Amazon Prime Air: Drone Delivery Coming to a City Near You

When Amazon was launched, it began as a online bookstore. Outside the span of economic opportunity was the chance of enhancing the buyer experience by widening the customers’ choice. Creating the world’s first online bookstore was recognizing that, in 1995, you couldn’t walk into any bookstore in the world and be able to review or purchase the millions of books in circulation. Even from the beginning, Amazon was focused on creating the best customer experience with a deliberate focus on convenience and the vision of pioneering other technological advancements as the end of the 21st century approached.

I believe it’s fair to say that Jeff Bezos and many others, including myself, believed the 21st century would include the convenience of flying cars, the convenience of getting your annual checkup without having to visit the doctor’s office, or being able to order a ride to anywhere in your city all at the press of a button. In 1995, all of these technological advances were just storylines of The Jetsons and other science fiction. Innovation has now made all but one of those storylines a reality – but I’m sure Elon Musk is working on getting us those flying cars.

Amazon has pioneered a number of technological innovations through their now-extensive product lines. From its conception, the company was focused on making every book available for purchase online, but their focus has now evolved into “selling everything to everyone.” Over the last 16 years they have come closer and closer to that goal. Their product lines include:

Amazon Fresh (currently in beta), where they sell fresh produce.
Amazon Prime, which provides video and music content instantly to customers via their smart devices.
Amazon Fashion, which launched last fall.
Amazon Fulfillment.
Amazon Marketplace, which provides customers with the opportunity to become entrepreneurs while utilizing the company’s logistics and distribution infrastructure.
Amazon Kindle, which I believe was the predecessor of all other tablet devices.
Amazon Web Services, which was a business born out of Amazon’s necessity to create a sustainable infrastructure for their online operations. They did it so efficiently that they had extra capacity to support the infrastructure of other companies, some of which could be considered their competitors.

Their latest and possibly most ambitious endeavor, Amazon Prime Air, will revolutionize ecommerce as well as logistics and distribution. Amazon Prime Air extends the products that the company can sell. With a vision of leading innovation in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) delivery, Amazon Prime Air will enhance all of their other product lines by allowing their customers to get the goods they order much faster, effectively enhancing the Amazon customer experience. Skeptics (including myself) have wondered how big is the customer base that would use such a service and why would anyone ask for a drone to come anywhere near their house. Drones definitely get a bad rap, and rightfully so, but most of those concerns are out of place within the APA discussion as these UAVs will not have missiles or cameras attached to them. So the real question is, does this product line and technology have a customer base or serve any real need outside of its “coolness” factor? Well, let’s take a look at what the data says:

Amazon has been working on UAV technology for some time but it wasn’t until November of last year that the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) announced a plan to create a standard for the commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). It is obvious that Amazon has to go on a public relations blitz to inject the acronym “U.A.V.” into the public discourse in the place of “drone” in regards to APA as it will enhance the public’s perception once they launch the platform. And according to the FAA’s UAS commercial integration plan, they have plenty of time.

Here is the FAA UAS integration timeline. It is broken into 3 phases:

The first phase, Accommodation, extends into 2015. During this time, I believe Amazon will work to attain the Certificate of Airworthiness (COA). The second phase, Integration, extends into 2020, and in this phase I believe Amazon will mostly focus on beta testing in select markets. The third and final phase, Evolution, extends past 2021; Amazon would have not only developed a UAV ready to interact with the public but also a UAS that incorporates the various aspects of storage, fulfillment and distribution. At this point, they can expect that there will be many competitors who would also utilize UAVs as a form of logistics such as Fedex, UPS, other online retailers, and big box stores such as Walmart and Target. So Amazon’s main focus at this point should be creating a UAV/UAS that will be the safest and most reliable, and not only meet FAA standards but exceed them with the goal of Amazon Prime Air becoming synonymous with UAV delivery. The FAA has made it clear that it is not a matter of if but when, and if Amazon follows through with its plan, it could pioneer a completely new form of delivery.

Google Trends

The day after Amazon Prime Air was announced on the show 60 Minutes happened to be the largest consumer holiday of the year, “Cyber Monday.” It was also the first time that Cyber Monday surpassed Black Friday in sales. Utilizing the Google Trends tool I was able to gauge consumer interest. Google Trends is a research tool that allows users to gain insight on Google search data by comparing search phrases. In this graph “Cyber Monday” was at 100pts with “Amazon Prime Air” and “Amazon drone” representing 75 and 74 points respectively. So for every 4 people that searched for Cyber Monday deals, 3 searched for Amazon Prime Air. I believe it is fair to say that for every 4 people who made a purchase on Cyber Monday, 3 would have been a customer of Amazon Prime Air!

The data shows that there is some consumer interest, but whether this is a true reflection of real opportunity is to be confirmed. Regardless, a showing of 3 out of 4 consumers definitely leans towards further investigation. The opportunity and economics of this new business line must be examined. Amazon Prime Air’s current prototype has a max payload of 5 lbs or less, which qualifies 86% of their shipments as eligible for Amazon Prime Air. According to resources, their free shipping policy on select orders cost the company about $6 billion just last year and with FedEx and UPS (their shipping partners) increasing the rate by 4.5% they can anticipate that this cost will go up and continue to increase over time. The data available on the Amazon Prime Air R&D budget is not publicly available so I had to get creative and also make a few assumptions. I deduced the opportunity cost by multiplying 86% of their daily shipping count which at its peak represents 13.5MM by the lowest ‘one-day shipping’ rate which is the closest service to Amazon Prime Air and then the highest ‘one day shipping rate’ and captured an amount totaling $52-103 billion. I then took this a step further, considering Amazon’s customer-centric philosophy and their current business model of low margins. Even at a 2% margin they would still net $1-2 billion dollars. The opportunity is large enough that Amazon will either be a huge customer of UAV delivery or a huge provider of UAV delivery.

