Austin Smith

From Ball Fields to Business: A Teen's Shift From Sports to Auto-Detailing Entrepreneurship

Season  1Episode  1948 MinutesMarch 20, 2024

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Meet Austin Smith, the 19-year-old trailblazer who hung up his baseball mitt to polish his entrepreneurship skills in the auto-detailing business, Southern Detailing.

Jeff Hopeck‘s dialogue with Austin takes you through the crucial moments that propelled him from the sports field into the driver’s seat of his own venture, examining the profound influence of his entrepreneurial father and the heart-led decision to pivot from academia to ambition.

The episode is a celebration of youthful daring and the fire that ignites when passion and business acumen collide.

Spirituality and business might seem like parallel lines that never meet, but for Austin, they intersect with remarkable synergy. We navigate through the integration of faith, drawing on texts both ancient and contemporary, to understand their place in the blueprint of a burgeoning enterprise.

Austin shares how the principles from Proverbs and the leadership lessons from “Extreme Ownership” anchor his approach to leading a team.

It’s about more than just profits; it’s about nurturing personal relationships, heeding feedback, and steering through life’s transitions with the support of a tight-knit family cheering from the sidelines.

Tune in as we dissect the mechanics of an auto-detailing operation, from client management to staying ahead of industry curves like vehicle wraps and paint protection films. Our conversation doesn’t stop at the shop door—we venture into the digital realm where Austin reveals how TikTok can rev engines and revenue streams for car enthusiasts.

And as we round off our discussion, we touch on the moments that define us, from the wisdom gained during father-son hunting trips to the power of free educational resources in building a community.

Join us for an episode that gears towards the heart of entrepreneurship, where support systems fuel the drive towards success.


Key takeaways from Austin:

  1. Nurture the personal relationships you have in life. They’re important.
  2. Build a supportive community. Help others when you can. Seek help when you need it.

 

Tune in to hear more inspiring stories from fascinating individuals.

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Timestamps:

0:00 – Following the Journey to Entrepreneurship

12:19 – Business Growth and Future Plans

21:29 – Entrepreneurial Journey and Finding Support

33:03 – Business Challenges and Future Trends

41:19 – Monetizing Content and Building Relationships


Show Transcript

Austin Smith: 

and high school I started doing travel ball and I wanted to play in college. So I was I’d go to school, I’d go to workouts in the morning, I’d go to school, I’d go to personal trainer for it, and then I was working very hard at it. I really wanted to play in college. What did you play? What position? Third base, third base. So I played third base. I really wanted to play in college. Then I think I realized how much better there are out there and how hard it really is to go pro and I kind of looked at it as this doesn’t make. Why would I be putting so much money and effort into it If it’s just now comes probably realistically not going to be there, right? So then I really I started cleaning cars at the same time and I had to kind of make a choice.

Jeff Hopeck: 

You’re listening to the Interesting Humans podcast with Jeff Hopek. Folks, welcome to another episode of Interesting Humans and, as promised, I’ve got a great one for you here today. Austin Smith, thanks for being here with us.

Austin Smith: 

Of course, thank you.

Jeff Hopeck: 

This story is just so fun to walk through and listen for me, because I walked in your moccasins when I was your age, which you’re 19, right?

Austin Smith: 

Yep 19.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I had the same crossroads in life and the outcome of your story is so remarkable. I can’t wait to unpack it, especially the 11 points that your father emailed to you saying, son, I support you not going to school, but you’re not going to hang out. These are the 11 points that we’re going to get into, so I can’t wait to unpack it. So start off. Let’s hear about your business.

Austin Smith: 

Yes, my name is Austin. I own a company called Southern Detailing. We mainly we detail high-end vehicles for the most part we’re also partnering with Elena Custom Raps to help. We bring you all PPF and do all the custom wrapping for that. We do wheel repair, we do lift kits, we do powder coating, we do window tint, we do everything, Do it all. We pick up everything. One stop shop.

Jeff Hopeck: 

If it’s a car, you make it better, you make it pretty 100%, yeah, whatever you want. Where did this?

Austin Smith: 

all start for you. My junior year of high school, I was trying to make some extra money, and so, while my dad would golf on Thursdays, I’d pick up his car, bring it home and clean it for him, since he’s golfing all day.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So occasionally him and two of his buddies had me do the same thing, and then it just we’re here, went from there, so there had to be a tipping point for you where you had a hobby and then there was. There had to be a defining moment to where you’re like, wait, this could really be something a lot bigger.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, I think for me I started I went to Johns Creek High School and my dad had a 14 foot double axle trailer that he didn’t use so I put all my detailing stuff in it and I would tow it to school because I had to. I had clients right after school. Like I had to get to the point where, like I had to go straight from school so I’d take up like four parking spots and everyone hated me for it. But I think that was kind of when I realized, like the fact that I couldn’t I didn’t even have time to go home from school and hook it up or whatever, the fact that I’d leave straight was kind of my like I think this could be big and do something. So you were what a junior I was. That was probably more summer junior year.

Austin Smith: 

Okay, summer junior year Going into yeah, going into summer junior year.

Jeff Hopeck: 

But, 17, 18 years old right 17, 17, yeah, so, and it’s important to note that your father’s a remarkable, incredible entrepreneur. So I think there’ll be a divide out here of families who are listening to their kids come and say I don’t wanna go to school because I wanna own a business, but if they’re not entrepreneurs, that could. That’s dumb, yeah, that right. What are they gonna say?

