Tag Archive for shipping your car

Losing Weight on a Tight Budget

 

 

Losing Weight on a Tight Budget

 

Can I really do this?

 

After six years of working my auto transport business from home, I had to face reality. I had allowed myself to gain more than fifty pounds. I do not know about you, but the weight somehow just appears on my body overnight. By the end of the year another ten or twelve pounds had packed onto my butt, midriff and thighs.

I know, I can hear you laughing…come on you pack them on too, be honest with yourself. It seems the older I get it is easier to justify why I am on the heavy side. Gosh, my mom and grandma were heavy I guess being over weight is just in my genes. After all, my brother and sisters are all over weight, why should I think I am any different.

When I shop at the local Wal-Mart I see lots of larger men and women, I am not so bad off. Why do we justify what we are what we look like or feel like? Have you ever done that? Come on; tell the truth, have you? Well one day I wondered if I were really over weight compared to what the doctor's weight chart says.

That was my defining moment, the moment of truth! Crap, I was not overweight I am obese! Nasty word isn't it. Fact of the matter is for my height, frame and weight, yes, I am obese I am not over weight. Now I got depressed.  Every time I look at the pictures of me visiting with my grand-babies and their other grandma, I am the "chunky" one, she is the slim one. I do not want the kids to remember me for being the "chunky" one.

   

Then, I remembered something else…my grandmas were – one tall and thin and one short and "chunky". No! History was going to repeat itself. Faced with the reality, did I want to be the fat grandma or did I want to do something about it? Did I want to live a long, healthy life or cut it short to satisfy my never-ending craving for spaghetti, lasagna and French bread?

I cannot afford it

When I was finally ready to face the music, I was in Chicago at a business meeting. One of my fellow students shared some interesting information with me about blood sugar and stress. She explained how it affects our body's ability to gain and lose weight.

Renee told me that with my schedule in the auto transport office the plan of "grab and go" meals would work perfectly. It sounded great, but I really could not afford it – so I said. The reality was that I was scared. I had tried so many other diet pills, diet plans, shakes and foods that I did not want to spend another dime on something that was not going to work for me.

Since my kids left home, I did not spend a whole lot on food and what we did buy was, okay I will admit it…junk. Foods that really did not count as food, you know Doritos, granola bars, cold cereal, many crackers, different types of breads and more. These were foods that I grew up eating. Foods that families buy to fill little stomachs that they cannot afford to feed properly.

Then, Renee helped me to see that part of my problem was a mindset issue. Food was a comfort to me, it made me feel safe to fall back on what I knew, what I grew up with. She also helped me to see that if I wanted to lose weight permanently I would need to change. Oh, that awful word…change.

Together we can do it

Like most new things I was scared to death, again I didn't want to fail this time around. Somehow I felt safe, secure in knowing that my friend would not let me down. I was the one that did not need to let me down this time.

She assured me that together we could use this program of "grab and go" meals to burn off this fat. I was excited and scared all wrapped up in one, but I got started.

When my "grab and go" meals arrived I called her. She went over each meal and explained how I was to eat, every two to three hours. That was the scary part for me, what if I got busy in the office. No excuses, she told me to set a timer and I did.

I thought I would be hungry, another excuse. Hmmm, how could eating make me hungry? I did not eat before that was my problem and how I had gained the weight. I was using my auto transport business schedule as an excuse, a lame one at that.

The end of my first week it was time to weigh myself, something I never did because I did not want to know what I weighed, period. Very nervously, I stepped on the scales.

I had cried the week before when I actually saw with my own two eyes what I weighed. That number staring back at me was the biggest number I had ever seen in my life. Never before had I weighed so much. How could my husband love such a fat wife?

The scale never lies, unlike me. Now though I anxiously looked down as the red needle came to a halt. Oh my, I had lost four pounds! In all my dieting years never before had, I had a loss like that. Usually it was one or two pounds max. My clothes fit nicely now instead of showing rolls of flesh poured into the too tight jeans and tee shirts.

This was just the beginning of my weight loss journey. Today, as I sit here in the office I just finished one of my "grab and go" snacks. We are going to the Farmers Market to buy some fresh tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, cucumbers and peppers. Maybe we will find other green vegetables to go with my lean meat for dinner tonight. Should we fix shrimp, chicken or a steak? Hmmm, let's wait and see what I feel like when I get home.

Until next time, here is something for you to think about. When is the last time you were honest with yourself? Have you noticed you are over weight, or are you kidding yourself as I did myself?

