Do you have an automotive side hustle? | Column

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jul 17, 2022 | Column | Posted in Columns | From the Dec. 2021 issue | Never miss an article

What’s your side hustle? Have you been able to put a passion project into play?

Do you gig with a local band? Offer welding services to local racers? Trick out die-cast cars that you sell via Etsy?

I guess mine started with photography. Race car photography, of course. 

As a student at UGA, I had Road Atlanta about an hour away. Once I figured out how to request a media pass–hello, business center fax machine–I was set. I might have also made up my own official-sounding company name and printed some letterhead on one of the Mac Pluses in the computer lab. 

A photo pass meant a front-row seat with the possibility of selling some pics–or at least getting them published. And maybe that would, one day, lead to getting paid. (A boy can dream, right?)

I landed some early takers, too: the Atlanta Region SCCA newsletter plus Alfa Owner, SportsCar and a magazine out of Florida called Grassroots Motorsports. 

But I never launched my own venture. Instead, I started full-time at GRM about two years out of school. Closest to doing my own thing has been my BMX/punk rock/whatever zine that, sadly, has been on hiatus the past two years. Things got busy, you know. 

If you think about it, most large companies started as small ones–just an idea hatched by someone with some entrepreneurial spirit. Hop into your time machine and go back a few decades, and today’s cornerstone companies like Hagerty, FCP Euro and Tire Rack once operated as little mom-and-pop shops. (Check your old, old issues of GRM for those early Tire Rack ads: “OUR SALES PERSONNEL ARE CAR ENTHUSIASTS LIKE YOU.”

Over the last 30-plus years, one of our Central Florida locals grew a little BMX side hustle–stickers and T-shirts at first–into some of the biggest brands in the industry: Subrosa, Rant and Shadow Conspiracy. In addition to supplying all manner of bikes, parts and gear, his companies back some of the scene’s biggest riders and events. 

Ronnie Bonner is still at the helm of that BMX juggernaut and seems just as passionate as ever. During a recent podcast interview, he said something that rang loudly: “If you take, you must give.” 

He explained that a little further: “If you’re going to make something from this, you must also make sure you’re giving back into it.”

In this case, he was talking about supporting the scene–doesn’t necessarily have to be money or involve a lot of time, he stressed. His point was that those in the position to give back should do so. And over the years, we have personally enjoyed much of his hospitality.

Following Ronnie’s lead, here’s some giving back: four side hustles that add a little spice to our motorsports world. 

  • Maybe the best way to sum up the One Hell of a Town! online store: It offers an enamel grille badge featuring a pink flamingo pool float, with each one serial-numbered. You’ll also find keychains and air fresheners featuring the 1980s’ greatest hits plus stickers–lots of them. If you want to tell the world that you love terrible cars via some sticky vinyl, this store has it. 
  • Last time I checked, Porsche Punx’s lineup only featured five items–two of them sold out. And if that’s not punk rock, I’m not sure what is. Its famed Venice hat–among my most prized possessions–is NLA, but I might have to pony up for a Bad Brains-inspired T-shirt featuring one of the world’s most loved air-cooled machines. 
  • Everyone needs some flair for their jacket, backpack, camera strap or whatever. Enamel Garage makes these little enamel pins–they’re just like five bucks each–featuring caricatures of automotive legends like the Honda CRX, Datsun 240Z and Porsche 993. Designs come and go, meaning–that’s right–each one might well be a collector’s item.
  • When Nissyota’s store pops up, there’s cool stuff inside–like manga-influenced oil change reminder stickers. Some recent tweets have hinted that future offerings will include throw pillows that highlight some deep cuts from the SSR wheel catalog. 

Do you have an automotive side hustle? I’d love to hear about it.

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Comments
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parker
parker Reader
11/18/21 2:54 p.m.

I wasn't smart enough to figure out how to make money with an automotive side hustle so I switched to photography.  In 2018 I left my "day job" and the side hustle is now my sole source of income.  It took 12 years.  I started with magazine articles in 2006.

 

calteg
calteg Dork
11/18/21 3:10 p.m.

