5 Lessons I Learned While Buying and Selling Sports Cards

side hustle lessons learned

In a previous post, I shared my passion hobby. Buying and selling sports cards serves as my primary money making side hustle.

I started collecting sports cards back in the 90s thanks to my dad. I then went in and out of the hobby until I went to college. I took out student loans to fund my entire Big 10 education.

What do you get when you take out student loans and you are a money moron? You get me.

I took some of the student loans and started getting back to sports cards. I am paying for that mistake to this day.

From 2000-2010, I was in and out of the hobby. Different interests distracted me during that time. Fast forward to now and I have been taking this hobby more seriously as a money making side hustle.

Along the way, I have learned some important lessons to share.

5 lessons I learned from my sports cards side hustle

  1. Stay humble – I have had countless conversations the past year in which I was humbled. The amazing thing is that the majority of these conversations have been with 18-21 year olds who are saving or funding their college education through buying and selling sports cards. Do not be your typical veteran dealer who is not open to learning something new.
  2. Be open minded – I have learned so much as a collector and as a dealer. You never know when the opportunity will strike. A casual conversation can turn into a networking opportunity, which builds into a business relationship.
  3. Network and build relationships – In this hobby, networking and making connections is extremely important. Otherwise, you will be stuck with eBay in which you pay 10% of final fees. When you network and and build relationships, you will start to create outlets for inventory you want to move quickly as well as inventory you want to acquire to flip.
  4. Have your finances in order – Although I should be paying off my student loan debt with the inventory I have rather than putting that money back into the hobby, I have never felt pressure to HAVE to sell in order to make ends meet. I think I am fortunate to be in this position. There are too many times in which the seller including dealers need to churn and burn inventory sometimes at a loss in order to pay bills and debt. When it comes to this hobby, you can certainly scale yourself, but in many cases, the opportunity to make money really comes when you have capital. I can buy individual cards from a seller as part of a “small” $500 collection with a 15% profit margin or that same seller will sell his $10,000 collection with a 35% profit margin because of the bulk deal. I prefer the latter.
  5. Learn to listen and negotiate – listening and compromising is part of any business relationship. I have practiced and hones my negotiation skills, which is how I have been able to get deals to increase my profit margins. Negotiating is one of the biggest opportunities to improve and this applies to hobbies and your full time job.
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