With Stammering Lips and insufficient sounds, I strive and struggle to deliver right,
The music of my nature…
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The weather has turned warm, which in California signals the beginning of car shows and swap meets. As anyone who is self-employed knows, you have to get out there and sell yourself and your wares if you want to make a living.
I’ve been hitting various car shows, most recently Viva Las Vegas, where I had a fabulous time supporting the Sacramento based hair pomade company Cock Grease, as well as handing out free copies of Gearhead Magazine and stickers.
A few days before that, I set up shop at the 4th Annual Beard Contest, held at the historic California Railroad Museum. The event was a fund-raiser for the Front Street Animal Shelter, a cause dear to my heart.
The end of May I head to Santa Maria to sell at the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals, a car show now in its 34th year! And then in June it’s up to Portland to take part in the Rose City Round Up Car Show.
It’s been a lot tougher than I thought getting the wheels rolling again with Gearhead®. You simply don’t disappear for 5 or 6 years and expect the market place and consumers to know the brand any more. Things change so quickly in this short attention span world. Once all you had to do was mention Gearhead in a bar or club or at a car show and everyone knew the bold checkered flag logo and the quirky reputation of its owners. Now that I’ve decided to crank up all things Gearhead again, I have to get out and meet people face to face. It’s the people that make having a business like Gearhead fun, as well as profitable. But so much of todays’ business is done by computer and emails that grabbing any opportunity to get out of the office and talk to people is a must.
I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed vending. It’s great swapping stories with people stopping by the booth, sharing information and learning new stuff. I’d also forgotten how exhausting can be.
There are lots of you who I’ll never meet, or get a chance to talk to directly, so that’s why this newsletter is so important. It’s still the best way to get the word out when personal interaction isn’t possible.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I’m in the middle of writing the content for the new magazine. To do that, I am trying to make a living selling the t-shirts, music and magazines that makes up the Gearhead® brand. If I don’t sell stuff, I don’t get paid, simple as that. I find myself slipping into old patterns of worrying about how to keep this business going. Everyone says once a new issue of the magazine comes out, it will be much easier to keep the money flowing in, but fear keeps me striving to make things happen faster.
I have new respect for my former partner Mike. Many people criticized him for only publishing the magazine once a year, but I gotta tell you, it is probably one of the hardest, most creatively draining things I’ve ever done.
Writing content, selling ads, putting together the layout and distribution all takes time and effort, and of course while I’m doing this, I am trying to take care of my personal needs as well: exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep, finding a way to pay the rent and the rest of the bills like car insurance. Then there’s trying to spend quality time with my boyfriend and my two sweet puppies (you can see pictures of them on Instagram). All this gives rise to perfectionism as I struggle to take care of it all.
I know that there’s going to be mistakes; that’s just the nature of being human. But the constant self-criticism that comes up as I work towards delivering a finished product takes its toll emotionally, as well as physically and spiritually. I’m recovering from one of the worst bouts of flu I’ve ever had and I’m very aware that I brought this on myself by trying to do everything, and be perfect at it all. Maybe this mindset sounds familiar to some of you!
I have a tendency to take on way too many projects. While things were dormant, it was so easy to keep my life balanced between work and play, but I’m finding myself slipping back into old workaholic patterns of control and perfectionism; Thankfully, I remember how awful that felt and how destructive that behavior can be. I’ve worked too hard to heal myself and I don’t intend to blow it all up simply because I’ve created this idea of what Gearhead has to be to be successful.
So I’m stepping back, and surrendering. I thought I’d have this magazine done in a snap and out on newsstands by the end of May, but that’s not gonna happen. It’s gonna come out when it’s ready to come out!
I’ve decided Gearhead is going to be a successful business once again, but not at the expense of my health and my sanity. Yes, I need your financial support if I am going to do this full time. But I also need to be realistic about how much I’m capable of doing in a day. As much as I’d like to be, I’m not Wonder Woman, even though I have the shoes!
Which brings to me to asking for your help yet again. I’ll be running several fundraisers in the coming months. The money raised will go to paying the ongoing bills of running this business: paying rent and utilities, bringing back out of print products as well as paying my very small salary so I can take care of my personal expenses. There will also be a special Indieagogo fundraiser with the money going towards printing the magazine. I’ll talk more about all this in the May newsletter.
But for now, I’ve put several items up for pre-sale (Punk Cross T-Shirt, Leadfoot Shirt), as well as restocked the much loved Spark Plug shirt. If you want to see these shirts come back into print, please go buy one for yourself or a friend! Back issues of the magazine are available again, so if you missed an issue or two, please pick one up. Of course the entire back catalog of cds and records are still available, as well as posters, stickers and patches. Many limited quantities of out of print items are only available in the EBay store, so if you haven’t visited that in a while, please go check it out.
My struggles pale in comparison to what the people of Nepal are facing. In light of the disaster that recently struck Nepal, I would like to take this opportunity to make a difference, even if it’s just a little bit. I’ll be donating 10% of any sales that come in through the Gearhead Store from now through May 1, 2015 to AmeriCares, one of the top-rated relief charities that are vetted by Charity Navigator. You can read more about them here.
Ok, things are getting a little heavy, so let’s lighten this conversation up! The Lords of Altamont have been touring like crazy (you lucky Europeans!) and both the CD and LP of their new record Lords Take Altamont are in the 2nd pressing. The vinyl is again a limited edition pressing of 500 copies (also with a free digital download coupon), but this time its Splatter Vinyl, a mix of yellow, red and black! It’s way cool, so make sure you go snag one today as these are selling fast.
Our old pals The White Barons are back kicking ass and taking names with their new rocker Electric Revenge. Miss Eva Von Slut lends her wall-shaking vocals to 11 sing-along rockers on a limited edition vinyl only release, pressing of 500 copies with a free digital download. You can also pick this bad-boy up on ITunes, but the vinyl features some eye-popping cover art by Vince Ruarus. They even got the Dwarves' Blag Dahlia singing on a couple of tracks "Black Rider" and "You're Mine Tonight". This record totally rocks if I do say so myself. I’m so happy to be working with this band again!
And finally, before I sign off, Please Save The Date! Sept 26, 2015 at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento, we will rock the house with the Gearhead Anniversary Party, celebrating my fifteen years with Gearhead. I’ll announce more details as we get the band line up finalized, but suffice it to say, it will be a night to remember. And it will officially mark the second official Gearfest held in the US! So those of you abroad, think about joining us.
Make sure you’re following Gearhead on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’m constantly posting new pictures, contests and other tidbits of interest. It’s a nice way to stay in touch in between newsletters.
If you’re getting this newsletter, you signed up for it, bought something from us, or contacted us in some way, or a friend signed you up. If you don’t want to get the newsletter anymore, just send a nice email with Unsubscribe in the subject line.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support and enthusiasm. It makes doing this all worthwhile.
Till next time, keep the rubber on the road!
Xo Rev. Michelle
Rock 'n' Roll/Automotive Journalist, Influencer, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine,