Magic Happens

Magic happens when we take action & the most unlikely things can unfold when we don’t assume otherwise. Why not assume things will work out better than you imagined!

I shared in my post last week about the power of asking for help & giving to others as a prerequisite for success.

If I may, let me share with you how this has played out in my life.

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Most recently, I have been asked to join the mentoring team in the book arbitrage community thereby realizing my life long goal of helping others create wealth quickly & easily.

The number of opportunities that this alone has opened for me is spell binding & very exciting. In my intention to give, I am receiving so much more in return.

This experience of receiving more than I thought possible has unfolded many times in my life & is why my life is rich beyond a financial figure, although I am very glad to say it now includes a financial figure too.

When myself & Tom went to Ethiopia on a humanitarian project some years ago, as part of a building project, every day we got up fired up to give more.

Everyday however, we were humbled by what the local community would share with us, given that they had so very little.

No matter how hard we tried, we just could not out give them in their kindness, love & compassion. It was overwhelming to us & life changing.

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives” ~ Michelle Obama

In my other business some years ago, as I was so new & inexperienced, I thought I didn’t really have anything of substance to add to successful people, especially to a billionaire.

“What would I know?” was my thinking.

That was a mistake on my part. I had me & my experience with my friend & billionaire Bill corrected me on this.

I had met Bill briefly at a business conference. I had been struck by his success of course, but more by who he was.

I wrote to him & shared my admiration for who he was. I actually never expected him to get the email let alone read & respond to me but he did.

That began what some might say was an unlikely friendship of many years until Bill sadly passed away unexpectedly.

But, in my precious time with him, he valued me & who I was too. He even asked me to be a member of his board of advisers – me?

I was stunned & humbled by this honor. He valued who I was & that of course changed my life & the way I saw not only myself, but how I see everyone.

Everyone is valuable & has an immeasurable contribution to make to life, no matter their circumstance nor their starting place.

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Magic happens when we take action & the most unlikely things can unfold when we don’t assume otherwise.

Why not assume things will work out better than you imagined. It takes the same amount of energy & it will orient your mind to success & great expectations which can then occur naturally around you.

“In life you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you believe, plan & expect.” ~ Bill Bartmann

Next week, I’ll talk about the power of being the dumbest one in the room – hint, you’re in the right room…..

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Help You, Help Me

As a way of life, I go to give in every encounter & inevitably receive in return. Sometimes from that person themselves, sometimes from a completely different source.

A key strategy for success in life & business is knowing when to ask for help.

The answer, as I see it is to have it as a companion.

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Having mentors so we are always being helped is a killer strategy that supports constant growth.

“I think mentors are important & I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentor-ship. Nobody makes it alone. Nobody has made it alone. And we are all mentors to people even when we don’t know it.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

My advise, don’t wait for something to go wrong when you are in crisis to ask for help.

Prevention is always better than cure for starters. And when we meet a challenge with experience in our ear, we can move through it with ease.

A challenge is no big deal or a lesser obstacle when we have access to someone who has seen it, paid the price of experience from it & overcome it.

When we have mentors we’re automatically in a success slipstream which exponentially accelerates our success.

How do you make sure you garner world class support?

Well, if you’re in our community we don’t have to look very far for world class support. We are immersed in it from day one be it through formal mentoring, our Facebook mastermind group, the live sessions & the immense email support staff.

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It’s just up to us how we draw from it. Lucky for us.

I would add too that there is a skill in asking for & receiving help from the very best.

I am fortunate to have experienced support from people at the very peak of their profession & be on a first name basis where they take my calls. This has & continues to be invaluable to me as a person & a professional.

How do I do that?

I do that by being authentic, by being myself. I appreciate their skills & share my appreciation with them without looking for anything in return.

I look for ways to help them & other people. No matter how successful somebody is/appears to be, we all share the human experience with the same challenges, dreams & aspirations for ourselves & our families.

As a way of life, I go to give in every encounter & inevitably receive in return. Sometimes from that person themselves, sometimes from a completely different source.

I know that this is the way the world works. I do not ‘do’ something for another person to get something in return, I do it because I love to help people.

When we approach others in an altruistic way, we & they can feel it.

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I am free to do this because of my understanding that this is an infinitely abundant world. I do not need to concern myself with what I get from the exchange, as that is already taken care of, I do it because I love the feeling of providing value for another.

That is how I measure success. How much can I give? I love feeling successful!

The more I give, the better I feel & the more I receive in return. It just feels good to feel good.