So far I’ve covered the vision, strategy, and the why (albeit briefly), and now for the execution of the most innovative product of the 21st century – so innovative that the government is still trying to determine the regulations.

Amazon Prime Air is the name of Amazon’s unmanned aircraft system. The system will be developed by framing every possible user story with the consideration of their customers, the public, their employees at the fulfillment centers, the deployment, the UAV hub and most importantly, the unmanned aircraft vehicle.

At their current capacity of 96 fulfillment centers around the world, they do not meet the 10-mile distance requirement for the UAV prototypes, so as part of their strategy they would need to continue the development of fulfillment centers as part of the unmanned aircraft system.


Amazon’s primary focus should be creating a safe UAV, so discussing and developing user stories with the engineering team will be prioritized by safety, security, and reliability. They should also focus on defining and exploring specs utilizing current FAA requirements such as sense and avoid, control and communications and the others as detailed.

The current roadmap details the definition and exploration to meet FAA requirements within the next two months, exploring SAA technologies such as electro-optic, infrared, and radar, with the second phase focusing on building and testing of the UAV through the rest of the year. The last phase, focusing on developing the rest of the Amazon Prime Air system, will extend into 2015 calendar year.

Launching Amazon Prime Air will not be an easy task, as can be expected for such an ambitious endeavor, but I believe even with this brief analysis of the project, Amazon could lead in the innovation of UAV delivery.

Adult Halloween Games That Scare Up Good Old-Fashioned Party Fun

Make your party frighteningly memorable by adding some exciting adult Halloween games that will create spine-chilling fun and keep your guests entertained from the moment they arrive until the last goodbye.

Halloween is about fun – and there is no better way to have fun than to host a party where guests can use a costume to disguise their serious side, overcome their fears, and enjoy a devilishly good time.

Printable Games and Trivia. These activities make great ice-breakers and work well with any size group. Test your guests knowledge of Halloween history, have them match ghoulish characters with their descriptions, challenge their skill with a timed word scramble, or play a fast-paced game of Halloween-themed Bingo.

Outdoor Games. Nothing creates a Halloween atmosphere better than a party hosted under the glow of the October moon. Light some Jack-o-lanterns, string some orange bulbs, and enjoy a game of pumpkin bowling or pumpkin golf. Put bravery to the test by sending teams on an elaborate scavenger hunt – in costume, of course – or organize a pumpkin find that will have guests racing and thrashing through a corn field in search of the coveted finds. Play a variation of Capture the Flag using Pumpkins or other Halloween-themed objects, or hold an outdoor Monster Mash contest so that guests can explore their scariest – and possibly most hilarious – dance moves.

Indoor/Group Games. Put a spooky spin on traditional games such as Pictionary or Charades, or divide guests into groups and play a Halloween version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Give everyone a basket of supplies and ask guests to create a costume, giving awards to the scariest, funniest, most creative, and maybe even the most ridiculous. Set up a sound system and enjoy some Halloween Karaoke, possibly combining this with a trivia game where guests are given a line from a song and must sing the complete version.

Halloween provides the perfect excuse to get together with friends and have a little fun. All you need is an interesting costume, some great food, and a few wild and crazy adult Halloween games, and you will be ready to host the spookiest party of the season.

Wendy Legendre has hosted hundreds of community events, showers, parties, and camps over the last 25 years. She is the owner and editor of Diva Girl Parties and Stuff and Scavenger Hunt Fun where she shares a variety of fun adult Halloween games and icebreakers, as well as challenging Halloween scavenger hunts.

Beginners Tips for Buying and Selling Books On Amazon

If I said that you can switch on your PC now and almost immediately grab a share of a five billion dollar business with over 35 million active customers – that’s also one of the world’s best- known brands, would you believe me? Probably not. But I have to tell you – with a bit of work and effort – you can.

Amazon’s bookselling site is one of the world’s most successful e-commerce businesses, accounting for over 5% of all online sales. And the staggering truth is that Amazon will gladly let you share in their success story. Are they crazy? No. It’s a testament to founder Jeff Bezos’s mission to be ‘the most customer-focussed business ever’. Are there any catches? Not really. Of course, nothing is ever that easy but if you know how and are determined it is an opportunity worth your serious consideration.

In this article you will discover how Amazon will help you set up your own Internet business. A business that will sell for you worldwide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with virtually no overheads and none of the risks or hassles normally associated with e-commerce.

Why on earth should I sell books?

Well, you don’t have to sell books. You can sell all sorts of other goods on Amazon today – including electronics and photographic equipment, music, DVD’s, videos, software, PC and video games, home and garden items and toys and games.

