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Ep. 127 Find Your People – The Power of Your Peers

by | Smart AF Show


Find Your People – The Power of Your Peers

If you think of others in your industry as competition, you’re severely missing out. Your peers provide immense opportunities including having inside information that you can’t access anywhere else.

In this episode, Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean talk about how they have harnessed the power of the automotive museum world to grow, learn and support others and how you can mirror this in your business. There is power in your peers, go find them.

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SAF 127

[00:00:00] Torie: We’re set up to think like, it’s us, they’re the enemy. And man, that is the wrong way to think about it.

Hey, what’s up. It’s Torie Mathis, your host. And I am here with the one and only Sean Mathis, founder of Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. 

[00:00:23] Sean: Hey what’s going on? 

[00:00:24] Torie: Sean and I, in addition to having Miles Through Time Automotive Museum, also have a website that we created called Automotive Museum Guide, because what we found is that as a small museum, there were a lot of other small museums that are just kind of hard to get found because they kind of get buried in the big budgets of the big guys.

And so as a way to kind of help out the little guys, which we definitely are we created this site that was a directory and a map of all the museums in North America. 

[00:00:55] Sean: Yeah. Yeah, because it includes I believe there are now six listed in Canada, plus a two in Alaska. So they’re way up there on their own.

[00:01:06] Torie: And those Sean is a part of like the national automobile association. Did I say that one? Right. So, he is part of that association. There’s not the same. There’s not a lot of dialogue in between museums but because we have an automotive museum guide. And because we have tried and mostly Sean to get out to all of these different museums, I’ve really realized that it’s important that you speak with other business owners in your industry and have some type of outlet with them because it’s almost like insider information.

There are things that you can find out from other people that are in your same shoes that you just can’t find out from anybody else. 

[00:01:52] Sean: For sure. And I think like we were just talking about it not too long ago. It’s really easy for you to go down a path of thinking that. Their competition and you can’t, you can’t talk to them.

You can’t, you can’t really even relate to them, even though you’re doing the exact same thing. 

[00:02:10] Torie: It’s set up to think like it’s us against, right. That is the wrong way to think. 

[00:02:16] Sean: And I, I get it even with miles to your time where people, you know, it’s almost like they want me to feed into what their expectation is of.

Hey, did you hear about this new car museum opening? You know, and I’m at Miles Through Time I’m like, yeah, I definitely have. I know about it. I know everything, you know, this is a good thing. This isn’t like all of a sudden, all these people are now going to go to this other car museum because it’s new, we’re in bigger and more money has been spent on it.

It’s not, it’s not like that. I mean, they’re not going to take any visitors away from me at my museum. It, but what it does creates more places for visitors to go gets more opportunities for people to become interested and go to all these. 

[00:03:00] Torie: Do you know where you can really see this is there’s probably a place in your town where all of the furniture stores. Right. Like, they’re all grouped together and it’s not like, they’re like, oh, we would never want to be next to the other furniture stores. Cause they’re going to steal their business. No, they purposefully go together in the same parking lot in the same area because people will make a trip out to go to all of them.

So same thing at the museums, like man, have more of them open up because then more people will come and be like, oh, well let’s travel there to go see all of the museum. I think it’s definitely a good thing. I agree with you. 

[00:03:38] Sean: Well, and that’s the other reason why we wanted to create automotive museum guide was that you know, although I’ve had a short lifetime passion in automotive world, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to.

Creating and running a museum, at least I didn’t. And so I, I needed to find out what to do, you know, so I started searching all these other museums and initially, you know, I’ve heard of you know, I’ve heard a Peterson and, and a few of these big museums, but what I found was there is way more than you would think.

And it’s because they’re on this full spectrum of, you know, somebody who’s got a collection of 10 cars and he lets it, you know, people come in and see him all the way up to the $40 million facilities with millions of dollars worth of vehicles on display. I mean, there’s, there’s so many different, you know levels of museums in there that I can reach and grab all kinds of little nuggets of knowledge from the full spectrum of it. And you know, really it’s, it’s reaching out to those does either individuals or the museum or the people that work at the larger ones and, and networking and connecting for this last four years that has made me even remotely, as confident as I am today to run Miles Through Time. 

[00:05:01] Torie: But one thing that we’ve noticed too, that we would have never noticed, and probably a lot of these museums don’t know we, because we do automotive museum guide, we do get a little bit of information that other people may not know, but Sean tells me every single week, all of the museums that are raising their prices.

