Your Opportunities Are Not the Same as Mine

Photos of antique wooden crate

Sometime last week I stumbled over Curiosity Incorporated’s Youtube Channel. And I’m not the only one. Alex Archbold, the creator behind the channel, currently gains more than 1000 new subscribers to his channel every day. Not bad for a channel about an antique store in Edmonton, Canada.

But it’s well deserved. Alex and his family are great on camera, and they make very entertaining videos about all things related to owning and running an antique store.

The part I fell for was the series about the Potter’s House. He buys a turn of the century house in a rural town that belonged to a hoarder. And my, I’ve rarely seen anything like it. But no use in listening to me describing it, why don’t you have a look for yourself?

I get a somewhat conflicting feeling of awe and despair when I watch the complete mess he encounters when entering the house. I can only imagine that the original owner had some mental health issues, and naturally I feel for her. The poor thing lived in a dump. But as important as I feel it is to talk about mental health issues in this day and age, my knowledge is limited to say the least, and I cannot contribute much on the subject.

Plowing through heaps of garbage however; now there’s an area where I do have some experience, albeit mostly from crawling around in dumpsters as a kid. Suffice to say, the awe feeling I mentioned before forcefully strikes when I see Alex rummaging through piles of garbage, collectibles, old clothes, tools and all kinds of fun and exiting stuff. I immediately feel an urge to start my own antique shop, so I too can spend my time buying old cars, houses and watches and sell them to all my nice customers who come into my shop only to have a nice chat and give me piles of money for old junk.

Buuut… I don’t. For several reasons.

First, I already have a job. And I like it. It’s great fun, I like my colleagues, and I’m good at it.

Also, I’m not a sales person. I would excel in the buying part of running an antique store, but that’s not really the hard part, is it?

To be fair, it’s not really the selling part that is the hard part either.

No, the hard part, and the part that takes the most time and effort, is acquiring knowledge and building a network. And you can tell from watching the videos that Alex has them both. He seems to be doing great in the marketing department (did I mention his Youtube channel gains 1000 subscribers per day?) but he also has a network of buyers and sellers around Canada that he can leverage.

And he has the knowledge. It’s surprisingly zen to watch him go through a bag of old watches and sort them based on… whatever criteria you use when sorting old watches.

And that’s my whole point. As much as I would like to dive into a suitcase with old comic books or toy cars, I wouldn’t know what to do with them. I wouldn’t know how to determine their value, I wouldn’t know how to store them or preserve them, and I wouldn’t know how to sell them (or who to sell them to). The same goes for old cars (or new cars), old phones, old watches or old furniture.

That’s not to say I couldn’t learn, or that you couldn’t learn. It’s not my place to discourage anyone from taking a leap. If you want to learn a new craft, you have my support. Hey, I’m the guy who sells online courses, it would be stupid of me not to encourage personal development.

What I mean is that it can seem fun and easy (not to mention lucrative) to buy an antique shop, set up a Youtube channel and start living the life of your dreams. Or, if an antique shop isn’t your thing, maybe you want to teach beer brewing, or create sewing patterns. And if that’s what you want, I urge you to give it a try, just be prepared to put in the work and the time.

Then again, there are some that argue that you should not turn your passion into a job. I think there might be some truth to that, although I don’t like to see things quite that black and white. Just keep in mind that “follow your passion” may be a terrible advice, under the wrong circumstances. Make sure to scrutinize yourself before sinking your life savings into a diving school in the Mojave desert.

That’s it for now. Talk to you soon!

(Feature photo: Steve Snodgrass)

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