But books satisfy almost every requirement of the ideal mail order product. They’re compact, light and easy to ship, easy to describe, enjoy a high profit margin and a high selling price relative to their size – they have a worldwide market and are something that almost everyone buys at some time. Books are still Amazon’s core business, their biggest seller and, to cap it all, there is no better known global market for books than Amazon.

But doesn’t eBay do it better? I’m sometimes asked why anyone would prefer to sell books (or anything else) on Amazon rather than on that monster of e-commerce eBay. The answer is simple: Amazon has certain unique advantages over eBay, and for certain products it knocks its bigger brother into a cocked hat. First of all, selling on Amazon isn’t (usually) an auction. You get the selling price you want, and you don’t have to wait seven days to get it. It’s simpler and faster to list products for sale on Amazon and you don’t have keep relisting, so you can sell much more (some sellers have over a thousand product lines). Most times, it’s much cheaper to sell goods so you can sell for less yet make more. Lastly, unlike eBay Amazon’s administrative and payment systems are a breeze – when you sell a book all you need to do is post it to the buyer.

OK, there are a few snags: Amazon’s procedures and rules are a bit daunting at first. But stick with it. It all slots into place once you’re up and running. There can also be a fair bit of competition in some subject areas (more about how to outdo your competitors later).

How Amazon lets you share their success

There are actually quite a few ways you can join in Amazon’s success story. Amazon Auctions is much the same as eBay. Amazon Advantage is for authors and publishers. Amazon Alliances are special working relationships with large companies. But if you’re a private-seller-cum-small-trader or a small-mediumish sized business I think you’ll find Amazon’s Marketplace and zShops are the best ways to get involved.

Marketplace: Marketplace offers you an opportunity to sell books on the exact same page on Amazon’s website where Amazon sell the book themselves. So you get to compete with them head-on, and even get to undercut them on price (in fact you’re expected to!). Marketplace is for any new or used books, but not really rare or collectable ones. Selling prices are fixed – Marketplace isn’t an auction. You can list an unlimited number of items for free. A closing fee of 86p (on per item plus 17.25% of your sale price is charged on each sale but you don’t pay anything if your books don’t sell.

Marketplace is suitable whether you just want to make some spare cash, but also if you want to start a ‘proper’ small business.

zShops: zShops is an area of the Amazon website that enables you to sell books that are not currently being sold by Amazon. You can sell new and used books but it’s especially suitable for selling anything unusual, different, rare, collectable or valuable that might appeal to Amazon’s millions of customers. Again, zShops are not an auction and prices are fixed.

zShops is most suitable for higher-volume sellers. To sell most items at zShops you must have what is called a ‘Pro-merchant Subscription’ – more about that later. Because of it’s different charging structure zShops works out much cheaper than Marketplace for volume sellers – there’s a £28.75 monthly sub. to become a Pro-merchant but closing fees start at only 2.875% per item. (Check with Amazon for exact details as these fees are a bit complicated!)

You can operate both Marketplace and zShops, but experts I’ve talked to suggest it is better to start with Marketplace and think about getting involved in zShops later. (Although when you list items on Marketplace Amazon’s software will automatically list anything that isn’t already sold by Amazon on zShops.)

So now you’re a bookseller – what types of books sell best? You don’t really need to be interested in books to sell them successfully. Although you can sell almost any books on Amazon experienced sellers have found that certain books sell much better than others. They tell us that they have a lot of success selling books that don’t sell well on eBay. eBay is good for collectibles and very specialist or unusual books. Amazon is good for new and newish popular and other mainstream books. Many experienced sellers use both Amazon and eBay on the basis that what sells badly on one will sell well on the other!

Amazon is great for selling cheaper books – in the £7 to £20 price range. (As any eBayer will tell you, it’s tricky to make money selling cheap books there.)

Another good thing about Amazon is that the strong sellers there are books that are strong sellers everywhere else, so you don’t need to do lots of research to find good ideas. Look at Amazon’s ‘100 Hot Books’ section to find current bestsellers. You can also search for ‘Hot Books’ by subject. One slight disadvantage of using this method is that every seller wants to sell these books. You might be able to find some little-known ‘hot subjects’ by asking in bookshops and libraries as to what books are becoming popular, and then trying to second-guess the demand on Amazon.

I asked some Amazonians what sells best for them. Here’s what they said: ‘Classic fiction’, ‘famous authors’, ‘children’s books’, ‘heavily illustrated/coffee table books that are too expensive brand new’, ‘books that make good gifts’, ‘ text, academic and reference books’ and ‘books connected to TV/film’. Several also told us that hardback editions seem to sell particularly well, although most books produced today are paperback.

Good Tip: Test the market to find your own personal successes. You can afford to do this on Marketplace because no sale = no pay.

What you can’t sell? You can’t sell anything that is a copy, a free promotional version, a foreign product not licensed for sale in the UK or anything that is unsafe (unlikely to apply to books).

Finding books to resell at a profit: Once you’ve decided what sort of books to sell you’ll need to find sources of them. There are many different sources, and it’s a good idea to try them all to maximise the quantity and range of your stock.

Good Tip: Try to use sources that both are regular and repeatable, so that once you find a book that sells well you can go back and restock. You can make money selling one-time-only books but it’s far better to find a book that will sell and keep selling. Here are some sources to try:

– Trade Sources. You can buy all the new books you need in the book trade either from the publishers themselves, their distributors or their wholesalers. If you want just a small number of books it’s best to go to a wholesaler as you can mix books from different publishers. A wholesaler will give you a trade discount if you tell them that you are ‘in the trade’ (which you are) – expect 30% up to 50% or more if you place a large order.

