Archive for April 28, 2011

What Example Are You Setting For Those Who Follow

What example are you setting for those who follow you?

New pictures of our grandchildren

My husband and I were looking at the new pictures of our four grandchildren my daughter posted on Face Book last night. Each picture highlighted each child's personality so much that we laughed.

As parents, we always want our children to "look pretty", "act right", "sit up straight" for those valued family pictures. As a grandparent I prefer the natural, in the moment pictures when the kids least expect it. Those shots really capture the personality at its finest.

One of the pictures of grandson number three really made us laugh, from the depths of our very being. Thaedrin is so full of energy and such a little two year old. He is always laughing and is such a joker that you just have to smile and laugh along.

In a particular picture he is not laughing, instead he is struggling to get out of the leg-hold his dad has on him. This picture had an instant effect on me and not a positive one either. The body language of our little Thaedrin said it all. It reminded me I need to watch my own actions and words; the example I am setting for those who follow. The effect they might have on someone else may not be the one I intended.

Death and life are in the power of tongue…

Back when we were raising our kids I must admit, we did not pay too much attention to what we said or did. We raised our kids the way our parents raised us and they raised us the way their parents raised them. It was a cycle and did not seem to be such a bad way to bring up a child, at least that is what we thought back then.

When our kids hit their teen years, we stumbled onto network marketing and personal growth business seminars. The personal growth seminars that Rich, my husband and I attended is where we learned we were setting an example that we would not want to follow. We found that what you sow you would reap.

In the exercises we participated in, we would realize that words could hurt. When you combine hateful, spiteful words with less than loving actions, it can produce more hate, spite and resentment. Interestingly enough, these results were the exact opposite of what we were trying to produce.

It did not take long and we figured out that we needed to think before we spoke. Even more thought needed to be put into action before we acted in a physical manner.

The picture of our grandson clearly reflected that neither action, mental nor physical, was thought about before manhandling him for the picture.

Children follow what you DO not what you say

As a child I grew up hearing my grandma and dad say, "Children should be seen and not heard". Have you ever heard or been told that? It took me years, okay I'll admit it, my whole life and The Mindset Maven to learn that it was okay to have my own opinion. More importantly, that type of mind control stifles a child's growth in every way. The example it sets is one of conformity and not individuality.

To break that mold took over 14 years of hard work. Now the problem raises its ugly head in other parents' behavior and it drives me crazy. Protecting other kids from suffering the same type of upbringing is at the forefront of my mind. Wouldn't you want to protect a child from that abuse?

If you keep a sharp eye on the way, children behave around different people you will see how that person acts normally. What do I mean by that? Have you ever noticed some people can put on an air of sophistication one moment and become a tyrant the next?

Children have an innate ability to see through all the "crap". Just look at a child that has been or seen abuse. They will shrink or shy away from the guilty party to avoid them.

We all need to remember that children will always copy what you do. They will not listen to what you say. The words fall on little deaf ears. They become little clones mimicking your very actions.

Coaching children and business owners mirror each other

Imagine a world full of business owners with attitudes and behaviors that mimic our negative, skeptical relatives. What sort of service would you receive if the customer service personnel was grouchy and complained through your whole transaction? Would you continue your quest or would you leave to find a more pleasant atmosphere to do business?

I am so thankful that I lived and worked through all sorts of experiences in my lifetime. All of the difficulties in life have helped me to grow as a person and business owner alike. Without the training I have received, used and experienced, there would be no way to serve my clients and coaching students at the level we do today.

Let me go back to the beginning of this article a moment and say this. If I were the grown up version of the little girl who heard her dad and grandma saying, "Children should be seen and not heard", I would still be an employee…somewhere.

Business owners have a different mindset. They have learned how to rise above the pettiness in life and other people's words and actions. Tenacity is a trait that most share. Often times they have a deep seated burning desire to better themselves daily. Fostering a servant's heart helps them to bridle that tongue that can lead to death; instead, they develop a life full of adventure and loving relationships.

Watching our grandchildren growing up and our coaching students graduating, we remember to watch the example we are setting for those who follow.

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Choose, How Do You Know What Is Right For You?

