Hello dwellers, I’m a German guy who just recently got into the hobby, and spent a long time researching… well, a lot of stuff. The following is intended as a reference or perhaps a guide for newcomers who might find themselves lost. It is a long read, but I think it may save you a lot of “work” and touch topics that you might not have considered yet. Headlines are written in bold letters, so you could just scan through it or simply use Ctrl+F to see if something interests you. I mentioned my nationality so you can put some statements further down into perspective. I apologize in advance for any inconsistencies, I wrote this over a longer timespan. Anyway, here goes: Boardgamegeek Chances are you already heard about this infamous website. Its main purpose is to serve as a database for boardgames. All games (and many expansions) are assigned an individual score from 1 (bad) to 10 (good), one of which is the community rating, and the other a weighted rating that BGG implemented to prevent games with low review counts to reach unproportonally high ratings. As a rule of thumb, if a game you are considering to buy has a score of 6.5 or lower (which is still fine of course), you should think twice. Assigned to each game (by the community) are also: a “good” and a recommended number of players, the estimated length of the game and its “weight” on a scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (hard). There’s been some criticism regarding that simple weight score, because it does not differentiate between “difficulty to learn” and “difficulty to play”, but it is still a solid indicator of how heavy a game is. For starters, if you are trying to introduce new people to the hobby, games with weight < 2.5 might be a good starting point (for a brief list of recommendations as well as links to BGG sites, scroll all the way down). Another important part of each game’s site is the “Expansions” tab, but we will get to that later. BGG also hosts a market place that I have used twice so far, with great experience. You can directly access it by searching for the “Buy” button on your desired game’s BGG site. On the “Geek Market”, you’ll find listings of sellers, with their location next to their names. Make sure to read the description first, because not all listings are necessarily offering the full game. There is a lot more going on on BGG, but I want to finish off by mentioning the Top 100, which is led by Gloomhaven. There is a latent debate about how representative that list is, but most games in the Top 100 are widely considered excellent, and they cover many different “genres”. Kickstarter Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform for new ideas of all kinds, not only boardgames. Still, boardgames are introduced on Kickstarter frequently, and they require a certain amount of money from so-called “backers” (people who support the project financially) who pick a certain “pledge” (prices usually don’t contain shipping cost already, which is often fairly high for non-USAmericans). If enough money is collected, only then the product can actually be produced. Backers receive what they pledged for, usually 1 or even 2 years later. Most Kickstarter campaigns last for about 30 days, some are much shorter. Once the funding goal for a game has been reached, many projects will offer “stretch goals”, extra content that is unlocked gradually as more money is pledged. Again, there are some pros and cons, but remember: All that glitters is not gold, which is especially true for miniatures. You’ll run out of precious shelf space soon enough. Kickstarter projects toying with customers’ fear of missing out is a bad trend in my opinion. Some projects even offer Kickstarter Exclusive Content which is almost impossible to get your hands on later, for exmaple the “Unspeakable Box” that was part of the “Cthulhu: Death may die” Kickstarter. Dealing with that can be frustrating, so be warned. In general, a very important question you must ask yourself is, if that game you saw for 150$ + shipping with all those stretch goals and exclusives is worth more than the number of throughly reviewed, excellent games out there that you could get instead. If money is not an issue for you at all, and you have empty shelves to fill, these concerns become less relevant. One thing I want to mention is that for people with no credit or debit card, it may be hard to find a reliable and inexpensive way of payment. I spent days researching on that, and finally settled with the “boon” banking app. Setting it up may take a while, and since it’s a proper bank managing the whole thing, you’ll have to confirm identity for “boon+” which is highly recommended and free. It works like this: You use “SEPA” to send money to your virtual prepaid credit card (can’t go below 0), and are free to use it about 1 or 2 days later. Anyway, think carefully before entrusting someone with your personal data. To finish off this topic, here is a “calendar” of some upcoming boardgames on Kickstarter, maintained by u/Zelbinian . Props to him. Out-of-print (OOP) games Unfortunately, not all games are continued indefinitely. Contracts and licences expire, money has to be made. That includes games like Android Netrunner LCG (see section below), Forbidden Stars and Battlestar Galactica. Your best bet is to try and find these games second-hand (see section “buying used”) for somewhat reasonable prices, or maybe go for a different language (see section “Buying in other languages”). Even if an OOP base game is still affordable, the price of its better expansions will often increase rapidly. The Reign and Reverie expansion for Android Netrunner, which was released in 2018 at a price of about 30$, costs at least 200$ at the time I wrote this, and there are only 2 offers I could find. For some games, like Android Netrunner, you may be lucky enough to find so-called proxies, aka scans of all cards for you to print and use. Don’t waste your money, just print them on paper and sleeve them along with the others in matte sleeves (more under section “Sleeves”). Be careful not to break any laws. Especially games that are still printed and expanded are most likely not to be copied or custom printed. Living Card Games (LCGs) A Living Card Game like Arkham Horror LCG is any card game that receives (somewhat) regular expansions with fixed content, some of which may be part of a “cycle”, a set of expansions that is connected thematically or storywise. I want to make very clear that it makes little sense to buy expansions packs from different cycles in random order. As a newcomer, you should first try and get a brief overview. Resources such as the .pdf files in this BGG thread for the Arkham Horror LCG will be very useful. Of course, you should start with the base set / core game before going for expansions. While you should stick to the release order within cycles, whole cycles and deluxe / standalone expansions can usually be bought and played in any order. If you are unsure what expansions to go for first, I recommend minding three criteria: Age, Price and Rating on BGG. Age is important because older expansions may not be reprinted, so getting them first could make sense. Price is important because you will probably find complete cycles for a cheaper price later, rather than following along with the newest releases. BGG Rating is a great reference if you do not know where to start after the base game. Just make sure to check the number of ratings to put the rating into perspective. Famous and high-rated LCGs include Arkham Horror LCG, Marvel Champions LCG and Android Netrunner LCG, most of which are ideally or exclusively played with 2 players. Unfortunately, LCGs can become very expensive. A whole cycle of the Arkham Horror LCG, consisting of one “cycle core box” (Example here) and 6 mini-expansions costs anywhere between 80$ and 120$ if you buy new. Replayability may or may not be an issue, depending on the LCG. Most LCGs have very poor storage solutions (if any) by default. For more information, see section “Storage”. “Legacy” Games Legacy Games like Clank! Legacy: Aquisitions Incorporated and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 are spinoffs of standalone games that make for a campaign-like, session-oriented playthrough of their respective base games (in this case: Clank! and Pandemic). You do not need to own the base game, but trying it first will give you an idea if you will like the Legacy game or not. In general, Legacy Games cannot be used to play the base game after you are done with them, because you will put stickers on the board, tear apart cards and so on. Think of them as huge EXIT games with a much better price/value ratio. Storage Kallax. Next! ...actually, ikea’s Kallax is a cheap, elegant and practical way of not only storing your boardgames, but also presenting them. A 2x4 shelf costs about 60 bucks here. Only but the most monstrous boardgame boxes such as Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition, Gloomhaven, Too many Bones or War of the Ring 2nd Edition will manage to escape a Kallax’ grasp, everything else will fit in there smoothly. For proof, just go through this sub and check some “[COMC]” posts (I think it means “Cast on my Collection”, but it could just as well be something completely different). 75% of them will be black Kallax shelves stuffed with boardgames, and organizing them is so fun all the time sometimes, haha! You can also try to store some of your games vertically rather than horizontally. Some boxes come with one side printed sideways for this very purpose. Just make sure to secure everything inside the box with rubber bands and ZIP bags. Now that we found one possible solution for storing the boxes as a whole, let’s now tackle the much-harder-to-solve issue of storing what’s INSIDE of them (section on sleeves is further down). If the only games you ever played were Wizard and Catan (which comes with an okay storage solution by default), know that this is not the norm. In this part of the section, we will look into several issues regarding component storage and solutions using specific games as examples.
Cards and Tokens: ZIP bags are useful for almost everything, and can be a cheap and solid workaround for several issues further down. I recommend buying them in bulk, e.g. from here (for Germans). Pick various sizes, preferrably small and medium, pick a thickness (50 or 90), then order a few hundred total for 20 bucks and you are set for a lifetime. I went for 90 and kind of regret it. They are sturdy but less flexible, and their extra colume adds up (you don’t wanna see my insert-less Gloomhaven box…). ZIP bags are useful for almost every game, and they are useful for other purposes, too (obviously).
Expansions: Once your shelf space starts melting away, you should consider getting rid of bulky expansion boxes, or repurpose them. For example, the Herb Witches expansion for Quacks of Quedlinburg and the Rise of the Empire expansion for Star Wars: Rebellion contain material that can easily be fit into the base game boxes, even without throwing the default inserts away (which imo you should not hesitate to do if it is necessary and if they are merely wobbly cardboard anyway). The now empty expansion boxes can then be used to hold cards for your LCGs or whatever else you have on the shelf while still looking good. Just make sure to keep base game and expansion content clearly seperated from another in the base game box (e.g. using ZIP bags) so you don’t mix things up and can effortlessly integrate AND SEPERATE expansion content.
(Living) Card Games: These were hard to find good storage solutions for. The core box won’t offer enough space for upcoming cycles even if you throw out the insert, and neither do the expansion boxes. I’ll tell you about my experience with Arkham Horror LCG and Android Netrunner LCG. The Arkham Horror LCG’s expansion boxes are very impractical. They are all paper and little more than a picture wrapped around your new content. If you did end up with a few empty expansion boxes of other games (see above, subsection “Expansions”), you could try and use them along with ZIP bags or self-made inserts. I’d throw away all expansion boxes for Arkham Horror LCG. Luckily, some of its recent expansions titled “Return to… (e.g. Path to Carcosa)” do not only add to the replayability of the named cycles with new cards and some changes, but also offer a storage solution, so you might want to get those right from the get-go. I’ll explain what I did as a somewhat temporary (and cheap!) solution after explaining why Android Netrunner LCG is a bit different: Its bigger expansion boxes are actual sturdy cardboard, so if you happen to get your hands on them, you might want to keep them. Also ensures resell value. Maybe don’t use them for storage (imo they are too small anyway), but do not throw them away. So, here is what I did: I own 2 cycles of the Arkham Horror LCG and 1 cycle of Android Netrunner, along with some deluxe expansions (standalone expansions that are not part of a cycle). I bought 2 BCW boxes from here, 1 for 2x800 cards (Arkham Horror LCG) and 1 for 1000 (Android Netrunner LCG). Unfortunately, the latter one was a bit too long for the Kallax, so I had to shorten it by hand. You could of course build your own storage box in a similar fashion. For the Arkham Horror LCG, the 2x800 box was a good fit. I moved ALL cards into the box, and only kept tokens and rulebooks from the “cycle core boxes” in the base game box. I cut out the front pictures of the cycle core boxes to mark the beginning of each cycle, then used the front picture with the rule/story set from the mini-expansions to seperate those as well (picture). The same works for Android Netrunner, but without cutting out anything from the cycle core boxes. If you decide to do the same, check the section on “Sleeves” first, because you may be able to buy those along with the BCW boxes to save shipping.
Inserts: Many boardgames, especially bigger ones like Gloomhaven and Mage Knight Ultimate will come with a whole stack of cardboard filled with tokens and tiles for you to “stance out” manually. Problem is, it often forbids good storage solutions by default due to all that now empty space at the top of the box. While Gloomhaven offers nothing, Mage Knight Ultimate at least provides you with a load of plastic along with that empty air inside its package. The main purposes of inserts are to fix that and heavily decrease setup time, which may otherwise reduce the table time (time the game is played) of your games. There are some cheap inserts from "Feldherr", and I bought one for Mage Knight Ultimate. Still on the fence about a Gloomhaven insert, because the one made by feldherr is actually so big that you can’t shut the box with it inside, and other inserts usually cost about 60+ bucks + shipping. My point is: Only buy if necessary, buy cheap (but not low quality) if possible, but do not underestimate its usefulness. The insert for Mage Knight Ultimate was a good choice I think, but I wouldn’t buy one for, say, 7 Wonders: Duel.
