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"Earn a Full Time Living Flipping Sports Cards" TIMEOUT!

I’ve grown numb to it. You know the flashy YouTube thumbnails with the piles of money and cards while the flamboyant content creator points at a heading that says, “I spent $50,000 at this card show!” or “I flipped my way to this $100,000 card!” 

Flip and invest are the keywords that draw the eyes to the views and likes. As a generation of content consumers, are watching, hoping to do the same.

It typically doesn’t bother me. I've grown accustomed to ignoring the latest hype cycle. But when it’s pushed on me, I take notice. 

Recently, I’ve been inundated with social media ads from a company trying to sell me a course on how I can earn a full-time living buying and selling sports cards.

It didn’t matter what social media platform I was on; it was everywhere, and every time I got on social media, there it was. After three weeks of being bombarded with ads, I blocked this ad on my accounts.

All this got me thinking. Can someone really earn a full-time living by flipping sports cards? Moreover, I thought to myself, what is their definition of earning a full-time living? 

I wish they could be more transparent. I’ve often asked myself how this is possible and started to think this through based on my own experiences.

Possible Strategies for Earning a Full-Time Income

  • Do they play the prospecting game? I was a card show dealer between 1994 and 2004, and one of my primary lanes was prospecting. Can I confess that I had way more losses than wins.

  • Is it the flipping game? You buy low at one table and sell higher at another card show table. Margins are small in this game, especially with the competition of repackers nowadays. 

  • Is it possible that they trade their way into higher-end cards and then sell at just the right time? I’ve been burned by this strategy, too. It takes just one bad deal, one legal allegation, one season-ending injury, and you have to start this process all over.

  • It may be the crack out and resubmit strategy. If you don’t get the grade you want, just crack it out and send it in again, rinse, and repeat until you get the desired result.

Occasionally, these may yield some type of win, but it's a high-risk, high-reward sum game. I don’t know about you, but I’m unwilling to give my two weeks' notice just yet.

However, the most recent strategy may compel you. The sales pitch for this course says, “All you have to do is buy raw and send your cards to PSA, and if you get a PSA 10, you are in the money! 

They make it sound so exciting; they talk fast, show you lots of B-Roll cuts, flash piles of money, and show you fancy cards of the greatest players today. Heck, they’ll even show you their eBay sales. 

But if you listen closely to the sales pitch, you’ll hear the word “IF” [emphasis mine].

TIMEOUT! Here. So, the path to this success depends on whether I get a PSA 10? What if it doesn’t come back a PSA 10? Then it's a loss. Or you can crack out and resubmit again. 

You can go to YouTube right now and search for “PSA Reveal.” You’ll have enough content for the next 72+ hours. Notice how upset these reveals can be because most cards don’t return what they hoped for.

I wish this narrative of earning a full-time living would bring more transparency. There’s a convincing sales pitch but no facts or data to back it up. lt makes me wonder, and I wish I could ask them:

Questioning the Business Strategies

  • Do they have a spouse and children? As a joke, I pitched this idea to my wife. Let's just say I laughed more than she did. I couldn’t keep a straight face. LOL!

  • Do you have a mortgage on your home?

  • Do you have vehicles you must maintain or make a car note on?

  • How about food, utilities, and healthcare?

  • How about a Roth, IRA, or 401k account? Is this included in your definition of earning a full-time living by buying and selling sports cards?

The above bullet points are what I consider earning a living. Show me how you pay for this first and still have monies left over to spend thousands upon thousands on new inventory so you can rinse and repeat this business model. 

How does one get enough capital to even start this? They may be well off to begin with. They may have received a large inheritance, their parents gave them the money, and they are millionaires entering the space. 

They may have racked up loans and maxed out credit cards, or their spouse may be the primary income earner in the family. 

I’m not judging these start-up methods either. Heck, I don’t blame you; I would jump at the chance myself. But if this was your path to earning a full-time income buying and selling sports cards, then say so. Transparency.

Empty Promises?

Now, I’m not saying that it’s impossible. Some people earn a full-time living by buying and selling sports cards. You have local card shops that would beg to differ with this article.

But I’m not speaking to the card shop owners. I’m talking to someone who recently entered the hobby and is considering becoming a flipper.

I’m just trying to say be careful. It sounds convincing and appealing, but most do not reach the mountaintop. Very few do. 

I’m saying that when you look realistically, you’ll notice that most of these flippers/investors are hemorrhaging money. Also, they may have another support system enabling them to hemorrhage or “grow” their business strategy.

It’s frightening to think how some of these business strategies may influence novice collectors who are just getting into the hobby. 

If this is the case, know this: many times, these strategies overpromise and underdeliver. In other words, they offer empty promises. Your and your family's well-being comes first.

Be ambitious. Be an entrepreneur. Be committed to learning and above all else. Be careful.

Until next month,

Victor Roman Sr.

Remember. Not all rookie cards are created equal. 



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