Mindfulness

To be mindful is to be aware of all our thoughts and eventually to be in control of our thoughts. It may seem crazy to admit that you do not have full control of the thoughts that are in your head but for me it was true. A simple example is having a song stuck in your head (hopefully one you like) that you just can’t get rid of. How many times have you had a song stuck in your head that you don’t even like? You keep asking your self, Why in the hell is “ Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want So tell me what you want, what you really, really want I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want… by the Spice Girls stuck in my head right now? I never did know the answer why and I still don’t what the hell a “zigazig ah” is but I digress…

As time moved on I just accepted things like this as normal. It really did not interfere with my life when I was working a 9-5, single, no kids, and no wife. But as life got busier and when I started running my own business it became difficult to perform well when I was not in control of my own thoughts. I was easily distracted by things like emails, text messages and social media. I did not have the ability to focus on the things I needed to get done.

Enter Meditation! The practice of meditation has numerous well documented benefits. The one I was seeking here was the ability to clear my mind and be focused.

Meditation has been one of the single best practices I have ever taken the time to do. It’s not something reserved just for monks or other religious groups. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, you don’t have to light any candles or pray to the buddha. All I do is lay on my carpet in my office and follow the Headspace App. They will guide you through lots of different meditations. It’s cheap, simple, and only 10 minutes of your time. Do you have 10 minutes to work on yourself? I think so.

Training ourselves to be Mindful is one of the most valuable things we can do for ourselves. We need to be aware of the things floating around in our heads. Our thoughts, our worries, our insecurities and our desires. These thoughts drive us to make certain decisions. It’s important to be aware of them and in control of them. You can not be in control if you are not aware of whats going on in your mind.

Happiness

Anthony De Mello said the following in his book titled Awareness:

“Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!”

Wow, I remember first reading this when I was 19 years old and not really knowing how to take it. I was at a crossroads in life, leaving the life I used to live behind me and seeking a new one but not knowing what this “new life” would be. I already had an identity for myself, things I did on a regular basis and people I spent time with.

I thought I needed to party in order to be happy.
I thought I needed to hang out with my friends in order to not be bored.
I thought my happiness depended on making others happy.
I fooled my self into believing I was happy because I built a life that allowed me to do all these things on a regular basis.

Luckily this world I had built for myself came crashing down and I was forced to make a change. These illusions I had set in my mind suddenly became challenged. I did not want to let them go. That meant I was letting go of me, who I thought I was, and that is a tough pill to swallow. But when your actions lead to crappy consequences and you stop blaming other people for them…well it all starts to make sense.

Being happy is not based on the things you do.

Happiness is a state of mind that can not be destroyed by any current or future situation. For me it is a choice built on a foundation of a confidence, confidence in my ability to make it through any situation life throws at me. Will I be sad and upset at times? Yes, of course but those are fleeting emotions, they come and they go like clouds passing in the sky. Behind those clouds the sun is always shining, some shit just got in the way for a little bit. The sun is always there. Your happiness is always there. When you’re feeling sad, that’s ok but do not let it consume you. You are not a sad person. You are a happy person experiencing a temporary feeling of sadness.

”Don’t worry Be Happy”

Why You Should Use Tactical Arbitrage To Source Products

I have tested a few different sourcing programs for my online arbitrage business. For me the clear winner is Tactical Arbitrage. If you are looking for a tool to take your sourcing to the next level, look no further. Not only is the tool powerful but it comes along with everything else you want in a product:

1. Great customer service. Got a question? You will get response in less than 24 hours.
2. A thriving Facebook community full of valuable information and helpful people.
3. Constantly being updated based on customer suggestions. This program keeps getting better and better. I am always surprised by the things Alex Moss and his team roll out. It’s hard for me to keep up with all the updates.

Imagine being able to source 800+ sites while you sleep, filter products based on your own desired ROI, profit margins, category rank, estimated monthly sales, and pretty much any other factor you can think of. All that hard work and thinking you used to do manually can now be completed using Tactical Arbitrage. Not only is it going to do all that work for you but it is going to return your results in a beautiful easy to use and intuitive user interface. Not only does it crush the competition when it comes to the OA game but this tool can be used for wholesale sourcing, book sourcing, and even some private label product research.

