From Restaurant Misery to Reselling Freedom, With the Bearded Picker – 214
Most of us have had jobs that we’d have been happy to walk away from. Today on the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan speaks with Scott Zilke, also known as the Bearded Picker. Scott has a big presence on YouTube and has brought attention to retail arbitrage as a lifestyle.
He says that he’s “picked” products from 41 states (often from Walmart stores), after spending 25 years working in fast food.
Scott talks about how after mid-life hit, a number of elements conspired to push him out the (fast food) door. Now, he loves the freedom and flexibility that retail arbitrage offers.
In episode 214 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim and Scott discuss:
- 02:30 – What is Retail Arbitrage?
- 04:05 – A Good Deal in One Walmart Often Exists at Every Location
- 06:15 – “You Can Sell on Amazon?”
- 08:10 – Chasing Eye Drops to South Dakota
- 10:00 – Why Does the “Picking” Lifestyle Work So Well for Him?
- 13:15 – Flexibility and Freedom
- 15:50 – What Does Scott See in E-Commerce’s Future?
- 17:45 – “List Them in the Store and Sell Them in the Parking Lot”
- 22:30 – Can the Infrastructure Keep Up with Amazon’s Growth?
- 25:35 – Store Shelves are Increasingly Empty
- 28:10 – Interesting New Selling Platforms
- 31:25 – The Fourth Quarter Holds a Lot of Promise for Scott
- 33:55 – Online Arbitrage Can Level the Playing Field
- 37:40 – It All Began with Yard Sales
- 40:00 – How to Contact Scott
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Tim Jordan: Today on this episode of AM/PM Podcast. I’m bringing you the Bearded Picker. This guy has an incredible story from walking away from his normal job with no plan. He started selling stuff on eBay, eventually on Amazon, and he’s turned it into his full time gig. He gets to travel the world. He gets to meet a lot of cool people, see a lot of cool stuff, but most importantly, he has the flexibility to do whatever the heck he wants to. He makes a good living. He has a lot of fun doing it. He’s going to tell his story and talk about the state of arbitrage in 2020 on this episode of the AM/PM Podcast.
Tim Jordan: Hi, I’m Tim Jordan and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk takers, the adventurous and the entrepreneurial veterans. We all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So, get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.
Tim Jordan: Hey everybody. And welcome to another episode of the AM/PM podcast. Today, I am joined by the bearded picker, also known as Scott Zilke, his real name. He’s coming at us live from the Bearded Picker headquarters here in Huntsville, Alabama, also known as his garage. How are you doing, man?
Scott Zilke: I’m doing great. Bearded Picker’s headquarters is a mess as it usually is.
Tim Jordan: If you guys can see this on YouTube, you know what we’re talking about? Scott is literally sitting in a jungle of shelves, printers and stuff that he probably intended to sell, but I suspect a lot of that stuff is old inventory, right?
Scott Zilke: Yeah, it’s when you run two platforms, eBay and Amazon one suffers over the other one. And whichever one, I feel like doing the most right now, I’m doing a lot of Amazon. So eBay is just piling up.
Tim Jordan: Yep. So just to give everybody a little bit of a background, I met Scott sometime last year in Vegas, but he actually lives just a few miles from me and he actually knew my wife and kind of some mutual acquaintances and figured out that we’re kind of in the same realm, which is selling on Amazon. Since then, he’s made some appearances and his creepy minivan cruising through my neighborhood on garage sale days. And we had lunch a few times, but Scott is what we call a reseller right in the eCommerce world. He lives and breathes reselling. And just real briefly, Scott, just explain to the audience what exactly it is you do. What’s your business model? How do you make it?
Scott Zilke: I look for the– retail arbitrage on Amazon is the term that’s been kind of coined. It’s– you’re looking for items that are lower price in a store that you can sell for more price online. So if you’re doing an eBay and generally find things at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores. Today, this weekend is a good example, picked up a Sony DVD VCR combo player list of that yesterday. I paid $10 for it, took an offer for 99 today. I mean, that’s a 24 hour flip.
Tim Jordan: Just saying, you do this big time. This isn’t a part time. This is your full time gig, right?
Scott Zilke: Correct. This is my full time job. Wife doesn’t work. She’s disabled. She’s had four back surgeries and fought breast cancer. She doesn’t work anymore. So, it’s just me out here. One lone guy,
Tim Jordan: One lone guy, and I’ve followed you on Facebook and social media. And I see you take these big trips, right? You don’t just buy here in North Alabama where you’re located, like pretty much anything East of the Rocky mountains is your domain. Right?