Austin Smith: 

I mean I, have a lot of friends who’ve. They’re the same way. Their school’s not for them, but their parents are a doctor, or their parents or even just work a normal job. But they’re like, without a degree you’re not, but you have to have a degree. You have to have a degree Like cause. If it doesn’t work out which I guess is a good point, you know, if it doesn’t work out, the degree’s great to fall back on. But I feel like you’re missing your window for it to really be as great as it could be if you’re not starting young Right. So I think it’s hard. So there’s a point.

Jeff Hopeck: 

you actually started school, right? Yes, yes, I went for six weeks. Six weeks, Six weeks. What’d you say to your dad, to your folks.

Austin Smith: 

I was like. I was like this isn’t working. Like I got to the point in school where I either had to buckle down for two weeks so that I could pass that semester, or I was out Cause I just I’d miss classes cause of work, or I wouldn’t, or I’d have to miss out and make a couple hundred dollars cause I had class and I didn’t do homework. I had it, and so I was just like, hey, I need to know.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Like either I don’t work for two weeks so I could pass this semester, or I’d like to not be here, but do you think it’s a true statement that if your child is an entrepreneur, you’re never going to be able to douse that flame?

Austin Smith: 

I think that’s true. Yeah, I think it is.

Jeff Hopeck: 

If they are, they are, and there’s nothing you’re gonna do.

Austin Smith: 

Cause they’re going to work harder at that than anything else. And if you, I think, if I think, if you work hard enough, there’s no way it wouldn’t work.

Jeff Hopeck: 

It’s natural, yeah, I think so I mean, it was probably for you like brush your teeth. You weren’t, you weren’t saying like I need to try harder at this. It was just what you love it was just what.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I wanted to do. What do you think if let’s let’s pause right here in your story, cause next up is the 11 points, and this is this is just awesome. What do you think? What would you say to parents who aren’t entrepreneurial, who have the son or daughter who just keeps going back that way? You could point them anywhere you want, but they keep going back to they want to have a business, they want to have a business doing business.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, I think it’s hard, I think, cause everybody’s in different financial points as well. I think I was very blessed to go where my dad did do really well, so it was kind of a. It was a point where I didn’t have to work in high school, so it wasn’t a. You know, you need to go get this kind of job or you need to make something that’s very thorough. I don’t know. I think it’s a hard. It’s that’s a hard question cause everyone’s in different spots. And I think I think if you really believe in your kid, I think it’s, I think it should be a no brainer, yeah, but also I think everybody’s different. I think you know your kid and you know that that could be, could be a good choice and like they really might go for it or, you know, maybe this is a phase, I think. I think I think a parent can kind of determine.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So I want to unpack this a little bit more with you, cause it’s a. It’s a critical point where we know the child’s passion is not going to go away if they’re truly an entrepreneur. Would you say for the parent? Hey, instead of just getting advice for this child from just sort of anybody, let’s get advice from some entrepreneurial friends that we have. Yeah, that would be a different. Oh, I would.

Austin Smith: 

And even thinking for a parent, maybe work with the kid, like if you want to stay in school. But they want to do this, like, all right, let’s like. My parents essentially did a gap year yeah, that’s what they called. It is like, all right, we’ll do a gap year and see where we’re at in the next year and then we’ll decide. So I think my parents didn’t necessarily give me the go ahead right away to get out of school, but they were like, all right, well, let’s figure like, let’s give you all right, you want to do it, here’s your chance, here’s a year, here’s a year. So I think parents should at least figure something out, whether it’s all right, well, let’s do online, or let’s do, you know, let’s do half a semester this year where you’re taking two classes a day rather than four, or I think if the parent can work with the kid is the best.

Austin Smith: 

I think that’s the best way to go about it.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I like that. So I’ve done and continue to do speaking schools, and I always make this point. Say, if you wanted to build a lemonade stand and I just use this because it’s silly and it’s memorable if you’re gonna build a lemonade stand, does it make sense to go out and ask advice from people who never built a lemonade stand before? Or does it make sense to go find somebody who built 17 lemonade stands and can go hey, it’s a great idea to build a lemonade stand. Let me help you. Let’s squash down that learning curve, right.

Austin Smith: 

Oh, I agree.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Now that sounds so logical. But at the same time in our lives and we’re all guilty of it we ask the advice of somebody who’s not qualified to give it Right, I agree. So I say this part, I say and we’ll get into your 11, just because somebody loves you doesn’t mean they’re the most qualified to give you advice in that area. You’ve had the good fortunes of having both an entrepreneurial dad who’s like hey man, I see it in you, he understands.

Austin Smith: 

yeah, he does, he understands.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So here’s what happens next, folks, this is just awesome. So Pop comes back to you in an email and I’m gonna read this. Your dad comes back to you after you having a dinner meeting with him and asking if it’s okay to come out of school. And he fully supports you. And he says but you’re not just gonna hang out, I’ll be held accountable.

Jeff Hopeck: 

You’re gonna be held accountable and you’re gonna grow, and this is unbelievable takeaways for anybody sitting in that seat of hey, I really think my kid’s on to something, but how do I sort of measure it? Listen to what your dad comes back with. So, son, you’re gonna have 11 areas and I’m gonna work through these with you, told you accountable. The first one is gonna be your business plan, which is obvious, right, and he unpacks that and he says you need to present a comprehensive plan outlining your vision, mission, target market, et cetera. We’ll post I’m gonna post to this in the video because it’s just too good. Second one is he talks about financial management Incredible. You don’t hear a lot about that in college, right? So now you’ve got a dad who sees and who’s telling you this 30 goes into performance metrics. Wow, I didn’t learn performance metrics till I was 40.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Right so just what a blessing for you to know and already have this like measurement system down. He talks about time management, incredible networking and partnerships. Now you’re solid there, very, you’re solid there, luckily, because this is where I’m gonna pause. So that was the fifth point how I met you. Do you remember the first day?

