10 Years Ago Today SportsLizard Launched

First SportsLizard Home Page

The original SportsLizard home page

On July 15, 2004 I launched my first online business, SportsLizard.com. At the time it was a marketplace for buyers and sellers of sports cards/collectibles. I remember how excited I was to finally launch the site that I had dedicated my final summer in college to building. I remember the thrill of the first dollar made (a buddy of mine in the industry who posted a handful of listings). SportsLizard has become something entirely different and it’s no longer a substantial source of revenue for us, but it is how I got my start in this crazy world of online business.

That final semester in college I remember not caring about my classes at all for the first time. I just wanted to get home and work on SportsLizard. At the engineering job I took after graduating, I never could completely focus the way I had at jobs and internships in the past. All I wanted to do was work on my little online business. The notoriety it received in 2005 gave me the confidence to quit my job in 2006. By the end of that year I had teamed up with my partners and Pure Adapt was born.

My perception of what it would be like to run an online business full-time was quite a bit different than reality, as things we desire often are. Still, the main driving forces behind why I wanted to become an entrepreneur were:

  • The freedom to work wherever and whenever I wanted to. I knew I didn’t want the typical 9 – 5.
  • Financial control. I didn’t want to live in constant fear that events out of my control could lead to me being relocated or losing my job (a silly notion to some in 2004 but not so much these days).
  • Doing interesting, exciting, innovative work that challenges my brain. I like using 100% of my ability to solve problems.
  • Doing work that makes a difference, a difference that I am able to observe. I like being able to say “that thing I built improved someone’s day”.

For the most part I’ve achieved those things, and if for no other reason than that I can call this past decade a success. It would be hard for me to part with even one of those things that have become a core part of my life. It might not have manifested in exactly the way I thought it would, but that’s alright with me. Things rarely do.

I suppose that surviving in business this long is an accomplishment in and of itself. It’s almost surreal to think that I haven’t had a “real job” since January of 2006! It’s been an amazing 10 years. I’m pumped for the next 10.

7 comments on 10 Years Ago Today SportsLizard Launched

  1. Dale Ting says:

    Congrats Adam! I’ve always used your story as a vision for my entrepreneurial adventures. Since I’ve read your blog I’ve also quit my job and starting selling stuff online… albeit a soap scum cleaner and a high end BBQ smoker are a bit different. Looking forward to getting to where you are now in the next 10 years, and following you as you go even further!

  2. Scott Messner says:

    Adam, thank you for keeping SportsLizard active. My 11 year old son is currently big into card collecting. He buys cards in bulk and then checks values. I recently showed him SportsLizard and he said “This site is awesome. I’m telling all my friends!”. Just wanted to let you know he’s a fan.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      That’s awesome, I appreciate you telling me Scott! I don’t get much interaction with the users so it’s great to hear that there are people out there who still find it useful.

  3. Tim says:

    Congrats Adam, 10 years is no joke in the world of business, in particular online business – think of the enormous changes that websites have gone through in the past 10 years. The hardware people were consuming information on, to put it into perspective, Gmail is 10 years and a few months old – amazing to think where the world was back then.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thank you Tim. It is amazing that Gmail was just getting started. I answered email in Outlook 2003 using good ole POP3 directly to my @sportslizard email account. I developed on a “powerhouse desktop” computer that was half as powerful as my phone today…and speaking of phones, I had a flip phone. I had only gotten my first cell phone in late 2002! And RPI’s campus was the most connected campus in the country…but that was without wi-fi! It was all T3 lines everywhere. We used to all carry around ethernet cables to plug our laptops in!

  4. […] is the year of 10 year anniversaries. Back in July SportsLizard celebrated it’s 10th year. Now Detailed Image. And in December it will be 10 […]

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