Kevin, the Commonwealth Picker, is an online seller, a picker, a flipper, huge in the seller community and dominant in all social media. Family and connections are important to him. He’s been a teacher and a coach and has been selling online for more than 20 years, so has seen a lot come and go.
The Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly is the e-commerce 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clara: Today we’re joined by Kevin, the Commonwealth Picker. He’s an online seller, a picker, a flipper, huge in the seller community, and dominant in all social media. Family and connections are important to him. He’s been a teacher and a coach and has been selling online for more than 20 years, so has seen a lot come and go. We’re very excited to welcome you, Kevin, the Commonwealth Picker to the Seller Community Podcast. Welcome to the show!
Kevin: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s a great intro. I’m not used to that on the podcast I do. They usually have already made fun of me about a minute into the show. It’s just good. I like it.
Doug: Yeah. Thanks for being here. Let’s start at the start. For those that don’t know, how did you get into online selling?
Kevin: Yeah and you said I was a teacher and a coach for 20 years as a public school teacher and it’s, y’all out there in the land where public school teachers make a few dollars, but out here in rural Virginia, we don’t make nothing.
So it was a wake-up call to me when I started teaching. I’m like, holy moly, how am I gonna do this? How can I have a family? How can I do whatever? So I’m like immediately thinking, all right cuz teachers get a little time off. And I’m like, Hey, what am I gonna do?
And I just had this love of garage sales from when I was young and my mom in California, she’d have ’em. And I was like, man, she used to make some money. And so I started thinking along the lines of selling at a flea market or doing garage sales and I’m like, God, that’s such a pain.
And I’m like, I’m gonna go to garage sales. And I heard about this thing, eBay, this is like 2000 ish, something like that. And I’m like, I’m gonna try this thing. And that’s exactly how I started. I started going to garage sales, but matter of fact, the first thing I ever sold was something I stole from my school.
So no, not really stolen. So I’m in the history department and they’re clearing out old stuff that nobody uses anymore. And they had cassette tapes, sealed tons of them of the Nixon-Kennedy debates. And they’re throwing ’em out and I’m like, oh, I’m gonna take these. I’m gonna see. And I sold it for $11 and 50 cents back then, when shipping was a little cheaper.
There was a box of ’em. I’m like start doing some math here. And I’m like, I can make ’em more when I sell these in a day than I can with teaching. And I’m like, I’m gonna have to figure this out. And just slowly but surely it started to sell a little bit. So that’s how it all started for me. And I was addicted. Like the first sale, I was over.
Clara: Can you tell our audience, what you sell, and what you love also to sell? What’s your favorite?
Kevin: Yeah. Immediately right off the bat, because it was so long ago, it was, I think my store, I think dates back to 2002 or 2003, but I had one previous to that. I don’t know why it changed or something way back when, but,, I didn’t think about what I liked right offhand. I only thought about what I knew and cuz you know, back then we’re old enough here we can say this mixed company, there was no phone in your hand to find anything. So it was totally by feel.
And I remember going out into the field, into the garage sales and picking stuff, and then getting home and looking it all up and trying to figure out what the value was. And so what I knew back then was back then, like you find Wiis today, Nintendo Wiis and stuff. You found Nintendo, N E S’s constantly, and Atari. So it was video games and that type of stuff. And I would look up electronics later after the fact. I had a little notepad and I’d write down different things and I would go home. And then sometimes, you know, like garage sales, they have another garage sale the next week or sometimes, the next year, exactly the same time, I would look for the same things I looked up. And so it really wasn’t about what I loved at the beginning. It was really about making money and eventually, it got into things that I started to like from my childhood like it is for, we’re familiar with that nostalgic stuff.
I see you got a bunch of records back there and so I’m sure you know that’s stuff you don’t pass up. Yeah. When you’re out there and you’re finding stuff and for me, luckily for me, that stuff now is cassette tapes and stuff is now in, but back then it was basically video games and things that my mom would’ve picked when she went to antique stores.
Different cobalt glass and stuff She really enjoyed. , if she liked it and she paid for it, an antique booth had to be worth something. And so that’s what it was. And then old history stuff, cuz I’m a, I was a history teacher, so that’s what I enjoyed and that’s what I found and that’s what I knew. And the knowledge increased over time and it expanded.
Doug: Okay, so you’ve been on eBay 20-something years. What is your proudest eBay accomplishment?