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, I was. You had that Black Ops F-150, and I thought it was awesome, so I flagged you down when you were driving. Where were we and I?

Jeff Hopeck: 

was coming out of a chiropractor. I was coming out of a chiropractor. And I was coming out of a dentist or doctor appointment With a client.

Austin Smith: 

That’s how half of my, that’s how I got probably 80% of my clients you walked up to me full confidence, and that was yours.

Jeff Hopeck: 

You were, I was 17. 17, okay, 17, walked up totally pleasant. I’ll never forget the introduction. I love that truck.

Austin Smith: 

I would love for that chance To wash that truck.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Sort of. The rest is history with us, which is just so cool. It’s crazy. Then he talks about this thing called continued learning, and I wanna talk about this one with you. What did he mean there? Unpack that a little bit for us. Continued- learning.

Austin Smith: 

So I think, continued learning. He. Basically he was like you’re not. The benefit of school is you’re learning right, and if you don’t wanna go to school and you wanna be an entrepreneur or whatever, you’re gonna learn in that aspect too. You’re gonna learn how to communicate with people, how to deal with when things go wrong. Yep, you know, I have two guys that work for me. So when one wakes up sick, how are you gonna communicate that with your clients? How are you gonna? And I think he I think that was something where I was like you’re not just gonna go through the motions, we’re gonna learn how to be financially stable, so how to run your QuickBooks, how to budget out correctly. I think that that’s just something that ties everything in together on that list A sense is we’re not just gonna do it Like you’re gonna learn from it.

Austin Smith: 

You’re gonna make sure you’re learning. You make sure you’re gonna.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I guess we basically understand yeah. He mentions in here continued reading of books, so I’m curious. There’s not a lot of time in between when he wrote this email to you and as we’re sitting here now, so have you started on anything? Is there anything he recommended?

Austin Smith: 

Hey, the Bible. Yeah, I guess. 100% start there, great place to start. Our biggest takeaway just from that whole thing was to be in the Word. His thing was you’re not gonna. You cannot run a successful business if you’re not doing it for the kingdom and you’re not in God’s Word. So I think A for book that takes cake over 100%.

Jeff Hopeck: 

That’s like before number one.

Austin Smith: 

And he also. He mentioned a book called Extreme Ownership written by Navy Seal, and it’s basically it’s a book about leadership, essentially what it is. I have not started reading it but I need to.

Jeff Hopeck: 

You won’t set it down and towards the end they talk about a concept where you’re swapping the leader. So they would look at a group the Navy Seals and you think, wow, every single one is absolutely the pinnacle, the epitome of fit, when they do this race up and down the beach and they have to carry the raft over their head. If everybody’s incredibly like top of their game, fitness, how can there even be a first place, a second place? Everybody should cross at the same time. But yet what they found was there was significant gaps in between the first and the last, and they looked at it and substituted one thing in the rafts. And this thing they substituted was they took the last place raft leader and put him in first and first and last, and that was. That was the. Yeah, it was the leadership style and you’ll see what happens next.

Austin Smith: 

But that last place comes all the way to front. It’s like it’s incredible.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So, anyway, not to give too much away, All right, to continue on through the list then. So you have continued reading. Then he talks about feedback, which is interesting. I think it’s very interesting how he suggests you need to establish regular communication channels and reporting mechanisms with us. So they’re walking through this with you, which is again the bigger point here is it’s not son, we support you, go hang out, see you later.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Like they’re tethered and it’s just so incredible Exit strategy which you’re gonna work through. That Maturity his point in there was just so cool One of college’s main purposes to allow you to mature. But he closes out this email by complimenting you on how proud they are of your maturity.

Austin Smith: 

And it’s just it’s special.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So all right. Then he says spiritual fitness. It’s a big one, 100%. How does that tie into your life?

Austin Smith: 

For me. My dad loves Proverbs and I’ve grown to love Proverbs especially. That was a book I was in for a while and he always touches that on that as being a business owner. Proverbs has so many good little nuggets. There’s a verse I love that basically talks about just talks about being lazy, talks about the lazy, like basically you’re never gonna prosper. Okay, that’s something that I have the sluggered, it depends on the version you read, but Proverbs was a big one for me. I was in Romans for a while and now I’m just starting back in Genesis, just to kind of go back and something that I’ve refreshed on before.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, that’s awesome, but that’s out of all those things in the list. He said that’s what matters most. Yeah, for sure.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Special. I love that and the way you’re gonna measure it, which is really incredible. All right, then he says mom and I are super excited for you and super proud of you. Just curious, this is a big thing in life, this is a big moment For you. How did that feel to hear that sentence?

Austin Smith: 

I mean, I’ve always known they’re proud of me, I’ve always known they’ve loved me.

Austin Smith: 

But I think, after having such a big conversation where it was like I don’t wanna go to school, and still here in the fact that you know, not only are they gonna help me through it, but they’re also, they’re relaxed too at the same time, like it’s almost like, you know, my dad’s put all these things in place to walk with me and help me and use the knowledge that he’s gained. But they’re also not all tensed up, like I don’t know what if it doesn’t work. So I think I don’t know. Just even that last whole sentence, it just seemed like it was more of a relaxed email in a way. Still, a lot of things are very important, but it was more like, hey, like here you go, here’s how I’m helping, like here’s how we’re helping, like you’re gonna kill it. So I think that last sentence, definitely it just made it seem a little more relaxed, not as tense, not as pressured, because I know from stories that I’ve heard from speaking people that reach out people I’ve talked to after a speaking event.

