Steven Burkhart: Hey everybody, this is Steven with Burkhart Creative Agency and welcome to the digital hustle show. Today we got Mark with Rubber and Iron and 11, 10 garage. And so he’s going to be talking to us a little bit about his dream of starting place here and just doing life, doing things. You actually enjoy it. And so he talked to the center and has a lot of experience into doing that for years. And so I’m excited to have him share a little bit of his backstory and some helpful things people to learn.

Marc Bergeon: Thanks. Thanks for having me. I think this is going to be really good.

Steven: Yeah, agreed. Okay. So we need a launch in there while you were in a wheelchair.

Marc: Oh yeah. So this is a long story. I’ll give you the cliff notes. Right? So let’s rewind back in time. The 2008, right before the economy kind of crashed. Okay. Which is funny because of what we’re saying now, but I was riding the wave, the high wave as a, as a contractor, private contractor driving for different car manufacturers. So Nissan, infinity BMW, Hyundai companies like that basically as a professional driver. So they would, we’d go on these tours, launch tours. So when a new model comes out, new vehicle, right, and would, they would send out these programs, it was a program that they’d send out and we’d go to different cities in the U S set up a road course of cones, you know, in a parking lot. And then inside whatever facility they’re using, they would set up different stations and then have facilitators that walk the participants through different sections and talk about, Hey, these are new features and all that.

Marc: So they get to see the static aspect of it, you know, open, go inside the cars, look at him, whatever, right? Never heard of this. And then they get to go outside for the dynamic portion of it and they get to ride with one of us around the road course and kind of feel the vehicle and all the different systems that, that are developed out there, like safety systems, the dynamic, you, traction, control, all that stuff. Right? So it was doing that. And at 21, 22 years old it was, I mean that was, yeah. So I had all these other goals, you know, on a list and like I’m going to put those on hold for a bit. Cause this kind of opportunity doesn’t happen often. It’s like I’ll go back to college. I took a break after five years, I’m like, I’ll go back and after I do this, I mean it’s just an awesome opportunity.

Marc: So I do that. It’s freaking awesome. Young, making way too much money too easily traveling all over the place. That’s a combination for good and not so you know, responsible decisions of course. But long story short I was in New York for like about three months or came home back here in Arizona and two days later a buddy of mine just drove down from Heela, lived up North in Heber. He had a little shop up there and I come from a background of drifting. That’s what I did for years and years. And he had similar car that I had. He put the same motor in it. It wasn’t quite done. He really wanted me to take him for a ride at mine. Right. So after he drove down and I had just gotten off this two month or three month tour, I was like, all right, fine.

Marc: You know, I’ll give you a ride in it. We go get the car out of the garage. The tires on it were bald from the last race. That was a few months back. You know what I mean? So not the kind of tires you wanted to be driving with on the road. Just the car was not in the right condition, right? Yeah. So we go anyways, go mess around, do some donuts, whatever, and then decided to go to the gas station. It’s the middle of summer. It’s warm out, you know, start going and car pulls out in front of me without looking. And I just instinctly like just reflexes. Just went around. Then the car spun and I wrapped it around a light pole. Fast forward, two weeks later, I wake up in the hospital and I’ve got these metal bars sticking out of my pelvis here.

Marc: I’m just grabbing it and I’m like, mom, what is my mom’s right here? And I’m like, what is, let’s get this out. And so she’s pressing the button for more morphine just to knock me out, cause I didn’t know what was going on. Sure. Fast forward again after a month in a hospital, all that stuff. I’m in a wheelchair, they send me home, got metal rods everywhere. I still have a bunch of them. Yeah. All my leg everywhere. Oh yeah. Some of them they do, but not these. They’re inside where the bone marrow normally goes. Right. So doing that, and I’m back in my own apartment, which I had before, but now I’m just by myself in a wheelchair. No car, no internet, no cable. So I’m just all right, what am I going to do? I really just get bored. So watch a lot of movies, primarily stepbrothers and anchorman.

