Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Used Bookstore

Opening a used bookstore with amazon is very easy.

You can opt to sell your own items or you can choose to use the Fulfilment by Amazon service.

For the most part I use the Fulfilment by Amazon service because customers can use their Amazon Prime accounts to have goods delivered with FREE two Day Shipping and non Amazon Prime customers who spend $25 at the same time as they purchase an item from my store can opt for Free Supersaver shipping.

To get Free Supersaver shipping customers do not need to spend $25 at my storefront. All purchases from my store count towards the $25 total and purchases can be from several amazon store holders or itself.

My stor is also registered with Amazon to sell Internationally, so my sales are not just restricted to the U.S. but can be shipped to the rest of the world too. Raising my customer potential from about 300 million to over 6 Billion people.

Take a look at my storefront.storefront

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scare of the Week

Last week started pretty calmly. It was Labor Day weekend and pretty relaxed. I didn't realize as I prepared a shipment for my amazon store that it was going to cause a lot of worry over the week.

Being Labor Day last Monday, I was not able to send a box of books on that day so it had to wait until TTuesday to ship. All went well as the box containing thirty books with an approximate retail value of $300 moved down through California to Los Angeles with UPS.

UPS is usually very good at the shipping process, it updates its records regularly so I can follow all my shipments which normally take about five business days to travel from my base to my normal fulfillment center in Indiana.

Well Thursday morning, I checked the status of my package. It showed an Exception had occurred.

Well if you read UPS's notes on an Exception it is pretty scary, an exception is described as bad weather, destruction of the package and loss of the barcode delivery note.

I went into panic mode. Visualizing my books scattered along the I-5 corridor, being torn to shreds by coyotes for den making material. It was awful. I held off contacting UPS straight away because I though there was a mistake and in a few hours it would change to In Transit again.

Late Friday there was no change to the status and so I called UPS and spoke to a great customer service operator. She took a few moments to track down my package. It had left L.A. Thursday night on it's way to Indiana, the package had however somehow slipped through the automatic updating system on its departure scan, triggering the exception warning.

I remained on tenter hooks all week-end as my package moved across country. It's next check-in scheduled for the shipping center in Illinois. It finally arrived there in the early hours of Monday this week, one day late but at least my scare was over.

Three hundred dollars worth of books now move on towards Indiana and the final destination for this journey and I can breathe again at last.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Preparing a Shipment for Sale by Fulfilment by Amazon is not only a bookstore it is a wonderful opportunity for you as an online retailer to enjoy a possible source of income.

I have been a retailer with Amazon for several months now. Mostly selling textbooks from my recent college courses, but also purchasing some items for resale.

For me Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is the easiest method to get my stock to Amazon's customers with little hastle and a great deal of potential profit.

Saturday : Shopping day. I will visit a goodwill or thrift store looking for new stock. I use a good local library too, they have a bookshelf for unwanted donations which they sell for just $1.00. My wife and I visit goodwill stores such as the Salvation Army too, choose a fairly prosperous part of town to buy from goodwills. The more affluent the neighboring districts the better the stock in the goodwill.

I buy several books, some fiction and a few inexpensive textbooks. One textbook in particular on the History of Western Civilisation catches my eye for just 30 cents. Later I find the same book advertised at $40 on Amazon sell your copy pages.

Saturday night when I get home I log onto to see what prices are being asked by other sellers on Amazon. Averages are around $3 or $4 per book from non FBA sellers but some like that textbook are priced much higher.

I assess my books according to the Amazon guidelines. I ainm to buy Used Like New or Used Very Good. No Highlighting on pages, all pages fixed in the book, no margin notes or other writing in the book if possible. The history text was only good on the scale, cover creasing and a tear to the front piece but for 30cents still a bargain worth over $5 to my assessment.

I then set my prices. I aim for pricing like with like so I look for the same quality of book  sold by an FBA seller and price at least the same price as they do or a if there are several FBA sellers in the same area sell at the mid price. ( A book at the same quality selling for $5 from one seller and $6 from a second I price $5.50 )

Why not sell lower you may ask?

Lower prices are often counter productive on Amazon buyers want low prices, yes, but they also want quality. Pricing too low suggests to the buyer that the quality is not there and so stay away from the lowest price sellers.

You also really don't want to start a price war with other Amazon sellers. You force them to cut your margins and they will do the same to you. They may have deeper pockets than you and cutting margins means the seller with the deepest pockets wins.  Let them keep their margins and price accordingly then everyone wins.