Jeff Hopeck: 

It’s not the norm. This is way I mean. This is totally the exception.

Austin Smith: 

And to get that kind of support. I’ve learned that for sure. Just being around people and being around friends and even being around older adults, just everybody always like just compliments, especially my father, especially my parents, just like man you’re so lucky to have and I agree, I mean I really am. But yeah, it’s definitely, it’s a rare thing.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Let’s talk about your business now. So Southern detailing you started what year?

Austin Smith: 

2021,. So beginning of my junior year in August.

Jeff Hopeck: 

With your dad started with your dad. Right, you did it. You were working on his.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, I just cleaned it, I won make some money, and so I picked this car up. How’d you get your second client? It was actually his good friend, jim Alexi was golfing with him, and so same thing, just I did his went and picked up his car his truck at the time brought it back, and then it just there was Brian Davis in between there and some people just that he’d golf with, and then it just kind of happened. Now that I started.

Jeff Hopeck: 

It’s pretty, it’s actually incredible. I mean, your business is incredible. So you talk like Ferraris, lamborghini, mclaren. What kind of folks are?

Austin Smith: 

these. We do a couple of celebrities cars as well. We do, yeah, we do some rappers cars, mainly.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Any names you could talk about.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, definitely I’ve tied in with Atlanta custom raps. I’ve grown a great relationship with them, especially the owner, justin, and they basically do a ton of celebrities, and so I’ve gotten a lot of record label paperout empire. So we’ve taken care of key Glocks cars over there, as well as a young golf who he’d passed away two years ago but his cars still stay and circulate through there. So mainly most of our celebrities come from Atlanta custom raps.

Jeff Hopeck: 

What’s your favorite car of all of them that you do yeah.

Austin Smith: 

I don’t know. The owner of Atlanta custom raps has McLaren. That is all souped up and I’ve been lucky enough to get a couple laps around of the track and have but we take care of that. We take care of some really cool 1000 horsepower plus cars and some Corvette and new. Yeah, we take care of a lot. I’ve ridden in a lot of fast stuff and, yeah, it is quite what oh sorry guys. No, we’ve just we’ve gotten ahold of some crazy, crazy vehicles for sure.

Jeff Hopeck: 

That’s awesome. What’s the future as you look out? What is the future for Southern detail?

Austin Smith: 

I definitely liked it. I’d like to have two full-time crews, for sure. Right now we do close to 30 cars a week, a five day week day. I have two awesome guys that mainly work here in Johns Creek, because this is where I started, so they do a bunch here, yeah, and then I take care of a lot up in Kennesaw, canton, smyrna. We really travel everywhere. So I’d say I’d like to get up to about 60 cars a week. I’d like to double it and then just go from there, just keep growing.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So doubling and doubling the crew size.

Austin Smith: 

Essentially.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Now, are you going to these people’s houses, or how does your business work?

Austin Smith: 

So we bring our own water and power with us. So we’ll go to. We’ve done gym parking lots while people work out. We’ve done. We’ve done your work, we’ve done house, and then we also. We do office washes as well. So we’ll come every other Thursday to one actually right down the street, the booster office, and so they all sign up and we do discounted rate for that, since we’re there. So as long as we have four vehicles, I’m able to block off the day and we do. It’s about $20 cheaper per car. Usually we charge on size, but we just do one flat fee per car and we hang out there all day and just knock out as many as we can.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So we go everywhere. What were you like? Tell us. Let’s go back to childhood. What do you remember from your childhood? What kind of kid were you? How was?

Austin Smith: 

school. School is fine. I never liked school.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I liked my friends Since day one.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, I mean I liked my friends. I never enjoyed reading, I never enjoyed homework, I think like most kids, but I enjoyed my friends, I enjoyed my teachers. I think I definitely kind of enjoyed going. I’ve always cut grass since I was younger. My grandpa I’d used to go over my grandpa since I was six and cut with him and I even saved up and bought a backpack blower in fourth grade because that’s what I wanted.

Jeff Hopeck: 

That’s awesome.

Austin Smith: 

And when I was 10, my parents, for my birthday, got me lawnmower and I loved it. And then I started cutting a couple of neighbors’ yards and here and there it was sort of the normal stuff, pretty much the normal stuff, just making 50 bucks a weekend Just cutting the neighbors’ grass or whatever. Sports Sports. I played baseball pretty heavily in high school. You did so. I started. I played baseball my whole life since I was six.

Austin Smith: 

But in high school I started doing travel ball and I wanted to play in college. So I go to school, I go to workouts in the morning, I go to school, I go to personal trainer for it, and then I was working very hard at it. I really wanted to play in college. What did you play? What position? Third base. So I played third base. I really wanted to play in college. Then I think I realized how much better there are out there and how hard it really is to go pro and I kind of looked at it as this doesn’t make, why would I be putting so much money and effort into it? If it’s just now, it comes probably realistically not gonna be there. So then I really I started cleaning cars at the same time and I had to kind of make a choice whether I was gonna keep that business which I could see working.

Austin Smith: 

I guess I could get an instant outcome, which is the money, rather than putting all this effort into baseball and probably never seeing a dollar from it. Essentially, would you say you had support 100%.

