Start a business they said...it'll be fun they said. And most days it truly is! When your hobby goes viral though, you have to keep clinging to your passion of why. Why do we do what we do? And more importantly, what can we learn along the way to keep getting better?
Ben and I have discovered as business owners that there is a common misconception that people think we have all the time and money in the world on our hands. Probably one of our favorite things about surrounding ourselves with other entrepreneurs is they too understand the falsehood of this statement. And even better is surrounding ourselves with other bike builders that get all too well the narrow profit and time margins in our industry.
This year has stretched us in so many ways as we went from our three car garage to our 5000 square foot warehouse that we have very quickly taken over every inch of. Originally sharing the overhead with our mortgage to adding on a large rent was overwhelming. Not to mention the cost of buying the equipment we need in order to do the growing amount of work we have. We've learned how to be creative with our offerings and we've also learned when we need to simplify.
A lot of people follow us on Instgram and Facebook and see the fun side of our business and our marraige. When we go on vaction or to a concert or anything quite honestly and share it on social media, we are always met with a "where's my bike" text. We're incredibly blessed to have eachother to counter balance the other, but it requries a vulnerability most people aren't willing to open up to. We both realize that the investment in eachother and ourselves is vital for us to keep doing what we're doing. Learning to speak boundaries and even having a Do Not Distrub time set on our phones is crucial.
Another lesson this year was that we are the experts. When you choose to build a custom vintage motorcycle with us, you hire us to be your consultant and your pro. It is not a cheap endeavor and we recognize that. However, because we have been hired to do a job for you, we have to determine the timeline and our clients have to determine whether they can be patient enough to wait. We have had people hurry us because we have their money and their motorcycle. So under pressure and sometimes threats, we rush to the finish line. When this happens, you have a beautiful bike that is still 40 or so years old and now you have issues we could have resolved with more shakedown time. We have learned we have to be a little bossy and tell you "your bike is done when I say it is done". You'll thank us later!
1978 Honda CB750 "The Shockra"
Contract to finish: 2 years 3 months
1975 BMW R100 "Real Time"
Contract to finish: 2 years
1975 Honda CB750 "The Showstopper" Build time: 2.5 years
One last take away for the year (for sake of a blog and not a novel)is that we can't do it alone. I remember when I told Ben that he couldn't do Never Ending Cycles by himself and that I was stepping in. It was hard for him to relinquish control of some things, but he was patient and taught me a lot. We both learned quickly to stay in our lanes and we found our synchronicity being a two man team. When we moved into our new building and our name grew in our local community, just the two of us were no longer enough. We are truly grateful for the small team that is developing here at NEC and that we get to share our vision with others that see it too.
We are truly passionate about our work and we continue to strive towards new skills and betterment as humans, entrepreneurs and as a couple. We have met the best people and now are blessed by the amazing people becoming part of our company. We are fun dealers, not brain surgeons. We are humans, just like you, doing our best to navigate through the Never Ending Cycles of learning and growing in this short time we're given to grace the planet.
It has been a hell of a year! We were in 5 shows, one of which we hosted. We had a graduation, an engagement and our own wedding. We've lost people and we've made amazing new friends. We have had more growth as a business, as people and as a couple we could have imagined. We thank our clients, our community, our friends, family and teammates for believing in us and rooting us on! May your 2024 be filled with what brings you joy and keeps your hair blowing in the wind!
Many, many thanks!!
Ben and Jess Schattschneider