Remember, I was obese, not overweight. Stop kidding yourself. Address the issue head on; take charge of your thoughts and behaviors. Ask for help. I did, because together we can lose those unwanted pounds even if we work in an auto transport office.

Please leave your comment below and join the discussion.

Friends help friends, share by clicking the "Like" button at the top of the page. Your Twitter friends won't want to miss out, be sure to "re-tweet", too. We can not do what we do without you. Thank you for helping all you can.
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Would you like to use this article on your website, blog or ezine? You have my permission to share it in it's entirety with the following attribution and a link back to our home page.
 
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 healthy auto transport.
 
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Disappointed in What You Are Not or Happy With Who You Are?

 
 
Disappointed in What You Are Not or Happy With Who You Are?
 
So, you are not happy
 
This afternoon the phone rang in our auto transport office. Being Saturday I normally would not answer it, yet for some reason I picked up the receiver and took the call.

On the other end of the line was a woman interested in becoming an auto transport broker. We had emailed back and forth a few times yet she had a few more questions. She explained to me that she is not happy at her current place of employment and is interested in becoming an auto transport broker. She wants the freedom to call her own shots, work from home and be with her family. Today was her first step toward taking control of her life and happiness, she took action.
 
Many questions not enough time
 
We have systems of process in place to deal with incoming calls pertaining to questions like this. Settling into the office chair I felt it was time to give my client what she was looking for. “Calling the shots” when you are a business owner, allow me to make changes when time allows. Today I had a few moments to give her.

Addressing her direct questions was an easy task for me to do. With more than six years of experience, it is sometimes hard to withhold information. Why would I do that? Well, it is like feeding a baby…you cannot pour the whole jar of food down their throat or they would gag, choke or throw up, right?

The same goes for providing information to those looking for what you have. We must give them bite-sized chunks then allow them to chew, swallow and digest it before giving them another bite.
 
Business and social media today

One question in particular stayed with me after we ended our call. That question was “how do you set yourself apart from other brokers, what makes a customer do business with me”. Funny, when I got started I had the same question. The only difference was I had to figure the answer out for myself; I had no one to explain or guide me through the process.

Before she called, I had been watching a video on You Tube. It was an interview by Bryan Elliott from “Get Behind the Brand”. He interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk who is a wine connoisseur, marketing expert and successful businessman and author. Thank goodness for FaceBook because I never would have found this valuable information without a friend sharing a post with the link.

Gary said some timely things on the interview. I took copious notes. One key point he brought out was the statement about most people focus on being disappointed in what they are not, instead of being happy with whom they are. His point was this, in America we focus on working on our weaknesses instead of our strengths. His belief is just the opposite. When we focus on building on our strengths, we get good, excel at those qualities, tasks, and can share those with others.

The interview is so good and so relevant to answering my client’s question that I thought I would share it with you here, today. I realize it is lengthy, but save this or come back to it if you must, it is that important to your success.
 
 

Most pressing question answered
 
As we finished the call, I shared how I concluded and answered the questions she had about setting yourself apart from others. People connect with other people. Your prices, products and systems may be the same, higher, different or whatever…it does not matter. The prospect on the other end of the phone, sitting across the table from you or sitting in a chair at a meeting will connect with YOU.

When you take time to show that you care about them, provide them with a higher level of service, when you go beyond you set yourself apart from the other businessperson out there. By accepting what you are good at and working on being the best YOU, you can be your best asset.

How am I different from the hundreds of auto transport brokers out there in the marketplace? I am different because I am ME…there is no pretense, what you see is what you get. Either you connect on a personal level with me or you will not. Will I land every deal that comes across my desk or the phone lines? No, do you think I should? If that happened that means there is no competition or the world ended and someone forgot to tell me about it. ;)

Therefore, to set you apart do what I did. Recognize what you are good at and get better at doing it repeatedly. It will take practice and time. As they say, “Rome was not built in a day”.  You will not build your auto transport business in a day, or a night or a week either. One customer at a time, one relationship at a time you can do it, we can do it together.

Please leave your comment below and join the discussion.

Share this with your friends by clicking the "Like" button at the top of the page. Your Twitter friends won't want to miss out, be sure to "re-tweet", too. We can not do what we do without you. Thank you for helping all you can.
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Would you like to use this article on your website, blog or ezine? You have my permission to share it in it's entirety with the following attribution and a link back to our home page.
 
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 healthy auto transport.
 
