February of 2009 was a bit rough for me. I was living dollar to dollar after moving into a new house, with barely any money to keep food in my belly. Initially I began slowly selling a select few video games I had lying around for my Xbox over eBay to make money for groceries. As I realized the potential for eBay as a source of income to keep me going until I could find a full time job, I began sorting through old items of mine, Hess trucks, stamps and various other collectibles and listing those as well.
I had many years worth of experience selling personal items of mine, mostly trading cards, since I was a little kid, and had developed a talent for sniffing out great auctions, getting bulk items for incredibly cheap. Usually however, I typically did this for personal use, not as a means of reselling individual items for a profit. Back in my early days, my big draw to eBay was the potential to save hundreds by buying bulk lots of Pokémon or Magic The Gathering cards, as opposed to purchasing the single packs from my local store. I also have always had a good eye for valuable items, collectibles, or items in general that will retain a significant amount or increase in value over time and use.
Once a few sales started rolling in, it quickly struck me that this could be so much more than a secondary source of income; this could possibly be my job. Invigorated by this discovery, and the potential for not having to add another month, to the already 4 years of work experience I had in retail chain stores, I began listing in a fury, going through all of the collectibles I had built up over the years, as I never threw away anything that looked like somebody might pay for it. This knack for selective hoarding paved the way for me to start my own carrier, free of most of the restraints that had bothered me for so long, working as a cashier for 3 years, finally reaching assistant manager level after a lot of time invested.
But wait, a new problem had arisen, I was selling fine, but costs rose and I was running out of items without a way to replenish them. In March 2009 I opened my eBay store. 15$ a month allowed me to reduce my selling costs and have a centralized easy to navigate homepage for all of my items. Then I turned to my long time hobbies of video games, and trading cards.
Using the knowledge I had built up over the years, I began snapping up large lots of trading cards and video games through eBay and my local craigslist. Taking large lots of 4,000+ cards and breaking them down into individual listings or small groups of 2-9 cards at a time. Video games I would commonly buy in lots of 40 or more, focusing on last generation as they were cheaper to purchase, and would be listed for less than a current gen game. This proved to be an excellent idea, as with the recession building steam, lower priced items could move faster, and were easily affordable, giving me a broad scope of customers to sell to in these troubled economic times.
Before I knew it, I had created for myself, my own full-time job, and while there have been rocky patches over the past year, my store is still here, and better than ever, having undergone many revisions to streamline, and graphically enhance my store and listings.
Looking for a moral to this story? Here it is: If there’s a way you can turn a hobbies of yours into a profitable venture, go for it. A long practiced hobby Is almost like your secondary profession, all you need is the right venue and a little creativity to monetize it. In addition, your love for that hobby can keep you trudging through the most tumultuous waters, helping you come out on top in the end. (I get stressed out all the time; it’s a lot of responsibility to manage) The rest will fall into place.