All of them. And so in order to be in line with what everybody else is doing and realizing like everybody else is kind of struggling to like costs, have risen for everything. And so if you know, somebody wanted to raise their prices, they would never know if any of the other museums were, but because we do that all of them are and all of them are raising and kind of at the same rate. And so I think whatever your business is, I think it’s important that you figure out some way that you have a group, a network, a mastermind of something that you can talk with other people in your industry, because otherwise there’s no way for you to know, like what’s really going on and it’s, don’t rely on whatever, like the big umbrella association is because only the information they want to give you. That’s not necessarily like the real deal what’s going on. 

[00:06:10] Sean: Well, a lot of times too, that’s only going to really apply to the big guys. Right. And there’s so many lower level ones on there and not lower and like you know, they’re, they’re below, you know, everybody else, but easier to connect with, you know, instead of connecting with a business. 

[00:06:26] Torie: What did you just say the other day that they are with some type of giveaway or contest, but it was like the lower level was like under 2 million budget or something like that’s the lower level. 

[00:06:38] Sean: There was, yeah. $300,000 operating budget a year.

[00:06:43] Torie: Was it that? So, I mean the level of different ones that’s the bigger guys are. I mean, that’s, that’s totally different than, than who the little guys are. It’s on a different level. 

[00:06:53] Sean: It’s not even. Getting getting to the top of the bottom tier. I mean, Andy you’re way down there. And I feel like a lot of them probably are not even close to that. I mean, you start getting up into that, that 300,000 range and they’re probably operating at well above that. And that’s from various grants and benefactors and I mean, really, I look at some of these and it’s a minute. It gets expensive, the bigger you get. So, you know, those, those budgets have to be able to. 

[00:07:25] Torie: So people are relying on whatever their association is in order to get that kind of information. If you’re a smaller guy, like you’re probably not going to get the information that you need. 

[00:07:38] Sean: And some of it’s probably not going to apply to you necessarily just yet. You know, I remember one of the first museums I reached out to was one of the closest, smallest museums I found. And I reached out to them because I could tell it was a couple that were running the museum and it built this whole thing. And I could, I could talk to them specifically. And they w they were the closest thing to what I was trying to do. So I, I didn’t want to go

 talk to the multi-million dollar museum facility. Cause it’s, it’s almost unrelatable at that sense. Although we’re doing the same thing, it wasn’t the same. So I wanted to be able to talk to somebody specifically about it.

And you know, since then I’ve gotten to meet them in person. You know, kind of grew along together and it’s been kinda neat that way, but again, it, it could work for anything on social media. I mean, we’ve got multiple people that do very similar things that we do on the marketing standpoint, you know, and I don’t deal miss competition or the, you know, the got to keep them, you know they’re gonna steal my clientele or. It’s all good. 

[00:08:51] Torie: Once you start talking to people that are in the same industry, as you, you realize how kind of segmented the industry is. Anyway, everybody has their own specialty and their own thing that they’re good at. And even if like I met people that let’s say like they did Facebook ads, usually like their market of who they’re doing Facebook ads.

Totally different. Cause I know like one of the girls that I met that did Facebook ads, that’s in this coaching group that I’m a part of and that oh great you do coaching, you know, you do Facebook ads too. She only does Facebook ads for like large corporate. Like I would have no idea how to do, you know, for that type of like the type of events you did.

So even though we were both doing the exact same things, it was on such far reaches, you know, that, that it’s like almost like we’re in two totally different businesses. 

[00:09:36] Sean: For sure. 

[00:09:37] Torie: Yeah. So comparing, you know, the bigger museums to you, even though your museums, there’s definitely different things. Yeah. We’ve gotten a really good opportunity to tour quite a few of the museums and I haven’t been able to make it to all of the trips, but you know, one of my favorite ones where we went to Barber, which is a huge multi-million dollar motorcycle museum 

[00:09:56] Sean: Dennis world record for the largest motorcycle museum in the world. 

[00:09:59] Torie: You know, and it was really neat to go see like the backside of things and see like the extra storage they have and all these other things that they have that its kind of amazing. Like if you are that big like there’s a lot of different opportunities and things like that, that, that wouldn’t be available to the little guys. Sean, Past month went and visited three cause we went on a family trip and so we were able to knock out one museum to go to on the way there and got a really nice tour to kind of see what they’re doing.