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Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
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Caleb’s High School Graduation and Falling Forward

Caleb's High School Graduation and Falling Forward

Preparing for our youngest nephews graduation

Friday morning rolled around and my usual routine of making coffee, feeding the animals and booting up the computer was to change. For just this one Friday, I would not even open the auto transport office door. The night before our trip, I had set the phones to mute. I did not forward them to my cell phone, as I normally would have in the past.

My bag packed fresh batteries in the camera and my cell phone carried a full charge. I had downloaded all photos off my memory chip in the camera. After all, I did not want to run out of space at the ceremony.

It was about 8:00 AM when my parents arrived and parked the minivan in the driveway. Tossing my luggage into the back, I settled into the passenger seat behind my mom, she took first shift of being the driver. This would surely test my nerves and control I had or not over my tongue.

I will let you in on a little secret about my mom. She is in her seventies and recently told me she is developing a cataract in her eye. It troubled me that she would be driving, but after all, I am the daughter and she the mother. My sister, Cheryl and I shot each other "that look" and grinned, agreeing to go with the flow.

Giving my husband, Rich a quick hug and a kiss we shut the door and off we went on our way to Fort Bragg, California and our youngest nephew, Caleb's high school graduation.

Potty break and driver change

A few hours into the drive, we all needed a potty break. Mom and dad drove Highway 20 often whenever they traveled to Fort Bragg to visit my sister and her boys. There was a convenient gas station and store before we hit the small town called Clear Lake. Taking this opportunity to stretch our legs, refuel our snack and water supply we were ready to hit the road again.

This leg of the trip my dad would be the driver. Although my sister and I offered to drive, both parents informed us that they were fine. Looking at each other my sister made a wise crack about have loose wires (that was our code for oh no). If you happened to be on FaceBook that day, you saw my post. Now you know what I was referring to when I say she had a few wires loose in her head. (smiling)

Dad's driving was fine as was mom's while on the freeway. As we made our way around Clear Lake the highway narrowed and became curvy making the 30 MPH speed limit necessary. The drive around the lake was beautiful. Due to the increase in rain this year plants and wildflowers were greener, the colors more vibrant and beautiful.

The short drive up Highway 101 to Highway 20 took us through lush grassy meadows and thick-forested groves of tall pine trees. The last time I had been through this country was during an extreme drought and everything was dead and ugly. Now, the scenery was breathtaking and I could not help but think back of all the family vacations we had enjoyed years ago with our family.

Then, out of nowhere, my sister gasped and yelled out, "Dad, watch what you are doing"! He had reached down for a toothpick and headed straight for the mountainside. After our hearts stopped pounding out of our chests, we laughed…nervously laughed and said our prayers.

Fort Bragg, family and the graduation ceremony

When we arrived at my sister's house, no one was home. What did we ever do before everyone started carrying cell phones? Even my parents have one of their very own. We were able to track them down to a local restaurant and joined them for lunch.

By now, we were all tired of "grab and go" meals and wanted a real homemade, hot meal. My sister, her two boys, their dad, and his family were all present. We had a good time catching up on what had gone on in their lives over the past year and our meal was scrumptious, too.

It was now time to return to their home and get ready to head over to the high school as graduation started at 5:00 PM. We stopped by our hotel and freshened up, checked in and loaded our jackets and cameras. It did not take long and we were back in the minivan headed for the commencement ceremony.

Hopes, dreams and Denzel Washington

As the graduates filed onto the field to the band playing "Pomp and Circumstance", my thoughts went back to when I was the graduate. My hopes and dreams of becoming a successful businessperson was all I could see. When life did not go exactly as I had thought it would, I found myself falling and picking myself up. I wondered if life would deal a hand like that to my nephew, too.

Usually the speeches given at graduations do not really catch my attention. However, this speech did. The Chairman of the Board shared a quote by a famous actor, Denzel Washington. He had been a keynote speaker at the graduation of the University of Pennsylvania. Rich Schulman wrote, "It is no surprise that a great actor like Denzel Washington would provide some great expressions during his speech. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

 
"Some people say that you always need something to fall back on, but he never understood that", he said.

"I want to fall forward. I figure at least this way I'll see what I'm going to hit", he said.
 
I wondered if the graduates were listening. This was sound advice from someone who had been sitting right where they were year's earlier and found success. He went on to say that, this is and has been the time of their life. Enjoy each lesson, embrace what it gives you whether a failure to learn by or a success to celebrate.
 