Kevin: That is interesting. So I don’t know, but I, I think the feedback, cuz I’ve been part-time, I haven’t been full-time really, even now when I’m full-time, because of the social media, I still only sell 15, maybe 20 hours a week as far as putting in the time. So I still don’t consider myself full-time, but I think we’re approaching 13,000 feedback and almost the entire time a hundred percent positive feedback. Or very close, 99.9, 99.8, I like to keep the customer satisfied. That would be on the eBay side of it, the fact that my kids have enjoyed this, I was afraid, kids are kids, right?
Sometimes they specifically don’t want to do something because you want them to do something. And I’ve tried to navigate that and they have both enjoyed the process of social media and eBay and the fact that we do it together from a personal standpoint is what makes me proud.
I tell people I have limited skills, there are a lot of things I don’t do well and my wife does a lot of things well that I don’t, and to be able to do that and to have it be, it is tough, like you said, to work with family. If it creates barriers and somebody doesn’t want to do it and they’re forced into doing it’s a problem. But I just have been extremely fortunate that’s not been the case. And there are things that she doesn’t like to do like you’re doing that big giant, 30-pound receiver, I’m not packing that, I’m not gonna pack it.
But to delegate, the labor and divide it up makes things go much, much smoother. And I feel bad for folks out there. They tell me, I see messages all the time on comments like, you’re so lucky to have a family. My family, not only do they not support it, they hate it.
And, that person is doing it to pay for that vacation that’s coming up or to pay off debt. And I, I feel for those people because they don’t see, yeah, there’s a lot of time involved with it and people that don’t understand us and that’s what we do. A lot of ’em won’t ever understand it.
And I, you get family members I’m excited about selling this thing for $14 plus, and they’re just, it doesn’t compute. And then you show ’em the 90-day total and they’re like, wait a minute. And they’re like, something’s got a computer here, something’s working. I don’t spend as much time trying to convince people as I used to. I just put out a video on the Commonwealth Picker Channel and we talk about dirty clothes. This basement looked like it had not been touched since 1974. I’m like, there is gold in this room if you can just stand digging through it and then cleaning it.
Clara: Kevin, you’ve seen a lot of changes since you’ve been reselling. What would you say is the biggest change you have seen?
Kevin: Okay there’s no doubt about it. There are a bunch of changes, it seems every year there’s something big that comes along. I’m gonna go way back cuz there’s been so much lately that everybody’s familiar with, but the people that resell now, that complain about, I don’t know. I hear some complaints lately about little things like I, the big hullabaloo changing over a couple of years back from PayPal to managed payments on eBay and whatever, and the uproar and I’m like, you guys go back. Go back and just remember I said you used to have to wait days for the payment to show up in the mail and it would come in a cashier’s check or it would come in a, I got cash. People used to send me cash in the mail.
Clara: Remember they would send us cash in the envelopes? I would freak out and I have to make on their invoice no cash.
Kevin: The government wouldn’t like that today. They can’t get that 1099 on that one. Boy, at any rate. But those were some big changes. And I remember back then the whole thing cuz you know, that stuff would make me nervous cuz I’m not good with technology. I don’t do change very well. But I just made up my mind. I loved reselling so much, and I needed the income that I would slowly force myself into making those changes. I am risk averse. I am change-averse, and so I have to be pushed into things and when I finally get there and I get the support staff around me to help me navigate the issue. Once it’s done, I breathe this sigh of relief cuz I know I can keep reselling, I know I can keep hunting and I can keep going to garage sales. I could go on a laundry list of changes, most of them good and we see them as bad at the beginning and then later on we’re like, okay.
Clara: What would you say was the change that gave you the biggest challenge or cost you the most?
Kevin: I’m gonna go on a personal note too then. I went through a few years in my life, just like everybody, there are ups and downs in everybody’s lives and there are different circumstances that take you away from something or bring you to something.
One really negative, which we’re not gonna get into, but one positive was my starting my family, and having the kids. I was a full-time teacher and I was also a high school varsity high school baseball coach. And I did that for 15 years and it was a huge commitment. And so to have three kids and to be able to teach and coach, it was 70 hours a week, 80 hours a week worth of stuff in season, for baseball and whatever.
And it was very difficult for me. I continued to resell, but it became very limited. I, my sourcing time became, I. Minuscule because, I would be coaching on Saturdays, but I kept doing it and I wanted to, I wanted to do it at a much larger scale cuz the money, I needed it for my family.
And I remember I went through a huge change and it’s affected how I resale now and how I picked now. Where I only did smalls, I did things that wouldn’t encumber my life. I only had one small space in a particular house I was living in and I started selling board game pieces. I would lot out board game pieces and people would give them to me cuz I couldn’t source as much and I just wanted to keep it going.
