Sunday, February 27, 2011

eBay Success Tip - Become a Self-Builder


A common question I receive from clients, readers, and people who know of my success building a home eBay business is, "How can I be successful with an eBay business? What should I do differently than others who fail?"

First, let me give you my disclaimer that I absolutely do not know everything about eBay and cannot definitively answer this question for every person. But, after coaching hundreds of clients around the globe for the last few years, I have seen a pattern. It is summed up quite well in the business classic, "The Success System that Never Fails," by William Clement Stone.

Mr. Stone, also known as Mr. Positive Attitude, was an insurance magnate, philanthropist, author, publisher, and motivational role model. His philosophy was that you must become a "self-builder" to succeed in anything in life. Whether your goal is to become an accomplished athlete, be a movie star, play a musical instrument, find personal happiness, or become wealthy. The path to any goal in life begins with becoming a self-builder. So, what does this mean?

A self-builder is a person who constantly tries to improve himself, is a lifelong learner, associates with people more successful than himself, and chooses an environment conducive to accomplishing his goals and dreams. Sounds great, right? How is this possible with so many negative influences in our world? You have to make it deliberate and change your self-talk and self-think.

When I started selling on eBay in 2003, it was out of sheer desperation. I had lost my job at a marketing company and gone thru a divorce at the same time - with 2 small children at home to care for. My entire life changed in a matter of weeks. It was time to punt, time for plan B.

I started selling on eBay as a way to pay the bills while I figured out what to do. I was determined not to lose my home and not to rely on anyone else to help me. This was back before eBay was cool. There weren't many books on the subject, and hardly any information online to help the new eBay entrepreneur. I was laughed at, mocked, and talked about behind my back by my family and people in my community - "She has a college degree - she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Why is she selling clothes from Goodwill online? Has she lost her mind? Why doesn't she just get a normal job?"

And that is where becoming a self-builder started. I read everything about eBay and online selling that I could get my hands on. I talked to other people who were making it work - if they could do it, so could I. There were a lot of bumps in the road - products that didn't sell well, eBay's ever-changing rules, lack of money to invest in inventory, long 12 -15 hour days. But finally, it all started coming together because I had already decided failure was not an option. I was going to do this and it was going to work. Period.

So, back to becoming a self-builder. Here are some things you can do to build yourself - become who and what you want to be.

1. Read something related to accomplishing your goal every single day. Even 15 minutes a day - because 15 minutes a day equates to 91 hours a year of learning. Books, magazines, blogs, trade publications, and online articles. Much of this won't cost you anything. I used to go the library and check out back issues of Entrepreneur, Money, Business Week, Newsweek, and other business magazines. So what if they were a few months old, I was still learning. It was new to me. You're not going to agree with everything you read, but exposing yourself to new ideas is the only way to grow and learn. Business books I recommend:

The Success System that Never Fails (William Clement Stone)

Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)

Made in America (Sam Walton)

The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)

What the CEO Wants You to Know (Ram Charam)

(Get these cheap on Amazon in used condition, or free at your local library. Also check Project Gutenberg and the Library of Congress for free downloads.)

2. Control your environment before it controls you. Do not expose yourself to negative people or put yourself in situations that do not help you reach your goals. This is one reason I started my own Facebook group for eBay networking - the eBay community groups were dominated by a terribly negative group of people who love to play the victim, whine, complain, and create drama where there is none. These types of groups are toxic so choose your associations wisely. You are only as good as the people you associate with. Think of an athlete here. If a golfer wants to improve his game, he hangs around with golfers who are more talented, have had more training, are more successful, and are more accomplished than he is. You must do the same thing in life. Get away from the time and energy vampires. They will suck the life out of you as long as YOU let them. You've got work to do, negative people will only slow you down and keep you from your goals.

3. Understand what it takes to reach success. Study successful people, who they are, what they experienced before they were successful. You can read biographies, or watch the Biography Channel, focusing on entrepreneurs. (I record these to watch on my downtime.) Some of my favorites are Donald Trump, Ray Kroc, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, and Michael J Fox. All were told they wouldn't succeed. None believed it. All failed many, many times before reaching success. (Click here to read more about famous entrepreneurs who failed.) We all have one thing in common - opportunity. Either you take it or you don't.

4. Don't stop trying - continue until you succeed. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that the successful ones keep going. Do not let yourself be defeated by setbacks, problems, or disappointments. Get up and keep going. Persevere. Retain your focus. Be determined. Don't make excuses. People who make excuses do not achieve their goals. Take action - deciding to do something is not the same as doing it - it is the execution where people fall short. Consider failure or disappointment as a learning experience, you are now wiser for it. Refer to #3.

So, there you have it. The recipe for success. Now, what are you going to do with it?
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