Scott Zilke: Well, I’ve been to California twice. I don’t stop there. One end and the other, 41 States on the current, man I’ve put 150,000 miles on it. And there was the dead man in the driveway, had 70 on it before it died. So, a lot of miles.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. So that’s basically the short of the business model, right? Is you’ll go anywhere and everywhere from thrift stores to Walmart’s, to Kohl’s to wherever, basically finding and flipping. Is that the gist of it or is there more to it than that?
Scott Zilke: That’s pretty much it. When you’re doing it in the retail setting, there’s a Walmart and if you find a good deal in one, Walmart, chances are you can find it in every Walmart, you can get to. So, there’s eight Walmarts in this area. That’s not good enough. I’ve been to Walmart everywhere. I hate to think of all the Walmarts I’ve been in, but you know, the same opportunity is in every one of them. So, you just buy as much as you can buy.
Tim Jordan: So, in a little bit, I want to get into some things like the state of reselling on Amazon or other platforms. But first I want to hear how you got started in this, tell me the story of the bearded picker and how you went from a young, adorable little child that your mother loved to the bearded ugly guy sitting in his garage full of crap.
Scott Zilke: I work fast food restaurants for 25 years. I did it going through high school through college and then after college and I can say I don’t recommend you do it the way I did it. So, after 25 years, I changed companies about every five years. And the last time I was getting that itch, mad at the company or whatever, it occurred to me– a dummy. Maybe it’s not restaurants, maybe it’s you. And so that time when I walked away, I’m like, no job, no nothing. I’m like, I’m just done. And my lovely wife was like, okay, now, we’ve got bills to pay. What are you going to do? And the thought occurred to me that I’m very good at eBay. I’m very good at doing eBay from yard sales to pay for vacations. And just part time for– we got to, we got to build a pay. We want to pay something early. I do is the job. And I’m like, what if the side job becomes the real job? And so I spent a year doing that. spent a year pushing the eBay and I found everything I could find in Wilmington, North Carolina, where I was living at the time. So, expanded the Raleigh. So I do day trips to Raleigh and back. So, you can see where the foundations of retail arbitrage drive on the California back, come from.
Tim Jordan: And what year was this? When were you dabbling in eBay turn to– alright, now, let’s actually support myself with this.
Scott Zilke: That was 2013. And then the summer of 2014, I’m teaching a Sunday school class. I heard some people have a hard time believing that one, but– and one of the guys in there goes, man, I sell on eBay, just like you do. How come you don’t do Amazon? And I had the same reaction. Most people go, what do you mean Amazon? Amazon is Amazon. I didn’t know there were third parties on Amazon, even though I was doing full time eBay, which is– and so I started reading about FBA. He says specifically FBA, Filled by Amazon. Read about that. And so we were actually coming to Alabama for vacation because Joany’s parents live here or they did live here. They’ve since passed. And I’m like, Holy cow, I don’t have to clean stuff. I don’t have to– I can send in new stuff. Then that was the kicker. I’m not cleaning shoes or doing clothes. I’m like, wow, new stuff. And the same thing I did all my stores, I’m like, okay, let’s do Raleigh. Raleigh became Norfolk. Raleigh became DC. Raleigh became Savannah, Georgia. So it started the East coast, going up and down the East coast. And then, I went to Chicago for one of these conferences. And I’m like Chicago. Okay. So then it became, I can get to the Mississippi river. And so it just expanded from there. How much stuff can you buy because the one thing they don’t tell you about retail arbitrage is you can chase one item in a store and make a lot of money. Just pick it up the other stuff along the way, but the one item can drive you wherever you go. I chased eyedrops all the way to South Dakota.
Tim Jordan: You figured out there was a good deal on eye drops. So you are basically going store to store, clearing out the shelves of this one particular eye drop. And along the way, you’d find other bonuses. Right? But on that specific trip, going to South Dakota, your eye drops are your main bread and butter. And just give me an idea, when you say you were chasing eye drops, how many units of these eye drops, how many of these dropper bottles did you bought on one trip?
Scott Zilke: Oh, so the stores were all out of their refresh PM. They were out of the off the market for two years. So, after a year they become stupid hard to find, whether we found this store in the Midwest. That’s no longer with us that still had them and nobody looked into the stores. And so I’m starting plotting out, where are they? There’s none in the South. So I’ve got to at least get to Kansas to get to the first one. And so I went to every one of the stores in Kansas and I’m like, well, I’ll go up into Nebraska. Well, there’s South Dakota. And so I ended up– that’s how I ended up Jason. So I ended up with each eye drop box cost $9 and I was getting 200 a box for it. And yeah, I found a 150 on that first trip.