Cyrus, the Doberman pinscher and a day with my son

Choose, how do you know what is right for you

Yesterday I had the privilege of accompanying my son to the Northern California Doberman Rescue shelter. I had never been to a rescue shelter, only the local pound.

We had talked at length about why he wanted a dog. It made sense since he is single and lives hours away from the closest family and friends. Having a companion to come home to after a long day at work is comforting. Dan, my son would have a walking partner, someone to give attention and affection. All the right reasons to get a dog, man's best friend.

Why a Doberman pinscher

At first thought, I was not too keen on this type of dog. Any mother could attest to the fact that these dogs have a reputation, and not a good one at that.

Growing up, my aunt had several of these dogs. As a small girl I remember them being big and somewhat mean. I know that my cousins were not afraid of their dogs, but I was. The dogs never hurt us, but they did intimidate us. Knowing those dogs were there, we always were on our best behavior not wanting them to attack us.

As we drove further out into the countryside, my son and I talked. Dan explained that he wanted a dog that would be a good friend and protect him. He did not want one that was vicious and cause trouble either. He wanted to choose, but how would he know what was right for him.

He wanted a dog like the one he had as a kid. Cheeto was a black lab, Queensland Healer cross. He leaned more towards the goofy lab side of his genealogy and was a great kid's dog. Dan had tons of memories of his dog who was the brother to Gabby, our dog that died last year.

Small breed not an option

The further we drove the more questions I asked. He still had not convinced me that his choice in breeds was the right one for him. Although he is a grown man now, my motherly instincts were kicking into high gear.

His safety and that of his neighbor's children was my biggest concern. When you own a dog, it is a liability. The responsibility is a serious matter. Working full time the dog would be home by itself most of the day. Would it be house-broken, trained and a good fit?

When Dan brought Dexter home he worked at the local bank. He did not have time to work with and train this little puppy. Remembering the amount of work, it took to train him over those years, would my son have what it took to be patient and put in the work.

His co-workers were trying to get him to decide on a small breed dog. Somehow Dan could not imagine himself walking a Chihuahua, Pekinese or Pug…it just was not his type of dog. Now that I think about it, neither could I :)

Dana and the Rescue Shelter

We finally arrived at the rescue shelter. Barking dogs greeted us as Dana, the owner came to the door. As she welcomed us in, the dogs' varying barks rang in my ears.

Twenty-six dogs called this shelter home. All but one were Dobermans and the odd man out was a cute Basset Hound with bad knees.

Dana showed us around and then invited us to sit to chat a bit. As I looked around, I could see each dog inside it's own crate. The facility was very clean; you could tell she took good care of the dogs. All had a bucket of fresh, clean water and clean bedding.

Feeding times were morning and evening and the dogs rotated for turns out in the exercise yards. There were black, red and blue Dobermans each unique in appearance, demeanor and stature.

Some of the males were huge, intimidating dogs. The females were slightly smaller and had features that are more feminine. Some of the females were right there with the males in the intimidation category.

Dana knew her stuff when it comes to Dobermans. She has bred, raised and showed Doberman pinschers for over two decades. Her personal Doberman is a red and drop dead gorgeous, friendly as they come. She is a champion and comes from a long line of champions.

The hard work it takes to care for the dogs that have been rescued shows in Dana's attitude and love of each dog. A file kept for each dog that includes all medical history, any abusive history, why they needed rescuing and their personality traits.

To say I got an education and training in rescue, Doberman pinschers and what it takes to provide care for twenty-six dogs is an understatement. I give her all the credit in the world and encourage any donations one might want to give to support her cause.

Cyrus and Daniel connect

An hour or two had passed as we visited and got to know Dana, her history and that of the dog's history, too. Cyrus is native to California. His last owner and her other dog were not a match for him. Within 48 hours, he had found his way to the Northern California Doberman Rescue and Dana.

When the crate door opened, Cyrus bounded out like a race horse out of the gate. Young and full of energy he headed straight for Daniel. We could tell it was time for some exercise and energy relief so outside we went.

Cyrus must have run for over fifteen minutes before he settled down. Once again, he headed straight for Dan, ignoring Dana and me.

