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Time Management – Be It’s Master, Not It’s Slave

 
Time Management – Be It's Master, Not It's Slave

 

By Elvie Look
 

 

Are you struggling to find enough time to do the things you need to do? You've probably heard the saying "Work smarter, not harder" which really has a lot to do with it.

But before I talk about time management, I must tell you that I do get a lot accomplished, and that is where my fault may lie. I need to do less. I can be a bit of a Martha Stewart in that, I want to take on everything, do it all homemade, and do it perfectly. So, if I was having a dinner party, I used to make everything from scratch. But, I have learned to mellow out over the years. Doing everything from scratch doesn't mean my guests will enjoy it more, they enjoyed our time together more when I was relaxed and happy. So I have learned to let go.

Time management is like housework, no one keeps it perfectly all of the time. Life changes and messes it up day by day. We just have to learn to be flexible and adjust with the changes. So don't feel bad if you find you need to improve in time management, you are not alone! There is always room for improvement in everyone's life. My husband Ken wants to see me work less, and I am working very hard towards that goal. That is my long-term goal, so to reach it, I have to work a little harder now, but that brings me to the first part of time management:

1. Set Goals

Your goals should start first of all for the day, plan your day and the activities you would like to accomplish. Many start with a To Do List. I asked my Facebook Friends how they kept a To Do List. Some used technology like a calendar on their computer, some used a notebook, others used both. It really doesn't matter which you use, just use the one that works for you.

One method could be to keep a combined To Do list in a notebook with dividers. The front would be where you keep a daily To Do List, the next section would be broken down for things that must be accomplished for the week. The third section for larger projects that must be accomplished that month. This helps to keep you on track so nothing gets forgotten. As tasks come to mind, add them to your list, and cross them off as they are completed (my favorite task).

2. Set Priorities

You can set priorities by numbering each item according to the importance, and then to the best of your ability, handle those activities in that order. Personally, this did not work for me. I preferred to review the whole list, and make the decision at that moment, then do it. After it was checked off, I reviewed the whole list again. Sometimes time or my mood dictated what was my priority. Again, whatever works for you is what you should do.

I would like to share some excerpts from the book I am reading right now, "Eat That Frog!" by Brian Tracy. I highly recommend this book, he gives 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time.


A Simple Truth – he says, "The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life.  As you struggle to get caught up, new tasks and responsibilities just keep rolling in, like the waves of the ocean. Because of this, you will never be able to do everything you have to do. You will never be caught up. (I swear he stole that line from me, I have said that many times, work is like trying to bale the ocean.) For this reason, your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to get started on that task and to get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop. Your "frog" is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it. The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first. The second rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very long. Take action immediately."

Powerful, eh? (yes I am Canadian…) But I love how he words it.

More on priorities, you may choose to make exceptions and handle your list according to your preference. Sometimes I just feel better if I can cross off 6 small items on my list, that feeling of accomplishment fuels me to tackle the one ugly frog that is left. So you are allowed to be flexible, your objective is to stay in control so that what you are accomplishing is your choice and not by chance.

Don't rush through your jobs or worry about trying to get everything done on your list. I appreciated what Time Management Consultant Alan Lakein stressed, "One rarely reaches the bottom of a To Do List. It's not completing the list that counts, but making the best use of your time."

Also, by working on more difficult tasks first is often best because you are more alert and able to concentrate earlier in the day, so they may get done in less time. Whereas, if you leave them to the end of the day when you are tired, they may take twice as long.

3. Distinguish Between Urgent and Important

In order to do this, consider the results that each task will bring. Will finishing the job produce significant benefits? Will it help you materially in your business? Will it help you be a better parent? Will it make future tasks easier? If not, it may not be a high-priority task.

One professor said, "Important things are seldom urgent and urgent things are seldom important." Such as the urgency of fixing a flat tire when you are late is greater than remembering to pay your vehicle insurance premium. Unfortunately, many of us spend our days fighting fires under the false pretense that they are urgent. The result is we are ignoring the less "urgent" but more "important things" in life.

