This month we are focusing on the “outlaws” in our midst. While we don’t want to necessarily celebrate any local criminals, we do want to tip our hats to those who break society’s norms to live life on their own terms. Let’s start with Mike Doyle of Drive 80.

When HQ Raleigh’s own Mike Doyle makes his last podcast or marketing video on this planet, he’ll likely be singing a similar tune to his fellow New Jersey native, Frank Sinatra:

“I’ve lived a life that’s full

I’ve traveled each and every highway

And more, much more than this

I did it my way”

Mike has been doing it his own way since before he could vote, and it has had him traveling down some well-worn highways and freshly-blazed trails. At 17, he decided he had written his last school paper and hit the road to tour with his punk band. He forewent college and spent the next few years rocking out and seeing the country.

When Mike got tired of that, he decided to go back to New Jersey and do a technical program, since there was no way he was going to college now at 24. He wanted to start making some real money while being allowed to let his creativity flow. Mike landed a job at a marketing agency job after the technical program, but after a year and a half, he was getting that familiar feeling that it was time break the chains — so he ventured into the freelance life.

This freelancing turned into entrepreneurship, as it often does, and Drive 80 was born.

Drive 80 and a punk podcast

The company he started is, as he describes it, “Crass explainer videos that I make for people that I want to work with. I am very clear about who is a good client for me, and if they aren’t, I just say, next!”

These videos are sleek and professional, but give a business wanting to grab the attention of viewers who have “seen it all” a chance to break through the noise.

On the road again and heading to North Carolina… eventually

Mike decided that New Jersey was no longer for him, for both personal and professional reasons. Like a true outlaw in a Clint Eastwood movie, he just sold all his possessions and rode off into the sunset (with the minor difference that his mode of transportation had tires not hooves).

It took about a year for Mike to figure out where to be, but after staying at Airbnbs from Austin, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, (and everywhere in between) he decided Raleigh had just what he was looking for.

Raleigh for now, and later, we’ll see

Drive 80 was what made his nomadic lifestyle possible, so he has kept making these attitude-filled, creative videos and continues to this day. But just as Mike felt no hesitation in moving on from anything else he’s lost interest in, he says that the moment it’s no longer what he wants to do, he’s gone.

“I think a lot of people hit a wall, for whatever reason, and just feel stuck,” Mike said. “But they just keep pushing on that wall, and then three decades go by and they’re bitching about how the city brought them down, or their job brought them down, or 2017 is the worst year. It’s like, no. You had a choice and you chose that life. I had that figured out by 17 without having the words for it. But I just like being free.”

His very niche podcast about New Jersey pop punk of the 1990s is a big part of what inspires him at the moment, and he’s happy that it’s starting to gain a following. Whatever he does, Mike Doyle will be driving 80 towards his current passion while always being ready to take a sharp turn if that’s what feels right.

You can see Mike’s Drive 80 work here, and you’ll likely see him by the coffee maker at HQ Warehouse helping people learn how to operate it.