And it turned in, instead of making a thousand extra bucks a month, I was making 200 extra bucks a month. But it was something I could do. And that went on for almost a year before I could get back into it. And it was difficult for me to make the sacrifice of something I absolutely loved in order to put more time into, to my kids when they were very little and into teaching.
And that’s a stressful job to teach public high school. So that was difficult. But I managed to keep doing it through the whole time period. And then came out on the other end and finally got to go to garage sales again and do what I love, but I haven’t had to give it up. I gave up my teaching job because of social media. That was much easier to give up than to give up reselling.
Doug: Where else do you sell and what was it that pushed you to move or expand from eBay?
Kevin: For a while, not too long ago, when Posh started getting a little bigger and it was in the news and you’d hear about it a little bit and then Mercari at least, I don’t know the progression of all of ’em, but in my mind hearing about different things and I’m like, everybody gets excited about something new and then they look at the shiny object over here and they’re like, this is what’s so much better than eBay over here.
And so you gotta try it. And I wasn’t cross-listing. We were manually listing on Mercari and my wife was doing Poshmark totally on her own. She wasn’t cross-listing. She was buying specifically for Poshmark and not putting it on eBay and I was putting certain items on both Mercari and eBay and it was extremely time-consuming.
But that was the beginning of multi-platform and Depop. We used Depop as well, and I was basically just putting vintage clothing, hats, and t-shirts and, differently, I sold some backpacks and some cool old stuff over there on Depop, but, and did a little bit of Facebook marketplace.
I live out in the middle of nowhere, so it’s pretty rural, so there’s not much that I can sell around here unless it’s cattle equipment or something, there’s not much going on. So those were the four that we ventured out into, and I wasn’t seeing a return on the money for the investment and time.
And so we just decided with the increase in social media for us across these platforms, we’re like, we’re just gonna focus here on eBay and we’re just gonna do it this way. But you see these stories, you hear these people and they’re I was talking to people, I’d have ’em in here, into my cabin interview ’em, talk to ’em, come and pick with ’em, and they’re like, oh, I only sell on Mercari.
I’m like, how do you only sell on Mercari? I’m like it doesn’t make sense to me cuz the volume just didn’t add up for me. And people who just do Poshmark all over social media and I’m like, okay. And I like to, in my social media, I don’t like to just be on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram or whatever, and I’m, it’s because I’m risk averse.
I don’t want something to go away. And I’m like, you know what, if eBay left today, if whatever happened for eBay was gone, not only would I not have eBay, I wouldn’t have my social media, because it’s all centered around selling on eBay. Oh. And I’m like I’ve gotta do this.
I feel a sense of security. Even though we’ve just started the process. I think we have around 1200 items listed on eBay now. They’re all in List Perfectly. We’ve only actually cross-listed about 150 so far. We’re gonna get to the rest. And I feel so much more at ease just knowing that hey, If something happened, it’s sitting right there and we might not have this leg of the chair, but we’ve got the base of the chair in place. We’ve got 150 things cross-listed at this moment. We just started the process. I don’t know if we’ll cross-list everything.
My wife tells me we’re cross-listing everything. My wife tells me it’s not an experiment. She’s doing it. I’m like, ok. She actually likes it. That doesn’t compute in my mind, but she likes the process of doing it. And I’m like, Hey, more power to you. I’m happy cuz I don’t want to do it. And she does, she spends this, every morning she gets on and cross-posts more and we had a day the other day. Where we sold 1200 listings on eBay. 150 on Poshmark and Mercari. We sold more on those two platforms than we did on eBay. Just two weeks into the process. I was like, really? I did not expect that at all.
But a lot of people live where I live, I see people all the time, oh, your average sale price is this or this one. Dude, I live out in the middle of nowhere where there’s not much money. I became the Tupperware guy. I’m like, I don’t care. I’ll sell it. Whatever. If it makes me money, I’ll sell it.
And so the cost of doing business is way cheaper in certain places and the ability to do business. I talk to people who are disabled all the time. Oh, and they thank me. They’re like, thank you for selling backgammon replacement pieces because I can do that. I can do it in a wheelchair, I can pick this stuff up.
And so everybody’s got a different story. And that’s one of the reasons why I chose List Perfectly, is that there is a community around this. And it’s not this rigid, sterile incorporated, whatever. I just like the fact that there are real people doing this and coming together. And of all the companies doing it, I think you guys do it the best.
