RWR-010: Producing Digital Automotive Magazines with Mike Alexander

I’ve known who Mike was for quite some time, but we didn’t connect with each other until a year or two ago when he approached me to build a website for him. Little did I know, this idea would turn into a big digital publishing company. And by big, I don’t mean a massive office in Silicon Valley with hundreds of employees. He has assembled a team of freelancers and passionate individuals in the custom automotive scene from all over the world to crank out high quality content month after month.

Over the past year or so, Slam’d Magazine has built a huge following, and I know the recently launched Lift’d Trucks is setup to do the same in the coming months. It’s pretty cool to see it all evolve even though I was hired to build these sites, so I may be a little biased. But from the perspective of a custom automotive enthusiast (which I have been for over 15 years), something new like this is exactly what our scene needs. Someone to push the envelope, put quality before anything else, and make the content easily accessible to the entire world.

I ask all the typical business questions, but I dug deeper and really pulled out some inspiring thoughts from this publishing veteran, things he never thought we’d discuss. Not only is he a very genuine person, but you really get a sense for his desire to help other aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as pave the way for generations to come in the automotive space. Even if you’ve known Mike for years, I think you’re gonna learn a lot more about him here, and after you listen to the whole episode, you’ll be so motivated that you’ll probably reach out to him just to say thanks.

With that being said, let’s get on with the show. And I apologize in advance for any audio issues you might hear, we had some technical difficulties but I really didn’t want to lose all the value he adds, so I edited it the best I could. Enjoy!

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Show notes:

[5:00] Tell us your story, take us back to the beginning then bring us up to speed to what you’re doing these days

[16:00] So did you go to college?

[17:35] If you didn’t leave your last job, would you still be working for someone else at another magazine?

If you do what you love, eventually the money comes.

[20:20] Where did the name come from for Rev’d, Slam’d, etc.?

[23:20] Why did you choose to go with a digital publication?

[33:55] Mike’s sites: Rev’d Media Group / Slam’d Mag / Lift’d Trucks

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[38:00] Do you have plans for the next magazine yet?

[44:15] Did you quit your last “real” job or were you fired?

I had to turn those job offers down because I didn’t feel good about going back to that life.

It was very very scary. I will never be able to share that feeling in words.

[53:00] What motivates you to keep going?

The people you surround yourself with are everything.

With the limited time you have in each and every day, who you surround yourself with is the biggest thing you can control that makes the most difference in your life.

Your time is your resource, your time is your bank account, your time is everything.

Everybody has the same 24 hours in a day, not everybody uses them the same.

[58:00] Do you think you’re more passionate about the cars/trucks now?

My passion now is to keep the spark alive in every other car person out there.

[01:02:30] What is one of your favorite business books or inspiring movies? (Click here to see which book he picked…)

The #ranplan kind of struck a chord with me personally, because it’s about doing what you want when you wanna do it.

Whenever you put a deadline, or schedule, or restriction on a human being’s creativity, generally you’re not gonna get the best product back.

I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity.

If you don’t give your team the freedom to creative something great, you’re hurting your business.

We all have something great that we need to share with the world, but so many people are afraid to execute.

Everything comes down to execution.

FREE BOOK! Get a free copy of Linchpin! All you have to do is go to iTunes and leave a review for this podcast. You can do that easily by visiting And if you’re on an iPhone, it will take you right to it in the Podcasts app. Just leave an honest review, hopefully a 5-star, then send me a quick email letting me know you left one and that’s it. My email is randy [at] riskwithoutregret [dot] com. You only have until Sunday October 4, 2015 to do this, so hurry and just do it today. I will pick one of the reviewers at random and let you know by email. Good luck everybody!

[01:13:25] Do you have any daily rituals that contribute to your success?

[01:15:40] What is a huge risk that you have taken?

Jumping off a cliff and building the airplane on the way down is just a daily thing for us entrepreneurs.

My entire idea of risk is 100% different than what it used to be.

[01:20:15] Some more inspiration from Seth Godin and the Tribes book.

Whatever you do, it all boils down to selling. No matter what your company is, you are a sales marketer.

[01:24:15] How do you make money from these magazines? Where is the revenue coming from?

