This week we’re joined by Paul Apollonia, who has been selling on eBay for more than 20 years, and recently expanded to Mercari with List Perfectly. Paul is also an eBay coach, a consignment seller, and is new to the eBay government relations team so can add seller advocate to his list of accomplishments!
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.
Doug: Welcome to Season three, episode 30 of the Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly. This week, Danna and I are joined by Paul Apollonia, eBay seller, eBay coach, and consignment seller. Recently new to the eBay government relations team. He’s been selling on eBay for more than 20 years. Recently expanded to Mercari with List Perfectly.
I’ve known him for a long time, several years, at eBay events, and e-comChicago as well. Paul says he is most proud of helping people, either with consignment or teaching someone that can make some extra money with his help.
Adjectives he would use to describe himself include truthful, sincere, friendly, kind, and reliable. He’s a great guy. I agree with all that. Cool, dude. So let’s listen in on the interview Danna and I did a bit back with Paul Apollonia.
Danna: Today we are joined by a special eBay friend, selling coach, and a fellow consignment seller and he also does a lot of things that he’s gonna share with us today. So welcome, Mr. Paul Apollonia.
Paul: Hey, hello guys and gals. Hope everybody is doing well. I’m excited to be here. Thank you Doug and Danna for, uh, inviting me. Looking forward to this.
Doug: So we’ve known each other a bit. You’ve known Dana quite a bit and I know what you do, but I guess, I mean, I knew some car stuff, but I had no idea about small engines. And I know you’ve been selling on eBay for over 20 years, do you still have your small engine repair business?
Paul: Long story short, I came from, in 2004 started a, uh, a mobile detailing business part-time while I was working and decided to take it full-time. And it was a nightmare, to be honest with you. I wasn’t ready to be self-employed. I’m an open book, and I’ll be honest with you, I just kind of thought people were gonna come to me, you know like I don’t have to do any advertising. People will come to me and I started with no money, which was really silly.
Really struggled for the first, probably three years of that business. And I was, uh, working at the, at a store with a w at the beginning, at night to make some extra money. And a friend of mine kept on saying to me, You could sell on eBay and make more money than what you’re doing working that part-time job at night.
And I was like, yeah, right. What the heck does he know? So I ignored him for about three months and loved working at night with my, you know, leaving my kids at seven o’clock at night. And, I decided, okay, so he gave me some stuff to sell, and that’s where the consignment thing started. Oh, and that’s how I got on eBay.
And that was way back in, gosh, well I got an account way back in the late nineties, but I really took it seriously right around 2006.
And as far as small engine repair, I was doing small engine repair after I shut down the detailing business in 2010. ’cause the economy just trashed it. And I, I was kind of burned out and I did that for about six years and I decided, Why am I repairing this stuff when I can part out stuff?
So I ended up parting out mowers that I get for free on Craigslist and anywhere else. And I always tell people, and I’ve made three videos of this on my channel, tell everybody what you’re doing. I don’t care who they are. I don’t care what you’re doing. eBay. On other platforms, you’re selling retail arbitrage and parts, and new people will give you stuff. People will give you leads. As you well know, Danna, with, with consignment, it’s just once you start telling people what you’re doing, it’s, you’ll have a whole house full of stuff should I say? And now I do appliances and stuff like that, that I get basically for free and people give me, and I part ’em out and I have a course on how to part out a dishwasher. On what to sell, what not to sell, and how to part it out. I show you what tool to use, and how much time it should take. It’s a pretty in-depth course. It’s about two hours long, broken up into about 20-minute videos.
Danna: Well, I remember a few years ago we did an eBay event together in your hometown of Raleigh. And you gave a presentation about selling interesting items on eBay. So can you share a few of those items with us?
Paul: Sure. That was when I showed you some parts from a vacuum cleaner, I think from a Dyson vacuum cleaner way back then. And I think even Brian Burke was impressed with what I was selling.
