The MSB Blog: How to start your Ball Python collection.
I've been getting a lot of people asking if they should start or restart a collection and if the market is still good. The biggest problem when starting out is that nagging feeling that you missed the boat. I feel that way when buying Bitcoin, but I'm still buying and growing a decent position. You look at other guys like myself that have been building their collections for decades and it's easy to feel daunted. I remember being at the Daytona show over 20 years ago with a $1000 to spend. Back then Spiders were selling for $17k and Albinos for $7500. I could not afford much, but I was coming home with something! Had I measured myself up to guys like Brian Barczyk or Kevin McCurley I would of never got started. That weekend I bought a male Pastel for $900 and a male Het Albino for $150 going over my budget, but I had a plan and I was excited as f*ck! I had a bunch of normal females growing up and these males were going to help me level up. From day one I always focused on MY OWN collection and as long as my collection was growing and getting stronger each year, I was happy. I still focus on that till' this day and I am very proud of how far I came and excited to see where I can take this thing. So the one thing I tell people is to start and grow your genetic arsenal slowly over time. If you have a lot of money to invest you can grow quicker, but there's nothing wrong with starting out slow. This is a marathon and not a race and as long as you stay the course and improve your collection each year eventually you will be producing some great stuff. I can't predict the future of our industry or the market, but it's been growing like crazy for the past 30 years. Over the years I've watched a lot of guys get started and most quit or get out before they can achieve any real success. Then there are the ones who are killing it. They make more with their snakes than they do with their day jobs. If they're smart with that extra cash, they can build lasting wealth.
So for you up and coming Big Dawgs, here's a few tips.
Get started, especially if you enjoy working with the snakes. If you love it you're less likely to quit.
Figure out how to get extra cash to invest. If you play video gams for 5 hours a week, maybe drive an Uber during that time. Find ways to reduce your spending on non-essentials and redirect that cash. The point is, if you really want it you will find a way. If you're not committed, you'll find an excuse...
Buy females first before you drop big bucks on a male. What good is a high end male if you don't have any girls to breed him. A group of relatively inexpensive females can go a long way with the right male. Once you have females that are close to, or ready to breed go out and buy the best male you can afford.
Don't quit... no matter what. Shit will happen, I guarantee you. Divorce, loosing jobs, illness, fire, power outages, etc. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. But DON'T quit.
Have back-up males. Males that won't breed are the most common set back in this game. I can't tell you how many guys come asking for breeder males during breeder season. I've learned this the hard way. Nothing blows more than having females primed and ready and your male is not interested. Even great breeder males can get lazy on you for whatever reason.
Don't push your males too hard... especially young males. You can kill them if you overexert them.
Start projects that are hard to hit. Be Patient. Each project is like a fruit tree in an orchard. Every year plant a few trees and then care for them consistently over time. Eventually you will have a beautiful orchard bearing tons of fruit.
When you finally start to hit those cool projects, don't sell yourself short. Get market price for your animals. If you're the only one with a combo, don't be shy in asking top dollar. You'd be surprised how much you can get. I remember hearing a couple guys paying $2500 for desert ghost clowns around the same time I bought a female for $7500. Males were selling for $10,000. They were produced by a small breeder who didn't know better and he left a lot of cash on the table. Guys who have cash and know better will quickly take those animals off your hands. Know your worth!
When choosing projects, choose carefully. Don't purchase animals based on price, focus on value. Theres a big difference. Just because something is cheap doesn't mean it's a good investment.
Last and certainly not least, treat it like a business. If you're dropping thousands of your hard-earned, there's nothing wrong with making a nice return while doing what you love. Don't adopt that self-limiting belief that making money with your animals somehow makes you a bad person. Make money doing what you love and just be ethical about it. Treat your animals and customers well and they will do the same for you.
Hope you guys find this helpful. Gotta run!