To determine priorities, you need to ask yourself some questions to decide if this is truly important or just urgent. Can the urgent matter be put off? Can you get it done quickly and move on? Can you delegate the task to someone else?

You will find it more rewarding when you work at the things that are important and give you greater results rather than the things that just keep you busy in activity, but you are not really moving forward on your long-term goals.

4. Be Neat And Organized

You may think that being messy seems so much easier and not realise how being neat and organized helps you manage your time better. One thing that is a complete time-waster is disorganization. When you don't put things away where they belong, then when you are in a rush or need that item, you waste time looking for it. By organizing your home and creating a home for everything, you find things easier and quicker. Your tasks get completely easier and in less time. Try making neatness a habit, keep everything neater, and see if it makes your life easier. I give some great tips in my book "21 Steps From Chaos To Calm."


5. Prevent Burnout

As I noted at the beginning, we are sometimes our worst enemy. Perhaps we put too much on our plate, make unrealistic To Do lists, set unachievable goals, and then we burn out and get even less done. Are you burning the candle at both ends? If so, you cannot keep up with that pace before you "burn out" and then you will not be able to accomplish anything.

So be realistic with your expectations, your goals, your To Do list. And if you tend to do too much, then write this down on your To Do List:

  • Sit down and rest for 15 minutes
  • Go for a walk
  • Stop work at (set a time) and regardless of what is done or not done, shut down for the day and rest

Perhaps you need to write it on your To Do list, and then you will include time for yourself in your management of time.

There are no fixed rules for personal organization of your time, rather, effective time management means selecting the appropriate task for right now. It means discerning what activities yield the best results and spend your time on those as much as possible. You need to be flexible, adaptable, and find what works best for you.

WAYS TO SAVE TIME


1. Have a clear set of values and goals in life. It is the key to setting daily priorities.
2. Work on tasks requiring concentration when you are most alert.
3. Make phone calls when you are most likely to contact the person.
4. Delegate work whenever possible. It frees you to accomplish more, and it gives experience to others.
5. When doing paperwork, try to handle each piece of paper once, rather than giving it a temporary 'parking place.'
6. At meetings with others, stick to an agenda. Have specific starting and finishing times.
7. Organise your work area with needed tools close at hand.
8. Do not feel obligated to accept every social invitation that comes your way. Learn to say no tactfully.
9. Standardize shopping and packing lists as much as possible rather than writing up new ones repeatedly.
10. Get sufficient rest and relaxation so that you can work effectively.
11. Set deadlines.
12. Do not procrastinate.
13. Break overwhelming tasks into smaller ones.
14. Do not be a perfectionist. Concentrate on what is truly important.
15. Make good use of waiting time. Write a letter, read, or accomplish some other essential task.
16.    Know that there will be occasions when you will need to spend time on activities you would not choose. Do not waste time fretting about it. Instead, work to get it done.

Elvie Look: Your Professional Organizing Coach who is helping people get organized with her easy tips and suggestions. These systems help the busy mom, businessman or woman,  entrepreneur or student learn the keys to organizing in simple, actionable and manageable steps. She teaches how to get organized and maintain your organized space while carrying on your normal busy life. She is the author of "21 steps from Chaos to Calm."

 
P.S. Thank you Elvie, from the bottom of my heart. Your generosity enabled me to devote 100% of our getaway weekend to my awesome husband, Rich.

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.
 
Click the FaceBook "Like" and "Re-tweet" buttons; or if you Stumble that's great, too. You mean the world to me. Thanks for your support.
 
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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Can you show appreciation for the age you are while turning back the clock

 

 

Can you show appreciation for the age you are while turning back the clock?

Wasn't it just yesterday?

Today was a day of relaxation. When working from home our business can literally run us ragged if we allow it to. Learning the balance of work, home and play in running an auto transport business can be tricky. After six years though, I have finally found a nice balance. It works for my husband and me; it might not work for others.

After we came home from our church meeting, we relaxed with a nice lunch. Hubby wanted quesadillas and I dined on a scrumptious, small meal of scrambled eggs and a little salsa. It is fun watching those scales reverse direction (smile, smile and giggle) and the size of my clothes get smaller.