Tim Jordan: It’s amazing. So, obviously life changed for you a lot. You haven’t talked about how you relocated here to the beautiful state of Alabama, but you were basically fed up with the restaurant game. You walked away with no plan and picked up your kind of side job as your primary hustle, started chasing eye drops, going all over the Eastern seaboard finding stuff. And obviously you stuck with it. So, that’s been seven, eight years ago. Talk to me about this lifestyle in particular, because when we look at the eCommerce game, a lot of people want to follow this model of these big brands, and you’ve got 10 products that you have, like selling in Walmart, as opposed to you who’s buying from Walmart and selling on Amazon, so to speak. You have people that are talking about private label. They’re talking about building websites and you’ve kind of stayed in your lane and you love this flipping lifestyle, so to speak. Talk to me about why you’ve chosen this kind of path, why you’ve stuck with it and what you see as the big advantage to the lifestyle you’re living now.
Scott Zilke: The one thing you learn to in restaurants all these years is you become a social worker or babysitter, everything to the employees. And I had reached a point in my life where I just wanted to hear the voices there in my head, my own voices, and are there enough to listen to, so as I started doing this, I’m like, I can recognize where, and I’ve seen friends who’ve built these large businesses and have employees and all these things, and that kind of defeated the– being stuck in a restaurant so much. I’m like, I want to go where I want to go. I want to do what I want to do whenever I want to do it. And so that means figuring out how to make enough money to support the family and make it where I have my freedom. And so that’s been my whole goal is the focus on efficiency of what one person can do versus having to have so many pieces. So, that’s why FBA, Fulfilled by Amazon does wonders. It’s like hiring somebody to ship without having to have an employee. Same thing with my shipping systems and stuff here. I spend a lot of money in tape machines and process and equipment to make it easier for me to go faster so that I can finish the shipping real quick and then move on to what I want to do. And so that’s my answer to– There’s no wrong or right answer is what I guess, midlife hip and midlife, you see the other side and it’s more about time. It’s more about– and I was re reinforced when Joany got breast cancer and that’s where I met you– is as I was at every appointment, didn’t miss a one. And I sat back and thought, there was a point where I pushed her in wheelchairs. Cause she didn’t have the strength to walk in, what would have happened if I was still doing restaurant job, if I had employees that I couldn’t walk away from. So, that kind of reinforced even farther. It’s about the lifestyle. It’s about– I have a good time. I visit friends and I meet people wherever I go. And it’s on my terms. And that becomes important as you get older.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. And I see so much content out there in the e-commerce space about building a team and hiring these teams of VAs and getting your own infrastructure set up that you have to babysit and manage. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve done that. I’ve since throttled back, I used to have a shipping company. I used to have big warehouse. I used to have a ton of employees and I’m like you, it was kind of defeating the purpose of being in e-commerce, being my own boss because I was still back to just babysitting and having to stick to that schedule. And it– hearing you say that kind of reinforces to me that e-commerce is not like one specific job. There’s not one box that we all have to jump in and fit. I mean, you literally work for yourself. You get to travel when you want to, you get to take care of your wife when you need to. You obviously support yourself well enough. So you’re making some money, you get a garage full of toys you can play with whenever you want to. I know that you get to spend time like on your YouTube channel, you’ve got an awesome YouTube channel, the bearded picker, all of you that are listening to check that out, subscribe to it. You hang out at conferences, you go to networking events and you don’t have to fit that mold that everybody acts like you have to fit. So, I guess I could sum it up by the lifestyle that you– by saying, the lifestyle that you’ve chosen live is one about flexibility and freedom. Would that be accurate?
Scott Zilke: That’s very accurate. And it’s been rewarding in a lot of different ways. So, my brother does Amazon as well. He’s got a retirement from the state. So he doesn’t do as much as I do, but we’re polar opposites and have nothing in common until this Amazon thing came along. And to be able to spend time with him and they build a relationship with my brother that was never there. Reselling has been a lot more than just a way to support myself. It’s– so, I’ll tell you a good story. So, how unhappy was I doing restaurants? And you know, I really encourage people, you’ve got to take a chance. You’ve got to, you got one life. So, I lived across the street from my mother for 14 years when we were in North Carolina and she said, she went on one of the trips to Raleigh when I was still doing eBay. And she said, can I tell you something? I’m like, you’ve known me since you birth me. You’re allowed to tell me whatever you want. And she says, well, I’ve been wanting to tell you this for, cause I’ve noticed a change in you for the last five or six months since you’ve stopped with the restaurant’s on you now doing full time eBay, you were working 60 hours a week, you were always tired. You were tough to be around. And that’s stuff that we don’t see in ourselves. And she’s like, I finally got my son back, the person I’ve known before all this. And so don’t let life turn you into somebody you’re not, follow your dreams, chase. I was so scared to walk away from my steady paycheck. I have the opportunity. If I’d have found this in 2008, I be king of the world right now. When FBA first came out, I’d be the king. But, I’m enjoying just being the beard.