– Auctions. Keep an eye out for any auctions where books make up all or part of the stock. Auction stocks can include bankrupt stocks, salvage books (not all necessarily damaged), remainder books, shop-soiled and ex-library stocks. (Check what type of books are being sold before attending an auction.) Auctions are a good source if you want to sell valuable and collectable books,

– Book fairs, jumble sales, charity shops etc. These are good if you are starting in a small way, and a good source of very cheap books. (But be careful, some of the big name charity shops tend to overprice used books.) Only buy books in good condition, unless they’re unusual in some way.

– Private individuals. Look in the small ads. for ‘Books for Sale’ or place a ‘Books Wanted’ ad. The main advantage of this source is that because there isn’t much of a local market for used books you can pick up books for pennies.

– Remainder books. Remainder books are new books which publishers have published and which have failed to sell. So, they’re withdrawn and sold off very cheaply – often at 90% or more discount. The advantage of remainder books is that you can get job lots of hundreds or thousands. The easiest way to buy remainder books is from a specialist remainder supplier.

The disadvantage with remainder books is that if they didn’t sell well in the shops they might not sell well on Amazon either, so it’s a good idea to test them before buying a large stock. (But: Remainder books which were overpriced when new often sell very well at lower prices on Amazon.)

Lastly, don’t forget that you can also buy books for your stock on Amazon, as well as sell them there, and turn them round quickly for a profit. A word of warning though: This isn’t really for mainstream books that lots of Marketplace sellers have. It can, however, work well for rare, valuable and collectable books where another seller has priced them too cheaply and which you’re pretty sure someone else will pay a lot more for.

How to Find Grants to Pay Off College Loans

It is no shock that everyday students who did their best in high school are looking to pick a college, get a better education and get a great paying job that will help them become more productive in life and society. Just log onto any social media outlet and you will see that more and more students are looking into a college education. It seems that doing good in school is not enough these days. More and more students are struggling to earn their college degree. Why? Because every student knows that once you graduate from a university with a major, you have a better chance of getting a higher pay rate and a better job. Just ask anyone who has been through the experience of going to college and you will soon realize that it can be fun and a challenge all wrapped up into one. However, upon further review you will notice that the university life is a costly life style and many students are turning to a sugar daddy to help pay off their student loans. Think of it like having a super rich daddy figure who is willing to give you an allowance to help you make ends meet.

Working at a place like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) or facilities like CHOP does not come without a cost. Thomas Jefferson University has an amazing nursing program. Having said that, many of the young college students need a sugar daddy to help pay for their student loans. Every student’s first goal is to advance in life and get a successful education. Many never give thought to all of the costs that are associated with life at the university. This is where having a sugar daddy can help. A sugar daddy is someone who is willing to adopt a student, often called a sugar baby. This whole relationship between a sugar baby and her sugar daddy is a special one. This relationship is beneficial for both the sugar daddy and the sugar baby. As the student furthers their education, there are many costs. Things like tuition, housing, entertainment, food and the cost of books goes up every year. As a college student trying to find all of these funds and repaying student loans becomes stressful. A sugar daddy can provide an allowance that will help to pay the bills and keep food on the table while the student does their homework. Everyone knows that student debt can remain for years after graduation.

It’s a shame that so many people work hard to graduate from the university and once they do, they are surrounded with massive debt that will follow them for many years to come. The good news is that many sugar daddy, father figure types are stepping up to the plate and helping payoff student loans.

Think of it like a catalog shopping, scholarship program if you will, with one major difference. The customer service that the sugar baby offers to the sugar daddy, combine with the incentive and customer rewards programs are amazing. Being a sugar daddy has some major perks. First, the relationship between the two people who are seeking arrangements, puts everything on level ground. This is a relationship where the terms can be outlined at the start and followed through. This leaves both parties without expectations because they already understand what their terms are. This takes away all the stress and allows both people to enjoy the relationship.

Just like any relationship, when stress is taken out of the picture, the relationship flourishes. It is like when you take the stress out of any situation, things get better. For example, when the sugar daddy enters the life of the sugar baby and starts to pay off the student loans, the stress goes away and the university student can concentrate on getting good grades.

The cost of living both during your university years and after you find a good paying job are staggering. One of the greatest things you can do to help a college student is to take away some of their financial pain. Being able to help a student with their student loans is a great feeling. As you might know, so many university students struggle with their bills each and every month. Often they have to pay for books and supplies and food goes on the back burner. As a student there are many things being accomplished and the help and support of a sugar daddy is very helpful to the over all well being of the student.

Living in the dorm or near by the college is not always what it is cracked up to be and having an older uncle or daddy figure to spend time with can be a blessing. This relationship is drama free and there is the feeling of no strings being attached because everything is outlined upfront.

The possibilities are endless, just like the imagination of the inner child. The terms of the relationship are open to discussion between the two people who are seeking arrangements. This is one thing that both people seem to enjoy, the freedom to be in control of their own relationship. This is how all adults should live. The relationship established between a sugar daddy and a sugar baby helps the university student to learn many life lessons. Things like time management, being on a budget and more are all part of the relationship. In the modern world, everyone is doing their best to maintain a beneficial relationship that is mutually rewarding.

