Dropshipping for Beginners: Using Amazon & Printful to Transform Services into Products
Episode 1512nd September 2022 • Women Conquer Business • Jen McFarland & Shelley Carney
00:00:00 00:32:50

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The Women Conquer Business show is an educational how-to

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women in business podcast.

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That features stories, marketing news and real life experiences

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from fun and friendly hosts.

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Jen McFarland and Shelley Carney.

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Join us as we dive into the details.

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So you can slay marketing overwhelm, streamline processes

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and amplify your impact.

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You'll learn strategies and tactics, leadership skills, and practical

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advice from successful women entrepreneurs to help you grow,

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nurture and sustain your business.

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Welcome to Women Conquer Business.

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My partner in crime, Shelley Carney is not here today.

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so today we are going to talk about dropshipping for beginners

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using Amazon and Printful and a few other services to transform.

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Your services, if you're a service based business into products, or

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if you're a product based business, we're gonna talk about some of those

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ways that you can lighten the load.

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Especially when you're in the beginning.

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Stages of developing a product dropshipping is a really great option

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and dropshipping can also be your entire online business model, depending on

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what it is that you're looking for.

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If you don't know what dropshipping is, it's basically selling

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physical products without having to worry about stocking them.

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No more garages filled with books, and t-shirts, we're gonna teach you

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the easiest ways you can transform your podcast, creative content or your

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online services into tangible physical products that you can sell online.

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We'll share our own experiences with Amazon Printful and

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other dropshipping platforms.

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That you can get started creating additional income today.

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I will say that because Shelley is recovering from

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surgery and isn't here today.

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She knows a lot more her and Toby know a ton more about

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Amazon and how all of that works.

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I will be sharing what I know and a few high level things.

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we'll go back and circle back a little more in depth on how to

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do Amazon from beginning to end.

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Okay.

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I still have a lot to offer on the Amazon side.

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So we'll get to that in a second.

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I wanted to also share with you that this is probably not gonna be as long

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of a show because usually when I have podcast shows that I do by myself,

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they tend to be a little bit shorter.

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So if you're used to a full hour, just know that this one is going to

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be a little bit shorter than that.

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How's everybody doing out there.

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How has your week been?

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My week has been awesome and I've had so much fun.

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At the beginning of the week.

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I was in Pendleton, Oregon with my mom and two of my aunts.

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I'm not much of a gambler.

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But they, we needed to get our family together.

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We needed to see each other.

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So we went to a casino in Pendleton and spent three days at the

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beginning of the week, having fun, catching up on everything.

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It was a really great time.

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If you haven't had time to do that, make sure that you reach out to your

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family and spend some time with them, spend some time catching up with them,

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get to know them again, especially with COVID, it's maybe not as prevalent as

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it's been earlier, find ways to be safe and to reconnect, get out of the house

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and find ways to reconnect with people.

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It's just so important.

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And I am filled with gratitude for having done that.

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It.

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A wonderful, lovely experience.

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I wouldn't say that Pendleton, Oregon is exactly a garden spot.

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at least not for me.

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But in that, there's just not a lot of things to do.

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Although if you're from Pendleton and have things that, we can be doing.

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Hit me up in the chat.

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Send me an email at hello@womenconquerbiz.com.

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Let me know about all the cool things there are to do in Pendleton.

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What I like about Pendleton is it reminds me of home.

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It's the plains, it's hay fields, all of that kind of thing.

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Very similar to Boise.

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So in terms of marketing, breaking news, we don't have any sound

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effects today because without Shelley here, , there's just no sound effects.

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so we're gonna have a little fun with our marketing breaking news today.

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I wanted to share with you that perhaps blue ribbon that's the beer.

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They just opened an eighties themed motel.

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I think this is super fun.

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And it gives an example of, people love Pabst blue ribbon.

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PBR is like really popular here probably because.

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Beer can be so expensive if you do craft beer.

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I think this is a great idea.

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They're just leaning into who they are as a brand, and they've created an

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80 themed hotel and you can go there.

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They have video games, they have PBR stuff everywhere.

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And I think that for us, a small business owners, when we see

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things like this, it gives us the opportunity to really think about.

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Who we are as a brand who it is that we are reaching out to who it is that we

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really connect with and what are some fun ways that we can engage with our people.