Jeff Hopeck: 

yeah, very much. When you decided you were gonna like Very much, okay, you had support throughout your life. Then did you have support at the point when you made the decision to come out of school to leave school. Yes, you’d surrounded by people, 100%, that you would say support.

Austin Smith: 

Especially my family. Great For sure, especially my family, you know, like my parents.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Even friends and stuff. I know the parents with any family.

Austin Smith: 

Obviously my friends. Yeah, my friends, and I think nobody. I think it’s hard for people, especially in this area and stuff, to really grasp what money is. So people were thinking I was making so much money when really, like I wasn’t, and stuff like that.

Austin Smith: 

So, but no friends definitely thought it was great, especially when your friends don’t like school either, so they’re like man. I wish I could do that, but it comes with its benefits and its doubts, drops and downs, definitely like my social life is not as much there. For sure, I still have friends. A lot of my friends are older and adults now, which I love, especially some with them at work all day and I have roommates still, but I don’t go out really, which I’d pick this over anything, but it definitely. Yeah, I think I grew up a lot faster in a sense, and kind of skipped that whole little college thing.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah so yeah.

Jeff Hopeck: 

You can always get a bat. Oh yeah, my girlfriend goes to UGA.

Austin Smith: 

So we do little sorority events down there and stuff.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Right, so I still get a little tips.

Austin Smith: 

She’s got an interesting degree, yeah she’s doing genetics, and both her grandfather’s a huge entrepreneur as well as her dad, so I got a lot of support for them as well. That’s awesome, especially so yeah, it’s been great they’re both. They’re in the home building business too, so my dad and them could relate a lot. I was going to hear advice from both coming from the same industry. Yeah, so yeah.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I want to hone in now on the piece for kids that are out there, because I want to really focus on trying to get this into the hands of high school. I want high schoolers to hear this and know that you’re not alone. Like you’re not alone, this is not, like there’s nothing wrong with this. Yeah, you are not alone If you are an entrepreneur and you are born that way. From the person sitting here who went through and I’m 46 and I went through the same thing you did when you were 19, you don’t get rid of this. You don’t get rid of this. You don’t put it out. So let’s talk, let’s pretend there’s a room of high schoolers in here.

Austin Smith: 

Okay.

Jeff Hopeck: 

All right. What advice would you give to them?

Austin Smith: 

I mean I just say, do it, I guess For me. I was very lucky too For my high school. I had a lot of support from the principals and all that I had had. We did events with Portia while I was in high school and I had to skip a couple of days of school and I had principals that signed off on it for me Just because they knew we’d press wash the stadium, all that.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Your stadium. You press washed it.

Austin Smith: 

So they had a lot of support from my school, which I think is a lot harder for high schoolers now to understand too. But just do it, just do it. I think just do it. It gets. Youtube’s a huge help nowadays too. That’s what I’ve learned everything from I really have. I just went on and started watching videos, so I think anybody could do anything with the internet or fingertips now, what do you say?

Jeff Hopeck: 

I think the most common thing I heard over the years is the high schooler who goes. I get no support at home, my parents don’t know what it’s like to have a business, and then, on top of it, they’re asking their friends for advice and their friends never did it before, which usually is an agreement. Yeah, that’s the norm. That’s the norm. Is the isolated person who’s going. Is there something wrong with me? Nobody thinks I can do this, but inside they know, but yet they’re not doing it. What do you say to that person?

Austin Smith: 

Man, I think you got Delta hard-handed cards for sure.

Austin Smith: 

But just prove them wrong. I think it’s a very cheesy thing to say Everybody does say but it is just prove them wrong and show them that you can work hard. I don’t have to know who you are and I believe in you. You know what I mean. I think it’s very, and especially I know in the detailer world we’re all very connected through social media, so I even have people I have owners’ companies in Florida that I can always reach out to for advice or for support, and I think that’s starting to become the same around every industry. So even that, if you don’t have support at home, reach out to somebody you like to watch online, reach out. But I think support will come as hard as support comes when you’re winning usually, which isn’t always great because it’s people that needed to see you succeed in order to believe in you. But I think just I don’t know it’s a hard thing to do, but just do it, build support.

Jeff Hopeck: 

What would you tell that same person? How would you have them construct support around them differently? Because what they have around them is great and it’s people that love them. But how might you go about that and suggest to somebody younger?

Austin Smith: 

I’d say through prayer a lot too. I think if you’re in the word and you are Christian, I think definitely through prayer will help. God will bring the right people around you, even when you don’t expect it. I think even like that, I went up and just gave you a card and now we’re here. So yeah, even just meeting people, you just I think God will always bring somebody around you that you need to. I think even if you don’t have support, I think if it’s meant to be, god will put somebody there, whether you believe in God or not.

Jeff Hopeck: 

And if it’s a business that you’re focused on starting but you don’t have the support, might that person go out and rebuild their little mentor network with people who don’t own a business?

Austin Smith: 

Yes, which makes the most sense, right? Right, I think it’s. I don’t know. It’s such a hard thing to touch on because you never know people’s what position they’re in, who’s around them all that, but even go work for free somewhere.

Jeff Hopeck: 

It’s a great advice.

Austin Smith: 

If you wanna detail whether it’s detailing or whatever go find a shop, just say, hey, can I sweep or can I just clean stuff up, just like I’m watching and learning for a little bit, and 100% they’ll support you, even just by inviting you in, and you’ll make connections through that as well. So I think work for cheap, work for free here and there I think that’s how I would go about getting support if I didn’t have it. To be honest, yeah, Because you’ll find that person who does believe in you and wants to kind of take you in. Do you get people?