Sunday. I set aside about an hour to prepare a box for shipment. With about twenty books to process, entering the stock into the Amazon website takes about forty-five minutes, after a little practice, all you need is to enter the quality, your seller number and a price and quantity you are shipping.

Pack the box carefully and tightly so books cannot move. Print out the required packing slip and put it inside the box on top of the books. Seal and print-out the Mailing form. This is a barcoded address label and UPS shipping label complete with barcodes and tracking numbers. I also make a second copy of this information for my records.

I choose to have Amazon pay for shipping initially, they will charge your credit card in about five days or take payment from your sales, but a thirty pound weight package can be shipped via UPS for only $14, a vastly reduced charge when compared to usually shipping rates.

All you need to do then is take the packaged books to a UPS collection point or give the package to a UPS driver. UPS will collect from your home or office but that does incur a special charge not covered by Amazon and is not worth the expense.  If you are receiving a delivery via UPS anyway the charge is also waived.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sell on Amazon

Several months ago I was on and followed the link to allow me to sell on amazon.

Following the link took me to a choice of two pages sell less than forty items per month for free or if I wanted or expectedd to sell more than forty items there was a fee just under $40.

I opted for the less than forty item option.

I was able to go through the large amazon catalogue and find items such as textbooks that I had on my book shelves.

There are certain restrictions to selling on so be aware of what is allowed, items such as clothing are restricted but you can sell books, gourmet foods, toys and children's items. I have sold books in my own business.

Choice of how tto sell comes in two forms:

1. You can advertise the item and when someone buys it from you amazon send you an e-mail  informing you of the sale which you must then fulfil, dispatching the product within a specified time. Amazon also estimate postage fees and charge the purchaser an additional amount for your mailing costs. This method is a little similar to using eBay.

2. You have the choice off sending your items to an amazon warehouse. This means that you have to mail a package of items to the specified warehouse giving you an upfront cost. Amazon hold the item on a until sold basis, when a customer buys your item it is deispatchedd directly from the amazon warehouse to the customer as any other amazon order. The benefits for you is that you don't have to store dozens of items and that when your item is advertised it gets prominent listing in the amazon other sellers option page and can be included in free amazon Prime mailing offers.

I have used both systems and am finding option 2 a real benefit with better sales and turnover.

Amazon pay you quickly at the end of the week in which the item is soldd and also pay the cash directly into your bank account.

The only problem with using the amazon jholding the product method is that you have to wait several days for the item to be delivered to amazon's warehouse. That items are held securely and are elligible for amazon Prime increases interest. Customers trust amazon more than the inddividual seller so use the service to your advantage in order to increase your turnover.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Key to Multiple Streams of Income

Having multiple streams of income may sound like a lot of work. Don't you have to juggle several businesses at one time?

Well not exactly. With proper planning some income streams will almost take care of themselves. For instance consider investments in stocks or bonds, they don't need lots of work to deal with. In fact the less work you do with those after your initial purchase the better as leaving them alone is more cost effective,
Spread your time  evenly over those income streams that require you deal with matters regularly. So blog often on successful traffic generating blogs. Take care of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), update your skills as required, it is surprising how skills quickly dull as you don't use them.

Keepp a diary for ideas. It may just be a notebook. As ideas come to you for products, services, blog posts or such, write them down in outline straight away. Most ideas you can forget, but your notes will allow you to remember the real gems.

Check your idea diary regularlyfor ideas. The more ideas that you note down the more ideas you will get. It is surprising how once started the flow of ideas comes more easily.

Accept time  as a real cost. It can  take several months for an idea to bear fruit with a small cash stream. Keep working the paying streams and only let them go if they don't show a real return after two years at least.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First International Sale on Zazzle

A few days ago. I received an e-mail from

I am used to their e-mails. I often get several per month telling me of a sale or an offer that they have running very soon.

This e-mail was notifying me of a sale. One of my items had sold a few minutes before and they were congratulating me.

I still get a thrill at the news of any sale. It is always fun and I like to see what sold and learn what commission I earned.

But with this sale there was an additional surprise. After many months of only selling to U.S. based customers. This customer was in England!

My old home. I wish I could have hugged the buyer right there and then. I was so excited.

With this one sale I have gone from selling quite locally, all over the lower 48 States to an International seller. Maybe one may say I can claim to be an international fashion house now.