Tim Jordan: I love it. Alright, So, you’ve been doing this for a number of years now and you don’t outsource anything, to speak of. You’re in the middle of every operation, whether it’s the sourcing, the shipping, paying attention to the different platforms, whether it’s Amazon or eBay, paying attention to rule changes. Since you have your finger on the pulse of reselling, all right. Not specifically selling on e-commerce, but specifically reselling. Let’s talk about the state of reselling going into Q4 of 2020. Tell me what you see is like one of the biggest changes or some of the biggest changes you see, as opposed to the past eight or nine years that you’ve been doing this. What are some of the things you’re most excited about for reselling and selling on these platforms coming into Q4 and what are some of the things you’re most concerned about? So just start firing off, didn’t have to be in any particular order.
Scott Zilke: So I’m excited about the opportunity. I think with all the things in the world with the COVID and all the things, I think more people are going to buy online more than ever. And that trend was already trending that way, but the opportunity for you to sell and– I’ve already in July, I reached last year sales. I mean, that’s how great it’s been so far. And I think fourth quarter is going to be just as good as the rest of the year.
Tim Jordan: Do you attribute those sales to COVID or is there something that you specifically did differently? Are you sourcing twice as much to be able to hit your goals and half the year or is there just that much increased demand?
Scott Zilke: It’s that much increase demand. There were– if you follow trends and products, it was amazing. The velocity– in eBay and Amazon is the velocity, sales velocity. The amount of things you can sell on Amazon, if you get the right products, there’s just, there’s no limit to the number. But the one thing that scares me about Amazon is the ASIN limit is going into the fourth quarter. They’re only going to send 200 at a time, all a lot of products until you prove how many you can sell. And then also last year for the first time, they were so overwhelmed, they took their receiving department and put everything to the outgoing. And so, if you don’t have your products in by a certain time, retail arbitrage, a lot of people love to do black Friday and love to see what they can pick up on sale and flip it immediately. But you’re not going to have that window to get at the FBA. So, if you’re not prepared to do, we call it FBM, Fulfilled by Merchant. If you’re not shipping yourself, you need to be flexible enough to realize I can still sell this, but I’m going to have to do all the work instead of allowing Amazon to ship for you. The post office is going to struggle. There’s going to be, but the opportunity is great if you’re prepared. And if you understand, and you can look at the landscape and go. If I’m prepared, I’ve got my supplies, I’ve got everything front ordered. All I need to do is find the items. Cause listing is easy. Listing on Amazon, for those of you that never done it, while I’m in a store or buying something, I can list it fulfilled by merchant while I’m standing in line to pay for it. It’s that easy. I mean, you’re not taking pictures, you’re not doing descriptions. It’s a new item. How many do you have? And that’s pretty much it. And so, I’ll sell stuff. I’ve had items sale, list, list them in a store sale, in the parking lot. And then, I’ve got a day and a half or two days to ship them. So, if you have the foresight to understand the way things have changed, eBay’s the same way. eBay, the demand that’s going to be great. The same item sell over there and you can still make money the same way. You just don’t sell as many.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. And that’s just because more people use Amazon, right? Is that all it is? So, let me talk about this increased demand. You basically did last year sales in the first half of this year, you’re talking about how COVID has affected the demand. And there’s a lot of debate as to specifically what increase that demand is important for people to know going forward because the lockdowns aren’t going to stay forever, right? Stores that survive this pandemic will open back up. People will get back in the stores. And there’s kind of two schools of thought. Some people are saying, Hey, e-commerce sales are the ridiculous, massive success. They are right now because everybody’s locked in their house. Other people are saying that’s going to continue because people that have never shopped online before that we’re forced to have now reeducated themselves to the concept of buying online. So what is your opinion? Do you think that this growth is going to maintain, or do you think this is going to be a blip on the radar and things are going to go back to the same volume that they were pre-COVID?
