|Posted by epswahn on March 21, 2017 at 7:00 AM|
03/20/17 12:21 ESR LLC, Sterling Heights, MI, USA
Why I’m not racing – Blog Post
I did this post a little differently this time. I wrote out a blog post, then I recorded a video of me reading and talking about it a little bit. Check out the video: https://youtu.be/Zrp8GFzepJQ
I’m not racing for many reasons currently but it all comes down to money. I’m taking a step back due to finances and being smart about my money. As many of you know, I’ve been involved in roadracing & track riding for about 6 years, since 2011. In my career I’ve crashed over a dozen times and never had a major injury, cut/abrasion, or broken bone (until this one), but unfortunately in May of 2015 I highsided coming on to the main straight, crashed and hit the pit wall guard rail at Grattan Raceway Clockwise at a WERA Regional event. I have since recovered fully from all injuries and I’m stronger than I was beforehand. I even completed a Tough Mudder half marathon less than 4 months after the incident. Fitness wise, I currently do at least 1,000 miles between cycling and running every year. Through Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapies I have fully regained strength and mobility. Even with a shoulder I’ve broken 4 times and dislocated it 5, I can do about 50 push-ups, and 25 chin-ups with zero pain.
I’ve recently worked for two companies that could easily be called startups. I worked at STG – Sportbike Track Gear for 2 years. They started in about 2006 I believe, so just over 10 years. I loved working with race gear and motorcycle parts it was definitely a good learning experience. Towards the end of my time working there, many people started getting canned left and right for no apparent reason. Since I was honorably “laid off” another 20-25 employees have been either laid off, fired, or quit. Every manager is gone that was there when I was there, and this is in a company where they only have about 20 people on staff. The turnover rate there is nuts, and lets just say it has nothing to do with the employees.
The second company I worked for was Pacific Motors in Detroit. They were in business for 7 years when I worked there & I worked there for less than 6 months. They were basically a glorified junk yard. They bought mainly high end European cars, sports cars, and exotic models, totaled cars on auction for a fraction of the price of the full retail. Strip the cars down to their frames, photograph, and list the parts online. I was hired in as a sales guy and within a month I was promoted to Sales Manager, then later Sales & Marketing Manager. I felt like I came in and fixed a lot of glaring issues. I wrote procedure manuals like I have done at every company I’ve worked for and honestly made significant improvements that had an impact on customer service, automation, and profitability. I genuinely believe they appreciate what I did there for them, but its important to remember that a business is not your friend. A business is there for profitability, and they felt I already fixed the main issues they were having. Even if you do a great job, here in Michigan at least we’re a fire at will state. There’s no contract stating that you have security for the next X years. The majority of people working today could potentially be in a position to lose their jobs tomorrow that had no bearing on their performance. There is no security.
This is what drove me to my current stage. Several years ago I started an LLC to separate personal from racing expenses. Most people on the outside have no clue what it costs to go racing. They say things like, my kids travel hockey is expensive, or whatever but until you go racing you have no idea. My tires alone for a weekend is about how much your kids hockey is for a year. So to look more professional for sponsors, and for myself financially I started this company, but didn’t really sell anything consistently for a year or two, just selling advertisement and promotion for sponsors. Just the tax savings alone are far worth starting an LLC. I’ve sold old junk on Craigslist and eBay for as long as I can remember so it was natural for me to list my own race tires and parts on there as well. I realized one day that I had sold every single tire I personally used, without really any effort. This really got me thinking. During the past two years, ever since I was laid off at STG I’ve been really big into selling items on Craigslist, Let Go and Offer Up to make a few extra bucks but also because I’m really a minimalist. My grandma was a hoarder, and many summers I helped my family clean out her entire house from top to bottom every few years growing up. So I’m a product of my environment. I also want to start traveling a lot more so I don’t want to have a ton of crap accumulated.