Our overall stay at the rescue was about four hours. Dana's love for Cyrus was evident. She was not releasing this dog to another unlovable home. Making sure my son had the proper equipment in place at home; a big yard for exercise, a crate and bedding were all necessary before he could take the dog.

A qualified veterinarian would need to see Cyrus to continue his heart-worm medication. An appointment with a dog trainer would ensure both my son and Cyrus would get the most out of their relationship.

In the end, Cyrus and my son was the perfect match for each other. To watch the interaction between the two of them made my heart happy. Now I can rest assured that Daniel will have man's best friend and a protector all rolled into one.

This experience reminded me of getting started in business. Often times we can jump out of the pot only to jump into frying pan. We may dislike our job so much that any business opportunity can look like just the right business for us. The grass is greener on the other side, when the opposite can be true a lot of the time.

Therefore, when we are considering a new business venture, such as auto transport, we want to make sure it is the right fit for our personality, our passion, and us. Some are good at physical work, others are excellent at office work while yet others are excellent with people.

If we are going to pour our heart and soul into building an auto transport business we need to be sure it is what we love. Just like Cyrus and Daniel, choose we must and then we will know what is right for us.

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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How To Serve An Angry Auto Transport Customer

 

How To Serve An Angry Auto Transport Customer

Truthful, Quality Service Is Not Enough Sometimes…
 
Be nice, play fair
 
My mom taught me to tell the truth and be nice. She always told me that if I did something wrong but I told the truth I would not get into trouble. Why is it in business when you tell the truth and be nice people often times think you are lying?
 
A few years back one of our auto transport orders proved my mom wrong. Being a new broker, I had not quite experienced all that the industry had to offer. People's personalities can surprise you most of the time; with this transport, it sure did.
 
Do your best to look past the individual
 
Emotions run high when there is a tragedy in a family. I have always tried to remember to treat others, as I would want to be treated. Sometimes though you have to be like Sherlock Holmes and investigate what people really mean by what they are saying.
 
This particular customer was at her mother's home in another state. Sadly, her mother had passed away suddenly which sent her daughter into a downward spiral emotionally. Rightly, so the daughter was distraught. Dealing with her mom's death, a stepfather she did not care for and the estate was more than the poor girl could deal with.
 
By the time, she called our office to get a free quote she was frantic. She had inherited her mom's cars and needed to get them back to her home. She barked orders and demanded white glove service. Unfortunately, to meet her needs demanded a higher shipping rate that she did not want to pay.
 
Explaining what each service provided, working up a free quote for each service we tried to go beyond to serve her car shipping needs. After a lengthy discussion, she decided on the level of service called door-to-door service on an open carrier.
 
We secured all of the logistical information for the auto transport and went right to work on her file. In our office, we jokingly refer to it as "dialing for dollars". This came about because we do not earn our scheduling fee until we have secured a contract with a dependable auto shipper, otherwise known as a car-hauler.
 
It was a few days later that we were able to contact our customer and let her know when the cars would be picked up. She must have had a bad day because her words were like red-hot daggers. I tried to remember that her mother had just passed away and her mental state was fragile. However, that does not give anyone the license to be hateful and rude to someone trying to serve his or her needs, does it?
 
Doing my best to remain calm and not allow her attitude to rub off on me I took a deep breath. Okay…a few deep breaths. Her cursing and ranting was getting the best of me, each phone call from her was like the FBI interrogating me.
 
Finally, with one final deep breath I explained that the driver would call her to schedule the pickup. We advised her to have the cars ready for shipping by the following morning.
 
Thinking that the worst was behind us we noted in the file that the driver had called. We request drivers to confirm they have picked up the cars and are en-route to the delivery destination. This assures our clients receive quality service.
 
Two days later, we expected a phone call from the driver advising delivery of the cars. Instead, the phone call was from our customer. Her demeanor had not changed since our last phone conversation. In fact, she was even angrier.
 
The driver had arrived ahead of schedule. Normally our auto transport customers are elated when their cars arrive early. Instead, this customer was angry that her cars arrived before she did. This was an inconvenience for her and her plans.
 
