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When politics complicate common sense we can still have a better retirement when we use simplicity. 

Ecuadorian roses are among the best in the world.  Roberto Ribadeneira, head of our Ateam Ecuador and Ecuadorshop.net is looking at simple approaches to complex change.   His business is exporting Ecuador roses.


Ecuador roses.

This may be a time of extra opportunity in exports as Ecuador and US trade relations are strained.  Yesterday, Ecuador withdrew from the The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).   This may knock some competitors out of the Ecuador export trade.  Roberto shares his plan in this article he has titled…  “Plan B”.

Plan B by Roberto Ribadeneira.

If you are planning or have a business is always a great idea to plan, because when it comes to politics, we just never know.

That is why I started to get permits, brokers, bonds and a USA company a long time ago. We knew for a while now that there was a good chance that the ATPDEA agreement that the USA had toward Ecuador, was not going to be renewed.

The main reason was not that our governments had issues, but that after Colombia and Peru signed a Free Trade Agreement with the USA, Ecuador was the only country left under ATPDEA.

For a while now the USA sent signals that the ATPDEA – that was scheduled to expire by the end of July 2013 – was not going to be renewed. Even with this Ecuador pushed hard to get people to sign and support the program, even many delegations went to the USA on several occasions to press for that.

But now Ecuador has decided that it will withdraw from ATPDEA due to concerns that the USA will press the country to take a direction that the Ecuadorian government may not want.

“The roots of this program began in 1991 to combat drug trafficking in the Andean countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Members receive trade benefits for helping fight drug production.   This has provided duty-free access to U.S. markets for approximately 5,600 products.”

“Though Ecuador is making a big fuss about this, the withdrawal is more noise than effect since ATPDEA was scheduled to expire on July 31, 2013.”

The head of the Economic and Commercial Section of the Embassy of the United States, Nicole Weber, had stated about a week ago that renewal was unlikely, but said that “regardless of what happens to the ATPDEA, the views of the U.S. government is that we would like to have more open trade with Ecuador.”

Is it that bad?

When it comes to politics it all depends. It will affect different products in different ways. Roses and fresh cut flowers will have to pay taxes; the range starts for roses a little under 7%.

For very expensive roses, the ones that are over 70 cm tall, the price is around $0.70 cents a rose, before freight and other costs, but for tax purposes that is the amount that we should take into account. The tax on that particular rose is $0.05 cents a rose. Of course when we talk about volume it will affect our margins, but we will still be in business if we assume part of the cost and the customer another part.

The point being is that even when taxes will take place because of political decisions – that I don’t agree with – we already knew that something like that may happen, and some of us had a Plan B.

It is a requirement to be a registered importer in the USA in order to get flowers, since the ATPDEA agreement was not due to expire for another month, some people will find that they can’t get flowers to the USA because they don’t have that document. We had that document for a while now and are using it, so even when this decision came as a surprise, we were prepared.

The news media tends to overreact and make things appear worst than what they actually are. What I try to say is that we can’t get discouraged by everything that happens in politics, nor it should impact dramatically on what we do.

My strategy was to move away from customers that are price sensitive, such as Flower Shops and Wedding Planners – just stay with the ones that are high-end and are good friends – and move to what I call “final customers” or people that receive roses at their workplace, houses or other, that get flowers directly from the source.

Ecuador may have lost the benefit of not paying taxes on certain products and that will affect somehow the flower business as a whole. But the distinct characteristic of our roses, with what we believe is a great service and the commitment to make a difference, will always make our product appealing.

So now more than ever we will focus on great quality and an outstanding service. This is not the only problem that we will face, but due to our close relationship with the USA and to the fact that politicians come and go, our business will continue moving forward.

Plan Bee

As the world becomes more complex we need our retirements to be more simple.

As business becomes bigger and more scientific… the innovations in our business need to be smaller and more natural.

With a purpose driven retirement career we can change the world with small, simple innovations. 

Here is another “Plan Bee” as an example.  Colony Collapse Disorder is a huge economic problem. Without bees agriculture is in incredible danger.

A San Francisco Chronicle article entitled “Serge Labesque builds a better beehive” by Meredith May shows how one bee keeper has used innovation to help solve a huge problem that science has missed.

Here is an excerpt: Since the Civil War era, most beekeepers, we at The Chronicle included, keep bees in stacked wooden boxes called Langstroth hives.

Little has changed to the painted white hive design. But ever since we put two beehives on the roof of the Chronicle Building in 2011, we have been hearing whispers in the beekeeping community about a Sonoma County beekeeper with Yoda-like status named Serge Labesque who is making a better beehive.

“When I started keeping bees in the late ’90s, I realized that the standard equipment is really terrible for bees,” said Labesque, in his soft-spoken French accent. He keeps about 60 hives, most at the family-run Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen.

“We manipulate the species without realizing it’s a wild species, and we are mishandling it,” he said. “We need to be stewards and provide nest cavities that keep it wild.”

His first brush with beekeeping came in the late ’90s, when a neighbor wanted to get rid of his hive and asked Labesque if he might want it.

“I fell in love immediately,” Labesque said.

Probably the most unconventional aspect of a Labesque hive is what he does with the frames inside.  He violates “bee space,” Langstroth’s central tenet that the frames must be placed a certain width apart to guide orderly comb making.

Labesque mills his own wood for his 10-frame hives. But he doesn’t put 10 frames inside them. He uses eight, or seven, or six, or whatever he feels the bees need. Because bees like to build comb vertically – think tree again – Labesque fills the center of each hive box with a smaller number of frames, then uses solid placeholders, called follower boards, as bookends around the frames of comb. He bunches everything together in the center of the box, leaving several-inch gaps between the frames and the walls of the hive.

