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Following Your Passion

I have often written about turning your hobby – your passion – into a job or business. Others have written about this too, and there are many examples of people who have done just that. I found one such individual in our own Region who wanted to share his story.

John Worden has loved cars since the age of 12 when introduced to this hobby by his father, who taught him everything about them. It became their "thing" to do together – work on cars and go to car shows. It soon became his passion that he spends all his free time at. It would soon become more.

During the day John works in the family business, the well-known New Old Stuff Home Furnishings and Accessories (www.newoldstuffny.com) in Troy. The business will soon celebrate 30 years serving the region and John is quite proud of what they have accomplished. 

But, he knew he wanted to take his car hobby one step further and to "monetize" it when he launched his own car magazine, Eastern Hot Rodder (www.EasternHotRodder.com). And this is where we caught up with John – where else, but at a car cruise at Alexis’s Diner in North Greenbush.

John, tell me how Eastern Hot Rodder came to being?

The magazine started as just a black and white booklet I put together which I would take to car shows. It was a hit, and I just knew I wanted to grow it to be a magazine. I selected the title since my magazine focuses only on the Eastern part of the country and is for those serious about hot rods. I put some money into it, and then produced a color cover and black and white pages. Every penny I have made I plowed back into the magazine to make it better, grow it and now it is a full-color, glossy magazine that haves many subscribers on the east coast and around the country. 

Where do you see the magazine going?

I see it growing more, bringing on more sponsors and continuing to tell the stories those passionate about this hobby want to hear about. We are all about seeing what others have done with a classic car to make it special. We see this as an art of sorts. We always tell stories that the readers can relate to. I love doing this. I see the magazine expanding for sure with more frequent issues. 

I have to ask – did you go to school for publishing?

Not even close; I was a biology major. My Dad still laughs – one child is a biology major publishing a magazine and my sister, who majored in English, is in a totally unrelated business. I learned about this business by talking to others who are in publishing, through research, and of course, making a few mistakes along the way.

What does your family think about this endeavor?

My wife Sonya supports me and she helps with the business side. I go to car shows whenever I can to promote the magazine, but really, to hang around other car people. My parents are very helpful and proud of the magazine, and that is important to me. I put in lots of time in addition to attending shows; working into the wee hours isn’t uncommon at all!

It seems like you have it good in your job, as well as following your passion. Agree?

Absolutely. I love working in the family business and I love the hot rod magazine business. I have a job, so I am not dependent upon the magazine to support our family.

What you are doing is a new strategy – working in a business while working on a business. It is something many just dream about doing, but don’t take it to the next step. What is your advice for someone else out there reading this who wants to turn their passion into a business?

My advice is simple: follow your passion always and get others to help and support you like I did with my hot rod friends and family.

Last question – how many cars have you owned and what is your favorite today?

I have owned over 50 cars and right now, I have three hot rods. My favorite is my ’57 Chevy that gets seven miles per gallon. I have to wear ear plugs when driving and it does scare children, but it puts a smile on my face. 

What a great example of someone in a totally different field following their passion. You can do it too!

Eastern Hot Rodder is subscription-based magazine that is also sold on some newsstands. John’s goal is to be a quarterly magazine soon. For subscription information visit www.EasternHotRodder.com.

Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. You can reach him at 641.8968 or dmoran@next-act.com or visit www.next-act.com.

 

 

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