Gaming Mat After reading into it for a while, it became clear that there is no “best gaming mat”. So to keep it short and simple: Neoprene (material) is widely appreciated, but a cheap fitness mat from amazon (or, preferrably, anywhere else) may work very well, too. All I can say is, don’t put drinks on the table if you can’t live without the game that’s on the table. Sleeves There is a large variety of sellers and brands to choose from. You will find a lot of info in several threads such as this, so I will only give a very brief overview with 2 recommendations. First of all, why sleeve? It's not somethign you need to do with all your cards, I'd say you should only sleeve when necessary. After all, a pack of 100 acceptable sleeves can cost anywhere between 2 and 12 bucks (or more if you really want to). Sleeve the cards that you shuffle constantly and, most importantly, you might want to sleeve that card game which went OOP (out of print) like Android Netrunner. If you are unsure what size you need, check this thread. Many cards will have “standard” size, which means they have the same dimensions as “MtG” (Magic the Gathering) cards. Knowing this will make finding fitting sleeves a lot easier. Next, think if you want clear or matte sleeves. Clear sleeves may be cheaper, and you get to see the actual back of your cards. Matte sleeves on the other hand have 2 advantages: First, you can pick colours of your liking and second, you can make cheap and expensive proxies likewise indistinguishable from other card for playing. I’m doing this for Android Netrunner, and it works well if you use somewhat sturdy paper. A device like this will help. For affordable clear sleeves I re-recommend Swan Panasia, heard a lot of good things. For matte sleeves, I ordered a small number of Ultra Pro Eclipse Sleeves. They are pretty expensive tho, about 8 bucks for 100 sleeves. Buying This is a somewhat random list with bits of general advice. Do not buy expensive games that your friends already own. Try and try games before buying them, for example on Tabletop Simulator. Don’t buy complex games unless you are sure they will see table time. Before buying in other languages, make sure the game is either light on language or your potential players won’t mind it. Check BGG forums for a great number of resources, including rulebook translation into other languages. There’s been one for Brass: Birmingham years before it received a German edition. When ordering from another country, or just in general, try and buy in bulk to save shipping. Consider buying games as a group, for example Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 or Gloomhaven. Watch reviews by established Youtubers like Shut up & sit down or No Pun Included for ideas. If you are German, use the site brettspiel-angebote.de. If you are not, go and create a version of that site for your country. Refer to a game's BGG site to learn about ideal player count, length and complexity. Americans probably have a variety of options to choose from which I am not aware of, but one of them is this subreddit. You can use BGG as a reference to find what expansion may be the best for your core game. Hit the “Expansions” tab, then sort by average rating. Mind the number of reviews, if it’s too low, the rating may not be representative. If you are not buying English, consider if you should. Is the game light on language? Are the expansions out of print in your language? Then you may want to buy the English version. Stay away from unreviewed games on Kickstarter unless you are 100% sure the game is worth the price and will see table time. Do not forget about shipping, which may increase if material from stretch goals is included. The German “equivalent” and partner to Kickstarter is the spieleschmiede from spiele-offensive.de. If there is no particular order in which you want to buy the games on your wishlist, and there are no big sales, try and get the ones that are out of print (soon) first. Price will only go up, so you won’t lose much even if you end up not liking and reselling the game. Play a game at least 3 times with an open mind before deciding if you like it or not. Do not hesitate to buy used (especially for cheaper games), I had great experiences using the BGG marketplace and ebay. Make sure the seller is trustworthy, and always doublecheck the articles’s description and the game’s normal price. Often enough you’ll see offers where the seller wants more money than you’d pay new. Stay away from those guys. No matter where you buy, unless the seller has a good reputation and you do not mind breaking Paypal’s rules, do not pay by “send[ing] money to a friend”. Serious sellers will probably agree to take the proper Paypal route if you offer them to pay extra for the Paypal fee (0.35€ + 2.5% of the price in Europe). That way, you get Paypal’s buyer protection. The current pandemic may have you buy a lot more now that you are not playing. Don’t over do it, and make sure to coordinate your purchases with your gaming group if you have one. Buying can become a bad habit. From what I gathered so far, a lot of people people on here have made that experience (or are going to make it). Here’s a link to a relevant thread. Unfortunately, as I am writing this, the top commentor has deleted his post (or it was removed by a mod), but what he basically said is, get your finances and your dopamine under control (goddammit!). Last but not least, be patient! If your desired game is still available in large quantities, or seeing a reprint soon, there is no reason to rush it for a high price. Solo Gaming ...isn’t quite the same as “classic” boardgaming. Make sure you like the concept before buying that Mage Knight: Ultimated Edition for 80 bucks. I think your best bet is to get games which not only fit your taste, but also offer an optional and well working solo mode, like Terraforming Mars. For some games, you’ll find solo variations on the BGG forums. Perhaps check them out to see if you already own a solo-playable candidate? 2-player Games These can be hit or miss with your (playing) partner, so again you are well adviced to try games that are either cheap or come with an optional 2-player mode first (like, again, Terraforming Mars, Quacks of Quedlinburg, Castles of Burgundy, Race for the Galaxy, Hanabi (cooperative), Ticket to ride, Dominion, Spirit Island (heavy, cooperative), Marvel Champions LCG or Arkham Horror LCG (expensive). I bought most of my first 2-player games according to recommendation threads and BGG’s Top 100 list and wasn’t disappointed twice. Keyforge didn’t really work out well, and its resell value is horrible because people just assume you are trying to get rid of underwhelming decks. Anyway, for dedicated 2-player games you may want to start with cheaper, lighter games that you think fit your partner’s taste. A brief list of examples: Fox in the Forest, Patchwork, Hive or Hive Pocket, 7 Wonders: Duel, Air Land & Sea or Mandala. For dedicated cooperative 2-player games, check out Codenames: Duet or Aeon’s End. Arkham Horror LCG and Marvel Champions LCG will work best with 2 people as well. Make sure to read the rules and play a short test round first for heavier games if you think your partner may get bored or he/she is really impatient in general. Looking up rules in the middle of the game can become very annoying. I haven’t tried it yet, but maybe use a timer every turn if the issue comes up. That will also give you a chance to point out potential hypocrisy regarding percepted and actual turn length. Of course, this is kind of an extreme measure and may not lead anywhere really. Some people just are not blessed with patience, and to deal with that, either get more people to the table for inter-turn-conversation, actually reduce your turn time somehow or avoid heavier games. Real-time games may also do the trick, but I can’t think of any that are working for 2 players. “Niche” Games Niche games here refer to stuff like Captain Sonar, Gloomhaven or War of the Ring 2nd Edition. These may be hard to get to the table, either due to their (ideal) player count, their playing time or their complexity. Or a combination of these three (Twilight Imperium). As a general rule, as mentioned above, when you are considering to buy a game, do not listen to uncle dopamine who’s telling you that buying this 150$ game will get you and your friends the best time of your lives. Only buy them if you can actually see them being played. Make sure you know beforehand how a game is supposed to be played, if you need a dedicated group, how long it takes to read the rules, if they are well written and so on. The higher the price, the more careful you should be. 150$ (and everything close to it) is already crazy expensive, do not be fooled by current Kickstarter prices. There are cheaper, often better games waiting for you to be played as well. (Semi-)Cooperative Games There’s not much to say about cooperative games I guess, except that they are mostly “PvE” (Player versus Environment). Good and cheap starting options are Hanabi, The Crew, Magic Maze, 5-Minute-Dungeon, Pandemic & Pandemic: Legacy: Season 1 and, the game that I love with all my heart and that is the main reason I got into the hobby, Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition (expensive and requires an app). But there are also semi-cooperative games. These usually include at least the possibility of one of your “friends” being a betrayer… Semi-cooperative games come in different falvours, but they will often use hidden information of some sorts. Great options out there, like Insider, Human Punishment (ridiculous but I absolutely love it), the classic, player-elimination-featuring Werewolf, the new and different One-Night-Werewolf, the infamous but expensive (and player-elimination-featuring despite its long play-time) Nemesis with a currently ongoing Kickstarter campaign and Dead of Winter, which I haven’t tried myself yet, but seems great although it’s also hit or miss apparently. “Party” Games Party Games here refer to light games that are quick to teach and work well with large groups. Most of these are reasonably cheap. If you are interested, have a look at Just One, Insider, Wavelength ("Perfect Match" in German), Human Punishment, Decrypto & Codenames: Pictures and, of course, Twister (fight me). Print & Play (PnP) Print & Play – Games are, as the name suggests, games that you can print and play right away, at least theoretically. It my take some work to have the components look good, but many games do not require many components. For exmaple, I found a PnP version of Air, Land & Sea (legally of course) which usually costs about 15 bucks. If you do PnP card games, perhaps you could use some matte sleeves so your astounding works of craftsmanship are harder to tell apart. Some PnP games are only offered for a short time. Tabletop Simulator This is a Virtual Reality – compatible software which offers barely more than a playground for script kiddies (God bless them), who took the opportunity to imitate real games like Mage Knight and Wingspan almost flawlessly. I do not like It myself, but the software (on Steam) is rather cheap and offers tons of games for free. It is thus a great option to test games or just play them with your friends as a substitute in the ongoing pandemic. But be careful, I heard word that some “big” games are being taken down by Asmodee, and other publishers may follow. Which they have every right to do of course, but I doubt it ever hurt their sales, quite the opposite actually. But anyway. Games that got me into the Hobby This is what this post was going to be about before I decided to take the time and try to write a brief overview for newcomers. I played board and card games for as long as I can remember, like Yugioh and Catan. But It wasn’t until a friend showed me the Lovecraft-inspired Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition that I thought “Yeah, maybe this hobby is cool”. So props to him. I realized that what got me into the hobby was not just the fun I had playing boardgames.It’s theme. Theme is what makes a game interesting before you even look at the rules or components. Theme is what makes Human Punishment stand out for me, theme is what separates a classic card game from Fox in the Forest, and it’s theme that makes people like Battle for Hogwarts despite its numerous shortcomings. So when a game had weak theme and still managed to convince me, such as Codenames: Pictures or Just One, all the better. Until now, apart from a few games that were (soon) OOP, I focussed mostly on collecting games for any group, that means size and playtime + complexity, which are similar but do not always overlap. Here are my recommendations for games to start with, and their current estimated price in Germany (in €) according to brettspiel-angebote.de, which hopefully serves as a reference for buyers from other countries. You'll often pay much less when you are waiting for sales! If you can't wait, at least buy local if possible. 2 players: Fox in the Forest (~20€), Castles of Burgundy (~38€), Patchwotk (20€), Race for the Galaxy (~30€), Hanabi (~7€). 3&4 players: Quacks of Quedlinburg (~21€), Love Letter (~8€), Roll for the Galaxy (~39€), The Crew (~12€), Magic Maze (~21€), Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition (~80€), 7 Wonders (~36€), Terraforming Mars (~60€), Scythe (~66€), Brass: Birmingham (~60€). 5 players: Cosmic Encounter (34€), Quacks of Quedlinburg (~21€) with Herb Witches Expansion (~15€), Mysterium (~35€) or Dixit (~20€), Human Punishment (~27€), Just One (~16€). 6 players: Decrypto (~18€)or Codenames: Pictures (~18€), Wavelength ("Perfect Match" in German, 35€), Twilight Imperium (~116€), Just One (~16€), Human Punishment (~27€). 7+ players: Just check the “Party Games” section. If you are exactly 8 people, try Captain Sonar (~30€). This Subreddit ...is amazing. It’s beyond me how there’s over a million subscribers with so few posts over the day. But oh boy is the active community active. Everyone loves talking about boardgames, and I mean, that’s what this sub is forl. Just make sure to read the rules, even though they are not super specific, it’s important to understand that you should not ask for game recommendations outside of the dedicated daily thread. Anyway, I am looking forward to look backwards when I get to build my gaming table one day, and steal all the great ideas posted here over the years for myself. So keep them coming! Thanks for reading!
[REVIEW] Balenciaga Classic City Mini in Black SHW from NBF
Um… this might be a weird one, sorry. It’s mostly timeline information. Bare with me. The bottom line is, spoiler, that implore you to avoid NBF - but do your own judging of the matter. I realized when writing this review that NBF are no longer listed as trusted sellers, but they were when I ordered my bag and a long time after. Some of you reading might have orders with them and are waiting for a bag, like I was just a few days ago. Long story short: I first inquired about the classic black/silver City bag in sizes mini and small in early October 2019. I thought about it for a little while, and I decided on the mini. I ordered and paid later that month. According to their ”newsletter” that I got when I first inquired about the bags, both sizes were in stock. Now, more than 7 months later, it’s finally here. Contact info for NBF
October 9th: Send an email to NBF asking to be added to their newsletter. I also specifically asked them about their black City with silver hardware, in sizes mini and small. They replied, not kidding, 2 minutes later and sent a welcome message and their complete inventory list.
October 27th: Contacted them asking about the price of the mini and small City. They replied 17 minutes later and said my timing was perfect - they’ve just finished a batch of bags, $189 for the mini and $199 for the small. (Their wording makes it hard to figure out exactly what they’re saying, but either they were already lying about their stock, or they meant that the small was just finished - you can judge for yourself, here is a print screen of the actual email: https://imgur.com/a/N9ZB17U. I thought nothing of it then, seeing as both sizes were already listed as in stock from their previous email.) We continued chatting throughout the evening and I paid with PayPal, sent my address, everything was done. In my last email I also expressed how happy and impressed I was about how smooth and fast ordering went.
November 3rd: I remembered I never fully confirmed how the shipping would be handled, so I emailed them asking if they had already sent the package out, or if they’ll send a tracking number when it’s shipped.
November 6th: I emailed again, this time I’d read though the first couple of emails and started to question whether the bag was actually in stock… they never said it wasn’t but, still, I had a gnawing feeling. I asked them to confirm if the bag had already shipped, would ship soon or if it still was in production. I also said that I had assumed it was in stock, and that I’d like to know if that wasn’t the case.
November 7th: They replied and said the bag was ”still being custom made”, and that custom making a bag is a slower process than big factories. ”We make just your bag when we make a bag.” They also said that in one week, they’ll add the hardware, and ”once that’s on it’s very quick to ship the bag”. I answered and thanked them for letting me know.
