Why You NEED to Take Calculated Risks to Grow Your Business with Matt “Dappz” McGuckin

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Imagine making $70,000…from your bedroom…in one night. 

That’s exactly what Matt “Dappz” McGuckin did with his online trading cards shop. He got his start “breaking” – that is, buying and opening boxes of cards live online, and selling the contents…all on TikTok. 

Sounds risky? It is! But today, Dappz Sports is the Live Shopping Company on TikTok in the U.S., making over $20 Million in gross sales. So the risks have paid off. 

Now maybe it seems like too far-fetched to say you’ll make $70K in one night, but it’s not too far-fetched to say that making calculated risks will elevate your business. 

It’s a proven strategy and Dappz, and today, he’s going to tell you how you can do it too. 

Top Takeaways

  • Don’t try to think about how you’ll go viral. Instead, be consistent and try different things. Experimenting can be low-stakes risk-taking. 
  • One of the biggest risks that pay off is hiring someone. They will take SO much off your plate. It sounds scary, but it’s a must for any business owner. 
  • Research is SO important with it comes to mitigating risk – remember, this is about calculated risks, not being a cowboy, and doing crazy stuff to see if it pays off. 

Show Notes


Matt Dappz: You’re not planning to go viral, you’re just planning to create content every day. And then from all of that work and that consistency, you just go viral one day, right? That’s how you should be planning to look at it. You don’t think about, how am I going to go viral? Just keep creating content, and keep honing your craft, keep making it better. And that’s how the views will slowly go up.

Everybody wants this instant gratification and they want views right away. I wanted the same thing once upon a time. And now I’m so happy with just making sure that there’s content coming out consistently. Every single day we’re creating, and we’re making something and we’re going, “Oh, I don’t like the way that looks. Let’s adjust it. Next week let’s try this.”

Joe Casabona: Imagine making $70,000 from your bedroom in one night. That’s exactly what Matt “Dappz” McGuckin did with his online trading card shop. He got his start breaking, that is buying and opening boxes of cards live online and then selling the contents, all on TikTok. Sounds risky? It is.

But today, his company DappzSports is the number one live shopping company on TikTok in the US, making over $20 million in gross sales. So I’d say the risks have paid off.

Now, maybe it seems too far-fetched to say you’ll make $70,000 in one night from your bedroom. But it’s not too far-fetched to say that making calculated risks will elevate your business. It’s a proven strategy and Dappz today is going to tell you how you can do it too.

Look for these top takeaways. He tells us that we shouldn’t try to think about going viral. Instead, we should be consistent and try different things. Experimenting is low-stakes risk-taking. One of the biggest risks that pay off is hiring someone. They will take so much off of your plate so that you can focus on the thing that makes you money. It sounds scary, but it’s a must for any business owner.

And research is so important when it comes to mitigating risk. Remember this is about taking calculated risks, not being a cowboy, and doing some crazy stuff to see if it pays off. Dappz is one of the realest people I talked to. It was such a great conversation, and I know you’ll enjoy it too.

And don’t worry, I definitely asked him if he thinks it’s a huge risk being on TikTok given the current climate about social media and privacy in the United States. So definitely listen for that answer.

Plus, in the pro show, we talk about gear. Of course, we do. So if you want to become a member and get everything that we talked about, you can head over to the show notes at howibuilt.it/340. That’s howibuilt.it/340. But for now, let’s get into the intro, and then the interview.

[00:03:21] <Music>

Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast that helps busy solopreneurs and creators grow their business without spending too much time on it. I’m your host Joe Casabona, and each week I bring you interviews and case studies on how to build a better business through smarter processes, time management, and effective content creation. It’s like getting free coaching calls from successful solopreneurs.

By the end of each episode, you’ll have one to three takeaways you can implement today to stop spending time in your business and more time on your business or with your friends, your family, reading, or however you choose to spend your free time.

[00:04:10] <Music>

All right, I’m here with Dappz. Thanks so much for being with us today. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Matt Dappz: Pleasure to be here.

Joe Casabona: Awesome. So let’s dive right into it. This is really interesting to me because I have a box of 1988 baseball cards unopened in my closet as we speak. How did you find your niche or niche? I go back and forth on that word.

Matt Dappz: I don’t know how to say it either. I say niche sometimes, I say niche sometimes. So back in the ’90s, I was collecting cards and talking about the prime spot for kids collecting Pokémon. The biggest Pokémon craze in the world was when I was in the third grade.

