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Talking Business with Luke from Wilson Auto Detailing

Updated: 2 days ago

The podcast this week had a very special guest, none other than Luke Wilson from the Wilson Auto Detailing Company based in Tennessee. You might know Luke if you are one of the more than 112,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

Wings Mobile Detailing invited Luke to chat with us about how his experience in the auto detailing industry has helped to shape his current outlook on business. There were several big talking points that we got into:

  • Getting started in the auto detailing industry

  • Moving from first results to meaningful growth

  • Learning and self-improvement

  • How social media is changing the landscape

  • Visions for the future

Getting Started in Auto Detailing

Luke was just 13 years old when started his own detailing business. In fact, he was quick to remind us that he thought of it as “cleaning” rather than detailing. After a careful but steady start working with friends and family, word soon spread about his abilities and soon he grew his client list to include teachers at his school and other members of the wider community.

After growing the business steadily in high school, the business in his college freshman year worked with between 300 and 500 regular clients plus the extra stream of new clients that rolled in, bringing new money and interest.

While Luke acknowledge his own interest in detailing, for him it was really the business side of things that drove his interest; the desire to build something greater than himself and create something of value to millions of people. In short, he wanted to inspire. He points out that passion for your specific product or service is, of course, important, but what really sustains you is the grander desire that underlies the work you are doing on the surface.

On the practical side, as Luke points out, the auto detailing game in the early stages is about that all-important word of mouth. As one client tells their friends, one becomes two, and two becomes four. It’s a slow and steady process, but persistence and quality naturally yields those key first results.

Moving from first results to meaningful growth

The wave of early clients and steadily growing income brings us to a high, but Luke remarked how it quickly becomes a repetitive and laborious process whereby you are constantly depending on a stream of new customers. These customers require you to explain all your products, processes, deals and everything else that makes your business tick.

Continuing on this path indefinitely will monopolize your time and energy. You’ll be working on an 80 percent effort and 20 percent results cycle, which you can’t keep up forever. It’s better to aim for something more sustainable. What you really need is a firm base of repeat customers who are given more reasons to keep coming back to you over and over. The greater the frequency, the greater cushion of income you get and, more importantly, the most leftover energy you have to channel into other projects.

According to Luke, working toward this goal is what gives you the space to create a real long-term vision for your business; a path forwards to discover the much greater rewards that lie ahead. For that you need energy and time. Building your business focusing on repeat customers will allow you to do that. Once the stage is set, you will find yourself more able to visualize your path, connect up the dots, think of better plans and creative ideas to get the business to the next level.

Learning and Self-Improvement

Luke and I agreed on the power of learning as a tool to grow in business, but also to simply stay innovative and competitive. Reading is a great place to start with this. Maintaining a reading habit is a great way to exercise the mind, learn new things, gain fresh insights and inspiration that leads to new (and hopefully profitable) new ideas.

Luke pointed out in some detail about how this is a true golden age of learning, particularly for those looking to learn vocational skills. Many like Luke, who have college degrees, are discovering the treasure chest of value to be found in platforms like YouTube and their free video content. Where the traditional world of education is throwing barriers up --- higher tuitions, high levels of student debt etc. --- the online space is tearing them down.

Better yet, says Luke, this “captivating” world of online education on platforms like YouTube is absolutely 100 percent free. It allows us to engage more freely and openly with the fast-moving and skills-driven times we are living in. He added, “it’s the first time in history where you can search for a specific answer, get a specific answer to the question you’re asking immediately, and it’s completely free.”

Embracing these tools and thus the time we are living in now is essential for pushing your business vision forward to fruition. This isn’t a time where we just exist day-to-day, only to read years later about how groundbreaking and tumultuous this age was in some book. We are here, now, living and breathing it.

How social media is changing the landscape

Old-world qualifications and letters after your name don’t make you the best authority in something any more. They have value, but this is a new world in which everyone can now compete to offer entrepreneurs the best information.

Luke was a pre-med student, but quickly discovered that his real passions were in business, teaching others, and building something greater than himself. He pivoted his position as a premium detailer into the online space, creating piles of free content for aspiring detailers and others to enjoy and use. He points out that while his vast library of content is “educational” in the traditional sense, the result of all that work is still a fine educational product that others can use to augment their skill set. He sees it as the natural extension of the apprenticeship-style approach to learning – gain practical skills from “masters” in a decentralized and deregulated space. In doing so, you can learn the things you need to take you forward to new horizons.

Luke says the next step for him is creating an all-in-one educational product that teaches not only how to detail the car, but how to leverage those skills you’ve learned into a sustainable and thriving business model.

Visions for the future

From Luke’s story and insights, you can create an outline or blueprint for your own auto detailing dream:

  • Beginnings are about persistence, word of mouth, and focusing on a small-but-growing number of clients

  • When you reach the point where new clients are becoming too draining, focus on building existing customers into solid repeat customers

  • Use the energy and space you gain to build a space in which you can innovate, share your knowledge, rework your vision and find a sustainable and scalable direction for your work

  • Never stop learning --- always be humble enough to learn new skills, and then share and teach those to others. In short, become an authority in your field

  • Stay positive, because we are living in good times where all information is at our fingertips, and thus so too is all opportunity to grow our businesses, and ourselves.

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