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Don’t Forget The Important Thing…Health

This is something that hit home this week, and something I have been neglecting ever since becoming self-employed.  One of the main benefits of being self-employed is having the freedom to manage your own time better and not be chained to a desk or office for 8 straight hours at a time.  I however have failed at this.  Being a consultant means that I know the more hours I work the more I get paid.  Because of this I have sometimes taken it to the extreme and haven’t left myself (or made myself) enough time for the freedom that self employment brings.  What I am talking about here is fitness.Exercise

Stick me in front of a computer or give me a phone and I can be incredibly productive no matter where I am in the world, and that is strangely addictive.  But what is it all worth if you don’t have your health?

I have noticed this, had a word with myself and at a board meeting with myself we have decided to do something about it.

This is where I need your help.  I have signed up to do the Color Run in Manchester to raise money for Cancer Research UK.  I won’t go into my  personal experiences with Cancer but the vast majority of us have got a story to tell.  So i roped in my other half and my sister for moral support and the three of us have set up a Just Giving page to help raise as much money as we can.  Anything you could give would be amazing, and would not only help go towards a cure for cancer, but it also makes me feel somewhat more motivated knowing that you are sponsoring me to shift my arse for charity.  Where this goes after the Color Run I have no idea, but I promise you I won’t stop there.

Here is the Just Giving link: http://www.justgiving.com/ColorRunDalazo Anything at all you can donate would be greatly appreciated.  Even if you have one less drink this weekend and donate that money to Cancer, you are making a difference.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.

Dave

Work Hard & Be Nice To People (no time for Ego’s)

con·fi·dence

Noun
  1. The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust: “we had every confidence in the staff”.

e·go

Noun

  1. A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance: “a boost to my ego”.

ar·ro·gant

Adjective

Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities

 

Working in business has taught me many things.  Mostly it has been centered around e-Commerce and web marketing etc.  Since becoming self-employed as a consultant however I have had the ability to deal with many different types of people on a one to one basis.  I am admittedly a people person, the quickest way to drive me crazy would be to stick me in an empty room with no-one to talk to.  What I still find interesting though is how different people can be, and this all seems to boil down to Ego.  Now don’t get me wrong, confidence is a good thing, being confident in your abilities in my opinion only makes you better at what you do.

The dangerous aspect of this is when it comes to the Ego stage.  Again having an Ego is OK, when people start recognising you for your particular skill set or ability and telling you about it this will boost your ego.  The difference here is your ability to keep it in check.  I have met a few people now who have tipped over the edge of having an Ego into being Arrogant.  This is not good.

I like to think that I will get on with most people, I always try to look for the best in people, but I do really struggle with arrogance, and people who have an ego for no perceivable reason.  I see the way that these arrogant people talk to their members of staff or colleagues, and I don’t understand it.  I have the pleasure of meeting some fantastically interesting people, people who by their own right should have an ego and you could perhaps forgive them for being a little bit arrogant.  However they are the exact opposite.  CEO’s and Managing Directors of multi-million pound businesses who are amongst the most humble and modest people I have ever met.  There is a common relationship between the people I meet who are arrogant and those that are not.

People!

Those that are arrogant see people as a means to an end.  Their staff are there to do a job, if they don’t do that job they can be replaced.  Their business partners are there to benefit themselves too so why shouldn’t they do the same.  Arrogance leads to believing that you know it all, which is never the case.  Whereas the modest and humble people I meet all recognise what their biggest asset is.  People.  They surround themselves with the best people they can.  They are not threatened by them because they know something they don’t. They surround themselves with people who can bridge the knowledge or experience gap that exists.  By doing this they acknowledge they don’t know it all, and therefore check their ego.

For me, people are the most interesting aspect of any business.  Everyone is different, everyone has different stories to tell and experiences to share. Whenever I meet someone new, I want to find out more about them, and hopefully learn from them.

What I am getting at is, for me there is no room for ego’s and arrogance…it’s simple.  Work Hard and Be Nice To People.

I’d Love To Meet You At May’s Manchester Meet Ups

May is shaping up to be an incredibly busy month.  Being so busy with clients and also beginning to write the first draft for a book (More details in due course) means that the days are all rolling past quite quickly… It’s MAY already!  Hence why the blog has taken a bit of a back seat this past month. However, I am taking the opportunity on the 15 May to get down to Manchester Central for the E-commerce Expo, and hopefully get to meet face to face some of those who read the blog or who I talk to on Twitter etc.  These e-commerce events are brilliant networking events and I like to use them purely to get to chat with the cool people who run their own online businesses.