No colony collapse

Colony collapse does not knock on Labesque’s door. He’s never come to the bee yard and discovered that one of his colonies has mysteriously disappeared. Some of the hives are weaker than others, and like all beekeepers he has battles with mites. But when a hive is weakening, he doesn’t do what many beekeepers do and try to save it by swapping in new frames of brood from a more robust hive.

“If we regenerate failing colonies, we are passing on bad genetic traits, and weakening the entire species,” he said.

Labesque says his changes to the Langstroth hive are just design tricks. He doesn’t want new beekeepers to get so caught up in the gadgetry that they miss the overall message – pay attention to your bees so you understand what they need for their particular environment, and how to provide it with minimal intrusion.

“Bees are wonderful animals because they live without preying on anybody,” he said. “They are not even part of the food chain. They go out there and take nectar, pollen, water and propolis, stuff that would go to waste, and give it back to us as gifts. They save us, because 80 percent of plants you see require their pollination.

“We just need to stay out of their way.”

Bee better! Have a simple yet rich and rewarding retirement doing something that is important to you and creates a profit.

There are so any ways to have a better retirement through writing to sell.

Writer’s Camps – Recorded on MP3

Learn how to learn how to wrote and self publish from our recorded Writer’s Camp…

Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 


Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

gary scott

Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the place I have lived.  Everywhere I have been… too numerous to share here, I have been able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from writing.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on Amazon.com.  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Sometimes Hugh and I get together at my  farm and play chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like High are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

You can receive both the written course and the recorded weekend seminar, in an MP3 file, in a special “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program I am making available to you.  The normal fee is $299 for the written course and $299 for the recorded workshop.   I’ll send you both the course and the recorded workshop and my course “International Business Made EZ (also $299) all for $299.  You save $598.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .

These courses are not theoretical.  They describe, step-by-step, how Merri and I built a million-dollar international business and how we are running this self publishing business right now.   We use the 7Ps today just as we did four decades ago to create a strong annual income.

This correspondence course is for those who would like their own international self publishing micro business for fun and profit. If you want fun, freedom, extra income and fulfillment with your own full or part time writing or want to build your existing business, by writing to sell you can profit from this course.  The course can help who want their own business or who want to have a business together or a family business.  This is the perfect course for those who can no longer find employment, who are looking for ways to earn abroad and who wish to retire and supplement their income.

Whether you are retired, an investor, chiropractor, doctor, dentist, professional or already own your own business, this offers another way to make money, to turn your passion into profit. We guarantee that we have shared all we know to help you start and run your own international business.  Enjoy and live a life of following your Passion to Profit… through writing.

Here is a special offer. 

We provide two emailed courses  “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell and be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ”.

We include the “Self Fulfilled Writing and Self Publishing Course” because there are two reasons to write, when you have something to say or when you have something to sell.  In this day and age many of us want to do both, make a statement that makes the world a better place and earn something extra in the process. 

Whatever your passion, however you do business, chances are you’ll be writing either to create a product or to sell a product. 

You save more than $598 because you also receive a recorded webinar conducted by our webmaster David Cross (at no extra cost).

David-cross-images tags:"2012-4-20"

David Cross

David has been our webmaster since our website began in the 1990s.  He is Merri’s and my business partner. We could not run our business as we do without him.

Learn the tactics we use in our web business that condenses 27 years of practical experience about search engine optimization, and writing for search engines.

For the last 27 years David has worked with companies large and small – IBM, Agora Publishing, AstraZeneca and many small business owners.  He has worked in 22 countries, and lived in six of them.

David’s clients span the globe and represent companies and charities both large and small.  From corporate giants to small, one-woman businesses and everything from finance, healthcare, publishing, technology, real estate, veterinarians, alternative health centers and everything in between.

David is an essential part of our web based business.

Myles Norin, CEO of Agora, Inc.  wrote:  “I have found David’s knowledge and experience unmatched in the industry.  Without David’s expertise and guidance for the past 7 years, we would not be nearly as successful as we are.”

As Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore, MD, he worked closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers and – over a 7-year period – helped to propel Agora’s online revenues from around $20 million to well over $300 million.

David’s webinar will help you gain benefits in your micro business that large internet marketing companies use.  In this practical recorded workshop you will learn valuable skills to help your micro business.

There has never been a time when the opportunity for small businesses abroad has been so outstanding.  Expand your borders now!  Increase your economic security freedom, independence and success.

If you are not fully satisfied that this offers you enormous value simply email us for a full refund within 60 days.  You can keep all three courses as our thanks for giving our courses a try.

You also receive a report  “How to use Relaxed Concentration to Brainstorm Business Ideas” and a recorded workshop “How to Become and Remain Rich With Relaxed Concentration” at no additional cost.

Plus you get more in the program.

You receive regular writing and self publishing updates for a year.  Businesses usually need to evolve.  Merri and I continue to publish and have our independent businesses.  Some basics have remained for decades, but new strategies occur all the time throughout the year.  We’ll be sending along updates that share our most recent experiences as we learn and continue to grow our international micro business from Smalltown USA.

My special offer to you in this “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”, is that you receive:

  • “International Business Made EZ” course
  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
  • Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
  • The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3,
  • MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
  • Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within the first three months for a full refund . 

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a quarter of update lessons $79.   Click Here.

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a full year of update lessons $299.  Click Here.      

See success stories from Self Publishers and a few who have attended the “Writer’s Camp” that you will receive on MP3.


Read Serge Labesque builds a better beehive