Yup, been flipping 3-4 cars a year for the last 16 years.

RadBarchetta
RadBarchetta New Reader
11/18/21 3:15 p.m.

I think we may have killed Enamel Garage.

Also, I need one of those "I <3 Terrible Cars" stickers on my Triumph.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/18/21 4:02 p.m.
RadBarchetta said:

I think we may have killed Enamel Garage.

Also, I need one of those "I <3 Terrible Cars" stickers on my Triumph.

Well poop on Enamel Garage. Love their stuff.

You can check them out on Instagram, too. 

msterbeau
msterbeau New Reader
11/18/21 4:12 p.m.

I'm pretty sure every automotive designer/stylist I know has had a creative, money-making outlet during their career. I'm no different, though not doing anything currently. I have at times done automotive photography, car illustrations, motorsport graphic designs, body kits, magazine illustrations and a few other things.  

iansane
iansane HalfDork
11/18/21 4:12 p.m.

I'm trying to. I just do weird motor/transmission swaps for locals.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
11/18/21 4:22 p.m.

Sure do! I buy lusty cars at the bottom of their depreciation curve, spend 1000 hours fixing/upgrading until they are perfect, and then sell them for a loss. 

obsolete
obsolete GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/18/21 4:26 p.m.

Sure, I buy parts for projects, stick them on a shelf or in a plastic tote somewhere, then a couple years later, I sell them for less than I paid for them!

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
11/18/21 5:58 p.m.

I've always had an entrepreneurial way, and always done something on the side. I think it runs in the family.

I've been interested in camshafts since I was a kid, and with what I'd learned over the years racing cars with no aftermarket, I recognized  a market in need, and started a side business doing custom camshaft grinding. That soon evolved into custom cams and cylinder head work, then sourcing and selling all the associated parts. At one point I had to decide whether to scale it back or quit my job and pursue it full time. I did neither and took on a partner, but a few years ago, as the market slowed, and I got old,  I decided I'd had enough, sold all my parts and now only grind every 3 months or so.  When I fully retire from my day job, I may decide to build a few engines a year, but I'll probably continue to flip bikes and the odd car.

octavious
octavious Dork
11/18/21 6:12 p.m.

My friends pay me in beer to have my help and use my garage and tools for brake pad/rotor or oil changes, and electrical issues. 
 

I also accept chocolate chip cookies as a form of payment. 

jmc14
jmc14 HalfDork
11/18/21 6:13 p.m.

I have a passion for the 50's-60's sports racers.  I've been fortunate to be able to design and build several cars inspired by those shapes.  I've been building for almost 20 years now. 
 

Some  people that have seen my cars have wanted to build their own.  Since I had to create molds and jigs I've sold some kits. This is a hobby for me.  
 

Having Fun 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA UltraDork
11/18/21 7:34 p.m.

I do a few different things. As far as automotive, I designed billet aluminum center caps for A.R.E. wheels so Torque Thrust and other model wheels can look unique or have a more factory appearance. Also fabricate chassis reinforcements and reproduce some parts for 2nd gen GM F body cars. Laboratory Fourteen is the name of the company.     lab-14.com  is the online store.  Everybody likes pics so here's a couple of my products.

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/270f1c5b-a724-4635-9d56-759183911130/p/71c2ffe7-a151-4d02-b42d-f46c18044ebb][/URL]

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/270f1c5b-a724-4635-9d56-759183911130/p/7a76d91c-5411-4734-b0fa-2d26d25956a1][/URL]

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/270f1c5b-a724-4635-9d56-759183911130/p/57683e68-a272-4f78-b5f4-f5b88a1084da][/URL]

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/0c70a641-5715-49ae-a805-594abcdafbf1/p/70a694c9-4602-48ff-9af0-9c8d29ad4341][/URL]

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/0c70a641-5715-49ae-a805-594abcdafbf1/p/d78aad66-2057-4e60-933a-9495a626fb73][/URL]

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/0c70a641-5715-49ae-a805-594abcdafbf1/p/4963108b-2976-4017-ad21-2a147ecc8b81][/URL]

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/18/21 7:40 p.m.