Without skipping a beat, the war broke out. She was ranting and raving not allowing me to get a word in edgewise. Trying to explain that auto transport is not an exact science was something she did not want to hear. Her focus was getting her way, period.
 
Normally an auto transport broker does not get involved in the delivery process. However, when there is a problem we do our best to mediate between the customer and driver. We want all parties involved to have a pleasant experience.
 
The last straw
 
Finally, I had had enough. Placing the call on hold, I sat on the floor and cried my eyes out. This transaction had chewed up hours of my time and taken me away from our other paying clients and their transports.
 
Frustrated tremendously I just wanted this customer to be happy. To assist the car-hauler we tried to calm the customer down by talking her through the process one more time. This spoiled rotten little brat, (yes I said that), was making everyone around her, including me NUTS!
 
After I had regained my composure, I reconnected the phone call. It was time I took control and kindly put her in her place. Once again, I explained the process and that by her being uncooperative she was making matters worse for herself.
 
After thirty minutes on the phone with a screaming, frantic, out of control client we were able to resolve both the driver and her issues. I will NEVER forget this one auto transport customer.
 
If I learned anything from serving, someone so hateful and full of anger it was this ~ kindness will prevail over time. When I interrupted her ranting and composed myself, it gave me time to think through the solution. This way she did not coax me into a fight.
 
Note to self – lesson is
 
It is not always easy to serve all auto transport customers. However, there are parts of life's journey that challenge us just as much as other people do. The solution is to be confident in your ability, skill and self to provide your service to all personalities ~ weak, strong, nice and nasty. Being able to love all of your customers is the sign of a true servant.
 
Join us won't you? We need your help to spread the word about these lessons. If you have learned anything at all from our story, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your FaceBook friends. You can bet they will enjoy and learn right beside you;)

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
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My Life As A Business Coach Is A Journey Not A Destination

Success, like my life as a business coach is a journey not a destination
 
Humble beginnings
 
From an early age, work was part of every day life. Sure, there was time for play after we got our chores done. The oldest of five children the burden of responsibility fell on me. If mom and dad had somewhere to go, I watched my brother and sisters. Success was not even in my vocabulary, yet it would come to be in my future.

Beginning in kindergarten we all started working in the fields with my mom and grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa deVore owned and operated a root stock vineyard in a small town called Los Molinos. Saturday mornings we would pile in the car and drive thirty minutes to the job.

Depending on the season, we were either working in the vineyard fields or the orchards. There was always a crop to harvest and an owner willing to pay to get it done. We gleaned nuts, prunes and peaches. Farming is a hard life, your work is endless and there is little time for fun.

When not working in the fields I found work selling Avon products to our neighbors. Peddling my old one speed bicycle miles each way, I delivered catalogs to gather orders. The following week back I would go to deliver their products and get the next order. Success was found in the relationships that were formed in those early years.

When I was old enough to get a work permit, I rode my bike into town to clean hotel rooms. The seven-mile ride got my adrenaline up and ready to clean the guest’s rooms. Of all the jobs, I liked this one the least. People are not very considerate when sleeping in a room they do not own.
 
Graduating up
 
After high school graduation, I knew I did not want to work in the fields anymore. Going to work for the local bank was a job that would be secure and had benefits. Learning as I went I climbed the corporate ladder quickly.

When we started having kids things started to change, I was changing. When life did not go exactly as I thought it should I would blame others. Soon it seemed like nothing was going the way I had planned. The success I was chasing was running the opposite direction, frustration was setting in.

Ten years into my banking career a friend introduced me to network marketing. That seemed like the answer to all of my dreams. Working closely to learn the business roadblocks kept popping up. I achieved a small amount of success while coaching our team. We made some money but still did not reach the goals nor see the success, I thought I should have attained.

One evening we received a phone call from my mentor. He was leaving the company and wanted to take me with him. I was devastated and went into shock. Being a loyal student, I did what my friend asked me to do. I did not even think for myself.

Years later, I would discover that one of my weaknesses was not thinking for me, giving myself permission to have an opinion. This was a skill that was needed to be a coach, a leader.
 
Continuing education
 
As time went on, I learned many things such as it was okay for me to have my own opinion. It was not easy to learn that with an opinion came the responsibility for the outcome, too.