So both Pokémon and sports cards I collected as a kid, then kind of graduated to being too cool for that, you know, in high school and college. And then five years later, I’m back into it researching, checking out card prices. Super, super interested. I see Gary Vee shouting about how sports cards are making a comeback, and I just dive headfirst right in.

Joe Casabona: That’s awesome. Sounds like we’re about the same age because I also collected Pokémon cards. They were huge growing up. My brother actually had the whole first set like Holographic, Charizard from that first era, and all that. None of us had any foresight to keep them. Well, I don’t know. He might still have his. But I certainly didn’t keep mine. I did have Magic cards for a long time, though. That’s like an investment that like Magic: The Gathering.

Matt Dappz: Oh, for sure. A Magic card just recently sold for over two and a half million dollars. Post Malone bought it.

Joe Casabona: Dang!

Matt Dappz: Magic is still alive and well.

Joe Casabona: Man, oh, man. Man. Actually, I should have held on to those cards. So you hear Gary Vee shouting about your trading cards. I guess at what point were you like, Yes, this is my business?

Matt Dappz: So I’m buying and selling and trading cards and I’m noticing I’m getting 5, 6, 7 extra returns on some cards. And you know, sometimes I’m taking a loss on a card here or there. But for the most part, I’m in the green on a lot of cards.

And I’m talking to some of my close friends and kind of advisors and we all agree that this model might not be sustainable, buying cards in the mall just going five or six bucks. Right? We timed the market very well with the buying and selling and trading. And then I started to watch some people online participate in something called breaking, which is effectively just selling packs and boxes mixed together to a group of people.

So that model, way more sustainable. You’re not making as much money, right, but every single night, you can make a couple bucks. So I start breaking from my bedroom. And I’m making 50 bucks a night. Sometimes I’m making 100. And I’m going, This is fun. I’m enjoying this. If I can make 100 bucks a night from my bedroom, soon becomes 500 a night, soon becomes 1,000 a night. That’s when I start to go this this is a business.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s really interesting. It’s almost like the difference between, let’s say, trading stocks and doing a managed mutual fund or something like that, right? Like swan is a little bit more risky. Maybe you get better returns. Maybe like NFTs is the better analogy. But kind of like risk versus reward there. Right?

Matt Dappz: Absolutely. The way I explain it to some people is the current players in the NFL or NBA or MLB, you can kind of make those bets on them mid-season or pre-season and say, Hey, I think that guy is going to have a great season this year, buy him at a low price and then he explodes.

And that’s like buying and selling stocks and anticipating that you believe in a company, you’re going to buy their stock before they go public, or excuse me, you’re going to buy their stock. And then after they, you know, report earnings and they’re doing way better, your stock price has gone up and that’s how you make your money.

It’s the same thing. If you bought a Block Party card six months ago and now he’s performing extremely well on the NFL, his price may have went five X. Whereas if you buy a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James or a Kobe Bryant, those legends who have already cemented their legacy, that’s more like real estate. You might earn 5%, 10%, 15% over the next couple of years on that, but it’s probably not going to go down much.

Joe Casabona: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That’s awesome. So it sounds like you start breaking. And around the same time is when you start to livestream, right? Do those go hand in hand?

Matt Dappz: Yeah. So breaking is all on live streams, so they go hand in hand. Yeah.

Joe Casabona: Gotcha. I know that a press release came out in September as we record this, so few weeks ago, saying that you are top live shopping company in us on TikTok. Right?

Matt Dappz: That’s correct.

Joe Casabona: So tell us a little bit more about that. Because again, I’m an elder millennial and I think live shopping, I think QVC. But it sounds like… you know, I usually don’t do the who are you and what do you do thing. But I think this is so different from what I normally talk about, that it’s this live streaming, live shopping, especially on TikTok that I want to level set a little bit for the listeners.

Matt Dappz: Absolutely. And it’s a great question too. I personally believe that live shopping is the future of sales. I’m sure we’ve all purchased maybe a pair of shoes or a pair of sunglasses on an Instagram ad that you’ve seen, and you kind of wonder, is this going to be legit? What type of quality am I getting from this ad? You don’t know what’s going on.

So the future is you’re scrolling and instead of seeing an ad, you’re going to see a live person on the other end of your screen who’s talking about a pair of sunglasses or a pair of shoes. And you can comment on your phone and say, Hey, I’m a size eleven. Should I buy a ten and a half, eleven, eleven and a half after they run small?

