Well, 2012 is now here, so I thought I would go about sharing my goals for the new year. If it’s anything like the whirlwind that last year was, I’m in for something pretty exciting.
I’ll be the first to admit that setting goals is not something that I’ve done all of my life. Truth be told, I only started doing this about 5 years ago due to what I was learning from the Dave Ramsey Show, which I initially only listened to for financial advice. Regardless, in 2007 my wife and I started setting personal goals in 7 different areas, and each goal from each area had a specific and measurable result, along with a time, date, and the steps to reach it:
It’s important to note that if a goal does not contain a target date, or if it really isn’t measurable, you’ll never hit it. Ever. As an example, setting a goal to someday become a professional race car driver is a crappy coal. Setting a goal to be driving in the Daytona 500 by the age of 40 is a good one. Make sense? As I looked back on our previous years goals I realized that, almost magically, we’d hit nearly every one of them. We had a goal to become debt free, and we hit it. We had a goal to allow me to start my own business, and we hit it. I had a goal to reach 12% body fat and reveal to the world my 6-pack abs…..and I did not hit that, but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad (thank you, Diet Coke addiction).
One other thing to note is that each goal must fall under my company mission statement. This is something that I’ve never done before, but the mission statement is something I’ve come to learn is an absolute must when it comes to doing anything entrepreneurial. It helps to focus clearly on who you are or are not. Every entrepreneur in the world understands the excitement and danger of shiny new opportunities, and I don’t even want to tell you the distraction that they’ve caused me. A mission statement helps to keep that all in check and perspective, so here is my Mission Statement for The MuscleCar Place.
“To share Christ and provide fun, education, inspiration, and and entertainment to those that love to own, drive, race, and restore their muscle cars as well as those that want to chase their automotive fueled passions.”
So, with that as the background, I thought I would share my business goals for 2012 and give a little description of each. If you’re desperately interested in my personal goals, just drop me a line and I’ll share them, but since this is The MuscleCar Place, essentially these are my MuscleCar Place goals!
1). Streamline the TMCP Website
It has been pointed out to me by more than one person that what is now The MuscleCar Place is kind of a clunky website to understand at first. Questions like, “Is it a classifieds website?” or, “Is it a blog?” or, “What is this podcast show that he keeps referring to?” come up often from new visitors. As much as it hurts to say it, they’re right. It truly is hard to understand at first, and it needs to be better. The version of TMCP that you see now is actually 2.0, so it looks like it’s time to put 3.0 into action.
2). Get All of my MuscleCar Place Endeavors to Provide My Sole Income
This may come as a shock to a few of you, but everything that you see here at TMCP adds up to a little under half of what I actually need to feed my family, stock the college funds, and enjoy life a little. Even with the fantastic support I’ve received from my sponsors, just doing a single podcast show alone simply doesn’t pay the bills (nor would I expect it to). I’m going to need to essentially double my 2011 performance to get things to where they need to be for this year. During the year of 2011 I offset those income needs by doing business development work for a local startup company, which I enjoyed (and am still doing). That being said, business development work has the potential to come and go, and I’d like the option to do that work more as a “want to” than a “need to.” I’m going to need to add in some new products, new shows, and get a lot more exposure to pull this all off.
I’m probably going to need some help too, so perhaps this will be the year I get the business partner I’ve been dreaming of. Simply put, the potential to do big things is here, but it’s more than one man can handle alone. Plus, truth be told, I don’t really like working alone. I’m 10x better when working with a buddy or a team. There is a reason Bo had Luke, Click has Clack, and Smoky had The Bandit.
3). Release My First Product
As crazy as it may seem, since launching The MuscleCar Place in May of 2009 I have never actually sold a product before (aside from sponsorships and classifieds listings). To date the one and only product has really been me and my passion for driving fast muscle cars along with small business success. For the past several months I have been laying the ground work to launch something that I think is pretty incredible. If it all comes together I’ll debut it at the 2012 Good Guys Columbus Show. To be totally honest, I’m tempted to reveal it right here….but that would be a fantastic way to ruin all of the relationships with all of the wonderful people that have been in on it from the beginning, so I’ll stay quiet for now. Just know that it’s coming.
4). Get Sponsored by Chevrolet
This one is just totally selfish, but that one Chevy commercial that I featured a while back (where the old guy’s kids return his ’65 Impala to him) made me really wish they’d feature my Chevelle, my family, and the incredible miracle that is occurring right now with it. I’d also want them to sponsor my podcast show, but at this point I’ll take either option.
I can say for sure that I would not be doing this business at all if it weren’t for the ’64 Chevelle my mom and dad purchased new, and I definitely wouldn’t be doing it had my dad and I not restored it together while I was in high school, which was a life changing experience for me. Add that with the fact that my Chevelle is yet again at the center of another miracle story (where one of my listeners is restoring the car for free as a thank-you gift), and I’d say that you have the world’s luckiest ’64 Chevelle. Surely the good people at Chevy would want people to hear about that, and to be honest, I’m grateful to them for building it in the first place. No Chevy equals no Robert.
