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.

photo of a woman thinking

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.

group of people watching on laptop

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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Work Flow

Lining our ducks up in a row with our daily habits simply means more progress daily, weekly, monthly & yearly. That’s how we like things – simple, easy & effective.

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in & day out.” ~ Robert Collier

Our daily work flow looks like this:

Buy & Sell

  1. Tom checks previous days sales, buy more if they are still hot.
  2. I check Keepa alerts in my email for profitable books.
  3. I check our hot list of year round sellers.
  4. I check this months shopping list for buying opportunities.
  5. I fire up Book Arb software for more opportunities if I have not spent our daily budget already.
  6. Tom reprices (Sells our books).
  7. Tom lists our books & takes care of admin e.g. returns.
  8. I go to give on Facebook to contribute to others & to help elevate success of our community.
  9. I attend live webinars every Tuesday & Thursdays afternoons.
  10. Wednesday mornings I write my blog.
  11. Thursday mornings I look at ways to expand our business e.g. sell on other platforms, learn new ways to accelerate our efficiency e.g. research faster processes for systemising etc.

person holding pen drawing on paper

Every second Monday night we attend our mastermind group to brainstorm ways to support & accelerate our businesses. Accountability is a powerful strategy in our group and this ensures our ongoing individual & collective success.

Repeating these daily habits over and over ensures that the fundamentals of our businesses are being met daily – we buy & sell books. Also consciously & actively looking for ways to improve our practices ensures steady growth.

“Never stop learning ; For when we stop learning, we stop growing.” ~ Loyal ‘Jack’ Lewman

Scheduling time to learn new information about our business/market & techniques for applying what we learn means that we are always growing – ourselves & our business.

“The best in business spend far more time on learning than in leisure.” ~ Robin Sharma

Our work flow as we expand will change again but for now, this work flow is taking us from where we are to where we desire to go next.

black board bright bullseye

Lining our ducks up in a row with our daily habits simply means more progress daily, weekly, monthly & yearly. That’s how we like things – simple, easy & effective.

Next I will discuss the importance of staying focused even when others around you are ‘not on your team.’

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Streamlining into a Slipstream

When we do the right things in the right order it makes them well, automatic. The trouble with habits or the way we habitually do things is that we do them on auto pilot. This can be very powerful when it is thought through and we choose our habits deliberately & our tasks on purpose.

When we started in Book Arbitrage we thought consciously about the importance of being organised because so much of this business can be systematized and handed over to let technology do a lot of the work for us. Love that! So we started this business with systems in mind.

arrows box business chalk

Recently, however, we realized that we needed to streamline (reorganize the way we perform our daily tasks) our business once again as we are getting ready to scale up to the next level i.e. automatically go from a multiple 5 figure business to a six figure business.

This was powerful & necessary to do so that any bottle necks (inefficiency in us or in our systems) could be removed to support maximum growth & eliminate any drag.

What we have done up until this point was necessary to reach this destination however,  new standards of operations are required for the next part of our journey. In becoming more conscious & efficient in our daily tasks & thus making them automatic, we are setting ourselves up for success in easier ways.

When we do the right things in the right order it makes them well, automatic. The trouble with habits or the way we habitually do things is that we do them on autopilot. This can be very powerful when it is thought through and we choose our habits deliberately & our tasks on purpose.

However, if our habits are unconscious, chaotic, disorganized or sporadic then those are the kinds of results we can expect in business too. Or even if were good up until this point, we require new habits to go to new places. Makes sense, right?

“A good system shortens the road to the goal.” ~ Orison Swett Marden

Scaling our business means scaling up our personal systems (the way we approach this) in addition to the required daily tasks.

How we have done this is? We formed a plan. Then we took action.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

Firstly, we looked at the way we were doing our daily tasks & made a plan to upgrade them. Without a clear plan, the way is not clear, it is a wish or a hope, but not a strategy. We had our goals when we started but we have revised them once again and are clear on our target, once again.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Then, in order to maximize our return on our effort so far and to speed our book buying we culled the lists we were working from as we had set lots of Keepa alerts when we first started that were not profitable.

So that meant going through all our Keepa alerts (we had thousands of them) & deleting ones that were not profitable & resetting others to trigger in only good or better conditions. This was not sexy work but it is effective.

Next we culled our shopping lists. The monthly shopping lists we had set up where we kept record of what books to buy for the most profit in each month. We know this by looking at Keepa charts. This again was a laborious task but one that has made us much more efficient.

In the meantime, we changed our criteria for the ways in which we search for books. In this, our parameters are completely different now & much more profitable. It takes the same time to search for mediocre profit books and very profitable books. We chose the latter.

We worked on refining our searches with our mastermind group & we now all have become more disciplined & profitable in our searches.

“Deliberately seek the company of people who influence you to think & act on building the life you desire.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Next, knowing that a mini textbook season is coming up shortly, (May), where trade-ins are particularly profitable, using the Book Arb software, we have created our lists for trade-ins that we know can be very profitable so we are ready for that. Again, this took some time but is worth it.

Next, as I have discussed in a previous blog we changed our method for repricing and our daily objective with repricing which takes less time and is more profitable.

In participating in the Group Coaching and learning from world class coaches we have been fortunate enough to have found ourselves in their slipstream.

black and white nascar car

The definition of a Slipstream in “auto racing, it is the zone right behind a moving car. This zone has reduced air resistance and thus, allowing higher speeds…”

This has helped us to become very clear about where we are & what it takes to go to the next level.

This level of culling has inspired us to create a stop doing list as well. I have stopped answering emails & messages in the morning until I have both bought & sold (repriced) books. We are a book store, that’s what we do. This comes first every day.

Tom has been pivotal in all of these changes. We have been merciless in our approach to streamlining & streamlining once again until we have an efficient rinse & repeat operation working to maximum efficiency.

He has learned to load lists of books for sale & in our spreadsheets in one go as opposed to copy & pasting individually. This was thanks to a brilliant Book Arb community member who shared how to do this. This has saved hours of work.

person typing on laptop

He has overhauled our spreadsheets and we only have completely essential information on them now so the back end of our operations has become super efficient as well.

Our mindset has shifted so our approach to our tasks has become upgraded & streamlined. This has caused us to experience our own slip stream in addition to being buoyed by our amazing coaches in that we experience less resistance in our motion forward.

This is something that we can & will continuously revise, however, for now we are enjoying the feeling of freedom that comes with clarity & efficient success.

In my next blog I will share my daily work flow that has resulted………

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