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Now, I'm not saying that you'll be able to build a hotel, but there

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are probably some other things that you can be doing that would be.

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Fun and awesome.

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And really explain to people exactly what it is and who

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you are and what you're doing.

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I'll give you an example.

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for my personal brand Women Conquer Business, I've started going through

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and I think the inspiration may be.

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Shelley and Toby going out and doing a travel show.

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Now they're going and traveling around New Mexico and doing a travel show.

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I think that might be part of it.

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And then I also have a client named Julie who also is doing a

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lot of personal stuff on social media and sharing a lot of images.

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So I've started going through old.

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Pictures that I've taken from this summer, from last week and from further back

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and just sharing pieces of that on my Instagram feed, I'm working on all of

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that now and writing about insights that I have or fun things that happened, or,

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just sharing little bits of yourself and that's how a personal brand could do it.

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I love that PBR is leaning into who they are.

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Like for me, I'm a little silly sometimes.

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So I'll probably include some pictures of things that are silly.

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As small business owners, we have to have a little bit of fun with it.

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We have to enjoy what it is that we're doing.

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And that's why I shared this today as marketing breaking news, is it

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really, breaking news that this big brand has something like a hotel.

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Not really, but it does show that there are other ways of doing

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marketing that can be fun and engaging.

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And I.

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Just encourage everybody out there to really start thinking more

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broadly about who it is that we are as business owners and how we can

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be connecting with our potential customers, our existing customers.

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I think in the case of the PBR motel, It's that they're connecting with

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existing customers and that feeling of nostalgia people have when they drink

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this beer, the feeling of, younger people who maybe weren't alive in the

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eighties and the eighties seem to be back.

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Now.

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I think I've seen parachute pants around Portland here.

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It's a little bit funny.

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Lean into who you are, do the best that you can to connect with people

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on a personal level, or maybe even in the way that they view you, find out

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how people see you in the marketplace and connect with them on that level.

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You're always gonna win with things like that.

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Just my 2 cents on that.

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And that is the end of da breaking news.

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so I know it's probably not funny to have my own music.

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So let's talk for just a little while about dropshipping.

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And this is called dropshipping for beginners.

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So if you are a super duper big time pro.

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You'll wanna skip ahead to another video, a different episode, but we

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are in our series about eCommerce.

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And this week we're gonna talk about dropshipping and the there's some

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confusion about what dropshipping is.

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It's very broad and you can do it in many different ways.

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So let's get started with our training today.

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So what is dropshipping?

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It is retail fulfillment, meaning products, physical products of some kind.

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So this could be a self-published book.

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This could be stickers.

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Books shirts.

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Some people I've helped have had other merchandise like water

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bottles, any, anything like that.

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So retail fulfillment, where your business doesn't have to keep the

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products sells in stock customers, order from you and someone else

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packages and ships it for you.

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And that's really the beauty of this.

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If you are a small business owner, you don't have to handle all of the logistics.

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There's a lot of logistics involved in product development.

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And then after that, how are we gonna make it all and then how are we gonna

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get it out the door in a timely fashion?

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So this can be a heavy lift for people if you want to do something extra.

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So if you're a product based business dropshipping is a

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good way to test things out.

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If you're a service based business dropshipping can

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mean that you can be selling.

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You don't have to worry about the logistics and you can continue to be

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doing your service based business.

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So like a podcaster, you can be selling merch without having to go and find

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out if you have the right size or not and go through a lot of hassle.

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How does dropshipping work?

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So this is from Shopify.

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There are a couple of different ways how dropshipping can work.

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So your customer places, an order from the store automatically sends the order.

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To your dropshipping supplier, the dropshipper prepares

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the order and sends it out.

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This is one methodology for how dropshipping works.

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So what this means is you have an eCommerce store.

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You have to have some sort of little techy bits out there.

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And we'll talk about that.

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That can be some of the complexity that will send your eCommerce order to Amazon.

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Printful, Printify, there's so many different dropshippers

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out there that you can have.

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It'll send the order there and then.

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You set up products in a place like Printful and it'll say, okay, do I

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have do we have this product in stock?

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Okay.

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Yes, we do.

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We ship the order and we send it out.

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That's philosophically, fundamentally how dropshipping works.

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There are a lot of benefits to dropshipping.