Scott Zilke: I think it just increases. I think people have seen– sort of seeing the light, I think ordering online is so easy and the one thing it helps us, we all have busy lives and people, the less they have to do, how long does it take you to go to Walmart, to pick it up and to bring it back when you can just place an order. And it shows up in a day or two most items, as long as it’s not a need, food and that kind of stuff, the pickup, and they put it in your car model is working wonderful. But anything else? Most items, there’s no people are finding out, Hey, wait a minute. So, I’m not going to have to see other people. They’re going to drop it off. I don’t have to go anywhere. I can do these. They’re saying the same freedom in their lives. And if you’re taking things off their plate and so people always ask me, why do people pay more for things on online? It’s– they pay for convenience. And that the convenience is what’s driving this, I believe in the future. And so I’m definitely in the camp that is just going to go forward,
Tim Jordan: And you don’t see an end to the reselling model. Do you? I know things change. I know things get restricted and rules change on the platforms, but this is your business model, right? You’re going to ride this horse until it falls over dead essentially. Is that right?
Scott Zilke: I don’t think it ever, I don’t think it ends because we’ve been doing this for as long as I can– as long as I’ve been around here. I remember in the eighties when the first cabbage patch dolls and all that stuff, that’s a lot of things people remember. It will change. And I talk about it on my live shows. It’s going to change. It’s not going to look the same, but are you the kind of person that can adapt to the change? My philosophy is I’m going to take advantage of that change. I want to be the first ones to understand what the rules are and get at selling on at the rules are now, because if you sit back and complain and moan and groan, people are passing you by. And so the quicker you can, Amazon and eBay, both put out major changes spring and fall every year. I mean, if you’re not ready, whatever the new rules are and that’s what you do. And so, I’m not willing to go back and work for somebody else. I’m very comfortable with what I do. So, if the rules change, the rules change, I’ll play by the rules.
Tim Jordan: Yeah. So, let’s talk again about this logistics problem, something that is scaring you a little bit. And let me kind of reframe this. I was recently speaking to a reporter from Reuters and she was asking me about this tremendous growth, like, Hey, does this mean Q4 is going to be amazing for everybody or all the e-commerce sellers didn’t just have record profits. And I felt like I was writing on her parade. Cause I said the same thing you did Scott. I said, the demand is so massive, but the platforms aren’t going to be able to keep up and I’m not, I don’t just mean Amazon. I also mean the shipping platforms. I really think that UPS and USPS, they’re going to have a hard time keeping up with this stuff. And this isn’t just in the US. This is Amazon globally. This is Mercado libre, and all these other platforms are finding this problem because the infrastructure takes so long to catch up to demand. We can have one little issue like COVID pop up, and the United States goes on lockdown and everybody starts buying online. So the growth is immediate, but it takes a long time for the platform to actually catch up to that as in the way of logistics. And this year, we’ve already seen that. We’ve seen inbound shipment stopped. We’ve seen stuff that used to take a week to get checked into FBA, now takes a month and a half sometimes. We’ve seen these inventory restrictions. And as you mentioned in years past, they already had such a problem in Q4 that they stopped inbound shipments, and they moved all their inbound guys to the outbound side, just to keep up with demand. So my concern this year is that a few things are going to happen. One is, people are going to want a lot of products. Nobody’s going to happen, right? So, people are going to be going online and being disappointed because it’s not there. But I suspect a lot of those products will be sitting in people’s garages like yourself, not being able to get them out. I think the people are going to spend a lot of money buying inventory and not realize the logistics aren’t ready for it. And they’re going to be stuck with this inventory. I see, like, I can’t look at a crystal ball, but I see a lot of problems. So for you, you’re saying that to avoid the logistics problems, you’re prepared to ship yourself. Right? Which is a little bit of a backtrack from the real advantage to Amazon, which is FBA, right? So, you’ve said you’re flexible. You’re nimble enough. Do you think that generally e-commerce sellers are prepared, generally speaking, to do their own shipping, whether it’s a 3PL or shipping out of their own garages, or do you think everybody’s going to miss the boat this year?
Scott Zilke: I think that people who are successful are going to continue to be successful. There are tons of people like me who think this thing through. I think the strategy I’m going to use is you front load FBA. That means you get your inventory in late October, early November. So you have plenty of time with all– don’t accept the excuses. It’s an excuse, I’ll, it took forever for them to check it in, and then I missed it. No, you waited too long to your inventory. And where’s the responsibility lie in your mind when you’re dealing with these things, so I’m going to front load the inventory. It doesn’t cost a little more. Yes. Because I charge you more. Amazon charges you more for October and November of storage, but I would rather it be there and be able to sell it. And then, once I front load, it, I’ll concentrate on what I can ship. And so really, if you just think it through and understand– I think the opportunity is going to be the distribution chains are still broken even to get to Amazon and Walmart. What I’m saying is, whether it’s been a hundred toys before, it looks like they have a hundred toys now, but you’re only seeing the 20 up front, where are the 80 coming from? I have– they been able to get the supply chains fixed coming from the manufacturers. I think that’s where the opportunity lies is can you identify what items are in demand, but for whatever reason, there’s no supply of it. And I think that’s the problem we’re going to see in the fourth quarter more than anything, is the initial wave. There’s going to be plenty of inventory. And then about December 10th, you’re going to be looking around and shelves are going to be empty. I mean, I’ve never seen Walmart shelves and be like, they’ve been in the last six months.
