The EntreCourier exists to provide the tools and information that you can use to profitably and successfully run your delivery business. Our goal is to help you think like a business owner.
After all, whether you planned to be or not, you are a business owner. That's pretty much the legal definition of an independent contractor.
We want you to claim your role as the owner. To take control as the Boss of your business.
Why a Business Manager with a Masters's Degree Decided on Gig Economy Delivery (and how that led to EntreCourier.com)
It's easy to think of delivery for Doordash, Uber Eats, and others as something that's beneath us.
And yet, I decided to leave my position as business manager for a non-profit organization and start delivering meals for Uber Eats.
Who does such a thing? And why????
I'll tell you my story of going from a business background, getting my Master's degree, and then choosing to deliver meals in the gig economy. It's the story of a 40-year-old man trying to decide what he wants to do when he grows up, never expecting delivery to get him where he wants to go.
It's also the story of a rude awakening when I first jumped into the gig economy, and how my previous experiences helped turn that around.
Finally, it's about how all of this led to the EntreCourier website.
What do I want to do when I grow up?
I have been in small business (or non-profit) management for a good part of my life. I joined my brothers and dad to operate a telecom business, selling services and phone systems to small businesses.
Working in telecom was a perfect mix for me. I was enough of a nerd to love the technology, but I also appreciated building relationships with customers.
After a while, I felt like there had to be more to life than convincing people that one business phone system brand was better on someone's desk than another. There's gotta be a way to make a bigger difference than this.
I know, you're wondering how food delivery could make a difference. I really believe it does, but differently. It's all in how I got from there to here.
I always heard people say to follow your passions. The problem was that I didn't know what my passions were. In some ways, you could say discovering my passion BECAME my passion.
As I looked back on my business career, the part I enjoyed the most was in helping people solve problems. I loved being that guy who could come alongside people and help them overcome challenges.
That's when I decided to go back to school. I started getting ideas about where I wanted to go, but even those ideas changed over time.
Discovering a passion in a career that didn't exist.
I started to figure out what I wanted to do.
Unfortunately, it kind of turned into a career that doesn't exist.
I developed an interest in helping churches with their ministry to older adults. There's no degree for that. I shifted course and got my Master's degree in Gerontology (study of aging).
I specialized my studies in such a way that, when it was all said and done, I focused on something where there just weren't any jobs. It was like I would have to create my own job.
You can imagine that by now, I'm questioning my sanity. I'm sure my wife was as well.
Helping out a local non-profit
While all this was happening, I volunteered at a local non-profit that worked with kids and bikes. Eventually, they needed help with the business side of things, and I agreed to join them as their business manager.
At the time, I thought maybe this would be a good training ground. I was thinking that creating a non-profit organization may be in the cards, and perhaps this was a great way to learn how to do it.
Looking back, it was a great training ground, but in a different way than I imagined.
We had several independent contractors on staff at the time. From my past business experience, I knew that you must be very careful when using contractors.
The thing is, you can't just hire people and treat them like employees but call them independent contractors. I worked with the board and management to reclassify those relationships and ensure they understood what they could and could not do with contractors.
Okay, so how did all this lead me to gig economy delivery?
I loved my work with the non-profit. They're a great organization doing wonderful things with inner-city kids.
However, I had a different goal and passion for my life. It was time to start working on it.
Ironically, the experience at the non-profit taught me that I didn't want to create a non-profit organization myself. It always felt like most of our energy was put into being a non-profit. Fundraising and non-profit management can really take over.
I decided I was going to bootstrap this new passion project. I can do what I want, thanks to the internet, without spending thousands of dollars.
But I needed flexibility. I couldn't do it as easily with the constraints of a 9 to 5 job. I needed the freedom to work my own schedule in a way that could work around my passion project.
Enter the gig economy.
I thought about rideshare, but I'd have to get a different car. I didn't want to do that.
And then I heard about Uber Eats.
I can't live on this! What was I thinking?
Day 1 on Uber Eats was an incredibly rude awakening. I had seen promises of “as much as $25 per hour.”
