Selling Less Of More

John Alquist

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In the 20th Century, most people had to have a job. They couldn’t live without one.

But in the 21st Century, jobs have become totally unreliable. Americans have to learn to live without them-becoming self-employed instead.

Employees, even with long tenure, have no job security whatsoever. And while many companies retain employees, they chop salaries, wages and benefits.

BusinessWeek” (September 14, 2006 edition) reports that Northwest Airlines recently slashed payrolls and fired many, publishing an insensitive employee publication, “101 Ways To Save Money. ”

Five of the “Ways” most offensive to employees were:

1. Replace 100 watt light bulbs with 60 watt bulbs.

2. Get hand me down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.

3. Take shorter showers.

4. Make your own baby food.

5. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.

Although most employers don’t write such nasty publications, unspoken disdain toward employees is not conducive to long term job security and worker satisfaction.

The alternative is self-employment, your path to long term financial freedom-something no employer provides.

In “Class Matters, ” a book written by a team of correspondants of “The New York Times, ” the authors say that if you think you can move from job to job, think again.

Today’s job market is not favorable for seekers without a four year college degree.

Long term, a college degree is an admission ticket into the better-paying part of the job market, much like the union card was 30 to 40 years ago.

Without a college degree, you’ll spend years and years at the bottom financial ladder of the job market.

You may live a rootless life, moving from place to place looking in vain for meaningful and rewarding work.

These days, if you take a new job, on average you'll be out on the street in an average of four years as the job vanishes.

And at the end of your working days, you could be too poor to retire but too old to keep working.

Let’s look at the future, specifically from “The Long Tail: Why The Future Of The Business Is Selling Less of More, ” a book by Chris Anderson, Editor-In-Chief of “Wired Magazine. ”

Before the Industrial Revolution of the 20th Century, most culture and commerce were local-foods, employers, and dialects, as examples.

Toward the end of the Industrial Revolution, 1980 specifically, author Alvin Toffler predicted the “de-massifying” of society in the areas of production, consumption, distribution, media, recreation and entertainment.

Toffler was right. In the middle 1990’s, the Internet came on the scene, making extensive “de-massifying” possible.

One challenge of traditional retailing was to find a local audience big enough to make money.

Anderson’s book mentions a small town movie theater. The owner had to fill 150 seats to make a profit on each showing. But he had an extremely limited number of local people, making it very difficult to earn a profit.

But with the 21st Century’s “online distribution and retailing, we are entering a world of abundance. The differences are profound, ” Anderson says.

Moreover, Anderson continues, with online buying and selling, “centralized inventory is more effficient than putting products on store shelves. Online buying lets customers do the work (ordering). ”

Online selling offers customers more choices-not just a few high demand products, but instead offering many more narrowly-targeted goods.

Online selling dramatically drops the cost of each customer, providing more profit to the seller.

This is Anderson’s “selling less of more” concept.

Here’s an example of “selling less than more" in the book business. Major book retailers carry approximately 175,000 titles each in their inventories. A large amount of book sales come from these large urban bookstores.

Yet there are millions of titles-not just 175,000-and millions of people living outside of large urban areas too far away from a major bookstore. was the first to take advantage of this opportunity, and it made Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos an Internet billionaire in less than seven years.

This group of diffuse, non-urban, book-buying bibliophiles is an example of what author Chris Anderson refers to as the “Long Tail. ”

On a graph, imagine an L-shaped curve on the left side of a page. The vertical area part of the curve represents product sales through traditional means. The long horizonal part of the curve, the “Long Tail, represents sales via non-traditional means.

Anderson says that “there is a market trend away from a smaller number of mainstream products to a larger number of niches and niche products-aided by digital distribution, search technology, mass broadband penetration, offering a massive expansion in the variety of products. ”

Technophobes, take note. He's right.

Not only are products becoming de-massed and more niched, but so, too, are advertising media and entertainment.

When consumers are free to choose more options, a smaller seller can get a disproportionately larger amount, even if nobody works toward that outcome.

If you’re self-employed, selling into the “Yellow Tail, " no ex-employer will ask you to survive by diving into a dumpster to find “something you like” for your family or tell you to hustle hand-me-down clothes and toys from family and friends.

Sell with total abandon into the 21st Century “world of abundance" available in the horizontal “Long Tail. "

By being self-employed and selling in the “Long Tail” online, you’ll learn why Anderson was right to say, “the future of business is selling less than more. ”

Recently, we heard a professional speaker explain how he makes money online selling his products. He has a separate website name (URL) for each of 130 of his products-and promotes heavily on the Internet.

Imagine yourself making money from home selling numerous products online.

John J. Alquist owns and operates Alquist Enterprises. John is a a professional speaker, writer/author and business consultant. Contact John at or visit him online at .


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