He said, you know what? I got one of those in my closet. Certain parts will sell from those things and other parts won’t. You just need to, uh, get familiar, like with anything you, you get familiar what parts sell, but, I think I did vacuum cleaner and I showed you some dishwasher racks that I, uh, that I sold.
So, yeah, that was fun. Thank you so much for organizing that. That was a great event. I think we had, gosh, like 60 people in the room, or 45 people or whatever.
Danna: You packed the room. It was great.
Paul: Yeah, that was great. And we go back a long way. Gosh, I’ll never forget meeting you in 2012 in Philadelphia. I was just a wee young whippersnapper Kneehigh to grasshoppers at eBay, and you took me under your wing and I followed you around like a little chicken for about a day and a half. I didn’t follow Doug around ’cause you know, his fancy hair was, I just, yeah, I couldn’t keep up with his hair, so, but it was great. Thanks for that. And I met Doug way back in 2017 at EcomChicago. 19,17, whatever. One of those years.
Doug: We did a couple of those together. We’ve hung out in Opens. I’ve done your meetup group a couple of times. Thanks for having me there. I brought it up earlier. I am obsessed with your parting of stuff ’cause I’ve got stacks of laptops out in the garage. I’ll probably watch your YouTube, uh, dishwasher thing and the washing machine video and take apart my wife’s washing machine. So if there are any issues with that, I’ll mention your name. You’ve got a very active, uh, meetup group. So tell us a little bit about that and how people can find it. How people can join.
Paul: I started that way back in 2013, and, and it’s just been going gangbusters ever since. We started live obviously before the pandemic and it’s moved around a little bit and I still have people coming to it that have been, uh, been there since day one.
It’s mainly an eBay meetup group, but we do some other e-comm stuff too, and others when I can get other guests in. I get some Amazon people in there, but it’s mainly eBay. A lot of people are using List perfectly, obviously on there.
It’s a really good group. I get about 15 to 20 people each month at the Zoom meeting. And I try to get guests in, uh, as much as I can. If not, we just do a q and a or I do a little presentation, and then we do a q and a. I’m just amazed how many people have just hung around since day one.
It wanes and waxes, you know, I mean, sometimes we get a whole bunch of people, sometimes we hardly get nobody. It’s, it’s, it’s just the way things are. I’d love to take it back to a live event. But I’m getting more and more people outside the area and I don’t really wanna have a computer there, zoom, and then have a live, I don’t really…
Danna: Yeah, it’s a lot.
Paul: As you well know, it’s a lot running a meetup and people don’t realize how much work it is behind the scenes trying to line up guests. You know, Doug never shows up on time. Oh, did I say that? No, no. You know what I’m saying? I mean, it’s just hard to get people to commit.
Danna: Speaking of meetup groups, I know you like myself, miss eBay events from days gone by. So what are some things that you can share with our listeners about what is gained from attending events with fellow resellers?
Paul: Well, I’m huge into networking. I love networking with people. I love going to places where eBay has events where you can really network with people. I’m not a huge fan of Vegas, but I understand that’s a hot point. Everybody likes Vegas. I prefer other locations ’cause there are less distractions. But I believe it’s all about networking, and attending the event.
Obviously, you can’t not attend the event and not get, you know, expect to meet people and, and have connections like we’ve had for years and years and years. You’ve gotta not just make it rain your business cards all over the place and, and you know, and be going. You have to build a personal relationship with people and you don’t know what’s going on in their lives and, I think that’s important and, and very few people do that.
I go to an event down in Florida, Mobile Tech Expo, which is an auto detailing event, and I do a seminar down there every year on how to sell your used equipment. And I’ve known those guys, I’ve been outta that business since 2010 and I’ve got their phone numbers and everything and we chat all the time. It’s important to keep connections going.
Danna: That’s, that’s very well said. It’s overlooked.