Well that might be a bit much. but for this one designer and seller. I feel like I am in the bright lights now. One international sale under my belt. I am happy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Web Hosting Referral Income

The internet these days makes every reader of your blog or website not only a potential customer of yours but also a potential online publisher. Every book you might read on internet publishing will tell you that if you want to sucessfully sell online you need to have your own domain and get this domain hosted.

So, a very good potential source of income can be affiliate links with major hosting companies. The two main internet hosting company affiliate programs to which I belong are those of and Host

Both services pay you a percentage of the sales which links from your websites produce. If a customer clicks through your link and signs up for webhosting on that visit you can earn several dollars. The eventual total depends on the customers total spend.

Web hosting for  a starter site with Host Gator for instance can cost the customer from as little as $7 per month for a monthly no contract site.

Both Go-Daddy and Host Gator have good records of maintaining availabilty of websites on their servers with very little downtime. They are also both very large presences on the internet and well known, this make selling the deal to potential customers a little easier. They are both well supported and you have virtually unlimited potential income as many people with web accounts  have several domains which need hosting.

Take a look at both these companies programs and see if they might fit into your portfolio of income streams.

Just for you I have created a money off coupon with Host Gator.

The coupon covers hosting services and you can save 25% off the regular hosting fees by entering the following code when you sign up with Host Gator.

Host Gator Web Hosting Website

Coupon Code:    01102014multi

Friday, March 22, 2013

What is the Worst Thing That Can Happen?

Many of us, when we engage in something new, procrastinate, tell ourselves that something terrible will happen, listen to that inner voice that tells us of disaster and listen to those around us who only fortell doom and gloom.

When you get to this state in a project, you are probably already deeply invested in going ahead, then all the negative voices both internal and external are at their most powerful.

Sit down, take a cup of tea or coffee, take several deep breaths and a pen and paper. draw a line down the paper from top to bottom. On the left wwrite what you think of as positive consequences of you going ahead with the project.

On the right hand side of the paper write down all the negative ideas that you have, if you think you might die include this. Just list as many negatives as you can.

Having drained your mind of the negative possibilities. Take a walk, get some fresh air, maybe another drink of tea or coffee. Stay away for an hour and don't try to come up with solutions for the negatives/ That will come when you get back.

When you have walked a while, go back to your lists. On a second sheet of paper, repeat put a line down the center from top to bottom. On the left, one at a time begin to list the negative items.

As you do use the spacew on the right write down a solution, ask why this negative is so terrible.

If you listed your death, then that is terrible and tragic but even that can be mitigated if one sees this as a completion of a task, life itself, you have no need to worry anymore, you don't have to eat the Brussels Sprouts your mother always boils for three days until they are a grey mush.

Ok you may think that is silly, which it is, but the aim is to come up with as many reasons that you can to negate the negatives.

Be as silly as you need to be, no-one is going to see your lists, they are for your eyes only.

When you look back at this second sheet of lists, you should see that most of the negatives are merely in your own imagination, caused by fear and lack of confidence.

Some negatives  will be genuine concerns but the exercise should have given you a list of positive actions that you can take.

Some negatives may even be positive in disguise and you see that in your answers.

All in all in asking yourself What is the Worst  That Can Happen? You will have accepted that something may go wrong, and probably will, but you have also created a list of recoveries from those disasters that await you in your endeavours.

As Timothy Ferriss advises in his book the 4 Hour  Work Week, "let little disasters happen. Don't try to control every detail, you can't."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Four Hour Work Week - Timothy Ferris


Timothy Ferriss has gone back to re-examine his best-seller The Four Hour Work Week in the light of the recent crash and the financial recession.

This book is a great way to examine your goals in life and how to achieve change.

Ferriss agrees that change often causes fear, that fear then causes stagnation as people accept the status quo and never really aim to achieve real goals.

I have used some of the ideas in this book. I have not achieved a four hour work week, I work four days, in a job I love and get three day weekends everyweek to do all the other things that I need to do.

One of the first steps is to find what you really want to do.

It doesn't have to be living a millionaire lifestyle, but it can be and in The Four Hour Work Week  but even the millionaire lifestyle is affordable and even less expensive than you think.

Ferris shows you how to clear the negative influences of your life, your own fears and also those people who happily feed your fears and prevent you from achieving what you really want to achieve.

Ferriss shows you where to find the tools to begin to create your own perfect life. The Four Hour Work Week  Use this book as a guide to help you change your life for the better and help you fulfil your potential.