As the chairperson handed the diplomas to each student, a sense of responsibility came over each one. Their expressions showed all over their faces. For some this was the end of their formal education and they would move on to join the ranks of working America. For some, like my nephew it is only a rest stop, a fueling station. Caleb is continuing on to college.
 
My Mom, Caleb and My Dad
 
It did not matter the student's destination in life, each family celebrated this day with balloons, Hawaiian leis, shell necklaces and bouquets of flowers. Barbecue dinners and parties followed the formal ceremonies and the class party at the school followed those.
 
One of my favorite past time activities is scrap booking our travels. This hobby has found its way into our family's hearts too. My gift to my nephew, Caleb is to journal his special day with pictures for him to treasure for years to come.

Today, you get to share my gift and view it here…Enjoy!

Click here to view this photo book larger

What is the lesson for this auto transport business owner? I, like Denzel Washington, want to fall forward. I do not want to see what I could fall back on; I want to see what I will land on. I, too have failed, picked myself up and moved forward.

Making each day the best I can, I want to serve my clients with my whole heart and soul. Helping each person regain his or her health, lose weight, or build an auto transport business as we did excites me.

Whatever is in our future, we want to embrace it and share with our friends, family and clients. To serve another makes my heart beat proudly within my chest.
 
What is it you take away from this lesson? Please leave your comment below and join the discussion.
 
Share this with your friends by clicking the "Like" button at the top of the page. Your Twitter friends won't want to miss out, be sure to "re-tweet", too. We can not do what we do without you. Thank you for helping all you can.
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Would you like to use this article on your website, blog or ezine? You have my permission to share it in it's entirety with the following attribution and a link back to our home page.
 
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 healthy auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…



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Business Owner Decides to Work Part Time Earns More Money Part 2

 

Business Owner Decides to Work Part Time Earns More Money, Part 2

Benefits of a coach

A year and a half ago I made a decision to bring our businesses online to increase our visibility and profits. Highly intimidated by technology I was scared to death. This was an area I had neither interest nor experience in, what would I do. Like most people I have met and talked with at length, I fumbled around online searching for the right person to teach me how to market online.

Because I did not have, knowledge in what or who I was looking for cost me dearly. Spending money we did not have I tried every coach, system and product out there, or nearly every one. Did I see success? Nope. Matter of fact I nearly gave up.

Then she appeared. This woman with a strategic loud voice showed up on FaceBook. I knew her from our part time home business. She had attended some of those personal growth training seminars, too. As I watched her, it seemed she knew what she was doing. Gradually my trust started to build and I purchased one of her training classes.

The woman I am talking about is Sandi Krakowski. She is currently my business coach teaching me everything from how to build an e-commerce website in WordPress and social media marketing to lead generation for our auto transport business and part time networking business. It has been a journey and one that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to build a business online.

Let's not forget the major decision I talked about earlier. Sandi is a genius at marketing and listening to what the market wants. She knew my loyalty and love for my home business, products and the staff of the company. She honored my decision to remain loyal to that staff, our product quality and compensation plan. She kept reiterating to listen to what my market was asking for. Did I get it? No, I did not understand.

You see learning marketing is like being in college. When you are a freshman, you will never understand mathematics like a senior, right. The freshman starts with algebra and the senior finishes up with calculus, it is a progressive learning curve. The same goes for learning anything new, you must pay the price, practice, learn, and implement to build your skill.

Major decision launches trips to bank

Have you ever heard the term "Can't see the forest for the trees"? Well, that statement described me for the longest time. A coach is someone who is there to encourage you, show you your strengths, to root you on to success and not dwell on your weaknesses. They lead you to resources to help you over hurdles they see you need to cross but it is not in their area of expertise.

It was during one of our coaching calls that the past years worth of lessons, techniques and practice all came together. Finally, the light went on and I realized what I needed to do to propel my businesses forward. I had learned to step up and out of my "employee mindset" and think like a true business owner. Remember my friend, the one who told me "it's nothing personal, it's just business"?

I had been holding onto a dying part time home business, the part time business that I came online to grow. After more than a year of working my butt off, I had not sold one product, not enrolled one business partner…not one!

It was that realization that propelled me to listen to what my clients, truck drivers and friends on FaceBook and Twitter wanted. They did not want what I had. After banging my head on that proverbial brick wall, voila! Bingo and hallelujah I got it!

Therefore, after more than fourteen years loyally dedicated to one product line, one company and the staff I decided to step back. To look at providing the market what it wanted. The result?

In just 90 days, our checks are as much as our checks after fourteen years with the other company. We have more business partners actively working with us than we EVER had before. We are having fun, our auto transport business is in full operation and our dispatch center is blooming, too.