Tim Jordan: Yeah, which is scary.
Scott Zilke: I mean, I go to a lot of them. I mean, I got– not just Walmart, it’s Walgreens. I mean, it’s across the board. It’s grocery stores, the supply chains are broken because they’re just a mess right now.
Tim Jordan: Oddly enough, I went to get some maintenance done on my boat recently. And even the boat repair shops that we can’t take it in, we can’t get the maintenance parts just for the manufacturers. Because the pandemic is global and that’s not something I’ve really thought about. I tend to look at things in a small window, and the question I was asking you, the logistics chain broken from I’ve got the product. Now I have to get it to Amazon and FBA, but you’re out. A lot of these products just aren’t being produced and the distributors don’t have them and the retailers don’t have them in, and they’re just not there. So that being said, I think that it’s not necessarily discouraging. Like you said, it just presents more opportunity. And unfortunately the big guys, aren’t going to be able to capitalize on that. The small nimble guys, the guys that can react, the guys that can adapt guys that can learn quickly and make quick decisions are the ones that are going to crush it this Q4. What about 2021? What do you see? If you could look into a crystal ball, reselling, arbitrage selling mostly Amazon eBay going into 2021, what are you planning on doing with your business? What changes are you going to be making and how do you see 2021 is different than we can’t say 2020, but maybe 2019? What do you think is going to stay different next year?
Scott Zilke: Well, I think the one thing with 2021 that I’ve started thinking about, and it’s kind of scary for me is I live a lot on clearance. Through the year I buy a lot of clearance, a lot of the inventory that’s in my storage building now. What’s clearance on the first part of the year. Those toys that will sell very well in the coming months. But if I’m right and there’s not a lot of stock to be had, and there’s not a lot of clearance, just people are going to buy up everything. And he sent in my model of next year, trying to find clearance, how do I shift gears? It becomes– I’ll probably go more to eBay or it’s– I sell a lot more used items on eBay. You can sell used electronics and things on Amazon. I just feel more comfortable. The eBay customer understands where they’re getting, so I feel more comfortable, so unused products on eBay. And so I really have started to think about 2021, clearance might not be as plentiful as it is now. And then what do you do? Do you have a second platform? Have you put everything in one platform that you’re not prepared to deal with? You don’t have a second Avenue, a second option ends up, not as scary for some folks is they don’t know what they’re going to do, but I’m prepared to sell whatever on whatever platform is good. Doesn’t bother me out. Before Amazon, just because, the ease of fulfilled by Amazon, but to maintain my lifestyle and to pay bills and those kinds of things, I’m prepared to sell wherever.
Tim Jordan: Yup. So, what do you see as far as new platforms coming up for resellers? We talk a lot about e-commerce platforms, like Shopify change the game, and we’ve talked about Walmart for private label, but if a guy like you with a storage building and a garage full of stuff, what are the platforms are you starting to eyeball and look at? And it could be social media, you’re using Facebook marketplace. As you continue to evolve, what is next for you, in addition to Amazon and eBay?
Scott Zilke: I started doing, there’s a local auction here that it’s a consignment auction that you take stuff down and they put it up similar to eBay. They take the pictures and they take a cut and then you’re given what’s left. That has been a– I’ve got a friend who does that. We’ve got a mutual friend who has been doing that for years and has been very successful. So, I’ve recently started doing that as well. I think that the opportunity to do a local, I don’t like the face to face contact. This is hard for me to explain to people. I’m The beard and I do whatever on YouTube, but in life, in real life, I’m an introvert. I don’t talk a lot to people. I kind of maintain my own lane. They started doing all this COVID stuff. I’m like, yeah, that’s pretty much normal life. So, an auction, an online auction like that, but this local, as there’s a lot of interests there, there’s a way to resell and a way to sell everything. It’s just, can you find the right plan? If I sold clothes, I would do Poshmark. I just don’t sell clothes anymore. Poshmark is, go look at Instagram and look at all the ladies and gentlemen that sell on Poshmark. That’s an amazing opportunity for clothing sellers to get higher dollar for their items and sell a lot of clothes. There’s plenty of new platforms, just figuring out what’s right for you is the tough part. Can you take advantage of– based on what you do, can you take advantage of the certain platforms, but Poshmark is one that’s up and coming that if I had any kind of, I wear a t-shirt and cargo shorts, my whole life that I can, I have no style for clothes that they have in Poshmark, but that’s the one that you look at and go. If I leaned that way at all, I would, I’ll be taken advantage of that for sure.