November 8th: They contacted me to let me know the bag would be ready to ship in two weeks.
December 4th: Emailed to ask how things were going, said that I was looking for any updates.
December 17th: Emailed and asked again, clarified the bag I had ordered and when I’d paid.
December 18th: They answered and said they’d be at the studio during the day and would be able to update me then.
January 2nd: I contacted them to see what was going on, I asked for a timeline for the bag.
January 3rd: They replied and said they could confirm I would have the bag in my hands before Chinese New Years.
January 5th: I replied and thanked them for the update, and they replied that if there would be any delays, they’d contact me.
January 20th: Asked for an update as I hadn’t heard anything, and CNY was just a few days ahead.
January 21st: They replied saying all staff had already left for CNY, but my bag would be sent out when they were back in the studio. ”You’re at the front of my mind so don’t think I’ve forgotten about you.”
This is where I was starting to lose my patience. I had spoken to another replady about NBF and several other people chimed in saying I need to keep hounding them, that they are notorious for being slow, will lie about waiting time, that you need to threaten to cancel the order for them to take you seriously, and so on.
February 2nd: … So, I sent a stern email about all the lies they had told me so far, how deceiving it was for them to not be honest about waiting time, etc. I also said ”I would like a straight answer about the estimated delivery time or a choice to cancel the order. Please get back to me as soon as possible.” I honestly just wanted them to know I wasn’t okay with this.
February 3rd: They replied saying they’re delayed due to CNY and the coronavirus, but will be back at work ”next week”, and ”I know your bag is pretty well complete so I will make this priority for leave. Sorry for the delay. We're only a small maker but our orders went sky high.”
February 24th: Two weeks after they were supposed to be back at work, so I emailed and asked how things were going. They replied, shock and horror, that my bag was sent and on its way to the courier. Amazing! I asked them to confirm they would sent with DHL, and they confirmed. Great!
March 6th: Asked about an update, and I also asked if the bag really was finished.
March 7th: They replied that they had no reason to lie, and that they were waiting for courier to provide a tracking number. I replied and thanked them for the reply, and said that I email every so often because I don’t trust them as a seller anymore.
March 8th: Got an email from them wanting to confirm they had sent the right bag, a black City SHW in the size small. Umm… I replied that no, I had ordered the SHW black City in size mini.
March 10th: I emailed again saying what I had ordered, asking them to get back to me if they had sent a small or a mini. They replied that they had shipped the small but it was returned to them, and that a mini was now on its way to the courier.
April 3rd: I emailed and asked them to update me about the situation. They said EMS is the only option because DHL was coming down hard on branded items. I said no, DHL is the only safe option to Sweden.
At this point, I was honestly not bothered anymore. Corona was roaming the streets of the world, shipping was fucked everywhere and I was starting to doubt that production had even started on my bag yet. I had accepted that I’d probably never get the bag, and thought that a $200 loss wasn’t the end of the world, because let’s face it - it really isn’t.
April 13th: I remembered that I never got any photos of the finished bag, so I emailed them to ask if they could send me any. I wasn’t expecting any, but I though it was worth a try. At the best they’d send them, or they’d say it wasn’t there/ready yet, or at the worst I would find out they had made me the wrong bag. Win, win, kinda.
April 14th: They replied yes, but it was at the studio, I’d get them tomorrow.
April 15th: Lo and behold! They actually sent the photos! Just two, but I am certain it is at least photos of my actual bag (please read my quality assessment to read more about how I know this).
May 28th: Get an email from them asking for my information, that they are ready to ship with DHL. I replied asking if it really was safe (at this point it’s been many many weeks of slow shipping and an increase of seizures and I didn’t want to risk it). I also asked them to confirm what it is they’ll be sending me, because at this point we were not writing in the previous 48 email strong chain, this was a new email with zero old information in it. They replied ”black mini silver hardware”. I did NOT reply to them, nor did I send any of my information to them. I did not say it was okay to ship.
June 2nd: Get an email with the tracking number. I am confused, because I had not asked them to ship, but I track the number and see that they had sent the bag on the 28th, same day as they asked if they could ship. I freak out internally but I did not reply to them. I could see the parcel was held for inspection for a few days and was already in Germany, so I felt kinda okay about it.
June 3rd: Delivered! When I opened the parcel I see, to my horror, that it has been opened and handled by Swedish customs. All the wrapping had been cut open and taped back together. It also had a slip saying it had been inspected. The Balenciaga dustbag was folded inside the bag and shoulder strap was laying over it. I think if the bag had been in the dustbag, they would have held it. That, or the inspector didn’t know what s/he was looking at!
Product + photos
Item: Balenciaga Classic City Mini, black arena lambskin with palladium hardware
Quality 6/10 The leather smells amazing. It is plush and soft, very pliable to the touch. Since it’s arena leather (think crackly, almost shiny/plastic outer layer) it’s not like touching a regular lambskin leather bag. It’s much softer and less structured, which is why it’s important that all the sides are sown correctly so the bag still has some structure. They have succeeded well regarding this. But, I do have qualms with this bag, one being that the zippers, all three, are not smooth. They’re all a hassle to open/close, but I think that might get better with time and use, but I basically can’t close the bag as it is right now (very new), so -1. I’m not using the outer pocket, so that’s a non issue. But the main zipper as well as the inner pocket zipper I am using, which makes me frustrated every time I use them, so I have to leave them un-zipped or it’s too much of a struggle. I’ve found silver markeink lines on several places, as in guide markings for when they made the bag. This is a major flaw regarding the quality. I am just guessing here, but I think they must have had a newer craftsman making this bag because I’ve never seen this in another NBF bag. -2. At first I though the leather had ripped on one side where the strap is attached, since the outer layer of the leather is so soft. The silver ink made it look like there was a hole in the leather, but the more I looked I found the ”rips” on more places and after a few moments I realized it was just that; silver ink and not rips. I’ve pieced together that it’s likely from guidelines for the parts/sowing the bag together. I’ve tried getting the ink out with leather soap/rubbing alcohol but I’ve been unsuccessful so far, and I don’t want to rub too much. I think I’ll just leave it for now even though it annoys me. The arena leather is somewhat shiny so unless you look close or know it’s there you don’t see it. After noticing this I went back to the PSP’s I got, and I saw you can quite clearly see the silver ink on the right side of the front pocket, on the edge of the leather. (I bet you didn’t notice that the first time you looked! I sure didn’t.) There was some minor damage to the leather on the handles, almost like it was stretched too thin and it cracked. There was also a few wholes that were too big for the string that’s wrapped on the handles, so you can see all the layers of the leather and fabric all the way though. I’ll try to disguise it with a black or gray ink pen. There was also an impression on one part of the piping that I don’t think I can do anything about. After using the bag for two days I found even more damage to the leather on the bag handle. This is likely from rubbing against the hardware (or my jacket) when wearing it crossbody. Everything together, -1. For transparency’s sake I want to remind you that my bag was inspected at Swedish customs. Every piece of wrapping was opened and taped together again, so I cannot rule out that my bag’s piping and leather was not damaged during or after inspection. I find it unlikely though, but you never know so keep that in mind. Other than that I have not found any quality issues, but the damage to the handle after use, pictured in my last photo in the album, is somewhat worrying. I would not have though the handles are so sensitive. I'm currently looking for a Balenciaga scarf to tie around the handles so I'm hoping that'll be protective enough. This is my inspo: https://www.balenciaga.com/se/seasonal-handbag_cod45454757cf.html. Accuracy 6.5/10 I have not held or inspected a Balenciaga Classic City mini, keep that in mind. But, I have a friend who’s got a small City, but not in black. I don’t have easy access to an auth so I could not go look at one before writing this. Dimensions on the auth: Width: 24.9cm (9.8 inches). Height: 15.7cm (6.2). Depth: 9.9cm (3.9). Strap: 54cm. Handle: 9cm. Dimensions on my bag: Width: 23cm. Height: 15cm on the left, 15.5cm on the right. Depth: 7.5cm. Strap: 53cm(?). Handle: 8.5cm. Okay, so the dimensions are way off and the bag is crooked, -2, at least. I’m not sure how the strap is measured, I did it from where the strap hooks onto the bag, so kinda from the side. If I measure from the middle, as in the strap drop length, it’s even shorter. I have it on the longest setting, but wearing it crossbody is a little awkward as I have a longer torso, so the handles poke my boobs in a weird way. I’ve seen several photos of the mirror that’s included in different colours (and from different sizes of bags). All of them have had the Balenciaga logo embossed on the back, which this doesn’t. I have not seen any photos of the black mini though, so I’m unsure. I want to dock like half a point but I’m not going to, unless I see definitive proof there should be a logo on the back. The inner logo tag is wrong. Maybe I have an older model or a newer one, but from what I’ve seen it’s supposed to have a foiled logo tag completely sown on, and I have an imprinted logo flap that you can flip. On the back there’s the serial number, which is supposed to be on the inside of the inner zipped pocket. Like I said, I am not sure if this is a newer or an older thing, but compared to this white mini (here: https://www.eraldo.com/ad/shopping/classic-city-mini-shoulder-bag-15169188), my bag is inaccurate. -1, and can be an easy callout for someone who knows Balenciaga bags. The hardware is described as semi-shiny palladium (I’ve seen and held my friends auth in a bigger size so I know roughly how shiny it is supposed to be, as it’s supposed to be the same hardware on ours) but this hardware is almost glossy, so -0.25. Balenciaga have a lot of different hardware though, so I’m not too bothered by it. I still think it looks good. The mini is supposed to have an inner double pocket, which is missing, but I am unsure if this is a new thing with Balenciaga, so -0.25. Satisfaction 5/10 I’m happy… but I’m not, if that makes sense. I’ve wanted a classic Balenciaga City for probably 10 years, so me finally getting my mini is almost like the end of a long, long goal. But it truly was not worth it to have to deal with NBF. -2. I will never buy anything from them again, even if they claim to have items in stock, as you cannot possibly know if they actually have the item on hand. (I would happily buy another mini or small classic city from another factory, as I love the style and would like more colours and types of leather.) I am quite bothered by the silver ink. Silver shows up on black leather, you know... Once you see it you can’t unsee it. And it’s everywhere. I have tried removing it without success, both with leather soap and rubbing alcohol on a small q-tip. I don’t want to risk damaging the delicate leather so I’ll just leave it for now. It’s much worse than it looks, as the glare from the semi-shiny arena leather makes it hard to capture on photos. -1. Another thing that bothers me is the depth of the bag. From Balenciaga’s website you can see that my bag is supposed to be much deeper. The measurement is off by at least 2.4cm according to the information I’ve got, which is A LOT. I wish it would have been a smidge roomier as the bag is already very small. -1. It is also crooked, as one side measures 0.5cm higher than the other. When you hold the bag in its handles it’s apparent, but it’s fine when you wear it crossbody. -0.5. All the little damages to the handles and piping also lowers the score, even though I cannot rule out customs inspection playing a part. Unlikely, but still. -0.5. The shoulder protection/big leather piece on the strap is also annoying as heck. This is likely a design issue and nothing to do with NBF. It gets stuck on your jacket and folds in underneath itself, making it hard to move the bag around if you wear it crossbody. It can’t be removed without cutting it and I’m not ready to commit to that, but I will try to maybe glue it down on the actual strap so it doesn’t ”skip” on my clothes all the time. Seller communication and service - 1/10 Do I even have to…? Just stay away from NBF. The bag might look nice, sure. It’s good leather, it looks very good and honestly the price was right. But no, just do yourself a favor and look for an alternative, any alternative, to a Balenciaga if you want one. Maybe look for an older one on BST so you don’t have to deal with them and not risk these newer flaws, like ink marks and cracked leather. I am in no way trying to make it look like I’m the good guy who got screwed here, or poor poor me; I’m just giving my honest opinion. It’s not worth it to deal with months and months of exchanging emails, just to get a bag that has so many flaws. This is also coming from me without counting the shipping issues from the last couple of weeks due to COVID-19, because no one could have helped that. It does seem like the bag could have shipped mid April if it wasn't due to the pandemic, so really it's been a 5 month process from NBF and a 7 month wait for me. But with all the promises of it being done when it wasn't, and the "it'll ship next week" when it didn't, I would not trust anything that comes out their mouth. They get 1 point for actually shipping the bag, but that's it.