Actually, I'm considering taking on something that the business wouldn't. Won't be lucrative but it would be cool. But I guess that's why it's a side gig and not a main gig.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/18/21 8:26 p.m.

When I was in the Navy on shore duty I had multiple jobs and side gigs.  One of them was doing vinyl on cars and race cars.  I may start doing that again, as I want to do something pretty cool for the challenge MR2.  I'm struggling with how much to invest in a new cutter.  When I divorced my first wife I sold the cutters, large printers, heat presses, all of it.  I bought the stuff for my Subaru cut and put it on myself.   It got some wrinkles, but I had 3 kids under 10 that wanted to help, and since it's a rallycross car, sure why not.  When I go full rally replica later, I will take the time to do it perfectly.

 

 

 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/18/21 9:15 p.m.

For a year or two I worked on old Fords that people would bring into the shop that I was a service writer at, but both my manager and corporate didn't want to mess with them.  I'd write down my phone number and tell them to call me and I'd come poke at it and give them an estimate.

Broke even a couple times, beat the hourly rate a couple other times, then stopped being a service writer.  It was enjoyable for the most part.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
11/18/21 9:23 p.m.

I used to wheel and deal on Datsun parts. It paid for my racing for several seasons. On occasion it brought extra money into the house, usually at a very handy time, so the wife liked it.

Don't know if the paid instructor gigs counts but I did several of those as well.

These days I'm blessed that my job pays me very well.

With that said I've been encouraged to start writing again. While I managed to sell some short stories many years ago it didn't exactly pay well.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/18/21 9:57 p.m.

Small update on my side hustle: I'm back making zinessmiley

I'm sighed up for Orlando Zine Fest December 18, so I need to have the next issue finished and printed by then. So I'm a working on it. 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/19/21 7:00 a.m.

Dig those enamel pins-they even got the Honda's Phoenix Yellow right. 

Good luck with the Zine!

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
11/19/21 7:43 a.m.

This describes my automotive side hustle 

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP HalfDork
11/19/21 8:43 a.m.

I do automotive video-graphy as a hobby. I wanted to become the 'next big thing' in the YouTube car world, but I own an Intrepid and then it became dormant for 3 years getting paint so I had nothing world posting (like track days) so now I mostly attend events and film as much as I can to put that footage to music, it really doesn't pay at all, but its fun! Hopefully I plan to attend more events this coming year depending on how busy my paying side gig (wedding DJ) keeps me. 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/19/21 9:20 a.m.

Standalone installs, tuning and systems kptuned.com and now doing some other important hard parts (gears, engine parts) for specific platforms. Likely it's my retirement gig.

JStrobel80
JStrobel80 New Reader
11/19/21 9:22 a.m.

I have been stuck at home with an injury, so I taught myself how to do illustrations and am creating posters like this now. Considering selling them if there is enough interest. (I was advised by another user to watermark my work in another post on the forum) Thank you! Farnsworth House and 356 NO.1

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/19/21 9:48 a.m.
CrustyRedXpress said:

Dig those enamel pins-they even got the Honda's Phoenix Yellow right. 

Good luck with the Zine!

Thanks. Got another piece written and pasted up last night. It's kinda like my real work but different. 

BA5
BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/19/21 12:01 p.m.

Never turn your hobby into your job.  

Then you've lost a hobby but you're still working.

 

I might be lucky that I have a career I really like, though.

parker
parker Reader
11/19/21 1:02 p.m.

In reply to BA5 :

It depends.  I have so much freedom now and even when I'm working it's about a gazillion times better than working for someone else.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/19/21 1:21 p.m.

I take many, many photos at events that I attend (https://www.yogile.com/sexydave) but have never charged for the pictures. To me, that adds more responsibility to cover all the cars, take great photos and upgrade gear. I just want a way to burn off nervous energy at events...when I feel like it. I suppose I could ask for donations or something, but its a hobby and sometimes turning a hobby into a business ruins it. (and sometimes it makes you rich LOL) 


 

 

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
11/19/21 1:39 p.m.

