Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jake Silliman, Owner of Sports Cards KC, LLC. and Albatross Disc Golf, LLC., located in Kansas City, MO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have had a sports card shop for 5 years and started selling disc golf products in September last year. I have a wide range of customers, but the majority are 21-40 males.
Tell us about yourself
I collected football cards as a kid - whenever I got money of any kind, they went straight to buying packs of cards. I did that up until late middle school and then was out of the hobby until my first job out of college, where a coworker, who also collected cards as a kid, got back into cards together. I thought that owning a card shop would be something fun for when I retired, but I purchased several cards at a local card show, and within a couple of weeks, I sold those cards for about 7 times what I bought them for. From that point on, I looked at cards as a way to make passive income - I picked several players cards to invest in to see if I could make any money. I did this for a year to see what kind of profit I could make and ended up doing well enough to make the leap to owning a shop.
As for disc golf, I got back into the sport during COVID after being introduced during college. My shop is right across the street from a disc golf course, and with Kansas City having around 40 courses in the metro area, I decided to begin carrying disc golf products. Like sports cards, disc golf's interest and participation exploded over COVID, so it's been fun to be a part of a market that is something that I enjoy and that has a lot of momentum.
What motivates me each day is being able to do exactly what I want to do - I know it may not last forever, so I try to make the most of what I've been given. I've got a beautiful wife and two small kids that I want to make proud of and be able to be present as much as I can. I had the misconception out of college that I could separate work and home life, but when you give 40-60 hours a week to work, it's hard to actually do that, and it's even harder when it's not something you enjoy doing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I've been fortunate to be able to build relationships with many of my customers outside of the work setting. Whether it's having a meal, playing various sports, being invited to their homes, or sharing a meal with them and their families, I love being able to meet people that I otherwise wouldn't have unless I was a small business owner.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The anxiety - it's so easy (and natural) to compare yourself to others. When I first started my business, I was worried about failing and keeping the momentum going. Be confident in yourself, and don't even worry about selling a product - take your time to build relationships and look to be the best person you can be.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If possible, don't take out loans - if you don't have the capital to start what you want to do, wait.
- You don't have to jump in the deep end of the get-go - there are many ways where you can ease into whatever you want to do without having to put all your eggs in one basket. I bought and sold cards online for a year before I decided to open a brick-and-mortar shop.
- Get a good accountant and lawyer.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.