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Courier MBA Day 30: Creating a Great Work Environment

You have a responsibility to provide a great work environment to your employee.

You know what I mean, right? This is part of the employee relations portion of the course, and since you're self employed, that would be…. YOU.

Take care of your employee. Make it a great place to work.

The trendy thing is to put a foosball table in the office to make it a fun place to be. I never got that, to be honest, never really enjoyed foosball all that much....   and it's kinda hard to fit one into your car, so maybe this isn't the best plan.
The trendy thing is to put a foosball table in the office to make it a fun place to be. I never got that, to be honest, never really enjoyed foosball all that much…. and it's kinda hard to fit one into your car, so maybe this isn't the best plan.

A good work environment allows you to earn more.

There is one difference between a job and being your own boss that CAN potentially work against you:

You don't HAVE to go to work. There's no time clock, there are no set hours. It's completely up to you. The freedom is awesome but if you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it.

It helps that this is generally a lower stress thing.

I'm looking back at my two and a half years doing this full time… I'm not sure I ever felt like I dreaded doing delivery.

That struck me almost right away when I started doing this. I loved the freedom and the lack of stress. No boss, no upcoming meetings, none of that. You just go out and make money. My wife told me once early on that I seemed much more relaxed and it hit me.

She was right.

The thing is, this stuff doesn't follow me home at night, you know what I mean?

In Episode 84 Kevin Ha from Financial Panther had this to say:

You know, for me, the delivery stuff is just always been so fun because it’s like, it kind of gamified my life. Like, it turns everything I’m out doing kind of little missions. I like how it’s a really task based. So you know, it’s like, you know, exactly you do get this done. And then you’re done with that.

Kevin Ha in Episode 84

On Episode 78, Mike Bisceglia from the Mike Delivers podcast was on, and he said some of the same stuff:

I think the dichotomy of what I do with CBS sports radio, where it’s a nonstop 24, seven kind of job, because in sports, the news cycle doesn’t stop. Like you gotta be on top of sports. You gotta have guests ready. Even when your show’s over, you’re worried about the next day and you gotta get things rolling. And not that that’s a bad thing, but there is something to it when you know you’re done. And it’s over, there’s nothing to think about for the next time. You’re thinking about how I can improve as a driver. Maybe I could have done this differently, but for the most part it’s, yeah, it’s alright. That’s over. And I don’t have to bring the stress back from the road to the house 

Mike Bisceglia on Episode 78

But it's still possible to burn out.

And once you get there, it's hard to get going. It's difficult to motivate yourself to get out the door.

So I think it's wise to take some steps to help you keep going. To balance your business and your life. I want to borrow these six steps from Episode 29

1. Focus on your Why

What is your why question handwritten on yellow sticky note pinned on cork bulletin board.

Go back to day 3. This was, I believe, one of the most important days in the course.

What is your why?

Why are you doing this?

Delivery isn't something most people do just because you feel driven to deliver food, you know? While I've been surprised at how enjoyable it's been, I've never had a time where I felt like this was a life mission kind of thing.

Okay, I have to walk that back a little. When the pandemic hit with full force and EVERYTHING shut down, and all of a sudden these restaurant owners were kinda fearing for their survival… people couldn't get out, people were freaking out about the grocery stores being empty. That was a time where it felt like there was more of a bigger picture sense of purpose in this.

That said… the reality is you're doing this for something else.

Remind yourself what your why is.

2. Keep your why in perspective with your business

When I look at this, my first thought is I'm just re-stating number two.

So let me clarify.

#1 is about motivation. Let your why motivate you.

#2 is about balance. Let your why balance what you do.

Here's what I mean: As I've said a lot, my reason for doing this is it gives me the flexibility to work on other things I'm passionate about. If I'm pouring so much into my delivery business that I don't have the time to do what I'm passionate about, I'm kinda defeating my why, aren't I?

Remember the exercise in day 3 where I'd ask why are you doing this? Why is that important to you? And why is THAT important to you? And so sometimes when you do that, you start with, to make enough money, but when you dig into why it's important to make money, you find out the real why is your family.

Set some boundaries. Don't let your what interfere with your why.

3. Create a great environment.

I give very different advice when people ask about what kind of car to drive. Most people default to gas mileage. Drive what's cheapest or most affordable.

