About three weeks ago, my wife and I took off for a weekend. We went to our favorite vacation spot. Now the thing you have to know about Lake City Colorado is it's a pretty busy summer vacation area. It's nestled in this little valley in the San Juan mountains, there's awesome fishing, and it's right at the one edge of the Alpine Loop, which is a popular four wheeling destination for heading up over the mountains to Ouray and then back over another pass. My Buick Century won't quite make that trip so I haven't been over the whole thing. Now here's the crazy thing, is Ouray is 18 miles away over that pass. If you want to drive between the two on the highways? 118 miles. This little town swells up with tourists, maybe 3,000 to 4,000 people on any given day in the summer.
And in the winter? The population dwindles to about 300. They pretty much roll up the town in the winter. Now you still get people out there for some ice climbing or snow mobiling, but all the little shops are closed up, there's maybe a couple cafe's that stay open. It's almost a ghost town, with nothing much to do.
Which made it perfect. It's been a tough few months, and this was a chance to just get away and be by ourselves. It was kind of a recuperation thing, you know? But here's the thing I really loved about it: It just gave us a lot of time to talk. We could just completely unplug and spend time together.
And the timing was perfect.
With it being near the end of the year, it just made it a perfect time for us to talk about the year behind us, and about what is ahead.
We talked a lot about these questions:
- What did we love about the past year?
- What did we hate about the past year?
- Given the chance, is there anything we would do differently?
- Is there anything we can learn from this past year looking ahead?
- What do we want to see 2020 be like?
- What do we want to see the next five years be like?
We talked about her career, and we talked about mine. Yes, I call it a career. For both of us, there's a lot you can wrap up into the word career. We talked about things like whether we feel like what we do can be considered a calling. We both felt like we could say that about what we do. I have to say, when you can say that and feel really, really good about what you do… that's an incredible blessing.
And where do we want to go with all that?
I share all of this for a reason.
Okay, maybe two reasons.
One of those reasons is, if you can find a way to swing doing something similar, do it! Whether you have a significant other or it's just you, take time to reflect. I'm not sure taking the trip was in our budget to be honest (though you can get crazy cheap rates for a winter stay in a summer destination) but it was so worth it. But you don't have to go away, it might be best to stay at home. Maybe go to a park or somewhere peaceful.Unplug, get away, and reflect.
The other thing is, there was a lot of time to reflect on all my time in delivery. I put a lot of time into the EntreCourier as well. Running this website and putting out a podcast is a bit of a time commitment. Is it getting me where I want to be in life? Was it a good use of my time in 2019 and will it be in 2020?
I got thinking that maybe sharing some of the following thoughts about how my delivery business, this website and everything around it fits into the bigger picture of my life, that maybe that can help you. Maybe they can help inspire you to think of the big picture or think a little more about your passions.
And oh, yeah… just a bit of a warning: You already saw the first one above, I'm sprinkling in a few resolution ideas for you throughout the article. I'm not sure they are completely on point but that's okay. Still some food for thoughts.
Letting you in a bit on my world.
I mentioned that yes, I see all this as a career. I've made a few hints here and there about my why, about doing this delivery work because it gives me the flexibility to do other things I'm passionate about. And you see, I see my delivery, running this website, and those passions as something that all roll up into one big thing. I am pretty sure there are things that I could do that make more money, but one thing that really came out when we were talking is…. I'm so happy with where I am. That's worth more than making more.
And it all boils down to the why. If you listen to me much, you hear me talk a lot about knowing your why. My friends, that's so incredibly important. It is your why that drives you, and when you're focusing on your why, oh man…. that's so huge. It makes all the difference in the world. Because now you're working from a sense of purpose. If you have a few minutes, check out this video from Simon Sinek. Once you have really dug into your why, once you live and work around your why, the what is so much more meaningful.
My own why has nothing to do with delivery.
A few years ago, I went back to school. Much of my adult life was in telecom, with many of those years being part of the management of a small telecom company. I decided there was more I wanted to do, so I went and got my Masters.
And it really had nothing to do with business, and definitely had nothing to do with delivery.
Now if you go back even further, my initial background was in ministry. My undergrad degree is from a Bible college, and I pastored some small churches for a few years. There were circumstances that for the time I just kind of felt like, okay, I'm done with this for now, and that's when I joined my family to start a telecom business. But I think there was always a bit of a tug.
Now when I was a pastor, the one thing I always enjoyed was working with the older members of the congregations. When I decided to go back to school, I enrolled in a seminary and had thoughts of going back into ministry. But the thing is, I think it was that previous experience with older adults that kept coming back to me. I looked into a focus on older adult ministry in my education. Here's the deal, there is no such focus. There's very little out there to train or help pastors in that area of ministry.
