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Mar. 21st, 2009 @ 09:53 pm Advice for a Neonate?
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hussie
lukadia:
I hear: Cake - Long Line Of Cars
Hello, folks. I've come seeking some knowledge from those more experienced than I.

My dream is to become a fossil and gem dealer, ideally doing shows and maybe opening a shop in town. The economy being what it is, I'm not concerned so much with making a fortune; I just know what I want to do what for the rest of my life (work with rocks, get covered in dirt and mosquito bites, and do an insane amount of driving) and I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to make it happen. My problem is that I've got no idea how a layman breaks into the trade. My sketchy plans include enrolling in business classes and a formal study of geology, but if there's something I'm missing or a more hands-on approach such as internship that I can look into, I would love to hear your advice. Also any personal stories about being involved with rocks, if you'd be willing to share them.

Thanks for reading!
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From:keziah_rose
Date:March 22nd, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
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That's one of my dreams too, man. I wish you the best of luck! I run a small online business not entirely for rocks, and even that's easy to get bogged down in the details. Best I advice I can give you: stay organized. If you don't, you'll have a TON of paper work to do later
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From:keziah_rose
Date:March 22nd, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
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OH! And, depending on where you live, you might check into local clubs. I know my city has a large group of rockhounds that go digging together, and share each other's tools and whatnot. They're very friendly, passionate, and enthusiastic, and often times are more than willing to give you advice and even teach you some things (such as tumbling, cutting, etc).
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From:lukadia
Date:March 22nd, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
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Fantastic, thank you! The local club goes on field trips quite often, according to their website. As for organization, I think that'll be my biggest hurdle. I'm not very good with record-keeping, so I'm hoping taking classes on business managment will get me up to scratch.
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From:keziah_rose
Date:March 22nd, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure it will! Actually, I want to thank you, too. I never thought to take business classes, ha ha! That will probably help me out a lot...
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From:jharish
Date:March 22nd, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
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Also, I'd suggest getting to know the mining laws in your state. Several of the people who do this for a living that I know own mining rights to several types of mines where they get to dig out gems and use explosives!

(My friend owns rights to Benitoite and Karpetite, and makes a living selling them at shows, including Tucson!)

But as above, I suggest joining as many rockhounding clubs as you can find in your area, even ones you might have to drive to. You'll meet people and find fellow enthusiasts, possibly even business partners.(My aforementioned friend owns the rights with partners.)
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From:lukadia
Date:March 22nd, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
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Excellent, thank you for the tips! I'm in southern Minnesota and I've got the paperwork to join a club in the twin cities area already printed out. This summer is going to rock.
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From:jeff5696
Date:March 22nd, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
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Definitely do the small business class. And Talk to a local banker, and any financial people you know, such as accountants. Also go to as many rock and gem shows as you can, as talk , talk, talk. get to know people in the trade.The more contacts you get the bbetter. that's all for the moment. I'll find out more info. for you.
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From:lukadia
Date:March 22nd, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
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Much appreciated! These all sound like things I can do right away, which takes a load off my mind. Thanks for that.
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From:jeff5696
Date:March 22nd, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
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your welcome. your biggest challenge right now, is gathering a huge amount of info. A website that might be helpful to you is the-vug.com it's a clearinghouse for several rock shops. and one thing to keep in mind doing shows, and having a shop are two pretty different set-ups. Anyhow, best of luck, and feel free to ank any questions
jeff
From:aquitaineq
Date:March 22nd, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
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Don't quit your day job, that's my advice. My dad decided to go into the business and his plan was to continue it after he retired. He did it part time for about four years and just retired this Feb. It takes a lot of money to start a business so you probably should start slow and put aside as much money as you can.
Another tip, start a web page based business and limit your shows. Shows cost a lot of money and my Dad sold stuff, but maybe only came out even. But it did get his name out there and he made connections with lots of other dealers. Also the Tuscon, Arizona mineral show, which is in Jan I think is a great place to buy stuff and meet people.
From:sampson5
Date:March 28th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)

Rocks and Fossils

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The only advice I can give you is,don't quit your day job.
The buiness of Fossils and Rocks is kind of like the art business,
you have two choses, you can be the painter, or you can sell the paintings. The same thing goes for the other business,if you really want to be out there hunting the fossils thats fine, but to make a living at it can be pretty meger and long hours out searching by your self. The kind of time it takes to sell the fossils can be just as
long and hard, but you can do that from your home or over the internet
with the help of UPS. But either way you have to find the fossils one way or another. Compatision out there is pretty heavy. There is no easy answer to your question. Chris
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From:lukadia
Date:March 28th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)

Re: Rocks and Fossils

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Thanks for that. Hilariously enough, my day job is art, so I'm in for a very interesting adventure.
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From:ditchthelogikal
Date:August 4th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
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Buy minerals and fossils for cheap. Sell them for more. If you can learn how to clean them really well (using iron out, acids, a water gun, etc.) you can buy dirty ones, clean them up, and make a good profit.

I have a mine in Colorado and I can tell you that the miner always gets ripped off. There are people at the top who need to make a profit in order for the business to exist...so it kind of comes with the territory.

Check out www.coloradominerals.net for some ideas about selling crystals. You can make a fortune, it's just not easy.
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From:lukadia
Date:August 4th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
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Thank you for the link and advice! Profit or bust, it sounds like a hell of an adventure.