After leaving my first networking company, I returned to the corporate world for a while. In 1997, I found a networking company that fit my lifestyle and needs perfectly. My health had spiraled downward to the point I almost lost it. Learning how to take care of my nutritional needs and health was the key to regaining my life. Finding how to care for my spirituality was paramount to my peace and success in serving others.

This was the introduction to personal growth trainings. Dani Johnson was an example of a powerful leader. First Steps to Success was a monthly training event we attended for over three consecutive years. It was here that I started learning about myself.
 

Forgiveness was a huge issue I needed to work out. Now I understood why I was always frustrated. No one wanted to buy from me. No one wanted to work with me. How was I supposed to succeed and build a business if no one gave me a chance?

As the months and years rolled by, I started to change. My focus shifted to listening to others more. Learning to serve them in their need got the focus off me and my problems. Staying busy working kept me out of the middle of office politics and group gossip. Later I would find it was a real protection for my business and me. This was the beginning of success being attracted to our business.

Years later when I started my auto transport business I was looking for a way to expand online. Searching the worldwide web I found someone I knew would have some answers. She had been a distributor in my nutritional networking company and I trusted her.

Several other supposed online coaches had taken advantage of my time and hard earned money. Therefore, I could see the sincerity in her actions and words.

Sandi Krakowski showed me that I could build a website and start writing about my life, my business and family. Her example of practicing what she preached ensured me that she knew what she was talking about. I could share my journey with others and help them be successful too. My decision to hire her as my business coach was a solid one. However, something was still blocking me from successfully reaching my dreams.
 

Through her coaching sessions, she introduced her students to PJ McClure, the Mindset Maven. I really did not think I needed anymore head work. After all, I had gone through three intense years of monthly training sessions to groom myself for success.
 

Not wanting to have all of my hard work just fall away unsuccessful again, I decided to see what this mindset stuff was. Apparently, my issues were deeper than I thought. Even though I had addressed them and thought, I had solved them I had not. The time I spent working with PJ was like gardening. His patient, probing manner brought to the surface the root of the problem I had been wrestling with all these years.
 
The problem boiled down to my successes, failures, and the cycle I found myself in was the same problem I thought I had eliminated earlier. He gave me an exercise to use to work through forgiving the individual and circumstance I had been holding onto.

To explain it was like that proverbial weed in the garden. You can chop it down but miss the root. That weed will grow back and choke out the flower. However, taking time to successfully work through it, tears and all, allowed me to pull the root out and I threw it in the trash.

Finally, after years of frustration my creativity flowed. I was now able to give freely of myself. Now I could see myself coaching others onto success in their business. With that confidence and joy came students desiring what they saw in me.

What I learned concisely was this. Deal head on with your issues. Find a coach to help you get to the root of the problem. It will not happen over night, so enjoy the journey.

Life, being a business coach and family are not a destination. You do not just arrive successful in any of them. Life is a journey of uphill and downhill, enjoy the scenery the whole trip, it is what makes up the whole of who you are.
 
You are a gemstone in the making. There are rubies, emeralds, pearls and diamonds. All are precious, but the hardest of them all are diamonds, they are not simple rocks lying on the top of the ground.

Intense pressure creates the stone deep within the earth. Time and pressure forms a true gemstone and it will pull out the true leadership within you, too when you enjoy the journey to success.
 
Join us won't you? We need your help to spread the word about these lessons. If you have learned anything at all from our story, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your FaceBook friends. You can bet they will enjoy and learn right beside you;)

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…

Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my FaceBook Page Wall.

 

Hot August Nights, Fast Cars, Good Friends & An Auto Transport Broker

Perks for an auto transport broker ~

Hot August Nights, fast cars & good friends

All work and no play is a recipe for disaster

Sometimes for a person like me, Type A personalities, work can all but consume us. The thrill of the sale or order is all we need to fly high the whole daylong. Auto transport, dispatching or selling vitamins all give the same rush to us after helping someone get what they want.

As a business owner we have always been on top of our game, whether we felt like it or not. Putting forth our best foot and smile shows the prospective customer the heart of our company.