There are many times when the bond between a sugar daddy and a sugar baby is formed so strong that these two people stay close friends for life, doing things with one another, long after university life is over and the student loans have been paid. Again, this relationship is free from the drama and stress associated with other types of relationships and the two people can work on the relationship itself.

Arrangements of this type are able to offer something for everyone. Together the people who are seeking arrangements, once established, can have fun and make the most of life. As with every relationship, communication is the heart and soul, the very bloodline of this relationship. Together the sugar couple share every aspect if their life or, as many as they are comfortable with. It’s whatever the relationship allows for and in most cases, it’s a lot. Let’s face it, no sugar daddy starts a relationship with a sugar baby just because he wants to pay her bills, however, he doesn’t mind giving her money to pay her student loans and other things she needs. He understands that it feels good to be able to help and there are many benefits to being her sugar daddy.

Often daddy is there to help a sugar baby when there is no one else. All hours of the night or during the wee hours of the morning, a baby can always count on daddy for stimulating conversation and so much more. Daddy is ready to listen and give advice to his sugar baby regardless of what is going on in her life. Just because there is no stress in the relationship between daddy and baby does not mean there isn’t other forms of stress that they will each deal with. The good news is, they are there for each other and will listen to each other and each person in the relationship will be there to help the other person relieve stress. That is why these relationships are well sought after and work very well for so many people.

Six Worst College Majors for 2017 and Future Employment

The astronomical cost of college today makes finding an appropriate major even more important. Making the most of your college education is vital to your career success. While finding something you love is a blessing, being open-minded about the job market and employment opportunities is mandatory.

With student loan debt rising every year, our college students need to be very careful how they spend their money for education. Your ultimate goal upon graduation is to find a career and job that makes you happy and allows you to make a decent living.

Parents need to help their high school students investigate the career opportunities that will be available after they graduate. Before making your final decision on which college major to pursue, you need to evaluate the pros and cons of your desired field of study. The end result is that students will make better decisions about what their future holds.

Here are six college majors with limited opportunity for employment upon graduation:

1. Religion: Traditional colleges are not the road to take if you are looking to devote your life to religion. Most religious careers have low-income potential and provide great self-satisfaction rewards for the right candidate. If this is the career path that you want to pursue, speak with your local priests, bishops, ministers or rabbi. They can steer you along a path that will most likely cost nothing and provide the guidance that you are looking for.

2. English Literature: While literature is a wonderful way to enjoy your free time, it may not be the best career path in today’s job market. It can help you build some great skills, but in the real world, you will be overlooked for others with a more diverse set of business, computer or technical training. Careers in this area are very low paying and would not help pay your student loans that were incurred during your education.

3. Anthropology: Very few opportunities exist for recent graduates in this field and over the coming years, there will be even less. While this may be an interesting and enjoyable hobby form many individuals, it is not a promising career alternative. Something in the medical sciences would be a better alternative and provide many different avenues for career advancement.

4. Fine Arts or Photography: Being an artist or photographer is a wonderful talent and can be enjoyable to envision your final work. But the reality is that careers in this area are not very profitable or plentiful. With the advent of great cell phone cameras and sophisticated, easy to use editing programs, digital arts and photography have become simple for the average person to get great results.

5. Music: If you are talented and focused, you will be successful. Normally that is true, but careers in music are very hard to come by. They success rates are similar to those of professional athletes. Many great voices, many great musical minds are left behind as only the top 1% actually make a reasonable living in this field. It can be a great side job or hobby, but if you are planning to make it a career, it will be a bumpy road.

6. Exercise Science: For those considering this major, please re-consider. Your employment opportunities are no better than if you were an athlete in high school looking for a job at a gym or being a personal trainer. Pay scale is generally low and there are no specific jobs that require this degree for employment.

Summary: These six majors offer less than desirable potential for jobs upon graduation. Be mindful of your need to earn a living as well as pursue a passion. Unless you are independently wealthy and do not need to work, the cost of your education would be better spent building an enjoyable and prosperous career.


Keith Maderer has been a Financial, Investment and Tax professional in the Buffalo-Niagara region for over 30 years. He helps individuals and families by providing Simple Solutions to common problems that get in the way of enjoying life and retirement.

He is an author, an entertaining and humorous speaker that enjoys captivating audiences with stories, anecdotes and messages that inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals.

Running Your Own Amazon Business From Home

Long before the internet, retail was well established as one of the most competitive industries to enter. The internet has given new entrepreneurs the ability to launch their business with more ease, but it can still be difficult to find a foothold.

Even though there are tens of thousands of retail websites online, a few major brands continue to dominate, much like traditional high street retail. By some distance, Amazon is the largest online retailer of all.

The simple truth is that very few companies will ever be able to compete with Amazon. So why bother? The best thing that you can do if you want to start an online retail business from home is to get involved with the Amazon brand and turn it to your advantage.

Read on to learn the basics of getting up and running with your own Amazon business. You’ll find out that by treating Amazon as an ally, not a rival, you too can start earning a great living from home.

Why Start An Amazon Business?

Understanding how you should sell products in the retail environment means understanding what customers look for when they buy them.

