Turning a Huge Financial Loss Into A Powerful Motivational Tool
With no previous business experience, I decided to start an online Amazon Seller account with a minimal input of capital. I had decided to change my career path in an extreme U-Turn style maneuver without a good plan.
A friend of mine was making some pretty decent money online selling products, so I gave him a call and asked if he would be willing to teach me some of the basics. I was feeling desperate without a job and needed something new to fill in the financial hole. I knew I could always turn back to my construction and carpentry skills, but I really did not WANT to go that route.
I wanted to learn to be my own boss.
The journey I started in March of this year has been a tricky one with a roller coaster of feelings, anxiety, depression and exciting wins. I may not be rich yet in terms of money, but the concepts and ideas I have learned are worth more than money. What I have gained is the keys to being motivated and staying consistent with my goals. My organizational skills have improved, my circle of friends has expanded, and I have a whole new set of tools to earn money.
I started off with some cool tricks and easy wins.
Amazon is the billion-dollar marketplace which offers the opportunity to reach a very large audience. When I summoned up the courage to call my friend out of the blue and ask for some advice on starting out to become an Amazon seller, I was surprised at his enthusiasm to help me out. He was extremely patient and generous. He explained to me some basics of what is called “SEO,” or Search Engine Optimization. He had been in this business for quite some time and had figured out on his own how to apply some of the strategies to selling products on Amazon. With my meager couple thousand dollars, I started with a headphone splitter and took his advice very seriously. I took notes on everything I was taught and applied the knowledge carefully, staying up late and getting up early trying to figure it all out.
Hard work pays off.
For the first three or four months, I was amazed at how perfect everything went. Just as I was taught, I managed to get my listing showing up on the first page of some popular keywords, and was selling the product faster than I could keep it in stock. I made back the money I put in originally and reinvested it in more stock. Things were going great until I hit a solid roadblock.
Amazon doesn’t care about my small business.
All of the sudden, sales screeched to a halt. My advertisement page was totally changed. The title had been altered in a way that did not even represent the product. The images I had so carefully crafted with my mentor’s helping hand were not even showing up. I went from 100 customer reviews down to less than 40. They just erased them. After weeks of phone calls and struggle, I managed to salvage the title somewhat, but to this day I have lost the bulk of the sales. As it turns out, the powerful tool I was using for leverage was no longer effective due to changes in the Amazon platform. Since the primary concern is serving the customers, a small seller like myself really does not amount to much in the eyes of the behemoth marketplace of Amazon. I was dejected and depressed. I had put much hope in my projected gains, and had big plans for the end of the year. My dream was all falling apart.
A failure is also an opportunity to learn.
After a few weeks of feeling really bummed out, I began seeking creative solutions to the problem. Without the easy win strategy I was taught I was going to have to learn to sell things the hard way. I began to study marketing. I set goals. I wrote a business plan. I watched training videos. I continue to study every week, learning new skills in the process. I have discovered a few new ways to make money. The pressure of being broke and not having a steady income has forced me to try new things and be brave. One big move I recently made was signing up as a creative writing freelancer. I realize now that I have always had some skill for writing, but just never realized there was a good way to get paid for it. I recently received my first bank deposit for articles and website copy that I wrote. A month ago I would have never imagined such a thing possible.
The key to motivation is desire.
In many ways, the fear of not providing for my family and being a jobless bum has been the kick in the ass to try new things. Fear is a motivator, but it is not the secret ingredient to motivation. When I was operating in a state of fear my reaction was to just go back to what I knew, and do construction and handyman work. This is a way to make money, but it is very limited. It is hard on the body, takes up a lot of time, and the pay is decent but not awesome. I am not looking to just get by anymore. I have something to prove. I am on a mission to succeed at finding a way to work for myself from home. I found I had to get creative and try new things.
“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning”. –Pat Riley
There is room at the top.
My father-in-law has been quite successful in his own lawyer practice and has told me multiple times that “there is room at the top,” meaning that most folks are satisfied with decent, but if you really push hard, you can achieve success that most folks just wont imagine possible. I have always believed this concept in theory, but for the first time I am putting it into practice.
Making money in five different ways in one day
A couple days ago, I realized that I had made money from five separate streams. I sold some splitters on Amazon, did some handyman work, sold a tool on Craigslist, drove for Uber, and got paid for writing an article on Upwork.com. I still did not make the money that my wife makes in a few hours as a nurse working nights, but I was very proud of my accomplishment. A year ago I would not have believed it possible. I felt trapped in a dead end job. I now see a world of opportunity and wake up thankful for another chance to make my own decisions.
Motivation is more than money
Currently, my aim is figuring out how to make money. Money is not my motivation, desire or end goal. My goal is to live a life of purpose. My mission is to help people and be a good father, husband, and friend. My goal is to create a strong resilient community for my kids and future generations. To accomplish these things I need to feel positive and upbeat in a very challenging and destructive environment. I have big ideas for ways to improve our society, and I desperately want to be a part of positive change. On that path, I need to make some damn money. So that is what I am learning to do. I’ve learned that motivation comes from hard work, dedication, and consistent action. The results will show up later.