My Life & 1000 Houses by Mitch Stephen

My second book of this year turned out not to be a “beach book” either.  I love a good story and I am inspired by entrepreneurs.  This book has both.  Mitch Stephen is an everyday guy who writes in an everyday way and tells his story and how went from broke to investing in 1000 houses over a decade or two.  His writing is easy to read and his advice (if I may call it that—he doesn’t really try to “advise,” he simply explains what has worked and not worked for him) is practical and useful.

He has done a lot of what we all do with real estate–he has flipped, he has rented, he has built.  He found an interesting niche in the manufactured home business as well.  As a side business, he owns storage units.  My husband and I are especially intrigued by his main real estate game–selling homes on land contract and then selling off the notes.  We can always find a lot of people who want us to finance the homes we are trying to sell.  Up until reading Mr. Stephen’s story, we have been reluctant to do this.  But with this new-to-us idea of selling off the notes, it may be a viable business option for us in the future.

He now sells systems for getting into real estate–an idea I respect a lot.  He has a few plus for his website throughout the book.  Again, not something I mind at all, teaching what we have lived and what others can benifit from is a respectable and smart business to start.  I haven’t visited the website, but I imagine it to be as down to earth and useful as his book.

I especially enjoyed hearing the random stories he puts at the end of the book.  He includes a bunch of random, humorous ancedotes from his life experiences.  A great read from begining to end.  ”Five Stars”  Thanks Mitch!

Mitch_Stephen-2

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I Can See Clearly Now by Dr. Wayne Dyer

downloadI am not going to lie—I used to love a great “beach” book!  I am looking forward to the day I can again escape into romance and fictional trials and tribulations.  I tried really hard on my last vacation to get absorbed into a good, easy read, but Wayne Dyer’s latest book showed up under my Christmas tree and I couldn’t resist.

If you do not know Dr. Dyer, let me introduce him.  He is a psychologist turned spiritual leader and I have watched him evolve through his last couple of books.  His videos can be found all over PBS and YouTube and the man is a great speaker.

This latest book serves as his memoir and chronicles his life from orphan to military servant to doctor of psychology.  He looks back at his life and “connects the dots” (to steal a phrase from Steve Jobs’ famous commencement address at Stanford.)  Dr. Dyer looks at all the events in his life–and especially how he took advantage of the good and the bad—and sees how they led him to the spiritually and financially abundant life he now leads.

I found the book to be insightful and entertaining.  I am, however, already a huge fan of Dr. Dyers and have always been curious about how his writing evolved from psychology and self help to spiritual leadership.  If you are new to Dr. Dyer, this book could serve as a fantastic introduction but it may not be as compelling of a read.

His references to his other books reminded me of how many I haven’t read.  He has written like 48 or 49 books!    I ordered his first book, The Erroneous Zones, on Amazon while I was reading.

The last chapter I Can See Clearly Now is especially inspiring.  It reminds all of us to play close attention to the coincidences and opportunities that appear in our lives.  It also reminds me that every moment is rich with possibility and to pursue all (and only) things that make my heart stir.

I would give this spiritual self help book five out of five stars.

 

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A New Year!!!

Internet marketer and social media consultant. Enjoying the journey while exploring new and interesting things outside of my comfort zone each and every day!

LibertyI love a new year. A fresh start and a chance to really evaluate where I am with all my goals, dreams and desires.

Goal setting is something I do all year round. I am constantly looking toward the future (while enjoying the moment–really this is a fact) and figuring out when, where and how I want my future to look. The more concrete I can make my future picture, the more likely it will become my present reality.

Three years ago I sat down at the traditional time (New Years Eve) and listed out all my business and personal goals. I put them into categories with monthly checkpoints. I had a goal of making a certain amount of money. I realized I needed a big WHY in order to achieve that goal. You see, we were in a pretty comfortable place financially and without a big “why” I wasn’t sure if I would be motivated enough.

I thought about how much I like to travel and how much I enjoy travelling in style (think weeks at Disney, cruise ships, beach front resorts.) I also thought about how precious I consider time with my extended family and how we have never really vacationed together. I decided that if I earned a certain amount of money I would take everyone on a great vacation.

I held that dream as a vision. And I continued to grow my business. In 2014 I turned that dream into reality, I took eleven people on a Caribbean cruise!

And yes, we had an awesome time.

This trip reminded me of the important of a WHY and also about how important it is to follow through with the rewards and promises we make to ourselves.

Going into 2015 I am setting up my visions and goals for the upcoming year. Again, I need an important WHY to inspire me. I am going to spend some time soul-searching and meditating on what is important to me now.

What are your dreams and ambitions? And most importantly, what are your ‘whys?”