How then, do you get it all done successfully? How do you serve your customers, owner-operators, dispatchers while still living a happy home life? We used to ask ourselves that very question. We found a way to "balance out" as it were our life between the office and home. Would you like to know how we did it?

Give 100% focused effort while working

It is simple when you work for yourself to give it all you have. I suppose some might question that statement. However, for me…it is a no brainer. If we do not serve our prospective client, then we will not make the sale or book the order. When that happens the company makes zero dollars. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that zero dollars over time will eventually slam the door shut on the business, right.

What worked for our auto transport business from the start was to treat it just as though we had a storefront on Main Street. Set office hours helped to push me on the days I just did not feel like working. Have you ever gone to work only to feel "out there" all day long; feeling like you are off in la la land somewhere?

Our regular hours, a to-do-list and having a burning desire to make something of myself kept my focus on what I needed to do each day. Part of that focus included having conversations with other brokers in the industry. Remember, relationships are one of my deep-seated strengths and working beside my colleagues was no different. It makes sense to draw on your friend's bank of knowledge to increase your own, does it not.

Play hard, play often with friends

Back in 2008, a friend and I were talking one particularly slow day. Cathy had received an advertisement in the mail for the biggest classic car event in the western part of the U.S.A., Hot August Nights. This major event is in Reno, Nevada each year in August, thus it's name. We read the flier together and daydreamed awhile.

We talked about how cool it might be to rent a booth and promote our auto transport broker businesses. Yes, we were and still are competitors within the same industry – we are both owners of an auto transport brokerage. With literally thousands of car buffs in attendance, this would be a perfect opportunity to highlight our services. We only saw one problem, money! It was very expensive to rent to booth space, be out of the office a whole week and rent a hotel room on top of that.

It took about a week of bantering back and forth but finally we decided to go for it. Putting our heads together, we came up with an idea to raise the money! We would solicit our preferred carriers for donations. In return, we would print their company information on our fliers, on our banner and advertise their services as our preferred drivers. It worked like a charm.

And they are off…

The day came for Cathy and me to travel to Reno. With the car loaded for bear, we set off across the Sierra Nevada mountain range excited as a pair of teenagers. 

The four-hour drive whizzed by as we chatted about everything from our kids to the promotion of our businesses lying ahead. Soon we arrived at our hotel to check in. Exhausted yet excited we settled into our home away from home. Then it was off to the fairgrounds to check in and set up our booth for the first day of the car show.

We were so excited to have reserved a booth inside the air-conditioned building. The temperature in Reno during the month of August was HOT! It did not take long and between the two of us, our booth came together as we had envisioned it. Voila! 

Long week full of work, fun and classic car nuts…
 
There cannot possibly be anyone more focused on cool cars than the men and women who buy old hunks of junk and restore them to something so beautiful. These pieces of yesteryear are some of the unique, beautiful pieces of art in the world. The sound of the rumbling engines, the feel of the exhaust systems reverberating inside the building was so intense there were times we could not hear ourselves think.

Beside our booth was a young entrepreneurial couple selling jewelry created piece by piece in Bali by locals. Steve and Jessica were the perfect neighbors and we had a great time getting to know their story, learn about their passion and goals for their business. Yes, I came home the proud owner of several pieces of their unique line of jewelry and still wear them today.
 
By the way, when you are self-employed, you do not simply shut down your business to go play, well at least we do not. Cathy and I set up a system to work the booth one at a time. This way one of us could be in the back working up our prospects requests for their auto transport quotes. Our system paid off, as both of us were able to book, schedule and dispatch several orders during our stay in Reno. Our businesses grew, prospered while we worked outside the office and had fun.
 
Cathy and I had a blast working and playing together that week in Reno, Nevada at Hot August Nights. We worked our booth from 8 AM to 6 PM each day then would take a break for dinner. If it were not for my vitamins I am not sure how on Earth I would have kept up the pace the whole week! Refreshing and rejuvenating our body we then headed uptown for entertainment including car watching, people watching and of course Gelato!
 