And you’re going to get an answer in real-time. And now you’re sitting on your couch or you’re laying in your bed, and guess what? You get that live in shopping experience like you’re in the store. And you’re going to get questions answered that you might have that you couldn’t get the answer to in previous years. So in five years, you’re going to see a lot of these types of sales happening. And your QVC model, it’s similar. It’s just kind of new-age QVC.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Which you do see that on Amazon, right? I mean, I saw it for a while. Maybe they only do it at certain times of the year. But like, you know, you scroll down the home page and often you’ll see someone kind of doing the live demo stuff with certain products, right?

Matt Dappz: Absolutely. And the sky’s the limit. I compare it to Uber a lot. Uber was able to turn every single car in the world potentially into a taxicab. And what TikTok is doing right now is turning every single phone that has the TikTok app into a shop. So effectively, they’re going to build the largest online shopping mall that’s ever existed.

Joe Casabona: Wow. What a really interesting way to position that! That’s awesome, right? Because it’s technology… I mean, I don’t know how long you’ve been livestreaming. Sounds like pre-pandemic. But like just a few years ago, live streaming with like good gear was… there was a big barrier to entry, right? Now I’ve got the iPhone 15, but since the iPhone 12, like you have a 4K camera in your pocket.

Matt Dappz: It’s incredible the updates and how fast technology moves between the iPhone, camera, updates, between the… even the technology that’s available, if you search on YouTube or you search on Amazon for a product… For example, we were talking about stream decks earlier offline. I mean, these pieces of tech are able to do so many things from adding graphics to editing sound effects to just making your stream quality and production so much, so much better.

Now, TikTok is launching and allowing ways for their live shopping experience to add those graphics, add that audio, and they’re only going to tighten up their tech and make it even better for the audience to experience just a way more entertaining stream.

Joe Casabona: That’s amazing. And we are going to talk about live streaming technology and tips for members in the pro show. So if you want to get that conversation ad-free, you can head over to howibuilt.it/join and sign up for the membership over there. So if you’re listening in Apple Podcasts, you can also just subscribe, write an app. But I’m really excited to talk about that. I love talking about gear.

So let’s kind of dive into you found your niche or niche, you start breaking, which again, I want to highlight this a little more because it was during the pandemic that I started to see more of this. I had a friend from college come to me asking me about setting up websites to do kind of something similar where he could kind of sell cards or packs of cards like this.

Pat Flynn, who has been a prolific podcaster, started his other YouTube channel, Deep Pocket Monsters, which focuses on Pokémon cards. When do you start seeing growth? I guess more specifically, what actions did you actively take to start growing? Right? Because like people go viral and then like, I don’t know, I just… some random post went viral. But like, you don’t become the number one live shopping company on TikTok randomly. Like, that’s not happenstance.

Matt Dappz: This may be cliché, but it has to be said. It’s consistency. I didn’t have a set date where I was going to grow. I just went live every single day. My sister was my assistant in my bedroom when I’m live-streaming every night when the operation got too big and I needed help. What I realized was, “Hey, I just did $1,000 in revenue tonight.” And then I’d go to my sister, “All right, let’s try to break the record. Now, the record is 2,000. Okay, let’s try to do 5000.”

And then a couple of months later, we did $70,000 one night from my bedroom, and I’m going, “Oh, man, I got to take this a little bit more serious.” So that’s when we start looking for a shop on Melrose. We find one. But I would say that was definitely a kind of a lit-up moment, so to speak, where I go, “Wow, this is big. 70 grand from your bedroom in one night?”

Joe Casabona: That’s amazing. And you’re right. I mean, I’m a huge Yankee fan, so, like, Aaron Judge didn’t set out at the beginning of the season to be like, I want to hit 62 home runs, right? He got up there and just did his best. And maybe he starts thinking about it in September. Right? He went through a little slump, but he got there.

But you don’t start thinking, I’m going to break a 60-year-old record. You start off thinking, I’m going to do what I can to help my team or help my business. So I like that. Consistency and work, right? Overnight successes take more than just one night. Right?

Matt Dappz: I think it’s you’re not planning to go viral, you’re just planning to create content every day. And then from all of that work and that consistency, you just go viral one day, right? That’s how you should be planning to look at it. You don’t think about, how am I going to go viral? Just keep creating content and keep honing your craft, keep making it better, and that’s how the viewers will slowly go up.

Everybody wants this instant gratification and they want viewers right away. I wanted the same thing once upon a time. And now I’m so happy with just making sure that there’s content coming out consistently. Every single day we’re creating or we’re making something and we’re going, Oh, I don’t like the way that looks. Let’s adjust it. Next week let’s try this. Some stuff we throw against the wall and it just doesn’t work and it doesn’t stick, but other stuff does. And that’s when it’s kind of rewarding for the content creator.