Of course, every customer looks for the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices. If you can offer something truly innovative, or enter an existing sector with lower prices, you can certainly attract a large amount of interest in your business.

But this interest is only worthwhile if it turns into revenue. Unfortunately, this means a big leap of confidence for your visitors.

Online security is better than ever, but retail trust is about far more than stolen credit cards. In fact, it can take years for potential customers to learn that you offer good products, you package them well, you dispatch them on time and you follow up with great customer service.

Amazon is the biggest online retailer because it is a brand that customers trust. If you’re selling on Amazon, they’ll trust you too.

How Does Selling On Amazon Work?

First, you need to sign up for a seller account with Amazon. There are two types of account available.

The standard Basic Seller Account is free, and offered to those retailers that sell less than 35 items a month. Products can be listed in up to 20 different categories, and you will simply pay a fee for each product sold. A significant limitation, though, is that you can only sell products that are already for sale on Amazon.

As your business grows, you may want to upgrade to a Pro Seller Account. This type of account is charged at £25 per month, but includes the ability to create new products, and sell them across up to 25 different categories.

For more information on the types of account available, visit

What Can You Sell On Amazon?

As with any retail business, the first step in successful Amazon selling is deciding on your products. Amazon now has categories for just about anything. Generally, you have three types of products that you can sell on Amazon – which one is right for you?

Products That You Make – If you have a great product idea, or even just a talent for creating new things, your products could fill a niche on Amazon. With little or no competition, these kinds of products are potentially lucrative – but it’s incredibly difficult to be original!
Products From Wholesalers – The traditional retail business model, you could source products from wholesalers or manufacturers and sell them with a mark-up on Amazon. But beware – having stock shipped to your home address usually means buying high volumes of stock in advance! If you plan to use this method, consider drop shipping, where stock is dispatched directly from the wholesaler.
Used Goods – From second-hand books to DVDs, many sellers earn a living from reselling used goods. When a customer searches Amazon for a product, they will see your more affordable used version.

The best kind of product for you will depend on your talents, your goals, and the kind of products that you have access too. It’s great advice to simply make a choice – spend less time considering your first products and more time working on promoting your Amazon business.

One Amazon seller, Tedric P, did exactly this. He started out by selling video games and consoles that he would buy from high street retailers that were shutting down their stores. Now, his products cover numerous categories and he is earning 30% more than he was in his full-time job!

Choose Your Preferred Order Fulfilment Method

When you have selected your products, it is time to think about how you will get these products to your customers. Never rush head-first into selling without getting a clear idea of how the entire process will work.

When you start selling on Amazon, you have a range of options for fulfilment. Each has its own advantages and your choice will depend on the kind of products you are selling.

First, you can keep your business in-house and send out products yourself. This adds to your own workload, but in the early days of your work-from-home business is usually the best method. Another great advantage of keeping distribution in-house is that you can retain control of your orders, reduce your costs, and even include promotional materials with your packages.

Alternatively, you could partner with Amazon to have them dispatch orders on your behalf. Fulfilment By Amazon, or FBA, is a service provided by the company that is designed to reduce your workload and improve the experience of customers. If you sign up for FBA, you will be asked to send your inventory of stock to Amazon, who will store it for you. Then, when an order is placed, Amazon take care of sending your products – customers can even combine your products with the rest of their Amazon order, or use services such as Amazon Prime for fast shipping.

Finally, you may be able to reach an agreement with your wholesaler or manufacturer if you have one. Using a process called drop shipping, you can concentrate your attention on promoting products and delivering great customer service. All you need to do is notify the wholesaler or manufacturer when an order has been placed, and they will take care of sending it on your behalf. A drop shipping agreement is also a great way to secure arrangements with wholesalers without buying large quantities of stock in advance.

How To Make Your Amazon Business A Success

Starting your Amazon retail business is easy. Making it successful is not! As with any retail venture, promotion is everything. Amazon includes a number of features to help you promote your products, but there is a lot that you will need to do for yourself. Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Consider How You Write Product Listings

A product description is a difficult thing to write. It must convey useful information while persuading, enticing and attracting your potential customers. As you write, ask yourself what your customers would want to know, and how the product can help them. Does it make them look great? Does it save them time? Write benefits-driven product listings that persuade customers to take action.

2. Encourage Activity Around Your Listings

Take a look at any product available on Amazon and you will see product ratings and reviews. These are vital assets for your work-from-home business.

Ideally, your products will be so good, and your service so amazing, that customers will naturally flock to Amazon to leave a message. But don’t rely on that – always be proactive.

You could email your existing customers to ask for their reviews. You could offer freebies to established bloggers within your sector to encourage them to link to your product and review it. You could even get your friends and family to post reviews themselves. Every review lends credibility to your listing but, more importantly, can lead you to the holy grail of Amazon – The Buy Box.

3. Get In The Buy Box

The real results from Amazon selling come from getting yourself into the Buy Box. This is a complex, almost impossible task, but one that you should always strive for.

The Amazon Buy Box is the big ‘Add To Cart’ button that appears on the right hand side of every product listing. For the average user, it is the only place that they will click when they decide that they are ready to buy. If you sell a product that Amazon themselves offer, they will always remain in the Buy Box. But if you don’t, you should work hard to get yourself there.

