As you can tell from this month’s cover, this is a milestone issue for us – issue No. 200.
I never expected to get to 200 issues for many reasons. When I started AVIDGOLFER Magazine more 18 years ago, I did it with one goal in mind: to make money. When I was in corporate America, I met with a gentleman who had just sold his mail order wine accessory business. I cannot remember the name of his company, or his name for that matter, but he told me a tale that had a huge influence on me. He told me that working in corporate America can make you a nice living, but until you build something on your own, you can never be rich. And to get rich, you need an exit strategy, so you can release the wealth.
What a sexy idea! Releasing the wealth!
I have written about how I started the company numerous times over the years, but I haven’t really ever told the story why I started the company. Honestly, I wanted to make money. And I wanted an exit strategy.
It is still curious how I got into the print media business. I have never claimed to be a writer (Tim Rogers of D Magazine regularly points that out). In fact, I got my worst grade of any course in journalism in both high school and college.
I was always enamored with the success of certain publications. I watched my wife tear apart the Sunday paper to get to Parade Magazine, and I wanted to provide that same anticipation.
I was also fascinated by the Neil Sperry empire. He had a magazine, an insert in the newspaper, a book and a radio program. He also had a huge following of people who wanted to hear him talk about trees. And grass. To me, that was special.
I felt like I could put together an empire like Neil Sperry, and if I could deliver premium entertainment, I could garner the anticipation that Parade received every Sunday.
And I loved golf.
I thought that golf offered much more than trees and grass. For example, there are only three types of grass Neil Sperry ever talks about. I, however, could write about the 160 golf courses in the Metroplex or expound on the thousands of courses across the world. More importantly, golf was hot (in 1998), and building a business around the sport would give me the one thing I was desperately wanting – an exit strategy.
My business mind started to work over time. I put together 3- and 5-year proformas with aggressive exit strategies for each. I had statistics and charts and knew that a few years of hard work would deliver me to the Promise Land and release the wealth!
There is a funny thing about exit strategies. In order to release the wealth, you need to find someone or some company that wants to pay you to exit. In the 18 years I’ve been in business, I haven’t found that someone.
As the years went on, the exit strategy became less important. But an entrepreneur can never accept what they have, and I didn’t either. I built up what I believe rivals Neil Sperry’s empire. Through the magazine, the website, The Tee Box radio show, the Passbook and iDealGolfer, we have the ability to touch every golfer in town.
As I have matured over the last 18 years, I have realized that the exit may never come, and that is OK. I enjoy what I do, and if can do it for another 200 issues, I would consider that a grand slam.
Because I love what I do, the exit strategy has become less important. Or, I have resigned myself to the fact that the exit will never happen. Either way, it’s good by me, and there are many reasons why:
- I love the fact that being my own boss has enabled me to be the best parent I can be.
- I love the fact that I get to choose who I work with, and am proud to call them partners.
- I love the fact that I get to talk golf all the time. It sure beats talking junk mail, which was my prior career.
- I love that golfers enjoy our products. There is no way we could have gone 200 issues without entertaining the golf community.
- I love that the two largest humans I know, the Brothers Black, are at every event we do, even if we don’t want them there. And I think its funny that the larger brother is deathly afraid of lizards.
- I love the fact that my parents are proud of me, but I’m not sure why. It could be that they are proud of my work. More than likely, however, it’s because of the cool swag they get.
- And finally, I love the fact that we get to promote the game. It’s an awesome game, and the older I get, the more I love it.
There are a multitude of people I would like to thank for getting to this milestone, but I only have 40 words left. If you think you have helped get us here, you probably have, and I thank you for that.
To all of you, thanks for the ride! And tell Tim Rogers that good grammar is overrated.