Joe Casabona: I love that. It’s a compounding effect, right? My daughter started gymnastics. My daughter is six. She started gymnastics a couple of months ago and she didn’t like it the first day. She’s like, “This is really hard. I’m not good at it.” And I’m like, “This is literally your first day.” Now we’re like a couple months in and she loves it. She looks forward to it. You know, like you, she is seeing those incremental changes and incremental improvements and she’s enjoying the craft more.

Matt Dappz: And that’s amazing, too, that the shift from day 1 to day 60, because that’s an analogy for any business or any hobby that anybody wants to start, it’s not supposed to be easy the first day. It’s incredible that you can hate something or not believe in yourself day one and then consistently keep doing it and then it becomes routine or it becomes habit. And over time you become better at it and then it becomes a little bit easier and then you can get better at it.

And like we said, you can start to look at certain things you’re doing and going, Oh, I think I can perform this backflip a little better if I get a little extra speed on my run. Right? So I’m sure your daughter’s thought a little things like that and she’s been getting better.

It’s the same thing in business. And it’s the same thing in creating content. You look at and analyze the content that you’re putting out and you go, This is working, this isn’t working. What do I have to trash? What do I have to throw away? And what do I have to keep, you know, pressing my foot on the gas with?

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Which is great because that kind of goes into our main topic. I think of them as experiments. You can think of them as risks, especially when you try to deviate on YouTube a little bit. But I want to get into that. But first, we’re going to take a quick break for our sponsors.


Joe Casabona: And we’re back. So Dappz, we talked about trying little things. Little… I use the word experiments. You’re trying some stuff, it doesn’t stick, and you try something different. I feel like YouTube especially favors homogeneity in content. I’ve been told, like, if one of your videos go viral, be prepared to make only those type of videos.

So I feel like just deviating from your normal format could be risky. And we’ll talk about taking those risks in a minute. But first, I want to talk about what could happen if you don’t take risks, like what happens if you just kind of continue to do the same thing over and over again?

Matt Dappz: I am definitely on the riskier side of the spectrum. I think balance is key. Having people around you who kind of pull you back a little bit and are a little bit more conservative. But in the beginning, I was running all these live streams and I’m thinking, how do I create more content? Because I want to be putting out content because that’s effectively like an advertisement or marketing, if you’re creating content and it’s going viral.

And I found to content creators who are now very close friends of mine, and in the beginning, they said to me, “Will you give us free sports cards and we’ll create content for you?” Now, that might not sound very risky, but I mean, I had to pay for those sports card boxes, right? And I have no idea what these guys are going to produce.

I do know that they produce incredible content for themselves. So if I hadn’t taken that risk and said, you know what, I’m going to put my trust in these kids to create content that’s really going to work for my company, I never would have grown to the heights that we’ve grown to now.

They’ve been creating content for us for three years now. So that risk led to consistency. That risk led to a foundation of the content that we create today here at Dappz Sports. So listen, I understand from the perspective of a solopreneur or an entrepreneur, I don’t know if I want to do this and the fear that comes with it, and what if I fail? But, you know, there’s so many cliché sayings.

I think Jordan has something where he said, “Nobody thinks about all the shots that I’ve missed. I’ve made 26 game-winning shots in my career, but I’ve missed X amount of shots.” And he remembers all those shots that he missed. And it’s very similar in business. I remember a lot of videos that we created where I went, “Oh man, I think this is going to go viral.” Dud. Right?

And you put time and you put effort and you put your creative into these videos and you want to see a result. And the fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s just not your day. Sometimes maybe the algorithm is working against you. Sometimes the content just wasn’t there, right? You thought it was good and it wasn’t as good as you thought. And that’s okay.

But back to consistency, you get back to the plate, the next day you take three swings. You go for three, next day take three swings. Maybe go one for three. And then some days you go three for three. So Aaron Judge was a great example of he didn’t get up there going, I’m going to break a record this year. He just went up there, he had practiced and he was in, you know, training camp for X amount of days swinging the bat. And consistency with Judge, right, led to one homerun, two home runs, ten home runs, 20, and then he breaks the record.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. I think what you said here about people not remembering the mess-ups or like not remembering the short teammates. I guess to keep specifically on Yankee baseball, Reggie Jackson, right, known as Mr. October, three home runs, one game 1977.

What people don’t know or remember about Reggie Jackson unless you’re a huge nerd like me is he also has the most strikeouts among batters in Major League Baseball history. But no one knows that. They remember, Oh, he’s a guy who hits home runs in the playoffs.

So I think it’s really important to remember we definitely remember our own failures more than other people remember our failures. I really, really love that point.

