Self-Sustaining Your Hobby

For most collectors in The Hobby, collecting trading cards is a way for them to escape their normal day to day lives and reflect back to their youth and the great times they had in their youth.
For others, it is a business and the way that they provide for themselves and/or their family. At one time they might have been a collector but found being a dealer was either more fulfilling and/or profitable than just being a collector.

Then there is this third option, the collector that also is a dealer. This collector is creating a self-sustaining hobby from themselves. What does that mean? There are a few methods to create a self-sustaining hobby with trading cards.

  • Typical SSC (Self-Sustaining Collector) – Opening packs and boxes to build a set, hunt for PC cards or just because you have the urge to bust some wax. Then selling the “hits” you pull on eBay, a social media site or to the LSC to buy more cards/packs/boxes.
  • Ripper/Flipper SSC– Purposely buys boxes or cases to open and sell all of the “hits”, team sets and inserts to make a profit and buy more boxes/cases to continue the cycle with a specific end goal in mind.
  • Prospecting SSC- Buying in early on cards of young and unproven talent, looking for to sell-off when they make it big in their sport. Taking the profits to obtain more prospects and build a strong collection of prospect/rookie cards in the process.
  • Entrepreneur SSC– A combination of a Typical SSC and a Ripper/Flipper. Buying boxes and cases to open and sell the “hits”, team sets and inserts but holding back their PC pulls. Making a profit to pay for future ripping/flipping opportunities and to buy cards for their PC without spending any paycheck money on The Hobby. Meaning any and all cards purchased are purchased with funds from ripping/flipping funds and personally not paying anything for them.

We have had Mike Sommer, @TheMikeSommer on Twitter, on the show multiple times. He is one of the collectors that really got me excited about trying to make collecting self-sustainable. I would say he falls under the category of an Entrepreneur SSC.

He opens new products, buys bulk purchases to sell online and takes the profits to buy cards for his PC. He has a terrific website, WaxPackHero.com, where he post great articles on this topic as well as many more hobby tips.

No matter which one of these categories that you mind find yourself, tracking your sales is key to see if you’re being profitable or not.

Chris Torres, @CRT_SportsCards on Twitter, has a great tool for those looking to track their sales and see if they are profitable in selling cards to create a self-sustaining hobby for themselves. He would more or less fall into the category of Ripper/Flipper SSC. He has a very specific and unique PC and is more of a dealer than a mass holder collector like most of us.

Sales Tracker

Chris provides this amazing document for free each month and offers it to anyone who asks for a copy. We will post future trackers on our page for anyone who would like to download and use the tracker.

Check out his eBay store for some great deals on newly released product.

I personally have been using this tracker since April of this year and I have seen what items have been most profitable for me and I look to buy more of them to flip. It funny the results are not the same as I thought they would be when I started dealing. There is a ton of low hanging fruit out there you just need to know where to look and how to make cards work for you and pay for your hobby.


If you would like to share your experiences in trying to make this a self-sustaining hobby please let me know, I’d love to hear your story. Please reach out to me on Twitter or email.

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