My why began to unfold
So here's what happened. As I'm looking at that, I thought I'd start reaching out to find out where churches were going for resources for their older adult ministries. And the more I started looking around, it was becoming clear that this was an area where this just wasn't a high priority for many if not most churches. Now whatever you believe when it comes to faith, obviously that's completely up to you. But the reality is that for a substantial number of older adults, their churches are their primary social outlet and a significant part of their lives.
And that's when this whole idea or sense of mission began. I transferred my degree work and completed my degree in Gerontology. All of this I did fully knowing that jobs in the kind of area that I wanted to focus were nonexistant. I was getting a degree where it wasn't going to lead to a job… and yet I believed fully (and still do) that that was the right path. The reality though is very clear to me today: For what I want to do, there is no existing job for it, so it's up to me to create it.
So here's what I want to do: I want to bring people together who work with older adults in their ministries and create a community where people can learn from one another, share ideas, and share encouragement. The other is to pretty much jump up on a soapbox and encourage church leaders to do a better job taking care of the older members in their congregations.
Enter the independent contractor gig…
I could do one of two things: I could go out and raise money so I could start doing something, or I could just start doing something. The latter means you don't get paid for it. But when you have to fundraise, the problem is your focus becomes more on raising funds than on doing what you want to do. So it made sense to just do.
Now the thing is, bills still have to be paid. I took a job for awhile as a business manager for a nonprofit, and loved it. But it was getting in the way and not giving me the freedom I needed. So I quit that to deliver food.
Prestigious career move, right?
But it was perfect for me. I can go out when it works for me. And when I want to set up meetings to meet with church pastors or do whatever networking, I have the freedom to do that. The part I didn't expect was that this would actually pay better than the business manager role I had. But that's been a beautiful thing too because I can make the same in less time and focus on the other things. The thing is, delivery doesn't conflict at all with my why and in fact lets me focus on it.
And then came the EntreCourier…
During all this time, I started reading a lot about content marketing and building a platform. That was how I wanted to grow this ministry that I was developing. The internet, with all its social media outlets, is such a game changer today. It used to take thousands upon thousands of dollars to build the kind of thing I want to build. Now, you can build an audience, build a community, and a platform, all on a few dollars a month.
At the same time, I'm finding a lot of people in the driver community that have a lot of questions. These are questions I can often answer from my business background. This delivery gig was a very pleasant surprise and I realized that I could help a lot of people. And here's something I'm not sure I've ever said before, but I realized that building the EntreCourier is a fantastic training ground for what I want to do with my real passion. I can put to work the things I have been learning about growing an audience and about putting out useful information. I can put into practice the idea of providing content that is meant to help, and nothing more.
And I can explore whether there are ways that this can help pay the bills. I'm being very careful and very thoughtful about that. I want this to be useful, first and foremost. If some way of earning money gets in the way of doing that, then I'll have to think of something else.
At some point, I want to get to where I don't have to drive as much. I want to have more time to focus on my passion.
And that's why I call this a career
It's really more of a calling.
I've found that I can be helpful. I've found that I enjoy being helpful. And whether that's helping you as contractors take control of your business and your life, or whether that's helping churches enhance the lives of older adults, it's what I want to do.
There's even an element of being helpful in taking food to people, you know?
But this is the thing: It's all part of a big picture. It's not about just doing work and getting by. It's my why.
I said I hoped this can help you.
Let's be real. There's nothing really spectacular about my story. There's nothing remarkable. I'm not making huge amounts of money. I'll never own a private jet or anything like that. I'm not going to win any awards or gain any fame. My content isn't particularly fantastic and there's nothing earth shattering.
But… I'm so happy doing all this.
And that's why I'm sharing this. There are two things I want to do with this website, podcast, my weekly newsletter, and any of my messaging on social media:
- Help you run your delivery business. I want to provide useful information from my experience and from others I learn from that can help you take control of your business and operate it to the best of your ability.
- Help you use your business as a part of a bigger picture of a happy life. Whether that is encouraging you to enjoy the good things in this work, encouraging you to think about how this business can help you to your why, or helping you think of how you can use this experience to grow into the next great thing, I want this to be about more than just delivery.
I think it just comes out of my happiness in what I'm doing, I know it's possible for this kind of thing to be awesome for a lot of people. Even if delivery itself isn't awesome, I want you to know that awesome IS possible for you and I want you to pursue awesome with a passion.
So let me ask you some questions.
So maybe take some time for yourself where you don't have to do anything. I don't know, do you just completely get away like my wife and I did? Seriously, if you can do it, I think it's so worth it. But if not… maybe some quiet time in the morning, maybe just turn off the radio and podcasts while your'e out delivering? I do that sometimes but sometimes all the interruptions can be distracting… but just unplug, get away from all the noise, turn off your phone, and take time to ask yourself a lot of questions. Think about where you are with your life and your business. And think about where you want to go.
