Well, it’s been just about forever since I’ve had a chance to update my personal blog, and more than a few of you have reminded me of that. Thanks for the push. Truth be told, writing this blog is something I really like doing (even though I’m terribly slow at it – this post took me 5 days to complete), mostly because it helps give me the perspective I need to realize just how great I have it – and to not complain to my wife about things that aren’t going my way. With that said….
The most popular post that I’ve ever written on this blog was one I did at the end of 2011, recapping my first year of being self employed. It was titled “Rob’s 2011 Year In Review: I Quit My Job, A Miracle Happened, and (Sort of) Made a Fortune!” Since writing that a lot of things have changed, a few of which were directly related to writing that post. As such I thought I’d give a little recap of what’s happened since then. Here goes!
1) I’m Not Rich Yet (but I’m Working On it)….OR, and This Is Still Harder Than I Thought It Would Be!
I’ll admit (even though I don’t want to) that by this point in my business adventures that I thought I’d be rich by now, with my business on auto-pilot, choosing only to work on the things that interested my fancy, playing with my kids at night without a nagging through in my mind, and starring in automotive TV shows and commercials where I’d drift the General Lee around an ice cream truck for some yet-to-be-named reason. At the time of this writing none of those have happened yet, but I have faith that by continuing to chunk forward and putting in the work that the right opportunity will hit (even the General Lee one).
Since 2011 my sources of income have not changed a great deal, though the numbers behind them have thankfully increased a bit. I still split my time between owning and operating TheMuscleCarPlace.com classifieds website, hosting sponsor supported podcast shows, and handling the Business Development activities for a local diesel fuel injection start-up company (which I have a knack for, it turns out). It’s still a really tough balance. I’m finally to the point where doing cold calls no longer scare the pants off my me (just my underwear), nor am I as heartbroken when the “deal” that I knew needed to be put together ended up fizzling out before it ever really started. I’ve learned that’s just part of the game. I’m still not really used to it, but I can now at least stomach it. You have to pay to play, right?
Perhaps the best change over the past year and a half though is the addition of a few key people to my business that have really helped me grow – and that are just really fun to work with.
My pal Bernie McPartland is a professional audio production engineer in Texas and now does all show production for every chunk of audio that we create. Bernie is awesome at what he does, thinks 10 steps ahead of me, and is a pretty funny guy to boot. He’s also a ’66 Chevelle owner, so he has that going for him….which is nice.
Scott Stap is a buddy from Michigan who was handles all show write-ups (you likely have seen his name and mug as an author on many pieces here). Scott listens to all of the interview a week in advance, does the write up, and cracks me up in the process. He’s also a ’69 Charger owner!
Last, but certainly not least, my assistant extraordinaire Darren Johnson has taken on everything from bookkeeping to social media management to affiliate income generation.
Darren was the first person on board (starting in 2011, actually), but his role has grown significantly these past 18 months. Did I mention that he’s a honors student at the University of Nebraska, and that I wouldn’t be surprised if he launched a billion dollar business out of his dorm room?
I was going to mention Darren’s car next….but it’s a Honda Civic. Please know that it gets great mileage, and in Darren’s mind it’s just the first step towards a ’69 ‘Vette.
I definitely love working on a team, and I wish I had had it in the beginning! As a cool aside, I met both Bernie and Scott through the podcast show before we started working together (they were listeners), and my wife actually recruited Darren for me while chatting with his mother at a local home-schooling conference.
2) I Finally Got To Start Racing – “Professionally!”
If you’ll recall from my 2011 post, one of my major dreams in this business is still to (somehow) find a way to professionally race cars….even though I’m nearly 38 ago years old, have no real experience, and am semi-balding.
A few months ago I finally got my start and was able to join Larry Callahan (my co-host of the Pro-Touring.com podcast) at the BFGoodrich Rival Tire debut at the NOLA Motorsports Park. While there our “job” was to thrash autocross, skidpad, and road course cars to evaluate the new BFGoodrich tire. While you can read about the full details in my post about it, the coolest thing about the entire experience was that it was a comp’d promotion, meaning I didn’t actually have to pay to go. So…I’m considering it my first paid racing gig!
3) I’m Still Chasing the Dream….But Maybe Helping Others Reach Theirs Is More Important (aka – The $100,000 Podcast Continues)
Without a doubt, the biggest thing that had come from launching my first business was that I helped to inspire Jeff Allison (a MuscleCar Place podcast show listener and someone whom I had never met) to follow his dream and to start his own restoration shop. As an even crazier turn of events he offered to restore my personal ’64 Chevelle for me free of charge; he’d handle the labor as a gift if I were willing to supply the parts. While I’ll let you read the full details about it here, in the end he was offering me a $100,000 (plus) gift….all because of a connection we made through my podcast show.
As a result of that experience, last year (in 2012) I decided to launch a new podcast show called “Cars For A Living.” My thinking was that there might be more people out there like Jeff, and the power of a podcast show would be the best way to find out. The intent of the show was to go further into the business side of things and tackle all of the really tough questions I’ve heard and have been asked about what it takes to “make it” in the automotive aftermarket, restoration, and racing industry. With that, I wanted to go out and ask everyone in industry who really had “made it” how they had pulled it off, gather the lessons learned, and pass that on to the masses.
I was no more than 2 episodes into the show when a guy named Dan Kahn contacted me about it, asking if he could help in some way. He had read my 2011 Recap blog, was himself was an entrepreneur in the industry, and had started his PR and Media company (Kahn Media) a few years prior. Like me he had a young family, a passion for helping people chase their dreams, was excited by new business ideas, and dug Star Trek almost as much as he did muscle cars. We talked for a few hours on the phone, struck up an instant friendship, and he joined the show in Episode #3. We haven’t looked back since, and the it’s really taken off.
(Just as a quick aside, I really must brag a bit about Dan. His company, though just a few years old has really become the “go to” PR, Social Media, and Marketing company in our industry. He’s truly great at his craft, has built an incredible team, and is a phenomenal business and family man!). The way his mind works during our shows together amazes me. I’m so glad that we get to work together on C4AL – I really think that together we’ll be able to help a lot of people.)
While the future of Cars For A Living (C4AL) is still to be written, we did launch a new website for the podcast show last fall (www.carsforaliving.com) and have over 30 episodes of the show in now. We’re also now ready to add on several new items to help people in a more one-on-one way than just the podcast show. It’s definitely an exciting time! I hope to have future updates here for you about what’s happened as a result of C4AL, but for now just know that we’re having a ton of fun – and that I hope we’re really helping people.
Wrapping it All Up
Believe it or not, I have a few other really cool projects in the fire that I was planning to share here, but since this post is getting plenty long I think I’ll end it here. I’ve included a few random shots of things that happened throughout the year, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with the most important thing in my life with you – my family! Here’s a little picture adventure from the last 18 months for your enjoyment!
Here’s hoping that the rest of 2013 is fun and exciting for us all.