Do you ever sit back and think about how lucky we are? Look at us. We work in an industry that we absolutely love. At least I do, and I’m pretty sure ya’ll feel the same way. That’s why we got into this business: because we love motorcycles. It’s this passion that’s kept us in business through these hard times and bad economy, and it’s the reason I get up every morning and keep doing what I’m doing.
So far in my lifetime, I’ve personally owned these brands of motorcycles: American IronHorse, BSA, Big Dog, Brass Balls, Bultaco, Gas Gas, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, Norton, Suzuki, Titan, Triumph, Yamaha, Victory, Viper and Rick Fairless Customs. Yes, I’m a motorcycle enthusiast! I love everything about motorcycles and have since I was young. Now, they’re how I make a living.
Before I opened Strokers Dallas, I’d dream about building motorcycles for a living. Sure, I customized some bikes in my garage and won some awards, but I was dreaming bigger. Wouldn’t it be cool to get paid to do what you love? To mess around with bikes all day and call it work? A man can dream, right?
Well, 15 years ago my dream came true. I opened Strokers Dallas, and I haven’t worked a day since. Here’s the way I look at things: When you love what you do for a living, you never work a day in your life. I wake up every morning at 4 a.m. I hit the gym for an hour, and I’m at Strokers every day by 6 a.m. I work hard all day and go home at 7 p.m. every single day of the week. I don’t take days off and I don’t call in sick. Unless I’m out of town for a motorcycle function, I’m here. Strokers is only closed two days a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and I’m up here on those days, too.
Better Than Digging Ditches
Some people think it’s crazy to work that much, but I don’t see it that way. Instead, I consider how lucky I am to have a job that I absolutely love. I look forward to being around motorcycles and motorcycle enthusiasts all day. I’m either riding motorcycles or talking motorcycles constantly, and I get paid to do it.
As business owners in the motorcycle industry, we’re the first to ride all the new models when they come in. We get to sit around and read bike magazines and surf motorcycles on the Internet — all in the name of business. We get to be the first to check out all the latest, greatest, coolest, neatest products on the market. We get to go to all the cool motorcycle industry trade shows. Are you kidding me? I’d pay to work in this industry! Strokers Dallas is funding my hobby. I love the freedom of building custom bikes and doing it all in the name of business! I get to create whatever wild and crazy ideas come to my mind and it’s all part of the job. Plus, not only do we get to create our own personal bikes, but we get to help our customers create their bikes. We get to experiment and build other people’s dreams in styles and designs that we might not do for ourselves.
When times are tough and it’s hard to survive in the motorcycle industry, I say to myself, “Do you want to end up behind some desk doing a boring corporate job? Heck no! Then get your ass back to work and be thankful that you do what you love!” My passion for motorcycles is what got me into this business, and it’s what keeps me alive. I work harder because I love what I do and I want to keep doing it for a long time. The guys who came into this business to make a quick buck learned that you need a lot more than some wrenching know-how to survive in this world. You need passion.
The motorcycle business allows us to eat, breathe and live motorcycles, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re frustrated with your job or stressing out about the economy, take a look at what you do and where you work. Get some perspective and remind yourself why you got into this business — because you love motorcycles. If you use your passion to fuel your business, you’ll do fine.
I know for me, there’s nothing I’d rather do and nowhere that I’d rather be than right here at my little piece of heaven in Dallas, Texas.
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews June 2010 issue.