It seems anytime conversations about entrepreneurship, wealth, investing, or personal finance come up, someone throws out the axiom “Well, it takes money to make money”.
I call BS.
More often than not, it’s a cop out for someone not willing to put in the work.
I will not argue with anyone who says it’s easier to make money if you are starting with a lot of money. Yes, it’s true there are certain investments which have a minimum threshold needed before you can invest, and there is often a substantial level of assets needed before you can throw off meaningful income. It can be easier to start a side hustle if you have some start up cash.
The problem comes when you make the assumption that you can’t succeed unless you are starting with a lot of money. That’s garbage and a lazy excuse.
Even if you are starting with nothing you can succeed if you are willing to hustle and put in the work. “Get Rich Quick” is for losers. Success takes time, patience, and a willingness to work hard.
Recently, Gary V, the well known entrepreneur, generated a lot of buzz in the hobby when he stated he predicts a resurgence in the sports card market. His focus was on rookie cards of some big NBA superstars. While you can debate certain assumptions he was making, I read a lot of comments with pushback more along the lines of, “Easy to say if you’re a multi-millionaire” or “Takes money to make money, normal people can’t do that.”
This is flat out wrong.
Starting with Nothing
Gary started making money as a kid by mowing lawns, washing cars, selling lemonade, and flipping baseball cards. He did not come from a rich family. He worked hard from a young age.
There are hundreds of YouTube videos like the one above that show you how to make thousands of dollars buying garage sale or thrift store items and reselling them online. Don’t have $50 to get started? Well, everyone has junk around their house or apartment that could be sold to get things rolling.
I fell in love with cards again in 2016, and it didn’t take long before I realized if I wanted to afford everything I wanted to collect, I’d need to generate some extra income to offset the cost. I did two things.
First, I started flipping cards on Ebay which I picked out of the dime, quarter, and dollar boxes at my LCS. Dimes turned into quarters, quarters into dollars, and dollars in to fives. I built my card fund with lots and lots of these transactions and it took work. Eventually I had saved up a couple hundred bucks and bought my first collection to flip. I think it cost about $90 bucks. Eventually, I doubled my money on it. Then I repeated the process over and over.
I also discovered COMC.com and deposited $10. I started by buying nickel cards and selling them for a two cent profit. I did the on-site challenges for store credit. I eventually turned that $10 into an inventory of thousands of cards. Again, it wasn’t overnight and it took work.
In addition to buying and selling cards, side money can be made from producing content. Part of the inspiration for WaxPackHero.com came from listening to Colin and Ryan’s podcast from SportsCardRadio.com. They basically give free lessons on how to buy and sell cards, and build a website. This is another example of something that takes time and effort to build. I have a long way to go before this site has the same level of success as theirs, but I’m going to get there by continuing to produce free content for readers to enjoy. I owe them a big thanks for providing the inspiration!
Trash into Treasure
I sell a ton of cards on Sportlots. The site specializes in base and inserts, and it has a pretty decent following from set builders and player collectors. The great thing about base cards is the fact that so many people treat them as garbage. I realized I could use the profits I was slowly building to buy large collections of unwanted base cards for fractions of a penny and resell them on Sportlots for a minimum of 18 cents. At this point I’ve built an inventory of over 100,000 cards. Again, I started with less than $200.
It takes time to grind your way up. There is no getting around it. Fortunately for me, my brain is wired to get personal satisfaction from the grind. I get a sense of accomplishment knowing my 1971 Topps Set was built on the profits I made flipping cards. Building something from nothing is a hobby and form of entertainment for me.
But saying you don’t have time to hustle and grind is an excuse many people use. Often, it isn’t a lack of time, it’s a lack of priorities. You can find time if you really want it. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, quit watching hours and hours of Netflix and reality TV.
You don’t want to prioritize your time this way, that’s fine. Just don’t use it as an excuse for why you can’t make money on a side hustle. It’s a choice you are making in prioritizing your time.
Wrapping It Up
I’m not getting rich off cards.
However, this side hustle is making my hobby completely pay for itself while generating enough extra cash flow to pay for some toys like my iMac and the iPad I’m writing this post on. That cash flow is only going to grow over time, and in three more years I expect to move from hundreds of profit a month to over 1K.
So what about you? Will you join me in the cardboard hustle?
I hope you do, but statistics say most of you probably won’t. For those that do, I want to hear about it! I want to celebrate those flips with you. I want to hear your stories of succeeding with the cardboard hustle.
Send me an email, Tweet your flips with the #cardboardhustle, and leave a comment below!
Let’s do this!