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It's cheaper for the business owner because you don't

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have any shipping logistics.

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Or costs involved.

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It's lower overhead.

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And typically things are filled on demand.

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So you're not having to buy a whole bunch of things and waiting to

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see if it's actually gonna sell.

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That's.

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One of the primary reasons why this is good.

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It's also location independent.

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So if you are working from home, you don't have to have things at your location.

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If you're a digital nomad, you can have a dropshipping, and this is all handled

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behind the scenes and you don't have to.

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It's really great for product testing.

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So if you have a book and you're not sure if it's gonna sell a lot, or if

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you have merchandise for your podcast or a community, and you wanna have

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things like t-shirts or different types of bonuses that you give

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people maybe wanna have a giveaway.

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You can test this out with dropshipping without having a

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lot of upfront costs or the time commitment of shipping things out.

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And it's relatively easy to start, especially if you are a little bit

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technical and a little bit about how to make these connections, because sometimes

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if you're not doing a direct connect to say Amazon, where you're like buy this

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from Amazon and you send them the link and they buy it directly from Amazon.

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If you have an online store and you want people to buy something and get

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the book from you physically, there's a little bit of technology in there.

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Unfortunately we haven't gotten to the point where we can just think,

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and have the product sent to us.

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Although that seems like it would be very intrusive to have something like that.

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So there are a few downsides to dropshipping.

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One, it can be much more expensive for consumers.

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So for example, if you are selling t-shirts or mugs or water bottles, right?

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Most of the prices on a place like Printful are retail price.

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So the t-shirts, you might be able to get them from a local print

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company for two, three bucks a shirt, or water bottles might be.

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Five or $10 on Printful and Printify and the like, They're

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pretty close to retail price.

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So that means the shirts.

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If you want a good quality shirt could be 12, $14, and then you have to mark

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it up from there, which means the other downside is tighter margins.

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You can't have a shirt that you're buying for two or $3,

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and then marking up to 15, $15.

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you might be paying 10 or $12 for a t-shirt and then the margins are.

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Two or $3 a shirt is what you're actually gonna get by the time the shipping

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and everything is done, unless you can charge, 30 or $40 for your design shirt.

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So the margins are much tighter, meaning you're not making as

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much per piece by doing it.

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Now, this is a little different than if you are, self-publishing a book.

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The margins are much higher for that, but there are some downsides to that in terms

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of marketing and getting the word out.

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And we'll talk about that in a minute, but if you're doing physical products and

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dropshipping it can be tighter margins.

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You also don't control the stock.

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So you may find that the t-shirt that you love that's for example, made in

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America has all of the great cotton and everything that it's out of stock,

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and they're never gonna have it again.

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So you don't have as much control over the stock.

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I work with a lot of local makers here in Portland, Oregon, and they

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really want local t-shirts from local makers made in Portland.

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That's really not an option with dropshipping by and large, if you

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wanna have something made locally.

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And it can be hard sometimes to find products that are made

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in the us through dropshippers.

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If that's an important component of your product and your offering and your brand.

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You also have limited customizations and brand personalizations.

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So if you use a local print company, they may be able to make

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custom labels, custom labeling.

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So I've worked with some clothing designers and some other people, and they

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want that custom label on the inside of the shirt, sweatshirt, things like that.

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You can do that.

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Somewhat through Printify and Printful and other companies, but it's limited.

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And it is somewhat limited on the brand packaging as well, but it will

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say that it's from your company.

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The other thing that happens with the limited customizations are it's.

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It costs extra.

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So if you wanted to have, if you have, if you're a podcaster and you

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wanna put, wanna send shirts out, you don't want, and you wanna use

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Printful or something like that.

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You'll have to pay extra.

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If you want to have a note in there, that's personally designed

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that you're also sending in there.

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So things like blow ins, like that's what it's called.

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When you like blow in a flyer in the middle of a newspaper, you can do

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that with your dropshipped items.

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You'll have limited customizations on that and it will cost a little bit more.

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And it can be a more technical upfront setup.

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So for example, and these things change all the time.

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You might have, a squarespace or shop or Shopify website, or maybe

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you're using Wix or something else.

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And sometimes you need an intermediary to connect to that third party that

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Printful or something like that.

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Now those have gotten for Printful in particular has gotten.