5). Go Bananas With Online Exposure
Last year the number of downloads in 2011 of The MuscleCar Place podcast show nearly doubled what had occurred during 2009 and 2010 combined. I want to do that again! I also want to greatly beef up my Facebook presence as well as my newsletter and subscriptions. Here are the target numbers that I’m shooting for:
6). Add 2 More Automotive Shows to the TMCP Network
Since I’m an online car guy it makes sense to do a few more online car shows. I’ve had several on the back burner for months and it’s time to bring them to fruition. I’ve become pretty efficient at cranking out high quality automotive audio shows, and with the further technical integration into cars (like the Ford Sync has with Stitcher) I foresee a time very soon when internet-on-demand is part of every car. Since the majority of my current listeners listen to me on their commute I’m thinking that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
7). Launch My New Podcast Show, “Cars for A Living”
A strange thing has happened since I started The MuscleCar Place podcast show. I have been contacted by several listeners to the show that have become inspired by my transition into this full line of work, and many of them have decided to chase their dreams as well. Jeff Allison was the first, but crazy enough, he was not the last!
For months I’ve had the idea to try to find a way to help other people do what I’ve been able to do – leave their current day job, and pursue an automotive fueled dream instead. I actually surveyed about 200 people about it and the response was overwhelming. People would love to do something with cars, whether it be owning a restoration shop, building Pro-Touring cars, developing speed parts, or becoming handsome automotive talk show hosts, but they don’t know how to get it off of the ground, or they are scared to do so. There is some legitimate fear in this as after 2 and a half years of doing this, and talking with literally hundreds of engineers, shop owners, parts developers, and magazine writers, I’ve come to learn that this is a seriously tough industry to make a go out of. Most people go about it completely wrong, and they end up missing out on the dream they could have had. That frustrates me to no end.
My plans are to create a new automotive show that would run twice a month and help people put legs on their dreams. I’d also plan to write an online “study guide” (in the form of an eBook) as well. The show would answer people’s questions about how to get started, how to get funding, how to choose a niche for themselves, etc. and would feature a guest from industry that would share how they made the leap. It would essentially be the Inc. Magazine for gearheads.
8). Finish my Chevelle, and Race it in 6 Events
The Chevelle build is chugging right along, and with sponsorship support and a lot of luck we should have the car ready to debut at Good Guys shows, beginning with the Heartland Nationals in Des Moines, IA over the 4th of July weekend. It’s going to take a LOT of work and sponsor support to pull it off, but I’m convinced God is behind the whole thing and will provide the right people at the right time.
Following the Des Moines show I’ll plan to hit several other shows as well as some American Street Car Series events.
9). Show My Chevelle at SEMA, and get Allison Customs National Exposure
What’s an amazing car build without an amazing debut? The entire automotive world revolves around the SEMA show it seems, and there is no better place I’d love to take the car than to SEMA. My goal would be to feature the car and Allison Customs‘ massive effort to bring her back to life and make things better than ever. If all goes well, Allison Customs’ would be a household name after that show.
I’d also love to get the car entered into the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational after the SEMA show. I realize that’s a long shot…..but a dream is a dream!
10). Get Featured By the Mainstream Media (NY Times, CNN, Fox News, NBC, etc.)
As cool as it is to be an Internet star, there still is something to be said by the exposure and validation that comes along with being featured by one of the traditional media powerhouses. I’d love to get featured on one of those outlets to tell my story and show others that it really IS possible to chase a dream (even in a bad economy).
11). TV Show
OK, out of all of the goals listed here, this one is by far the biggest long-shot….and might be the coolest. I’m fairly addicted to the Velocity channel on DirecTV, and I think that most all other car guys are as well. A muscle car flavored version of Top Gear is what I have in mind. I’d also love to do a show about following the life of a car from the car’s perspective (who it’s owners were, where it lived etc.). It would need to be a buddy show as well. Buddy shows are funny shows, and I love funny shows. I also would want to throw in a lot of sideways driving for good measure.
12). “Go Racing” Once a Week!
Since my goal is to one day race a car professionally, or at least place race car driver on the weekends, it makes sense that I’ll need to devote some time to training. The racing simulators available now are honestly really quite good, and just as pilots have learned incredible skills with Microsoft Flight Simulator over the past years, I plan to use the same approach with racing simulators. (I’d also love to go to Bob Bondurant Driving School and Bobby Ore’s Stunt Driving School, but the sim route is probably a lot more likely to happen.)
My wife purchased a Logitech G27 Racing Wheel for me for Christmas, and it’s so cool that it almost hurts. It’s the first one I’ve ever seen that has a standalone shifter with a REAL clutch! Just a a test I hooked it up to my PlayStation 3 and played Gran Turismo 5 for about 3 hours. The difference was stark. The wheel turned it from simply a fun game into a real driving simulator and I really started to understand just how useful a tool I had discovered (my car in Gran Turismo is a hopped up ’69 Camaro Z/28). What’s sweet about this wheel is that it also works with PC’s, so now I can use it with iRacing.com – the online racing sim that is literally utilized by real NASCAR, Indy, and F1 drivers.
Just in the interest of full disclosure, the links to the Logitech wheel, Playstation 3, and Gran Turismo are all my Amazon affiliate links. If you end up purchasing one you’ll be supporting me as I receive a little commission from each purchase.
Wrapping It Up
Whew! Just writing those 12 goals out fully has worn me out, but I must say that I’m as excited as ever for what 2012 will bring. Here’s to a good year for us all!