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Thanksgiving and its Ugly Twin

Internet marketer and social media consultant. Enjoying the journey while exploring new and interesting things outside of my comfort zone each and every day!

Gobble

Doorbuster Deals–Save 50% from midnight to 5am only!

48 inch TV’s just $499.99.  While Supplies Last!

All Toys 75% off midnight to 3am only!

It has been slowly creeping up on us, —and as much as I have ignored the phenomenon, Black Friday has become an unofficial US holiday.

The Friday after Thanksgiving has long marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season;  the term “Black Friday” was first coined in Philadelphia around 1961 to describe the abundance of pedestrians and traffic out and about the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Black Friday was later used the describe the (supposedly) first profitable day of the retail season.  In the past couple of decades, it has come to mean steep retail discounts and early morning madness.   Around 2005, stores started opening at 5am or 6am on Friday and in the past few years these opening times have been pushed back to midnight and now—6pm on Thanksgiving Day!

We can no longer think about Thanksgiving without  thinking about the new American holiday of Black Friday.  Black Friday has become part of Thanksgiving.  Two holidays side by side and they are polar opposites.

Thanksgiving is the all about gratitude.   The turkey, the trimmings, the warm fire and the amazing family.  A day to celebrate our blessings.

Black Friday is all about wanting more.  The entire focus is need, want and lack.  Everyone fights traffic and each other  in an attempt to score the latest and greatest stuff.  Even in the spirit of buying for our family, the focus of this event is material things.

I didn’t have major issues with Black Friday until:

1.)  My kids decided it was way cool and want to be escorted to the festivities.  Last year they started planning their trip over dessert on Thanksgiving day.

2.) The stores started opening earlier and earlier.  Now they open Thursday night.

My issue with this American tradition is that it impedes on the one day we officially set aside for gratitude.  Why on earth would I want to leave the warm, cozy environment of a home filled with family, food, warmth and love for the cold and cruel world of Wal-Mart?  When we rush through dinner on Thursday to get ready to go out and shop, our focus changes from being grateful to wishing and wanting.

Don’t get me wrong.   I enjoy stuff just as much as most Americans and I love indulging my family at Christmas.  Giving and receiving great presents is a blessing.  I just want to stay away from focusing on future blessings and miss the blessings sitting around my table right now.

I do not hate Black Friday–simply because I don’t want to give it that much power.   I choose not to spend my precious life energy hating much of anything.  If other people choose to stay up all night shopping, spending and buying, have at it!

I, however,  am choosing to not let this unofficial holiday tread on my idea of  Thanksgiving.     I am pledging this year to focus all of my energy on gratitude and the holiday of Thanksgiving.

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Six “gurus” who helped me get started

When I began selling on the internet, I spent hundreds of hours combing through claims, ideas and ebooks trying to figure our who to listen to and what to do to start my business.

I found a handful who I am happy to recommend to you.  These folks are the “real deal,” they stand behind their claims and are genuinely interested in YOUR success.   Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

Jim Cockrum:  “Voted the most trusted internet marketer.”   His book, The Sales Machine is an amazing book that inspired me beyond belief.  It made me realize that anything is possible with eBay and online selling.

Jim runs two membership sites, My Silent Team and OfflineBiz.  My Silent Team is filled with great advice and a lot of action on the forums.  There are also dozens of FREE eBooks by a variety of authors.  You would pay $10-$50 or more apiece for these books and they are on the site for members to download at no charge.  I spent hours the books on his site.  They all led me to believe that ANYTHING is possible and there is no limit to what can be earned online.  Jim Cockrum is a good man with a heart of gold.

His email newsletter is free and worth a peek.

Lisa Suttora:  I found Lisa and her membership site whatdoisell.com when I first started selling on eBay.  Her ideas are more mainstream than Jim’s, she has a lot of information on setting up your listing and pricing and what to sell on eBay.  One article that is included on the membership site is “Ten Things You Can Sell For Free on Ebay” and I remember thinking that these were brilliant ideas.  She was talking about Amazon before anyone else and she has many strategies for the long-term seller and is animate about not putting all your eggs in one basket–sell cross-channel.  I haven’t been a member for quite some time, but her advice was worth gold when I was and I know she has been actively updating it.

Suzanne Wells:  The original host of Stay At Home Mom’s Selling on eBay.  She is a huge Amazon seller now and writes for many online groups.   She runs a great blog and has recently started a cheap ($10 per month) membership site.  I haven’t been inside her site, but I am certain that it is worth a peek.

Stuart Turnbull:  His Prints To Profits book has evolved and he teaches EVERYTHING you need to know to set up your own prints selling business.  He is a great man and the author of several wonderful eBooks.