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Tighter, you can have a Squarespace website, it talks directly to

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Printful and it'll send it out.

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But sometimes you need an intermediary, like a ship station is the name of a

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really common one where the order comes in ship station, then communicates

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with Printify or whoever it is.

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And then it goes on their way.

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And that can be a little bit more technical if you're not really accustomed

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to doing things like integrations, if you haven't set up a ton of

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integrations, it can be tough to do that.

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But then the upside is once it's set up, it's just set up.

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So that's some of the.

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Pluses and minuses around how to do dropshipping.

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So to be clear, they handle printing packaging and shipping.

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You handle the design, the product selection hooking up your

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store and then the marketing.

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And I will say that in terms of dropshipping, it is often the marketing.

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That can be the hardest part.

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Getting your products out there so that people know about it.

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You're taking on all of the, getting the word out yourself, which even if you had

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the products in your garage, you would probably be taking care of it as well.

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But it's the part of it.

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That is a bigger deal.

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You don't want, even though the margins are tighter and you've got the design,

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you may be paid for that design and you want, you need to sell a certain

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amount to break even, or if you're using.

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A square space or a Shopify website.

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You have a monthly fee that you're paying for these websites.

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Plus your marketing costs to get things out.

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These are all concerns that you need to have, whether you have a service

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based business or an online businesses, what are all of the costs going to

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be before I engage in this kind of.

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Product or business design.

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So just be aware of some of the different costs that are out there,

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some of the different things that you're handling versus what the company that

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you are dropshipping with is handling.

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So let's say you have a product there's also a hybrid solution, right?

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So if you've ordered products from Amazon and there's, I

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can't think of a lot of people.

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I know who haven't, at least at one point.

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Handled or bought something from Amazon.

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There's another option and that's fulfillment by Amazon.

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And I think other people besides Amazon handle this, it's

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just an easy example to give.

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So in this case, and you can do this.

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If you have other products as well, you have a third party who is

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housing and storing the products.

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So this takes you out of having things in the garage and then.

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Puts the responsibility of the logistics on somebody else.

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So an example would be hybrid.

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You make the product or you buy the product.

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So if you say had a deal where you could buy, t-shirts cheaper,

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you don't wanna go with Printify.

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You can buy a whole bunch of products, ship them to Amazon or

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some other warehousing company they'll store the products.

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People can still buy them from you.

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And then Amazon handles all the logistics of receiving the order, con confirming

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the order and getting it out the door.

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That's another way of doing it.

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There are other companies out there that handle this kind of fulfillment.

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So that is another option.

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If you're like I don't like those tight margins that I would get from a

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Printful here's another way of doing.

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Probably most people who are listening to this show are like, I

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don't really have physical products.

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I wanna hear about how do I self-publish and whether this is on

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Amazon, which Shelley and Toby are on.

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For me, I'm on audible and Google play.

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I do auto audio products.

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and there's some really cool things about self-publishing and there are a

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couple of downsides on there as well.

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So the logistics of, writing and creating a book, I don't know as

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much about, but I have researched as somebody who's always wanted to

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write a book and let's be honest.

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How many of us haven't wanted to write a book at some point?

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I think most people do Shelley and Toby have a lot of videos.

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I'll make sure to link to them.

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In the show notes, and I'll also link to them in the video.

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We'll put a link up here so that you can get to them where they teach people

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exactly how to go from a live stream, to a book and selling it on Amazon.

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That's like their bread and butter.

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I'm not gonna impede or infringe on that, but I will talk about

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some of the differences between self-publishing and going through

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a print house because I have.

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Looked at a few different places.

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I have thought about some hybrid printers.

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So when you go through a typical print house, you may or may not know this.

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You don't retain the intellectual property rights, not always.

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So if you went to Ingram or random house, you're giving up a lot of

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your intellectual property rights.

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If you self-publish, you're maintaining your intellectual

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property rights and you're gonna get a lot more of the sales revenue.

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You could get like 20 to a hundred percent depending on how you're doing it.

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Whereas with a traditional print house publisher, they're

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gonna take a lot off the top.

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because there you are giving them the rights to it so that they can.

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Market it, sell it, get it on bookshelves, all of that.

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So what they do then is they take a lot off the top and you may only get, 7% off

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of every sale or something like that.