The ideas are sound, they work, they have worked for me and I am the happier for it.

Buy The Four Hour Work Week.  here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Getting Traffic to Your Site for Free

Wouldn't it be wonderful to get people to come to your site for free?

Yes it would be great if you can bring all those people and not really pay for advertising,

Well one good way to bring traffic to your website, blog or any webpage for that matter is Search Engine Optimization, SEO. .

There is a continuous battle between search engine designers and producers of content like us.

As we think we have figured out their latest methods of analyzing our products. They tweak their search algorithms again and send many of us back to the drawing board in an endless search for traffic.

Some of us adapt and tweak our methods again and again to recover from these algorithm changes. Most just don't do anything and their work disappears into the black hole of cyberspace.

As I write Google, Bing and Yahoo! are tweaking their systems again and again.

If you are using your familir methods of search engine optimization you are falling behind and are at risk of losing traffic this year.

I have compiled a list of books on the best Search Engine Optimization techniques available at this time.

Browse our catalogue at Bretsuki's SEO Store on NOW!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It Takes Time

Growing your multiple streams of income takes time.

Yes, it would be nice if you could just type up one page of items to sell or join one website that just printed you cash every day of the week for the rest of your life. But even overnight successes are never really overnight successes. They have usually worked hard to get to be that successful. It just happens that they made their break happen for them.

When you engage in creating multiple streams of income you are  hedging your chances of success and increasing the ways in which you can make that break from the life you have to the life that you want.

The thing about this line of making multiple streams of income work is that you can do what you love. You therefore do things that you might do anyway and so there is an added reward, the things you love to do may end up being a cash earner for you.

So for instance, if you like making jewelery. You might just make it for yourself, for fun or as a gift for friends and relatives. Maybe consider selling one or two items that you have made on eBay or Etsy.

Who wouldn't love to own a unique piece of hand crafted jewelery? 

But to create that item of jewelery takes time and effort and once sold you have to create another item.

You may like to write, you may write an article and post it to a website which pays you residual income from views. Websites such as HubPages or Yahoo! Voices are such examples. But in order to earn good residual income you need many articles. For instance Yahoo! Voices pay you just $1.50 for 1,000 views of all your articles. If you write one article you may get 1,000 views in a day if it is an exclusive and hot topic but they don't last long. It is much easier to write 1,000 articles  or more (one articleper day  of 300-400 words over three years will give you over 1,100 articles.)) But again see you need to invest time and effort.

The good thing  about all this time and effort is that as you work at your chosen income streams you will get better and better. You'll invest less time and effort per item. You will get to the stage where it seems no effort at all.

Remember though. It takes time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Yahoo! Voices

If you like writing short articles of about 300-400 words in length take a look at writing for Yahoo! Voices.

They pay you for your articles in two ways.

CPM - Yahoo! pays you for each article view on a sliding scale, the more views you generate the higher your bonus. To go over the first bonus level you need to have had 10,000 readers otherwise you have a standard payout of $1.50 a per 1,000 views.

They also pay you an upfront payment for some articles I have earned up to $7.50 for one article and that also carries a CPM payment schedule too. So every view can add to your income.

Try a Yahoo! Voices account it is free and you can write an article on any topic and licence it to them as part of their pay per view program.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Your Time Is Limited:

When looking to make more money, people often look to increase their working time. So they work two jobs, produce items cashing in on hobbies. Basically they work harder.

Working harder is NOT working smarter.

The problem is that time is finite, there are only 24 hours in any day. You cannot work all those hours physically and you have a finite capacity to create cash flow doing one thing at a time.

Say for instance you work a full time job for $20 an hour. You want to increase your earnings per day to give you an extra $20,000 per year.

You decide that you like knitting so you will sell your knitted products on eBay or ETSY in order to make up that $20,000.

$20,000 means you need to work at least 1,000 hours per year, that is just over 2 hours more per day, if you pay yourself your earned wage rate. And you knit all night anyway now just to relax.

But you also need to buy supplies of yarn. You need something to knit and one ball of yarn make one hat at $9.00 per ball. So already you need to sell your hat for $29.00 to make up your demanded earnings.

That is if you can make one hat per hour.
If it takes you three hours to make one hat, your cost is the same $9 for yarn but you require eanings of $60.  Is anyone going to buy your $69 hat?

You have worked harder but not smarter.

You need to look at residual income as part of your policy.  Generate income from areas where you do not need to be actually spending time working.