How To Leverage Long Blog Posts To Build Your Brand
You guys were not joking with the amount of shit posts that are ending up on this sub lately. So, in order to change that, I thought I would throw out something that I have done in the past and am still seeing success with today. Leveraging your blog posts/articles to build a BRAND. I did it, you did it, almost everyone does it. They get started, they crank out some content, and they expect money to come in. You can make a great living doing this, but you will find it almost impossible to hit the "next level" unless you focus on building a brand. You see the rare comment here of people hitting 20, 30, 50k+ per month....I would bet almost anything their site is a brand that people actually CARE about. In order to actually get there, you have to create value, have a strategy and create trust with your audience. But how the hell do you create value and trust with an audience that does not yet exist? One of those ways is utilizing a platform that people already trust: Amazon. The basic idea before we get into the actual guide is twofold. 1: You are going to take your longest article or articles, and turn them into an ebook. You will create a coveinterior and publish this on Amazon via the KDP platform. Chances are, no one will actually want to buy your 99 cent ebook, so you are going to make it FREE (with a work around) and use this as a lead gen for your website/email list. 2: You are then going to take your longest article/articles, and turn these into an AUDIO book, which again acts as a springboard from Amazon to your content to build trust, educate and let them know about your website. Step 1 brings you no money up front, but if you do this right can net you a LOT of affiliate income and build your list at the same time. Step 2 actually surprised me when doing my taxes. I currently have a single audio book live and it brought me in a few thousand dollars in royalties the past year and I havn't looked at it or touched it since. Here is a bit of proof that this works and has led to hundreds of thousands of downloads:
So, let's first go over the free book, and then the more exiting method the audio book. Creating A Free Book On Amazon With Your Blog Posts I am not going to go into detail on how exactly to create a book (this is fairly straight forward), but you will need two things. 1: Get a KDP Account (free): https://kdp.amazon.com/ 2: Get a Smashwords account (free): https://www.smashwords.com/ Create your book, format it, and get it uploaded to KDP. This is so straight forward (Google it) In order to get your book perma free on Kindle, you need to get your book free on other major retailers that Amazon actually has some respect for. The one that I used was Barnes & Noble and this took about a week. Here is how to do it! Smashwords Smashwords is another retailer of ebooks. What makes this service so powerful is that its free, and they also distribute to major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, iBooks, and Kobo. Upload your Book and set a price of free It will almost immediately go online at Smashwords as a free book. On your dashboard, you will see that it has been submitted for premium status. This is where the magic happens. A real person will take a look over your work, and if it has followed all of proper formatting, then it will soon show up in the big retailers mentioned above. It is VERY important that you follow their style guide. It can take a few days at a time for Smashwords to review your book. If it is not up to par, they will deny you, give you a list of things you need to fix, and then you can resubmit it. One of the things that I did wrong was do my table of contents a different way than they wanted. Another reason I was denied was that my book had links back to Amazon, so remove those as well if you want perma free status. Premium Status Achieved Once your book has been looked over and has achieved premium status on Smashwords, it is just a waiting game from here. Eventually, your book will show up on Barnes & Noble. This is one of the only online retailers that Amazon seems to care about. I tried to ask Amazon to price match me as soon as it was free on Smashwords, but it seems they have no respect for this service and I had to wait. Emailing Amazon Now, you could wait and wait and eventually Amazon should pick up on the fact that your book is free somewhere else. If you are not in the business of waiting for months on end, it is time to do something about it! What I did was take the URL from Barnes & Noble, and email Amazon from inside my KDP dashboard. At the very bottom of your dashboard, in super small text, you should see Contact Us. Click on Contact Us –> Pricing & Royalties –> Price Matching, and send them an email asking them to help you out. I told them I had a reader on my blog disappointed that he could get my book for free on my website as well as Barnes & Noble but had to pay for it on Amazon. A few hours later I got an email back stating that while they can decide to price match or not, they had forwarded it to the correct department and a few hours after THAT it was priced to free! Do keep in mind that this is going to be geo dependent. If you want your eBook free on All Amazon TLDs you need to give them links from all GEO URLs from the major retailers Note: There are a million and a half Facebook groups for free books. Go post in a few of them to get the ball rolling. Once you have those initial downloads, everything should take off and remain a stable stream of downloads and traffic back to your site if you put links in your book. ALSO, make sure to put some sort of ask at the end of your book for a review, a subscribe to the email list, or give the reader something if they visit your site. Now, let's get into how even more money is made, by taking that same book/books and turning them into audio books spreading your brand around the internet. Making Money Selling Audiobooks (ACX) Through Amazon Note: I am going to be copy and pasting images from my own site because there is no way I am downloading a rehosting these. Feel free to complain about self promotion in the comments XD. In order to be a successful internet marketer, you always have to be testing new ideas and markets. Time and time again I see people who want to make their first dollars online actually succeed in doing so but after many months or many years, it all dries up. Why? Because these people were not willing to adapt and keep learning. This is the number 1 reason that people fail. They do not want to test the market but keep doing the same thing over and over again, getting stuck in a vicious cycle. During some downtime a while back, I stumbled across a video of a guy doing thousands of dollars through audiobooks. What really perked my interest is that these books are being sold through Amazon, or more importantly, Amazon’s audio book platform audible.com. This is one of the biggest audiobook portals in the entire world and I myself have purchased a few during some long road trips. When I first started selling t-shirts online, the driving factor and where most of my success came from is that they are being sold on Amazon where the customers already are. I did not have to drive traffic at all, only give an existing audience what they wanted. This opportunity looks EXACTLY the same and the competition is so low, its crazy! Chances are, your blog posts will fit right in. Why Audible.com (Amazon’s Audiobook Platform)? The very first thing I did was take a quick look at how much traffic the platform was getting. I was seeing people put up some pretty impressive numbers (into the 10 figures a month range) so before I dove in, I wanted to make sure the market was actually there. What I did was take the domain (audible.com) and run it through similar web. This website is incredibly helpful in estimating the amount of traffic that a platform receives each and every month. It is WILDLY inaccurate, but gives a brief overview. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/audible.png As you can see at the time of writing this (I wrote this ages ago), there is almost 22 million visitors per month with an average duration of close to 5 minutes. This is exactly what I want to see! Lots of traffic, and relatively little competition because there are not that many books out there. I was down to give this method a try and to my surprise over a year later, it actually worked. Getting Your First Audiobook Published on ACX Before you attempt to put up an audio book at all, you need to make sure you RESEARCH the niche. Just as with everything else when it comes to internet marketing, you need to make sure that there is customer demand, but that you can break into the market in the first place. The way we do this is pretty simple. Audiobook (ACX) Niche Research First, you want to look at Amazon.com for books (NOT audiobooks). For the sake of this example, lets use the first niche that came to my head “merch by amazon”. Head on over to Amazon.com and just type in the niche you are interested in. If you are pulling back results that are not books, just follow it up with “book”. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/amazon-page.png At the very top of the image, you can see that there are over “10,000” results for this niche. This is a good sign, that means there is customer demand there! Customers want to read and learn more about this niche. I also happen to hold the first and third position for this keyword (those are my books) so it makes this experiment a little easier to start! Even if there are a lot of results, you want to make sure to click on the first page of products, and look at the BSR or best sellers rank of an item. The lower the rank, the better it is selling. You can see this in the product details section of the product page: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/product-details.png The best sellers rank is dependent on the category you are selling in. In this particular instance, this book gets about this many downloads per day: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/merch-by-amazon-book.png NOTE: Old screenshot but this book still averages almost the exact same downloads per day even over a year later. Now that we have determined that there is customer demand here, we need to check the competition on Audible.com In the upper right hand corner you will see the search box. This is where you want to put the same search term that you checked over on Amazon.com. Click on search and see what comes up! In this particular case there are ZERO results (note: there are now more than a few results). That means that there is definitely customer demand over at Amazon.com and there are literally zero books on this subject on the audible platform that Amazon owns (and gets 20+ million visitors each month). There is clearly an opportunity here. After you get good at searching, you will realize that almost every niche under the sun has very very little competition. What you want to look for is where there are lots of results with a good BSR (under 100k on Amazon.com) and you want to see that there is less than 100 results on Audible. The opportunities here are almost endless. Remember, it is all about niching down! Vegetable Gardening: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/veggy-gardening.png Sleeping better: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/sleep-better.png Make Money Online: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/make-money-online.png If one of the most competitive niches on the internet (making money online) has such small search results, then you KNOW this is an untapped gold mine. NOTE: Screens are from when I published the book. Numbers are changed, but go check. Still stupid low competition in most niches that your blog posts are in. Getting Your Audiobook Created Now that we have a niche, we need an actual book! Any one of you reading this has the ability to write their own books. It does not matter if you are a great writer. However, if you are NOT a writer, no interest in being a writer, and simply want to get a book up to test this method, there is an easy way to do that. Outsource! I will be going over how to outsource the actual book creation as well as the audio voice over for that book once it is complete. Your book can be as long as you like or as short as you like. However, how long it ends up being is going to determine what kind of royalty you get once the entire process is complete. Because of this, I would recommend about 20-25k words per book. This should put your final audiobook at just over 3 hours in length and this is where you make the best money. To hit this, you may want to take a few of your articles and combine them. We have a niche, we have a target length for the book, now we just need to find someone to actually write the thing! Go hire someone or do it yourself. This is pretty self explanatory. I find that having a general outline for your book is the easiest way to get a good quality product. You can do this by looking at the chapter headings of some of the best sellers. Compile a list of all the headings, and then formulate your own online so that your book will be the most comprehensive book on the market for that niche. Upload Your eBook to Kindle (if you didn't previously) Before you can actually create your ACX book, you will need to upload your book to Kindle. This is a platform for ebooks that sell on Amazon and ANOTHER avenue for you to make money with your book (outside of audible sales). Head on over to kindle here: https://kdp.amazon.com/. Sign up for an account and enter in all your information so that you can get paid. Now that you have an account, you need a few other bits before you can actually upload your book. First, make sure you familiarize yourself with the cover requirements here: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201113520 You now need to get a cover for your book created. The idea image requirements for kindle for your book cover are 2560 pixels by 1600 pixels. Your book cover is important!! I know everyone always says not to judge a book by its cover but we all do it. You do it, I do it, and your potential customers are going to do it too! Because of this, head over to upwork and post a job for an ebook cover designer. There are a lot of very very talented artists out there and you should get an amazing cover for your book for $20-$30 dollars. You can see here the cover that I went with that sticks out on the page: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/blueprint-cover.png Now that you have your book and your cover, let’s upload to Kindle! Log in to Kindle and click on the Kindle new title button: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/create-a-new-title.png After you are done adding the Kindle eBook, I would highly suggest adding a paperback as well. We will not be focusing on the paperback, but this is just another avenue that you can make money from your book. Give your book a title (what is on the book cover), an author, and a description. Make sure your description is long and detailed. I like to tell a little bit about what is in the book as well as outline the chapters and what the customer will be learning when they read the book. After you have filled those out, it is time to enter in some backend keywords. These are keywords that you want the book to rank for. Think like a customer here. Whatever they might search for, enter these as your back end keywords. You have 7 boxes of keywords to fill up here. No need for any punctuation. As long as the keywords are relevant, enter them in. Once you have your keywords selected, choose a category for your book, and then click on continue. Now all that is really left is to upload your book, the cover, and pick out pricing: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/manuscript-.png You do not need to enter an ISBN so go ahead and click save and continue at the bottom of the page. Set your book at $2.99 or above, and select the 70% royalty share. If you price below $2.99, you will get a much smaller cut. Since we will not be focusing on the actual ebook, every time it sells, we want to maximize our profit. (This is if you are just doing audiobooks and not the free book method mentioned above) Now all you have to do is scroll to the bottom and click on publish your book! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/publish-your-kindle-book.png It can take a while to publish, but I typically see all my books going live within 24 hours. You need to wait for your book to go live, so in the meanwhile, I would suggest publishing the paperback version as well! Publishing Your Book to ACX (Audible) If you have made it this far and are still with me, impressive. So far you should have a book with a cover, and it is published on Kindle meaning it is for sale on Amazon.com. This means we can FINALLY start creation of our audiobook! To begin, head over to ACX.com and sign up for an account. This is the dashboard for audible.com which is where we want to publish our book. Again, fill out all your information and take the tax interview. Once you have done that, click on “Add Your Title” from the upper right hand corner. Search by keyword and find your book on Amazon.com. Once you have found it, click on “This is my eBook”. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/my-ebook.png Once you select your book, you will see a popup that asks what you want to do with your ebook: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/produce-ebook.png Now the fun part starts! You can either upload audio for the book you already have (which I assume you don’t), of you can find someone to narrate the book for you. This is not going to be free, but you can find some real talent out there that will read your book and allow you to publish audiobooks without ever using your own voice. Select the first option and click on continue. Accept the terms and conditions, and click on continue. The next page is where you want to fill out your book information. Since your book is already on Kindle, most of this is going to be selected for you. The interesting parts are these: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-deetz.png This lets you say that you want to receive auditions from narrators but also lets you describe the voice you are looking for. I like to select this based on the topic of the book and what would fit best. After you upload a test piece of your book for your narrator auditions, click on next. The next page is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the entire process. You can pick how you pay the person that is narrating your book. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/pay-narrator.png By default, the first option is going to be selected (Royalty Share) but you do NOT want to do this! If you have a successful book, that means you will giving half your royalty away for many years to come. Instead, select pay for production and pay your narrators up front. I have found that the lowest level of $0-$50 per finished hour (PFH) works well and you get some quality people applying to narrate your book. For a book of 20,000 words, you can expect to pay a little over $100, but you do not have to do any of the work yourself! You will start getting auditions almost immediately over the next few days and you will be able to see this in your top menu. https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions.png Make sure to go through all the auditions and listen to each one of them as everyone has their unique style and some attach specific notes about the project to their audition: https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/auditions2.png Once you have someone selected, all you have to do is then make an offer, and they will do the rest! The narrator you chose may send you a few questions over messages, so make sure you are watching your email whenever those come in. Once your narrator has finished the book, you have to approve it. After you approve it, you MUST pay your narrator before the book will go live on audible. This is not very clear for a first time user. I was expecting the system to use my card on file, but had to follow up and actually send the narrator the money over paypal. After that occurs, they will also approve the book, and it will get final approval from the ACX team! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/approval.png Once you receive that email, it is just a waiting game as the book is pushed out to retail! https://neillassen.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/book-to-audible.png TIP: If you email the ACX team and ask nicely, they will give you 25 codes for free books so that you can give them out to people for review. This is a good way to bump your book inside of audible and start getting downloads. Wrapping It Up When building your business, use every tool at your disposal to drive traffic and build up your audience. Focus on building a brand and not just a website.