 All valuable data is provided with intuitive links
All valuable data is provided with intuitive links

As you can see it returns a very clean looking interface that is highly customize-able. You can arrange the columns left to right how you see fit, hide any columns, filter out anything less than $3 in profit, less than 50 sales a month, and anything else you can think of. You can also sort your columns which is an excellent feature to make your product analyzing as efficient as possible. Not only does this team know how to build great software but they know the ins and outs of selling on Amazon. In my opinion that is what makes this is a great piece of software. It truly is built with convenience in mind.

The ability to run large scans and then filter those results however you see fit is the real power of this program.

Check this out: You can even get notified by text when a scan is complete!? I prefer to have my team notified via Slack but the choice is yours. Like I said they thought of everything.

I thought about writing a post about why I recommend using Slack as your team communication tool but I can not really figure out why I love it so much. There is just some sort of secret sauce they have figured out. It reminds me of text messaging but for business. It is very intuitive and integrates with everything. Check it out.

To get started with Tactical Arbitrage go here and use code MYG10 to get a 10 Day trial to test out the product. Anyone who signs up per my link can reach out to me directly for any advice. Plus be on the lookout for more posts on how to crush it using Tactical Arbitrage. Sign up for my email list to stay up to date on new tactics using this tool.

How to Scale Your Online Arbitrage Business

I will continue to update this post as I test new methods for my readers to try out. This post was last updated February 26th 2019…

So you’ve started selling on Amazon and things are going well. Congrats! You’ve seen the potential this business has and now you’re ready to take things to the next level.

The majority of the time this happens around the $20,000 in sales a month mark. Now you have to begin dealing with problems other than “What do I sell?”

Now you’re questions are:

“How the hell did this customer get away with returning this product?”“How am I going to recoup my costs on these returns?”“How do I deal with Intellectual Property Claims?”“How can I get more money to fund my business?””Is it time to hire a Virtual Assistant?”“How am I going to handle prepping more products?”

Biggie wasn’t lying when he said “More money, More problems”

These are important questions and I will write posts on each subject. Each question requires certain actions to resolve them and I will give you actionable advice to help you out.

For this post we are going to focus strictly on scaling. What does that mean? Selling more stuff without driving yourself crazy is what it means to me.

This is the time where you will need to take time out of your day to write down your processes, identify the work being done in your business, develop the idea of roles being played in your business, and identify what roles you will outsource. This is no longer a side job or a hobby. It’s time to shift your mindset.

It’s time to take a hand off the wheel and begin trusting other people to do some work for you. Will they care about your business as much as you? No, probably not. It took me 2 years to get over this but it is one of the best choices I ever made for my business. To learn more about hiring a Virtual Assistant you can check out my post here.

You don’t want to just jump into hiring though. You need to map it out.

Action Step #1: To help your self with the process I suggest going about your work as usual one day but add the following step: Write down everything you do as you do it. Use a sheet of paper, a word document or my favorite, a dry erase board.

Did you initiate a scan on Tactical Arbitrage? Write it down. Scan is complete, now its time to analyze your items, write it down. Did you buy some items and add them to a spreadsheet or Inventory Labs, write it down. Did you create a shipment, prep items, drop off packages? Write it down.

Tactical Arbitrage ScanTactical Arbitrage ScanTactical Arbitrage Scan

These are all tasks that lead to your goal of selling more stuff. It is important to identify all the pieces of the puzzle because now you get to the fun part: Tell other people to do it!

In this example we have the following tasks being done:

1. Initiating Scans2. Analyzing Products (Product Research)3. Purchasing4. Book-keeping5. Prep and Shipment

Which one of these should you outsource first? Prep. I hope I can make this loud and clear: You are not saving your business money by doing your own prep. In fact you are costing your business money. Prep can be easily outsourced for $1.65 per item, max. You can hire a prep center to do this or you can hire locally for $10.00 per hour. Hiring locally will be cheaper but now you have to deal with managing employees.

Amazon FBA SourcingAmazon FBA SourcingAmazon FBA Sourcing

As you can see I’ve done my fair share of prepping products

You have to decide what is best for you.

There are a lot of other things you have to consider if you choose to hire your employees. Personally, I chose to go the prep center route. I build my operating costs into my teams sourcing so we simply just add the prep cost into profit calculations when sourcing. Its that simple. Some people may disagree but I have been doing it this way over a year now.

A good prep center is hard to come by. They can make or break your business. Choose wisely. Currently, I am using Selltec Prep. Feel free to reach out to me for an update on recommended prep centers.

