And, oh, by the way, the pandemic
Not a lot of people are sad to see this year come to an end.
Who knew that the real meaning of 2020 hindsight is that when we look back at the year 2020, we'd just see the year mooning us?
It's been a wild ride.
And we made it.
Choosing what to focus on
2020 was tough. For a lot of us, that's an understatement.
But we can also choose how we want to look at what that year was.
So many people were hit hard by the year that was. People lost jobs, they lost loved ones. People had the bandage ripped off the old wounds of social injustice.
So what do we do with all that?
Maybe this is an opportunity to define ourselves.
We all go through fire at times in our lives. Fire can do a couple of things. It can destroy us. Or it can refine us, make us stronger.
Which one is it going to be? Are we going to stay on the misery? Or do we give ourselves a pat on the back and say, hey, it was a tough year and we made it.
That's something to be proud of.
Congratulations! Seriously. If you told us at this time a year ago what 2020 had in store for us, I think we'd all be wondering how we'd get through it.
But here we are.
Looking back on the year.
I have to say from my perspective, 2020 had some good things to go with the bad.
Delivery blew up, didn't it? Holy cow, no one expected it to be what it became. More people got into the delivery gig economy than ever, and delivery allowed a lot of us to survive.
The good and bad of delivery in 2020
I can't say this was true for everyone, but I know for me, I made more for the time that I put into it.
There were a lot of ways delivery got easier. Contact free deliveries often sped up the process. Restaurants have had to shift their focus to delivery and many became more efficient.
With more people staying home, parking is easier at the restaurants, and getting around town has been easier. I'll never complain about less traffic.
I know that doesn't mean that EVERYTHING was better. The delivery companies showed their true colors many times. I have less respect for them than I did before the year began (and trust me, that's not an easy accomplishment).
But all that said, I know that my average delivery times were much shorter, and my average profits per hour were substantially higher. 24% higher.
Not a bad raise if you ask me.
The flip side is, I drove less than 2/3 of the hours I put in for 2019. I spent a lot more time on the bench. I sat out several weeks early on. Then again, I sat out much of November and nearly all of December thanks to a lot of quarantining.
But here I am. I'm healthy and thankful.
I know my story isn't everyone's story. Most drivers I talk to made were able to do better because of how delivery blew up. Some, it's been a different story.
2020 was a blast for me on the podcast and website.
As much hell that 2020 has been, there's a piece of it I wouldn't trade for the world.
I've continued to have a blast with this website and getting the Deliver on Your Business podcast out. I got to talk to a lot of great people about what they're doing.
This has been an amazing year. I don't know how it happened, but somehow, people have found there way here to the podcast or the website.
I had someone tell me the other day they ran across another person in another state who listens to the podcast, and has put some of the things I talk about into practice.
See, that's the thing that gets to me, I just can't begin to fathom that kind of thing, you know? I mean, I put this information out there because I want it to help people. But, there's something humbling when you find out it really does.
I think it's because the truth is, I'm nothing special. There's nothing that makes me anything more than anyone else out there.
But I've learned a lesson through all this. I think it's something all of us can do. If we find an area where, we can help someone else out, and we decide to do it, we can make a difference. I found that if I focus on things I know about and not try to become a personality or anything, if I'm trying to help, then that will happen.
The same thing is true for you, my friends. Where can you make a difference? What is that one area that you can help someone else out in? That's what it's all about.
What's ahead for 2021?
I have to be honest, that's a scary question.
I don't know what to expect.
This pandemic is far from over. I'm not sure if we've even begun to discover the repercussions. How well can we come back as a nation, as our economy, as a people?
How well did we heal, mend, and come together over all the other stuff, or did we create bigger divides?
What's going to happen with delivery? I'm not optimistic about the way these delivery companies are doing things. When they ramp up deactivations without telling you why, when Grubhub says we're not going to suggest tips any more on most orders in California… that's discouraging.
Where does that lead? I don't know.
But here's the thing: If you told me at the start of the year what it was going to be, I'd have been far less optimistic about things. But here we are, we got through it, and there is a lot about the delivery gig that's better than it's ever been.
That's the thing. There's going to be better to go with the worse. New players are coming into the picture. There will be new opportunities.
And maybe there are other opportunities outside delivery that are even better.
2021 at the EntreCourier and the Deliver on Your Business podcast.
I'm more excited than ever about the future of this site. The good news about being home from delivery is I was able to put a lot more into building up the website, doing a lot of behind the scenes things.
