Scot, The Cha Ching King, and his wife, Melody, have built their online business by sourcing from garage sales, estate sales, flea markets, and more. They’ve been full-time sellers since 2018 and sell on eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark. The Cha Ching King is very, very active on social, especially on YouTube and Instagram, and is of course a List Perfectly user.
The Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly is the ecommerce resource for the seller community across all platforms and a hub for information on growing your business. Find out more at thesellercommunitypodcast.com, leave a message or ask a question at anchor.fm/sellercommunitypodcast, or email us at email@example.com.
Doug: Scot, The Cha Ching King, and his wife, Melody, have built their online business by sourcing from garage sales, estate sales, flea markets, and more. They’ve been full-time sellers since 2018 and sell on eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark. They’ve got a great merch line that Clara loves and I’m gonna get a shirt. And the Cha Ching King is very, very active on social, especially on YouTube and Instagram, and is of course a List Perfectly user. So thanks for taking the time and welcome to the show, Scot.
Scot: I’m glad to be here.
Doug: So Scot, you are The Cha Ching King. Is Melody The Cha Ching Queen?
Scot: She is not. There is a The Cha Ching Queen. And I have never met her. My wife is much more of a, I’m not gonna log onto to social media and talk to anybody ever.
Doug: And so the name’s kind of obvious, but what inspired the name?
Scot: You know, prior to going full-time in 2018, I was a school superintendent and I sold on eBay primarily. But you know, you watch these videos and you’ll see that somebody got suspended or somebody lost their account. I knew so little about Instagram. I thought that it was another selling platform. But I didn’t use my name cause I don’t feel like when you’re a superintendent in a small town that you should be talking about making money doing something else especially when I really wasn’t doing it during the day at all and I made Cha Ching King up cuz I thought, well that rhymes. And it wasn’t taken. I was like, how is that not taken?
Clara: And you were able to get that name on eBay stores and different channels?
Clara: Congratulations Cha Ching King. What an asset.
Scot: So people are like, wow, and it’s like, it’s just really lucky. Like, I don’t know.
Clara: Congrats. That’s, that’s very big. Having your domains and then that unity, that uniform presence across different channels is crucial for a healthy growth of your businesses.
One of the things that happened to me with the name is that, after Instagram got popular, cuz my whole goal with Instagram was just to have a backup place to sell. Something happened. But when it started, I have no idea why anybody follows me, but when people started following me, somebody bought the domain and it’s available, they will sell it to me for $50,000. And I’m like, you overestimate my commitment to this. I actually own The Cha Ching Kingdom. Instagram is Cha Ching King.
Clara: Could you please share with maybe those that don’t know you, Scot what do you sell and which one is your favorite platform?
Scot: eBay is my favorite platform by far, it’s not even close. I started on eBay in 99, so I’ve been around there a long, long time. I’m opportunistic, so we never niche down. I’ve got the attention span of a gnat, so if I were trying to sell one thing. I wouldn’t enjoy the job. I buy and sell everything. I’m looking for things that are a higher average sale price. I’ve never focused on raising my speed. I don’t try to work fast. I leave that up to the kids.
Clara: Like higher end value products than volume, right?
Doug: Even though you cleared it up, Melody is not The Cha Ching Queen is she involved in the business? Does she help you?
Scot: Oh yeah, 100%. So, especially after I started YouTube, it’s very difficult to keep up with eBay by yourself. We source differently probably than other people. And she’s not ever gonna go out and talk to anybody ever. So I still do all of that. I’ll do the vast majority of the sourcing. I still do most of the listing right now. We split it up, but I mean, there’s not a job that’s off limits for either one of us.
Clara: What did you do before you started selling online?
Scot: I was a school superintendent , in a little bitty town. The last portion of my career was all school superintendent last 12 years in one place. Prior to that, I was a elementary principal and then I taught elementary school.
Doug: So what was the spark or the influence that got you into selling online?
Scot: If we go way back, when eBay first started, I have a lumber mill. I build furniture as a hobby and, I found out you could sell online. I had seen Craigslist, but it was pretty much just local and there was eBay and I could sell lumber. And at that time, shipping wasn’t so bad. I shipped lumber all the way to Alaska and I would never dream of shipping lumber anywhere anymore. It’s way too expensive. So it started with that and it was really just so that I could buy more woodworking stuff. I wasn’t trying to make money. I was trying not to lose money.