Marc: So those two movies were on repeat daily and then the PlayStation two guitar hero, bam. Rock out, jam out on that. And that’s what got me through that whole lonely section of life through recovery. You know? That’s cause I know they told me I’d be in the wheelchair for three to four years, and snowboarding, racing cars, riding motorcycles, all that was going to be out. But within three months I said, you know what? Screw this. It’s all in here. You know, you can decide how you want to heal, whether you’re going to feel sorry for yourself and listen to the doctors say, you know what? You’re right. I’m never going to do this. Never going to do that. I said, no, I’m going to do this. So I just started standing up out of my wheelchair a couple of times a day and then it turned into being able to walk across the room.

Marc: And so three months and I was walking again because now you see me, you know, 12 years later. But no one can ever tell that anything’s happened unless I tell them. You know? So yeah, it just, it taught me a lot because yeah, that was a pretty awful experience. But at the same time, I grew faster than I would have if that accident didn’t happen. You know what I mean? So with that, I mean I’m grateful for it of course, for what it’s taught me. But I kind of apply that mindset of I can do anything cause it’s all in here. It starts in here. Everything’s exactly, everything starts with a thought. So with that I just learned more and did more research and started learning more about, okay what can I do with my mind, you know, I don’t need to be limited by my surroundings and my current reality.

Marc: I can have dreams. People encourage you to have dreams and I can start seeing glimpse of them coming to fruition all around me. So even this shop for example, you know, it may not be exactly a hundred percent how I imagined years ago when I started rubber and iron in 2013 yeah. The whole basis of it’s going to be once I decided to move forward with it. But it’s going to be in place where people come hang out and see different projects we’re working on and also hang out cause it’ll be a coffee shop for example. Right. So that’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. But it just hasn’t felt like the right time life happens and so on. But moving from my other shop location to this one with six of us coming together, it worked out really well. I mean there’s always somebody here working on something so we kind of motivate each other, help each other and it’s just been really, really good. And it’s only the beginning because we’ve only had this space since probably October. So unfortunately this whole economic collapse and virus thing happened. But so the social aspect of it we’ve had to kind of cut off for a bit. Yeah. But as soon as that gets lifted we’ll be right back to doing our monthly events here. Other events that we’ll do Saturday nights and stuff like that. So really excited about it.

Steven: It’s always funny to me like when I think about like the journey of like a small business owner, I feel like unless you’re like personality type, just really bucks the system, like you kind of condition, I feel like to kind of like blend in and like not stand out and not be like extraordinary.

Marc: Right.

Steven: But then when you become a small business owner, like all of a sudden everyone’s like dream big, do amazing things. Like, you know, like you said, like don’t be limited by anything that you have around you right now. And it’s like, that’s literally not what I’ve been taught my entire life. Unless you have like a parent that like really drove it into you or like you’re just wired that way,

Marc: Which mine were not. Right.

Steven: It’s like, how are you supposed to have that mindset? How are you supposed to feel enabled? Then think like, Oh, this is a cool idea. And then actually believe that it’s possible because you’re doing all the things you’ve been basically trained not to do, which is now you need to stand up now. People need to notice you now. People need to remember you and you need to not blend it because

Marc: That’s how we’re conditioned. Yeah. And it’s based on societal things. Our parents, you know, parents have a big influence. So how they were raised with their parents, so they kind of engraved it in their heads. Like, this is what you do. You finished high school and you go to college, then you get married, then you have kids, you know, and you work a job at a place for 20 to 40 years and then you get your retirement. You know, that’s been engraved in so many people’s heads based on all those factors. So it is very challenging. But once somebody steps out of that and sees that there’s, there’s more than one path, right? There’s multiple paths and yeah, we’re going to hit speed bumps and that’s normal. Or there’s gonna be a wall. You hit, guess what? Climb over that wall. Or just go around it and just keep trucking along.

Marc: You know, as long as, as you train yourself, it’s all, you have to just train yourself with repetition to just look forward. Right. It’s just like if you plan a trip, let’s say you want to go to San Diego, right? You know that it’s there, you know that you will get there. You can even plug it in your GPS and it’ll find the route for you. All you have to do is just start going, you don’t know. You can’t see more than maybe a hundred feet in front of you so you don’t know what you’re going to encounter, but you don’t worry about it because you’re, you know, Oh I’m getting to my destination. Right. That’s kind of what I’ve applied to my life.

Steven: So obviously overcoming your injury, like equipped you look like with the attitude and the confidence because you actually did it right? Like I feel like sometimes score, like try to like get in their own head and give themselves competence that I haven’t earned yet. After that you were talking about how you did some research on the learning about how the mind works. What were some other things that you like learned about and discovered either like about how that just works or even yourself that like really affected you, like took things that make sense.