Look to income from stocks and bonds. They generate monthly and quarterly income. Say you have a bond portfolio that pays you a dividend of $20 per month. That is one less hour you need to work per month, or one and a half days (if you work and eight hour day) per year.

Affiliate programs online such as with Amazon, Zazzle, Go Daddy and Host Gator can pay you income two and you don't have to do much other than drive traffic to them to buy their goods and services.

Affilliate programs do require some work bot one houe spent blogging on your website to drive traffic is an hour well spent as it is always there, unless you delete it.

With these sources of income working away in the background you can use that income in order to either reduce your demanded income from your hobby type sales on eBay and Etsy.

Generate income from various means. Write blogs and generate income from advertising with programs such as Google AdSense.

The more streams of income you have the less reliant are you on any one stream.

Make sure you really make the most of every hour in the day.

Work smarter,not harder.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cash at the Local Library

Do you visit your local library?

How often?

If you are in your local public library right now, how about approaching one of the librarians and asking if they have a books for sale area or shelf.

Many public libraries sell their less popular books. This process is called weeding  within the library service. Like a weed in a garden a book which stays firmly on the shelf in a public library serves no good purpose. Like a weed in a garden it steals a vital resource, space on the shelf, instead of space in the vegetable plot or flower bed.

These weeds do serve one purpose for a library, they can sell them at a much reduced price and recoup some cash to fund buying of new and hopefully more popular books.

Libraries "weed" between one fifth and one third of their books in any one year. This means that millions of books are available across the US everyday in city public libraries.

You can pick up books for a few cents for childrens books or a dollar or two for a bestseller.

This little goldmine can be yours for the asking. Invest a few dollars in some of these weeded books and take a trip to your computer and EBAY or one of the many online auction sites.

Library books carry library marks, stamps and you may find a torn page or children's books have crayon marks. It's a risk.

Leave torn and crayon marked books on the shelf but books in reasonable condition even with library stamps and such can return a reasonable profit on EBAY.

For a small EBAY fee and the price of postage and packing you can maybe make 50% or more on some of the more popular authors books.  Fans of authors will buy books that are out of print to read. A collector may buy even a marked first edition if it is all that is available for the price.

You won't get hundreds or thousands of dollars for a first edition book with library marks, but if you get $10 for a book you paid $2 for, then don't fuss. Cash is cash and we want to make lots of little profits like that one.

For other ideas as to where to sell old library books see my article at Yahoo! Voices

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Municipal Bonds

In the United States we are lucky to have a small group of investments called Municipal Bonds or Muni's.
California State Capitol Building, tall building front collonade looking up to a high domed roof. Building set in parkland, looking across lawns and tall tree to left of image.
California State Capitol Building

These bonds are issued by public bodies such as cities and states to raise capital for public works, for instance a college wishing to raise funds for a sports stadium may issue a bond to pay for the coast by raising cash.

You buy the bond and receive income in the form of a dividend then after a period of time you may receive the face value of the bond when the appropriate repayment date is reached, or at any time you may sell your bond to the bond market for a sum of money.

This is very simplified of course but you get the idea.

You may invest in a single bond or in a Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). An ETF contains a basket of many bonds from across several grades and sources.

Most Municipal bonds dividends are free of both Federal and.or State income tax so provide a good source of income for anyone looking to increase tax-free income.

Many bond funds also pay dividends monthly so a regular income can be received.  Buying an ETF also allows you to spread the risk of any single bond failing to pay its dividend and so losing its value.

Buying bonds always carries risk so in the past I have spread the risk buying a single state bond fund and also a national bond fund on the  Wall Street market. Both funds have been free of all taces, at present Congress may change the tax liability of Municipal bonds, you should check as to liability at the time you decide to purchase.

Bond funds do require an original investment but if you are able to take advantage of dividend reinvestment plans you can rapidly increase the value of the account by buying more stock with each monthly dividend payment.

The value of bond funds does move up and down as the value of underlying bonds varies and as stock market conditions dictate so purchase value cannot be guaranteed over the short or long term. If you can leave the original investment alone for several years the likelihood is that you will profit from the purchase and the income bonds create.

Municipal bonds can play a role in any  Dividend Paying Portfolio   plan.

If you would like more information as to the possible benefits of Muni's to your plan for increasing residual income, consult a financial advisor who is familiar with your tax and investment liabilities. This blog post should not be considered financial advice for any individual or group of individuals.