Knowing that I had a newsletter to write, I took just a few minutes to check FaceBook. Our daughter and family are on vacation and we keep in touch that way. The pictures she posted really touched me. It was like yesterday that we were taking family vacations with our kids as they are now.

I started to get a little melancholy then I remembered…I should show appreciation for where I am in life. By showing respect for the process of aging, we will honor our elderly parents. The sum of our experiences will make our life full, complete.

However, if you are like me I do not want to look old. You know what I am talking about, right? Aging causes many things, some good some not so good like wrinkles, memory loss and sickness in some cases. I do not mind getting older, I just do not want to act nor look it.

No, I am not a vain person; I just want to be all I can be for as long as I can be it…makes sense right? I want my cake and eat it too. I want to feel good, be able to play on the floor with my grandkids, go camping and swimming. My desire is to teach my grandkids what lifestyle can be when building a business and working hard to achieve goals.

Your business and your baby

When we started our auto transport business, you could say we treated it like our newborn baby. Up early we would work hard all day and into the evening hours. Six days a week, we kept that schedule for several years.

We made great money, developed a solid clientele and our database of preferred truck drivers grew. Our friendships blossomed, as we have gotten to know many of them in person, dining with them. Auto transport brokers and dispatchers became like business partners as we worked together to find the best owner-operators out there to serve our clients.

There were so many positive aspects to our business when it was young, but there were some negative things too. Looking back as the business began aging, we started learning from our mistakes. Our appreciation for lifestyle began to rise up. We figured out that making all that money meant nothing because we did not have time to use it.

With that realization, we began to adjust our office hours. While in the auto transport office, we worked more efficiently. I realized that when I worked for the bank we took breaks. It was not easy, but I made myself get up often and take breaks, even if just to walk outdoors for a five minute retreat. Now, this is what I envisioned working from home would be like.

Appreciation for growing pains

Looking at the pictures of our grandkids, I realized it would not be long before they will be teenagers. Time flies by when we have our heads down and are building a business. One day we look up and wonder where the time went. The kids are off doing their own thing and we wonder when they became independent.

This is the time when we figured out that family is more important than any business. As the grandkids each came along, we were thankful and appreciated that our auto transport business allowed us the flexibility to travel when we wanted to. We no longer had to forfeit those early years when they grow so fast. Now I could share my life with my clients and work the hours I wanted to.

However, I had to pay the price those first few years. We had to earn the right to build the life we had envisioned. Looking back, it was so worth the growing pains, we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Mature and aging like our elderly parents

The stage we find our business in now is like our elderly parents. Wisdom comes with experience and can be stable. It is always nice to diversify to keep the passion burning and the environment exciting. If you know me at all, you know I get bored easily. To do one job day in and day out for forty years is not my cup of tea.

Do not take offense if you have been in a job for a long time. I commend you; it takes dedication and perseverance to achieve that milestone. My husband was like that. He worked for a local lumber mill for thirty years before the mill sold. He then worked for a local friend in a one-man mill (my husband was the one) for over eight years.

During those years, he helped the owner build the company to employ six other employees and he headed the crew. Finally, he worked for the original company that sold out for another four years before retiring.

My point is this each of us is different. We all have strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. I would die if I were to work a job as my husband did. Likewise, he would keel over if he had to talk with people as I do. We compliment each other. Once we found our balance, our flow our home business became the lifestyle we dreamt about for a long time.

So for today I will not be melancholy looking at my family's vacation pictures. Instead, I choose to work on my "to-do" list in the office. This is the schedule that has allowed us to travel whenever we want to. By using a little yellow caplet, we are turning back the hands of time and "anti-aging" instead of aging.

We are fully appreciating the way God has set up life, from infancy to elderly parents. Each stage of life and business is full of adventure, excitement and living. It is up to each of us to show appreciation for the age we are, the stage our business is at and the life we have designed for our family.

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 the stage you are in.

