Billboard Mastery Podcast: Episode 81

Think Like Elvis

Elvis is not someone that you typically consider as a source of wisdom, as his life was kind of screwed up and he died at the age of 42. However, Elvis did have some winning quotes and one in particular serves as a reminder to think outside the box. In this Billboard Mastery podcast we’re going to summon our inner Elvis and review one of his best quotes and how it relates to billboards.

Episode 81: Think Like Elvis Transcript

Elvis Presley was an interesting guy. I've been to his museum down in Memphis, Tennessee. I've been to Graceland. It's a huge museum complex now if you go down there. Graceland's only the tiniest bit of what they have. They have Elvis' airplanes, they have his costumes, and in one wing they have his cars. Because you see, Elvis really liked cars. If you read a lot of stories about Elvis, what do you find? Well, Elvis liked to give cars away. He frequently would go out and buy Cadillacs, often pink Cadillacs, and give them to friends and family and sometimes just bystanders. He was known to have one time walked into a Cadillac dealership to look at the latest model. There was someone there looking at it, telling him how great it would be if they were only rich enough to buy it, and then Elvis just went ahead and bought it and gave it to him.

Now, if you go through the Elvis Museum, you'll find there's a big old quote on one wall, and Elvis was not known to do a whole lot of quotes. He'd sang a lot of songs but he wasn't really known as a wordsmith. In fact, he never even wrote his own songs. All of those were written by other artists. But you'll find on one wall, and it's in the auto portion of the Elvis Museum, it says, "Life is too short to own a boring car." That's all it says: Life is too short to own a boring car. So what does that mean? What was Elvis talking about? Well, Elvis was obviously talking about his penchant for buying cars that were unusual, sometimes eccentric, but they entertained him and they made life exciting for him. And for all of us really in the billboard industry, we have to also live kind of by that adage that life is too short not to do something fun, not to do something that entertains us, not to do something which allows us to maybe fuel our passions and pay for a few things that we probably shouldn't in a more boring world do.

So how do you apply that quote? How do you make your life less boring? How do you make billboards make your life less boring? Well, the first thing is to acknowledge that billboards are a little weird. Just as Elvis' cars are a little strange, he had a Zimmer, and some of these cars, which unless you're a boomer, you won't even remember. These are some of the great oddities of the American automotive industry like the Avanti. So the first thing is, just remember billboards are weird. Most people don't do it, don't even know how a billboard works, would have no idea how to actually get a ground lease and a permit and build one and rent the ad space. It would be a complete mystery. In fact, if you talk to most people about billboards, they couldn't even begin to tell you anything about them. They don't know what they cost. They don't know what they rent for. They don't know how much money you can make with them. It's completely lost. So the first thing is, that a billboard is just as weird as one of Elvis' cars. I think we would all pretty much agree with that.

Now, the second thing when it comes to billboards and Elvis is you got to be enthusiastic. Elvis was always really enthusiastic at everything he did. He lived life large, maybe a little too large, which is why he died at the age of 42. Elvis liked to live almost 24 hours a day. Of course, to get there, he often had to take drugs, which wasn't a really very good idea, but he learned about it back in Korea. But Elvis was known to literally sing, play racquetball. He had his own gun range; he'd go out and shoot on the gun range. One thing he liked to do was drive around in a golf cart, often incredibly recklessly, racing people. He would even race his daughter around in a golf cart, sometimes tipping the thing over. But he liked that level of enthusiasm. And you'll do much better if you're trying to build or buy billboards to be enthusiastic, to relish in the fun of life, to realize that it's fun to do stuff.

Finally, billboards can help back ease some extra money. Some people have used billboards into a whole new career, but others use it just as a side hustle to make some additional money on the side. Nothing wrong with that. If you own a sign or five signs or 10 signs, you can make a very nice income, even if it's not your sole income through the ownership of those billboards. And that gives you the money to do fun stuff, to not drive a boring car.

If you really look at life, it's not that much bigger a price point to do cool stuff than boring stuff, right? If you go to a hotel and the regular rate is $99 a night, for probably $140 a night, you can get a suite. That $40 differential is what gets you the funner stuff, the not-as-boring stuff. It's true with everything. It's true with housing. It's true with cars. It's true with clothes. An endless variety of items, you could have something that's not boring or really neat for just a little bit more than that really boring normal thing. So when it comes to not driving a boring car, not living in a boring house or wearing boring clothes or wearing a boring watch, a little extra side hustle money can certainly help do the trick. And for Elvis, that came from singing. But for many people, that comes from a billboard.

The bottom line to it all is that Elvis, although he didn't say a lot, maybe the fact that he didn't say a lot makes everything that he said a little more important. He's certainly not the person to give you the complete mastery of life because his didn't go incredibly well, married a couple times, lots of unhappiness here and there, and then dead by the age of 42. But one thing he did do and did accomplish was, he got a lot out of life and he understood how much fun it is to not do the normal thing, to not do the boring thing. This is Frank Rolfe of Billboard Mastery Podcast. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.