Clara: When you stopped your full-time job as a superintendent, how was the transition for you to going now I’m gonna go full-time reselling, or maybe part-time or how was it?
Scot: It was really seamless, because Melody was already at home, so before I retired, Melody was doing most of the eBay and I’m in a little bitty town, so like the population is 181.
Here’s how small Penelope is. This one morning a heifer got loose in front of the high school. And Penelope is small enough that everybody recognized the heifer. I went and got a kid named Johnny Outta class and I said, you have to take your cow home. This is a small town, so it wasn’t a secret that we did eBay. And part of that is this is not a high-income area.
I encourage the kids, it doesn’t matter if you’re 16, if you’ve got a parent, you need to take control because there are opportunities to make money doing legitimate things. I taught classes at the school for free at night for people on eBay , so it wasn’t a big secret, but as far as ramping up when you’re an educator, as superintendent, I could look and see when I would qualify for retirement. And so my wife and I just decided we’re gonna build eBay up with her doing most of the listing and, and then when I retired I took over much, much more of it, cause prior to that you’re working nonstop.
Doug: So tell us how you source. Do you source locally? Do you source online? What’s the balance?
Scot: You know, I love the question because you’ll see it a lot. People are like, well, I can’t do what you do because there’s no one around me and like it’s 45 minutes to a garage sale from here, like there. Wherever you’re at, whether you’re in a big city or you’re a small city, there are opportunities. You gotta figure out what those opportunities are. Okay. You can’t dismiss the fact that everybody knows me and so I get opportunities to go into estates before they have an estate sale. Okay? They’ll call me cuz they know what I do and so I get some opportunities that way. The private picks, if you want call them.
The only, the only thing I would say would be different is that I also know these people and you’ve got an obligation to pay a fair price for the stuff. I walked into a random estate sale in North Dallas and I don’t know them and they have, FFA sweetheart jacket for eight bucks, I’m just gonna buy it.
But when someone showed up at my house instead, then I pay a hundred. I know what it’s worth. They don’t know what it’s worth, but that’s irrelevant. These are my friends. So you have to, pay a fair price . We do storage lockers, you know, you can buy those from anywhere. And I buy a lot of storage lockers. And when we go to garage sales or something like that, we have to hit like a community sale because if it takes me an hour to get there, I’ve gotta hit several at a time. And, but I would say the number one thing I tell people what I do. I don’t hide it. And there are probably some people that don’t want a reseller there. Most people are interested. And I talk my way into more basements than, than I’ve, that sounds terrible, but I do.
Clara: But you’re networking and that’s what I always recommend. What would you say to someone in our audience that is in a small town and maybe they can’t pay that fair price. They’re on a budget of a hundred dollars, let’s say. And, we gotta pay gas. It’s 45 minutes driving and we’re on a tight budget. What would you say?
Every situation is different. Gotta remember I was the superintendent. So I made more money and, so their situation would be different if they’re just trying to get by. That’s a totally different situation than mine. I have the ability to afford it now, but that wasn’t always the case. When there aren’t two nickels to rub together, you have to make the one nickel count.
I would say one good item is better than 10 cheap items. That’s the one thing I would tell ’em is that if you’ve got $100 to spend, don’t buy 100 $1 items unless they’re all awesome. You’re better off to buy 10, $10 items. Less work, less listing, less shipping , which will increase your, profitability on eBay and just ease of work. I don’t wanna work. So if you wanna take advice on how to work, ask a lazy guy. I’m gonna tell you about the best process on how to get things done.
Clara: What would you say makes this style of sourcing, so particularly meaningful to you?
Scot: I will try any sourcing method.
Clara: Do you do arbitrage, for example?
Scot: Yes. Retail arbitrage. I would. Keep in mind there are no retail establishments so like there’s no, there is a soda machine outside the volunteer fire department is the only public place you could spend money other than the Post Office. A couple of years ago Dillard’s had their big man underwear. It was like $30, but it was marked down toa buck. I bought a ton of big man underwear and I thought maybe I could just grow into ’em, but it seemed smarter to sell ’em.