As our week ended our memories of that week's work did not. Regardless of the activity in our respective offices, Cathy and I could reminisce about a unique and fun way to advertise our broker services. To top off an awesome, fun week there was icing on the cake. Several of our sponsors invited us to dinner. These were our preferred owner-operators who were there to transport the classic cars purchased during the week's event.
 
Remember, work hard when you work; play hard when you play and always surround yourself with like-minded friends, family and colleagues. There you have it my friend; this is how we managed to balance our work with our life.

Join us won't you? We need your help to spread the word about these lessons. If you have learned anything at all from our story, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your FaceBook friends. You can bet they will enjoy and learn right beside you;)

 

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Car Theft Ring, How We Narrowly Escaped Their Clutches

Newbie broker gets call from FBI…

Week starts as usual

Monday morning as I entered the office the phones were ringing off the hook. Preparing for the day ahead I started the coffee brewing as the computer was booting up. The sun was bright as I opened the blinds allowing the warmth to fill the room and shed some natural light, too.

It did not take long to settle in and get to work answering the incoming calls. It was the time of year when working up auto transport quotes for customers were plentiful. On any given day, we handled over 100 phone calls.

To go beyond in our service to our prospects, clients and carriers we made a decision to stay at the office until we had returned each phone message left through out the day. There were days when we did not leave the office until well after eight o'clock in the evening.

It became a delicate balance to answer the live phone calls, take the customer's transport orders and dispatch them. Once we found a rhythm, it went smooth as silk though. It was easier to finish paperwork after hours than trying to do everything in order while it was crazy busy.

We found a glitch in our system though when at the end of the day we pulled our messages. It was commonplace to have twenty to thirty messages to return. Soon it became apparent that the messages needed processed in a systematic way. Therefore each day, four times per day we pulled our messages and returned the customer calls in between the incoming calls.

A message no one wants to receive

One morning I was particularly glad that we had found our flow in pulling the messages and returning the calls. My heart nearly stopped when the woman on the other end of the receiver said she was a field agent from the FBI.

Our auto transport broker business had only been open about four months, why would the FBI want to talk with me. I knew I had not done anything illegal, yet I was still scared. The owner-operators we worked with were the cream of the crop. It did not appear that any of our customers or nationwide transports were out of line. What could the issue possibly be?

Let's start at the beginning

Mr. Customer phoned in for one of our nationwide auto transport quotes. He worked in a real estate office in New Jersey and had recently purchased a Mercedes Benz sedan in Washington State. This was a typical transport and route for many of our customers.

We always obtained a signed and dated Terms and Conditions contract before proceeding with our orders. Each customer would print it out, sign and date it, then fax it back. We always checked the return fax number to verify the location of the customer, just to make sure. His fax came from the real estate office of his employment. All of the transport details were perfect.

In a casual conversation with the customer, he mentioned he had purchased the car for his uncle who lived overseas. Having worked with several customers who ship overseas all the time this did not raise a red flag, not at all. Therefore, we completed all of our verifications and started our search for a coast-to-coast, dependable auto shipper on that route.

The driver called to advise us that the car would be delivered the next day. He asked that we confirm payment would be ready. This would allow the driver to make his delivery without having to wait for the customer to run to the bank for his payment. Everything was set and ready for the completion of the auto transport.

Suspicious activity

That morning, when I nervously called the FBI agent my stomach was in knots. My knees literally knocked as my fingers fumbled on the buttons. When the agent answered the line, my voice cracked. I could tell she was smiling and probably thinking, silly girl, calm down.

As the agent asked me a series of questions, I became a little less apprehensive. The line of questioning convinced me that I had done nothing wrong. The FBI needed my help quickly though, time was of the essence. They needed me to hold up the delivery of that Mercedes Benz in New Jersey.

We agreed immediately to call and ask the driver to retain possession of the car and to transport it back to Washington State. Of course, the driver was concerned about who was going to pay him as well as who was going to pay for the return trip. We assured him that the FBI would make good on the payment, 100%.

Meanwhile, as the driver transported the car back to the West coast; the FBI worked closely with us to seize the crook. I was curious what this customer had done, how he had duped us.