Sometimes those tough, gut wrenching decisions are the ones you are suppose to make. That is your test, to jump off that bridge and be a business owner who decides to work part time and earn extra money or remain loyal to a dying business. It is your choice, what will you choose?

We need your help! We can't do what we do without you. Please leave your comment below and join the discussion. Do me a favor? Share this with your FaceBook friends by clicking the "Like" button at the top of the page. Your Twitter friends won't want to miss out, be sure to "re-tweet", too. Thanks, you are the best.

 

Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Would you like to use this article on your website, blog or ezine? You have my permission to share it in it's entirety with the following attribution and a link back to our home page.
 
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 healthy auto transport.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
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Humble Country Western Star Teaches Enchanting Customer Service

 

Humble Country Western Star Teaches Enchanting Customer Service

I grew up listening to country western music

This past weekend one of our son’s customers, Randy Givens treated us to a country music concert. Randy showed his appreciation for the enchanting customer service he has received from our son, by giving him tickets to the concert. We are so proud of our son, Dan. He has grown into a wonderful young man and an exemplary employee.

Any parent would be happy to see that their hard work raising their children paid off, right? It was especially exciting to watch first hand the interaction between Dan and Randy. Each man was just himself while putting the needs of the other ahead of their own. This mom's heart almost burst with pride.

There was no way we could know in advance that the events of the evening would teach us such a big lesson. Popularity and stardom does not necessarily mean a person has to be arrogant or rude. This star was salt of the earth. He displayed the humble traits of a true country boy. Joe Nichols will always hold a place in my family’s heart due to his actions after the concert.

Yes, part of our admission included a “meet and greet” with Joe himself. I have to admit, I had no idea what this really meant, but it was an event we will not forget for a very long time. Joe Nichols has mastered the art of enchantment with his fans and followers.

Cold drinks and meeting friends

Arriving early, Randy treated us to ice cold drinks to quench our thirst. The temperature was a balmy 85 degrees and humid. There was a slight breeze. It kept us cool as it touched our sweating brow. The cold drink washed away the dust kicked up by the crowd in front of us at the fair.

Our son introduced us to his friend and customer who graciously gave us the tickets. Randy, a local businessperson is very involved in his community and a solid family man, too. Watching him throughout the evening, you could see he has a true servant’s heart. He was constantly making sure everyone was having a good time, even giving up his personal seat.

Crowd watching has always been a hoot for us. People from all lifestyles came to see Joe Nichols, famous country singer and performer. We saw cowboys and cowgirls right off the local ranches. Teenagers dressed in short shorts and cowboy boots gathered in circles excitedly chattering about the impending show. Business people from the community brought their parents, grandparents and children, too. Grandma and grandpa held the hands of the little ones. One little girl even had small pink cowboy boots on. She was so adorable. People of all ages were ready to enjoy the sounds of country music.

Let the show begin

It was finally time for the concert to get started. The sun had set a few minutes earlier and now the stagehands cranked up the stage lights. The warm up band, Curtis & Luckey had the crowd clapping their hands, swaying to the music in anticipation of the star of the show making his grand entrance.

Now I would learn first hand how to “self-promote”. After the warm up songs and entertainment ended the lead singer announced, they had a gift for everyone in attendance. Sending their promotion crew into the audience, they handed each guest a postcard. This card was promoting their new hit single, “I Have a Dream”. There was also a link to download the entire album FREE. Click here, I'll share my gift with you, too!

At the bottom of the postcard were three small bottle cap pictures…can you guess what they were? Each picture represented a different social media site. Yes, Twitter, You Tube and Face Book were clearly marked so we, the fans, could find and follow them on social media. Do you think we should follow what they are doing in country music to promote their business?

Country Boy, Joe Nichols rocks the house

By now; the crowd was primed and ready for the main performance. It was very refreshing to see men as well as women excited to listen to and engage with Joe in his music. Unlike many performers today who have groupies in their following I did not see any that evening. There were no tears, no extravagant dress and definitely no screaming at the top of their lungs to drown out the concert. 

I had to wonder though…maybe I am getting older, maybe I cannot relate to the younger generation and the extremes they go to wanting to fit in. Each person in attendance that night remained who they were. No pretenses, no airs put on, just down to earth country folks from all over the country.

Many of the songs Joe sang had stories within the words. One in particular got my attention. It is titled “The Impossible”. It made such an impression on me that I had to share it with you. Watch the video and really listen to the words.

