Last week, I had my editor rerun an article from March of last year that I had always intended on returning to. Being a year later really made me realize how much this game does shift, in terms of both community and finance. Last year, we put the days of floor trading behind us for the most part and moved into mass-quantity buys, leading to what is now considered the speculation market. With the growth of Modern, this has escalated to a point of sustainability but unpredictable growth going forward. Probably almost every playable card will shift at some point, which means it is still correct to hold on to many cards that are too low, but gone for me are the days of watching an event and hoping to snag a few hundred copies of anything that had a breakout weekend. This week, I want to focus not just on the mistakes—as they seem fairly obvious now—but also on the subject of adaption within the market and local communities.
This week, it truly comes down to visualizing what your goal is within the game. I have fairly lofty goals that I am constantly striving toward. Knowing what you are seeking will allow you a better idea of how much time you need to be willing to commit to reach that goal. For me, this is a full-time job that I am always happy to wake up and perform, but that, of course, is not the case for most. Once you know your personally-set limitations, it is easy to set goals to strive toward that personal peak. This is not to say you cannot grow beyond that initial limit, but having a ceiling will keep you from exerting yourself beyond the point at which it feels like a hobby.
This is especially important for those who are in committed relationships and rooted or for those on a budget, as it will take the potential strain away by setting these limitations. For example, if you are looking to buy a collection though you know it is above your budget and would take too many personal hours to process, it is feasible to find someone else to buy the collection with the agreement for a cut of profit for providing the information. I do this locally for those who have friends or coworkers looking to move cards above their budgets, and for them, the free cash provides a bigger budget for the game without putting the strain of money on the situation. If you are in the position to pick up larger collections, this method can also help you expand your customer base. If you pay a fair percentage of profits, it is much more appealing for those without the time or resources. This symbiotic relationship can continue to grow, as the more money the larger entity is selling, the more that entity can spend, thus pay out down the road.
Knowing how to coincide with other like-minded individuals can prove to be beneficial for both and expand the reach over time. As this game expands, more and more people will find interest in the individual niches within the community, including finance. This means that though you may be the big dog in your area now, it is best to prepare for the future, and this means bringing up the community in such a way that they are not only comfortable, but also pleased, with your presence. For those looking to expand further, the next step can also allow you to give back to the community in ways you were not able to when staying locally.
I am setting my ceiling higher, but this is where I feel most people stop. I have strived to create a name not only locally, but within the social-media community as well as among the vendors. This work has allowed me to lay down the groundwork for what I hope to be a successful venture this summer—but more on that in a later article. Though I now have loftier goals in mind, that does not mean those goals did not all stem from these same processes. Much like floor trading, the amount of time speculators have before more stores put limitations on sales is limited, and that means you are best to stay ahead of the market. Though the same thrill of picking up a card at a fraction of the cost and buying out the Internet is still appealing, that is not what will allow you to move forward. With each passing month, it seems the window to spiking these deals becomes smaller and smaller, and in many cases, you may waste hours only to have orders canceled or for the card to see little growth.
Many people have been using the guise of speculation to claim to be in on Magic finance, which is not what makes this market. If I had to sustain on just speculations from events, I would be broke by now, as the market has flooded beyond the point of guaranteed profitability. Instead, the people who continue to stick in the game will be those who can find ways to now cater to the growing base of players. These are the future of the game, and though they may not need much now, as this generation of new players grows, your inevitable success relies very much on the support of this new customer base. It is best to help this generation, so many people feel the need to always drive value during each trade, but those who realize the new players they drive away are future business are much more likely to succeed down the road, as they will have healthy customer bases and local play groups. This can also splash over to your relationship with the LGS, as they are much more willing to work with you down the road if you keep bringing players into the community.