I'll throw out some specific questions that you can ask yourself. There are always others and you don't need to limit yourself to these, but maybe these help you.
Let me throw out one thing: If you want to have someone to send your answers to, or to help think through them, I'm here. Email your thoughts to me. Look up the EntreCourier on Facebook or other social media and chat me up there. I'd love to hear your thoughts and would relish the opportunity to be a sounding board.
Start with why.
Have you ever really dug into the real why behind what you do?
Why are you delivering food for Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Bitesquad, Deliv or anyone else? What is it that makes you do this work?
Why is that important? What is it about that reason that makes you get out in your car, deal with these apps and with the restaurants and customers? Why is that reason so important to you?
Now, ask yourself why THAT reason is important. Dig deep. If you have an answer, dig deeper. Why is THAT important? Do you see where I'm doing? It's kind of a why inception – a why within a why within a why within a why.
Is your delivery business a great way to achieve that why?
Is it the best way? Are there other things that might achieve it in a better way? Or is this an awesome way to start? For me, it's kind of like the best way I know of right now to get started.
What do you enjoy the most about delivery?
Ann Voskamp wrote a book called 1,000 gifts. It was about her journey to write down 1000 things she was thankful for. It was a life changing experience for her and if you have a faith perspective, could be a good read.
Can you make a list of things you enjoy about this? I'm thinking of creating a challenge where people can just write a list of all the things that make them smile when out on the job. Take time, ask yourself what it is you enjoy.
What do you hate about having a delivery business?
Do the apps frustrate the heck out of you? Is it the low tippers? Maybe it's just the pay. This isn't meant to be a gripe fest but it's also a good thing to get real about the things you don't like.
Do the good things outweigh the bad?
Here's the deal with this. Life is too short to be miserable. If it's impossible to overcome the things you hate about doing this, it's time to find something you would enjoy more. No job or opportunity or business is worth being miserable. If you hate it that much, maybe it's time to walk away. Find something you love.
What is it that is awesome about you?
You'd be amazed at how much there is. And here's the answer that you should start with. You are you. Seriously, my friends, that alone is awesome. You are the person you were made to be. You matter, you have value. Absolutely start with that.
What are the things you appreciate about who you are? It's okay to brag on yourself here. What are you good at? Ask yourself, what about the things you do, the way you act and the way you think brings you joy? What brings joy to others? What are your talents and gifts? Seriously, give yourself all the pats on your back.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I'm in my 50's and I still ask that question.
If you could do one thing that you know you would love more than anything else, if you could do one thing that would just bring you joy or a sense of purpose, what would it be?
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
Make no mistake here: This is NOT permission to begin a gripe session about yourself. This is NOT a ‘what do you hate about who you are?' kind of question. Don't let it be that. But it is about what are the personal development things you'd like to see? It could be around knowledge, it could be around thoughtfulness, it could be around faith. It's not what's wrong with you, it's where do you want to grow?
How do you get there?
Now, how do you get there? If it's about career or what you do, what can you do to put yourself in position to do that? What can you do from a personal development standpoint to grow where you want to grow?
Now here's the thing: I don't want to turn this into a list that puts pressure on you. Instead, this is about this whole idea of process.
When I went back to school, it started with thinking I wanted to do something that had more meaning than putting telephones on someone's desk. I heard all the things about ‘do the things you are passionate about.' That was a problem – I didn't know what I was passionate about. I think I just existed for so long, I don't know. But that became my passion – to discover my passion.
Maybe that's where it starts with you? But see, it wasn't so much about giving myself a list but about creating a mindset. I think that's why I'm so happy with where I am right now, you know?
And that's my new year's wish for you: That you can find and live your passion. If it's in doing delivery or if that's a part of it all, that's awesome. If you find that it's in something else, that's just as incredible. Be you. Be passionate. Live your passion.
If you can do that in 2020, I think that's going to make a pretty damn successful year.
Some suggested Reading:
Note that the Amazon links below are affiliate links. I do receive a small commission if you do choose to purchase any of these.
I referenced Simon Sinek's TED Talk above. If you're interested in digging deeper into understanding your why, you might enjoy his book Start With Why. You can get the book on Amazon, or get the Kindle Version. Or, while you are driving around, the Audible audio book version is a great listen (I've listened to it on my phone while on delivery). If you haven't used Audible, you can get the trial membership at no cost with a download included. The Audible version of the book is here.
What questions would you add to the above?
What are some things you would suggest we think about when we examine the year behind us, the year ahead, and where we are going with our delivery business and our lives? Please comment below.