Country music written from each writer's heart tells his or her story. I think it is the same for you and me. When we feel passionately about an issue, our job or business is when we are most effective at helping others. Don't you think that is true?

Meet and Greet

When the concert was over, we headed down to the secure area behind the stage. We all were a bit nervous never having met a big country western star before.

Joe Nichols was born in Rogers, Ark., on Nov. 26, 1976. His father drove a truck but also played bass and sang. Nichols would hear and watch his dad perform at VFW dates. Like Nichols grandfather and uncles, his dad played classic country music.

Like many other country western musicians stardom and success did not come easy for Joe. His first major hit was in 2002 after his father died. This is the story behind the song that shot to the top, "The Impossible". You can read more of Joe's biography on CMT.com.

The manager had us line up single file. Joe spent a few moments with each person. His warm smile and sparkling eyes made his tanned face glow. He gave a quick hello, thank you and a hug to the women and girls. Each man received a firm handshake and firm hand on the shoulder. You could feel his genuine gratitude.

His manager arranged for one of his crew to snap photos of everyone using their iPhones, cameras or both. Some of the fans had him autograph their cowboy boots, hats, tickets and jackets. The beauty queen contestants presented their sashes for autographs along with their sparkling smiles.

My husband and I were in line about midway when we noticed our son and his friend at the end of the line. We decided to stay put and take our turn. Joe expressed his thanks to us for taking time out of our day to enjoy his passion with him. Wow! That was out of the ordinary, that statement surprised us.

We had our tickets and Rich's ball cap autographed, clicked our picture and off we went to wait for our son. Soon it was our son Dan's turn. There was yet another surprise coming. The country music star called us back up to talk again. When he found out we were Dan's parents he told our son, "You need a picture with them. Again, this man's sincere thoughts and actions were enchanting!

Finally, Joe put the icing on the cake. For our family photo with him, he put his arm around Rich on one side. Dan was next to Joe with me on the outside. Joe stretched his arm over Dan's shoulder, guided me into his loving hug of our family, and said, "This is family". Overcome with emotion at his attention to every detail I was speechless. What country western star do you know enchants like that?

Floating on Cloud 9 we all left the area chatting like baby robins in the nest. We all were shocked at the personal interaction of such a well-known man. I bet his momma is proud.

Next stop, souvenirs

We made our way through the crowd to find the table filled with Joe Nichols souvenirs. Tee shirts representing different songs done by Joe were plentiful. There were key chains, wristbands, ball caps, pictures and CDs. My family wanted an autographed tee shirt and I wanted a CD.

While waiting in the long line we were watching people, again. When you listen to what others talk about you can get a good sense of what they want. These fans wanted to see Joe, up close and personal.

However, the meet and greet was over. I wondered how they would get what they wanted. Then everyone went crazy. We could not figure out what the commotion was and then…there he was. Joe had left the secure area and come out front, to the masses for pictures, handshakes and autographs.

He spent the next hour greeting his fans, taking pictures and thanking them for supporting him and his dream. I overheard him tell a young girl, never give up, always follow your heart. He took his time with each fan, not to rush them and not to forget anyone. Each person left with a big smile and a huge place for him in their hearts.

Unexpectedly we were back face to face with the star once again. With a big grin, and his cute sense of humor he said, "Back again". My son, with an equally funny sense of humor said, "You are so good we came back for seconds". We all laughed, clicked even more photos, and got more autographs and a bigger hug.

We will never forget the love and appreciation shown to us by Joe Nichols and his staff. None of the fans at the Lassen County Fair in Susanville, CA July 22, 2011 will ever forget him either. This is what remaining humble will do even when you are a big country western music star. When you keep your focus on your customer, when you make them happy then your dreams and goals will come true, too.

Thanks, Joe for the lesson in enchanting customer service.

We need your help! We can't do what we do without you. Please leave your comment below and join the discussion. Do me a favor? Share this with your FaceBook friends by clicking the "Like" button at the top of the page. Your Twitter friends won't want to miss out, be sure to "re-tweet", too. Thanks, you are the best.

Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
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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 healthy auto transport.
 
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Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail, Why We Will Not

 

Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail, Why We Will not

False thinking raises its ugly head

Have you ever thought there would come a day when life stopped dishing out lessons for us to learn? Well, if you are like me we can always hope so. What I found last week instead was false thinking on my part.

You see, I thought when I left the job at the bank and started building my own auto transport business security was a done deal, locked in. I knew that jobs in corporate America were no longer secure in the new economy. By reading the headlines in the morning paper or watching the evening news I see evidence of the insecurity in working for someone else.