What is exciting for me however is that night I am going to make my way over to the Iwoca Meet Up event, or more formally The UK Online Seller Meetup.  I have threatened to make my way to these events plenty of times before, but unfortunately have never been able to make it.  So on the 15th May after the eCommerce Expo I will make my way to Didsbury for the meetup event.  If you are going to either event then let me know and we can have a chat in person.  If you want to register for the e-commerce event or find out more details about the meetup then I have included the details below.

e-Commerce Expo Manchester – http://www.ecom-manchester.co.uk/

Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/onlineselleruk/events/104241702/

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend, mine will mostly be spent behind the computer screen, but I hope to see you on the 15th.

Dave

Amazon Fee Increases What Can Merchants Do?

As I am sure most reading this blog are aware that on the 4th April Amazon are increasing some of their fee categories.  It was announced first on the e-commerce news site Tamebay.  You can see the original post here:  http://tamebay.com/2013/02/amazon-fee-increases-for-electronics-accessories.html.

This announcement has led to much uproar on forums around the web from angry third-party sellers that will be affected.  The general fear from third-party sellers is that this will be the first of many fee increases to come and that Amazon are going to start squeezing out third-party sales.  If this is the case, then it will leave a lot of smaller businesses wondering what to do.  Many already struggle to compete with Amazon as it is and by being priced out of the marketplace it could really affect their turnover.

What are the effects?

Amazon fee increases

As anyone who sells on Marketplaces will tell you, fee’s only ever tend to go up with the very odd exception, and prices only ever tend to come down.  This can be a sort of double whammy for third-party merchants.  They end up selling their products for less and the marketplaces want to take a bigger cut of their sale price.

As for the cause of Amazon doing this, some people online is guessing, it is because Amazon envisage having to pay more tax.  To be fair though for a company who made a loss of $274 million alone in just Q3 of 2012.  You can’t blame the company for looking at ways to increase profitability.

What Can You Do?

As you would expect this hits most sellers with a bit of a problem.  Amazon is just too big to ignore.  They are Amazon and they can do what they want in effect.  The obvious one is that if you don’t already then strongly consider opening an eBay account and building your brand on this channel.  eBay got a similar number of unique visitors a month and they will never compete with you as a retailer.  Chances are however that you already sell on multiple channels in which case you need to work on steering your dependency away from Amazon (If you need any help or advice in how to build up an eBay or website presence then please get in touch with me here.)flubit Logo

The next obvious choice is to look at potential new streams of revenue.  If you have Amazon and eBay ticking over nicely and a website which is bringing in good sales, then looking at new channels to drive sales to your business.  One of the newest and most exciting channels is Flubit.  They offer a totally unique buying journey to their customers and best of all they do not charge any fixed channel fees.  To find out more about Flubit check out the website here, you can also get in touch with them using the instructions on the page.  In case you have missed it you can also see the Flubit buying journey from a blog I wrote back in September

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, are you being affected by Marketplace fee increases?  Or do you run a business and are noticing that you are working harder to make the same amount of profit?  Please let me know in the comments below, it would be great to hear from you.

Two Important Dates For Your Diary This Week

Well hello there, hope you are all well.  There are some interesting events this week which I wanted to introduce briefly and to draw your attention to if you weren’t aware of them already.

The Wholesale Forums – Start Your Own Online Brand

the wholesale forums

First up this Wednesday the 20th March I was very kindly asked by The Wholesale Forums (TWF) to be a part of their live online Q&A panel on the subject of ‘How To Start Your Own Online Brand’  This promises to be an interesting discussion with a great panel with a true range of experiences from which to call upon.  If you are looking to start-up your own online brand, or if you already have one but want to take it to the next level then this is something you wouldn’t want to miss.  For more information, check out the information page here

 

Internet Retail Expo 2013

It’s that time again for Internet Retail Expo.  This year it falls on the 20th and 21st of March.  Because of the above commitment I will be attending IRX on Thursday the 21st.  It promises to be a good event, as usual.  If you are going on the Wednesday then I would strongly recommend going to see the Flubit talk.  They are speaking in the ‘eSeller Theatre’ at 13:00 on the Wednesday about “eCommerce: Changing the model”

On Thursday, however I will be at Birmingham proudly flying the flag for Flubit.  So if you will be there on Thursday come and say hi.  More importantly though if you would like to open up a new exciting channel to your multi channel set up then let me know.  You can find me here on Twitter: @dave_furness and it would be great to have a chat how Flubit could drive incremental sales to your business.

It promises to be a very informative and networking event and I look forward to seeing you there.

Dave