Paul: Very much so. Yes. In today’s world, yes, very much so. Everybody doesn’t want to, but I miss eBay events. I really do. I’m hoping they get them back again. Although they did a pretty good job with the, online version the last two years was that they’ve had it…
Doug: The big show would be great. The big rock show. I like Vegas. No surprise there.
Paul: There’s nowhere to sit. There’s nowhere to sit.
Doug: It’s very loud. Paul, I would find you a place to sit.
Paul: Oh, okay.
Doug: Networking’s invaluable and the connections you make and obviously, you know, I was with eBay, and then I drifted away into a different field for a bit and now I’m back with List Perfectly, and I’ve got connections like the both of you that I’ve had for years from, from even, several years back and still. I love that I can go to pretty much any seller event now and I’ll know people there.
So I saw the recent announcement that you’re representing eBay sellers in Washington DC through eBay’s government relations. So tell us more about that program, how you get involved, and what you’re gonna be doing there.
Paul: Actually, I got a lead that they were looking for somebody through Sherry Smith. She messaged me on Facebook about it, that they’re looking for somebody in my district. I was like, whoa. So I emailed somebody. She gave me the email address. And we went back and forth and they weren’t sure if I was a good fit, but I just kept on buttering ’em up. But no. And uh, and they finally said yes. Basically, I’m going to be talking about the shop safe program to, uh, a bunch of people in Congress and just other representatives and the 1099 issues that they’re trying to lower 1099 down to nothing. And that’s a big concern with me because I do a lot of consignment with people and I do a lot of training. With actually a lot of stay-at-home moms. And it’s amazing. Some of these moms were making really, really good money, but now they’re kind of, I wouldn’t say they’re stuck at home, but they kind of, they don’t feel like they’re chipping in or they don’t feel like they’re adding anything to the family. And it’s amazing. Like I’ll get phone calls. I sold three onesies the other day. You can’t use the word onesie on eBay. Don’t forget. I sold and I made like $25 and they’re all excited. I’m like, okay. But it is just, that’s where it’s gonna hurt. You know, I think they’re gonna lower it down to $600 or something, or whatever for the 1099. I, I forget that they keep on changing it…
Danna: Yeah, I know, and I, well, I thank you for representing all of us fellow online sellers because it’s just, We all can’t go.
And, and I think that they do a pretty good job of selecting people in each district. So go get ’em.
Paul: I’m a little nervous, excited, but I see more and more people that I know that are going, so that’ll be good. It’ll settle me down a little bit. Of course, I always get nervous about everything, so…
Danna: Oh, well, we all do. We all do.
Paul: Yeah. We’re not perfect, like Doug, you know, we have to struggle day to day.
Doug: There’s only one me, but I’m interested in The Mr. Apollonia Goes to Washington show.
Paul: There we go. Yes. That’s, I’m gonna try and do as many videos as I can. If I had the money, I would drag my daughter along with me, and however, just do a bunch of videos with me, but I just don’t, they’re paying for my flight and everything, but yeah. So yeah, I’ll do my best.
Danna: You’ll do good, no doubt.
Paul: Thank you. I’m looking forward to it.
Doug: So I heard you’re relocating to Florida, so are you gonna liquidate, or move your inventory?
Paul: Well, my wife wants me to throw it all away…
Doug: I’m used to that. Don’t worry.
Paul: I don’t know, but it’s gonna be a while before we move. It’s probably, hopefully in 24 we’ll move, but I don’t know right now. Just, things need to get settled up here first. The house and everything, and it’s just, you know, I mean, I don’t mind moving. I’m, I, I’d be looking forward to it. ’cause we visit the, we wanna move down to Inglewood area, which is close to you.