Gas Mileage is at best #3. The two most important factors in choosing a car are reliability and rideability. I wrote about that here.

By rideability, it HAS to be something you can stand to spend a lot of time in.

Because you will spend a lot of time in it.

Is it comfortable? Do you enjoy driving it? Or is there something you dread?

I couldn't drive most super economical cars for delivery because they're generally not made for big guys like me. I would be miserable.

The first thing I did when I got a new car earlier this year (new to me, it's still 11 years old) was to get a new stereo put in. It's not that the existing one was bad at all, but because I spend so much time in the car, I wanted something that easily connected with my smart phone (Bluetooth) AND I got one with a backup camera (which is huge when you do so much parallel parking)

Make your car into something you want to spend time in. If you can't stand to spend much time in it, it might be time for a different car. Or maybe to try a bike (which I'm doing more and more of by the way – I love it… might not feel the same way in another month or so).

4. Dwell on the Good Stuff

You have a lot of say about how you feel about your day.

Is the gas tank half full or half empty? My car must be an optimist. It tells me the tank is half full when it's really at about a quarter.

optimism or pessimism for an optimist the glass is half full for the pessimist it is half empty which phylosophy do you follow are you pessimistic or optimistic look at the bright or dark side

There are things that can frustrate us. But in the end, it's a choice.

One concept that really changed my life: Dwell on the things you can change, not on what you cannot.

The customer who didn't tip isn't worth the emotional energy. Why ruin your day over something you can't change? What COULD we control? Our decision making process.

Here's where I am with tipping. I don't care. I mean, if someone offers a great tip, that's awesome. But if it's too low, it doesn't matter. What matters is if the delivery paid enough overall.

If it paid enough but it all came from the delivery fees? So what? It was enough, and so I'm happy.

If it wasn't enough? Then why did I take the thing in the first place?

The biggest trap for me has been waiting at the restaurant. Especially when the staff either screwed up or they don't care. It's real easy to get frustrated with that. I have to remind myself: I have two choices.

  1. Move on
  2. Make good use of my waiting time.

And here's the other part that's really fun for me. The dogs. I LOVE dogs, so I get a lot of joy out of the dogs I meet on deliveries. The contact free deliveries have taken some of that away, which is a bummer. But I focus on things like that. I look for stuff to give me a smile.

You get to choose your attitude and your outlook.

5. Gamify it.

I liked how Kevin said it in the quote above. In episode 29 I just said Create Challenges. Gamify is more fun.

Sometimes I like to create a challenge. How many deliveries per hour can I get? What if I try this or that? How quickly can I get to $100?

Have fun with it. Set small goals. Find challenges to stretch you.

6. Take advantage of your time

Remember what I said earlier about how I got the stereo put in?

Best. Investment. I. Could. Make (except maybe my e-Bike).

I took some time off when the pandemic hit. I couldn't believe how much I missed it. While the delivery and the earnings were great, the part I missed the most?

Podcasts, ebooks and sometimes just listening to my tunes.

I stayed home, put a lot of my time into my website and some personal projects. So the time was well spent. But I never realized just how valuable that time on deliveries was to me.

I'm out there making money and I can learn in a way I couldn't do quite the same way at home. Those podcasts and e-books are gold.

And it's a lot more fun cranking up the Audio Adrenelaine in the car then when I'm trying to write a blog post.

And sometimes, I just shut it all off and think.

The odd thing is that the ‘wasted' time driving to the customer and to the restaurant has become some of my most productive and valuable time.

And I'm getting paid to do it. Sweeeeeeet!!!

Find ways to make your delivery business more enjoyable

This isn't an all inclusive list by any means.

I'd love to hear from you what can make it enjoyable for you.

We've had those jobs – sometimes jobs we gave ourselves, where we think, what am I doing here?

I listen to the Gary Vee podcast a lot, and he talks about how many millionaires he knows who are miserable. He says it in a bit more colorful language. In the interview on the podcast with Kevin at FinancialPanther.com, he talked about being miserable in a high paying job as a lawyer.

I loved a lot about my last job. I loved the organization and what they were doing, but there were times I wasn't so happy about it being Monday.

Don't let that happen to your delivery business. Dwell on the things that really matter, focus on the stuff that lets you enjoy it, and find ways to enjoy the work.

And if the time comes where you dread this… maybe that's when you need that exit plan from day 7.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.