Clara: You. Thank you so much, Kevin. Now, just in case, our audience didn’t know this. Wait, there is more from Kevin. Just when you thought you didn’t know everything. Wait, he not only sells online, but I also know that you sell on a local booth, Kevin?
Kevin: I do. I have an antique booth. I used to have two and I will tell you this, it’s been one of ’em was a complete casualty of social media. The other one isn’t because I like the guy who owns the shop for one, and my dad and my mom have now moved to the area where I live, so I was gonna shut it down entirely. It made a little bit of money. But for me, it took away time from editing another video or something. And so I was like, I don’t know if it’s really worth doing this. My parents help me. They price the stuff. They take it to the booth. They’ve even sold their own stuff in that booth, and that allowed…
Clara: Wait, you also have your parents helping you?
Kevin: I couldn’t do it without my dad and my mom too, but especially my dad, because he comes by every day and he drives his car through my backyard, ruining my grass pop, and he picks up my packages. And he takes him to the post office every day. And he actually drives me around when we’re going to garage sales a lot of times, so I can be looking for the next sale and checking to see if anything popped up on Facebook in the morning.
I owe my mom a lot of this because she was the one early on. Where she would, I remember her distinctly, her having two-yard sales in Southern California, which, they’re not as prominent there. And certain communities have ’em more than others. And she had these two sales. And I remember seeing the box full of cash at the end of the day. I’m like, man, like people buy this stuff, and it must have value, it must be whatever. And then they worked in a storage unit, which unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to capitalize on because they were in Arizona and I was here and I’m like, y’all are on a gold mine.
It was a low-populated area. Paceon, Arizona, and compared to the Valley, where they can auction stuff off like crazy. And they would have people not pay for the units and then they couldn’t even auction them off like nobody would buy them. So they’d throw a bunch, but she’d keep it and she would do a yard sale at that place.
She brought a badge back here to me and I’m like, I can’t sell badges. And I looked at it and I’m like, wait a minute, this is Disneyland Hotel Chief of Police Badge. It had to be from the seventies. So there are Disney people that’s like a one-of-a-kind chief of Police at Disneyland hotel. And she got it out of a storage unit and we put it up and it sold for $800 in less than 24 hours. I didn’t keep all the money by the way. I gave her a giant cut.
Doug: So we’ve been talking a lot about family, and I know from talks that we’ve had that you really like to connect with people in your business dealings. And I wanted to let you know that I interview a lot of sellers and I know a lot of sellers, and I think you might come up the most as oh, I watch Commonwealth Picker and I know recently Ginger Marvin mentioned you Tucker from Tucker’s Treasure mentioned.
Kevin: Years ago, Tucker’s dad sent me a message and I didn’t know who he was. He wasn’t on any social media that I was aware of, Hey, I want to come meet you and whatever. I’m like I’ll be out yard saleing Saturday, they’ll be in town. And he kept text messaging me and he did, he made it happen. I’m like, I’m just gonna keep telling you where I’m at in the city.
When we meet up. And it’s so funny that I met this young man years ago before anybody knew who he was, and then I started seeing him pop up in all this. I’m like, this is the kid I met. And he, it was funny because he came, the first thing he told me, was he shook my hand. He says this is a terrible place to go to garage sales.
Because it’s the middle of nowhere. And he was like, we found nothing here. He’d found a bunch of stuff up the road at some, Harrisonburg or something, but I’m like, Hey, now you feel my pain, and then saw him at FlipCon, sometimes it’s, you see the kids out there doing the stuff and it’s, you can tell the parents are doing it. That kid knows what he’s doing. And so does Ginger Marvin, by the way, met her at FlipCon. They just kill it, man. They just, it’s they’re in a different situation, right? Yeah. I see these thrift stores that these people go into, and there’s like rows and rows of shoes, and I see rows of electronics and I go to my Goodwill down here and there are 14 pairs of shoes that have been worn to the ground and some cow chewed on, and there’s a VCR that’s broken and an old A M F M stereo, that’s 700 pounds, and that’s my electronic section. I’m like, geez, people, I’m jealous.
I remember going into the Goodwill with a notepad. I wrote down every model number brand, whatever. It’s, and I have pages and I would come home and I would look it up on my computer and I’d be like, and I had the prices that they were selling for compared to what they were selling for. And I’d cross ’em all out and I’d find my six winners and I would go back, and I’d go buy ’em. And it was a three-hour process. But now, shoot, Google Lens it. We have a Trash to Cash podcast Facebook reseller group. I know you guys have a Facebook group and I put it on my own group to find an answer. Sometimes I’m like, I dunno what this is somebody in my group’s gonna know the answer to this thing. And they, you get it Just like that. It’s awesome.