I would say that the only reason that I’m competitive at it is that cuz I’m not ever gonna push, I’m not shoving anybody out of the way. I’m not gonna take anything away from anybody ever. It is just knowledge based. I’m pretty sure I study more than most. So when I go out into the wild and I’m trying to find something I know a little bit about a lot of stuff. I’m not tied to one thing.
I’m at the Goodwill bins one day and they rolled out a bin full of 1950s bullet bras that were new tags, they still had the original tags on ’em. I learned about bullet bras quick because it turned out they were $50 to a hundred dollars apiece. They weighed nothing. They cost nothing. It doesn’t mean that I have to sell those from now on but when you have a broad knowledge base, you have the option of selling other things. If you only wanna sell shoes and you have the ability to do that and get all you need and make all the profits you want, super. If I know other things and a unique opportunity presents itself, then I can take advantage of that and I can do so successfully.
Doug: Tell us about your cha-Ching merch line and what we might find.
Scot: Well, you know, I don’t really sell it. I have it on one of the eBay accounts because that’s the one that I teach from. I have sold two shirts. I have given away 98. I have now sold, I think I’ve sold four stickers and I’ve given away hundreds. So it was never a money maker for me. I thought it was cool. A friend of mine from high school, is a graphic artist and a quick public service announcement. If any of your friends are artists, pay them market rate.
Clara: Scot, you’re very active on social media, especially Instagram and YouTube. Please tell us what can we expect to find on each of your social media channels, please?
Scot: On Instagram, I thought it was a selling platform, and so I post pictures of everything from what I sold to what I’m thinking about. I don’t have a clue why anybody follows me on there at all. There is absolutely no plan behind it. It is all about reselling.
As far as YouTube goes, Probably 75% of the videos are how to tutorials for using eBay aimed at beginners, or people that are just getting started. I do a little bit of sourcing. Those aren’t popular videos for me. I just try to teach people in very, step by step instructions on how to do it. No judgment and, the channel is aimed as much about giving hope to that person sitting on their couch at home that’s looking for a way to change their financial situation.
I’m gonna do another, how much I made one. I’ve ordered a king costume with like a crown. Then I’m gonna be like, okay, peasants cause I don’t think anybody that actually follows me knows or thinks that I think any of that. Like tongue in cheek.
Doug: Please give us three words you would use to describe yourself.
Scot: I would like people to describe me as helpful , and I would like them to describe me as, passionate, and encouraging. That’s how I would like people to describe me.
I grew up like exceptionally poor, and I hear people say that they’ve been poor, but my dad escaped from a federal penitentiary and we grew up homeless and the first thing I ever resold was in, I’ve told the story a bunch of times, before first period in junior high, I would run to the 7-Eleven. I would buy chewing gum, get back to the school and resell it to the kids. I started surviving, but I know that there are other people that are in a similar situation to me, just a different day and age.
Hope can change everything. You give somebody enough hope and enough drive and they can overcome thrifting in a rural area or in an urban area . You can overcome whatever you need to overcome if you believe that you can in just a few resources and some support. That’s a really important thing to me. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing this? Why do social media at all? I’d make more money just listing my own stuff and not doing YouTube or Instagram or anything else.
Clara: Now, Scot, how did you discover List Perfectly, and how has it changed your business?
Scot: So we were never going to cross post ever. Like I was dead set against it. I thought Instagram was a Crossposting site anyway. I was never gonna cross post and, um, We have such cool stuff and I was watching Texas Gal Treasure and I think it’s her code that I used however many years ago that was and I thought, If I could cross post without having to do all of the work fresh, then that would be good.
There were side benefits that I didn’t expect, because I, there are probably people that take better advantage of what everything List Perfectly will do, which is, it’s significant if, if it does a lot. But I guess it was two years ago, eBay lost all of my pictures for 120 items. Lost all my pictures, but guess what? We were on List Perfectly so I didn’t have to duplicate all the work cause I had all of my stuff here on List Perfectly. And so, you know, we started cross-posting slowly. Cause we were afraid. But I thought if I’m gonna double check, every item anyway to see if it’s sold, I might as well cross post all of them.
We’re not a big store. Like we keep like 800 to a thousand items. And we average 75 to a hundred thousand a year, in gross sales. And, okay. I couldn’t even tell you how much List Perfectly cost because as far as I can tell, List Perfectly for me, is free because I would’ve never cross posted anything. If you’re running this as a business at all the cost of List Perfectly will pay for itself. If you are working, it will pay for itself every single month. I never canceled it. I never paused it, I never did anything once we started using it. And I didn’t even realize it’s gonna protect my listings.
