I just recently started a new chapter in my life, an important chapter. I finally realized a lifelong dream, that amounted to a 40 year journey. I would like to introduce you to how it all begin and share it as it progresses.
To start, the title is true, I did drop out of college and I am now an owner of a local coin shop called Portsmouth Coin & Currency Co. It took a lot of work and I still have a long road to making it even more successful, but all things are pointing in a positive direction. It’s not big time, and Portsmouth, Ohio is a small town with plenty of issues, but it’s not about that. It’s about making a dream come true.
I grew up in a “holler” called Slab Run, played in the creeks and the hills all day long. It was my little world and still is. I might never move off Slab Run. But who knows? My dad and I handled a lot of coins in this little valley and this is where it all started.
I was raised up around the coin dealer business. My dad was a part time dealer and had a couple coin shops when I was young and so did my late grandpa. I grew up helping dad, selling collectibles at the flea markets, collectible stamps at school, and even coins from time to time. So it is in my blood, but I was never encourage that it could be a career. So after I graduated I went to the local college and tried a couple different majors.
By the time I was 22 years old I dropped out. I just stopped going to classes and never went back. It wasn’t one of my better decisions in life but I was young and “burned” out of from school. My friends were getting older, getting jobs and moving away and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was just unsettled.
My dad was a Correctional Officer aka “Prison Guard” and was also a minister. A few months after I dropped out I had a life altering experience with The Lord. I thought at that point I was following in my Dad’s footsteps.
In December of the same year I was hired as a Correctional Officer for the State of Ohio. Dad wanted me to use the job to finish school and not be a “guard” for the rest of my life. Two marriages and two children later, and suddenly 15 years had gone by, and I was still a Prison Guard, and I wasn’t a preacher, was unhappy, and had became someone I no longer knew.
The job was getting the best of me but at the time I couldn’t admit to it. However, even as a guard, some of my old self still crept through.
During those 15 years I tried different businesses, sold a few coins and eventually settled in to selling coins at ebay in 2002. In 2005 I found a way to build a website for the union.
After all those years returning to college was just not an option for me, I was making as much money as a guard then as my chosen degree as an art teacher. So I shed the option of ever going back to college in favor of being my own boss.
From buying and selling coins on the side and at ebay I learned about all the scams and fraud in the coin market. So I wanted to help educate collectors by publishing information online to combat fraud.
In 2007 I created my coin collector’s website CoinHELP! (www.coinauctionshelp.com). I eventually learned that I could earn some money with my website by using ads and affiliate links. It opened a whole new world to me and started giving me hope that there might be something else in my future.
It begin to take off in earnings and traffic, and in November of 2007 I hurt my shoulder and surgery soon followed. During my 5 months of recovery I begin to work even harder on my website and it began to grow. When I did return to work I knew that being a “Guard” wasn’t for me anymore. It was time to move on.
So I resigned in 2009 and put myself into my website full time. I was self employed for four years but as in anything in life it changed. Ebay was my biggest earner and with their method of paying their affiliates changing it resulted in a drop in my revenue. A 50% drop at that!
So in 2013 I went back to work in the private sector, as a Delivery Technician, for a local home medical company and pharmacy. It was difficult for me to work for someone else again, but the coworkers were great to work with. I even started a website for the home medical and tried to immerse myself into the job, but as hard as I tried, I was unsettled.
I longed for my own business and earning more money. I realized that it was a dead end job as far as income was concerned so I went back to school, but in a different field. I spent ten months working full time and going to classes in the evening to earn my Informational Technology Certification, my A+ Certification and my Security + Certification.
After I graduated I had a couple of interviews but no job then one day I got a message on linked in. A well known coin dealer from California needed someone to help with his website. I worked on his site and fixed a lot of issues and in return he wanted me to fly out and see his operations. I never flew before in my life but I got on that plane and flew from Ohio to California. I do like to fly now!
My experience in California changed my life but the job with this dealer was not meant to be and it ended a couple months later. However, I had quit my job thinking I had found my calling. So I spent the entire month of December 2016 without a job, but I put my phone number back up online and begin buying coins even more.
In January I took a gold coin to a local attorney whom I knew bought gold, and use to have a coin “buy only” shop my dad managed for a couple years. I told him what had been going on with me and he walked me through the building and told me he would like to open the shop again. He knew I could sell online very well and he had some inventory. So I agreed on a wage and begin managing Leading Lady Numismatic Coin Shop.
The coin shop was successful with my online savvy and my employment with this attorney and his staff was comfortable, but that little nag kept at me “You know you can do this for yourself”, “You know you can make more money.” I remained unsettled even though I loved the job more than any before.
I am not greedy but an hourly wage is not for me. I enjoy business and being my own boss. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I was given to manage the coin shop and the attorney’s mentor-ship. You learn from people who are in a position you want to be in, and I listened.
I also befriended another local businessman, I will call “HR”, and he sold coins locally and traveled to coin shows. I begin setting up at shows with him and we became great friends. I was raised in this business and had a successful coin website, but coin shows was something I was “green” about. He took me under his wing and introduced me to another world.
I soon realized coin shows were important for making dealer to dealer connections and meeting coin collectors and potential clients in person.
“HR” and I eventually begin talking about opening our own coin shop and combining our efforts. I was more of an online dealer and he was more of the traditional vest pocket dealer. So we knew this was a winning combo in this business and we had the chemistry and trust to pull it off.
So I approached the attorney I was working for, no easy task as an employee, but surprisingly he was open to it. We came up with a proposal and one week later “HR” and I were proud owners of the coin shop.
So this is my journey so far and with more to come. I will post details, latest buys and other interesting information on the coin dealer side of things. So if you’re interested in my story in making this coin shop a success then sign up for my newsletter below.