Done By Deb:  Deb runs a hilarious blog and is an up and coming eBook writer.  Her strategies are for everyday folks who want to earn money on eBay.  She is an expert at yard sale and garage sale sourcing.  Her personal story is inspirational and she has a heart of gold.  Her and Stuart run many projects together and I enjoy watching their work.

Tamara Patzer:  Tamara has a site geared a little more toward women–www.mentoronlinemagazine, that offers tips and advice a couple of times a week.  I don’t read every post, but when I’m down or looking for a kick of inspiration, this is where I turn.

 

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Just Say No!

This post isn’t about the War On Drugs, but I’m stealing Nancy’s famous words for another crusade.

When you decide to challenge yourself and grow, you must make room in your life for the challenge and the growth.   There has to be room in your day and room in your mind.

Room in your day–in other words, time.  Most folks are busy from the time they wake up until the time they retire at night.  If you are like me, your 18 or so awake hours are filled to the brim.

If you are serious about making a change or growing, you will need to conjure up some time to accomplish this.  Since you cannot make more time (shucks!) you will have to make more of your time.  It will be important for you to say “NO” to some of the activities that fill up your days right now.

Take a long, hard look at how you are actually spending your time.  You might want to keep a journal for a few days just to see where you are spending your time.  In order to find the time to work on your dreams and goals, you will need to squeeze it out of your current day.  You will have to give some things up.

THINGS TO SAY “NO” TO IN ORDER TO GET MORE TIME

1.)  Television.  This is such an easy target, but if you watch more than a tiny amount of T.V. it is time to break the habit.  Get over watching other people’s lives and start living your own.

2.)  Gossip.  Gossip is a huge time waster and it happens everywhere–in the office, at the playground, around the house.  Grab your coffee and move on.  Close your office door. Pretend to be on the phone when the office gossip passes by.  Rid yourself of this time waster!

3.) Meetings.  Meetings can waste time.  Next time you attend a meeting, notice how much time is spent moving the group forward and how much time is wasted.  Attend as few meetings as possible.  Can you have the minutes sent to you?  Can you attend every other meeting?

4.) Housekeeping.  Can you hire these chores out?  Think hard about this.   As soon as you can find the extra money, hiring out the cleaning or the lawn (or both) will free up a lot of time.

5.) Sleeping.  I know, I know, we all need a good night’s sleep.  However, if you are sleeping 8 hours or more, you might want to TRY giving up 15 minutes of sleep.  Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier for a week and then measure how you feel.  If you are tired and cranky–go back to your normal amount of sleep.  But, if you are not noticing a difference, you just gained almost 2 hours a week!

6.)  Cooking.  There is no reason to spend hours on cooking if this isn’t something you love. The important part of dinner is the family interaction, not what is on the plates.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen buy using your crock pot or buying simpler meals.

USING THE MOST OF “DOWN” TIME:

1.)  Listen to motivational CD’s in the car, while you work out or when you clean the house. You can get these at the library for FREE or use You Tube and your smartphone.

My latest favorites:  John Maxwell, Wayne Dyer and Bob Proctor

2.)  Have a book or a journal or a laptop with you while waiting for the children.  I have four children and spend a large number of hours driving them around and waiting for them at their various activities.  I always have a book or journal ready to pass the time in a productive way.

3.)  Discipline yourself to focus.  This is my biggest area that needs improvement.  A lot of entrepreneurs, I know, are like me.  We jump from idea to idea sometimes not getting a lot done before getting distracted or starting on something new.  Make a list of the six most important things to do each day and do them, one at a time, until you are finished.  If any are leftover, start there the next day.  I will recall this advice and use it.

As always, your comments are welcome here.  Let us know what you are saying “no” to!

 

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The Master in the Art of Living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him he is always doing both.

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Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

ebay 101

Internet marketer and social media consultant. Enjoying the journey while exploring new and interesting things outside of my comfort zone each and every day!

Yeah!  Lots of fun and hopefully some great information at last night’s presentation of ebay 101.

I love online business and it was fun to share a lot of what I have learned over the years with people looking to sell on ebay.

Below are links to many of the things I talked about.  There are several more videos on listing and pricing items and also on FINDING items on my youtube channel for your learning pleasure.

How To Set Up An Ebay Account

How To Set Up a PayPal Account

Thanks for your support and please browse through this site for tons of eBay and online selling tips.

 

 

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What To Sell For Christmas

Internet marketer and social media consultant. Enjoying the journey while exploring new and interesting things outside of my comfort zone each and every day!

Even the most casual online seller knows that Christmas is the busiest time of the year online.  Most new sellers, and many seasoned sellers, do not know exactly how to capitalize on the huge increase in qualified traffic that is searching–and most importantly buying–during the holiday season.

If you are well established in a niche and have been selling online for a while you are probably anticipating the season and figuring out exactly how to stock up and be ready.