And then Sean also got to go to two other ones. And so that kind gave you a good idea of kind of what’s going on with people, right. 

[00:10:36] Sean: And again, it’s, it’s one thing to connect to these people on social media, but to have the opportunity to actually go in. Okay. Visit them and meet them in person and figure out how to do things. It’s just about priceless. And again, even if they are, you know, most of them I go into, I’m like, oh, they’ve got a much larger budget than we do, you know? It’s all good because I can still. I, you know, if anything, it’s a goal I can strive towards. 

[00:11:04] Torie: Or it’s a different budget than you, but at the same time, it’s like comparing where you’re at to somebody that’s, you know, so much further you’re in the very itty-bitty beginning.

[00:11:17] Sean: I can’t even compare. You might be there, but I’ll take like you know, when we first started most of the time, I, I, we didn’t have sufficient signage, signage costs, money and so slowly, you know, we started to see what others are doing. And even the first signs we did at Miles Through Time, we shifted away from doing it that way, just because of, you know, we learned that, Hey, these people have to bend way down to read this thing. And so we wound up doing a different style and brought it up higher to them. So it’s little things like that, you know, it’s, you could so easily. I’m distracted by how grand the building is or how fancy the cars are, how many they have. But really when you start to break down, I’m like, look at how they’re laid out, look at how they’re putting their site, all these things that I can implement in our museum. Yeah immediately. 

[00:12:03] Torie: Well, and when we went to the last one that I was there with you, one of the things that they did, that they were really big on were events. And so I know you were saying that that gave you some really good ideas of like, well, what could we do in order to kind of make that part of our business model as well?

Cause that’s not something that we did in the past, but that’s not something that we’re doing now, just because I think you’ve been trying to grow the museum, that events haven’t really been an important part of it. But do you see that that’s something that you could bring in after that? 

[00:12:31] Sean: Yeah, for sure. I mean anything, cause you know, one of my most interesting questions that I ask are, you know, how many visitors do you get? You know, cause all I know is how many visitors we get and the main source of revenue for these museums, any museum is admission. And so it’s very interesting for them to tell us, you know, 10 people or 20 people or a hundred people. And a lot of times it’s not far off from what we, we currently get. 

[00:12:59] Torie: We went to Barbara didn’t they say they had a couple bad. 

[00:13:02] Sean: Some days the largest motorcycle museum in the world, some days has nobody visit. And then that blew my mind to, to hear something. 

[00:13:12] Torie: Again, that is not something that somebody is going to share, unless you actually are connecting with them and start to have a dialogue and a conversation and talk with them and get to know them. Like, I think that’s so like you would never know that. And that is amazing information. 

[00:13:27] Sean: I realize there’s probably associations for absolutely every industry out there. But don’t rely on them organizing all this kind of stuff for you. You need to go and find these people. If you’re the dog groomer, find the other dog groomers and connect with them and what are they doing?

Are they using Kartra as a lead magnet? Are they, and how are they booking their, appointments? You know, what products are they’re using? Same thing for the pizza place. I mean, realtors will do this constantly, you know, You can go take your test and read the book and all that kind of stuff, but you’re not really going to understand what it means to be a realtor. If you don’t actually go out with a realtor and see what it’s really all about, because the book that you pass to get your realtor’s license is only the cover really of what it takes to be a realtor. 

[00:14:19] Torie: So you have another trip coming up soon where Sean’s going to be able to make some more trips to more museums heading all the way up to Michigan. 

[00:14:27] Sean: Heading to the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan. 

[00:14:31] Torie: And who would have thought what an exciting opportunity you have, that you’re not just going for a visit.

[00:14:37] Sean: No, I actually through connecting with all this kind of stuff wound up getting a turntable that the Henry Ford museum, apparently they got this turntable given to them that originally had a, a Ford GT cut in half. So just the half profile car that would rotate on this thing. And apparently they’ve had it for like 15 years and never put it out on display.

And now apparently in like two weeks, the car is going on display in the Henry Ford museum. But they don’t want the turntable. 

[00:15:07] Torie: And it’s taken them this long to actually, it’s just, it’s just been in storage. 

[00:15:10] Sean: And the thing is, is it’s it’s six pallets and two crates, and about 6,500 pounds worth of equipment, that’s taken up all this space. So it’s basically it’s in the way it’s worth, you know, from what I can tell online, if I was to go buy a turntable, it costs us about $15,000. So it’s definitely something. Is nowhere near in the future of something that Miles Through Time would get. So this opportunity to have one donated to the museum and all I got to do is go get it. And I have the bonus of, you know, getting a check out one of the top museums in the country. It’s pretty cool. 

