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Risk Vs. Passion

Words by Mike Tolliver

It’s about a week after StanceWars Seattle and I’m still recovering from the event, but there is no time to stop. So many interesting things are happening.  We are well into planning for 2016 and half of this years’ show season is still happening up and down the west coast. First, I need to thank a lot of people in my life. The Wife and kids miss me on nights like this when I’m in the office working instead of watching TV and relaxing with them.  I also owe a lot of thanks to my only employee Cynthia, along with many of my friends from wayyyyy back that were there for me then, and are still here for me now.

It’s time to hustle and take what’s worth taking. I’ve worked thousands of hours this year on StanceWars and other events. I plan on executing my plans that I’ve been carefully making. Events like StanceWars require much planning so that you believe they are well organized.

Above I’ve titled this article “Risk vs. passion” and that’s what a show promoter’s life is all about. I’m lucky to have a cushion, a.k.a. the day job that pays well. Each year I field questions like “why is this $15 to get in?” and “dude I see you rollin’ those cars, you make bank!”. Well first I’ve been working in the tech field for a long time and only my Passat and Freightliner are from event funds. Prices are all mathematic and reversing the cost of the event. This is the “risk” part of the life. Last year I invested about $14k into StanceWars prior to the event. This year it will be nearly double that. The day before StanceWars I’m dead broke and it’s because of my passion I allow that, because in business you would never do that.

What is passion? Passion to me is hard work and endless nights with days filled with sweaty lifting. I love car shows the people and the friendships. I continue to build friendships each show and try to improve the events as I go. I’m self taught, and I think improvement is part of life. Each year we add and improve from feedback from YOU and our staff. Passion is not counting up the hours and thinking wow I made $2.50 an hour last year.

Today while shopping for dinner at the super market I was told “that was a great show, I can’t wait for next year, I’ll be every year from now on” by my check out lady at quality food centers. Not someone I told about the show or part of our demographic either. She said “my little brother asked me to go and then he pointed you out on stage. I told him your one of my customers that comes in often’. I find these situations rad. I truly get humbled on how small the world is and how much fun I can bring to people lives. Then the bagger tells me all about his favorite cars because he was there as well.

Risk, passion and friendships ……… it takes all of it.

I’ll be doing several more articles next week on judging, feedback and stories from behind the scenes.

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