And I think the other thing is keeping an open mind. You said you took a risk by paying these kids in baseball cards because you still had to pay for those baseball cards, right? I’ve done the same thing where like people have wanted to barter with me. I used to be a web developer. They wanted to barter with me for whatever.

Someone offered me a free airplane jumps, and I’m like, “You don’t know me very well. I’m on the more conservative end of risk-taking. I would never jump out of an airplane willingly.” But someone was like, “Hey, can I pay you in like half cigars, half money?” And I’m like, “Yes, I would spend that money on cigars anyway.”

So it’s keeping an open mind and doing things like that. That one may not grow my business, but something that is a risk I decided to take that is growing my business is hiring assistance to do cold outreach. So business was pretty slow in the beginning of the year, money was a little tight. And then I made the decision to start paying somebody, you know, about $1,000 a month to do cold outreach to find clients. And I’ve been having three or four or five, six discovery calls a week. Some of those could lead to multiple thousand-dollar engagements.

So yes, I’m taking that risk. It’s also an investment. And if I wasn’t doing that, I would be spending no money and also just making no money wondering where’s the money.

Matt Dappz: Absolutely. For solopreneurs out there and entrepreneurs, I think when you’re in the beginning and it’s just you or you have one or two employees, you’re always fearful of hiring another person because you don’t know if they could get the job done the way you can. You know if I do it, I know I’m going to do it right. But if I give it to somebody else, they’re not going to do it as good as me.

And that mindset held me back for a time. Because once you break through those first 30 days or 60 days of training somebody and you get the work off your plate that you really don’t enjoy… For example, if I wanted to be an accountant, I would have went to school for that. I don’t want to do accounting. I was doing the accounting for my business until I realized one day when I put that work off on somebody else, by the way, they’re an expert in accounting, they can do it way faster than I can, and it will be done more efficiently.

Now, I’ve taken work off my plate and now it’s getting done more efficiently, which allows me to perform the actions that I perform best, which is livestreaming, which is driving revenue, which is driving sales, which is creating content for my business.

So first, as an entrepreneur or solopreneur, you need to decide what are the things that I’m the best at? What are the things that I enjoy doing the most? Figure out what those one, two, or three things are and figure out how you can stay in your lane and do those things and hire out every other job.

Now, again, in the beginning you might not have the resources or you might not have the funds, but as you start to grow, remember every single job that you’re doing that’s holding you back from doing what you do best, when you can hire those jobs out, they’re going to bring you more money, more sales, more recognition in as you get that off your plate.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, I like to, you know, imagine like you’re in a boat and there’s a hole in the boat. And instead of plugging the hole, you’re just using a bucket to scoop water out. You’re never going to get anywhere because you’re going to spend your whole time scooping water out.

So hiring is contractors… Like you said, you can lower that risk at first. I found my first editor on Fiverr. You know, I think they cost me like 15, 20 bucks. That 20 bucks saved me literally 2 hours. And now I’m with an editor who charges me a little bit more than 20 bucks. Honestly, not much more than 20 bucks. But he still saves me 2 hours per episode basically. Maybe an hour per episode.

But I charge 250 bucks an hour, you know? Think of the opportunity cost there that I’d essentially be paying myself 200 or 300 bucks versus paying my editor 60 to 100 bucks per episode. I know it’s hard to think about that when money’s coming out, but you can make more money, you can’t make more time.

Matt Dappz: A very similar situation I was in years ago. I don’t know if you know this, but DappzSports actually started as a YouTube channel where I was just educating the community on, Hey, I bought this card for this price and I sold it for this price, right? So I was giving them my successes and my failures to take them through the process, make sure that people understood, you know, I’m making mistakes here, learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them.

And typically it took about 8 hours for me to edit 10 to 20-minute YouTube video. 8 hours. And it became this thing where I’m like, This is taking way too much. This is a full day’s of work, right? And I don’t have that time to go and livestream and also edit. So once I found my editor, a very similar story, on Fiverr, it took a tremendous amount of work off of me and made it way easier.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I advocate this for all of my coaching clients? Hire an editor. Again, find somebody affordable who can save you a bunch of time. I mean, like you mentioned your accountant. When I hired my accountant, she literally got me like $6,000 back in tax returns that first year. I’m like, Well, you just paid for yourself for like the next several years. So finding somebody who could do the job right can literally put money in your pocket.