Marc: So I started to read more and more books about how the power of the mind, power of thought, you know, and I can drop names but you know, and then there’s of course a classic that somehow was randomly just brought to me. It was just most random. It was thinking grow rich by Napoleon Hill. So that’s a classic book. Right? And after reading that, then I started attracting other things like, Oh look at this book or this guy Bob Proctor. Okay, what does he talk about when were researching? Oh look, it looks like he’s been reading that book. Think and grow rich from Napoleon Hill for 50 years, every day. So you start, and then I just started dissecting what all the different sections are and how they work and what do you use them for and does it work. So I started just trying it out with little things, you know, I’m gonna attract this or I want to accomplish, I want this event to happen this way.

Marc: And then just start trying it out and seeing what works and what doesn’t. And if it doesn’t work, which happens, right? It’s part of it. Then start, I started to learn how to realize and notice where I went wrong, and then I dissect that and see, okay, what was my pattern? What happened that put that wrench in the spokes, right? And then you can actually go down and you can pinpoint what it was in your own thoughts. Like, Oh, this is what I was thinking. I kept doubting this or you know, this happened and I reacted instead of step back, thought about it, you know, contemplated what to do and then find a solution instead of forcing it. So there’s, Oh man, I can go on for much longer than a podcast on all this stuff. You know what I mean? But yeah,

Steven: I think that I’d have to agree in the sense that so like I have a Christian background, but I think really like any background or society like background you like you sometimes attach too much meaning and when things happen I suppose, so you try to throw an event, it doesn’t work out well. Then immediately like instead of trying to deconstruct where you went wrong, sometimes people jump to the conclusion like, Oh, that wasn’t supposed to happen. Or like, you know, I wasn’t supposed to do that. And certainly there are faces. And that’s true for the most part. It’s like, okay, like maybe the event wasn’t well attended because I was living in the fear of thinking that like we’d rent a space and it worked good and we’d run out of food. And so you like subconsciously like hold yourself back from maybe like sending those extra like messages or making of phone calls to get people to come. And that’s really what the problem was. It wasn’t like some like global destiny for like the amount of people who showed up to your,

Marc: And that’s, and that’s because we are our own worst enemy. We’re really are. Cause we could have something that’s laid out perfectly and we can completely screwed up just by negative thoughts or thoughts of doubt, for example. And that’s been something I’ve, you know, it’s been challenging for me, but for the last 12 years, you know, I’ve been working on myself. So personal growth, you know, I’ve had ups and downs of course, just like everybody else. And, but now every time I, the more, when I, when I have a downtime for example, or down slope or spiral, I can turn it around and pivot back in the other direction a lot more easily and smoothly than let’s say 10 years ago. Right. When I was just learning about what I could do with my own brain, my mind, you know?

Steven: Yeah. So hopefully I want them like listening and watching, like understanding that it’s a process that you don’t just like wake up one day and have like loads of self confidence and all these like positive thoughts and all of a sudden like everything you ever dreamed about manifests itself. It’s like it doesn’t work that way.

Marc: I’ll never be a hundred percent, you know, done with learning and evolving how to use my mind, you know what I mean? Cause I learned something new every day. Or even if I’m listening or reading something I’ve read a hundred times, there’ll be times I’m like, I didn’t remember that. I don’t remember ever reading that. And it’s right here, you know? Then you learn something new and it’s all part of the process. I think the biggest thing, biggest you know, words of advice that I would tell people, yeah. Be easier on yourself. No, no. Yeah. No matter what. No matter how hard it gets, just be easy on yourself, step back and be like, you know what? Okay, that’s not so bad. Whatever’s going wrong. It always works out. I mean, we can all look back and be like, Hey, remember this? Oh yeah, guess what? Oh, I worked out. How did it work out? Then start thinking about, okay, how did it work out? Oh, it worked out because of this workout and this and this lined up and met this person and got this phone call and had this conversation. It’s all part of it.

Steven: Cool. So walk us through, okay. So you’ve kind of given us the overview of what’s happened as far as your journey was business owner. Let’s dive in a little bit as to like what,

Steven: Okay.