Action Step # 2 : To sell more products you are going to need to find more products. You can do a lot with a few VAs and manual product searching at deal sites but to truly scale you are going to need a great piece of software. I am going to save you a lot of time, Tactical Arbitrage is the way to go. To read more on why I love Tactical Arbitrage go here. At this moment there are over 800 websites you can scan using Tactical Arbitrage. All the filters you apply when manually sourcing can easily be plugged into Tactical Arbitrage. You can run scans while you sleep. Even better you can have your VA run scans and analyze products while you sleep. Once you find someone trustworthy enough you can use re-loadable gift cards and outsource the whole Search, Analyze, and Buy process. BOOM!

Now you can have your virtual assistants working for you while you sleep, have your items sent to a prep center, and have a VA or the prep center create your shipments for you. Now all you have to do is keep an eye on your sales, returns, profits, and other key performance indicators that you set.

This is scaling. With proper expectations and a little trust you can really be on a beach somewhere making money. You can actually be making money while you sleep. This is the power of leveraging a marketplace like Amazon.

Don’t get too excited though. It is not all sunshine and roses. This is not a get rich quick scheme. This is just a successful business model that can help fuel the life you want for yourself. You have to put in the work though!

Are you ready?

To learn more about product research and analyzing check out my post on Tactical Arbitrage.

How to Hire a Virtual Assistant for your Amazon Business

This post is up to date as of February 27th 2019. I will continously update this post as I discover new valuable methods for my readers…. Hiring a Virtual Assistant is an integral part of any Amazon business. The internet has given us a huge opportuntiy that every E-Commerce entrepreneur should leverage to grow their business. There are hundreds of thousands of qualified people looking for work all over the world. Which brings me to our second point of leverage, currency conversion. According to Payscale the average salary for a customer service rep based in the Phillipines will cost you about $383 a month or $2.39 per hour for a full time employee. Imagine all those menial tasks that have to be done everyday, no longer having to be done by you. No more data entry, no more checking on orders to see if they shipped or were cancelled, and no more creating shipments for products. Now you will be able to focus on high ticket purchases, creating a Private Label product, scaling your Online Arbitrage business, or having a few drinks with friends. The choice is yours!

Alright Nick! This all sounds real good but how do I implement this? I will get to that, I promise. I want to address one thing first: Another question I get has to do with people feeling concerned about possibly taking advantage of people in other areas of the world. Please drop this concern right here. Remember I am not some fake Amazon guru trying to sell you an expensive course. I am a real full time seller that has implemented everything I write about. My Filipino employees are very grateful for the work I have provided for them. They get to work at home on their own schedule, get paid directly via a payment method of their choosing, the opportunity to make an above average wage, and get to take part in a growing team where they can feel valuable and welcomed. This is a win-win situation for everyone when the system is implemented correctly.

Alright, ready to do it? Lets Gooo! First ready my post on “How to Scale Your OA business” This will help you get an understanding of the role and tasks you are looking to outsource. Once you have that you will then need to look for people to interview. These are the places I suggest looking:

1. FreeUp This is a great place to look for talent but it is more costly compared to other methods. If you have a specific more valuable role in mind then this is a good choice. Plus the owner will personally find you someone to interview shaving a lot of time off of the process. Instead of doing interviews for a week you could be done in 2 days. It will cost you though. You’re looking to pay at least $5-$7 an hour for an assistant here. Payment methods can be setup through Freeup via ACH, PayPal, and Credit Card.
2. Upwork – This is another great place to look with a lot of extra features. You can see work that they have previously done and reviews on the work done. You will have to personally vet the freelancers here. In my experience you are looking to pay at least $5.00 an hour. It will cost ya less than FreeUp potentially, but will definitely take more of your time. Payment is handled through the Upwork network.
3. Kaziwork – I found 2 great employees here. They are pre-vetted, trained, and they even have their own E-Commerce University program. The resumes on this site are great. They even have videos showing you the skills these freelancers have. You will have to do a little work yourself but your cost is going to start at $3.00 an hour for an employee. They do have a monthly fee but do provide value for that fee. You get access to ongoing support and they have on-boarding guides. Once you find an employee you can drop out of the monthly program. You will need to setup your own payment arrangement if you go with Kaziwork.

I recommend Kaziwork if you are looking to train your employee on how to do the work you want done. If you are looking for someone that has skills you lack then I suggest going with FreeUp.

Before I wrap up I want to cover payment methods. I suggest using Remitly. Remitly makes it very easy to send money and it also verifies that your potential employee is actually who they say they are. Setup and remittance is easy. Use this link to get a $15 credit in your account when you sign up!