Never underestimate what you bring to the party. There are all kinds of success in this world & you have a number of those nailed that comes so naturally to you that you may not even acknowledge as it is just who you are.

That’s what you have that no one else has, that unique blend of experience & perspective that makes you, well you.

All too often people dismiss their uniqueness as inconsequential when that is exactly what another person values most.

We are funny creatures that way I guess…….

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him is own” ~ Benjamin Israeli

It could be worth your time thinking about your value & how you can share more of that with others.

Also, think about people who are doing what you would love to do & ask them if they have time for a coffee or a quick chat as you would love to hear their story.

This is powerful & it may just bring you the kind of success you dreamed of.

Next week, I’ll share with you how magically this has unfolded in my life.

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My Friend, Mistakes

Ask yourself is there a benefit to embracing mistakes instead of recoiling from them? It’s the same circumstance you’re facing but which approach will bring results faster?

“Don’t waste a good mistake…learn from it.” Robert Kiyosaki

If mistakes are the way to success then why are we so afraid of them?

When you think about it though it kind of makes sense that we recoil from them because as children we may have felt scolded or criticized for getting an answer wrong in the classroom or dismissed by an impatient parent or sibling.

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Erroneous conclusion reached; mistakes = feeling bad and/or not good enough.

Because these experiences were often painful but subtle & repeated over time is it any wonder we learned to avoid this feeling of being wrong so vehemently?

I think not. Who wants to feel that?

But what if society got it wrong? What if it’s true that making mistakes ensures that we are making progress. How could we possibly make progress by standing still & only repeating what we have done so far? That does not make sense to me.

Ask yourself “How can I get something completely right when I haven’t done it before?” Now that is impossible.

In Book Arb we have made tons of mistakes. We have bought some bad books. But how would we know a good book if we hadn’t bought a bad one?

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We have bought good books at the wrong time i.e. we didn’t understand the timing of the market & now we do. We have repriced ineffectively & thereby slowed our success overall.

We have done things in the wrong order thereby causing inconsistency in our daily performance. For example, logging our books from the day before first thing in the morning, instead of buying more books to grow our business first & then doing the less essential administration work.

Again, if we didn’t learn to improve our daily practices, to learn from our mistakes, then how would we grow & improve?

Ask yourself is there a benefit to embracing mistakes instead of recoiling from them? It’s the same circumstance you’re facing but which approach will bring results faster? “Mistakes are bad, I’m bad at this or Mistakes are good, I’m really good at this.”

Since mistakes are a necessary part of the journey then making friends with them seems like a really good idea to me.

For one thing, they are going to keep showing up. For another it’s a signpost that we’re progressing. For another it is the road to success. So it’s all good news.

“Your best teacher is your last mistake.” ~ Unknown

How about that as an empowering idea to cause us to consider where we are & what we can do better to improve our performance.

With a different mindset i.e. mistakes are good it means not only are they not bad, but they can be the rocket fuel required to grow when we learn the lesson from it.

We went to the trouble of making the mistake, we might as well go to the trouble of benefiting from it.

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If we learn from our mistakes then we don’t need to keep checking up on them. Once we’ve made the mistake & corrected it we do not need to repeat it.

This shift in thinking means that I do not suffer mistakes at all. I just keep progressing sure in the knowledge that I am succeeding as they are my friends who show me I’m making progress.

Next, I will share how to let go of the bad books in an easy way….

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Mentoring

There is nothing we cannot accomplish when we become experts at what we do & continue to grow in that. It just makes sense when we think about it, right?

Becoming a mentor in Book Arb is one of the most wonderful opportunities of my life.

I live to make a difference & to share what I know & am learning. I think to be of value to others is a privilege.

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Putting my experience into practice both in our business & that others benefit is how I love to life my life i.e. “Being of maximum benefit to as many people as I can.” ~ Unknown

“Tell me & I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me & I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

The above 2 quotes hang on the wall of my office. It is how we (myself & Tom) both love to live our lives i.e. in service of a bigger purpose.

Undoubtedly it’s one of the many reasons that success feels so delicious to us. It is shared.

Already, in a very short space of time, the role of mentoring has accelerated our results, not least of which because it caused me to re learn the basics so that I could teach it more succinctly.

In order to master any area of our lives, perhaps the fastest & most effective way to achieve that is to teach that subject.

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“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” ~ Bruce Lee

Doing the right things in the right order at the right time i.e. doing the basics until they are second nature, is what separates truly successful people from others.