Doug: So you’ve had quite the journey as a seller . So what’s one thing you wish you knew when you started selling that you know now?
Scot: You know, one of the things that, especially if you watch YouTube and Instagram, as a new seller, my biggest fear was there’s scammers everywhere that, like there’s somebody around every single corner waiting to steal my stuff and take my money. And the reality of it is the vast majority of people that you interact with, they’re just people that wanna buy your stuff, and our return rate is like less than 2%. Of those people, the vast majority of that, I think it was like 0.8. Percent last time. The vast majority of those, they just wanted a return. They’re not a scammer. And I wish I had known because it creates a lot of fear that that’s all you’re gonna do. And it isn’t reality. You’re gonna have some of it when you first get started, but like, I don’t, I don’t think about scammers every day cuz they’re not a part of my every day.
Clara: And marketplaces protect you. Marketplaces have a lot of security measures and, protections for our sellers. It has evolved a lot, right? It has evolved a lot since 1999 when you started selling, huh?
I was selling lumber and I still remember there was this one guy, he, I sold some Mesquite Merle, and he wanted it super-fast. And I was like, all right, well I’m gonna take it down and mail it right now, and you mail me the check right now. And he’s like, okay. And I went down, it was $134. I still remember. I don’t why I remember that. And I mailed it off and he mailed me a check. I got my money.
Clara: Scot, you know, we’re coming to the end of our incredible chat. Anything that maybe we didn’t cover or, or anything you would like to say to our audience or you wanna add?
Yes. Right now this is like super one-sided. I would like to know from you and Doug, what got you into reselling. I would love to know that.
Clara: I was in the banking industry. I got a big severance package and they told me to wait. We will call you back. And literally, all day first time in my life that I have time off, so I was playing guitar all day, doing barbecues. On one of those barbecues. Amanda, the co-founder of List Perfectly comes with her laptop. At that time, I’m talking about 14 years ago when you came with the laptop, there was no smartphones, right? And she comes with her laptop.
She asked me for my Wi-Fi, and I was like, whoa, wait a second. That’s intimate. And I just met her. So my friends told me, no, she’s cool. I give her the Wi-Fi. We’re eating, we’re drinking, and I see all of a sudden, she goes to a corner of my house, sits down on my living room table, opens her laptop, and she’s smiling like from ear to ear, Scot.
And I’m like, Wait, why are you so happy opening, coming from banking? You know, usually when we open the laptop we’re like, oh, I wanna close it right away, right? So she tells me and I ask her, what, what happened? And she’s like, can I show you what I sold on eBay? And I’m like, Ooh, could you please? Because I had the ignorance coming from a regulated industry, I thought that resellers didn’t make money. Okay. And, uh, yep, I, I came from that ignorance and, uh, you know, you can brainwash, you know, from banking, you know, they give you estimates and so forth and basic know with IRS reports and so forth, right? But that’s a very superficial analysis because so many, uh, transactions that we do sometimes when we source are, are done in cash.
So, uh, now I understand why that perception was so flawed in this industry, but I go to. And she tells me, look at what I sold and all I see is a hole. It’s a vest with the hole, and I’m like you’re selling junk. I thought, I’m in my head and, and I’m like, Hey, did you tell the buyer that that’s, that this has a hole?
And she’s like, no, no. Wait, look. I put all the pictures out. The description. It was a Ralph Lauren highly collectible, uh, downhill skier, uh, 1992, made in Hong Kong. That’s what they won at the time, the collector. So, Couple of weeks go by, I do another barbecue again. She comes again and she’s like, hey, can I show you the feedback from the buyer? And I’m like, oh, they leave you feedback. I didn’t know anything about eBay or e-commerce. And, all I can see is. Thank you so much. He sent a picture where he was renewing the vows with his wife. The wife fixed the vest and they showed the picture that the original picture, he, got engaged to her 10 years ago with that vest and they lost that vest.
I wanna cry in that coming from an industry that in 2008 was not helping people. To keep their houses. It was not helping them to refinance or hold their houses. And I had to witness that. I had to witness a lot of bad practices. It was just brutal for me. I was dying Scot inside, and, I was working Monday to Monday.