Doug: What’s the biggest thing you think you’ve learned from a connection?
Kevin: I’m gonna give one example, and it may not be my best one, I was in Tennessee, and I was at the famous 1 27 sale. I love highway sales. You guys don’t have ’em out west as much. You should come back. I’ll host you here. You come back to these highway sales. Do you have any out west, these big giant highway sales? Garage Sale Nation Facebook group. And it’s dedicated to these highway sales. And in addition to that, we have a website, garage sale nation.net. And what we do there is we collect all of the information about all the highway sales. The 1 27 is from Michigan to Alabama. And we put all of them into a website. Three months out and people can look at it. And so we created a database, a website that shows where all of them are, and you can look, all right, hey, I love yard sales so much I’m willing to travel four states away and spend five days going up and down this highway. And those are the highway sales all over the country in the next three months. And sometimes there’s one in California. So sometimes what we’ll do is we’ll put massive flea markets as well.
And so I was at the 127 and I was so fortunate cuz the 127 is the most trafficked sale in the world. It’s so picked over, it’s hard to find stuff. And I saw a guy on Saturday morning, which is, three days into the sale, hammering a sign into the ground and it was like eight something in the morning and it was a sale that was just popping up for the first time.
So I’m like, I’m gonna actually go to a sale before anybody at the 127. That never happens. And I get there and it’s full of nothing but vintage t-shirts, vintage hats, and they’re selling ’em for a quarter a piece. I’m filling up bags like you wouldn’t believe. Old NASCAR stuff. It was probably four or $5,000 worth of stuff for less than a hundred bucks. But I pulled one piece out of there and I knew, I’m like, I’ve got to show this to my buddy Tim over the years. And cuz he’s gonna find out exactly the history of this shirt. And it was a STP, it said Richard Petty. It was a NASCAR shirt and it had a name on it, Barry. It was a workwear shirt and a lot of times if I used to work at a golf course Yeah. And I would wear work wear stuff and they, you’d wear five shirts and go turn it in and they’d wash ’em and they’d give you five new ones and they had your name on it.
Is like a real shirt that somebody in the organization wore. A viewer sent me a picture. It was from 1974 and it was a picture of Barry Dodson and it was the shirt. It was the shirt. He was a member of Richard Petty’s pit crew. And it had pictures of him in the pit crew. This is between his fifth and sixth championship or sixth and seventh championship. This is the icon, the king of NASCAR racing. And this guy eventually became the crew chief for two other drivers and won two other championships. I put that out there for $700 and it sold in less than 24 hours.
And that was probably one of the biggest assists, but people teach me all the time.
Clara: You were a high school teacher and a coach for 21 years. What have you carried over into your online selling?
Kevin: As a teacher, I hated school. I hated it. Not teaching. I hated going to school when I was a kid. Despised it. When I was in college, I even had courses I liked and subjects I liked. I loved history and so I enjoyed that. But everything else I hated, which is why I became a teacher, cuz I hated everything in education except for history. And then I took history. I’m like, what can I do with this except become a teacher? So that’s what I did. The administration would send me teachers, they would be like, oh, fix this teacher. I’m like, first of all, that’s not my pay grade. That’s your pay grade, but whatever I’ll do whatever.
I said, look, if you wanna be a successful teacher, you take two kids. You take the most popular, the most attractive kid in the class. You take the smartest kids, the richest kid in the class. You teach that kid and then you take the kid in the back of the room with no money that nobody knows their name, that has no confidence, that thinks they’re worth absolutely nothing. And you teach that kid, if you teach those two kids, you’re a success because everybody else is in between. Wow. And so that’s what I try to do on my channels. I try to give a little bit of something to those resellers that are far better than me.
They are experts in, six fields, sell on 12 platforms, and make 200,000 net a year. I try to give a little bit like oh, I learned something from this guy who sells Tupperware. And then I try to give something to that person who hasn’t sold one thing and that wants to start doing it and is 68 years old and has barely started using a cell phone.
I wanna give something to that person too. And if I can give something to both of those people, then I’ve got a big audience and I feel like I have a purpose. I purposely don’t do a lot of what other folks have done on social media. I wanna keep going to garage sales. I don’t want to find a guy that’s gonna send me 17 pallets and me to go through it. But if I wasn’t going to garage sales and sourcing I wouldn’t be happy. I just assume do it that way.