The field agent told me that they had been following this car theft ring for a long time. This time it happened that the transport took long enough that the counterfeit cashiers check had time to bounce back. The seller of the car had lived in Washington and moved to Alaska, where the field agent was operating. The car was physically in Washington because the bank would not allow it to leave the state unpaid.

This car theft ring was purchasing upscale luxury cars with counterfeit cashier's checks and then transporting them to a container company on the East coast. From the East coast, they would ship them out of the country to Africa before the checks had time to bounce. Once the cars were in international waters, there was no recourse.

Wow! We had done everything right. We had dotted our "i"s and crossed our "t"s. With all of our research and careful business dealings, we still found ourselves in a supportive role with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

What it taught us though is this – make sure you follow the law. You never know who your customer might be, or worse yet who they might not be. This time we avoided a catastrophe for the bank, the seller and our company by doing our job and doing it well.

Join us won't you? We need your help to spread the word about these lessons. If you have learned anything at all from our story, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your FaceBook friends. You can bet they will enjoy and learn right beside you;)

 

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
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Can Parenthood Prepare You To Operate A Business

How parenthood prepared me to operate an auto transport business

Highs and lows of being a working mom…

When my husband and I were married and decided to have kids we made each other a promise. Even though we both were working and I had my eyes on a lofty career, we committed our time after work and extra money to our family.

When our daughter was born, we both were so excited. Being a new mom was exciting, exhausting and rewarding. I must admit there were many things I learned daily. The lessons included how to take care of myself while caring for a newborn and my husband, too.

When it came time for me to return to work, searching for trustworthy daycare was high on my priority list. Researching and interviewing prospects took time and intense thought. To hand my precious daughter over to a stranger was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

A few years later, our son arrived. My goal at that time in my banking career had now taken a turn, courtesy of the bank. After maternity leave came to an end and it was once again time to return to work I had to make yet another decision.

The industry was shifting and the bank was centralizing departments, including the loan department where I was assistant supervisor. They offered me a job with fewer hours, less pay and no responsibility. With careful thought, calculations and discussion with hubby, it appeared I would be paying the bank to work for them (after child care expenses).

Beginning to think like a business-owner

Therefore, it was a smart decision to take my ten year pin, the $200 retirement fund I had accumulated and stay at home with my babies. This was about the same time I started learning about network marketing and working from home.

If anyone has ever told you that working from home is a snap, a cinch, not work ignore him or her. Family and friends rarely know what they are talking about when it comes to working from home.

Working from home has been the best, the hardest, the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Now you are probably wondering what I mean by that last statement, right?

It  was a test to say the least in finding balance between spending quality time with our kids and being able to pull everything else together. This included getting the housework done; working my business and getting the rest, we needed, too.

Because I was at home, everyone in the family volunteered me to do everything. It did not take long to figure out that if I were going to make a go at working from home there had to be boundaries set. There had to be specific time to work, play, volunteer and rest. Working for you is no different than working at a job. Sure, we could be somewhat flexible, but if you do not work, you do not eat ~ plain and simple.

It took awhile, but eventually the kids, my husband and extended family learned that when I was in the office I was unavailable to them. The sky had better be falling if they were going to bother me or pull my attention from my customers.

Parenthood provided the foundation for operating a business at home

What we learned early on was to focus ~ focus on the kids while they were awake, work together after they went to bed doing the housework and get to bed at a set time every night.

Through our years of raising kids, working from home and living our lives one thing we've learned for sure is this. To succeed at anything at all in life you must do three things.

  • Have a crystal clear vision for what you want to accomplish
  • Put together a plan on how you are going to do it
  • Focus on working that plan until you get the desired result 

As the kids grew up and went off to live their own lives our learning about life and our business continued. From bringing grandma to live with us in her time of need, to figuring out how to cope with her death and our daughter's engagement at the same time, we just forged forward the best we knew how.

Success in business as in life is a journey; it is not a destination. That is the key to our success and we pass that along to you to use on your journey to success, too.

Join us won't you? We need your help to spread the word about these lessons. If you have learned anything at all from our story, send a tweet to your Twitter friends, drop a short post to your FaceBook friends. You can bet they will enjoy and learn right beside you;)

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…

Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my FaceBook Page Wall.