I became, you know, A much more relaxed person. I found my own voice and that for me was lifesaving. I don’t know, where would I be without e-commerce?
Scot: All right,
Doug: I worked at eBay for four years and that’s how I got into e-commerce. And then when I was at eBay, I was on the seller engagement and community team. I started going to events and meeting sellers and hearing all these seller stories. And I really loved meeting and talking with sellers and learning, how they got started selling, what they did, what they did beforehand. And you know, they’d always be like, oh, my story’s not interesting. Everybody’s got an interesting story and I love stories. I worked on the eBay for Business podcast and helped launch that as well.
So at some point eBay had a layoff and I was amongst the people laid off and I wanted to have an e-commerce podcast, that was all the platforms. And I was aware of List Perfectly, and I knew them from other sellers. What I liked about List Perfectly was that they were so ingrained in the seller community and I knew that the founders were sellers.
And it’s like when I was at eBay, Devin Wenig was the CEO, he was a business guy and started selling when he came to eBay. So he didn’t have that. He couldn’t really relate to sellers like somebody who’s done it before. I left eBay and I launched a music podcast to be able to do it all my own from scratch cuz I wanted to be able to do everything myself.
And so then I had this idea and you know, there’s tons of podcasts out there. You have to have good backing and, you know, I had this idea that I wanted to do and I wanted to get sellers to be able to come tell their stories. So I did that. And then at that point was when I started selling and I started using List Perfectly, and I’m not a super high volume seller, but I started using List Perfectly.
Clara got wind of my idea and then we chatted late one afternoon and then the next morning she’s like, can you get on a call? It was like 7:00 AM I’m like, okay. And she’s like, I want it. Let’s do it. And I was like, okay. And then we did it. And I was a contractor.
I did it on the side for several months and then at some point, Clara and I went to an event together and I think part of it is Clara saw how many people I knew cuz I know a ton of sellers and you know, it was just a natural fit for me to slide back into that.
And then we talked about what would it take to come on and, what would I want to do? And so now, I manage the blog. I manage the podcast. I help with live events. I do a lot of live stuff with Clara. I do a lot of seller events. So, to me seller engagement goes on all the time.
I’ve got conversations and Facebook Messenger and an Instagram. Sellers text me all the time cuz I know so many of ’em that I’ve known since way back. Somebody asked me about this this morning and it’s important because it was just the anniversary of my first ever seller event. It was in Kansas City and eBay hadn’t done any events for a while. And they sent myself and my compatriot Alan with an eBay tablecloth and a box of t-shirts. So we went to Kansas City for the whole weekend and turned out there were a lot of big sellers there.
So we made some good connections. But first of all, they couldn’t believe that eBay was there like we were eBay. And then we were just there and we hung out and we answered questions and we were just like, Clara is just like List Perfectly is. Authentic, honest, available. And you know, that’s part of overall what attracted me to List Perfectly and why I love working with Clara, because she does things like this and she goes live and takes live questions.
Clara: The part that Doug is not telling Scot is, the secrecy of your inventory system..
Doug: I have five bins. And they are clear bins, A, B, C, D, and E. And then I joke that I’m a huge Duran Duran fan and I joke that I have one that’s double D for my Duran Duran stuff. I like it because I can move them around easily. I can picture it in my head and it’s based on much bigger sellers what they do.
Scot: Yeah, I got more than five bins. You know, when I met Melody, I met Melody in 1985 and she had asked me out to meet my best friend. I had moved to Texas and my friend is like super pretty and like I was the homely friend that everybody could talk to, so she asked me out to meet him, but her plan, so I married her anyway, so that’s how that ended.
But her plan prior to meeting me was to follow Duran Duran to Europe and she was gonna follow… I’ve gotta find, there’s a picture of her with, she’s got a Duran Duran haircut and anyway…
Nobody had the T-shirt. She went to the concert. I was actually not a concert person, but I had long hair when she met me, so she thought I was Taylor .
Doug: Thanks Scot for joining us today. This was a great chat. Really enjoyed it and great to get to know you better hear your story.
Clara: We’re so grateful for your time. We’re grateful for your honesty and, your passion to answer these questions. I really appreciate that you came and visited us and I can’t wait to have you back.
Scot: I appreciate it.