Clara: And I keep saying, stop chasing the money. Do what you love, and the money comes.
Kevin: It is the truth. My wife, I told her, I’m like, I’m gonna make a YouTube video. I see all these people making YouTube videos. I’m like, I at least know as much as they do. I’m like, I’m gonna do it. My first video is so bad. She reminds me, she shows it to me every once in a while. She’s what is this guy? I was so proud of myself. I had a down Ralph Lauren downhill ski jacket…
Clara: The downhill hillside skier.
Kevin: It was hanging on some guy’s van in a school parking lot. It was one in the afternoon or noon or something like that. It was hot, and I’m like, how is that thing still sitting here? It’s 20 bucks. And I tell you, I was so proud of that. And I’m like, this gonna be my first video. It was so bad. And I’m like, listen, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do it every day. Just like eBay. You gotta do something every day. I’m like, I’m gonna do it every day for a year. And if I’m not getting paid to do it, I promise you I won’t do it anymore.
And it was monetized in a few months and people just loved it. I think it was my kids, the chubby little cheeks and the dogs, and whatever, more than me. But it caught on. And now it’s amazing.
And I’m so incredibly blessed. I struggled to pay my bills for 20 years, I struggled. After 21 years of high school history teacher and 15 years of coaching baseball, the biggest yearly salary I ever got combined was 42,000. And I had a family of five and my wife worked, she didn’t work outside the home.
I had to sell, and so we just did whatever it took. And when social media came along, it was like, okay, cuz it used to be, all right, I’m gonna, I’m gonna teach, I’m gonna make this, and then I’m gonna add in, this much from reselling and I can make my ends meet.
What happened was my teaching job was replaced by social media income. I’m like, I can make a living on social media and reselling this is the greatest country in the world. I love this place. I miss teaching a little bit, but certainly not enough to wake up at 5:30 and go every morning.
Doug: All right. So you started touching on your social media, your first video, and we talked about how many sellers you’ve helped, and you try to offer content across the spectrum to help, the higher end, the lower end. What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started that you know now?
Kevin: I think if I had to go back in time, I would go out in garage sales in, the early two thousands. If I didn’t come home with six or seven complete video game systems with boxes of games, it was a bad day. It was that good back then. It was crazy. And I remember, I wish I still had the picture. We had a basement, and my buddy and I did it together, video games together, cuz we were competing over those video games. So we’re like, all right, instead of racing each other to the sales, everything we find is our own, except for video games, we’ll do it together and we’ll divvy it up.
And so we kept him all in his basement and we’re gonna sell them off at Christmas. Cuz back then there was a much bigger bump at Christmas. You could get 15 to 20% more for a system at Christmas, cuz there weren’t as many, it wasn’t a saturated market. And so we’d wait. I think it’s along those lines.
I remember finding sealed n e s games four or five back then that I sold and made good money on, but had I thought about this grading thing, and all the sealed VHS cassettes that would’ve been high-end, that are harder to find. Not that there’s a ton of money in all of it, but there is in some, I think the whole sealed thing I would’ve stockpiled it. And kept it. And a lot of the high-end video game stuff brings far more money now there’s been inflation over the last 15 years too. I never have been a collector. My mind was if I wouldn’t pay as much as I could get for it on eBay, then I would sell it. Because what’s the difference? And I think I would’ve collected some more high-end stuff because if you would’ve done that for the last 23 years, I probably have a retirement account worth of collectibles.
Clara: I know you tested other listing and cross-posting services. You mentioned that you chose List Perfectly because we’re so community oriented. But what else? What else helped you make that decision, please?
Kevin: I’ve used three different cross-listing services, gone on and actually gone through the process and done it, and again, we made the same decision. Okay, we had so much growth in social media, it’s like, where do you put your time? And since I’ve had the opportunity to do all of them, for me, and I’m not saying it’s the right decision for everybody, but anybody out there who’s like me, I thrive off of communicating. I need people surrounding me that know what they’re doing, and that enjoy what they’re doing. And that to me is List Perfectly.
So if you look at these services, there’s one that permeates social media and that you can communicate with them as much as they can communicate with you. And all the people that I partner with who you saw on that Garage Sale Nation thing right there, they all have names. They all have faces. They’re all in the community. They support the community. The community supports them. And you see everywhere. You guys are everywhere. You’re on Facebook for the people that are on Facebook, you’re on Instagram, you’re on TikTok.
