If you've taken on work and have promised deadlines, you certainly would work more than eight hour shifts! Working "whenever you felt like it and just a few hours at a time" would not pay the bills. Back in the day I was a big stamp collector. That led to being involved in the stamp business. I burned out on it to the point that I didn't look at stamps for over 20 years. I've only recently started collecting again. I decided I'd never do that to a hobby again!
I've worked in Facility Management in the pharmaceutical industry for the past 35 years. Thousands of people sit in office space I designed, built and managed. Today I am the Program Manager for Reliability Engineering for a major pharma. I spend my days communicating with people at the facilities around the world.
as others have said... do as best as you can. Ask a lot of questions, learn what you can. A lot of what we do isn't magic or high talent, it's just simple things you haven't discovered on your own. Make each model a little bit better than the last one. Listen to the voices in your head. Build the model like you would want to build it in 1:1. This is an art. Develop your own style and devil be damned if others just don't get it. Go to shows to "PARTICIPATE" and don't worry about competing or winning awards. Put your models on the table to share your work with other participants. When someone engages you in a conversation about one of your models, you may have met a new friend. More important than trophies. Have lunch with people you meet there! Early in my modeling hobby, I focused on contests and winning awards. I built what I thought judges would like, rather than what I would like. I was on edge at shows and left either ticked off or elated, depending on how the judging went. I wasn't having fun. When I finally decided it all didn't matter was when I started having fun. Today at shows I display my models and shop a bit. I spend most of my day talking with people and looking at the models. And a funny thing, I still win an award occasionally.
I could not build models for a living. Even if they paid me my work billing rate. One rather grueling year I had vacation time I needed to use, so I took off Thanksgiving week. I told my wife I was going to work on models the whole week. Well, by mid-second day I had enough. I'm much better off a few hours at a time. When I feel like it. No eight hour shifts for me!
My foray with a new Challenger was courtesy of Avis. The company I was working for always paid for the cheapest car and somehow they gave me one of these. When I got in it my first thought was that I was in a time machine, back in my 1973 Barracuda! They really copied it to the last detail of the miniscule rear seat, zero rear vision and non existent trunk. You sit down low and look up at the side window sills. Yea, I really wanted to relive all that!
Pete, eBay has been chasing Amazon's tail for along time. They forgot their roots in collectibles and have been focusing on chasing consumer junk. That market is Amazon's bread and butter, and I understand Walmart is in the process of building their own marketplace. If you do the numbers, there are a lot more people buying "stuff" than collectibles. I was talking mainly about my experience with collectibles. From 1998, I had found a great niche for selling car brochures of the 1980s and 1990s. People had just started collecting the 1:1 cars and wanted the brochure for their car. I made a lot of car owners happy and was amply rewarded. That lasted maybe 5 years. Slowly my sell through rate and average price per unit progressively fell. In the beginning I could do no wrong. I had an average sale price of $12 and my sell through was probably 80-90%. People who saw profit, but didn't have the where all to actually do the business model entered. Suddenly I was competing with tons of auctions for $1 plus $1 postage. These guys didn't even know that it would cost more than $1 to mail one! So as their stuff started selling at opening bid, they were actually losing money! Once the sell through rate fell under 50% and the average sale was down to $5, it wasn't worth it to me financially to continue so I stopped selling.
I don't think "stores" has anything to do with this. Back when eBay was fairly new you could do no wrong as a seller. I used to do big business in old car brochures. I'd spend Saturday listing items, and every few listings I'd hit refresh and the stuff I had listed in the last hour already had bids. Everything I auctioned sold with competitive bidding and some surprising winning numbers. What happened? Market saturation. It happened slowly but eventually I couldn't give away the same items. And this was before stores. You could do a search and there'd be dozens of the same item, with some folks asking a dollar starting bid, and lucky if it got that. I wasn't depending on eBay for a living, just for some extras. So when it dried up, it wasn't worth my time any longer so I stopped selling. The whole time it was really good, I had two thoughts. One was that if I spent my full time doing eBay, what would be the potential... and my second thought was that it was too good to last. That turned out to be the right one! And those who put all their eggs in one basket lost. Shame on them.