I make and sell transaxle adapter plates on the side (Mazda BP engine to Toyota E15x transmission).  They aren't a fast moving item at all (well, at least not until my customers get them installed wink), but the sales do help supplement the budget for my other automotive hobbies.  I've finally started amassing my own collection of metal fabrication tools, hoping to start selling engine/transmission mount sets along with the adapter plates at some point.

A friend/customer of mine just broke into the 10's this week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLnmSIWYgWk

SupraFiend
SupraFiend New Reader
11/19/21 3:34 p.m.

In reply to BA5 :

Let me revise that. Only turn your hobby into your job if you understand that you're also going to have to get a new hobby.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/19/21 4:07 p.m.

One Hell of a Town just shared this–coming soon.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/19/21 4:10 p.m.

I use to part out Porsche 924/944 for awhile on eBay. Not a big fan of the platform lately, so I just flip an odd car every now and then now.

grapeape
grapeape New Reader
11/19/21 5:33 p.m.

When I have time, I enjoy automotive art as well. I try to do slightly cartoonish versions and also do custom designs of people's rides. I've done hundreds of designs, and try to sell them on some different websites like Etsy, Zazzle and Cafepress.  It used to be a nice little extra $$, but the sales haven't been as good as they once were. Here are a few that might interest this group.

CTS-Vs

AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
11/20/21 5:18 a.m.

In reply to grapeape :

You re exactly who I've been looking for. Let me know when you have time to do a couple of pieces.

 

That said I, in the past, had a small shop selling crap made from car parts and wahtnot. The business closed when I moved cross country but I still have some stock if anyone is interested.

slowbird
slowbird UltraDork
11/20/21 6:27 p.m.

In reply to therieldeal :

Oh, it's that car! I've seen videos of it before. He's pushing a lot of power so it makes sense he needed a better transmission. The stock ones don't hold up under boost, it's a known problem in the BP/Escort GT tuning world.

Who knows, maybe I'll need one of those adapter plates someday devil

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
11/20/21 6:32 p.m.

I moonlight as a chauffeur. Mostly weddings. Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II. 
 

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/20/21 6:35 p.m.

I bought a Rolls Royce SC II and started a vintage wedding car business with my son. It was a ton of fun for several years...now run and operated by EdHigginbotham. It paid for a cool car in pretty short order, and now is dropping money to the bottom line. I imagine it will be a way to stay busy in retirement. Edit...see above post!  Hahaha!

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
11/20/21 6:40 p.m.

Jinx

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
11/20/21 6:41 p.m.

I also sell Mocal oil cooling products. 3cgarage.com. If you need anything to make the slippery stuff less hot, let me know. 

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/20/21 6:43 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

And...they are cool. I have laid my hands on a few of these issues...cool stuff.  They are passed around my shop and thoroughly enjoyed. 

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/20/21 7:25 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham :

Owe you a beverage. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/20/21 7:26 p.m.
grapeape said:

When I have time, I enjoy automotive art as well. I try to do slightly cartoonish versions and also do custom designs of people's rides. I've done hundreds of designs, and try to sell them on some different websites like Etsy, Zazzle and Cafepress.  It used to be a nice little extra $$, but the sales haven't been as good as they once were. Here are a few that might interest this group.

CTS-Vs

Grapeape, let us know when you're looking to take commissions. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/20/21 7:37 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham :

I paid my way through college as a chauffer. In some ways it was the ultimate college job - most of the time you're waiting for the client, so you get a lot of homework done, and it keeps you busy on weekend nights so you blow less money on booze and women. 

malibuguy
malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/21/21 2:45 p.m.

I am lucky enough that the only "hustle" I like is my job.

I do professional exhaust, header, turbo and IC fab (and really anything relation).  I worked at another shop for years (that was like 95% strictly exhaust) while I did turbo fab stuff on my time.  Now that I have my own business I get to do it anytime.

