Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
“You can’t steer a parked truck” is an illustrative way to make the point that if you want to make a drastic move in your life or career, you have to take the first step. Don’t worry about making mistakes, because you will…But as the title says, you can’t steer in the right direction if you don’t start. One might argue that you can’t wreck a parked truck either and thus, it’s safer to remain in our comfort zone. That’s true, but just outside of your comfort zone is where new opportunities and success await.
I only learned some of these entrepreneurial philosophies in the last year as I’ve increased my reading and podcast listening on the subjects of entrepreneurship and self-improvement. I wish that I’d opened my mind to this over 10 years ago when I wanted to become an owner-operator, but was too scared to pull the trigger and leave a secure job. As I look back in history, the secure job that I thought I had, wasn’t secure after all. The company closed the terminal where I worked and I moved on to another company driver job anyway. My point is; there are no secure jobs anymore. Just ask the drivers of New Century Transportation who abruptly lost their jobs on June 9th. I submit that becoming an owner-operator can be a more secure career than being a company driver. You are in charge of your future.
Looking back, I had all the tools needed to be a successful owner-operator years ago, but was afraid to make the leap. I used to cringe when I had to take heat for something I wasn’t responsible for, which is common in a large company. During my LTL days, I’d show up at a customer’s dock with damaged freight that someone else in the system tore up, but I’d be there facing the customer and dealing with their anger and frustration… Or showing up to make a pick up and the shipper scolding me that the dispatcher said I’d be there hours ago! Oh, the lies that are told over a phone! All of these situations helped propel me into self-employment where I only receive blame for what I actually do wrong. What a relief that is!
In conclusion, I want those of you who are ready for the change, to become owner-operators. If you have the discipline to work hard, handle money wisely and manage your company truck as if you owned it, you are ready! I’m sure you agree with me that I’d rather live my life with some “Oh well’s” than a life full of “What if’s”.