I don't know that I've ever been so optimistic, professionally, about what lies ahead as I am right now. It's exciting. So let me fill you in on some of what I'm thinking.
I see a stronger sense of purpose for the website and the podcast.
Up until now, I've sort of looked at them both as one and the same.
I put up a podcast episode and that becomes a blog post as well. A lot of the weeks where I'm driving full time, that podcast episode is the only real new content on the website.
This past month, being home, often somewhat isolated because of quarantine, it's given me a chance to reflect a lot on what the strengths are of the website and the podcast.
Figuring out the role for the EntreCourier website
The strength of the EntreCourier website has been that it's there to answer questions. Many of my posts start out with me trying to answer questions that I hear being asked.
And the thing is, those are the posts that people are finding.
And you know, that's what I wanted it to be. When I put this together, I made the decision that I wanted to focus on providing information that helps people understand the business side of delivery as an independent contractor.
Going into 2021, I want to hone in on that. Really focus on the information and education side of things. Keep with the analysis of what's going on out there, look at how it impacts us, and what are the business decisions we can make?
There are two things that I've done with this site that had the most impact. The Courier MBA series that I started the podcast with, and the Tax Guide that I put out early last year.
That's the kind of stuff I want to focus on with the EntreCourier.
In September I launched a trial course based on the Courier MBA series. It was a blast. I'd like to refine that but also provide a couple of other courses. Maybe a master class for part time side hustlers, and another that dives into fulltime. Create a how to get started in delivery course. And who knows what else?
The direction of the Deliver on Your Business Podcast.
I started realizing that the podcast is going a slightly different direction. Most of my topics were more about life in delivery. A lot of my thoughts and opinions.
And in a way, it's a bit more about life including the informational side of things.
Sometimes the episodes fit into the theme of things. Sometimes not so much.
So I've wondered what to do with that.
And here's the thing that I'm noticing. As far as growing the audience, it's pretty much the same size today as it was a year ago.
Now to be honest I've not put time into trying to grow the podcast. So that's a thing. And maybe I should be asking myself why that is.
So I wondered whether to put it to rest for a bit. If it's not meeting the purpose of the website and it's not really growing, what does that mean?
I'm realizing though that the podcast fits into something else I've wanted to develop.
The crazy thing is, as soon as I start asking questions about the future of my site, I started getting comments and feed back on the podcast. All of which was positive stuff.
I think I'm discovering something. While the audience isn't growing, it's been steady.
I find a sense of community within the podcast and the audience that I don't find in the website.
And that points out this divergence between the two. It actually makes sense and it's actually a good thing.
EntreCourier is information. Deliver on Your Business is community. The two actually fit together.
Does anyone remember the newsletter?
For the longest time, I was putting out a weekly email newsletter.
I was trying really hard to create some content specifically for the newsletter. I reached a point where it was just impossible to do all of that. Of course at the time I'm still trying to drive full time.
But here I was trying to create informational content. AND I was doing the podcast. AND I was doing the newsletter content. In a lot of ways it was me trying to go three different directions.
So here's what I'm figuring out. The community side of things and the informational side fit together. They're complimentary. But I'm not sure there's been a focused approach to it.
Where is that leading with the podcast?
I'll start with this:
I've noticed a lot of podcasts are done in seasons. It makes sense. When I post the episodes, I enter in season one, and this week it will be episode 104.
It's essentially been one year and a half long season.
So here we are at the end of the year. It's a good time for a season finale.
There's a part where I don't like what that means. The part of me that binge watches a series like the Mandalorian, and then you catch up to the series finale? Now I have to wait. That sucks.
So that's what's kinda happening here, but it's not a year wait. I'm going to do a season break, I think for January.
Here's what I'm going to do with that break.
I'm putting the things in place where I can revive the newsletter, and tie it more to the podcast.
What that means is in January, I'm working on building the format for it all.
Part of that is creating a community as well. Creating a place where information can be shared exclusively to community members.
And then with the launch of season two, expecting early February, we'll premier the podcast episodes to the community, and then go public a day or two later.
What I want to do is create something more interactive. Build more back and forth. I've got a vision of something like the Independent Delivery Professionals community or association or something like that.
Those are some of the thoughts going through my mind. If you've got ideas of some of the things we can do as a community, I'd love to hear them. You can email me or leave a comment on the post or whatever.
2021 is going to be awesome.
Even if it sucks.
That's because we're going to choose to make it awesome in spite of whatever happens.
I'm excited about what the year ahead means. And I'm excited about the opportunity to get to know you all that much better, and of building a stronger community.
I'm looking forward to what Courier Nation can become.