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Now that can be a pretty significant amount.

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If you sell a ton, if you have books or novels that are just hit the

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marketplace and they're super popular.

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but for most of us who are selling business based books, and we're

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trying to get the word out and let people know about what it is that

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we're doing, we may or may not.

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be willing to give up 93% of our revenues to a big publishing house.

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So your sales revenue will go up.

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Between, you'll get 20 to a hundred percent of your sales revenue

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by self-publishing, but you're also responsible for the editing

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design printing and formatting.

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And again, that's what Shelley and Toby know a ton about compared to me.

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, I don't know as much about that.

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But you don't have to buy a bunch of your books upfront.

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Now part of your marketing plan should be to buy some books and.

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Have giveaways or sell to people, anything like that.

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I think you can buy at a discounted rate and then do some things to

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get your books out there, but you're not required to do that.

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There's no minimum purchase requirements for that, but you are responsible for

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all of the marketing and distribution.

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And this can be a heavy lift.

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This can be really tough because there are a ton of self-published books out there.

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And it's the same thing if you're doing dropshipping in general.

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So it may be difficult to get hard copies in stores, but the bonus is you write it,

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Amazon or apple, they ship it to people.

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They create it.

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And there are a few different ways of doing it at different publishers.

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You can go Got a couple of things here, there's Kindle direct publishing.

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Amazon has a fair amount of information out there which may or may not be helpful.

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it depends on how well you speak Amazon ease.

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it's like a whole separate language.

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I think sometimes when you start interfacing with Google and Amazon,

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they expect you to understand their language, but they do have a lot

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of information available on their websites that really explain things.

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Titling and keywords and categories.

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It is somewhat technical, but you can really get some traction

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with a self-published book.

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Be sure to look into it because it can be really beneficial

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to you and your business.

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You just have to put the time in and do it.

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Shelley and Toby have done it with directly.

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They'll go from a Google doc to getting it up on Amazon.

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I don't have that experience.

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I, when I do my audio books, I use something called publish drive.

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It helps me to get the formatting.

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So it's exactly done because the audio files can be a little bit more difficult.

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We have a couple of self-publishing examples here again, Shelley and

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Toby have done a ton of that.

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So here are a couple of screenshots of what their books look like.

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Up on Amazon, we'll put links to their books so you can well buy them.

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And then also look at what that set up looks like earlier

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this week, I set up my own.

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Author page on Amazon.

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So you wanna have things.

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If you look here, you can see their pictures are here.

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They have little bios on a, on Amazon.

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These are really great ways to get traction with your marketing because

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you are putting another, your.

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Business name, your name, everything on Amazon, where a lot of people

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go and it can really help you in terms of discoverability

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to have an author page there.

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So here are a couple of ex of examples of what self-published book looks like.

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And then I do, like I said, I do audio.

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So I have a book right now up on audible.

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And you can see that over here on the right hand side, find the right

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marketing tools for your small business.

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It's on audible.

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It's on Google play.

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It's a good opportunity to have your name out there.

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and have, a little bit about yourself and about the book.

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Out in the wild right now, I can't speak to how Shelley and Toby are doing

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with their distribution of their books.

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But I will say that for my book.

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that it's been a, it's been difficult sometimes to get the word out.

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It's been difficult to tell people about how all of this works because.

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I have a whole business out there that are doing all different kinds of things.

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So you want to be really aware of how this fits into your business as a whole.

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So when you are marketing physical products and your primary product is

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a service based business, an online business, you have to think about how

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this really fits into your business as a whole and how you're gonna market it.

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and that my friends is the end of our training today.

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Thank you.

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Does anybody have any questions?

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If you have any questions, you can put them in the chat, of

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course, or you can also email at hello@womenconqueribz.com and Shelley.

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And I can address all of those questions at a later show.

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If you are interested or if you enjoy these types of trainings I highly

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encourage you to either download this marketing self-assessment so that you can

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get into onto my email list and that will help you get weekly trainings on marketing

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and how to market your small business.

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I would also suggest that if you need help with creating content, getting

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your content out into the wild, if you want some support for creating

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content and you are in the 50 or over crowd, I would like to suggest that

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you also join Shelley's free community.

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It is here at group.agkmedia.studio, and that is their free group where you can go

Jen:

and get support around creating content.