I have been working on special chassis parts for Terseos (Tercel-Paseo), and I currently make the only 3-point strut brace for these cars

However I have been itching to get into composites, primarily for self use.  But I can definitely see it becoming a side hustle once I have things down and sorted to perhaps do small runs of stuff for odd cars.  The first thing I want to create is carbon fiber hoods for 95-99 Tercels.  I have 3...and they all have either rust and or dents from negligent previous owners.  I got a nearly perfect hood from the JY to make a mold from.  Just have to find time and get materials.

Toot
Toot New Reader
11/21/21 6:14 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

At least you sell them

gumby
gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/21/21 7:37 p.m.

I help my dumb racecar friends do dumb racecar things. Sometimes it pays, other times not. *shrug*


https://www.instagram.com/p/CT569tYs2O4/

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/21/21 8:58 p.m.

A couple of times, but not in a number of years.

My ex- ran a reasonably successful side-hustle making custom tire bags for new MINIs and later Smart cars.  She would make them in custom colors to match an owner's cars (within the available colors of duck cloth from JoAnn Fabric). Then she bought a computerized embroidery machine and added additional options. She also made cargo liners for R50-56 MINIs. For awhile she was selling some in bulk at a discount to a local MINI vendor.  For awhile we had a good system going where she would get an order in, I'd help by cutting out the fabric and then she would sew them pieces together.  Then I think it started to wear on her as her real job responsibilities increased (along with her pay scale) and it got to the point where the few extra $ wasn't worth the loss of free time.  When we tore most of her house apart for a major renovation, it gave her the excuse to shut down the hustle and never restarted it.

My own side hustle was limited to making MFE "service position" tools for the R50/52/53.  This was back when Moss MINI was selling the tool for $100 and I would sell them for $50 with about $10 or so of materials and a few hours of cutting, drilling and threading a bunch at a time.  I sold 7 sets (including the set I made for myself) before Moss eventually dropped their price to $50 as well.  I have the parts to make more, but probably won't get around to it until I need a set to work on my own car.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/21/21 10:16 p.m.
jh36 said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

And...they are cool. I have laid my hands on a few of these issues...cool stuff.  They are passed around my shop and thoroughly enjoyed. 

Thank you for the kind words, and the next issue's quickly coming together.

Instead of writing tonight, though, I made a mix tape for the zine.

Sarah Young
Sarah Young Editorial/Art Assistant
11/23/21 9:53 a.m.

In reply to RadBarchetta :

Try https://www.etsy.com/shop/tunerpins

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/23/21 10:38 a.m.

In reply to Sarah Young :

Thanks, Sarah, and we updated the piece with the link to Enamel Garage's Etsy store. Now go get your 37 pieces of flair. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
11/23/21 11:05 a.m.

My automotive side gig has been pretty well documented here:

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/parting-out-cars-for-profit-and-maybe-fun-2012-mer/145788/page1/

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/parting-out-cars-for-fun-and-maybe-profit-2003-mr2/131419/page1/

I sell stuff, not always automotive related, but still lots of car stuff. It's built up into a nice nest egg I'm planning on using as my "racing fund" once I get back to racing! (Kids make it hard..)

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
12/1/21 7:27 a.m.

I get some various toyota parts from the yard and flip them for a few extra bucks to buy more car parts

Wouldnt call it a side hustle, just a way to make, maybe 300 bucks a year...very little. But every bit helps, right?

My 'side hustle' is making teaching material and posting it on TeachersPayTeachers. This year wasnt as good, but some years Im right at $600 for stuff I use myself, so that's a nice bonus.

Again, I use it for car parts and records

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
12/1/21 10:20 a.m.
slowbird said:

In reply to therieldeal :

Oh, it's that car! I've seen videos of it before. He's pushing a lot of power so it makes sense he needed a better transmission. The stock ones don't hold up under boost, it's a known problem in the BP/Escort GT tuning world.

Who knows, maybe I'll need one of those adapter plates someday devil

Yes!  He did an excellent series of videos covering his build. Much better documentation than I've ever had the time/talent to put together.

You know where to find me if you need one!

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
12/1/21 12:20 p.m.

