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This week’s podcast show guest is Chris Holstrom. Chris has worked in a variety of backgrounds, including a stint as a youth pastor, but his lifelong dream was to leave the doldrums of a regular day job and pursue his dream; building hot rods for a living. Chris was originally on The MuscleCar Place podcast show nearly two years ago, and at that times he was building a business in his spare time on nights and weekends. He was literally burning the midnight oil to keep the dream alive, and after years of hard work it finally paid off. In April of 2011 he opened Chris Holstrom Concepts and left his day job behind!
In our interview we discussed the methods that Chris used to build his business, and he’ll be the first to admit that even on this side of things that being self employed is harder than he thought it would be. The realities of being a business owner involve far more than just building cars, such as doing accounting work, drumming up new business, and keeping the present customers happy. With that said, Chris would never go back. He built his first SEMA car a few years ago on credit cards, sold it, and used the relationships and experience he gained in the project to take the next steps forward.
Chris recommends that others that would like to chase their dream should do so, but use a lot of common sense in the process. He recommends avoiding debt as much as possible, if not entirely, and bootstrapping the business until it can provide an income for the owner. He also believes that partnerships are a mistake and has chosen to avoid the potential headache of such a relationship entirely (he and his wife are the sole business owners)!
Finally, Chris makes the point that despite what you hear in the news there are still plenty of people spending money on cool speed parts and custom cars. He believes that there is never a bad time to start a good business and with hard work and determination he’s confident that anyone can succeed. As this interview heads to Publish status, Chris is finishing up a ’68 Camaro that will be featured in the Meguiar’s Car Crazy Corral at the 2011 SEMA Show. Not too shabby for someone that was working a day job just a few months ago!
Thanks for the interview, Chris, and the inspiration!