Jeff Hopeck: 

reaching out to you. I would think you would.

Austin Smith: 

I do yeah, that ask.

Jeff Hopeck: 

What are some things you’ve been asked?

Austin Smith: 

I could ask a lot about equipment, kind of how, what?

Jeff Hopeck: 

do I need? What do I need to get?

Austin Smith: 

And a lot of people I may come across bad sometimes I don’t wanna sit there and tell them everything. Sure, a lot of times I say go to YouTube, go find. I definitely give them an end on how to, because everybody’s different with what they like to use, especially in this industry, and I use very expensive things and all that, and so I’ll give them a brand or I’ll send them here just a couple of guys you can go watch on YouTube. I was like just find what you wanna do. Like me, it doesn’t do me any good to just tell you everything you need to buy. So then you might start doing some cars and realize you don’t need this for what you wanna do. You don’t wanna do this. That’s right.

Austin Smith: 

So which some people definitely don’t like that answer. But if I were reaching out to somebody, that’s what I was kinda told. There’s more specific questions that people ask like hey, good stuff for interior and I’ll send them a link and stuff like that. But I think I get a lot of that, a lot of our main marketing social media. We do a lot of short videos and all that and it’s vehicles.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Work in. Somebody find I wanna make sure we post that up here.

Austin Smith: 

Work in somebody find out, we do. We’re heavy on TikTok and Instagram at southerndetailingatl.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Okay, so tick and Instagram southerndetailingatl Dot. Detailing atl. Same handle on both.

Austin Smith: 

Same handle on both.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Yeah, you got. Your stuff is just awesome. Yeah, so that’s our biggest.

Austin Smith: 

Are you doing that stuff yourself? I do myself. Yes, you do. Yeah, so we do. I was doing a lot with my iPhone. I recently I bought a nicer Sony camera. I actually got one for Christmas, very cool. So we’re starting to get into more higher end. But all you need is I mean, you just need your phone Just a lot of questions. People do what camera to use. I said your iPhone, it’s all you need. That’s all you need.

Jeff Hopeck: 

All you need nowadays is just your iPhone, and the iPhone is just so, so, so good. I’m gonna anticipate you’re gonna get folks at varying ages reaching out here. My intent is to get this into as many hands as possible in that high school yes sort of oh yeah, that high school Cause. I know that was where it was for me, like when I started my first business. I didn’t even know it was a business, we were toying around and it ended up just being such a home run. But it wasn’t all home runs after that, as it never is. But yeah, as much as it accelerated and we just crushed it, I lost it all in the stock market as a freshman in college and it was the best thing that could have ever happened.

Austin Smith: 

Really.

Jeff Hopeck: 

It was the best thing, and that’s what I wanna hear from you. Is there a time when things didn’t work out or didn’t go as planned?

Austin Smith: 

I mean definitely. We had a client, I mean yesterday. So we do those office washes every other Thursday and it’s a lot, it’s great money for us and their clients have treated us great. But usually I send my crew out to do that so I can go take care of other vehicles. So we had one guy that just signed up to do every Thursday at 9 am and my lead employee woke up sick with fever and all that so he couldn’t take his equipment there and all that.

Austin Smith: 

So I kinda had to make a choice on what client I’m gonna take care of. So I did text that client just say can you do this evening? Here’s my situation. He basically said forget it, I’m using somebody else. Yeah, definitely you get people who you can tell don’t understand business. But I think there’s a lot of stuff like that that’ll come along where it’s like you might feel pretty bad because you feel like you messed up. And it took Justin Norton, owner of Atlanta Custom Raps kinda helped me realize that like that’s, if he can’t understand business and he can’t understand that you have to make choices sometimes that are for your benefit, then you can’t let stuff like that bother you.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Was that a client that was with you a long time? No, he just started actually so he didn’t, you didn’t even do his car once We’ve done it.

Austin Smith: 

once We’ve done his car last week once His client recently had his vehicle wrapped. So he does some stuff like that for him. But you get a lot of stuff like that, a lot of clients mad that you know maybe I include a normal interior but there’s a stain on the carpet and you have to explain that hey, we can’t like that’s not included. Right, they get a little fresher one paying this much and that’s not included. And it’s like well, here’s our list of what’s included. You know, you read it, you understood. That’s one thing I’ll say too is detail out what you’re gonna do. It’s.

Jeff Hopeck: 

People definitely get frustrated, thinking some things included, all bad when it’s not do you, do you get the feeling of being very like you finish a car and then does it sit with you the rest of the day. Are you going like, oh, did I get that one spot, that I get this one for sure, I think? I think self-awareness.

Austin Smith: 

I think I had to. I had to realize too that, like I’ll see more things than any client ever would, I Think, when I’m sitting there cleaning the car. You know they pay their, you know, hundred or hundred twenty dollars to get their car in and out and it will look great to them. But I’ll all think about that spot that oh, I didn’t get the vents. Oh well, that’s not. You know they’re not really paying for that, or Even leaving and you’re spending a lot longer car than you should, to a point you were using money and all that. Like, yeah, I’ll definitely go home and think, man, I wish they paid more so I could do more. I think that’s one thing that people like Work for free. When you start out, yeah, a hundred percent. But at a certain point, like I think you definitely have to realize your worth, yeah, and don’t, don’t do things for free.