Amazon uses a complex algorithm to decide which companies are in the Buy Box, and the details of this have never been revealed. Essentially, there is only one trick – to be the best retailer possible.

Give great service. Send shipments instantly. Use Fulfilment By Amazon so that Amazon can be confident that products will be dispatched correctly. Reduce your prices and be the most competitive seller on the site. By doing all of these things, there is a chance that you could find yourself in this lucrative and in-demand position.

The Secret Of Online Retail With Amazon

All too often, people venture online to find out big secrets about their chosen work-at-home profession. The reality is, though, that there is only one thing that you need to do to create a successful Amazon retail business: do everything that you would do if you opened a high street store.

I opened this article by saying that high street retail was competitive. The internet is exactly the same, if not more competitive. So be discerning with your products, be proactive with your promotion and be unrivalled in your sector. If you can do all of those things, a successful Amazon business is just a matter of time.

Rules and Indoor Kid’s Games

Games, psychologists say, are benchmarks for children on how they will act and play real games when they become adults. As always, a set of rules are needed for games, either played by kids or adults. And certainly there is no difference with indoor kid’s games or those done outdoors.

Some of the handed-down games we play today don’t have instruction manuals. Yet, we somehow know what the rules are. And we know, too, if the rules are not followed, if there was cheating or if there were questionable moves we think are not right.

Made-up rules

Actually, some of the best children’s games are those where the rules are made up. There are certain children’s games that resemble some of our old cherished games, and we discover that the children had altered them.

The more important aspect, actually, is if the rules (made up or original or altered) are followed. By being clear on rules, there is less trouble, less disputes and arguments, and losers accept their losses.

Laying down rules

In children’s games, there is always one child who knew the rules. Even if the rules were changed, this kid will know it by heart and would keep reminding every one who breaches them.

Sometimes the new rules would be worked out, and the old ones were discarded. After a time, the new rules would have inconsistencies in them and they would be discarded later, in turn. This know-it-all kid would remember them the next day when the game is played again.


It is always a good policy, then, to establish rules in advance before the games are played. This is especially true in children’s indoor games where there are so many variations of familiar games. Each place seemed to have a version of any game.

Setting the rules clearly and having everyone to agree should be implemented first before any game. This is to avoid arguments later when the game has begun. But as adults would later find out, children (the younger ones, especially) find it fun to change rules and make up new ones as they go along with whatever game they have.

Fair play and cheating

When children play games, squabbles arise over the rules all the time. Many kids do not bother to read the rules before starting games. Getting the kids into the rules first will teach them to be fair players.

More disputes, however, are caused by cheating. Kids are creative when it comes to sneak around rules and most will do so given the chance.

Historically, there had always been cheaters in games, whether played by kids or adults, indoor games or outdoor competitions. To avoid conflicts, it is best to establish a no-cheating rule. (Cheating will forfeit the whole game, points are deducted, or at least, a turn.)

Enjoying the game

Lest everyone gets distracted and becomes very strict in everything, an adult could make light the situation. One way is to invent games where “cheating” is integral to winning.

How to Keep Student Loans Under Control

Here’s a new one. One of our neighbor’s daughters (Annie) is about to head off to a college that believes that student loans are bad, so they don’t offer them!!! While I can cheer that college on for their decision, it unfortunately forces those students who need loans, to obtain them from private channels, rather than from FedLoans. This poses a significant risk for the college students for several reasons. I’ll talk about private loans first.

Private Student Loans (PSL)

According to Student Loan Borrower Assistance (dot) org, “In theory, private student loans are used to fill the gap between available federal aid, and what students and families can afford to pay out-of-pocket for college costs. In practice, unfortunately, many borrowers take out these higher cost loans without first exhausting their federal student assistance options.” PSLs lack the more affordable, fixed rates, and flexible repayment options that federal loans have. Prospective borrowers should exhaust federal grant and loan options before considering a private student loan.

So, Annie’s college is denying their students with an affordable means of obtaining financing for college by not providing federal student aid options for their students. PSLs should only be taken as a LAST RESORT, only after all other options for scholarships, grants, and federal loans are taken.

Interest will start to accrue the moment you take these loans out; there is no “in school” deferment on interest for private loans. So, the amount you borrow today, will grow while you’re in school and you’ll owe much more after graduation, if you don’t start repayment immediately. So many folks have a sticker shock after graduation when they get the bill with all that amortized interest tacked on to these pesky loans.

The good news about PSLs is that outside of bankruptcy, these loans are treated like any other credit card debt. This means that the creditors have a limited amount of time in which they can collect on the debt, also known as a Statute of Limitations (SOL). Each state has its own SOL laws, in California, creditors have Four (4) years to collect on a debt upon a written contract; and Six (6) years, if the contract is a Promissory Note.

Federal Student Loans (FSL)

There are several types of federal student loans, depending upon the type of education, school, and options available based on credit worthiness. The most important part to understand is when does the interest begin to accrue.

Subsidized SLs are the absolute BEST option for your education financing because these loans are (1) interest FREE while you’re in school; and (2) repayment does not begin until Six (6) months after you last attended school. Unsubsidized SLs, on the other hand, begin to accrue interest while in school, similar to the private loans.

By now you’ve probably heard about the various types of repayment programs for SLs. However, payment plans, like graduated, extended, and income based or income contingent repayment plan are only available for federal student loans, not private.