I gotta be honest: my BS meter was going off in a big way. However, I'd delivered pizzas in the past and received decent tips, so maybe this wouldn't be so bad.
In those days, Uber Eats didn't display the expected pay when offering a delivery. I took the first order and drove five miles to the restaurant.
And I waited.
Finally, the food was ready. I took off and completed the delivery. I was sure the customer would fall in love with my incredible customer service.
Whether they did or not, they didn't leave a tip.
A half-hour later, my first delivery was done. I was excited to see what I'd be paid.
And a quarter. I shouldn't forget the quarter. I mean, compared to the three dollars, that quarter is pretty significant.
It has to get better, right?
Day one was a disaster. Nine and a half hours, 161 miles, I made $88 in delivery fees and $12 in tips.
After deducting mileage, I made a whopping $1.29 per hour.
You know that sinking feeling in your gut when you realize you may have made a terrible mistake?
I just wasted a whole day. There's no way this is sustainable. Maybe this gig work isn't the way to go.
That's when my inner business manager let me have it.
I took this gig because I WANTED to be an independent contractor.
My problem was, I wasn't acting like one. I took every offer that Uber Eats sent my way. I'm thinking in the back of my mind that they have to be impressed with me.
I was acting like an employee.
“You stupid idiot!”
My inner business manager may or may not have used some more colorful language than that.
This was my own fault. I knew better.
I had managed independent contractors. There was no excuse here. I knew that I had the right to make choices and determine whether it made sense or not to accept what they offered me.
I started treating this like a business.
With that very uncomfortable discussion (argument?) with myself out of the way, it was time to make some changes.
I started looking at everything as a business decision. It was time to become the boss.
I started measuring everything. Was I more profitable downtown or in the burbs? What days paid better? Which time of day was the most profitable? How could I be more efficient?
And then I diversified, signing on with everyone I could.
I mean, if they're going to sign me up as a business, it's time for me to take them at their word.
That changed everything. It wasn't long, and I was making more than I had as a business manager (in less time).
And that's how I got to the EntreCourier.
I had started looking for how others were making it work with Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates, and others.
In doing so, I realized there was a lot of bad advice out there. I also noticed a LOT of drivers were struggling.
People were running their cars into the ground. They were shocked at what their tax bill was going to be.
A lot of people sign up for these delivery gigs totally unprepared for being a business owner. A scary percentage of them think they're employees.
I get it. I KNEW what it meant to be an independent contractor, but I still started thinking like an employee.
Shifting to a business mindset made all the difference in the world for me. I knew that it could be for others as well.
I started by trying to answer questions on Facebook and Reddit. It became the same questions, over and over.
Somewhere along the line, I figured I could save time by writing it out online and pointing people to the site.
And EntreCourier.com was born.
Gig Economy delivery may be the best career decision I could have made.
If you had told me when I started this journey that I'd think food delivery was the best career decision I could make, I'd have laughed in your face.
And yet, for so many reasons, it is precisely that.
First of all, the flexibility was exactly what I needed it to be. The pay was better than I could have imagined.
I did not expect it would move me toward my main passions the way it did. Two things happened.
Adopting a business mindset has caused me to look at things entrepreneurially. It really cemented a paradigm shift where I went from “what kind of job can I find within my passion?” to “what can I make happen?”
The most surprising thing to me was how it gave me opportunities to learn. There's a lot of drive time, and that's a fantastic opportunity to listen to eBooks and podcasts. It's also an excellent time to think things through and process ideas.
I've learned a lot about operating websites, launching a podcast, and reaching a large audience. The experience is a perfect fit and training ground for the things I want to do with my passion projects.
In the end, gig economy delivery has been so much more than just taking food from restaurant to customer. These are the lessons and experiences that I want to share here on EntreCourier.com.
This is more than just tips and tricks for Doordash, Uber Eats, Instacart and others. It's about developing a business attitude and using that experience to open doors in your life.
It's about taking control.
And being the boss.