It started with a rude awakening.
I thought I'd give this delivery gig a try. I didn't want people puking in my car
However, my BS meter was going off in a big way when I saw promises of “as much as” $25 per hour. But, I'd made good tips doing pizza deliveries way back in another life, so maybe there's potential.
I signed up for Uber Eats. Then I went out to a restaurant supply place and bought a delivery bag. I got my approval and I turned on the app.
Immediately, an order popped up. Okay, this is cool, no waiting. It was five miles away, I'd prefer closer, but the reality is there aren't many restaurants that are closer. I drove to the restaurant.
Finally, the food was ready. I dashed off, finished my delivery, sure that the customer would love my fantastic service…
And no tip.
A half hour later, all those miles, all that waiting, should be good for about ten dollars, right?
And a quarter – I shouldn't forget the quarter. Compared to $3, that extra quarter is pretty significant.
Alright, this is an anomoly. It gets better, right?
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea?
That first day was a disaster. Nine and a half hours, 161 miles, $88 in delivery fees and $12 in tips.
The good news was I wasn't going to get in tax trouble here. Once I took figured in the IRS's 54.5 cents per mile, my profit was a whopping $1.29 per hour.
That quarter looks pretty huge now, doesn't it?
This wasn't going to work.
What am I doing here? I've managed businesses. I have a Masters degree. And I'm driving around for a buck and a quarter an hour? Why would I do this???
But you know, I knew it would get better. I didn't know HOW much better it would get, but I figured, let me give it a shot here, see if I can use what I know, see if I can make it better.
I never felt that this was a lowly thing to do. When you are good at what you do and you enjoy it, there is no lowly thing to do.
I actually chose to do this, I quit a job as business manager for a non profit organization to do this.
Well, not specifically to do THIS, but this was a part of it.
From managing businesses and charities… to this??
In my past life I worked in telecom for years. I was good at it. I'd worked in sales, service, and management.
But when it was all said and done, I thought there had to be more to life than convincing people that the business phone system I'm selling is better than someone else's.
Someone said follow your passions. That's how you find a good job. I didn't know what my passions were, but hey, it's a start.
I went back to school, got my Masters degree. During that time, I'd been volunteering for a nonprofit that works with kids and bikes.
That nonprofit drafted me to come on as their business manger. I was good at it, I enjoyed it, and I loved what we were doing.
It just wasn't my passion.
Finding a way to make a difference with my passion and still pay the bills.
Faith is an important thing to me. I had started to figure out that what I wanted to do was make a difference in how churches could work with their older members. This is what I wanted to do. It's why I got my Masters.
There just weren't any jobs for it. If I was going to do it, I had to do it on my own.
I loved my work at the nonprofit, but it took a lot of time. It's a little ironic that my passion was with older adults and I was with a youth oriented charity. I was okay with that though, it was a great organization. Still is.
Yet it's one of those jobs you just never can leave behind at the end of the day. I had ideas what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. The 9 to 5 life just didn't fit in with that.
I needed something more flexible, something I could just do on my schedule, and leave behind when I'm done.
Enter the Gig Economy!
I drove a cab way back in college, maybe I could do Uber or Lyft. I wasn't willing to upgrade my car only to wear it out with all the driving.
But there was Uber Eats! Hey, at least they'd let me wear out the car I already had, right? But the flexibility was there. I've done delivery work. Maybe……
And that brings us back to that first day. I'm sorry, but that $1.29 per hour wasn't going to cut it.
It was time to become the boss.
I'm looking at how terrible that day was, and my inner business manager just kind of let me have it.
I knew better.
The nonprofit I helped manage had been hiring independent contractors. I thought something seemed off about that. We were controlling their work and treating them like employees. We changed how we were doing things because of that.
I knew very well what you could and could not do when managing independent contractors.
In fact, that's why I chose to work in the gig economy. I needed that freedom and flexibility. Those rights were important to me.
It just turned out I wasn't exercising them.
I was taking every order, I was acting like an employee. I was relying on Uber Eats and not on my own judgment.
That horrible pay was my own fault.
That's the reality of running a business. There's no minimum wage and no guarantee. It's sink or swim.
I just decided it was time to swim.
I started thinking like a business owner.
That $100 I made on the first day bothered me. I mean, $100 in a day isn't the most horrible day.
But even then, I knew it was about profit. I understood I really only made $12. (On top of that, I understood that if I used the IRS numbers, it was a loss). I knew my car cost more than just gas.
It wasn't that profit wasn't very good, it was that profit was horrible.
I started making business decisions. I chose the orders I would accept based on if it was profitable. It was time to become the boss.
I measured everything.
Was I more profitable downtown or in the burbs? Was it better in the evenings or afternoons? What days of the week were profitable? How could I be more efficient?
Things improved as I applied business ideas to what I'm doing. Hey, they're telling me I'm contracting as a business, maybe it's time to take them at their word?
I diversified, picking up other options. I measured them all.
Measuring everything helped me find the best times and locations for each company in my market. I used that to my advantage.
I was soon profiting more, in less time, than what I was earning as a nonprofit business manager.
And I had the freedom pursue my passions outside that.
On my own terms.
How that success led me to starting the EntreCourier.
In searching for solutions to common problems, I found forums and Youtube videos that answered questions.
And I discovered that a LOT of couriers were struggling.
People were amazed they were running their car into the ground. Folks were shocked what they owed for taxes. Couriers were frustrated and disappointed. They were getting mad at the delivery companies and the customers.
People were being thrown into business owner roles that they were completely unprepared for.
I realized that these companies were exploiting drivers in a way that was worse than I thought.
Some were trying to force drivers into compliance and bully them into high acceptance rates. I saw these companies get away with it because people don't know their rights. Too many don't understand what it means to own a business.
In the end, I could overcome that horrible start because I started thinking like a business owner. I made business decisions and I took control. I found it to be an incredible opportunity.
It's not that there was anything special about me. I wasn't doing anything that anyone else couldn't do. The thing I realized is that once I grasped the idea I was running a business, that made all the difference in the world.
My success wasn't really because of me. It was because I developed a business mindset.
That's what led me to start EntreCourier.
You don't have to struggle. You have what it takes. It's just that you need the tools.
I figured that maybe my experience in business, management and as a driver could help you find those tools.
I'm not here to tell you how to do it. Instead it's just about giving you the tools and information to help you be the one to find the success. To make business decisions. To become an Intentional Business Owner.
So that you can be the Boss.