You have these podcasts. You have these live podcasts where people can go in and ask you questions. Who does that? What kind of CEO does live questions every week? You put yourself out there, and I know I’ve never seen it, but I know because I’m on social media that you get criticism in public sometimes because you put yourself out there.
And anybody who’s willing to do that, they believe in their product. I’ve seen the progression and the evolution of your product, and that’s big with me. Not where is it, but where is it gonna be five years from now too?
I’m not dissing anybody out there because I think all these services can add value to all kinds of people, but for me, there was no doubt that this is where I wanted to be. This is who I wanted to work with. Plus my wife likes it. She did it. There’s the game changer, right? She’s done all these too, because I’m like, I’m pretty illiterate. I edit on my phone. Did you know that out of all my 1500 videos, I’ve edited everyone on my phone? I used to have her edit cuz I couldn’t, I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no idea. And so she gets on and when I saw her there smiling at the computer when she was doing this, I’m like, all right, this is a no-brainer. This is what we’re doing. So that was the endgame for it. But for me, that’s the answer. I don’t know if it’s the answer that a lot of people will give.
But that’s the way I feel about it because I know if I have a problem, and I’d mention these other companies, if somebody comes to me with a problem, it’s okay, I’m gonna talk to the people that can solve my problem. And that’s the thing that gets me about some of these, I’m not gonna mention any names, but some of the online platforms, selling platforms, some of them you get answers from and some of them you don’t get answers from.
For some of them, you get active avoidance. And to me that is, that’s the end of it for me. The community-mindedness of List Perfectly is off the charts.
Doug: Give us three words you think other people would use to describe you.
Kevin: I hope they think I’m honest. That’s key for me. Cuz when you’re out there and you say, because you change your mind over time too. That’s another thing. There’s an evolution. Even when I’m out, sometimes I’ll watch my own videos and I’m like, did I really say that? I hope people think I’m sincere. I’m honest. I hope people see me as somebody who’s dedicated and disciplined and there are two more words that I really care about.
People around me and my family. That’s what drives me more than anything to do everything that I do. My kids, in particular, everybody loves their own family, obviously.
I have done a great deal. I was obsessed with teaching. I wanted to be the best teacher in the world and I took pride in it, and I wanted to be the best coach in the world, and I just worked my fingers to the bone to try to build these things.
And then I realized that those endeavors, they’re fleeting. They’re gone. I, once I left those places they don’t appreciate it. If I’m gonna put that kind of time and effort into something I’d like to do it with people that are gonna be around me when I’m 80 when I need them. And so hopefully, dedicated in the sense of family and honest and sincere.
I hope those are what they say, but I don’t know what they say.
Clara: You have YouTube, you have your Facebook page, you have your Instagram profile. Tell us what else you have on social media.
Kevin: I’m never gonna pass up an opportunity to self-promote, so here we go.
So I’m Commonwealth Picker pretty much on every platform. So TikTok for now, it’s Commonwealth Picker on, Instagram, YouTube, whatever. So I’m also Commonwealth Flipper on YouTube as well. We have the flipping channel on YouTube, which is in the shed in the backyard. And then the picking channel is the garage sales. So we have two of those. They’re both fairly good-sized channels. And then of course Facebook is just massive, that is just amazing that we have so many people on Facebook. Most people know me in the community from YouTube because the people who watch on Facebook, a small group, are actually resellers on Facebook. They like to watch picking content like American Pickers or whatever. But, the Flipper channel, I feel is my home. That’s where the resellers are, right? The audience there are resellers, and it’s a smaller channel. It’s got 50 thousand, compared to this one, but, 50% of the people who watch the Picker channel aren’t pickers. They’re not resellers. And on Facebook where you get the comments cuz they just don’t understand I can’t believe you’re buying this for $10 and selling it for $50. You’re an awful person. I’m like, what? What are you talking about? Tell that to my kids who are eating because of it.
I have these little projects. Garage Sale Nation was a project of mine because I’m passionate about reselling, but I’m also passionate about just straight up going to garage sales and I just love it.
We do meetups. We went to four last year and did two meetups at these big highway sales. Garage Sale Nation is pretty huge, for me. It’s about a year old and we have 22,000 members in Garage Sale Nation Facebook Group.
The Trash Cash Podcast Facebook group is over 10,000 with Dave and Cary, and so we’re everywhere. I have my own website, commonwealthpicker.com.
Doug: Let’s say the terrible news came out that every social media platform is going away, but you could pick only one, which one would you pick?