I've made $7,000 teaching online. Here's what worked.
Six months ago, I had an idea for an online course. Today, I've made over $7,000 teaching online. Here's what worked.
I've been writing online since 2014. I would condense and simplify pieces of information I learned into helpful articles. At the time, I wrote for myself––I needed to keep my skills sharp. I repurposed the knowledge I was paid to learn at work into content for others. After five years of writing online, I hadn't made a single dollar. All of the content I produced was free. I saw other creators making millions teaching online. Why couldn't I do the same? I realized I hadn't been giving away my content for free. I was building an audience and establishing credibility.
Writing online is difficult. Clearly explaining technical content is twice as hard. You have to understand the subject deep enough that you can explain it at an entry-level. Many fail at this. Over the past six years, I created my niche with front-end web development. I started a small newsletter where I'd share my latest writing with my audience. I'd distribute my content to social media. Occasionally, a post would go viral on Reddit or Hacker News. Slowly, I became credible in my niche. My tutorials and blog posts helped others learn. I established myself as an "expert". I say expert, but you can do this. Most people spend the majority of their time online consuming instead of creating. Be a creator. I focused on writing about topics I found interesting. Along the way, I built an audience.
Building an Audience through Learning
When I learned something new, I would share it––with my newsletter, on Twitter, everywhere. I gave value to my audience. The content I created for myself was now a reference for others. Over time, this grew into a hub of inbound traffic to my website. Today, over 80% of my traffic comes from organic Google Searches. Without an audience, you cannot sell a product. Be helpful on the internet and you will create an audience. At the beginning of 2019, I became obsessed with a specific technology called Next.js. It allowed me to create websites faster. I rebuilt my website using it and documented the process along the way. I continued to write about Next.js that year. In September, I realized I'd found my niche.
Finding Your Market
It's impossible to measure your success if you can't track it. Whatever your metric is (post views, number of likes), you need a baseline to improve. I use Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor the performance of my site. I'm able to see which articles perform best and how people find my site. To my surprise, almost all of my highest ranked articles were about Next.js. I'd found my market. Creating demand is hard. Filling demand is much easier. Don’t create a product, then seek someone to sell it to. Find a market—define your customers—then find or develop a product for them.
Creating a Course
The idea of creating an online course seemed daunting. It would take six months, at least. Based on my analytics, people were interested––but would they buy it? After researching teaching online and marketing, I had a eureka moment. To figure out if people would buy the course, I would launch it. Now. Why should I treat this course any different than a software product? With software, you can start small and rapidly iterate over time. I applied the same methodology to the course. First, I defined the content. I created an outline for the course I wish I had when starting to learn Next.js. Working backward, I made a list of 15-20 main concepts to cover. Then, I created a website to market the course and allow people to pre-order. The main benefit of your course should be explainable in one sentence or phrase. How is it different, and why should I buy it? On November 3rd, I launched the course. I placed a small bet––only 15-20% of the content was finished. If this launch failed and no one bought the course, I'd cut my losses and walk away. Instead of wasting the next six months, I wanted validation now people would pay for this. I intentionally priced the course high at $199, with a launch price of $99. With ten pre-orders, I'd have $1,000 of revenue. No cards were charged––I wasn't stealing their money. I was validating my idea and confirming I had a market. With no idea how long it would take to create the course, I set a launch date of April 2020. Two days after the launch, I had my first sale. It was breathtaking. Someone on the internet spent $100 on a digital asset I created. I couldn't believe it. The next day, another sale. And another the day after. In the first week, I made seven sales for $700 in profit. I was motivated to continue working.
Should I Use A Platform?
You'll need to make two platform choices: how to accept payments and where to host content. For payments, I'd recommend Gumroad, Paddle, or Stripe. Depending on your volume of sales, there are different processing fees. This article goes more in-depth about how fees compare across platforms. The second decision is where to host your content. For e-books or a small number of videos, I'd recommend Gumroad. If you have a large video course, YouTube (with private videos) worked well for me. Another option is a fully-managed online course platform like Teachable.
Marketing & Advertising
Writing online was effective at growing my site, so I took the same approach for the course. I wrote three articles to attract inbound traffic from social media and search engines. I released a 26-minute introduction video on YouTube. Not only did this promote the course, but it further established my credibility. The video has over 2,500 views, almost all from organic searches. Providing value by giving is the fastest way to grow. If your audience has learned from you, they'll want more. Only after you've provided value can you sell a product. To give back, I ran a Twitter giveaway for the course. Initially, I planned for five winners. The response was so overwhelming that I ended up giving away ten instead. I spent $0 and reached 7,331 potential customers. Here's the full statistics on that tweet.
Detail expands: 119
Profile clicks: 101
Link clicks: 72
I realized it was time to spend money on advertising.
My first attempt at advertising was through Google Ads. Again, I started with a small bet of $5/day. The initial results were promising.
Ad Spend: $26.75
Sales: 2 x ($99)
Comparing impressions against Twitter shows how valuable of an asset it can be. I continued advertising with Google, increasing the daily spend to $20/day for another week. Here are the final numbers.
Ad Spend: $208.91
Sales: 6 x ($99)
I also tried Reddit. I iterated over a few ads with this approach.
Use A/B tests to try different ads
Take the ad with a higher click-through rate
Rinse and repeat
I'd optimize each ad by targeting specific subreddits. For example, /reactjs had twice the click-through rate for the same cost-per-click. Even though I was new to advertising, it played a critical role in growing the course. Now, I needed to launch.
For months, I worked closely with early customers to get feedback on the course. Feeling confident, I soft-launched with 95% of the content finished. After a week with no issues, it was time for the real launch. I posted to Product Hunt, Reddit, Indie Hackers, and everywhere else I could. By the time I had launched, I had $2,000 in pre-orders. Ten days later, I broke $3,000. When I started the course, my original goal was $5,000 in total. I thought that seemed aggressive. In retrospect, I aimed too low. Never underestimate the power of teaching online. Since launching in February 2020, I've surpassed $7,000 in revenue. I'm averaging ~$1,500/month, putting me on track to make $18,000 this year.
You Should Teach Online
There's never been a better time to become a creator. Blog posts, YouTube videos, courses, podcasts, streaming––if you have something others find value in, share it. Publish that article. Make that video. Stop waiting for a once in a lifetime idea and start teaching others online today. The opportunity outweighs your fears. Even if your audience is small, teaching others will improve your understanding of the subject. My story isn't unique. Here are some other creators that inspired me.
The year is 2010. The effects of the 2003 poker boom are still being felt and Black Friday [Black Friday is when online poker was forced to shut down in the USA, it hit the industry hard] is a year away. Americans, Europeans, Australians and almost the whole world are playing side by side on Pokerstars and Full Tilt [The two biggest online sites at the time]. Hundreds of people are signing up for poker sites each day. Tournament guarantees are at an all-time high. Poker sites’ pockets are overflowing and sites are offering generous bonuses and promotions. Poker TV is popular worldwide and Poker After Dark just entered its 6th season. The 2+2 poker forums are in full swing, it’s the epicenter of poker communication. Dozens of threads are made on popular subforums like NVG (News, Views and Gossip) or BBV (Beats, Brags and Variance) every day. BBV is a subforum of 2+2 where the moderation is far laxer than the rest of the 2+2. People often create posts showing off their tournament wins or lamenting huge downswings. After the initial post is made, the trolls would descend and replies like this were often seen:
Colin_Piddle: Ur a clown OP Tank Home & Away: Somebody call Donald Trump. OP thinks online poker is rigged. FranFran: Shut up. Idiot. Dave Coulier: LOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL OLLOLOLOLOLOLOL
The BBV Post
On 20th Feb 2010 Jared Huggins, posting under RelaxedPrecision, visits BBV to vent his frustration over busting his meager roll playing 100nl HU:
RelaxedPrecision: Beat: HU vs drooler, lost my $100 bankroll ($100 table obv.) He raised preflop every single hand including out of position. Called 75% of my three bets with trash. Only pot bet, regardless of board, his holdings, or position. He is -$1132 in 2000 hands, -33/bb 100 We played 250 hands. This guy was a corpse and I ran so cold it was insane. Only hitting any pair or a decent draw a couple of times. Twilight zone. Brag: Not homeless again till the end of the month. Getting a third job today. This week I've begged for food at fast food joints and have scored two steak tacos and 1 piece of chicken.
[Jared is complaining that he lost the last of his poker bankroll, $100] The usual procedure in BBV is for the BBV regulars to berate the original poster, usually in meme form. Jared’s thread is no exception:
Sobad87: FAIIIIIIL, homeless shelters exist for a reason. SmilingOrange: rock bottom itt Sump: in b4 homeless
However, the thread takes a darker turn when Jared starts to post more details about his living and financial situation.
RelaxedPrecision: I'm 5 peanuts and 2 cups of water into my day. Finding some awesome links about food for broke people in LA. RelaxedPrecision: Last time round, 6 month period, I chose cruising the back streets near my job/sleeping in car, rather than driving hours per day to/from shelter and risking jail/car impoundaments/belongings confiscated.
Jared seems to be not only in dire poverty but also grinding microstakes [microstakes in poker is buying in for $2-10 dollars] for any cash he can get. He posts that the roll he lost was from a referral payment on a poker website but he cant’t withdraw it. The posters start to get a little more sympathetic:
FastPlaySlow: Wow. I feel bad for ya OP. Kidlover: Keep your head up bro. Gimme a call if you want
A user named Airwave16 offers helps in his own way:
airwave16: create youtube vid of you dancing to around the world by daft punk in your boxers with a large sign that says "i love burningbend" and i'll ship you $30
Within 40 minutes Jared accepts this:
RelaxedPrecision: Never thought I'd do something like this, but I don't have much choice. RelaxedPrecision: Don't want to go back to living in my car. Last month some guys tried to break into my car while I was inside of it. Terrible experience.
The next day, to the surprise of many he posts a video on Youtube of him around his room, just as Airwave16 asked. Unfortunately the video is lost to time but this small photo of the video remains. 2+2 posters start to show more compassion when they see how desperate Jared is for money:
mcfals02: Hilarious video. Hope you run good at life soon OP. shikari424: If you've got a ftp [Full Tilt Poker,] account i'll ship something over bro[money could be sent between accounts], made me laugh
Ccuster_911 then offers a little more money for another challenge:
Ccuster_911 : Make a video of you going outside on the streets in LA offering people free HUGs(holding a sign ldo), I will ship you 30$, I want at least 10 random people being hugged
Others start to offer extra money to shoot this video:
cds0699: I'll chip in $10 for this. Greeson08: $20 more here...$30 more if you paint yourself green before doing the hug thing.
Jared is very thankful for the support and lets his fellow posters know:
RelaxedPrecision: I'm really overwhelmed and surprised. Thank you guys so much, you have no idea how good it feels that people on 2+2 would reach out to me like this. I'm totally blown away. Thank you so much. This is one of the best things that has happened to me in a very long time. Talked to the lady who rented me this room for 2 weeks. I got 5 days left here, then I'm back living in my car. I am going to do everything in my power to get back on my feet. I am so close. Every suggestion, I will do. I'll dance for penny. I'll come to your house and clean your toilet. That's where my mind is at
A user asks for him to take a photo with ‘Free Pageh’ on his head, he posts this
swd805: that pic is disturbing RelaxedPrecision: Mission accomplished.
Jared gives an insight into his mood while performing these tasks
RelaxedPrecision: Please do laugh at me. I laugh at myself as much as possible. I cried twice. 1st when Airwave propositioned me and I felt different inside, like "time to get desperate man". It was a nasty feeling. 2nd time I cried, when I finished the video & began to ask myself whether or not I would do various things for $ & heard some of the answers in my head. Both times I fought the tears back & realized I got no choice, need the $. So let's get some more ideas & keep this ball rolling. You guys are helping me, thank you
He also gives insight into his poor mental state and reveals that a 2+2 poster gave him a small stake [someone will send Jared money to play and Jared will split the profits]:
RelaxedPrecision: My friend (who's house I crashed at) is a pro MMA fighter , he lets me attend his MMA/BJJ class once a week. At class today, he yelled at me for doing a takedown wrong. I had a meltdown & broke down in tears in front of the class cuz I've barely eaten in 6 days. Shed 12 pounds this week. Just real drained. Prop update: Got staked to play $5 Sit n Go's [a one table tournament] on FTP. 5 hours of play, up a few bucks. 4 days till I'm homeless again.