Click the FaceBook "Like" and "Re-tweet" buttons; or if you Stumble that's great, too. You mean the world to me. Thanks for your support.

 
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…



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New Auto Transport Business or Business As Usual

New Auto Transport Business or Business As Usual

Facing our fear head on

Over the past six years or so of building our auto transport business, I have spoken with thousands of prospects on the phone. Each day brings new types of people into my life in one way or another.

Having always worked in customer service talking with people over the phone is nothing new. Except today was different, we hosted a conference call and I was the guest speaker. That was different; I was scared out of my wits.

My stomach tied in knots. I was weepy all day long for no apparent reason. Answering many phone calls, my normal tone and service came through just fine. What was the matter with me?

Paralyzed with fear it hit me. This fear was about how this conference call would turn out. Would I give them what they wanted? I wondered if they would like me as a person? Where did these doubts come from? Do you suppose it is resistance?

Finally, my coach's voice rose up from the recesses of my brain. Sandi emphasizes that we need to FOCUS! It is NOT about YOU.

She was right; this conference call is about helping those that have reached out in desperation. They want to get their most pressing questions answered about auto transport brokering. They want what I did not get; they want to be sure, they are making the right choice in business before jumping off that bridge.

All right, it was time. It was time to call the number and begin. (Deep breath)

Time flies by when you are prepared

As my fingers dialed the phone, well actually punched the keys (can you tell I am still shaking and old school) I fumbled to find the right number. Instant Tele-seminar emailed me the link, why can I not find it now.

Setting my Outlook Calendar to remind me of the time, I checked it regularly. Regardless if a client calls came in, I did not want to answer and get tied up only to be late to my own call. That part of my day went very well.

It was 3:30 PM, thirty minutes before the call began and there is a knock at the door. Who could it be the UPS deliveryman? Maybe it is someone unfamiliar with our area and they need directions.

No, it is neither. It is my mom who lives next door. She has pictures of my great-nephew to give to me. Adorable as they are and appreciative as I am it interrupted my schedule. The meditation I had done earlier flew out the window. These types of interruptions happen all the time while working from a home office.

It was a nice break to get my mind off the butterflies multiplying in my stomach. The nervous reaction of tears falling concerned her. The oldest of her children, I am the strong one and tears are rare to be seen falling down my cheeks. I explained what I was doing and why.

She smiled and said, "It is no different than standing in the front of the room giving a demonstration like you did in 4-H. isn't it the same as giving a business presentation for your vitamin company? You will do just fine. Take a deep breath and start". With a hug and a kiss on the cheek out the door, she went leaving me to face my fear.

There will always be firsts

The crackle of the phone line indicated I was in. As I said hello others responded in kind. Fumbling to find the right control in the seminar control panel, we chatted to break the ice. Callers introduced themselves and mentioned what state they were calling from.

After introductions, I told them we would be recording this call. Go to a quiet place and grab a piece of paper and pen because there was a ton of information to cover all within an hour. With the recording started, lecture mode chosen I started with my personal story.

Ten minutes into the call something made me question if the recording was right. Clicking back into group call, I asked if they had heard anything, I had said. Across the board the answer was NO. Great, now what would I do?

My instant reaction was laughter. Actually, it was more of a very nervous giggle, but I hoped that they could understand. Within minutes, we continued the call in a group setting asking them to hold all questions to the end.

Finally, on a roll, my throat started to get dry. Thanks to my coach, sharing that she always had peppermint water sitting by her phone when she talked to keep her voice crisp and clear. Yes, it worked.

As anything we do for the first time, it went so-so. Doing my best to control the perfectionist in me I patted myself on the back and said well done. I know that the next call will be better. Each time we overcome our fear and conquer it, we become stronger and more confident.

The same will happen for our coaching students who were on that call. Once they make the decision to go for it, the rest will get easier. There will always be a first for everything, one first client, one first booking, and one first phone call. I still remember the first dispatch call that secured the first dollar our auto transport business made.

By facing my fear of speaking to those interested in becoming an auto transport broker on the call another level of confidence rose within me. The next call will be easier, more relaxed and hopefully my technical skills will improve, too.

