Amazon, Please Stop Sending me Checks! I am Getting Tired of This!

I just got a check for $108.46 from Amazon. This is for my earnings in the Amazon.com affiliate program. I am really getting tired of this. Taking the cheque from my mail box, depositing in the bank, and waiting for 21 business days! (That’s how it works in India for FCY cheques)

Don’t get me wrong. I like to get paid! But almost all the affiliate programs that I participate in: CJ.com, ClickBank, AdSense etc. either pay me via PayPal or deposit the money directly in my bank account. Amazon.com is the only affiliate program that is still sending me checks! :)

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But this doesn’t stop me from loving the Amazon.com affiliate program! It’s one of the best.

How to Make a Living as an Author

If you are good at writing, you can make a living out of it. But you also have to be good at business and marketing. If you are only good at writing, you will end up publishing books and will end up “trying” to market it via social media, blogging & events.

writerWhen you publish a book through the traditional publishing channel, you will not make much money to support yourself even if you hit 10,000 sales. I don’t want to get into the economics of book sales. And you don’t want to know it. The royalty income that authors make are so low that if I told you how much they exactly earn, you would look down upon them!

Ok, since you are good at writing, you may think that starting a blog, writing a lot and getting some revenue through display advertising will help you pay the bills. If you think so, you will be wrong again. Since the barrier of entry is so low, everyone is trying to start a blog on a topic they like, get some traffic and earn revenue via display advertising. High supply, low demand. You will be a poor blogger living in a hut with a laptop and 4 mbps internet connection :P

I am not saying content marketing will not work. Content marketing will work for the right reasons. For example in DigitalDeepak.com I do content marketing to expand my professional network and get more job and consultancy offers. Here I blog just to organize my thoughts. Content marketing no longer works if you are trying to sell display advertising.

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You Don’t Need a New Original Idea to Win in Business

ideaHave you ever thought that having original ideas can help you succeed in business? If you do so, you cannot be further from the truth. I have been in a position where I thought having original ideas was the key to business success.

I am not saying that original ideas a unnecessary – but honestly it has been overrated and glorified by the media. Usually media covers the hot business stories only – like the young kid who had a start up company and sold it to a big conglomerate for millions of dollars.

Media covers such stories because they are extra ordinary (meaning, they are out of the ordinary and hence interesting). Which means that such success is not ordinary. But when we hear stories after stories like that, we cannot stop thinking that new – original – revolutionary ideas are the key to success in business.

We don’t read about the guy who is having a janitorial services company and became a multimillionaire. Or the guy who owns a auto spare parts manufacturing company. Those businesses are predictable and there is nothing to talk about it. The media doesn’t cover such stories because they are ordinary. They are not extra-ordinary.

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How to find out if a deal will go bad in future?

bad-dealIt has been 5 years since I have been doing business and dealing with various kinds of people from govt. employees to business tycoons to downright cheats. Every time I get my finger burnt, I just think about how can I avoid such things in the future. I have learnt something, and I want to share it with you.

Every person is unique and they behave in a certain way. If they behave in a honest, intellectual and ethical way, it is a win-win for both parties involved in the deal (considering we are in the good side). There are some people who will not be honest, ethical, punctual and sensible even if it is going to harm them – they just don’t know how to behave any better and there is nothing you can do about it except avoid such relationships.

Fortunately there are some signals which will give indication to who they really are. These signals are subtle but you can pick it up if you watch closely enough. Many times I have ignored these signals of incongruent behaviour and tried to talk myself out of it. All such deals went bad wasting time, energy and money.

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PayPal Increases Transaction Fees in India to 4.4%!

pp-logoPayPal has been finding very difficult to do business in India with the intervention of RBI with various regulations. After a lot of confusion and uncertainty the waters finally calmed down and Indian PayPal users were able to receive $10,000 USD in single payments.

Now PayPal, being a monopoly kind of service provider in this space have increased their transaction fees for India and a few other south east Asian countries to 4.4% + a flat fee, which will be probably $0.30 if it is the same as before.

 New Fees  Old Fees
 Fees  4.4% + Fixed Fee  3.9% + $0.30 USD
 For $1000  $44 + Fixed Fee  $39 + $0.30

The only chance to get payments for export services for thousands of entrepreneurs in India is Bank wire or PayPal. Bank Wire (TT – Telegraphic Transfer) is cumbersome and most of the buyers will not be willing to do it. PayPal is so costly for the kind of convenience it provides. And oh yeah! there is something called a Check! But it will take 60-80 days before you see money in the bank account!

It is high time that some competition comes along to make it easier for Indians to do business.

What People Want and Why They Buy a Product?

workPeople will never buy what they don’t need or want. Sometimes they will not know what they need or want. But when presented with a product/service they will then feel the need and buy. We also have to remember that people do not buy products or service – they buy solutions. The products and services are just a channel to solve their problems. In fact, from a deeper perspective, the product is the “hurdle” that they have to cross to reach their destination. That hurdle is usually crossed buy buying the product.

For example, if you need a hole in the wall you will buy any product that puts a hole in the wall. If a hardware guy can put a hole in the wall for $1 per hole, you will pay for his services. If you want to make a lot of holes and don’t want to wait for any service provider – then you can buy a drilling machine and put as many holes as you want. You will rather buy a spanner if the “spanner” can put a hole in the wall. You don’t want the “drilling machine”, you need the hole. The drilling machine is the obstacle/hurdle you need to cross to reach your solution.

Every Entrepreneur should Learn Economics

economicsEconomics plays a role in every business enterprise. Sometimes the role of economics in the day to day activities of business is not so obvious and would look like a topic that is best left ignored. I have recently started learning economics and I am almost done with the book: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics. I have now learnt a lot of insights that can help me in my business decisions. For example:

  • Getting credit from a bank pushes the snowball of inflation from the top of this hill for the entire country.
  • There is no point in making money and not building wealth because the nation doesn’t grow if you get more money. The country grows and becomes rich with production and value addition.
  • Only way to safeguard yourself against inflation is to invest money in speculative instruments such as gold and real estate because your wealth will grow at least in proportion to the inflation.

And much more. Sometimes it is not easy to grasp such heavy concepts in one read. It may take two to three rounds of reading before the concepts sink in.

And BTW, I have started enjoying immersion reading. Immersion what? Go figure :)

What is the very purpose of conducting BUSINESS?

Business should never be just a means of making money for the entrepreneur and/or shareholders. The purpose of conducting business in the market place is to create a platform where every one involved in the business can do a meaningful contribution and get rewarded appropriately with money, work satisfaction, and social status.

That’s how an economy flourishes, that’s how a country becomes better and that’s the very purpose of humans being humans instead of animals. Only animals fight and kill for food (or resources).

Unfortunately, for many people business is just a means of making money by exploiting nature’s resources (both the living and non-living) and increasing hoarding or consumption thinking that it will lead to ever lasting happiness. It is just a matter of time before they realize this… but does mother earth rich enough to provide that luxury for such people who can’t wake up already?

potIn Indian mythology, the Lakshmi God holds a lotus in one hand and the Pot in the other hand. The Pot defines the innovation of humans where unlike the nature where only the first one to reach the lotus gets the nectar, humans can create, store and distribute food equally to all the people so that everyone can flourish.

Historically, no civilization has ever lived for long where there had been exploitation and big gaps between the rich and poor. The ‘asuras’ will always keep fighting for their fair share of wealth and the ‘devas’ will get too busy protecting the wealth and suddenly no one is being productive and the ‘money’ which is just an indicator of the actual resources becomes useless because there are no resources left and the entire civilization is collapsed!