Too often people move on chasing the next big thing instead of excelling in what they are currently doing. This can cause mediocre results in both endeavors instead of extraordinary.

“Really successful people say no to almost everything.” ~ Warren Buffett

Focus & continuous action in one discipline at a time, over time brings huge rewards.

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There is nothing we cannot accomplish when we become experts at what we do & continue to grow in that. It just makes sense when we think about it, right?

I appreciate where we are in our business now & I appreciate the road before us which has been made all the more magical by sharing our knowledge with other brilliant community members.

I celebrate our continued success…..

Next, I will discuss the value in immersion on a topic.

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Money, Money, Money

So what is money anyway? Is it physical? Is it as new age people describe it – energy? Why is so much of our time spent earning it, chasing it, thinking about it & spending it?

I think money may perhaps be one of the most misunderstood areas of our lives and yet one of the areas that affects our lives the most on a daily basis.

I certainly have spent the majority of my adult life trying to figure what it is & how to create it easily.

I have studied many areas of money in my earnest attempt to understand this thing that so profoundly affects my life in every way.

So here is what I have learned and what is changing my relationship with money, my business, my life. I say changing because it is still unfolding.

When we are creating money, we are not creating a physical object out of mid air. That is how I used to approach it, like trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat! Perhaps you can relate.

Money ceased to be a physical object a long time ago. I know we sometimes still have physical dollars & euros in our pockets but stick with me. For the most part we deal with money either online (we don’t actually see it) or with plastic cards.

Dollar bills, debit/credit cards, digits in our bank accounts just represent money.

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It may help to think about it this way. When we get paid into our bank accounts, it’s not physical money that is put into our accounts. It’s the movement of digits that represent the movement of money in our account. When I pay the electricity bill, physical money does not move from my account into the electricity account, digits move around.

If you were to think about money in the same way as you think about downloading a song from the internet you are closer to the reality of how money works in today’s world.

For example, when you download a song, you are not depleting that song. There is not half a song left online because you downloaded it. As many people as would like to can download that song simultaneously and it will still be fully available to the next user.

We accept music that way. We are not trying to physically manifest a trumpet section into our living room. Music is something that we can download all day every day and never run out of “credit.”

It’s constantly available and at our fingertips. Every day for the rest of our lives, more songs are created and downloaded in our world and enjoyed. There is no angst around that. Available without much thought or effort.

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My listening to a song in Ireland will not make it less available to someone listening to it in the US. I don’t think “I must only listen to it for a short while because I am using it up” or that someone else cannot access it because I am using/accessing it. We accept it as infinitely available.

Let’s turn our attention to money for a moment. Let’s say you download/withdraw $100 from your account and you paid $100 for a massage. You give $100 to the masseuse. The masseuse then buys groceries with that $100 and gives it to the store owner. The store owner goes for a haircut & pays $100 to the hairdresser, who goes to the movie and on and on.

If that $100 gets exchanged once a day (which is a very low number of times) for 30 days. That $100 would still be fully intact on day 30 and has provided $3,000 worth of value.

To return to the music download analogy, as many people as would like can listen to the song as many times as they like and the song is still fully downloadable.

If when you spend money you think about it from this vantage point, you would feel no stress or concern.

On the other hand if when you withdraw/download money from your account and you think of it as being depleted, then you keep recreating this outdated experience in your life.

Approaching money in this physical way means you are working off an old system that no longer exists. Your outdated GPS is set on San Francisco even though you now live in New York. Make sense?

Do not be hard on yourself, we were hardwired to think about money this way before because that is what money was – physical e.g. gold/silver/physical notes. That is no longer the case and it hasn’t been for a very long time.

We switched over many years ago to a whole new system of money/wealth/abundance.

Music used to be physical too on gramophones, then vinyl, then CD’s, now it’s downloadable instantly. It is experienced but not seen physically and still we listen to it anytime, anywhere, any day on our devices.

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Think about how really wealthy people experience money. They have instant constant access to as much money as they like anytime, anywhere. What if you can download money in the same way any number of times any time of the day as you do music? Do you think that could change your experience of it?

If you say that’s OK for wealthy people they have money. But, if you begin approaching money with the same ease, you will experience the same ease and create that experience for yourself.

Music is no more physical than money and yet both are instantly infinitely available.

It may take a little consideration for this to land or perhaps you’ve known it all along.

Thinking about money this way has changed my relationship with it and my experience with money is changing as a result.