Since we have expanded this a bit... I do have electricity and indoor plumbing. I am sitting in air conditioning right now too! My cell phone is my primary phone, no home phone number. The only time that's inconvenient is when I get calls intended for my wife. I do not have Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat. I do have FaceBook and I like it to keep up with family and friends. We do have an NNL East page to communicate with fans. I also belong to groups for the towns I lived in and near in NJ and back in Germany. The Germany one especially has been great in connecting me with people I knew as kids. Communicating with them has helped me remember details of my life I had forgot. I also belong to my high school year and am in touch with many people I lost touch with years ago. In fact a few weeks ago I spent a Saturday with one of my best high school friends I hadn't seen in 20 years. There are a lot of model car groups on FaceBook but I try not to participate since there are so many and I already am in two boards including this one. It seems that people who start these can make you a member. Then everyone in that group sends you a friend request. I don't accept friends I don't know, so I decline those. And I've unjoined those groups. At one time it got to the point all I saw on my feed was model car stuff and the lunch of people I didn't even know. My wife would ask if I saw my cousin's post, um no but Iggy Bitz, who I don't know, had tacos for lunch! So I deleted most of those people! I do have a lot of model car friends on FaceBook. I'm happy to do so with people I know. If I know you in person, or we are friendly on the boards, that's good. I'd be friends with you. There is a lot of power on FaceBook to learn information. For instance all my life I had heard legend of a fatal auto accident in my town that killed 6 teens. Always heard different stories, as those things usually go. I belong to a group for my town, so I asked the question. Within minutes someone posted the newspaper article and I had the actual facts 40 years later. In my Germany group I had asked for a photo of the house I lived in there. A German fellow drove there and took a picture for me. FaceBook has the power to make people on other continents do things for you! You cannot beat the technology! I use the smartphone daily for a ton of things. My bank texts me if my checking account falls below a certain dollar level. Then I hit the bank app and move money from savings to checking instantly. Walgreens has a smartphone app for reordering prescriptions. You just point your phone camera at the bar code on the bottle, and it reorders that prescription for you. No more typing all those numbers into the phone! And there's a ton more apps that make your life easier. And I'm all for easier. Have not gotten any tattoos since my last post.
Let's say of a 24 hour day you sleep 8 hours (I wish!) so that leaves 18 hours divided by 88 is 5 times an hour or every 12 minutes. I can believe that. I have a smart phone and no tattoos! I believe in using every modern tool given to me, so I use my smartphone for everything I can. I navigate via GPS, but lately it's been more on a cell phone app called "Waze" which not only is a GPS but also warns you of road hazards and police ahead, as reported by other users. I use my cell phone all day for business. I don't even have a company phone number, I have my cell listed in the company directory. Since we work fairly virtual and may be at different locations, or working from home, my group has a touch base phone call at 7am. Most of the time I'm in the car on my way to the office. I'm on conference calls much of the day. I don't have assigned office space, I work where ever I'm needed, so I don't keep any paper. All my records are on my lap top and our server space.
After a rather busy summer with my daughter's wedding, we had a day where we had nothing planned. I got up this morning and had two leisurely cups of coffee with my wife while browsing the Internet. Then I worked on my US stamp collection a bit, I'm trying to figure out special issues of the 1930s, which had me thinking about the cars of that era as I worked. Then we had lunch, I made fried bologna and cheese sandwiches! Then we marinated in the pool for the afternoon, while sipping beers. Now I'm sitting here waiting for pizza. Yea, life is pretty decent.
A long while back we had relatives at our house. My wife's brother got a tour of the model room. He's the kind of couch potato who complains how tired he is from driving 30 minutes to your house. After showing him my showcase of detailed finished projects. He gazed into my unbuilt model closet and asked, "Can we build one of these before dinner and give it to Sean? (his six year old)" . He obviously thought it was all pre painted and we'd simply pop a few pieces together in no time. So I pulled my '59 Chevy wreck out of the showcase and grabbed the same kit off the shelf. It's an award winner with opened doors and trunk.. loads of scratch building. Then I put the body and chassis from the unbuilt kit next to it to show the difference. He looked amazed and said, "This is like.... WORK!" There is no way he'd ever understand that this is the way we relax!
The Hobbytown near me is run by a friendly older couple. They have modeling supplies and even stock Model Cars Magazine. Their fatal flaw is that the couple want to work weekdays. During the weekend their grandchildren and hired help run the store. Actually they don't run the store. They sit behind the counter talking amongst themselves while they fix their own RC stuff. If you ask them a question, they seem perturbed that you interrupted them. They open at noon on Sunday and once I was there at 12:45 and witnessed a hung over youngster run in and open the store. It's a pity that the owners aren't there on weekends, which are the bread and butter of retailing! They could do much better.