Matt Dappz: And listen, the thing about it is, too, sometimes you hire somebody one, two, three times it takes to find the right accountant or one, two or three times it takes to find the right editor. And you might waste a couple bucks and it feels like I’m never going to find somebody. But you have to try the next person. Don’t be scared. Don’t be fearful. You’re not always going to find the right hire on the first try. Sometimes you will and it’s great. But you have to be willing to say, it’s okay if this person doesn’t work out, you know, trim the fat, get to the next person, figure out who works with you and your company culture.

Joe Casabona: I mean, speaking of that, a few episodes ago, we talked to Jordan Eaton she realized that the people she was working with it wasn’t working out. One actually ended up costing her a client, and so she decided to start from scratch. Like she took her agency from about six people down to just her over the course of a month and is building back up. That’s a huge risk, but it’s starting to pay off for her.

So if business was easy, everybody would do it. I think we’ve been hearing a lot of people online say, Hey, it’s easy to start a business. Just like throw up a website and sell something. But it’s not easy. And even the people telling you it’s easy know it’s not easy.

Matt Dappz: No, it’s not easy. I’ve done that. I’ve whipped up a website and tried to sell things and using Facebook and Instagram ads and dropshipping. It’s not easy. You have to be consistent. You have to be patient. You have to put tons of hours into that. I’m not saying you can’t do that. Of course, you can whip up a website and make sales. But you’ve got to be willing to put in the hours of research. You have to be willing to put in the hours of work, the hours of setting up the infrastructure of whatever business that you want to be in. You have to be prepared for failure.

Your success will come from your failure, right? I love to figure things out. If I don’t know how something works, I’d rather not read 10 hours of a book. I’d rather just try it and then go, okay, that didn’t work. Even if I have to spend a couple bucks to try something and fail at it, I immediately learn then. I go, Oh, I just wasted $200. I just wasted $500 testing this out. I’m not going to lose $500 again doing that. So how am I going to do it next time when I’m not costing myself money or where I know this should cost 100 bucks instead of 500 every time I do it? And now I’ve learned how to do it properly.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. I love that. I mean, telling somebody that they could just set up a website and sell stuff is kind of like dropping them into the last mile of a marathon and saying, Hey, just run this mile and you’ve run a marathon. Like, well, no, that’s not really how it works. So I think that what you said is absolutely true.

The other thing I want to touch on here, you mentioned that you were you were working out of your bedroom and then you got a place on Melrose. Are you in California?

Matt Dappz: Yes, California.

Joe Casabona: So you actually got like a physical space to work out of, right?

Matt Dappz: Yeah. There was actually an existing sports card shop about a mile from where I live, and it was called Melrose Sports Cards, and they had shut down their gate for two months. So I found the owner. He had another spot on Melrose. Chatted with him for a couple of weeks, and, you know, we figured out a way to take over the lease. That’s how DappzSports is currently on Melrose.

Joe Casabona: Nice. That’s awesome. So you maybe more than many digital entrepreneurs, I’ll say. Understanding like the actual tangible costs of a business. Because I think that’s another thing that kind of gets lost, right? You see threadbois on Twitter saying, like, you can start a business for $0.

And I think that is a really toxic thing to plant in the minds of people. You shouldn’t only start a business if it costs $0 and a business does not cost $0. You need to spend money. You shouldn’t necessarily waste money, but you shouldn’t go in thinking, Oh, I’m going to spend no money and I’m going to start a business that makes me millions of dollars.

Matt Dappz: I think that if sweeping up a website for zero bucks or even, you know, a small amount of… or a small investment, rather, if it was so easy and you had the model that worked, how many people are going to share that? If you’ve created a model that generates a ton of money with a small investment and it’s working for you, are you going to share that with the public so that they can all, you know, become your competitors? That’s probably not a smart business move.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s educational videos that probably can teach you how to whip up a website. And there’s good information in a lot of those. It’s just you’ve got to be careful. You got to do your research on who you’re purchasing from. Also, do they have free information on YouTube already? Because maybe you would just want to watch all of their videos on YouTube before you purchase that item, that class, and see how you can educate yourself through their already existing free content.

Consume as much of that as you can because listen, there’s a lot of these courses that are available for purchase. But I’ll tell you, there’s plenty of good people out there who just create content for free because once you get enough viewers, you’re generating that ad money on on YouTube. And those people are happy to give out free information because they’ll get that ad revenue.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I love what you said, you know, people aren’t going to give away their secrets to put their own business at risk. I saw something that said like most business advice is this: Here are the numbers I used to win the lottery. It’s like, sure, those totally worked for you. It’s very unlikely those same numbers are going to work for me next time they do the lottery.

Matt Dappz: I love that.