Steven: Oh my gosh. My mind. Oh gosh. So let’s dive in a little bit to what, like Reverend Howard is like how that started. What kind of was like the seed that created that?

Marc: So, yeah, that’s, Oh, that’s going to be along like track down memory lane. But so when I, I’ve been riding motorcycles for since 2009 tinkering with them, riding him here and there, but didn’t take it super seriously until about 2013 where I was getting more involved. Tearing down a bike and just, you know, and actually one of my first bikes is here somewhere. It’s one of the, yeah, the, the one at the silver tank down here. Yeah, that’s one of my first, you know, bikes that I started really messing with. It’s a Honda CX 579. Okay. So I picked that thing up. There was a basket case. The front wheel was wobbly, picked it up off a guy for like 600 bucks. And luckily he only like two miles away from my house. So I’m going to chance it. I’m gonna ride it home.

Marc: It died three times on the way home. Got home finally. Right. And just start messing with that and just draw, you know, drawing sketches and what I could do with it started going through different variations, different parts or switching stuff out with other models. Like other years of that same bike. Some of them came with different wheels, different tanks. Listen that. And that’s how that kind of started. Yeah. Okay. And so that’s kinda how that, that got rubber and iron starting. Cause I always wanted to, I’ve always wanted to own a coffee shop. The place people would come hang out, right? They can do their homework there, they work or whatever. Like people do in coffee shops. Right. But have the atmosphere be more like, like an OD or like a motorcycle and an auto shop. Right. So there’ll be some of my bikes around here, some artwork from friends of mine, photos that I’ve taken or friends have taken.

Marc: Have the shop connected to it and have windows and they can look inside and kind of check it out, you know, pull different classes that I could do on a monthly basis. People come learn how to change the oil on their motorcycle or just for giving an example. And I know I’ve always wanted to do that, but I needed it needed a name and needed a brand. So after spending hours, countless hours, just trying to come up with something, forcing it and just like put the pen down and let it go for a bit. Fast forward, not even a few days later in the middle of the night, it was two in the morning watching a TV show or something and then it just clicked. And I always keep a pen and a pad next to my bed just in case I get random ideas.

Marc: Right. I just wrote down rubber and iron just went to bed and in the morning I saw it. I was like, huh, okay. And then I started like writing it, different fonts and stuff and then came up with the logo and it was just super simple and said, all right, that’s what I’m going to do. And then I started putting the wheels in motion of what I wanted to build, wanting to build a brand and image and leave it open to where I could do multiple things with it, you know, such as the lamps that I make or you know, things like that. So like a lifestyle. Yeah. Lifestyle brand. Yeah. Yeah.

Steven: That’s it’s always interesting to me how there’s such a process and it’s like you said, I feel like I was just literally talking to a guy the other day where he was like, he was trying to figure out what his brand was all about. And it’s like, honestly, like you kind of have to let it Ella because like some of it’s like logical and just like intellectual, but you’re like the business owner too. So I get a lot of his emotional too. Right. And so there is a lot of feelings in it and there were feelings, effective decisions and so you kind of have to let yourself work through those things. So like discover, what did you care about or discover what you want to get known for or like you like people like want, what do you want them to know about you? And that just takes time.

Marc: It does. And you ha you can’t really force it. A lot of people end up forcing it. I’ve tried to force it numerous times. Yes. And then I stepped back and realized, no, I’ve just got to let it flow, let it come to me and then see where it goes. And that’s usually how things start picking up momentum because once you start noticing things moving, that’s when that real momentum happens and you start feeling like, Oh yeah, it’s on. And then next thing you know, you know things are just rolling and rolling and next thing you know you’re building up your brand organically, I should say. Right. As opposed to trying to force it.

Steven: I feel like in some abstract way that’s like when I first started like drinking beer and it was like the first year I had was like a bud light. I was like, God, this is awful. And of like I can drink it now. No problem. Like you know, cause you kind of like developed the case for like, I remember the first time I had yeah it was the worst. And then like I finally found a beer I liked and I was like, okay, this is cool. I’m like I, you know, explore that. And then that started chipping off the other thing and then pretty soon there’s like a full collection of beers that I enjoy because I kinda like found my, like starting for me, I feel like the journey is really the same for brands when they’re like trying to discover what they’re all about as if you just keep doing things and if you can make it and eventually like you do something, you’re like, wait a second, what was that? That just kind of felt right. That felt like true to what I really care about what may,

Marc: Can you kind of go with that idea?