Questions? Holla at me!

Embrace Mistakes

If you are worried about your own mistakes then you have already lost

— Gary Vaynerchuck

Let the mistakes happen. Mistakes are great learning experiences. The Road To Success Is Paved With Failure.

Are you trying to avoid mistakes? Are you seeking perfection without realizing it? Stop that shit – no body is perfect. You have a life to live!

The only thing worrying about mistakes does is delay action – which STOPS your success in its tracks.

How do you deal with the fear of of making a mistake? Move forward with so much strength, so much courage, so much confidence in you, your business, and your team that when a mistake happens it is like dust in the fucking wind and it DOESN’T EVEN MATTER!

For example – In 2016 we lost a source of revenue that paid a big chunk of our bills. I knew two years ago that this would eventually happen. When I realized this; I didn’t stop, I didn’t worry, and I didn’t get caught up in”What if” scenarios. I acted accordingly (not reacted there is a difference) and knew not to become dependable on this source.

What did I do? I pushed forward. I added more inventory to my store.I contracted out work so I could focus on growth. I contacted manufacturers and distributors. Built relationships and signed contracts. 

That source of revenue I lost? Dust in the wind. Worrying plays no role in my life or my business. It adds no value. It only robs you of valuable time.

Stop Being Busy

We all have the same 24 hours a day

You’re busy but you want to make changes. You want that body you’ve always dreamed of. You want to make the diet changes needed to make it happen. Maybe you just want to be strong as hell!

You want to grow your business. You want to grow your brand. Maybe you are working for someone else and want to start building your own business or work towards a promotion?

You know you can do these things but they seem so daunting and there is simply not enough time in the day to make everything happen and everything you want to accomplish seems like you would need to make a HUGE life change! In this fast paced world where we already have so many roles to play it can seem tough to make time for yourself.

BUT, what if it doesn’t have to be? What if I told you that focusing on building new habits, one by one, can lead to a lifetime of change that will put you on a path towards your goals?

No more restrictions. No more crazy diet changes that seem unrealistic and no more quitting things because you just couldn’t keep it going!

Motivation is great, but like gas on a fire it burns up quickly leaving you tired, worn out, and depressed because you couldn’t keep up the changes.

It’s time to make changes that will stick, changes that are not hard to do. Its time to build NEW HABITS. Its time to Mind Your Grind so you can finally have the things you want.

By focusing on things you can add to your life, not take away from your life we can begin to develop new habits that lead to us achieving our goals which boosts your self confidence and gives you more willpower to tackle the tougher changes down the road.

Know Thy Self

It’s all about the journey, not the destination

— John C. Maxwell

Being yourself is not the first step. Knowing your self is. You can not truly BE yourself until you KNOW THY SELF.

To know what you are good at, what you suck at.

To know what you enjoy doing and do not enjoy doing.

To know what time of day you are most creative.

Knowing how coffee, exercise, diet, and stress effects your performance at work.

To know what work you can perform well in order to get the results you want ( car, house, time to travel, etc..)

The key is putting this together in the right away to use yourself as the best tool you have at your disposal to achieve your dreams and goals.

Knowing thy self is the first basic step to achieving you goals. Yet so many people miss it! You know why? Because so many of us are so concerned with being somebody else. BOOM

In life we are told to ignore our desires, sequester our true selves, and try to act the way someone else perceived as successful does. But you can’t just look at a Bill Gates and say I want to be like that!

You’re missing the whole picture. You’re missing the nights in the garage frantically trying to figure things out. You’re missing the failures, the mistakes, the heartache, the pain, the hustle, the days when we forgot to even eat, the isolation from friends, and so so much more.

You can’t just be Bill Gates. You have to hustle you’re ass off. But first, you have to figure out who you are.|

When you figure that out you can streamline your process. You will then know what tasks are best for you to perform and what tasks will be best suited for others.

This right here is actually simple stuff BUT I feel safe saying we all miss it. The majority of people are still missing it. Some of us have figured it out but the reason why it is so difficult is because we (humans) like to complicate simple things.

When I was a teenager I went through rough times. At the age of 19 I decided the pain of continuing my current life was greater than the pain that would be caused by changing. It was at that age that I began my path of self discovery. Even then it took me another 5 years to even get my shit together, go through even more painful situations, and then I figured it out….

It’s all about the journey, not the destination