My side hustle is writing, and I sorta blame David S Wallens for pushing me over the edge and convincing me that I can actually do it way back at the $2014 Challenge (it's all your fault, man!). After we got home, I leaned on some contacts at BangShift.com and started submitting stuff. They liked it, and I've been at it ever since. I even got to do a few stories here for GRM, which was amazing! I've gotten to do some really great stuff over the years, and even went to my 1st ever real deal press event a few weeks back and sat amongst some writing and car culture legends. Everyone was super accommodating to "the new guy" and happy to have me there. That was a big moment of validation for me that my stupid hobby of writing about stuff was actually something real. Hell, I sang Happy Birthday to Wayne Carini (the Chasing Classic Cars guy). Never had that on my checklist when I started doing this. 

These days, I'm mostly writing about Project Power Laggin', my '79 Dodge W150 Power Wagon, both here and on BangShift.com. I also started a YouTube channel earlier this year, but the day job got real busy so I haven't had much time for producing content. I'll revisit that soon, hopefully, as it's a lot of fun.

It was recommended I pop in here. I started used oil analysis side gig focused on us amateur racers. From my other thread:

Bob-"too many dang korean eurasian linx"-zilla said:

Racer's Oil Analysis Resource

Have the contact and form live. I have kits ready to roll. Offseason is kinda the worst time to start but at least I'm ready for spring!

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/2/21 6:54 p.m.
bob-"too many dang korean eurasian linx"-zilla said:

It was recommended I pop in here. I started used oil analysis side gig focused on us amateur racers. From my other thread:

Bob-"too many dang korean eurasian linx"-zilla said:

Racer's Oil Analysis Resource

Have the contact and form live. I have kits ready to roll. Offseason is kinda the worst time to start but at least I'm ready for spring!

I think it's the perfect time to start!  I will be dumping my oil in the next couple of weeks, prepping for 2022 and totally on board for your service. 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/5/22 2:10 p.m.

I don't have a side hustle anymore, but did for several years. Without getting too specific, I started out fabricating an exhaust component that streamlined a popular engine swap for a niche platform.  That grew a little at a time until I had an online store with headers, downpipes, cats, cat-back mufflers, and all kinds of stuff to make it work together.

It was equal parts rewarding and exasperating.  In a lot of ways, it was a perfect match.  I had been driving the car for which the parts were developed for many years, and that made fabrication and test fitting a driveway affair.  I already had a connection to and rapport within the community that worked in my favor.  Nobody else in the world was really offering exhaust systems for this platform, and it was intensely satisfying to fill that niche. 

But there was too much volume and too many tasks - everything from product design to fabrication to component outsourcing to banking to website maintenance to shipping to customer support - to make it alone.  On the other hand, the sales volume wasn't big enough to justify quitting my day job and going full time, let alone hiring anybody to help or outsourcing production. 

Profitability was tough because the customer base was inherently low-budget and couldn't justify paying for handmade parts.  On top of that, many of them were largely unskilled kids with their first cars.  They didn't always have basic mechanical experience and needed a little hand-holding. And being of the Amazon/eBay generation, they were accustomed to a delivery timeline that just wasn't possible.  After a series of frustrating events, I finally threw in the towel.

All in all, I'm proud of what I did, and I wish it would have come to a more graceful end, but I'm also glad it's over.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/10/22 11:23 a.m.

Oh yeah, Issue 5 of my zine is now available. :)

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/10/22 11:32 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

So I tried to google the title, and I looked through this thread and I looked at your Twitter page and I don't see where one could buy said magazine. Do you have a link to purchase somewhere or can I stuff a fiver in an envelope and send it to you or what?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/10/22 11:47 a.m.

In reply to NY Nick :

I have an Etsy store. (I need to create a bundle with all five issues.)

Or you can Paypal the money to me. I'm easy.


Thanks. 

rodknock
rodknock Reader
2/10/22 12:02 p.m.

