This is part five of my origin story of becoming a dealer in comic books. Part four is here.
A while later, I joined Match.com. I was lonely, I guess. My 20s had been mostly disastrous.
I’d got married and divorced.
I’d fathered a daughter, Katrina, which in hindsight was the only good thing to come out of that decade.
But at the time it just seemed like another way I had failed. I’d let her, and myself, and my family down because I was too scared to try to be her dad.
Match.com: Dating Moves Online
Match was interesting. This was my first stab at Internet dating. I figured, I can write, so I have a big advantage over the bozos out there who can’t.
I wasn’t too bothered about locals. I was curious about what the world beyond the UK was like.
A woman from Kenya wrote, but as she got straight to the point (“I looking for husband”) in the first email, I passed.
I chatted back and forth with a girl from Russia. Her English wasn’t really great though, but I did wonder about St. Petersburg.
Then I got an email from Canada. A screenwriter and opera singer called Carolina. (She was also a waitress, but she didn’t emphasize that part of her resume.)
By then, I had convinced myself that living abroad wasn’t for me. I almost deleted the email. But it was so well-written, funny, and clearly had had a lot of hard work and talent applied to it that I replied.
(My writing ego wanted to know what a REAL screenwriter was like, too.)
Two months later, I went to visit her. Three days after that, I asked her to marry me.
She said yes.
I went back to the UK, sold my apartment, packed my stuff into 40 cardboard boxes, shipped them, and moved to Montreal.
So What’s Canada Like?
For a while, I sold stuff on eBay again. I trained myself to be an Internet poker player.
It worked for a few years. Carolina learned to play too. She won $34,000 on a poker cruise. But in time, my poker ‘career’ began to unravel.
I needed something else. We had a baby boy and, before much longer, twins on the way.
That’s when I interviewed Dr. Ken Evoy for the local newspaper. He convinced me that I had what it took to have my own web business. If only I signed up for his product, Site Build It!
I knew an upsell when I smelled it, but I swallowed my doubt and bought the product.
Best. Investment. Ever.
I started with what I knew. The Church of Texas Holdem was born, with me as Father Ashley.
Church of Texas Holdem: I Thought You’re in Comic Books?
I gave poker advice based on Bible quotations.
Basically I searched online Bibles for words relating to poker, like “pot”, “raise”, “kings” etc. and built articles around them.
We made money by offering live online poker lessons, and through referral commission. People who signed up on our website made us money when they played cash games on Internet poker sites.
Then I tried to go too big too fast. I started another website, The United Nations of Beer (I was Secretary-General). And then another, Boardgame Beast.
Bush pulled the plug on Internet poker for Americans. I was back on my ass for a while. But I was getting better at the website stuff.
I wasn’t making a ton of money, but I was getting better at realizing why I wasn’t making a ton of money.
We needed a product. Or products.
A Licence to Print Money
So Python Printable Games was born. All we did was design and sell PDF printable party games.
It was a living, kind of, when you added up all the other sites and what they made.
Once we’d got over the hand-to-mouth period and actually had a little money to spare each month, I started going to conferences and taking classes.
I wanted to get better.
As if by magic, without examining the WHY too deeply, I found myself signing up for various marketer’s mailing lists.
One of these lists was a software called SkyBuilder. You could create little apps for Android and iPhone.
First I needed to buy an Android phone… And THEN finally comic books would come back into my professional life.
The app I was about to create would lead to my biggest internet hit: Sell My Comic Books. (Of course, I had no idea it would be successful when I began…)
NEXT TIME: Comic Book Investing by App