A thought-provoking afternoon


“SOLD!” he shouted swiftly his voice, gavel and sound block working in perfect harmony. As the utterance of that single syllable echoed through the cavernous “tent” and settled on the ears of the car enthusiasts in attendance, lot number 1630, a 1968 Dodge Charger 426-cubic-inch, Hemi V-8 custom two-door hardtop sold for $126,500.

“That’s nothing,” a smoky, baritone voice said behind me. “The other day a 1967 L88 Corvette sold for $3.85 million. Shoot. You believe that?” He wasn’t talking to me but to answer his question: No. I don’t. But the extraordinary becomes ordinary or at least contextually appropriate, at arguably the most prestigious classic car auction in the country.

1967 L88 Corvette

This past Sunday Claudia and I met friends in Scottsdale and attended (free of charge, thank you Shane!) our first Barrett-Jackson classic car auction. It proved a great way to spend a partly sunny Sunday afternoon.

We saw some painstakingly restored works of art. I mean, cars. I expected that much. I didn’t expect my first foray into this world of high-end, previously owned automobiles to be so thought provoking.

You own it, now what?

My guess is the Corvette that fetched that incredible sum of money and the absolutely stunning Charger I watched roll in neutral off the auction block will spend the remainder of their days in a climate controlled storage facility only to be driven a few times every year, if that.

Don’t get me wrong … I love cars. My dad, a real-life superhero if-ever there was one, worked for more than three decades in a factory for Chrysler that was, by his account, hot in the summer and drafty in the winter.

We’d make annual treks to the North American International Auto Show at COBO Hall in Detroit and spend hours looking at what the “Big Three” and their international counterparts had to offer for any given calendar year. So when I say I love cars, I mean it, I LOVE cars.

Barrett-Jackson classic car auction

Risky business

But given my current profession, Founder and CEO of brettapproved, I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of someone putting a car up for auction. In the span of a few minutes, with the sale of a single vehicle, we could close our entire $500,000 round of initial funding.

Investing in any business isn’t a slam dunk but wouldn’t it be great if securing capital for your business was as easy as bidding on a car at Barrett-Jackson?

The brettapproved crew is in a particularly precarious position at the moment. We have some investment funds but we need more to achieve the growth our investors expect and deserve.

Maybe this wasn’t the year for me to attend Barrett-Jackson. After all, I haven’t had a steady paycheck since leaving my corporate PR job in June of 2012. This, combined with the unwavering depletion of our savings, made me particularly sensitive to the hefty sums of money being bandied about during the event.

More questions than answers

The facts, as I see them anyway, are these. I believe in myself, my team, and in brettapproved with every fiber of my being but my unwavering belief doesn’t make the uncertainty of this journey any easier.

Attending the auction on Sunday reinforced an emotion I haven’t been able to shake since I launched brettapproved – a subtle, ever-present undercurrent of fear. The fear of letting Claudia down, the fear of not living up to my own expectations as a provider and a husband, the fear of disappointing my parents, the fear of not being able (for lack of financial means) to see brettapproved to fruition.

These are fears I live with every day. Saying anything to the contrary would be disingenuous. At the same time, I constantly remind myself that a profound difference exists between living with fear and breaking under its burden.

God gave me broad shoulders and I’m grateful because believe me, they’re coming in handy now. What it boils down to, as my friend and colleague Travis would say, is I’m scared. That’s right, I’m freaking out!

The cool thing is that intellectually I know any fear can be vanquished through perseverance – focusing on a goal. So that’s exactly what the brettapproved crew is doing. We’re gonna build the best website we can come hell or high water. Period.

Who knew this would all surface after going to a classic car auction? I sure didn’t but I guess it’s further proof that life teaches us lessons when we least expect it.

Let’s talk

If you’re a classic car enthusiast who’s not happy unless you’re “going Mach 1 with your hair on fire,” and you came away from the auction empty handed, I may have a business opportunity for you. I can assure you that investing in a startup is a thrill ride like no other.

On the flip side of that coin, if you’re an entrepreneur and you can identify with what I’m feeling, email me at [email protected] and we can talk through anything on your mind. You’re not alone – trust me.

Brett Heising 37 total posts

Founder and CEO of brettapproved.com.

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