Austin Smith: 

You know, right here and there, you know, take care of a client for sure sure, throw extra stuff in for a client who’s been with you a while and does well for you. We have clients who the first price I ever had. They’ve been with me since, so their price hasn’t changed. I lose money every time they go, but they’ve been with me since I started and through the ups and downs of Maybe not doing a great job to doing a great job, etc. And there I mean their price is $50 less than we usually charge. Now got it. So it’s that price will never, ever change. For yeah, but that’s just because they’ve. They took care of me, sure for sure, yeah. So you know, you got to take, you got to take care of them. Yeah, what?

Jeff Hopeck: 

what kind of trends are you seeing in the industry Just as whole?

Austin Smith: 

Raps are huge right now wraps and PPF. And what’s what is PPF is a paint protection film.

Austin Smith: 

Okay so that’s essentially also means clear bra, clear wrap, all that that’s. They’re starting to come out with color changing ones where you can Usually it’s clear, but now they’re coming with black and that’s self healing in the sun. So, over Atlanta, customer apps, we install it a lot. We do dealerships as well, and that’s something that my dad just did stealth on his truck, oh it’s. So we took it and it was black and we put the basic clear film on it that turned it Matt right. But that’s that’s starting to be the next.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Do you think we’re? Are we gonna see that right out of the manufacturer someday? You think um.

Austin Smith: 

There’s, they’re starting to do from factory wraps, so Tesla’s starting to offer it. They are and they’re subbing out essentially to different companies. So but the problem is is you take apart a lot apart when you wrap a car because you want to be able to tuck edges. You don’t want things pulling up, so we’ll take out the headlights. You know the door handles some stuff like that, but these cars, coming from factory, it’ll void warranty.

Jeff Hopeck: 

It will taken apart.

Austin Smith: 

Whoa, there’s start. You’re gonna be able to order a Tesla, I believe. Yeah, that’s already wrapped from factory Interesting. So color change is starting to be huge, especially with the camo right, like my truck is Wild man, and that’s the whole that’s the whole young doff thing. You, the young doff wrap. The Atlanta custom wrap started which is really starting to take over and All the the vehicle world. And what is that? What’s that name called? It’s called the young doff camo, so that one of the rappers, young doff.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Okay close.

Austin Smith: 

The guys Atlanta custom wraps and heated came on his all his cars and he was got it. You know he was murdered a couple years ago, so they kind of just start doing some tribute for him and it is just, it’s blown up. Yeah, yeah, they take a percentage of each wrap of that to sold and give back to the family and yeah.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, they have a fundraiser, they’ve started for him. Yeah, but that’s a lot of people starting to do it now. Their own twist on it, change some colors and all that. That’s definitely a big thing coming up to.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Yeah, as all the camo is starting to get huge starting, a huge anything You’re seeing in the AI world here, and not much, a lot of.

Austin Smith: 

AI. They do a lot of renders. Obviously, when the Cybertruck came out, they did a lot of different JTX made a Camo one with a lift kit on it and stuff like that. Not much I wouldn’t say. There’s a whole lot of AI stuff going on right now.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Yeah, the color change we think we’ll ever see a day where you can open up an app and change the color of your car.

Austin Smith: 

I Don’t know, I don’t think I’ll ever see it, I don’t think we’ll ever see it, but I think it. I think it’ll be there.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Yeah, I had a truck one time a bunch of years ago, and I must have wrapped it like three different times because I just I wanted Sand camo.

Austin Smith: 

Well, that’s the cool thing about rap.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Green camo and I always had that idea of like, wait, if I want different colors. I don’t know how I don’t know how it would ever work.

Austin Smith: 

But there’s also color shift wraps where the different. If you look at it differently, it’s maybe a purple and maybe really Maybe it’s more of an amber. Yeah depending on how the Sun hits it, but I think it’ll be there at some point. I don’t think we’ll be allowed to see it. That’s incredible.

Jeff Hopeck: 

All right, last question for you, any other Actually two more questions, anything else from an entrepreneurial standpoint, that you either have an inkling of an interest for now or you think, like once you get your business to a certain level, you want to start pursuing something else.

Austin Smith: 

Um, 100% commercial pressure washing, I think for sure we’ve talked about that. Yeah, um, just because the money that’s in it, yeah, I think for sure it’s just great. Um, I, I’d love to do more videography and stuff as well. Photography that’s. I think that’s where my passion is as a business, as business.

Austin Smith: 

Okay, so not just for your detailing, no Business for sure to offer it out, but also just to be able to have the skill where you know and me and my friends drive up to the mountains, to be able to film on the Way there, stuff like that. But I think there’s a market there that starting to grow a lot too. For sure, there’s a lot of very talented guys out there and with social media getting bigger, yeah, they’re able to make a living out of it, even just by posting on social media interesting. So I think that’s also another big market coming like to like post on Be half of other businesses.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Do I understand that the right way, or what would know? So I mean?

Austin Smith: 

so say I’m say I’m taking videos your your vehicle for you. You know you pay, you love your vehicle so you want some videos of it. Okay, you know. So you’d pay me a couple hundred dollars to film and edit whatever. But also, like, tick tock pays very well. So I Could post that video on tick tock as long as it’s a minute long and I meet their requirements To be monetized. I can make about a dollar or 30 per view for qualified view. So a lot of people are starting to just be full-time tick tock and especially in the automotive world where they’re making content about their vehicle, they’re making content about their friends going to meets etc. And it’s definitely a job that easy just because you have to be on top of it. But yeah, that’s starting to pay extremely well.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Is that some of the stuff that I see on your channel like you’re just really good at essentially? Yeah, there’s that.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff like that and then a lot of just normal. We started doing kind of daily vlogs, so we’ll just kind of film like a normal Wednesday, just kind of the cars we do, the process we go through Laughs that are shared here and there. Yeah, we’re starting to do mic’d up moments.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So both my guys will wear go pros yeah, we’ll all wear go pros cleaning cars and yeah because we always, we all talk while we’re doing it we find that on your channel or is that the vlog? It’ll be? It’ll be on our channel?