Tim Jordan: Any other predictions that you want to share for Q4? Anything that keeps you up at night, either excited or fearful for, like as we’re recording this and releasing this is– we’re what, two weeks away from Q4. So, what’s keeping you awake at night, thinking about the last quarter of 2020?
Scott Zilke: I guess I’m a different guy. I don’t worry about that kind of stuff. I’m excited for the opportunity that’s coming. And I say, I’m the glass half full guy. I see the opportunity. I see the work that’s going to be involved. But the one thing, when you find in life, the thing that you love to do, it doesn’t feel like work. So I’m excited for the opportunity and I’m excited to push the products. I’m excited to see what I can sell. And so, I’m excited to see whatever kink and the kink in the road comes, how I deal with it. That kind of stuff kind of doesn’t worry me anymore. Once you’ve done this five or six years and seeing the changes just since I started, I’m just ready to get it going. The first part of the year has been so much fun. The last part of the year is going to be a ball. Every month, I meet new people and continue to live as I choose. I’m just excited to see what happens.
Tim Jordan: It’s such an odd world that we live in, in this e-commerce space, because what you just said, the first half of this year was so much fun. I’d say that 99% of the population would disagree with you. But I guess luckily, we found e-commerce and we found the one sector that seems to be booming. And I couldn’t agree with more, with a lot of what you said about opportunity in glass half full. It’s scary for us as humans to try to speculate what’s coming up and what we can’t anticipate and speculate accurately. We assume the worst, something terrible is going to happen. It’s going to be an awful year. And, I’ve kept having that feeling, week after week. And it never turns out to be true. When it comes to business, of course, you know with politics and the stuff that’s going on in this world and the COVID, that’s all a complete dumpster fire, so to speak, but when it comes to eCommerce, it just keeps trucking along and keeps doing well. So, I’m glad to hear, I’m not the only one that’s optimistic and excited about this Q4 coming up. For those of you that have never experienced or been introduced to the art of reselling. Scott’s talking about things like driving around in his minivan to all these Walmarts and going to these stores and finding eye drops. But the idea of reselling isn’t just relegated to people here in the US. If you’re international, you can do online arbitrage, and I’ve never personally done it, but I know a lot of people to do it. Scott, could you just give us just a quick rundown on what online arbitrage is, how it is similar to what you do, but also how it is different, and also, your information kind of as it’s pertaining to folks that might live abroad.
Scott Zilke: Yeah. The one thing that online arbitrage is it’s a level playing field for everyone. You have the same opportunity, no matter where you are to order a product and to have it delivered from my website. And if I’m in the middle of nowhere, Alabama at a Walmart, that’s a single door at Walmart, there’s no telling what I’m going to walk in and find, but based on– so, the online model, is open to everyone and I’ve never done it. I’ve ordered a few things and every time I’ve tried it, that seems like, that difference has disappeared before I can get it in stock. So, that was kind of frustrating. I’m like, man, I could have gone and found it, look what I could have found in that kind of time. And so that’s– but I’ve got plenty of friends. There’s lots of different tools that really can help you do that kind of stuff. I’ve enjoyed seeing the United States and all over this country. That’s the one, I guess one part I didn’t really talk about is traveling through 41 sites. It’s been amazing to see the beauty of this country and I’m sure it’s worldwide. Everyone has– that’s the one thing I watched a lot of Van life videos. I love traveling around the country. So, that kind of fits my eye, and the other, I have ADHD or whatever this I inherited. I will try to do something online and I’ll look up and I’ll be like 15 tabs open, and I’ll be off of my own little world. I’m like, I’m supposed to be ordering stuff for the business. And yeah, so that– but that opportunity is there, using smaller websites that put out, especially limited edition items, and I’m in a couple of resell groups that post a lot of these leads to these online sites that it’s amazing the money that they make based on knowing limited editions come from smaller suppliers. So, it’s the same thought process. It’s just you’re doing it through your computer and maybe I’m too old.
