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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bonanzle and Ebay as Spiritual Teachers

Zen Masters, Dolphins, Wise Elders, and Tomatoes. Its a blog post that I wrote recently about finding wisdom in unexpected places. Like a tomato garden... and upon further reflection, an e-commerce venue or two.

Tomorrow marks my one year anniversary selling on Bonanzle. I arrived on the shores of Bonanzle with a boatload of other refugees from ebay, huddled masses seeking a new marketplace in which to set up our shops. Bonanzle whispered to us...

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

On February 1, I posted the following blog entry:

"As many of you know, I have a new storefront on Bonanzle.com
Bonanzle is a brand new e-commerce and social marketing site that reached a million listings in 6 months, and was recently voted the best ebay alternative according to Examiner.com. It's a grassroots effort, championed by a growing base of forward-thinking veteran sellers, who share a community-centric, cooperative spirit. Management is responsive, accountable, hands-on, and creative. There's team spirit at Bonanzle, a refreshing change for sellers migrating from ebay who have felt that they had become more like spectators watching their on-line marketplace storefronts being managed more and more by the venue and less and less by themselves. While Bonanzle expects business owners manage their own businesses, they simply provide the venue, albeit a venue that listens, really listens, to the wants and needs of the sellers who are setting up shop there."

I went on to announce a line of Bonanzle bath and body products I had developed to fund-raise for the fledgling site, giving 20% of the sales to the venue on top of the $24 voluntary monthly membership fee I happily paid for the privilege. (You can read it in its entirety if you are so inclined, here.) It was an exciting time, everyone had their sleeves rolled up, generosity in all of its magnificent forms flowed freely! And, of course Bonanzle flourished!

Bonanzle has really grown in the past year, with now over 2 million listings on its books! Many features have been added and tweaked for the better, and yet some key elements are still left wanting creating real barriers to sales. There are a lot of bells and whistles to play with, and the new syndicated selling and affiliate programs promise to drive traffic to the site. Although I no longer keep a memebership there, and so I no longer sell BonanzleSudzle, I maintain a storefront at Bonanzle, and I do believe that the venue has the potential to take off. In my heart of hearts, I hope the huddled masses will find the promised land.

All in all, my experience at Bonanzle has been extremely positive: I have made great –lifelong– friends through the forums and I have learned e-commerce marketing skills that are transferable to my own website and beyond. I have witnessed the beautiful spirit of community and cooperation soar to the stars! And, although there have been some ugly moments that left me scratching my head, all in all it has been a wonderful learning curve and a fertile field for personal growth. And so, this Sunday morning I raise a Mimosa to my fellow Bonanzlers, in gratitude and celebration!


It is my regular Sunday morning habit to write, so I took a moment of reflection and focused on the past year and my adventures in e-commerce. I'll call it my Bonanzle Awakening as it was the event of my journey beyond ebay and my anniversary there that has inspired me. I think it's a celebration of personal growth that can be translated beyond its application to my e-commerce businesses and marketing plans. And so I'll share...

Awakening... at some point you realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for fulfillment, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You affirm that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen. You focus and get going!

You awaken to the fact that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say. You decide to be true to your truth and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You remember that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is powerful joy in creating and contributing. You stand firm in your conviction that principles such as honesty and integrity are not outdated ideals but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your business, and life.

You humble yourself to the truth that you don't know everything; that it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

And, then you learn about love.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn about trust.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. You take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful.

In my Awakening I vow to take responsibility for myself, and I make myself a promise to never betray myself and to never ever settle for less than my heart's desire. I promise to keep my chin up, boobies out, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

I am thankful.

May you be blessed!


  1. Happy One Year Anniversary Oshun. It has been an honor and a pleasure to get to know you during this past year. May your successes be plentiful. Mary & Russ

  2. Susan,

    Happy Anniversary! Just getting an opportunity to catch up on all my blog reading and wanted to say Thank you for this post -- hard for some to understand but I do -- not to be corny but it's like you were writing for me. Right now I'm giggling so hard over your promise... I haven't heard that since I was 18 when I lost my Mom -- she used to say that to me anytime I showed doubt in myself... "Chin Up! Shoulders Back. Boobies Out! Now march! LOL

    If you don't mind I'll adopt that promise as well, for myself "promise to keep my chin up, boobies out, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility."

    To The Sisterhood of Possibilities!