On episode 585 (Best of) of The Solopreneur Hour Matt talks with us about his very early love of cars, and how he parlayed that into a successful career as an automotive journalist and the origins of The Smoking Tire.
More About Matt Farah and The Smoking Tire
Matt’s grandma jokes that he could identify different cars by their wheels at the age of 2! By the age of 5 Matt’s dad had given him an edition of Car & Driver, and Matt was enthralled. Although the cover was that of the latest Corvette it was the spread on the Delorean that really peaked Matt’s interest.
When his family moved from New Jersey to Atlanta they settled about a block away from an exotic car dealership called Formula 1 Imports. Matt’s mom took him there on a weekly basis and he struck up a friendship with the dealer. Matt made such an impression on the dealer that he, the dealer, called Matt when they got new cars in the show room.
Although Matt didn’t love one brand of car over any other that passion continued in high school. He and his friends all owned Mustangs and would spend their time customizing their cars. His friends went drag racing, so Matt followed suit.
But the automotive industry as a career path didn’t open up for him til about 6 months after college. Matt had majored in photography, a degree that was obsolete nearly the minute he graduated because the first real professional digital camera hit the market then. All those countless hours in the dark room were rendered useless.
On This Show You’ll Also Hear:
- How much did they make on All Cars Go to Heaven in the first 60 days?
- What is on his car bucket list?
- What impact did Top Gear have on the automotive journalism world?
- What is his Million Mile Lexus project?
- Who should go into automotive journalism?
- And so much more!
Because he couldn’t get work as a photographer Matt took a job with a creative branding agency in New York City. His day to day life consisted of rebrands for big companies and redesigning their labels.
Within six months he was fed up with monotony. He asked himself what he really wanted to do – what could he spend his days doing that wouldn’t make him want to kill himself?!
His answer: cars. He could talk about cars all day long, and that’s when Matt decided to work in the car world. He started off working at a car dealership just being an errand boy, washing cars and being an assistant for the sales people. Then he went to an exotic car dealer and discovered the myth, the legends and the reality of exotic cars.
While working there he met Larry, a man who is now Bugatti’s detailer. Together they decided to open their own detailing shop for exotic cars. Soon they were washing and detailing cars for all the local exotic car owners, and they realized these guys only drove their cars to the shop for detailing but nowhere else. Matt and Larry put their heads togehter and came up with an idea: they would start a car club where all the members would meet once a week and drive together for the day. The New York Car Club was born.
As the club evolved, Matt had the idea to shoot videos of their drives. One day someone suggested to Matt that he mic up and host the videos. So he did. He told some jokes, and interviewed some of the guys driving.
Literally one week later Matt had a call with a job offer to join a guy’s YouTube network of car shows as the host. Matt sold his half of the car detailing business and took the job.
For the next two years Matt was the host. But when the market tanked in late 2008/early 2009 so did the company that was paying him and Matt had to look elsewhere. So he and his friend Tom – the man who had originally suggested he host the car club videos – moved to LA and started The Smoking Tire.
It took another two years before TST showed any profit, but they stuck with it doing odd jobs as needed to pay their expenses. Since then they’ve tweaked what they offer their audience: today their most popular (and most profitable) videos as Matt’s one-take videos and they also have a once-a-week podcast as well as a sequel to their successful original film All Car Go to Heaven.
Listen in to today’s show to hear Matt share what a typical month of work looks like for him, how to break into automotive journalism (and who it is and IS NOT right for), what his latest projects are all about.
Whether or not you’re a car fan today’s episode has some great lessons for you: how to hustle, how to take advantage of opportunities that come your way and how to know when to shift gears. Check it out on episode 348 of The Solopreneur Hour.
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Selected Links and Resources From This Episode
rennch.com – a Porsche mechanic in your pocket
Find out more about The Smoking Tire
The Smoking Tire podcast
The Smoking Tire on Twitter
All Cars Go to Heaven
The Smoking Tire on YouTube
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