really desired to share this with Tom.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2275729">Gerd Altmann</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2275729">Pixabay</a>

Anyway, instead of accepting the story, the rules, that it was impossible to go to the site we decided to change our approach and thereby our experience. We were staying in budget accommodation but decided to ring a a local upmarket hotel and asked to speak to their concierge.

We asked him if he had tickets to Robben Island and naturally enough he did. The hotel kindly came and picked us up at our hostel, we didn’t even have to make our way to them and we visited Robben Island the next day. Robben Island was a powerful experience as expected.

We repeat this experience over and over in our lives by not accepting what we are told as the way it is and instead creating what we desire. We can all do this anytime we choose.

“You can create whatever you want. You just have to know what you want and take the opportunities as they come you way. We are who we choose to be.” ~ Will Smith

Getting back to how we are changing the rules of the game to improve our success we decided to go right to the source and ask for what we desired.

To date, Amazon have had a 5% Cashback card on all purchases for it’s US customers (including sellers) only. This amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra funds for our US counterparts.

Not accepting that it had to be this way, we wrote and asked Amazon to consider changing this rule. To others it may have seemed like the David and Goliath story with us a small bookstore asking this multi-billion dollar machine to change their rules for us.

It was one simple polite email and now Amazon have agreed to change their policy for all internationals. Soweet!! Others had told us that Amazon would never agree to any change but we just asked and got a good result.

It’s still in process but this should make a big difference to the bottom line of international sellers.

Just because something is the way it is, does not mean it has to continue to be the way it is.

We are also working on eliminating barriers to local sourcing which is not currently available to us or particularly profitable but it does have a huge advantage for volume of book sales, access to cheaper books and brings an abundance of feedback which is so important to a healthy book store score, especially on Amazon.

Remember Amazon rates your store by activity, sales and feedback and being able to switch this on, very inexpensively through local sourcing, is a huge advantage.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/icondigital-1559658/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2714998">icondigital</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2714998">Pixabay</a>

So, we are currently sourcing book preparation centres that in addition to working with FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) the core of our business will also work with FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant).

Having access to this could bring us a step closer to local sourcing. Having an affordable FBM service also helps if international sellers become gated (blocked) by Amazon for selling some books even after successfully listing them on Amazon. To date we have had no way of storing our gated books until they become ungated. Our US friends however are able to remove them from Amazon to their own home and fulfill them themselves.

Or, if sales diminish on a certain title of a book we would then be able to change the status of the book from FBA to FBM thereby making at least some of our investment money back on that book.

Currently, as international sellers if we can no longer sell this book FBA, it means a loss of that capital. These small differences can accumulate to make a significant difference in our business over time.

There are other things in the works too. My point however is this. We can either complain about things as they are or change the rules of the game and thereby eliminate the barriers and play our own game. That is our choice and decision as individuals.

Next, I would like to share how one simple mind shift that is transforming the way we are approaching this business model and how it is leading to more rapid success. Now, we all love that!

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