We need your help! If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

 
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
 
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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Auto Transport Broker Prepared by Cancelled Flights Due to Blizzard

 

Auto Transport Broker Prepared by Cancelled Flights Due to Blizzard
 
Turbulence and football

Out of a deep sleep, the captain advising us to return to our seats and buckle up awakened this auto transport broker and family. We were entering a very large pocket of weather with extreme turbulence. The flight attendants assisted those who were not so steady on their feet back to their seats. This part of the trip freaked my husband and son out. What would they do if the plane crashed? They are not great travelers anyway, but to reassure them I told them we would be fine. The crew flew through all kinds of weather and this was no different.

The turbulence was a major blizzard. After the plane landed in Philadelphia, it took awhile to get to the gate. Looking out the window snow and ice was everywhere; our auto transport broker business was the last thing on our minds. There were very few signs of activity, which should have been a clue. Not traveling internationally much, we were clueless about the signs around us.

As we got off the plane, we walked to the customs clearing area. Everything went fine this time through; luggage in tow we left the area. As we made our way to find something to eat, we stopped at one of the boards to find our connection and gate. It was that very moment that we realized something was not right at all. The airport had CANCELLED all flights, in and out for the night.

Now what were we to do?

 
Okay, first we needed food. Walking the terminals there was not one establishment open. What was the deal? Finally, we found a security guard and asked what was happening. He was happy to help us, his customer service superb although his answer was not what we wanted to hear. The airport was operating on a bare bones crew due to the snowstorm; no one could get in to work.

We decided to get a hotel room and just order room service. If I believed in luck, which I do not, we did not have any. It happened to be the one weekend for the Philadelphia Eagles to be at home in a play-off game. All hotels/motels were booked solid for miles. With no rooms available, we settled for the Mylar blankets and found a spot in the indoor walkway that crossed the road below.

The only food establishments were inside the security area or outside the airport. We had our luggage, there were no employees at security, and we were not able to get inside without going through security first. Finally, we crossed the street and found an outside restaurant. There was a two-hour wait for a table. At that point in time, we did not care how long we had to wait. At least it was warm inside and we knew warm food was to come.

It was finally our turn to enter the restaurant to enjoy hot coffee and a warm meal. All three of us savored every bite. It had been a very long flight, a long day and we just wanted some nourishment. After our hot meal, we ordered more coffee to enable our stay inside the establishment. Pushing the limit, we finally left and returned to our piece of airport real estate. We had never been so tired, cold or frightened.

Morning humbled even the best of travelers

I am not sure any of us really slept that night. The blankets might have been warm on top, but the freezing air from the frigid temperatures outdoors encircled the walkway beneath our butts below. Then there was the fear of those wandering around all night might swipe our luggage. I now know that was silly, but hey it was our first time being stuck in an airport overnight because of a storm.

We heard other passengers talking about getting in line to rebook their connections that morning. Quickly I took my place in line. After two hours standing and creeping up, the announcement came over the loud speaker. The ATC stopped all plane activity ~ in and out again.

Shrinking back to where my husband and son sat I had to break the news. We were not going anywhere anytime soon. Later I decided to try my cell phone and try to book seats out for us. This time it worked, we would be able to board in less than an hour.
 

As we neared our gate, a familiar message blinked on the flight board ~ all reservations, in and out ~ DUE TO STORM nixed. This was so frustrating. Now the vision of frantic passengers trying to get home during the holidays came to mind.

Remembering how I reacted to their frustrations while sitting at home on my warm, soft sofa in front of the radiating heat of the stove made me sick to my stomach. Now I knew what they had gone through. We were living the experiences of the angry travelers with rescheduled flights. I vowed I would never again judge how they were acting in such a situation.

It would take two more bookings on that airline and twenty four more hours before we successfully boarded our plane headed for San Francisco and then on to Sacramento, California where our car was parked.

Auto Transport, Weather and Truck Drivers
 
The lessons we learned on that trip helped us to be aware of how people must feel when they are shipping their car. In our auto transport business people come up against all sorts of situations that can cause stress. Their reaction to that stress can cause them to act differently than they normally would.
 