My husband and I lived through the very insecure timber industry here in northern California when he lost his job not once, but three times to it. Learning to live on twenty-five percent of a mill workers income when the bills did not decrease accordingly stunk! This was one more reason we wanted to be independent, work for ourselves, control our own destiny.

Auto transport market changes in business 

Part of the lessons I learned early on in our broker business was we must be aware and have our finger on the pulse of the industry. Keeping our head buried in the sand like an ostrich is not how a business owner builds a successful business. In fact, if you do not watch what is going on in the rest of the country you could easily go broke.

Just like when Hurricane Katrina hit and we almost lost the business. If it were not for our owner-operators, who love and cared for us giving us advice we would have closed our doors. It certainly was a tough lesson and one we will not soon forget.

During the darkest of times back then is when we decided we had better look at alternate ways to make money if I wanted to keep the business going and stay home to work. If you recall we were building a part time vitamin business at the same time. It was at a networking breakfast meeting that one of our members questioned me about what an auto transport broker did. When I answered the question, they asked for a business card and said their uncle was looking for my type of service.

The following week we received a call from the uncle of the member of the networking group. It did not take long to figure out that they had misunderstood my explanation of what I do. This man was looking for a dispatcher.

However, I agreed to meet him and his wife for coffee to discuss what services I could offer them. The rest is history, thus was born “The Dispatch Center”, a division of Carla’s Transport Services.

Do not put all your eggs in one basket

The next phase of the business grew right along. Soon after accepting one owner-operator job, others followed. Even though the customer side of auto transport had slowed down, the dispatching of auto carriers kept me hopping.

I found I loved working with the variety of clients, from car owners, other brokers to the drivers themselves. Relationships grew, as did my circle of professional business partners. Soon I found myself inside their lives helping them with their health, too. How could that be you might wonder?

One of the drivers I had dispatched a car to for one of my auto transport customers transports went missing in action. Panic began to set in when his company called me looking for any updated information. His wife called me asking when the last communication we had was, what time of day and the like.

All I can say is thank goodness for relationships, companies who care for their employees and the GPS systems some trucking firms use on their trucks. After a whole day of investigating, he was finally located at a truck stop, in the back, face down having suffered a stroke. He is all right today, thanks to everyone’s effort and relentless phone calls.

As the seasons change so does the volume of business, both on the brokering and dispatching side of the business. It made perfect sense to diversify and build our vitamin business due to the difficulties of the market.

However, I neglected one detail. I settled into the false thinking of security. The mindset of if brokering slows, I have the dispatching to fall back on. Doesn’t it seem logical and safe? Wrong.

Depending on someone elses business for security

In this current economy, government agencies are looking for ways to boost our economy. Now, I am not saying anything is wrong with that it does need help. However, let me share with you what happened to one of the trucks I dispatch. Please, share your thoughts and help me understand the logic of this situation.

This truck has been running the same route for over six years. What this means is he hauls a load of cars from California to Texas and back again using the same interstates. For our safety there are inspection stations manned by Highway Patrol officers trained in semi-tractor safety and highway law. Stay with me here as I take you through my thinking.

On the last load-in the inspector tells the driver that his equipment is one foot too long. Now, after six years his truck is illegal to run the state of California, he is done. What does this mean to his business and mine? One of two things can happen. He can purchase new equipment that is the right length for the state requirements at a great cost or he is out of business.

What did this teach me? The light bulb went off in my head and it exploded. I had allowed my thinking to slip back into a comfort zone that had gotten others and me into trouble before. I thought I was secure in my auto transport broker and dispatch center. I thought even if one side generated less revenue it would be okay because I had the other side.

What I had not counted on were the regulations changing. We try not to think about trucks breaking down, trailers being too long. This all caused an immediate loss of work, revenue and comfort.

We were comforted knowing that while we were building our business we did not put all of our eggs in one basket. We had begun building another business part time, our anti-aging vitamin company.

 
Have you ever thought about how secure your job or business really is? It was a real wake up call for me. Now I know for sure, the only security in business is to have a back up plan.
 
Start today working on your plan. You do not want to be caught off guard by rules, regulations and laws that are not within your control. Like my family, yours will be thankful that you thought ahead.
 
We need your help! We can't do what we do without you. Leave your comment below and join in the discussion. We'd love to hear your thoughts about being prepared for imminent change.
 