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So let's move on to tweaks of the week.

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I am gonna share my screen again.

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So this week's tweak of the week.

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I discovered this.

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It's interesting.

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I'm in a few different groups.

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When I have been on other people's podcasts, I have met two to three

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different people who have used Hindenberg as their podcast recording software.

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And they swear by it.

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They absolutely love it.

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And that's.

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What we're talking about today is Hindenberg they have a perpetual

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license, meaning you can download it.

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You only pay for it one time.

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And then they also have a monthly license as well.

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The thing about Hindenberg that I discovered this week, that's so

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intriguing is that they have this new product called Hindenberg Narrator.

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And if you are really gonna get into dropshipping and doing your own.

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Books.

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And you wanna do an audio book?

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Hindenberg Narrator is so cool.

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for that.

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I've never used it, but I just look at it and I it's.

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It's really awesome.

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So what it will do is.

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You can upload your script into Hindenberg and it helps you track and

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follow along with your with your script.

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So you can be recording and creating that structure for your

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audio book inside the recording.

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You know exactly.

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How is tracking what it is that you need to do.

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And then it will do all of the auto levels and export it and get it to Amazon.

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This is a really great feature.

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I think if you are, trying to do an audio book for the first time,

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and maybe you don't have a ton of experience with getting your.

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With recording audio in the first place, because not everybody who does

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an audio book starts off as a podcaster or a broadcaster in any sort of way.

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So if you don't have experience with.

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This might be a good option for you.

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And if you need a way to get those levels done automatically, it's a great thing.

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It's also good.

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If you wanna just maybe not record everything all at once, or if you need

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some help with the structure, I can tell you that when I put together an audio

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book and I went even with PublishDrive and I went to publish it and get

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everything done, I had some issues with.

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Creating the right structure, getting it out there.

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So something like this, would've been really helpful

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to me to get everything done.

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And then honestly, the audio levels are way different.

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If you listen to your audio before you send it off to Amazon, And

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it's done for an audio book.

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It is.

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It doesn't sound very good.

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And yet when you go and buy audible, they sound good.

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So this is all handled for you in Hindenberg.

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And I would highly suggest if you're gonna get into that

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that is a good option for you.

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Like many Like many other audio programs out there.

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They will also send your podcast.

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If you wanna get into podcasting, they will also send your podcast directly to

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to whoever it is that's publishing it.

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I, thanks Shelley.

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Hey Shelley.

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Thanks for thanks for being here today.

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So yeah, Hindenberg is a great idea.

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I agree with you, Shelley.

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So that is our tweak of the week.

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I can't believe I've talked for a half an hour.

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This is so crazy.

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I've never done that before on my own.

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so we're gonna wrap up the show today with a little inspirational nugget.

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I hinted at it at the beginning, but it's really important to recognize that.

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Time is short and we are not going to be here forever.

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In fact, my dad would often say, nobody gets outta here alive.

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And unfortunately, that's true.

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And so what we need to do is find ways that we can connect with other people.

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And I know that with COVID, we have.

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Become accustomed to being inside of our homes or maybe not being as

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social, but even this morning, I was listening to a news story about

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how this lack of connection, this lack of physical touch, the lack of

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socialization that we've experienced over these past two and a half years,

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two years, it has caused a lot of people.

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To physically change and to not be as well.

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And it's causing some societal changes as well.

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So we need to find all of the ways that we can to connect with other people,

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to let people know that we love them to spend as much time with others as we can

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to really assess our values and make sure that our values and what we're doing every

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single day are aligned with who we want to be and where we want to be in the.

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And so for all of you watching your listening I hope that you have

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time with the people that you love, that you're spending time giving

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people a hug and letting them know how important they are to you.

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So have a really great week, everybody.

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And between you and me, we'll see how big of a disaster this Close out is.

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Thanks, Shelley.

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I love and appreciate you too, Shelley.

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Everybody have a great week.

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Thank you for joining the Women Conquer Business podcast, hosted by

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Shelley Carney and Jen McFarland.

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Please subscribe and leave a comment or question regarding your most challenging

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content creation or business problem.

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Then share this podcast with family and friends so they can find the

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support they need to expand their brand and share their message with the.

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Check the show notes for links to valuable resources and come back again next week.