Kevin: YouTube is where I started and it’s where I’ll probably if I gotta die on a hill, it’s gonna be that one. So even though Facebook’s got more people, the flipper channel, those are my people. Those are people like me, in their basements. I see people selling out of their bathrooms. Their storage thing is an old bath. I’m like, what are you doing?
Clara: You have a picker and a flipper channel. Anything else you would like to share with our audience about the difference between the picker and the flipper channels?
Kevin: We do two, two videos a week that are basically me out at garage sales. Sometimes three, sometimes one a week. Sometimes estate sales, every once in a blue moon, a thrift store. And we’re out there in the field taking video, and it’s about the hunt. It’s about what everybody loves. So that’s the most popular one. I’m shocked, to be honest with you, that on the Flipper channel, we get 20,000 views a night on the flipper.
We put out three, three a week on the Flipper channel, and we’re getting 15 to 30,000 views every flipper channel and all. It is me talking about reselling stuff and what’s sold, what we sold the last couple of days. And then my cats come in and bug us for a while. My kids come in and do some stuff and it’s just that’s how I learned so many things.
I watched Pete Craigslist Hunter, and he was the first one that I saw sell a lawn chair. And I’m like, this is eight years ago. I’m like a lawn chair. Really? I’ve sold a hundred lawn chairs since I saw ’em do that. It’s just like you learn little things cuz that’s what’s out here.
It’s been fun. I love it.
Doug: The Trash to Cash podcast. Tell us about that.
Kevin: Tell you what it is, I watched these two clowns doing this podcast, Dave NC Picker and NC Flipper and Cary American Arbitrage. I like to watch live shows.
Every once in a while I have you guys on. Sometimes I’ve dropped in the comments. Usually, I’m working. Yes. And so I don’t like to get in the comments when I’m working cause I’m shipping or I’m, it’s usually shipping or sometimes I’m taking pictures or whatever. I don’t do as many pictures anymore, but.
I like the live stuff, and I like podcasts because they don’t put as many ads in ’em, and, yeah. There’s more spread out. And then they also go on much longer so you don’t have to find another show. So I like that. Yeah. I’m listening to these two guys, and I know both of ’em.
I called up Cary and, I’m like, I’m gonna go on TikTok, but I’m like, I’m too old to do it the old-fashioned way. I’m gonna do the shortcut. I’m gonna call the guy that’s on top and figure out how to get there. And he was gracious enough to take my call. And so those two guys hooked up and did this podcast. And I’m like, these two guys are hilarious. They’re funny, but they’re not talking about reselling. This is a reselling podcast. And they’re both going off on these tangents, talking about just, whatever. So I called them like, all I told ’em, I said, I’m gonna do another podcast if you don’t let me do this one. So you gotta make up your mind. You got two days and they’re like we didn’t want you to compete against us. And I’m like, I want to do it. And I didn’t know why I wanted to do it, to be perfectly honest with you, other than the fact that those two guys were very talented.
I like to surround myself with people that are talented and I felt like I could be the straight man to their, craziness cuz they both, Dave gets a bad rap for not being a good picker and not a flipper. He’s actually really good. And Cary’s really knowledgeable too. They got a little trouble focusing. So I’m like, I can bring some focus to this show and I just have a great time with those two guys. It was a blast and it is my favorite and I love every single thing I do, but the thing I enjoy the most is sitting down once a week with those two guys and recording that podcast. It is the funnest and it’s grown. I’m shocked that a reselling podcast has grown. Who’s listening to this stuff, this just blows my mind. But there’s a lot of people who want to get a little reselling, but they don’t want it to be constant cuz they’re working all day, they want to hear about a movie, or they want to hear about this or that, or they want to hear those two guys make fun of me.
Clara: Anything else you would like to add?
Kevin: Nothing but thank you for having me on and thank you to all your people cuz they have been kind to me and Doug especially for reaching out and my wife has just been able to navigate this process so super easy because of all the tutorials that are out there on your things. If there’s ever any question, it’s always right there. So thank you for making this easy for somebody who doesn’t want to transition into this. I didn’t want to do it, and it just was a necessity in my mind for my business and I’m like, I’m gonna do this. And it’s been seamless and just awesome. So thank you for making the service available and thank you for providing your audience to me. I appreciate it y’all.
Clara: Anytime, Kevin, our pleasure. What an interview, Doug.
Kevin: As long as I was better than Hairy Tornado. I know that was good, I’m better than Josh. That’s my only goal.
Doug: Thanks a lot, Kevin. This was a lot of fun. Really appreciate you taking the time and great getting to know you better.
Kevin: Awesome. I can’t wait to meet y’all in person.