Steven: Yeah. And it’s like you find, you find almost like a little like river exactly. Like kind of like, Oh like this, that’s kind of where I’m going. And like that’s only the beginning. There’s so many more discoveries that have to be done for sure. But it’s like the start,

Marc: I’ve always liked using the analogy of rivers because instead of going upstream, fighting it like I need this to be this way. So you’re paddling upstream in your kayak, right? I have, this is what I want. It’s right there. I’m trying to get to it. And you’re having a difficult time. You’re pushing against it, but then you just let go and let it happen. Turn around and Oh there it is down there. I’m just going to coast and let it come to me. You know, I’ve always liked that analogy. So when you said river, it just like sparked it right now and it’s like your favorite. Oh yeah. That’s crazy. That’s wow. That is such a good analogy. Like just let go of the oars and just let it, let the current take you. You know, cause I

Steven: Feel like, you know, I always say that like having like starting a business is hard enough on its own, don’t make harder than it needs to be. Right. And so when I think of like, like things that frustrate me lots, right to discourage me, I’m trying to force them to definitely on the list, you know, trying to like push things to move faster than they should. Right. Definitely like pushing against that current and there’s like, it’s a certain level of that you have to do because you’re, you’re finding your spot in the market and that bubbly is like pushing against the title some direction in some way. But other things you don’t need it. Right. Can you just send it, giving yourself a bunch of headaches for no reason you can go through and it’s not like it’s not going to get you any farther faster.

Marc: No. It’ll just slow down the process really

Steven: Now. And then all the time you gain real terrible. That’s the truth.

Marc: But it happens. Yeah. But then sometimes when that happens you can bring on another brain, you know, somebody else that can maybe handle those kinds of things from a different perspective. Take that pressure off. And I think that’s how a nice like mastermind Alliance kind of forms, you know?

Steven: So obviously with people working with you are not employees, but have you kind of felt like that’s happened here?

Marc: Not so much because this is more, we keep this more as a collaboration. Okay. So everyone’s doing their own thing and it’s just, yeah, just a collective or collaborations so. Right.

Steven: I just didn’t know if that like sharing of ideas and like stuff ever like sparked anything.

Marc: It does when we do little events here or if we put, when we do our monthly ride, then we kind of step all, you know, all of us kind of step in together and work together to make it happen. That’s the common goal. Right. But aside from that, everyone’s just doing their thing and you know, once in a while we’ll collaborate on a project, you know, and there’s no pressure and it’s just been really organic. It’s been good. So less from a business standpoint, you know what I mean? Yeah.

Steven: Yeah. So then, so you built up that lifestyle for him. What, what did it end up kind of being like, what is it kind of look like now?

Marc: Right now? So right now the biggest thing, the stable would be those lamps that I make. Right. And I wish I had one here cause I mean that’d be perfect. Right? Yeah. So, and I usually there, it’s a small, I only do a small run of them, right. So annually I maybe do 10 or so up until now, maybe five to 10 a year. So I’ll get a waiting list from people for six months cause they know I only do them once or twice a year. And I just finished doing a run not too long ago. I already got a list that’s building up so much so that it’s like, ah, maybe I should do these more often because they’re picking up, you know, there’s some traction there. I’ve got a couple clients that have bought multiple lamps at a at the same time, you know I also give one away every year at the distinguished gentleman’s ride that I host here in Phoenix.

Marc: Yeah. So I always donate one for the raffles that we raffle off, you know, and the proceeds obviously keep going to the foundation. Sure. So, but yeah, it’s, it’s picked up, but they’re limited because I source the top, you know, engine covers, cylinder head covers for motorcycles and they’re primarily two strokes because they have, I like having all the fins and all the cooling fins on them and everything. So I recycle those. So first I got to find those, all the other parts of brand new. Sure. And I have a stockpile of all those little parts and stuff. Right. I’ve got my process. Yeah. But yeah, sourcing those cylinder head covers is not, not easy, you know, so when I come across him and I see that I can pick up one or two here, three or four or five over here, I’ll just start piling them up. And once I have about 10 or 12 of them, start making lamps, you know,

Steven: Nice. It, that’d be a kind of a hard ball.