Jared tells a story and hatches a plan while working at his new job:
RelaxedPrecision: Today, this big husky girl with linebacker shoulders came in2 my job today to buy shoes...size 11. She looks exactly like a man. She had this big lady with her who told me the size 11 girl liked me. So I gave her my digits. I hope she calls me soon. If she calls me I'm going to try & seduce her & go live with her. Wherever she lives, I'm sure there's plenty of food.
Over the next few hundred posts the mood of the thread becomes caring and many people are asking Jared about his current lifestyle. He tells the thread about his struggles with permanent housing, a bad back, hunger and employment. He posts photos of his car (where he sleeps) and a video of him dancing at work. Jared reveals intimate parts of himself and his passion for writing and music. He also posts that he has encountered problems with substance abuse and has been sober for a while. The trickle of small donations from posters becomes a steady flow:
JeReMyHaSSpoKen: pm me western union or paypal And ill ship you some cash Greeson08: Jared, hit me up on Skype. Sending $11.11 via FTP.
A month after Jared creates the BBV thread, March 9th, Jared posts the long awaited video of him hugging strangers that Ccuster_911 requested. Luckily, the video is still on YouTube. Here is the link. At this point he fittingly reveals his name is Jared Huggins and his nickname in school was Huggy. His fans love the video and let him know:
Doomriders: amazing nice job brothaa cds0699: Very amazing vid and I wish you nothing but the best Talking Poker: Video is awesome. Thread is awesome. You are awesome.
And he really enjoyed the experience:
RelaxedPrecision: I was surprised by the number of people who literally RAN into my arms. It was a day & an experience that I will never forget. If you enjoy the video half as much as I enjoyed making it, I'll be happy.
He tells 2+2 more about his life:
RelaxedPrecision: You guys reaching out to me is very much appreciated. I've had my fair share of obstacles in life. Born in a crack house, father died when I was 9, mother is an alcoholic, one brother a heroine addict, the other a crack dealer who was beaten and left for dead and never fully recovered his mind. Last year ran bad at life...lost my job, ripped my meniscus in two places, had a terrible reaction to prescription stress meds..etc etc. I ended up living in my calosing contact with my family... cuz my cousin is hooked on muscle relaxers & vicodin and it hurts too much to watch people I love hurt themselves.We all have challenges, and obstacles. Life is tough for everybody. I'm healthy, normal, moving in a positive direction
Jared’s birthday comes on the 12th of March and many posters wish him a happy birthday. At this point the donations from 2+2 posters continue and totals $1k. A few weeks later and Jared posts an amusing and NSFW story about living in a car. It’s long and not essential to the story so I won’t quote it. Read it here. Jared thanks the community again:
RelaxedPrecision: I've never had people care about me like this before, let alone strangers. From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank all of you.
The Big Game
Poker TV was very popular in 2010. The WSOP and other TV shows were broadcast across America and other countries. Pokersites were very keen on poker advertising appearing on TV, it was a very effective way to promote online poker sites. Full Tilt sponsored and regularly advertised on Poker After Dark. Full Tilt is even included in the show's title, which for a time prompted players associated with Pokerstars to stop appearing on the show. Pokerstars did not have as big a presence on TV as Full Tilt and they wanted to change that. How better than creating their own show? They would be able to have a majority of Pokerstars pros on TV and have players wearing their advertising patches. Thus, Pokerstars created The Big Game. The Big Game was a televised cash game [a cash game is different to a tournament, the players' chips represent cash explained more here] with a novel concept: each episode featured a loose cannon. The loose cannon is a recreational player, who is given $100k to play 150 hands of high stakes poker. The loose cannon gets to keep any profits from their session and the biggest winner from the season also gets $50k in NAPT tournament entrance costs. Any Pokerstars player is welcome to try to become the Loose Cannon. The line ups consisted of some popular pros who have a lively table presence like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Tony G. It also had some of the strongest players of the time like Ike Haxton and Phil Galfond. Joe Stapleton made his debut on the show as an announcer. He who would go on to do a great deal of poker commentating over the next decade. Each episode aired on The Fox Network and Pokerstars.tv. In the same BBV thread Jared started, one of the posters has a bright idea:
MasterWolf: I think you should apply to be a Loose Cannon on the Big Game. I know you'd get tons of 2+2 support, plus, you are awesome at making videos.
One of the Jared’s strongest supporters on 2+2 takes a keen interest in this idea:
John_Wray: THIS! Is this something we can make happen? I don't know anything about the process.
Rusemandingo: Would be amazing. AyinHara: for the producers of the Big Game, this is an easy one. snap it up! King Fish: PokerStars Steve was looking for 2p2 recommendations awhile ago. I sent him a text nominating OP but have not heard back. I suggest all of you PM him, and point him to this thread. Would make a much better story than anyone on here, and he has the video to back up both the story and personality already shot.
But how can Jared apply to go on The Big Game? Pokerstars run several tournament qualifiers for The Big Game on Pokerstars. These are details taken from The Big Game website:
There are free-to-enter Big Game Round 1 satellites running four times a day. Finish in the top 300 and you’ll advance to Round 2. Make it into the top 1,000 in a Round 2 tournament and you’ll get a seat in the Big Game Final Round qualifier. All players that finish in the top 200 in the final will be invited to send PokerStars a casting video, telling us why you think you should be on TV’s best new cash game show. Impress us with your video and you’ll be heading off to Las Vegas to star on the show as a Loose Cannon qualifier. Once the video is posted, people will vote on the their favourite video.
The freerolls are popular and attract about 5000 people for each round 1 freeroll. Jared would need to finish in the top 6% of the round 1 freeroll then he’ll be in the round 2 freeroll, he would need to finish in the top 15% to qualify for round 3. In round 3, only 200 qualify to make a video. The round 2 and 3 qualifier only ran once a week so Jared had a limited amount of attempts. John_Wray starts a new thread in support of Jared being considered to be a loose cannon on The Big Game. Within 24 hours the thread has over 400 posts, most of them people putting down their support for Jared to be on The Big Game. Boosted J hears of Jared’s story and posts in the petition thread. Boosted J is the screen name of Justin Smith, a skilled professional player. Boosted J offers Jared a potential job, poker coaching and access to his private mental coach. Boosted J would go on to get Jared in a Dr Dre video as an extra. At this point RelaxedPrecision is one year sober and life is looking good for him. He posts a video rapping about overcoming life’s obstacles. Daniel Negreanu notices and tweets about his rap:
RealKidPoker: Homeless guy Jared Huggins rapping about being sober 1 year, powerful lyrics. Guy has an amazing story to tell.
John_Wray reports that Jared has already started playing the freeroll qualifiers [a freeroll is a free to enter tournament]:
John_Wray: Jared's in a hotel tonight grinding the freerolls .
Jared is ready to play all four round 1 qualifiers on days he had free:
RelaxedPrecision: Going to grind as many of these things as humanly possible. RelaxedPrecision: I got out my schedule for the month, there will be for sure be days coming up where I will play all 4 first round games.
Support pours in:
CrazyNL: awsome man gl NomoneyHU: I'd like to wish you good luck man , i'm currently watching your video. Happy that things is going your way from now! I hope that you do qualify for the PS Big Game and ship all the manies. Sump: I hope you win this and double up on Big Game, ship the NAPT Passport
People start to watch him play and offer him advice. Jared found the journey hard at times:
RelaxedPrecision: Watched guys ship all in preflop with 72o for 4 hours straight. I get an above average stack, get it in with 10 10, run it smack dab into KK. And encountered his fair share of bad beats: RelaxedPrecision: Survive that, get it in with. 58 on a 8s7h6d flop vs Js7s, turn and river are spades, and it's time for a cold shower. lol
[Here he is saying that he feels the other players in the tournament are not playing well but he feels when he played well he felt he was unlucky] Jared starts a new day of round 1 qualifiers, ready to play all 4.
RelaxedPrecision: Fresh day of freerolls starts in 20 minutes. Playing more aggressive today. Feeling optimistic.
He starts playing a round 1 tournament qualifier and is doing well. He’s getting closer:
pokernutssss: 322/379! 79 to go GL jared John_Wray: just fold into the win now. you've got enough chips
MicroRoller: Congrats! 1 down 2 to go. RelaxedPrecision: YEEEEEEEEEEHAW!!! Feels good to be out of round 1. Just gotta find a way to run good [getting lucky]!
The next day, Jared enters round 2 and plays this hand in the middle stages:
Poker Stars Freeroll No Limit Hold'em Tournament - t500/t1000 Blinds + t250 - 9 players BSKid (BTN): t47500 M = 12.67 bones_522004 (SB): t119200 M = 31.79 tanwaruw (BB): t59200 M = 15.79 carlo 1959 (UTG): t1500 M = 0.40 mydream4u (UTG+1): t16200 M = 4.32 berdootim (UTG+2): t47150 M = 12.57 dickblow (MP1): t1750 M = 0.47 Life Guru (MP2): t42350 M = 11.29 Jared Huggins (CO:) with 6s6c : t9300 M = 2.48 Pre Flop: (t3750) 4 folds, Life Guru raises to t2000, Jared Huggins raises to t9050 all in, 3 folds, Life Guru calls t7050 Flop: (t21850) TcQh7s (2 players - 1 is all in) Turn: (t21850) Jh (2 players - 1 is all in) River: (t21850)Jd (2 players - 1 is all in)
Final Pot: t21850 Life Guru shows 8dAc (a pair of Jacks) Jared Huggins shows 6s6c (two pair, Jacks and Sixes) Jared Huggins wins t21850 [Jared plays well and wins]
RelaxedPrecision: **** yeah
But then falls:
John_Wray: ugh. You played great though.
After Jared asks about poker training sites, Taylor Caby pops into the thread to offer Jared membership to his training site: CardRunners:
Green Plastic: Hey Jared, if you'd like to try out CardRunners for free shoot me a PM, I'll have someone set you up over there.
After making a few deep runs in the round 1 tournaments, Jared has several round 2 tickets and is putting his newly found membership to good use:
RelaxedPrecision: Won 3/4 round 1 tournaments today. Now I have four round 2 Tokens saved. Watching Cardrunner.com videos all day tommorrow, and grinding more freerolls
A few days later and Jared makes the final round of freerolls:
Amnestia: gg, jared, good luck in round 3 Isitdur?: It would be the sickest rags to riches story ever if you got on The Big Game, Jared. I really hope you do it. Good luck in Round 3 I will be railing along with all of your other supporters!
Jared registers and plays a round three qualifier tournament and encounters this hand:
Preflop: Jared Huggins in MP1 with AcKc UTG bets t1200, Jared Huggins raises to t3000, 1 fold, MP2 calls t3000, MP3 calls t3000, 4 folds, UTG calls t1800 Flop: (t14250) 3c6sKs (4 players) UTG checks, Jared Huggins bets t10000, MP2 calls t10000, MP3 calls t1950 (All-In), 1 fold Turn: (t36200) Ac (3 players, 1 all-in) Jared Huggins bets t25000, MP2 raises to t26050 (All-In), Jared Huggins calls t1050 River: (t88300) 4d (3 players, 2 all-in) Total pot: t88300 Results: Jared Huggins shows AcKc (two pair, Aces and Kings). MP2 shows Js9s (flush, Ace high). MP3 shows KdTs (one pair, Kings). Outcome: MP2 won t88300 [Jared plays well but get unlucky in a large pot and is out of this round 2 tournament]
Jared is out and continues to grind the qualifying tournaments. A week later and he registers for a round three freeroll and is going deep. A fan posts his position:
MasterWolf: Current Stats: 81,262 chips. avg: 142,959. position 247 / 348. Top 200 get in
Jared gets closer…
MasterWolf: 44 left. he's got 7th shortest stack in tourney. BUT HE CAN DO IT! Go Jared!!
Jared gets increasingly close but is very shortstacked [doesn't have many chips]: The railbirds [players who watch online poker] watch on:
__27__: Never been so happy railing [watching] a freeroll, this is some crazy ****.
Hard bubble and the tournament goes hand for hand [this means there is only 1 player left to go out, when they do all remaining players qualify for the video round]:
MasterWolf: 1 person left
Jared posts. He has qualified!
RelaxedPrecision: I can't believe this is actually happening.
Jared has done it. With the full support of his fan base Jared is one big step closer to getting onto The Big Game. The posters go crazy in his sweat thread and dozens of people congratulate him. Afterwards, Pokerstatic interview Jared and he opens up about his difficult upbringing and life. Link to summary here. Jared is very popular on 2+2 and has a keen fan base but not everyone likes the attention and donations Jared is getting. Later on a Jared opposition thread would be created. Here’s an example of opposition towards Jared:
Lchampag: Its just the way everyone here is completely giving this story all their faith. Just reminds me of those old people that get scammed is all. I work in the coal mining industry. Pay starts out at around $20/h for the first six months(for"red hats") and then goes to around 25 after that for a general laborer. There are men hired at my mines everyday, come and get a freaking job! I guess this work is too hard for those that would just rather get handouts...
