Career Crashers 42: Vincent Zurzolo on building a comic book empire

Corné van Straten
June 2020

“I was the first person to ever sell a comic book for a million dollars.”

Since he was 15 years old, Vincent Zurzolo had been buying and selling comics. But he was otherwise still pursuing a normal path through high school and college.

Then, he got wrongfully accused of something as an intern, threatening his college career and reputation. He decided he never wanted to be in that position again, and started to sell comic books for a living instead, on the streets of Manhattan.

“I think one of the most important things a person can do in their life is live life with passion and do what they’re passionate about.”

But that is not to say that Vincents path to success was all sunshine and rainbows. His parents got mad at him for not pursuing a more prestigious career with his marketing degree, and the money didn’t come easily either.

There were times when he was traveling the country for conferences that he barely broke even. One time he even got robbed of $40.000 worth of his most valuable inventory, which almost led to him calling it quits.

“I was desperate and I went to see a psychic. I told the psychic ‘You know, I’ve been having doubts about pursuing comic books. I was thinking of pursuing acting.’ And the psychic just said ‘No, no, no, stick with the comic books!'”

So Vincent ended up pushing through, having to figure out a way to compete against people with lots more money, experience, knowledge and network — people who had already been in the business 30 or 40 years.

But he found a weakness in their business models in the form of customer service, which he was convinced he could do better — and he did.

And by delivering more than just the transactional experience, Vincent ended up building an empire.

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Show notes

  • What was the moment that made Vincent realize he wanted to work for himself
  • How did Vincent know he could make money buying and selling comics
  • Selling a comic book for $1 Million
  • Sales as a superpower
  • Why reputation and relationships are what matter in sales in the long-term
  • The importance of being a life long learner
  • Pursuing what interests you as a career choice

Connect with Vincent

If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, don’t hesitate! Email Isaac at Isaac [at] Crash [dot] co.

You can stay up-to-date on every Career Crasher episode as it launches here.

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