If you are new or not sure how to best capitalize on the Christmas season, here are a few great ideas.

IDEA #1 TOYS

Toys are a HUGE seller (obviously!)  If you the time and inclination to watch eBay, Amazon, ToysRUs, Target, Walmart and the Disney store, you can profit–Big Time–by playing the retail arbitrage game.  The “hot” toys will sell out at one or more of these markets and immediate increase in value at one or more of the other markets.  The opportunities here are huge.  Manufacturers cannot guess exactly what toys will “take off” and often times they are just as surprised as us at the results of their marketing.  This leaves a shortage of supply.   You can capitalize on this shortage if you can purchase the wanted toys.  I have made thousands of dollars doing exactly this!  I am not a toy expert and every year I invest in Jenni Hunt’s Holiday Toy Guide to help me out.  She takes her years of toy-selling experience and spends hours each week analyzing the market and telling you exactly which toys are selling at above retail at which site.  Her Holiday Toy Guide is a small investment you can make to seriously capitalize on Christmas 2013.

Review Jenni’s Holiday Toy Guide

IDEA #2  THEMED GIFT BASKETS

Browse Walmart or your local dollar store for ideas.  Fill a medium (or large) box with products all related to the same theme.  Theme ideas:

Sporting Goods related to your local team (Notre Dame or Boston Red Sox,)

A Gardening Basket

A College Student Basket

A Puzzle Basket

A Book Lover’s Basket

A Food Lover’s Basket

A Candy Lover’s Basket

A Basket for a little boy who loves trucks

A Basket for a little girl who loves dolls

An Artist’s Basket

A Crafter’s Basket

A Movie Night Basket

A Baker’s Basket

Mark the basket up $10-20 over what you pay.  Make sure to use the words gift and Christmas in your description.  Also make sure to use the words might describe the person the gift is for “candy lover,” “toddler.”  Thousands of people (I am one of them) search on “Christmas gift for toddler.” or “gift idea for puzzle lover.”  Make sure your description is broad enough for these folks to find your gift.  Remember, pictures and descriptions are very important here.  You want to make the photographed box pretty and full and look like a complete gift.  Your buyer wants to know you have just put together the perfect gift for their loved one.

IDEA #3 GROCERIES

I was completely surprised the first year I ran my online grocery store at the huge increase in volume I experienced starting in mid November.  I didn’t expect a big increase in grocery sales–after all, groceries are purchased and consumed year round.  I sold hundreds of extra items during the Christmas season, apparently people eat more at Christmas time!  Seriously, they buy every day groceries as gifts and often they splurge on luxury food items they wouldn’t buy everyday.  My business nearly doubled during the month of December.  So, even if you are not a regular grocery seller, list a few groceries and see how they do.

IDEA #4 TOY ACCESSORIES

Look through your Sunday ads and determine what toys are popular and being promoted. Then search your stores for accessories related to these toys.  You can even group the accessories together and create a bundle.  Is Monster’s University the big thing?  Look for an alarm clock, a watch, some PJ’s.  The one-off items are often harder to locate in stores and sometimes the main gift is already purchased and grandparents or friends want to purchase a similar item.

Thanks and Happy Shopping!

 

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Free Stuff To Sell on eBay

FREE Things You Can Sell on Ebay

There are a lot of things you can sell on Ebay for no monetary investment–just a little bit of your time and energy.SERVICES: There is a section in ebay titled “Specialty Services.” Browse through it to come up with ideas. Do you have skills that may be in demand? Do you do copywriting, edititing, proofreading? Perhaps you have great design or HTML skills. What do you (or have you in the past) gotten paid for and how could you incorporate that into something to sell? Perhaps you are a whiz with accounting or taxes, you could list your services for online sellers or small businesses. Every one has skills that are unique or worth paying for. Get creative here!

TICKETS: Look at Ebay’s section of tickets. Hundreds of tickets sell above face value every day on Ebay. You can buy tickets for a hot show or sporting event, it can be in any city, and resell them as the event gets closer. Watch what similar tickets end up going for and buy carefully. There is a lot of money to be made in ticket sales but make sure to study the market.

OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF: You can quite easily become a trading assistant officially through ebay and be listed to do consignment sales. You can also solicit consignment sales on your own. After approaching friends and relatives, get creative. Call people who have items listed in the classified or on Craig’s list. Many of these sellers want to unload their stuff but don’t have the patience or inclination to sell on ebay. Consider approaching small businesses in your area. Offer to list slower moving items and split the profit. There are hundreds of small shops in every metropolitian area, you might be able to get a nice source on unique inventory.

Keep your eyes open and your pocketbook closed when first selling on ebay. There is a lot of potential profit out there at NO COST to you!

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