Marc: Yeah. It’s not something I could mass produce, you know,

Steven: Not recently. Well you’re not the heads. At least you’re not producing all right there in that kind of, it gets to the character.

Marc: But I have recently thought about that. Yeah. It’s taking three or four of the different styles and casting them and making my own. Yeah. Because they are cast aluminum. So I know a couple of people, I know a couple of people. Yeah. Well I clean, I clean her anyways, I sandblast them. Okay. And then I paint them with a high temp paint because it looks the best. Sure. It’s got a nice satin finish to it and it won’t rub off. Oh yeah. Little attention to detail. Yeah. Now I really wish I had one to show him.

Steven: Yeah. I’ve seen them on mine a little bit and they’re definitely very cool. Definitely someone who, even if they’re not in that space, it’s a character piece.

Marc: Everybody loves him. Even people who don’t ride motorcycles, they’re cool. My dad, he has one. He, he’s a pilot but he can, you know, you look at it and it just, the, the, the mechanical aspect of it and, and the design of it, you know, it fits for sprout anybody. Yeah. So, so that’s kind of the direction Reverend iron went. The other direction that I was slowly starting to build up as well, which got put on pause because of the world’s current health state right now is putting on events, rubber and iron events. So I like to gather people together with common interests and you know, so that’s something that I’m working on as well. There’ll be themed brides and stuff like that. That’ll be cool. Yeah. Kind of like an all inclusive kind of thing. You know, there’ll be a destination and music and giveaways, stuff like that. That’s something to look forward to in the future, hopefully in the near future. Definitely.

Steven: Yeah. I think that I think, I mean you’ve hit on something that I think people have gotten better at over the years, but it can be a bit lonely being an entrepreneur, business owner, especially if you don’t have employees, right? Because you end up spending so much time working and you know, making connections and whatever else. And so you end up getting kind of just like siloed. Yeah. So you know, unless you’re like a really like social butterfly. No, you go out if you work at her house. But it’s so refreshing to meet people like really vibe with me. Even in just the different interviews that I’ve done with people. Like I just like met, like just people like people who like share my enthusiasm and hunger for living life the best that you can. And for me that’s like not something I share with them. A lot of people. And so it’s nice and refreshing and the courage to like have those people in the circle and even if it’s just like a random event.

Marc: Right. And I feel like we attract that because that’s what we’re looking for. Boom. And then, I mean this has happened so many times where I’ll just spark up a conversation with somebody I’d just met and then we’re talking for hours and just things are coming up left and right. You know? That’s what, those are always the best kind of situations. Conversations. Yeah,

Steven: It’s refreshing. It’s a, you don’t always get the sense that like people are a lot of people. There’s a lot of really awesome people out there. Don’t always get that chance to see that. Right. Cause maybe you see them as a client or you see them as a business connection or whatever else. And so you don’t get a chance to like see them. Like it’s like they’re with their guard down and we’re disability cool and fine and you don’t always get a chance to see that. I think those events are like a perfect example of like,

Marc: Oh definitely, it’s great. Especially for example, like my annual distinguished gentleman’s ride here in Phoenix. We get people from all walks of life, right, different backgrounds, different professions. And everyone’s coming together for one thing they have in common. Right. And, and so, yeah, just like you’re saying, everyone’s guards down, everyone’s smiling, everyone’s having a great time, meeting new faces, new people, making connections and sharing their love for motorcycles. And it’s just, it’s great. It’s awesome.

Marc: Alright, well thank you Mark so much. Really appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Steven: Mindset of an entrepreneur. Small business owner is huge. Cause you’re, you’re, you’re taking off.

Marc: Oh yeah.

Steven: Definitely. You know, taking a path of less travel. So all your advices as well. Time and definitely super great for anyone who’s trying to tackle that cause for a lot of people who are in a situation where having their own business now mate,

Marc: Their only choice, right. There’s a lot of options out there too, especially with playing video games. I know, I know

Marc: People that they get paid to play video games online and they can do it from home and no one around. You know what I mean? So there’s really, I mean this is this whole thing that’s going on. It’s going to open up different doors for a lot of people that maybe never thought about pursuing, you know, something that they can do on their own or being an entrepreneur. But yeah.

Steven: Thank you guys for watching and hope you’re doing another episode of digital.