I realise this post is a departure from the usual blog on Book Arb. But this change in my thinking has changed my approach to Book Arb. The results that are unfolding are indeed exciting as our business is growing and accelerating.

Next time, I will discuss how we’re getting ready for the upcoming bumper summer textbook season. It’s gonna be fun……

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Learning From The Best

Why struggle to figure out how to get there when someone has already walked the path you are now walking and they can help guide you along the way.

“If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” – Richard Branson

Mark Zukerberg, Bill Gates & Richard Branson have all talked about the benefits of learning from mentors.

No matter what stage your business is at, a start up, established and/or expanding, learning from someone who has done it before just makes sense.

It amazes me still how some people view asking for help as a sign of weakness instead of the smartest thing to do.

Why struggle to figure out how to get there when someone has already walked the path you are now walking?

The biggest investment you ought to make by far in any business is in yourself. No business plan or any amount of money can overcome a confused mind.

Think about it. You can have a co pilot in the plane with you who is vastly more experienced who can show you how to fly a plane or you can jump into the pilots seat by yourself and either crash & burn or take a lot longer to land safely at your destination. Your choice.

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell

In our Book Arb community we have both coaches and mentors who are showing us the way in specific detail. Because they are in our industry and not just general business mentors they are keenly aware of the specific challenges we meet.

Their attitude to the person is “‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’” — Jim Rohn

In addition to all the other supports in our community this kind of mentoring delivers awesome reinforcement. Their intention as I continuously experience it is not just to empower us to make book arbitrage a successful business. They are actively developing entrepreneurs which goes far beyond this current business model.

Their vision is much more expanded than book arbitrage alone and it is a privilege to be a part of such conscious empowerment. Jon & Luke are changing lives forever.

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” ~ Jonathon Swift

They are changing the way we see ourselves and providing the practical steps to achieve our goals. It really is incredible.

If you are in the Book Arb community, in addition to buying books to grow your business, be sure to invest in yourself so that your business and you expand side by side.

That is the formula for success i.e. constant expansion and in our community success is the culture. How can we fail?

Next week, I will discuss the importance of challenges in your business and why they are a positive.

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Maintaining Focus

I would ask you to reflect on where you lose your focus in your business. You will find it shows up in the same ways over and over until you address it.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ~ Mark Twain

Since no one can think for you or live your life the importance of maintaining your focus on your own horizon is essential.

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Sometimes people around us are afraid we’ll fail and sometimes they’re afraid we’ll succeed. Either way their dominant focus is based on fear and if you allow that into your world, their focus on fear can influence you too.

For the most part we are surrounded by well meaning people. However, even when they share your goals & dreams their fears can distract you if you allow it and if you are not in charge of your own mind.

With our Book Arb community we are very fortunate to be surrounded by so many powerful leaders who are succeeding & their collective success is a persuasive example for individual success.

Since however, we are each responsible for our own journey, and there are many ways to continuously achieve that, it is possible to become distracted by other’s experiences.

It is vital to help others through your own achievement of success and not at the expense of it. It is easy to get caught up in helping others, especially when you live to serve, but it is vital to remember that you are in charge of your time and the ways in which you spend it. Period.

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In the last blog I shared my work flow. In it you can see how important it is to prioritize achieving daily goals in order to achieve overall goals. Then you are in a position to help others. It’s about saying ‘Yes’ to the right things & equally important to say ‘No’ to other things i.e. demands by others.

This balancing act of growing my business & loving helping others is something of an ongoing challenge for me. I love love love to share what I am learning and what is working for me. It is the coach in me.

However, this is where my diluted focus can show up when this is out of harmony.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself. The other for helping others.” ~ Maya Angelou

Helping myself is as important as helping others. That’s where my learning is.

By focusing on enjoying my own journey and helping others as I go, this allows me to experience my definition of success. Maintaining my balance in this is what brings fulfilment.

Do you lose focus when you don’t know what to do next and therefore procrastinate? Or does it happen because of other’s demands on your time be they family obligations or children? Is it because you have a very active social life?

“Focus on remedies, not faults.” ~ Jack Nicklaus

There is power in identifying where you leak focus because it will be habitual i.e. automatic. You can only change it when you see it.

What one thing could you change today that will help you maintain your focus in a clear way?

Once you are clear on the change you require, consciously create a new habit to combat it. For me, for instance in not answering emails or social media in the mornings, I achieve my goals first. Then I am in a position to help others.

Next, I will discuss the fundamental tasks of this Book Arb business and how best to apply them.

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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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