To celebrate reaching 100,000 subscribers on the MilesPerHr YouTube channel, I’ll answer the two questions I’m asked most often:
1) How do you drive all these cars?
2) How can you do this too?
Let’s start with some background: While attending Boston University, I started milesperhr.com as an outlet for my automotive passion. Here, I’d recount the latest car news, experiment with features, and develop my writing style. Though I was studying PR and business and had no plans to pursue a career in the automotive industry, I harbored a small hope that somehow, someday, I’d be able to work with the auto media professionals I most admired. Among such heroes was Derek D and the crew of Fast Lane Daily, a YouTube-based, daily automotive news show based in New York City. While sharing my enthusiasm for the show with a professor at BU, I was astonished to learn that one of his alumni was connected with the show. He offered to make an introduction.
A few email exchanges later, I’d secured an internship with FLD for the coming summer. Being on set with Derek D, AK, Erica, Tom, Omar, and the other FLD crew members was a dream come true. I was given a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the hard work that went into every day’s production and the myriad of relationships that facilitated vehicle reviews. Thankfully, the FLD team was as pleased with my help as I was with their guidance – so much so that I was offered a full-time scriptwriting gig at the conclusion of my internship. So, while cranking out Junior and Senior year course-loads at BU, I also began writing the daily scripts for Derek D.
Post-grad, I took on marketing roles for Boston-area tech companies, but refused to let go of FLD and my foothold in the automotive industry. Through the show, I formed relationships with several automakers and media professionals. Two years later, I left Boston to launch a food product with my father in California. By this time, FLD was winding down, but I wasn’t ready to let go of the car world. I leveraged my auto media contacts to find a news writing gig at Digital Trends – something manageable while starting a business. Of course, I didn’t let it remain manageable. News writing turned into vehicle reviews, media events, and features. As the food product became less and less viable, I started wondering if I shouldn’t really be pursuing freelance automotive journalism full time.
Eventually, that’s precisely what I did. I stopped stifling my passion for cars and started using it to create content for several publications. I traveled the world experiencing new vehicles through dynamic launch programs, reviewed every car I could wrangle, and didn’t worry about the fact that all this work barely paid enough to cover my rent and groceries. I was happy. Occasionally, I’d write an article for milesperhr.com or make a video for my YouTube channel, but I never applied consistent effort on (and never made the time for) my own projects. Eventually, though, I became worn out with the press junkets and automotive publication hoops. I wanted to make more videos and to write freely. It was time to take another leap of faith.
At the beginning of 2020, I started making daily videos for my channel with the goal of letting the cars be the star (not me). My faith in God has been critical during this process. There have been so many times when I’ve felt overwhelmed or wanted to give up, but God has encouraged me to persevere. And just 10 months later, MilesPerHr is celebrating 100,000 subscribers!
With the foundation laid, let’s proceed to the questions:
1) Leveraging the connections I’ve made In the auto industry these past several years, I coordinate vehicle loans directly with the automakers and their fleet management companies. The latter are responsible for the logistics of getting vehicles into journalist hands for three to seven days. With the approval of each automaker to drive a particular model, the fleet management companies and I find availability in our schedules, arrange drop-off and pick-up times, and outline coverage (where and how I’ll be reviewing the cars). Some vehicles are loaned with restrictions like mileage or drive setting, but most are given without specific parameters, allowing me to test the cars as I please. Automakers are comfortable loaning me these vehicles because I’ve proven throughout the years that I will provide coverage (through videos on YouTube, articles for other publications, and social media posts) when given a vehicle loan, and that I am responsible behind the wheel.
2) The life of a freelance auto journalist may look glamorous (driving the latest and greatest cars and flying to far-off destinations to test them), but behind the velvet curtain are jet lag, long nights spent overcoming writers block and meeting deadlines, extremely detailed schedule and time management, and meager pay. If you truly love cars and are willing to work your tail off to make ends meet, this is the best job in the world. If not, there’s a much less demanding and likely higher paying job out there waiting for you. If you haven’t yet been deterred, the advice I’ll share is this: don’t wait to start your career. Whether you’re in high school, college-age, or down the path to a career you can’t stand, you can make progress towards becoming an automotive journalist. Only practice will help you refine your presentation or writing style, so start writing or start making videos on your chosen medium today. You don’t need access to special vehicles, either. Review your parent’s car, your neighbor’s car, or your friend’s car. Write or make videos about the latest car news. Write or make videos about automotive trends. Have fun, set goals, and get to work. When you’ve made sufficient work samples and are happy with your style, you can present these samples to media outlets, offering to produce similar writing or videos for them. Or, you can keep working on your own blog, channel, or social accounts in the hopes of building a loyal audience. Whichever way you go, don’t count on becoming an overnight success or making a fortune. Those things may happen, but working with cars should always be your primary goal. Anyone can work towards this career, but only the patient and dedicated will find success.
If you’re keen on automotive journalism and still have questions, feel free to sign up for automotive journalist course on Patreon, where I’ll mentor your progress.