Some people were upset he was getting so much in donations. In 2010 he received $6k from 2+2 members. Jared’s fans respond with posts like this:
Srkbigdaddy: i dont know why people would bother posting in a thread that actually has a ton of heart with their snide and rude remarks. obviously its okay to post your feelings but if they are not gonna help the situation then they are pointless. you are basically just stepping on someone who is down
John Wray gives an update on Jared and his health:
John Wray: Jared is seeing his therapist again, and has just moved into a new place. He's very happy with it as it is within his price range and his landlord is a former deacon. They plan to attend services together on Sundays. His bad back is still a big problem, one that needs to be addressed immediately.
Grayson Physioc also known as Spacegravy on 2+2 is a SNG [Sit 'n' Go, a one table tournament] crusher who fought his way from from microstakes to highstakes [A common story for skilled players to deposit $100 on a pokersite, fight their way up the ranks and turn it into millions]. He arrives in the thread and offers to fly Jared to Maimi and coach him, Jared flies out and posts this from Miami:
RelaxedPrecision: Spacegravy flew me out here to Miami to learn Sit N Go's, I'm totally blown away! He is an A+ human being! Haven't gone to the beach, haven't gone sight-seeing, haven't gone anywhere, just straight up grinding poker. Grinding as much as possible!
While in Miami, Jared’s mind is on making the best video he can to ensure he gets onto The Big Game. John_Wray helped, by the 28th of October it is finished and posted. Jared’s Big Game Audition Tape November the first rolls by and the audition tapes of all the qualifiers are uploaded and ready to be voted on. Jared is looking good and is in second place with 1.1k votes. 2nd November and Jared returns from Miami. He’s up $800 on SNGs from his time playing and getting mentored by SpaceGravy. The weeks pass by. People can vote on one video per day so Jared’s fans are visiting and voting as much as they can:
8Nilor: Voting everyday btw. and got others to also.
The thread builds with excitement. With so many fans in the poker world Jared is sure to be selected to go on The Big Game. In December, Jared posts that all is going well with him. He has two jobs and a room to stay in. Jared gives a few updates:
RelaxedPrecision: When I'm not at work, I am working on my game everyday, grinding 50NL 6 max deep on Stars, going over hand histories, and getting coaching when I can.
[50nl deep is a type of poker played with 6 maximum players on the table buying in for $50-100] 2011 begins. In January the voting closes and Jared can only wait. And then the news that Jared and many 2+2 posters have been waiting for is here. Jared notices an email from Pokerstars. He reads the news from Pokerstars about The Big Game. He receives the results and rushes to 2+2 to share the news:
RelaxedPrecision: I got an email from PokerStars informing me that I was not selected to compete as a Loose Cannon on next season’s PokerStars Big Game. I wasn’t given any specific reason why I wasn’t selected, but I was thanked for trying out. TwoPlusTwo.com, thank all of you for supporting me and showing me love. To be loved was a dream come true for me. I'm convinced that love cures most illness.
Jared was not successful. It's crushing news to the community. All their efforts spent helping Jared onto The Big Game was for nothing. The community reply to the news:
AlienSpaceBat: Wow, Jared, I'm really sorry to hear this Isitdur?: So bummed to hear this news, Jared. 2ndUnit: I am very, very disappointed of this decision by PS. Don't let it bring you down Jared, keep going.
A few weeks pass and there’s not much news from Jared. He settles back into working and improving his situation.
It’s all over
Jared had not made the cut for The Big Game. But it’s not all bad. Jared is in a much better position than he was a year ago. He has a roof over his head and steady employment. The past year was a crazy ride for him and he’s made many friends from 2+2. His poker skill is improving and he has top players coaching him. But no one predicted what would happen next month. In the middle of February 2011, a Pokerstars representative dropped into 2+2 to post unbelievable news:
PokerstarsSteve: The seven Loose Cannons scheduled for the July 2011 showing of The PokerStars.net Big Game are: Gonzales Cannon II - Sacramento, CA Courtney Gee - Vancouver BC Jared Huggins - Los Angeles, CA Massimiliano Martinez - Rome, Italy Cari Bershell - Las Vegas, NV Kenneth Hrankowski - Vancouver BC Anton Dunyushkin - Moscow, Russia
Jared Huggins is confirmed to appear on The Big Game Season 2. This is shocking to the community because there was no knowledge on 2+2 that he was even considered for season 2. The community erupts:
ak47: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! ROADHEAD: WOW NO WAY, WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED!! MrPowell222: WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO! TayWolf55: GO GO GO GO GO Jared!
Almost exactly a year after living in his car and making his BBV thread he has the shot of a lifetime for fame and fortune. But first, Jared needs to prepare for the biggest shot of his life. Jared dedicates four months to preparation for going on The Big Game. He plays as much online cash game poker as he can. He has access to a training site and receives free coaching from top pros. To simulate The Big Game he plays 50,000 hands of 6max deep online [6max deep is the poker format played on The Big Game] and even plays tough opponents who would drop down in stakes to play with him. In 2011 he makes three trips from LA to Las Vegas to practice and get used to live play. He practices chip handling, breathing and getting comfortable going from online to live. He reads Caro’s Books of Tells and would sit at the lowest stakes while studying every player closely. He never parties on these trips, just play and study. He watches all 72 episodes of The Big Game Season 1 and analyzes every hand. While watching he would have seen Season 1’s biggest winner, Bob Ferdinand, win $181,500 and $50k in NAPT tournament entries. In this time Jared remakes his Free Hugs video and once again, wanders LA shores with a sign and offers free hugs to the public. Jared uses some of the money from this video and donates $1k to charity. Reshot video here The line up for The Big Game is announced: Seat 1: Jared Huggins Seat 2: Nick Cassavetes – A recreational player. Cassavetes works in the film industry. Seat 3: Barry Greenstein – Poker legend known for his Philanthropy Seat 4: Vanessa Selbst – An aggressive and skilled player. Won NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event back to back. Seat 5: Antonio Esfandiari – An accomplished player who would go on to win The Big Drop for $18m next year. Seat 6: Prahlad Friedman – An experienced cash game player. Played under Spirit Rock and used to crush online games Reserve: Phil Lakk - An entertaining professional player. There are certainly some tough opponents on this table. Fortunately, Jared has a recreational player on his left [at the poker table players on the left are more likely to apply pressure than players on the right. Because Cassavetes is a recreational player he should be applying less pressure on Jared than a pro]. The community reacts:
blackjacki2: hard lineup J0hny: Best of luck to you !
Then the day of filming arrives. Jared drives to Las Vegas to play in the biggest cash game of his life. He’s had months of training for this one moment. Hundreds of people on 2+2 are following his progress and Jared will soon be broadcast across the USA playing with seasoned professionals.
Now, the story is almost at an end. You have three options on how to consume the finale:
You can watch all four episodes of The Big Game to see what happens, links below. When you are finished watching, click the spoiler box below and read the end of the story.
If you don’t want to watch all 4 episodes then I’ve posted some timestamped links of Jared’s biggest hands, I’ve linked one hand per episode. There are 12 minutes of clips. When you are finished watching, click the spoiler box below and read the end of the story.
If you don’t want to watch any Big Game then click the spoiler box below and read on. [If you want to watch some of The Big Game it may be a good idea to watch this video I linked in the introduction again]
Jared did not end up profiting on the episode. He played until hand 126 of 150 when he ran his QQ into Cassavetes’ KK. Jared doesn’t hit and is off The Big Game.[KK is the second best hand in poker and QQ is the third best, so it was unlucky for Jared to get QQ and another player has KK. However, Jared was playing poorly and too passively in other hands in the episodes] Posts from 2+2 were mixed, many posts in the thread were not kind towards his play. The community criticized some of the hands he played:
Jazzed23: the dude played like crap. No 3 betting, no bluffing, no floating and turn barrelling. he was playing scared and tight. Blew away $25k just by folding. cobrastatus: How could this guy... get so much free coaching... and be so terrible... trip_kings12: what a waste of a week for this show. Jared, the loose cannon, was almost unbearable to watch. I doubt I've ever seen a tighter, more scared loose cannon in all my years in poker.
[The posters here are saying that he was playing poorly and passively] One fan posts this:
LolDonkamentz: I'll admit I was kind of disappointed with the result of this. I enjoyed all the build up and was really excited for this to be the climax of the Jared Huggins saga but it wasn't to be. His awkwardness at the table combined with his below average performance made for bad television
And Jared replied:
RelaxedPrecision: To you and others Donkamentz, sorry if I wasn't able to do my part to entertain you. It's a big show with lots of people on it, so I don't feel solely responsible for your entertainment, any more than I feel responsible for not hitting a huge hand. Thank you for caring about how I did.
Most of the posts were neutral or negative but there were still some positive posts:
kevmode: Gl to you in the future Jared. You are a nice guy, just block out the negative and think positive.
So, what happened to Jared after The Big Game? After The Big Game, Jared stopped posting so much in 2+2 and he slowly faded from posters’ minds. Shortly after The Big Game, he posted a post show reflection where he thanked the community, he spoke of how he enjoyed playing with the pros and his heartbreak after busting. He wished he had talked more and played some hands differently. He finishes with a final thought:
RelaxedPrecision: I'm happy and grateful for what this journey has been. I made some amazing friendships, saw amazing places, and had my dreams come true. I had amazing experiences, that I will never in my life forget, memories that I will always look back upon with a smile.
In 2012 he posted this post where he shared his battles with health conditions and how he still plays poker. In 2016 he posted this in a thread about poker in developing countries. He wrote about living in China for 9 months.
Emails/Phone calls and Customers of the Week 6/11/2020 OR u/pestilence (the only good mod) loses $1 to me
I know you all have been looking forward to this day! Lets get started with some emails! Subject: Ruger SR1911 Message: Hi. Are you a FFL/store front or private seller? Thanks FC: I think ATF would have an objection to a guy with a website, business cards and 800 guns for sale without an FFL
Would agree. I have to admit I did t even read the website. There is a gentleman on another site that has business cards in his posts to support a political campaign/candidate so I guess I just assumed and you know what they say.
Subject: Nighthawk GRP Recon Message: Hey do you have a tracking number for my purchase? FC: Don't send out tracking anymore due to diversion.
FC: People intercept packages at the post office and the dealer never gets them.
Wow! 10-4...can you let me know when you get delivery confirmation?
FC: Sure. Should be at Rob Blank's place in Milpitas on Tuesday.
Subject: Glocks Message: Hi, Do you have any Glock 23 or 27 available to ship to California? How much does it cost with shipping? FC: Right now, all stock is tight. Any preference on new versus used? I have no new 23's or 27's. I could scrounge and get you some used guns but prices are top dollar and them sone right now. Do you have a target budget in mind and an FFL that can get your paperwork done?
Thanks for your quick reply. I would prefer a new one please.
FC: I can get you a new one, would take some effort and some scrounging but it's doable. What's your budget?
I have about 600 or so, and I live in Monterey California. I have to check with the local gun shop about receiving the shipment for me. Does your price include shipping or can you please explain to me your fees and other cost? I am assuming you are going to be looking for a California approved gen 3 version.
FC: Well, the gen 3 is the only thing the dealer can transfer to you. If you want, I can get you a gen 4, ship it there and it just sits there until it becomes legal but that's not really a great option. What's your window on delivery? Both those guns are going to be tough to get.
This option seems just too much of a hassle. Thanks for your quick reply and consideration. I think it is time for me to consider other guns to add to my CCW.
Subject: Glock 26 Message: Hello do you still have a Glock 26 gen 5 in stock? I’m in Oregon would need it shipped to an ffl out here FC: Sure do! Get me an FFL and I'll get it sent! (No response back) Subject: (no subject) Message:Hey, do you still have the Noveske Light Recce for sale? FC: Sure do. Would you like it?
Would you consider a trade? I have a Barrett m107a1 in Fde. It has the 29” barrel. Willing to work out a deal.
FC: Sure. I trade when I can make money.
Can you add some guns in?
FC: I have 900 guns in stock right now. Can you be more specific?
I’m looking mostly for the m82+cash. I prefer it to my m107. But outside of that Noveske Light Recce, LWRC pistons or di Ar10 in Pof, DD, HK and KAC Saw 249 .338 lapua rifles Mp5s Stuff like that.
FC: I mean I could do anything there but there’s lots of variation. You’d be best served doing a cash deal with me but I’m going to make money on both ways.
Could you do the N4 plus cash?
FC: Sure but I'd need to see what you have and know how much cash. Keep in mind, I can buy lots of things wholesale with terms though
(sends IMAGE OF M107 HANGING ON THE RENTAL WALL OF HIS RANGE WITH A PRICE TAG ON IT)
FC: Okay. So what value do you put on it for trade?
Paid 11k but trade value at 10k
FC: I can buy that new on 30 day terms for the same price as your used gun. Subject: Glock 19 Message: hey is the glock still available? FC: Sure is. How many do you want?
Just one please
FC: I can get it done. Picking up?
I can pick it up. Where are you located? I'm coming from North Louisiana.
Hmmm. Only obstacle is I just moved to LA. I dont have a state ID yet. I have new york id, and I'm a disabled veteran. Just got here a week ago. Been trying to get a carry piece b4 theu shut down sales entirely
FC: Well, get an ID with your residency and we'll figure it out.