Joe Casabona: Or I think Derral Eves said there’s usually a six-month delay between what’s working for somebody in their business and what they’re telling you. So just consider that, right? And like Dappz said, do some things yourself, see if they work for you and kind of experiment and take some risks and move on.

Now, we are talking about taking risks. So I want to wrap up here by asking you, how do we take calculated risks? We’ve learned kind of where you got your start and how you grew so big in a short amount of time. We learned what could happen if we don’t take risks, which is probably our business is going to fail, or even worse, like we burn out by trying to do everything ourselves.

So how do we start taking calculated risks? I assume you’re not telling everybody to just go like blow $1,000 on some random thing. A little research goes into it, I assume.

Matt Dappz: Absolutely. I think research is tremendous. I want everybody listening to understand, too, before I really dove back in sports cards, it was a couple videos that Gary Vee had put out. I would say maybe somewhere between five and 10 hours of sports card content that he had put out. And I would watch those videos and then I would rewatch them.

I would rewatch an hour-long video about sports cards because it’s a conversation between Gary and another expert in the field. And I’m just learning and consuming. And your brain is not going to be able to just remember everything from one hour of video. You’ll pick out parts of the video that are interesting to you first and those will stay in your memory.

But then when you rewatch it, you’ll see something else. It’s kind of like if you watch a Will Ferrell movie, I bet you you’ll laugh at a couple of jokes. But if you rewatch it, there’s a couple of jokes that you didn’t even realize were funny until you watch it again.

So when we’re talking about calculated risks, I think it’s extremely important to be well-researched by putting in those hours and hours and hours of time to understand your market, to understand your business, and to put a plan in place where, for example, I went, okay, I see all of these other live streamers going over to this app called Whatnot, and they’re all jumping over here because that’s where a lot of buyers were on this app called Whatnot, where everybody’s breaking and selling sports cards and collectibles.

I looked at Whatnot and I went, okay, I like it over there, but Whatnot has a ceiling of how many users they can have because it’s a very niche community. I was on TikTok. I had already established myself on there. So to go over to Whatnot, that was somewhat of a risk, right?

Now, you could also say it was a risk to knock on Whatnot because everybody else in my industry was going over there to sell. But the way that I calculated it was TikTok has the most users. It is the fastest-growing app. There is no way that Whatnot will ever come close to the amount of users as TikTok. I’m going to stay on TikTok and I’m going to put all my… not all my eggs, but majority of my eggs into this basket over here on TikTok because all the attention is on TikTok.

And then two or three years later, what happens? TikTok creates TikTok shop where you can actually buy within the app. And I’ve put all of my or a majority of my resources into this app. And now based on that calculated decision of all the attention is on TikTok, now I’m seeing even more return here because now we’ve got TikTok biggest, baddest app on the planet putting shops in everybody’s face all the time. And now we’re able to put our market, our sports cards in front of more and more people than we ever thought or imagined we could.

Joe Casabona: That’s really interesting. I love that because again, you did some research, right? You figured, Oh, there was a ceiling here, TikTok is a better bet. But it also kind of… inside of that lesson it teaches kind of pick your battles, right? Because you’ll hear people be like, you got to be on every platform: TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram reels, Clubhouse. Like you got to be everywhere.

And doing some research and understanding your market is more important than just trying to be everywhere, right? I’m not on TikTok because my market’s not on TikTok. Podcast solopreneurs are not going to be buying 3,000 or $4,000 coaching packages from me on TikTok. Probably. Last I checked anyway. They’re more likely going to be on honestly, Twitter and YouTube. Those are the… X, I guess now.

So the research part is so… it’s like training for a marathon before running the marathon. You don’t just run a marathon. You got to train in that. You’re still risking. Running 26 miles is no joke. So it’s still a risk. But you’re hedging against that risk by preparing yourself.

Matt Dappz: I love the analogy of running and training for a race. It’s the same thing in business. Absolutely. You’re not just going to run a 26-mile race without running a mile first, running five miles first, running ten miles first. Understanding how your body reacts to that strain on your knees and your ankles and your shoulders even, right, from running for miles and miles and miles. So you understand how your body is going to react based on the exercise, based on the experience and based on the reps. And it’s the same for business.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. So I want to ask one more question around TikTok that I wish I prepped you for in the preshow. I’d be pretty hard-pressed to think that you’re going to answer this negatively because of the press release we referenced. But being in the United States, do you think there is some platform risk to TikTok? I guess mostly the headlines they’ve been making around privacy issues and states acting against TikTok and things like that. I’d love to get your quick thoughts on that. Because I suspect that some creators do view that as a risk.