After my exit from Pacific Motors, I had enough. I’ve had a few revelations in my life and the latest is that I cannot see myself being happy trading time for money. Being an hourly or salary employee for someone else. There’s no security, you’re required to spend so much of your life there, and the pay isn’t always that good. In my book there’s not much pay that would justify the cost of spending 30-40 years going to the same building in the same office. That’s not what I want. I need a new model. The model of work I’m doing from now on is being the boss, working for myself, and automating tasks as I expand. As of today 03-20-17 13:49 I have over 1800 items live on eBay and over 500 on Craigslist. I’m just getting started, less than 6 months full time, but I have a good outline of where I want to go.
The plan is to get to at least 10,000 items in inventory with an emphasis on the $50-$250 price ranges across literally every product category. I’m already in over 80 eBay categories from race tires to baby clothes. I want to stick with smaller, shippable products, digital products will be explored later. The immediate goal is to get to $10,000 in monthly gross sales, which would be an average of $334/day. At the current order average I’d need 10-15 orders per day. If you put it into those numbers, it doesn’t sound too hard to achieve. I have hit the monthly goal once, but I’m not there yet. I have another several hundred items to upload to eBay, then I’m going to focus on getting the same items live on 8 separate world/local level marketplace platforms: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Half, Shopify, Craigslist, Offer Up, & Let Go. I’m using software that allows you to have multiple listings for the same item on different channels. So basically you have up to 8 times the chances of someone seeing it versus just listing it one place.
Stage two I start with 1-2 part time employees taking over daily operations, orders, packing, shipping, messages, emails, sales.
Stage 3 is getting the business out of the basement. I have 10 rows of shelving for inventory, a shipping station, a desk workstation area for two people, and a photography booth setup all in about 650 sq ft of usable space with 6.5 ft ceilings. If I got just a 1,000 sq ft building that would be plenty of space for now.
Stage 4 is where I fully automate everything and walk away. I’ve been reading a lot about automation and businesses. The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is a good place to start. This might sound naïve or unwise but why wouldn’t you do this? Someone once said, I believe that there is no one job that would satisfy about 7 Billion of us here on earth. So why is work or a good job the goal. Some days I wake up and I have 2 or 3 orders, or what is the best is when my phone wakes me up from the cash register “Cha-Ching!” as an alarm clock. If you were able to make $2,000 net/month from a side gig you can eventually automate, and just feed new products into, you would never have to work again. I think it would be great to have 30 million in the bank, but what if you could retire by 30, travel everywhere and live very comfortably. That’s my dream!
Stage 5 is what you’re all here for. Go Racing! Once this is automated, and everything is set up properly which I estimate would be around the $25K/Month area then I would go back to trackdays, WERA racing, getting back up to speed wthe intention of doing 5 years of MotoAmerica. At some point I intend on internationally competing with roadracing. Other huge passions I’ve yet to explore is getting into supermoto, motocross, flat track, karting, rally, sportscar racing, and openwheel racing. I have some experience with karting and I’ve done some excellent lap times and raced quite a bit, but not in shifter karts.
I really do enjoy doing this, I feel like I’m working for my future instead of working to make some boss happy, and not knowing if I would ever get a raise, or it not even being up to me. If I want to make more money, I can go work for a few hours and directly add to my value, make listings, improve something, source new items, anything. I’m not where I need to be sales wise, but it’s definitely growing. I just started and I’ve already had months that I was positive for both the business and me personally, with paying the proper taxes and all. I’m a salaried employee with a full W-2 and all, it feels good. You just need to be willing to eat some Oatmeal, PB&J’s, and Mac n’ Cheese.
Owner / Racer
*ESR Stuff Below!*
Motorcycle Tires: http://stores.ebay.com/ericswahnracing/Tires-/_i.html?_fsub=23409480011
Main Website: http://www.ericswahnracing.com/
eBay Store: http://stores.ebay.com/ericswahnracing
Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/EricSwahnRacing