Today's video is going to be one to help you guys if you want to get started in the autograph business. I must every week get a call or an email from someone who is looking to start an autograph business and they're not really sure what to do. They've got questions on x, y, and z, and there's really a lot of things to get into. Today I'm really just going to give you five tips to kind of help jump start you and maybe some pitfalls to kind of avoid when you are starting.
So let's go ahead and start off with number five, and this one was not really around when I got started in 2004. In fact it was just starting but this is Facebook, and this is joining as many autograph Facebook pages as you can. There must be hundreds and hundreds of these things, if not thousands of them, and autograph Facebook pages are a great way to connect with other dealers, connect with other collectors, find good deals on products, hear about autograph signings, and get tips on authentication. You name it, the information is there in these Facebook pages. This is absolutely critical to you expanding your business and meeting new people. This is the best thing that you can do and the best thing about it is it's free. You don't have to pay anything, so you can connect with as many people as you like. Again, you're going to find really good deals on stuff. I buy products all the time through Facebook groups, so it's just a great way for you to jump start your connections and your autograph business.
Number four and this is probably one that I regret the most and it's one I don't want you to fall into, and it's this idea of wasting a bunch of money on a website. I have had probably three or four different websites at this point. I've hired two or three, I think two different companies, to help with advertising and search engine optimization and all that stuff and while it is necessary to a certain extent it's a huge waste of money when you're getting started. I've wasted tens of thousands of dollars on stuff like this. It just is not very important when you are getting started. You don't just start a website and immediately start making money, it does not work that way. It's gonna take you probably a few years to start making money off your website. So my advice to you is if something's not making you money don't throw a bunch of money into it when you're just getting started, and I'm assuming that money is probably a scarcity at this point. So don't throw a bunch of money into your website. When I got started there weren't these kind of plug and play websites like there are now with like Shopify for example, where you can just drag and drop stuff. You don't have to go out and hire all these developers and all that crazy stuff to get a custom website. You can do it really on the cheap and that's what I would suggest doing. Just get a website up so you can have some branding and whatnot but also you have some products to sell, but don't throw a bunch of money in advertising, SEO, and all that stuff until you're a little more established and you've got a little bit of extra money to do that, because again, you're not going to make money off that stuff right away. It's a money pit. That's a long term play so just realize that you don't just start a website and start making money. It does not work that way. It's gonna take time so be patient with it.
Number three and this is probably the one that we're doing right now here is start a YouTube channel. Here's a couple reasons why you should start a YouTube channel. Number one, it's free. You can do it for free. You don't have to pay anything, you can edit your own videos, you cannot edit your videos, you can just shoot raw footage, you can just put it up with your iPhone. It's so easy so I would suggest just getting started with videoing with your iPhone. If you go back and look at my old videos you can see they're really poor quality. I was just videoing on my iPhone. In fact I wasn't even doing them in landscape mode. I was doing them in portrait mode which is the worst way to film anything on video. So I knew nothing about that. So as you go along you're going to start learning more about YouTube and learning more about things to do and what not to do, but creating a YouTube channel is not only super fun, it's actually way more fun now that I don't have to edit the videos, but you're going to be able to connect with again other collectors. You're going to be able to share your collection, you'll be able to share tips, you're going to be able to help people, you're going to be able to promote signings, promote products, whatever it is that you want to do with your YouTube channel, and remember YouTube is actually the second largest search engine in the entire world of course behind Google. So if you get your channel up there, you get your brand up there, that makes sense right because people are going to be searching for information about the autograph industry and whatnot. Again, it's just super fun, I really enjoy doing these, I really enjoy seeing people getting deals off of stuff that I mentioned to them and doing top five lists and all that stuff on certain autograph athletes. I think it brings a lot of value to people because they bring them a lot of information that maybe they're not thinking about. That's what your job is. It’s to share your experience and give them some strategies on stuff.
Number two, and this one is probably one of the more critical ones, and that is connect with as many vendors as possible. Vendors, dealers, whatever you want to call them, these are the guys that are putting on the autograph signings. These are the big companies, the small companies, or middle companies. Everybody's putting these on. The more people, the more signings you'll have access to. The more signings you can then offer to your customers. That's how it's going to work. Where do you meet these dealers and vendors? Well of course you can do online research and all that kind of stuff, but really going to autograph shows is a great way to meet them. You can go to the national autograph convention which of course in 2020 is not going to be happening but I'm assuming they'll have it in 2021. That would be a great way. There's going to be hundreds of tables and whatnot. So really connecting with these dealers and also by connecting with them not only are you going to be able to buy their product to sell to your customers, and offer their autograph signings, you in turn can possibly then resell product to them. So you can wholesale to them which is a great way to make some quick money. Sell stuff in bulk. So it's just a great way to establish new relationships with people and just meet as many of them as you can, you never know when someone is going to be able to help you out and you never know we're going to be able to help someone else out as well.
Finally, my number one tip for you and this is kind of a no-brainer, but it deserves some talking about, is build up your following. That's either through email addresses, your Facebook page, your Instagram page, or if you do snapchat, YouTube, whatever it is that you choose to do, is slowly over time build that up. Now this is not going to happen overnight. Don't worry about likes and followers and all that stuff, it has nothing to do with that. You can have 10,000 people follow your page but if five people buy stuff it doesn't make any sense, or if 10 people are interested in your stuff it doesn't make any sense. I'd rather have 10 people follow my page and have 10 people that are interested in autographs than have 10,000 and have only one person that actually cares. So it's not about the numbers. Yes if you can get more numbers of people that are interested in it obviously that makes sense, but how do you do this? This is really kind of the big tip I want to get across for you in this video. Be as authentic as you possibly can! Your channel, your page, should be a representation of you and your personality. If you're a real serious person then make it a serious video. Make it a serious channel, but my biggest suggestion is to make your channel and your pages as personal as possible in 2020. People really like to know who they're dealing with. They like to see a face. They want to have a phone number. They want to know if there's a problem with something that they can talk to someone. They want to know if you're going to be responding to messages. People want to know who they are dealing with nowadays and the internet makes that possible, so my biggest suggestion is to make your pages as personal as possible and take care of your pages. Be accessible, respond to messages, respond to comments, don't be just a robot where you're on auto tune and you're just not responding. Be accessible, be personable, and make it your page.
So there's a lot more to get into but that's just five kind of quick tips to help you with your autograph industry venture.
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