[01:29:00] What life lessons have you learned from traveling around the country and the world?

We’re all writing our own book. If you’ve only lived in one place, only seen one place, only been one place, then you’ve only written one chapter.

The traveling has really opened my eyes, and it really reminds you of just how small you are. Small, but not insignificant.

[01:34:45] Are there any specific moments from the past year or so that are humbling or make you proud to do what you do?

When I seen people getting tattoos of our logo, I knew we had created something bigger than ourselves. And that was a big moment for me.

Most other companies are bigger, and they have a marketing budget, but they don’t have the passion as a line item or the creativity as a checkbox.

It was a big moment to see something I just saw in my head less than 2 years ago, on someone else’s body, inked permanently. It was a very surreal moment.

You don’t always get to hear you’re right. But when my readers and my audience wear that shirt or get that tattoo or send a picture of their car in, that’s them saying you’re right.

[01:40:10] What have you given up to build this business?

You put a lot of time into building something, but when you build it for you, I believe you get that time back.

We gave up our savings account, our safety net, to put it into something we really believed in.

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[01:44:30] What do you wish you knew more about before starting your business?

[01:45:55] Any business advice you don’t really agree with?

It’s not doing what you love if you’re still chained to a desk.

[01:49:30] Have you always had the entrepreneur mindset?

Multi-level marketing is people feeding off the drive that most people have to want to do something for themselves, but they haven’t found what it is.

A pyramid scheme or selling products for other people, in my opinion, that’s just the same as getting someone else rich and not building your own company.

That same time and effort that you put into selling shit out of a catalog to your friends is the same amount of time you could be putting into building a company and something that you’re proud of.

I feel like you’ve made it when you can pick and choose your clients.

The difference between freelancing and owning your own company that is successful is the ability to provide your service to a client who is a like-minded person who has the same quality about them.

[01:56:00] Have you had to turn potential advertisers away from your brand?

At this point, it’s much easier for me to say no because I’ve found the right companies and the right companies have found me.

Your success always depends on the people you can keep, not the people you can get.

[01:58:30] What social media site works best for your biz and why?

[02:01:45] What skills should every entrepreneur have?

It’s not as scary or intimidating as you think it is.

In reality, if you’re good at what you do and you love what you do and you’re passionate about what you do, you’re in competition with no one, you can learn from everyone.

The people that ask the right questions to the right people will get the right answers.

It’s refreshing, it’s recharging when you take yourself back to that feeling that you had when you asked that same question.

It brings you right back to that instance, it snaps you back. Boom, this guy is exactly where I was at that time. I’m gonna take the time to give him the answer that I wish someone would have gave me.

[02:08:45] What is SEMA and how does it help your biz?

Instead of 2 million people seeing your product every month, wouldn’t you rather 200,000 people who actually own custom cars, buy custom car parts, and are custom car fanatics see that same product?

[02:13:50] What’s the best way to connect with you?

If you’re a good person ,and you’re grounded, no matter how big you get, that shouldn’t change.

Connect with Mike:

Email: slamdmag [at] gmail [dot] com
Websites: Rev’d Media Group / Slam’d Mag / Lift’d Trucks

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People, websites, & products mentioned:

Courtney ‘Tito’ Halowell: Memorial ’53 Chevy Build / Tito’s Garage
Lance Martz
Johnny O
Mike Finnegan
AccuAir Suspension
SEMA Show 2015
Power Auto Media
Rod Authority
Rev’d Media Group
Slam’d Mag
Lift’d Trucks
Erick Collins / VAST-Ex Corp
Brandt Fuqua / Graphic Disorder
Bobby Martins / Sadistic Iron Werks
Keith Vander Meulen / Image Street Rods & Customs
Michelle Garcia-McGaughy / McGaughy’s
Boiler Room (This is also one of my favorite movies, and that link is to one of the best scenes.)
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Wunderlist App
Lindsey Fisher
Matt Hodgson / Downtime Designs

Thanks again for listening and reading the show notes. Be sure to leave me a review on iTunes and I can’t wait to share the next episode with you soon. Until next time, think less, risk more, regret nothing!

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