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Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla 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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Your Ideal Auto Transport Client, The Rewards of Listening

 

Your ideal auto transport client, the rewards of listening

You are so lucky

Today was a day of reflection for me. Looking back over the past year and a half my life looks very different today than it did then. Our auto transport business is thriving when others have closed their doors. Our part time health business is growing and the excitement is mounting as others achieve their dreams and goals, too. Was it so for either business last year? No.

Some may say we are lucky. Trust me luck has nothing to do with it. Hard work, perseverance and determination are the reason we are still in business today.

Why is it that we always want everything now? Who taught us that we are entitled to have what someone else has and not have to work for it? I used to think just like that, too. My desperation to make money overshadowed my desire to serve others. Once I learned that my focus was unbalanced, my learning process began to compound and make sense. The pieces of the puzzle started to fit together.

Chatting with a good friend the other day our conversation turned to just that thought. Both of our businesses are growing, we are beginning to earn a good income. That was not the case when we started though. What changed, what made the difference in our businesses between last year and today?

We both figured it out. What did we figure out? The rewards of listening to your ideal client will make your business a success. When you do not listen to what the market wants it will break you.

When you combine that one gold nugget with the "how to" of putting a business together online you will find your answer. What we figured out is that it takes each business owner a different amount of work and time to reach results.

Can someone else do the work for you? NO!!! For long-term success we all must learn the "how to" ourselves. We must put in the time, pay the piper ourselves in order to reap the rewards waiting in the shadows for us.

Figuring out what they want

When I first started our auto transport broker business, I knew nothing about the industry at all. The lingo in the auto transport industry is different. Some of the titles for jobs seemed to overlap it was so confusing. It would have been much easier had I known of someone who could coach me and show me the ropes.

However, the broker who sponsored me (provided the information to get started) did not have my best interest at heart. Her focus was unbalanced as well, centered purely on money. Coming from a banking background, I was naive to the dealings of the outside business world. My first year in business was like a Hollywood movie in the making. Several hours training and then tossed to the wolves. Now it was sink or swim.

The same went for our health networking business. Sure there was training, "Do it this way, say this, act like this, be like me and you will succeed". The problem was I did not have a personality like theirs. My goals and passion was different, I was not like them. Try as I might to conform to their methods it did not work for me. Later I would figure out that duplicating the system is what would work, not duplicating them.

Jigsaw puzzle

In both our auto transport and health businesses, we found similarities. Building a business is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Starting with the basics like giving our customers a free quote. That seemed simple enough, yet the sales did not come. What were we doing wrong?

Later we found that calculating the free quote was an art. Specific key elements comprised the perfect auto transport quote and this resulted in a sale, our first. Finding an auto transport carrier to transport that customer's car was like the next piece of the puzzle. Again, there were specific measures we needed to take to cover our business as well as the customer's car. Now that puzzle started making sense.

Finally, after fourteen years in network marketing the puzzle pieces became clear. The missing piece to success was not in the puzzle at all. I was the piece of the puzzle that needed to be refined. Our ideal client did not want what we were offering. Aha! That is why there were no sales.

Just like in our brokering business, some and not others desire the health business. By leaning in, listening to what others wanted instead of being so bull headed and narrow-minded, I heard what they were saying. I realized that the inner student within me was ready to learn.

It all takes time

What do auto transport, health and jigsaw puzzles have in common? They all take time to learn. In business, there are options available sometimes that can take the learning curve and toss it on its ear. By taking advantage of those options, like a business coach or trainer, you can shave years off the time it will take you to learn the intricate details. This can set your business up for faster success and bigger profits. It can also save you precious time and valuable assets allowing you to avoid the traps and pitfalls already experienced by those who have gone before you.

What my friend and I discovered in our conversation is this. We never thought a year and a half ago that we would be where we are today in business. The one thing we both learned and put into action was to listen to our ideal client and give them what they want. We learned it is not about us and our wants and desires. When we help others get what they want, serve with a pure and honest heart, our desires and goals happen because we helped someone else.

So, if you have a desire to build a business, whether it is in auto transport or a health business, lean in, listen to your ideal client. Decide to work with a business coach, avoid the pitfalls and traps waiting in the shadows for you. Set your business up for success and your hearts desire will come true, too.

We need your help! We can't do what we do without you. Please leave your comment below and join the discussion. Do me a favor? Share this with your FaceBook friends by clicking the "Like" button at the top of the page. Your Twitter friends won't want to miss out, be sure to "re-tweet", too. Thanks, you are the best.

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 healthy 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.