Back In The Card Game

Monday April 27th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI

Usually I’m either hosting the showcase or teaching a class or both at Zanies in Chicago on Monday nights but tonight it was neither. I like hosting those shows and I like teaching too but it felt good to take a little break. I have no shortage of things to keep me occupied.

I’m trying to be smart and set myself up for the future by making good decisions now. It has boiled down to a constant issue of trying to manage my time and make the best use of every day. There’s just too much I want to do and not enough time to do it. It’s frustrating but it’s also reality so I have to pick and choose carefully what I allow myself to focus on.

Sports cards have been a notorious distraction for me but I still love them. I always have and I probably always will so I’ve decided to allow them into my life but will use them to help me where I really need it. The trick is making them profitable and productive for me.

There’s a guy in Milwaukee who used to have a card shop at one time and still sets up at shows who mentioned he wanted to sell out and move on. He’s a nice guy and we have talked about making a deal for a while now but haven’t done it because we’re both busy.

He wants to get out of it because he works a third shift job and the hours are killing him to have to be up early to set up at the card shows and the time had passed. The deal was a fair one for both parties and I didn’t think his price was outrageous but it was a hefty little chunk to be doling out for cardboard pictures of steroid users. Still, it was an opportunity.

The guy called me today and asked if I wanted to still do the deal. I thought about it and decided I wanted to do it so I went to my bank and drew out my emergency savings that is reserved for dental emergencies or a car breakdown and drove up to Milwaukee to get it.

My gut feeling told me to do this deal and I always try to listen to that little inner voice. In theory now is not the time for me to be doing this but when I got his call I had the inner feeling that said to do it so I did. I got to his house and gave him the money and we had a deal in a few minutes. He helped me load my car and I wondered why I said yes to this.

My friend Richard Caan lives in Milwaukee and he’s a full time card dealer. He sells on Ebay and has been doing it for about ten years. He’s always been very generous with what he knows and said if I wanted to learn about Ebay or sales tricks he’d be glad to help me.

I called Rich and told him what I’d done and he invited me over to his house to give me a run through on some of the basics of what to do. I was glad to learn so I headed over for my lesson. Wow, what a worthwhile trip. Rich knows is stuff and turned me on to a lot of ideas I hadn’t thought of before. He’s at a whole other level than me but I still grasped it.

He puts his time in and is very professional and up front about the way he handles all of his transactions. He has a 100% positive feedback rate and is not looking to rip off any of his customers for a quick sting. He prefers to build long time relationships and he does.
The whole process takes a lot of work and it’s not as easy as it looks. I didn’t think that it would be but seeing him go through it showed me just how difficult it would be for me to do it on my own. There are too many things involved for me to be a one man business.

Truth be told I don’t really want to be in a room all day scanning pictures and doing all it takes to make it a full time job like Rich does. I want to be part time and delegate it out to people who can do that stuff for me and pay them a commission. I have several people who I could do that with and it would be a win/win. That’s going to be how I’ll handle it.

My friend Spike Manton’s son Mickey loves cards and Spike said he and Mickey would list cards on Ebay for me if I want. I told him I need to get my investment back but when I did I’d be willing to work out a deal that would be good for both parties. I wouldn’t touch the cards and would just keep getting checks every month. They would do all the listing.

I could also work something out with my computer person Shelley and also a few other people I know who fart around with this kind of thing. What I’m looking to do is get my name out there a little and explore the possibilities of having a steady part time income.

I looked at the cards I bought and there are a lot of good ones in there that should bring back my original investment in a few months if they are broken up and listed in smaller lots. They are newer cards and I don’t have any interest at all in those but it’s exactly the kind of thing Mickey Manton would love. He and Spike can bond and I can make a buck.

Spike is willing to do it and is thrilled I put up the money to get it started. He can’t do it right now because he’s got his money tied up in dumb stuff like food and clothing and the survival of his family. He can put some time in and help sell the stuff though and also get to spend time with his son. All I’m interested in is getting my initial investment returned.

Once I do that I’ll be set. The real goal is not to sell sports cards. The real goal for me is to become known to people who would never have crossed paths with me otherwise. I am interested in learning about marketing because that will allow me to sell them on what I’d really like to sell – comedy. I will develop a good reputation and in turn win comedy fans.

Richard Caan is a very generous and giving person as I try to be as well. He knows what I am trying to do and he said he’d help me any way he could. And he will. He already has. He knows cards way better than I do and he dropped some nice inside hints on me tonight that took him years to learn. That’s exactly the kind of thing I do with my comedy classes.

I really thought about this hard the whole way back from Rich’s house. I’m going to get good at marketing because that’s what it’s about. Comedy, cards, whatever. I like the fact that sports cards bring pleasant memories to people. There is also salesmanship involved.

And the best thing I can think of is that they are relatively light weight and portable. It’s a lot easier to transport 10,000 baseball cards than it is 10,000 comic books or records or many other collectibles. This is my hobby and I enjoy it. Now I want to make it pay off.

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