I got a lease, so that would work
FC: Leases don't work.
But the lease proves my residency.
FC: Not to ATF.
I'll try to get a fishing license 2moro then.
Subject: Knights Armament SR15 Message: Interested in the LPR Mod 2 if you have one. FC: Sold out, I can order you one though.
Hi Will, My local gun store said they would put me on a list but I’m not confident since they are so busy. They said I’d probably have to wait till KAC makes more guns. If you come across a LPR Mod 2 please let me know.
FC: The only way I’d get one of those is if I scrounge one up from my dealer buddies and that gun is going to be a tough one. All my KAC guns sold for top dollar two months ago going into Coronagunrun. (three days go by)
Will, What do you think of this deal? I found this LPR Mod 2 on armslist.
All the black rifle builders are backed up just like every other black rifle builders. I got $2750 out of all mine when I had them. It's easy for me to spend someone else's money, but I'm not sure what you're asking of me. Correct me if I'm wrong but you don't want to wait for another gun to come available but you still want one today? That makes it tough to figure out a plan. Plus it says listing deactivated.
I know… I’m all over the map, but thank you for that information, I’ve never bought a gun like that before and was just looking for some confirmation. With so much doubt on finding this rifle and finding one for sale… I didn’t want to lose the opportunity so I bought it.
Subject: Sig 226 Message: Do you have a 226 available left? FC: I have one MK25 left in stock.
Excellent. I had my FFL email you their FFL. Just to confirm and document a couple of details of our transaction here.
Handgun model: The Sig P226 MK25
Clear title no previous owner.
New gun, never fired with everything come in factory box.
Any handling wear and tear?Could you please confirm? Thanks.
FC: I have their FFL info and can get a shipment label off the printer in a few minutes and get this out with today's fedex run. Mk25 is correct Previous owner was a large multinational firearm manufacturer. New with factory load out Box hasn’t been opened by anyone but me so they’re all mint
I was under the impression these firearms are new and not pre owned. Why are you advertising them as new when clearly they've been owned by someone else?
(No response, gun goes back on shelf) This one is too long for me to cut and paste. Here's how it goes. Subject: (none) Message: glock 19 gen 5 in stock? I tell him yes, he lines up a dealer in California that won't take it. He asks me for availability on 20 other guns, none of which are CA legal. He gives me a list of another 5 guns and asks pricing and availability, none of which are CA legal either. FC gives up and loses his will to live. Subject: none Message: Hello I have a question would you be able to help me and another person do an NFA transfer she is getting her paperwork back for a Mac I am buying it from her the local gun store near me doesn't do it they do not do individual to individual but could you do the paperwork for us that's the question And what would your services be if you're able to do it I have a guy down at Houston we can use but that's a long ride I know there's somebody around here that can do it I know how to do it but it's easier for a dealer to do it that way there's no mess ups Thanks (I return the phone call and have a 30 minute conversation with the guy who claims that if you could get a home based FFL he'd have one and about how he's such a wheeler dealer and about how he's bought so many machineguns and SBR"s over the years and I get the bright ide to ask him something: if you've bought so many guns, why do you need someone to walk you through a form 4? Shocked pikachu ensues.) Subject: Colt 45 Message: You have had this listed for a long time. What is the best cash price you will do? FC: What are you offering?
If you are leaving it up to me...$750
FC: Your old emails have you at 725 on this one firm.
Ok, don't let this cash burn a hole in my pocket! I'll go to 750 on that gun!
FC: I'll be honest. I sold about 30 guns this week, I wouldn't mind selling another 30 next week but I'd have to hang on to what I have left to do that.
Somebody should have bought that Colt long as you've had it listed!
FC: It could be you! But not at 750 (next morning)
Well good morning there. Today is a new day. You selling me the Colt today?
FC: Thinking about it. Make me a better offer.
I'm a Baton Rouge resident. Sell me this Colt at my price. I could be a long standing customer. If not, be like a fart in a whirlwind.
FC: I’ll sell you this stainless series 70 colt at your price - $750 on one condition. Can you figure out a way for me to make money doing it? https://imgur.com/ZGk5cyq
I like you pretty good. Maybe I'll buy a gun off you in the future...thanks for you time
Subject: Magpul back in stock https://imgur.com/1UMmJC3 Monday: June 1. I will spare you all the play by play timestamps. The AC isn't working at FC HQ. It's Louisiana. It's hot. The thermostat is in the other unit and they're closed mondays. Fuck. Guy calls me up asking about the LWRC M6 I have. Very polite. Spends 35 minutes grilling me on options, optics, etc. He gives me info for his FFL, I call his FFL and get everything coordinated. I come to find out he's looking at an old old old ancient forum post. From August 2015. He expects August 2015 price. I tell him NOPE. Market rate. He hems and haws and then he says okay its a deal. he asks about condition and specs. I tell him brand new factory 16" gun. When he finds out it's a 16" gun he's surprised. He was expecting a 10.5" gun. I tell him that's an SBR. He wants an SBR! I tell him he's going to have a 9 month wait on tax stamps. He wants an SBR today. I tell him the closest I can get him is an AR pistol. He does not want an AR pistol. I tell him that's the best I can do right now. He says thanks but no thanks. I sell a SHIT TON OF GUNS. That LWRC M6 I had? Threw it up on one of the gun boards FOR A HUNDRED BUCKS MORE. Sold in an hour. I take the money and ink the deal. I call the bar journal editor and tell her I need a copy of the article I ran for my brag book. She says it's in the mail. My phone rings, it's Keith from Virginia. He's the brother of a very good customer of mine down here. He needs an AAC 51T muzzle brake in 5/8x24. I don't have any. Nobody does. I start scrounging and I find one on guns for sale. I double check all the item numbers and I get it taken care of for him. I tell him it should be in his mailbox by the end of the week. Tuesday: June 2. AC is running. It's frosty. I like this. Today is gonna be a good day. Maybe I won't even have to use my AK. Guy who wanted the LWRC M6? He calls me wanting to buy it. Already sold. Sorry buddy. You guys will love this. Actual conversation I had in person. (ring ring) 1: Hey I'm here in the parking lot looking for your door FC: I'll come out and find you. I find the guy and lead him inside FC: What can I do for you? 1: I'm looking for a rifle, semi automatic. Something nice. FC: Okay any preference on caliber? 1: Something like five five six, maybe five five seven. If not too much more money, I'd be willing to go five five eight. FC: (stunned silence) 1: Or maybe something in the AK platform, seven six two by thirty nine or possibly even forty nine. (I'm not joking. Those were the words.) Wednesday: June 3 I shipped a gun to a dealer an hour away. I get a phone call. 1: I need a copy of your FFL FC: Why? 1: because I need a copy! FC: Why? 1: FEDERAL LAW SAYS I NEED A COPY, I can't book in this gun without your FFL. FC: Why not? 1: BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T PUT ONE IN THE BOX! FC: I don't have to, you should read the regulation book. 1: LOOK, I've been doing this THIRTY YEARS and I know what I'm doing. I need your FFL to put it in the book with a license number. FC: There is a license number. Look at the invoice. 1: IT IS ILLEGAL FOR YOU TO SHIP A FIREARM TO A LICENSEE WITHOUT A LICENSE AND A COPY OF THE LICENSE! We do the ez check thing and we can't use any of it UNLESS WE HAVE YOUR LICENSE NUMBER which isn't there! FC: No it's not, and all my info is on the invoice that you can plug into your records. 1: WHERE on the invoice? FC: On the invoice on the top. First three last five are in ink on the paper, do you see it. 1: Those numbers are your license numbers? FC: Yes. 1: HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THOSE ARE YOUR LICENSE NUMBERS? FC: You said you've been doing this thirty years? 1: Absolutely! FC: So in thirty years of doing business you'd know that EVERY FFL in the ENTIRE STATE of Louisiana begins with 5-72.........so you're telling me in thirty years of doing business you're unable to recognize a license number from the very same state and geographic region that you operate within? 1: I DON'T HAVE TO TAKE THIS SORT OF ABUSE THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER GOODBYE That dude was buttmad. My job here is done. Oh yeah, and that Stainless colt that that dude wanted me to sell under cost? Sold at asking price. I sell one of my regulars an old Stainless Sig 220 in 45ACP. He takes it to the range on the spot. I get an email telling me he loves the gun.
He tells me the records were supposed to be sealed but I guess they weren't. The other guys I have no idea and I keep their money. ring ring FC: Go for FC 1: do you have 40 ammo? FC: What kind? 1: forty FC: No what kind FMJ or hollowpoint? 1: Uh. FC: When you figure it out let me know. I hang up. They call back later. I tell them $100 a box. They say no thanks. I then sell a case of 500 rds of 40S&W to someone for $350. Life is good. I stop by the catholic church thrift store and donate a bunch of old clothes on my way home. Thursday: June 4 Don Rimgale, the fire marshal over at station 17 stops by on his lunch break. Apparently the church thrift store had an fire early in the morning and completely burned down. Don thinks that it is electrical. Fuck me to tears. Don shoots the bull with me and I show him some more guns to buy. A regular comes in and buys a gun. He's cool. I get an email from a guy in CA that wants a stainless sig 220. I tell him it's gonna cost him. He says its okay. I call back the guy I sold the 220 to. I offer him $100 more than he paid. It's a deal. Friday: June 5 Regular's wife is mad and I buy the gun I sold him back at a $200 discount. I make the best deals America. Nobody makes deals like these. The bar journal is in the mailbox. Two copies, one for me and Megan. Except one problem. They sent me last month's issues and not this month's. Oh well. No biggie. Sig 220 stainless comes back, I count out some cash and the guy is super happy he got to rent a gun for free AND MAKE $100 IN THE PROCESS Where are we getting guns to sell to new people with money? We're buying them back from the people we just sold them to. CA guy is happy. I made $350 on the deal and it took me....maybe an hour? An old friend from high school stops by and asks me to sell his gun collection. Solid! A customer walks in while we're chatting looking for a cheap Glock 19 Gen 3. I tell him you and the rest of the country! He buys a Sig 226 magazine for coming in and wasting my time. I tell him it's not a waste if it's a sale! While I'm making my fedex run in the rain, I get a call from a guy looking for my door. I tell him I'll be back in 10. I get back and he tells me he's looking for a Colt Government Model steel frame 45ACP or a Glock 23. I show him what I have. Eventually, we narrow down the gun he wants to order: an FN FNX Tactical 45. I get the order written. He's looking at other guns and snags two more for him and his wife. New customer, first impression good. Apparently he went to the store across the way and they didn't treat him very nicely, didn't answer any of his questions on 9mm vs 45 and were very very poorly and he liked my approach a lot. I get his order working and I've got to find some more stuff for other customers and get that ordered. There's only one problem: There's ONE warehouse in the country that has everything I need. You guessed it. Bill Hicks Co. In MINNEAPOLIS. BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Not only is Bill Hicks backed up 2 weeks on shipping! https://imgur.com/soBnxFS I'm getting a box, from a warehouse where everyone got the 'rona. Fuck. Order it and grab some lysol wipes. I check the mail. https://imgur.com/1t4fpb2 Pest lost another dollar to me again, and like a champ I will accept my win gracefully. I hang his $1 next to bat george from our August 2012 bet that he also lost - https://imgur.com/RvCtr If anyone was wondering what the bet was. He said that my uzi, wasn't really serialized as IWUVBRITTANY but rather 1WUVBRITTANY - the number one instead of an I. I proved him wrong. My phone starts ringing. It's Keith in Virginia. He's pissed that I got him the wrong mount. I get him to explain the problem. The can won't fit on the mount. It just drops in. Now, a little backstory. I had to scrounge to get this mount. I checked the exterior packaging and the numbers THREE TIMES. This should be a five eighths by 24TPI mount. I had to set up a paypal friends and family payment to get this done. I had to draft up from scratch a deliberate well crafted thoughtful message about how my payment to the seller for gun parts would be labeled as some money for their gender reassignment operation, a new wardrobe and how "All of us especially your uncle ted - knew you were a woman trapped in a man's body this entire time" - I SPENT A LOT OF GODDAMNED TIME MAKING SURE THIS WOULD GO RIGHT AND NOW WHAT in the holy FUCK is going on...... Back to Keith. He's furious and looking at the back of the package stating that the reason it probably does not fit is it's the metric 18x1 mount. Me: Is the mount on your rifle? K: No Me: Is the mount not going on the rifle? K: No, it won't even fit in the can. Me: Tell me what you mean won't fit in the can. K: It just drops in it won't lock on. Me: It won't lock on? Tell me about that. K: Well I drop it on and it just pulls right off. Me: You have to turn the can on the mount for it to latch. K: Oh really? Me: This is your SDN6? K: Yeah, I got three of them. Me: You know how you have to turn it to get the latching mechanism to lock the can on? K: Well it's been a few years since I've been to the range, I think I get it now. Your check is in todays mail. Crisis averted. I manage to sell another Glock 17 for $850. I bid on a Glock 18C on gunbroker but I get outbid. Debating making another post sample. Have a lovely friday everyone!
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