[00:15:45] Torie: And it’s all because of networking and talking with people. So since you’ve done this a lot, do you have any suggestions for people if they wanted to talk to people in their industry? 

[00:15:56] Sean: The way I have always, I’m not a cold call pick up the phone kind of guy. So although that might work for you, if you’re into that, that is not how I go about things. I will typically reach out via email. Ideally it’s it’s email. If I can tell it’s like, somebody’s email, not like the generic info or admin or something, although if that’s all there is, I might use it anyways. You know, when they respond or if they respond, chances are get a name at that point.

And a lot of times I’ll reach out on social media, just a message him. And I do that because I know if, if they’re intrigued at all, They’re going to want to know who I am and I’m out there. I mean. 

[00:16:41] Torie: As Sean at Mile Through Time or Sean at Automotive Museum Guide curious. 

[00:16:46] Sean: I do it well, I can’t message him as the business page, so I message him as me, but I’m repre I’m upfront. I’m like, Hey, I’ve founded this museum and created this automotive museum guide. And then it’s whatever, you know, you want to connect or I want to visit or, you know, asking them questions or whatever the case may be like that. So that, they’re good. It’s kind of like, well, who the hell is this guy? And I’m like, yeah, I’m one of you, you know, I’m just, I I’m just here for more information cause that’s the best way I can learn. I mean, I, I can’t go to college tomorrow and get a four year degree on figuring out how to do this. No, this is the only way. No how so far it’s working. 

[00:17:26] Torie: Well, you know, though, I know I went to school for advertising that didn’t allow me to figure out how to market my own business or how to get customers or how to, you know, do all these things yourself.

There’s definitely a learning curve for all this stuff. And a lot of just trying to figure stuff out. But I think trying to talk to other people in your industry is definitely going to shortcut some of that stuff. 

[00:17:49] Sean: I think it’s almost like calling, I mean, you could call it. People think of the ons of job training would be like, if you go to work for somebody and you’re, you know, bottom of the barrel, whatever job title it is, you’re learning on the job. That same concept applies to owning a business and being the top dog on whatever it is you’re doing. You still have to look how to do it. You can’t just immediately be like on the greatest in the world and do it. You have to figure things out, you have to learn. And you know, one of the quickest ways you can do that is by getting help, asking for help. Really. First of all, usually if you ask for it, it’s going to happen so much quicker, because again, I think a lot of people are afraid to ask for help and I’m impatient. So although I the one that is typically one to ask for help in general, in this case, I’ve been real quick to, to ask because I, I, I know it’s difficult and not easy to do these kinds of things and figure them out.

So, you know, rather than fail every time and then to learn trying to eliminate the potential failures and get that help and, you know, figure out how to do this kind of stuff from somebody else that’s already done it. 

[00:19:02] Torie: So you’ve had quite a few people also reach out to you that we’re going to open a museum or that are changing some things up and okay.

[00:19:08] Sean: That’s yeah, that’s a thing it’s, it’s super cool to see how quickly that shifts, you know, you can go from the complete newbie and all this kind of stuff too, you know, a couple years later, and you’re getting asked how you did things and how to do things. And all that does is then reiterate in your mind, you know, what you’ve done and makes you even that much better.

And it makes, I feel awesome about being able to help the people that are, you know, at the beginning stages of whatever it is they’re trying to create as well, knowing that I’ve just done it myself. 

[00:19:47] Torie: Well, that’s the thing is that you don’t have to be on the super top pedestal to help anybody. You just have to be one step ahead. And so you don’t have to reach out even to the people who are at the top, just people that are one step ahead of you. And then again, you know, you can turn back and find those people that are just, just one step below and probably just a, a nice conversation could make a big difference either in your business or in their business. I think that’s super cool that have been able to do that who would have thought. 

[00:20:12] Sean: Well, and it’s neat to not go like so far above what you currently are, just a, you know, that one or two steps above you. Cause then chances are a lot of times you can, you can come up together, you know, you’ll wind up creating a friend for life and you know, watch both of you grow and succeed and that’s pretty cool as well.

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hi im torie
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Hi! I'm Torie!

I Headshot of Torie Mathishelp entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money. And I make it easy!

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

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