The drivers occasionally throw money my way when I shoot grassroots drift events. I do it for fun but getting tips is nice.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
2/10/22 12:07 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

My side hustle started out restoring cars. I did that post Vietnam  through 2000  because of that I started making trailers.   Finished with the 28' 3 axle. Figured I had  over 40 hours in it and wound up with a profit of $11 ( still have the molds). 
    Restoration turned into race prep. That carried me through some lean periods.  But started to interfere with my career.   Ended when I started construction on my house.  
Technically since I drive a bus and income from that is my side hustle, do I•••?
 

NY Nick
NY Nick GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/10/22 12:31 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I had Mrs. NYN buy it on Etsy, started with issue 1. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/10/22 9:38 p.m.

Thank you very much for the order. Packing it up now. :)

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/10/22 11:44 p.m.

I hand build slot cars from scratch:

I also build scale model car replicas and do freehand car art. I designed the logo for a local hillclimb.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/11/22 9:02 a.m.

At age 55, I started Cars of My Youth two years ago this month. Best thing I have done in many years.  By making my hobby into an official business, it has allowed me to expand my projects and use the tax laws to my advantage. Two years later, I am completing my new shop, have an inventory of fun cars, two client projects and a big smile all the time. If I had to depend on this as my sole source of income, the hobby would become a job and probably take the joy out of it, but for now it is really just covering my expenses and allowing me to expand my collection and build a shop I would have only dreamed of a few years ago. Been a fun ride so far.

pbkelley
pbkelley New Reader
2/11/22 4:04 p.m.

I have been rebuilding T5 manual transmissions for years. Started out as part of my day job restoring old Mustangs and now it is about the only automotive work I do for customers. I have slowly over the years expanded and now do T5s, Ford Toploaders, Muncies, 3650s, T56s, and now MT82s (I am still a Mustang guy at heart.)  Good months, I will do 12-15 transmissions a month. Nov and Dec, I may only do 1 or 2. After 20 years, most of my business is word of mouth, but I do have an ad on FB market. 

Day job pays for household expenses and the "side" cash helps pay for track days. Like most here, I found something that I like doing a there was a demand for.  

Always looking cores if anyone near Atlanta has a few busted ones sitting in their way!

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/11/22 9:08 p.m.
dherr (Forum Supporter) said:

At age 55, I started Cars of My Youth two years ago this month. Best thing I have done in many years.  By making my hobby into an official business, it has allowed me to expand my projects and use the tax laws to my advantage. Two years later, I am completing my new shop, have an inventory of fun cars, two client projects and a big smile all the time. If I had to depend on this as my sole source of income, the hobby would become a job and probably take the joy out of it, but for now it is really just covering my expenses and allowing me to expand my collection and build a shop I would have only dreamed of a few years ago. Been a fun ride so far.

I just enjoyed a few moments on your site. Well done!

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/12/22 6:53 a.m.

I have done powder coating for years. I have put it on hold due to Covid since I'm under mandatory requirement to work an extra 48 hours per week at my main job. I'm not complaining. Overtime at my main job far exceeds any side hustle financially. It's also pushing my retirement closer due to the added retirement contributions.

But, last week I did disassemble my main blast cabinet and begin refreshing some seals and new hoses and such. It looks like things are starting to quieten down a little on the work front so I'm hoping to be back at it by summer. I sure enjoy the craft. It's very cathartic to me.

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
2/12/22 9:26 a.m.
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm under mandatory requirement to work an extra 48 hours per week at my main job.

An >extra< 48 hours per week?  So you're mandated to work 88 hours a week?  Or just 48 total?  What do you do that has mandatory overtime?

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/12/22 12:16 p.m.
DWNSHFT said:
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm under mandatory requirement to work an extra 48 hours per week at my main job.

An >extra< 48 hours per week?  So you're mandated to work 88 hours a week?  Or just 48 total?  What do you do that has mandatory overtime?

 I work for a city fire department. Last year I worked right at 4900 hours.. It's starting to take a toll on the guys and we are beginning to see some resign and seek their fortunes in greener pastures elsewhere. That puts us understaffed and further burdens the remaining people. 

 A fire department does not run short. You must have a minimum set number of people to staff the trucks. If you don't have that number you just force the guys to stay and work in 24 hour blocks. The rule is 120 hours maximum in a row without taking off at least 12 hours. 

triumph7
triumph7 HalfDork
2/12/22 12:43 p.m.
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) said:
DWNSHFT said:
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm under mandatory requirement to work an extra 48 hours per week at my main job.

An >extra< 48 hours per week?  So you're mandated to work 88 hours a week?  Or just 48 total?  What do you do that has mandatory overtime?

 I work for a city fire department. Last year I worked right at 4900 hours.. It's starting to take a toll on the guys and we are beginning to see some resign and seek their fortunes in greener pastures elsewhere. That puts us understaffed and further burdens the remaining people. 

 A fire department does not run short. You must have a minimum set number of people to staff the trucks. If you don't have that number you just force the guys to stay and work in 24 hour blocks. The rule is 120 hours maximum in a row without taking off at least 12 hours. 

Mental note... do NOT become a fireman.

trakktapedude
trakktapedude New Reader
4/3/22 4:16 p.m.

About fourteen years ago, I took my Lotus Elise to California Speedway for a track day. By the end of the day, I noticed the dealer mandatory option clear bra was getting little cuts from debris being kicked up by other cars. Maybe I was following too close, but isn't that sort of the point?

Anyway, I started trying to find some sort of tape I could use to protect the bra and to make a long story short, founded what is now TrakkTape.com.  My first order was twenty rolls sold to guys on lotustalk.com and it just kept going. Essentially, I started the track day protection business, in which there are now a number of other companies offering similar products.  Over the years, it has always just been a little sideline business for me, but it has also been so much fun helping people protect their trackday cars.   

As Trakktape was going along, I also started another little venture called TrakkRats.com.  TrakkRats is a bit more hard core racer oriented with tools for setup and alignment. But, it is still tiny and I like to say that we sponsor EVERYBODY, because our prices for quality products are so inexpensive, it leaves more money in everyone's race budget. Again, getting to talk to so many great people is such fun.  TrakkRats is my way of helping weekend warriors get out and pursue their passion, whether they run short track ovals, or asphalt road courses. 

I am basically a retired architect who just fell into a couple of fun little side hustles and still enjoys pounding on his Lotus whenever he gets the chance. 

Dwight
Dwight New Reader
4/4/22 8:50 a.m.

After a long  career as a  auto mechanic. A work related injury put me out of work for a year.  So I went into sales. Automotive tools & equipment. Then 2 years selling Industrial supplies for KAR Products and back to managing a store for the 1st company.

After more physical issues, went on my own, selling not only tools & nuts 'n bolts, but now a AMSOIL independent lube dealer.  All the while involved in SCCA racing [as crew] Then 20 years of auto-cross, hill-climbs/rally-cross and safety with the local Ice Racing club.  I became a Tire Rack dealer, selling to my fellows. My oldest son has a British only restoration service, in Isanti Minnesota. He also retrofits/upgrades MG's and other sports cars with more powerful engines.... 

 

 

P3PPY
P3PPY GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/17/22 11:21 a.m.
grapeape said:

When I have time, I enjoy automotive art as well. I try to do slightly cartoonish versions and also do custom designs of people's rides. I've done hundreds of designs, and try to sell them on some different websites like Etsy, Zazzle and Cafepress.  It used to be a nice little extra $$, but the sales haven't been as good as they once were. Here are a few that might interest this group.

CTS-Vs

NICE! I used to do caricatures at a theme park and I kept a copy of AutoTrader with me so I would offer to draw them with their car. I *loved* doing cartoon cars, never ran with it. I like your work here!

My favorite vehicle body draw was a tank mechanic who came in to get a caricature. I spent like half an hour on all the little detail work

My crappy summer college job got eliminated during the pandemic, so I decided to try and put my years of Volvo ECU hacking experience to work selling chips for 240s, 740s, and 940s. Now I finally have a real website at redblockpowered.com and have branched out into custom stuff (and hopefully other kinds of similar vintage Euro car eventually!)

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