Matt Dappz: Absolutely. We understand those risks. And I think that the main thing that they’re bringing up in the press is, like you said, the privacy issues. But again, I think that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of these other companies are doing all of the things that they’re accusing TikTok of already. They’re sharing all of our data.

Once you sign up to any of these platforms, you’re giving them first name, last name, email, phone number. We as people are willingly giving this information. I think that over the last ten years, it’s just been commonplace to give out that information. I don’t think anybody thinks about it.

You want to sign up for an app and you want to be on that app because your friends are on it, you’re going to give up your email. Or by the way, create a fake email and throw it up there. If you don’t want to receive the spam that’s going to come over the next couple weeks, months, years, etc.. So I think that America is all about money, and I think that if TikTok can make people money in America, they’re not going to allow it to be shut down. That’s the kind of the way that I look at it.

Joe Casabona: Mm, I love that. I mean, it’s a really good point. I think it’s very fair. I mean, I think it’s agreeable, right? Like if TikTok is enabling people to make money, then, you know, the good likely outweighs the bad, especially because, I mean, as long as it’s not asking us for our Social Security number. I’m very protective of my phone number, but I have like a Google voice number I give out and I have to.

So, like you said, you can always have that alternate information that you give to be on apps as well. So I think that’s really interesting. And then, like you said, as far as maybe like habit tracking or user tracking, like everyone’s doing that. Apple says they’re not doing that. Apple makes their money in a different way. But social media apps, they do that. Also Apple does that.

Matt Dappz: I would encourage anybody to watch the Social Dilemma on Netflix. It’s a documentary. And it really breaks down how social media companies create basically like a digital version of you and then sell you with ads that are targeted towards you. Again, this is not limited to any particular platform. It’s all of them. So again, I think it’s already being done with every app you’re on. And I think people should just be conscious that if you’re going to look at TikTok in a negative light, then you have to look at all the apps that are on your phone in a negative light that are related to social media.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. So to sum up here, research is tremendous in taking calculated risks. Because that’s how you calculate, Right? Otherwise, you’re just taking a risk. Understand your market, understand your business, and put a plan in place. Super important.

And I’m going to tie it all together by saying the way that you can do research and watch videos or consume content in whatever way works best for you is by taking stuff off your plate, by hiring a VA or hiring an editor, hire somebody to do those things that you don’t need to do. Anything else you want to add there, Dappz?

Matt Dappz: No. I think that you nailed it. And just so everybody understands, when I first started live-streaming, I was doing all the jobs myself. I was [sleeving?], top loading, bagging, shipping, every single part of the process I was doing, which capped the amount of revenue that I could bring in.

Once I hired my sister and I let her do some of those jobs, I could then produce more sales on the livestream every night. So just that one first hire allowed me to three, four x my revenue. And then there’ll be a cap obviously with your first hire. But then your second hire might allow you to two x your revenue or increase it by 30%.

So I cannot stress enough please try to hire the right people. Sometimes it’s not going to work the first time, but you have to hire the things that you don’t want to do. And the jobs that you’re not necessarily as good at as somebody else.

Joe Casabona: I love that. I echo that every step of the way. My editor enabled me to sell more sponsorships because I wasn’t editing. My VA enabled me to launch other products because I wasn’t then doing all the publishing and all the behind-the-scenes stuff to get episodes published.

So, again, if you’re going to take a risk, know that hiring an employee or hiring a contractor has some of the most proven risk-reward benefits out there. Awesome.

So Dappz, this was great. If people want to learn more about you, if they want to catch you on a live stream or someone from your team on a lot, I assume you’re not personally live streaming 24/7, where can they find you?

Matt Dappz: Please check us out on TikTok. We have six shops up live every single day. Two of them are close to 24/7. DappzSports, D-A-P-P-Z Sports, DappzSports Brakes. We’re live right now on both of those channels. We have Pokémon channels up as well. Dappz Rips, Pokey Dappz. Go check them out.

We have DappzKicks that is launching this week as well, if you’re into Nikes or Jordans. We have a ton of cool live streams up. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s really, really just fun to watch and get entertained by the streams. We hope you enjoy them. You can check us out at Dappzsports.com and we are DappzSports on all platforms: YouTube, Tok, Instagram, everywhere.

Joe Casabona: Awesome. I will link to that and everything we talked about in the show notes which you can find over at howibuilt.it/340. If you want to catch the pro-only version of this where we’re going to talk about tips on live streaming, you can become a member at that same link, howibuilt.it/340. Dappz, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.

Matt Dappz: Absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Joe Casabona: And thank you for listening. Thanks to our sponsors. And until next time, get out there and build something.

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