Keep Student Loans Under Control by:

Choose the direction of your life first and determine whether you even need a college degree to achieve your goals. Some of histories great leaders and achievers are college dropouts!

1. Exhaust all other student aid resources such as scholarships, grants, education savings plans (529 savings) first.

2. WORK! Your parents, and myself included, likely worked a job while attending college. My husband took no loans for his education and worked several jobs during the summer months to save for his next year’s tuition. Hard work always pays off and you might as well get used to working hard for what you want.

3. If you must take out a student loan, take SUBSIDIZED federal student loans first. Remember that these loans are interest free during school, and take six months after graduation before they become due. Next, take a federal unsubsidized, then private loans. ONLY BORROW WHAT YOU NEED, NOT THE MAXIMUM OFFERED.

4. After graduation, you’ll have that six month grace period to consolidate your federal student loans and determine what payment plan you can afford. You cannot turn a private student loan into a federal student loan EVER, and why would you after the distinctions made above? ProTip: You can consolidate these loans on your own and don’t need to hire anyone to help. You have a college degree, figure it out. These companies did not exist “back in my day!”

I’m starting to see the younger generation coming into my office for consultations on student loans because they over indulged on credit and enjoyed their college years with nothing to show for it, but unemployment and mountains of debt!

The Law Office of Christine A. Kingston is a Federal Debt Relief Agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. Our practice is limited to Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcies, student loans and debt settlement.

Indoor Games – Your Solution to a Boring Party

If you are planning to host a party, then there are many things that you have to prepare. You have to prepare the party menu, the guest list, the party theme, the venue and its decorations and many other party essentials. Another thing that you should not forget is your game plan – literally. Having games for your party can turn it from boring to exciting and from drab to fab. Whether you are planning a children’s party, an adult’s party, a Christmas party, a reunion or even a simple Tupperware party, then you should have indoor games planned out to give the special day an added twist.

Boring parties are a big no-no to anyone; both to the host and to the guests. If you are the host of the party, then making sure that it will end up fun is your top responsibility. If you host a party that has become boring in the middle, then people would always remember you and your kind of parties. In the end, they can avoid you or worse, attend politely but know that they will never have fun. Now, with the help of indoor games, you can easily liven up any type of party. Of course, you simply do not start such games without thinking or planning. You have to choose your games carefully so they can be successful.

When planning out indoor games, you have to know the type of crowd attending your party. You have to determine well in advance the kind of game they will enjoy and participate in. Will they be fine with quiet parlor games or would they opt for group games that require more physical activity? Knowing the age group of your guests can also help you decide on the type of games that you will have on your party.

Indoor games do not only make your party more fun but it can also make your guests know more about each other. If you have varied guests and if many of them are not acquainted with each other, then your games can make the situation better. Games tend to loosen up people; it helps them relax. If you are hosting a stiff company party, for instance, your games can encourage people from different departments to get to know more about each other.

Of course, preparation is crucial when it comes to indoor games. Since you will be having a planned party, then planning out the possible games is also necessary. For cool and fun indoor game ideas, you can maximize online resources such as Direct Source Games for all your party gaming ideas and needs. You can read about interesting games, the instructions for particular games and even the materials to be used. It would also be better that you prepare your game props before the party and you can also prepare instruction sheets for your guests. Doing so can free you from hassles and surprise problems that can ruin a good party plan. Getting expert help long before the party can make it more of a success.

How to Choose the Right Indoor Party Games

Most people assume that indoor party games are meant for youthful get-togethers. Children especially enjoy a variety of games at their celebrations, and there are several games that you can choose from to have great parties. However, many children’s party games are played at teenage or even adult parties.

While more traditional households prefer to have games such as “musical chairs” and “passing the parcel,” today there are so many new games that have brought a lot more fun. Some people prefer to incorporate a mixture of these for their celebrations. Some of them included in a party game list include: Penny in a Pinch, Candy Taste Test, Two Truths and a Lie, Freeze Dance, String Surprise, Telephone Charades, Balloon Catch, and Tic Toc Time’s Up.

Apart from these games that are played indoors, you can also have the more adventurous kind, such as a scavenger hunt. Now this kind of game can be played within your four walls, and it can also be thoroughly enjoyed in your garden or in your backyard.

While most of the indoor party games mentioned above are played almost without any apparatus, there are those that require some costly equipment. These games, such as air hockey or pool, are meant for adult parties mostly. To invest in these kinds of games means that you will be spending a great deal. However, there are many party enthusiasts who believe in making their parties truly entertaining so that friends have a great time.

There are also some pretty good games that involve creativity. You can have arts and crafts games for children. They will certainly enjoy these! Sometimes, depending on the tastes of the adults involved, it might work for adult party games too. You can also have team indoor party games. These are great for building a momentum and spirit of competition among your party attendants.

Everybody likes to win, and when they are arranged in teams, you will see a huge difference in the level of participation. The idea of using teams to spur competition at your parties can be applied to almost all the games that have been mentioned earlier.

To get further ideas about what games you can have at your celebrations, you can visit your local toy stores and sports stores. Here you will be able to see all the different instruments used for playing a variety of games. You need to sift through as many as you like in order to choose those that are explicitly meant to be played and enjoyed indoors.