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, we’ll post it to Instagram as well as um, as well as tick tock, so it’ll be there it’s. We’ll probably do it next month or two. Yeah, so you guys are marketers too. Yeah, I mean, I try.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I feel like that’s the bet.

Austin Smith: 

To be able to kind of find a relationship with somebody is the best way to market, in my opinion.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I’m gonna. Okay, I’ve won, so I promised you more questions. Yeah, I’ve one more question Before I get to it for everybody out there listening. Yeah, I bet You’re gonna have people going man, what, he’s such a good marketer, why doesn’t he write a Either a small book or an e-book, or have a paid course on how to get your Detailing because this is a common business how to get it up and going? What tools?

Austin Smith: 

I want to just plant that. See you, I mean there’s a lot, there’s a lot that there’s a lot of people that do that now. Yeah, I Hate that somebody has to pay for that though. Yeah, I don’t like that. I get it, I get its business, I get it’s part of people making a living. But you know, I’d like to be successful enough to the point where I don’t need that money. Yeah, and I’d like to. I think, course, would be cool. Or do something where you know we bring a guy out a week where kid can come hang out with us, come see how we do stuff, and then he’s oh, that is incredible.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, I would love to get to the point where I could do that 100%. All right, what’s because? The only people that work for us are college and high school kids. I’d like to keep it that way as well.

Jeff Hopeck: 

All right. So If you’re listening, yeah, and this sounds interesting, and you’re in and around Alpharetta, yeah, john’s Creek, I’m gonna go ahead and put the offer out. Oh, yeah, to reach out to us Interesting humans, the podcast. Your information will also be in the. This, the description of this show. Okay, reach out and come and do. I’d love to, yeah, a day in the. What do you have?

Austin Smith: 

a name for the day in the life, just a I don’t know. Just come hang out with us and you know if that’s something you want to do or you just you love cars, yeah, I Think I’m just not the point where I’m able to do it. Just, I’m established enough in the business. Yeah, that’s not, that’s not gonna be an issue. But yeah, we do a lot of cool cars. Yeah, even if you’re just into cars and you want to come hang out or film or whatever, yeah, you guys are like having fun for a living.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Oh, we are. I mean we do, we all talk?

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, we’re. You know we’re doing a lot of cool stuff. Yeah, good for you, man.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So I love it yeah.

Austin Smith: 

I think that’d be fun for sure.

Jeff Hopeck: 

All right, so here’s quit. Here’s that question number two, and this will be the final one. Look back at your life. You’re so, you’re 19. Mm-hmm, yeah, look back at your life, point me to a pivotal Point that helped shape Not you as an entrepreneur, but that helped shape you as a human being. One pivotal, one, pivotal time.

Austin Smith: 

And one pivotal time. I Don’t know. I think I’d have to. I have to point one thing which more series Hunting with my dad? I think for sure. I think hunting with my dad, I’d say just Even as a kid, just spending time and a deer stand with him. Yeah, just talking about stuff that you know is, I think’s definitely shaped me for sure. I don’t know if I he knows that, but those, I think those moment. Oh yeah, but I think those moments for sure.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Yeah, oh.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah that’s incredible, yeah he’s gonna love to hear that.

Jeff Hopeck: 

I love hearing it, anything at all that you can remember any one of the conversations. Oh you’ve ever remember it like a mantra or something. He would always tell you things like hey, you can do anything you, you put your mind to, or yeah, I think there’s always those, I think.

Austin Smith: 

Just, I Think his biggest thing was all it like always just be, don’t be everybody, like don’t be what everybody else. He says that a lot, you know.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So it’s don’t be.

Austin Smith: 

I kind of don’t be everybody. If he always would say if it starts up, it starts it with, well, everybody, it’s probably not a good thing. So if I, if I go to him, I’m like hey, well, everybody’s going to this, can I go? Well, should you be going to that, like just because everybody’s, so that I think that was glued in my brain For sure. Yeah, from him, that, you know, don’t Everybody’s doing. It doesn’t always mean you, you know right be different.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Or maybe that’s a sign that if everybody’s doing it, Maybe.

Austin Smith: 

Yeah, exactly, he’s like usually. If it starts with well Everybody’s, it’s probably not a good thing still like to hunt. I hear in there. I don’t go as much often.

Jeff Hopeck: 

Now you’re running a business now, oh, exactly, but I find times so once twice a year. It’s awesome, but it’s great, all right, everybody out there, I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I, yeah, literally enjoyed being in this seat and just reliving. You know, as I said, I was in the exact same crossroads. I took a different path. I went to school and I could tell you it was the wrong, it wasn’t the right thing for me, but I did it and I went through that path.

Jeff Hopeck: 

So, for everybody listening, as always, folks, I ask it it’s tremendously helpful if you just rate us on your platform, whether it’s YouTube or we’re doing video now on YouTube or the podcast platform your choice just rate us. It helps the show so much and, as always, thanks so much for joining us in Austin, thank you. Thank you for being here, it was awesome. Thanks. Thanks for listening to the interesting humans podcast with Jeff Hopek.

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