Tim Jordan: Well, I think you kind of proved a point that I had in the back of my head, which is everybody assumes the online arbitrage and retail arbitrage at the same thing. And they’re not, retail arbitrage is definitely something that you have to put your shoes on and walk into these stores and drive around and hunt, but you might be the only person every other month that walks into a small retail store. Online arbitrage, it’s definitely open to anybody in the world, but it’s also open everybody in the world. And a lot of these software tools that scan these more well-known websites like your home depot.com or your Sierra trading post, or your walmart.com, everybody in there can find this stuff and buy it. And the premise for those of you that maybe abroad that haven’t figured out what we’re talking about. You basically buy this stuff, ship it into a third party logistics center, they’ll prep it and they could send the Amazon for you. But what you said, about these lesser known places, the riches are in the niches type of online websites. There’s still a lot of opportunity. So, those of you that may be living abroad that are just completely dismissing this entire concept of reselling, don’t, because if you will do your homework and find these lesser known places, the equivalent of what Scott said, the one door Walmart, but the online versions, there’s a lot of opportunity out there. So as we continue our journeys and e-commerce Scott, we’re– you and I do two very different things, me and private label, your retail arbitrage, you’re flipping world. Would it be safe to say that you’re completely content to continue doing this? You’re not worried about the runway, ending for this arbitrage world. And you know what, it’d be safe to say, this is something you see supporting you probably for the rest of your life?
Scott Zilke: Absolutely. Yeah. I’d say the one thing that gives me a lot– as things change. So, I started going to yard sales. when I was like, as early as I can remember in my life. My grandparents, they did the flea market, they own the booth on the flea market. And they did every week, they do weekends at a yard sales and they sell it at a flea market. And as the end of their life, they did eBay as well before they left us in the early 2000s. So, as long as you have that kind of vision where you can change with roll with the punches, it’s– there’s no inner sight, will it look the same? Heck no, but it’s the opportunity. The more– the one thing that the internet has done and is continuing– Amazon and eBays of the world have done have blessed us with a lot of opportunity to reach people and to sell things to people that you never could reach before. And so I think that opportunity as the internet continues to expand, the infrastructure of shipping and that kind of stuff, it’ll catch up, it’ll change. The one thing I can tell you is it’s never going to be– everything’s going to be roses. There’s always going to be an issue. It’s the focus on, Oh my goodness, look what’s coming. And they’re going to struggle to get my product there, or man I’m going to sell the world. What type of person are you as the outlook going forward? And there’s always going to be– everything has been resold for a millennia. It’s going to continue.
Tim Jordan: Awesome. You’ve, you’ve really thrown out a lot of interesting thoughts and I appreciate you sharing your story. I think that regardless of what type of business, those of you that are listening have just keep in mind exactly what Scott said, make sure it’s something you love doing, make sure it’s something you enjoy, make sure it’s something that you know obviously you can support yourself, but the way that you would define success can be different for everybody. We’re like we talked about, there are a lot of people that want a huge team. They want to be doing $20 million a year, their own brand online. Scott’s perfectly content being a one man show, rode around the minivan with a garage full of stuff. And there’s nobody out there to say one way is better than the other. It’s just different. Different strokes for different folks. So to speak. Scott, if anybody wanted to follow you and find out more about what you do, I know we talked about YouTube channel, how do we find you on YouTube?
Scott Zilke: Just– you can search for the bearded picker, and it shows pretty quick at a Walmart video to go crazy for years ago. So you type it in, I show up pretty quick. I’m on Instagram, same thing, the bearded picker. eBay store, bearded picker. I’ve kind of put everything under that mantra just because make everything easier to find under one name.
Tim Jordan: And it would not be overselling. It say that Scott has some pretty incredible content. So, for those of you that are interested, please take the time, go check out his channel, learn from him. Scott, thank you so much for being on. We’re going to wrap it up. Those of you that are listening, if you found some value in this, make sure to leave us a review on whatever podcast platform you’re watching on iTunes or Google or whatever it is. And if you watch on YouTube, give us a thumbs up, make sure that you are subscribed to this channel so that you can see our new weekly episodes coming out. Scott, any last words of wisdom for the audience before we sign off here?
Scott Zilke: The biggest thing I’ve been struggling to help others see is, remove fear from your life. The only thing holding you back is you’re holding your back because it’s in your own mind. Take a chance on yourself, bet on yourself. I’ve found that every time I’ve done that I went every time. So, the less you fear and the more you can see things positive and your happiness, it’s amazing how you can help others and transform others just by removing that fears. Fear should be the worst word in the English dictionary.
Tim Jordan: Amen. Well, thank you, Scott. Thank you for those of you that are watching this. We’ll see you guys on the next episode.