Paul: And we go down there, not quite often, but you know, once or twice a year we’ve got friends down there and they’re snowbirds. In the summertime, they don’t stay down there. It’s just too hot. I don’t mind the heat. That’s fine. And we’ll go down there in the summertime or in the early spring before they leave. So I’m familiar with the area. It’s just trying to get all the ducks lined up and…
Danna: Yeah, it’s a big, it’s a big move. You know, when you’ve been, how long have you been with…
Paul: 30 years this year. And then, you know, then we were in Philly. That’s where I was born and raised in that area. Yep. And we’re not Spring chickens, so I want to, you know, you don’t know if any moves right first of all, so I just wanna make sure it’s, it’s, it’s gonna be what we wanna do and I’m ready.
Danna: Yeah, it’s a big decision and it’s a lot, you know, it’s a, it’s a lot. You have to sort and make decisions. Do I keep it?
Paul: Yeah. Yeah. And I wanted to get into, I’ve had, I’ve Bliss on my, not to advertise somebody else, but I’ve had them, uh, on my meetup a couple of times. And I know you’re using them correct?
Danna: It was because I was moving. I started using them because I didn’t have to haul all that stuff here. So that kind of all fell in my lap. So it is an option, but I do look forward to working with you to host reselling events in this area. ’cause I actually have just launched a group in Punta Gorda, Florida, and eBay. So I’m looking forward to that and I will definitely use your help and we can play golf. So I’ll finally have a golf buddy ’cause I haven’t met anybody yet.
Paul: I’m not that good. I’m pretty bad, but it’ll be fun.
Danna: Yeah. I know you’re new to List Perfectly, but can you share a tip for resellers that would be getting started?
Paul: Well, we talked about this before, and again, I’m an open book. I need to start using List Perfectly more. It’s a great platform. It’s very, very easy to use. It’s just very simple. You can do more with eBay there. eBay has the most information per listing than any other platform. So you want to import those into List Perfectly
Danna: When you first get started, you would import it, and then going forward, you would do all your listings in List Perfectly.
Paul: And then your listings are saved in List Perfectly indefinitely, no matter what membership you have. It’s really a great platform.
I sold a lot of figurines on Mercari via List Perfectly when I had a consignment deal with figurines, which I didn’t make a whole lot of money on. We’ll just leave that at that. But, Mercari is kind of different. Like you, you just automatically assume that nobody’s gonna buy at the price you’re listing it cause they always come back with a, well, you take $9 for that $10 item, which is fine, I don’t care. So I’ve done Mercari, obviously, eBay, and I can’t remember the other platform, and Dana says something about a party or something, a listing party.
Danna: Yes, that’s what I was thinking, Paul, I would suggest you go to the 101 with Theresa Cox, and I think you would really benefit from that. I would suggest you start there and then you could branch out and you could host your own listing party.
Doug: This has been great Paul. Anything to add and how can people find you if they have any questions or wanna learn more about you?
Paul: Sure. Well, they can find me through, uh, well, they can email me through my email address. Paul dot A p o l l o n i a at gmail. I have a YouTube channel. That’s my name, Paul Apollonia on YouTube. A Facebook, uh, page is me and I have a, I have the meetup group as a, uh, Facebook page, Raleigh, eBay, e-comm meetup group. Just find me there and, gimme a call if you like. (919) 812-4759.
Danna: So, and then what if somebody wants to join, like in the Raleigh area, what communities do you serve in that area of Raleigh?
Paul: Oh, I serve what they call the whole triangle area. It’s Raleigh Durham and uh, Chapel Hill. So it’s a big area and I even go out further than that. So, and I’ve been all over the place doing the consignment stuff, so…
Danna: Great. Well, thanks so much for joining us, Paul. I look forward to seeing you at an event very soon.
Paul: Great. Well, thank you so much for having me. I really, really appreciate it.
Doug: Yeah. Thanks for coming on. Nice to talk to you in this kind of different capacity. And what’s your dog’s name?
Paul: Uh, Romeo.
Doug: Oh, I see.
Paul: Takes after me. He’s a rescue.
Danna: He’s gorgeous.
Paul: Where he’s barking somewhere. I dunno what he’s barking at.
Doug: He said don’t edit me out.
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