This year has been a glowing example of how weather can affect everything in our lives, including shipping your car. We must keep in mind that these men and women truck drivers put their very lives on the line to serve you and me. If the roads are not safe, we should not push them or get angry because they will not drive those big rigs on sheets of ice. Instead, we should be thankful that they are aware of the dangers to themselves, their equipment and other drivers on the road. You never know when that other driver could be you or a loved one.
 
Just today, one of our owner-operators called to let us know their truck broke down. The shop had ordered the parts but they would not be in until the next afternoon. This put the truck driver one full day behind on his schedule. When I called all of the customers and auto transport brokers to advise them of the situation, some were understanding and adjusted their schedules. Others were furious, screamed, yelled and literally threw the phone down.

Even though we try to work through all glitches like this one, we cannot make everyone happy all of the time. Even trying to reason with them through the situation did not work. Can you imagine someone telling you that she does not care that the driver cannot help that a piece of machinery broke ~ it inconvenienced her? How do you handle that? Does that even make sense?

We offered every possible alternative to ship her car nothing suited her. Finally, I advised her that if she wanted to calm down and work with us instead of against us, we could find a solution. This angry auto transport customer finally came to her senses and worked with us to find a solution good for everyone. It only took one phone call and we handled the situation.

When an angry customer attacks us as she did, I always remember how I felt in that airport with rescheduled planes due to extreme weather. Thank goodness I did not act out as she did, but I can understand why she felt the way she did. Having empathy for our angry auto transport customers makes us a better person, broker, servant and business owner now and in the future.
 
We need your help! If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access
 
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
 
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.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
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Angry Auto Transport Customers and How We Learned to Empathize

(good bye Bandon, County Cork, Ireland)

Angry Auto Transport Customers and How We Learned to Empathize

The preconceived ideas left behind

Our trip to Ireland, the land of my husband's family and the euphoric state we were still in was soon to end. Heading back home to our auto transport business had to take priority now. The memories we held in our hearts of the touch of our little granddaughter's hand brought a smile to our faces. The thoughts of past times and people living in the monstrous castles of Ireland burned in our memory for good. Those preconceived ideas of old castles and life in Ireland were left behind.

Those were the good memories we brought back home with us. However, the trip was not over yet. The lessons we were about to learn would be way out of our comfort zone. We would soon find out that we did not know the true meaning of being humble. Do you find lessons in the oddest places too?

Heart-wrenching sad goodbye

Our flight out of the Cork airport left early in the mist of the morning. Unlike airports in the U.S.A., there are no services available when the first flights are boarding. Leaving our family and the lovely island of Ireland was hard enough, but without coffee, it was horrible.

Final hugs and kisses were flying all over the place as all three of us tried to get to our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law one last time before disappearing out the door to the tarmac for boarding. Tears froze on my cheeks as I tried my darnedest to hold the floodgate of tears back…it did not work. As you can imagine, the sleeve of my coat was sopping wet by the time we found our seats and buckled our belts.

As the plane took off, the landing gear lifted up into position, I caught one final glimpse of the emerald island before we disappeared into the billowing white clouds above. Just like that, our family and Ireland were behind us.

Connecting flight and customs

The route our return trip took us through was different from our trip to Ireland. Our connection was in Amsterdam, Holland instead of Paris, France. After having found our way around in Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, we thought it would be simple on the way home. Wrong.

Amsterdam is an international airport and larger than Charles De Gaulle, or so it seemed. Wandering through the large terminals we almost got lost. All of us were hungry and looking for the food court.

At that time of the morning, McDonald's was not on our list of food choices. However, look as we might we could not find anything that remotely resembled an American breakfast. I am adventurous, but my son and husband are not. It turned out that we settled for a hot cup of coffee and a pastry or two.

Next, it was time to shop for souvenirs. Tulips are gorgeous and each dish came with its own soil just perfect to grow them indoors. Cute little wooden clogs painted white with tulips adorning the toes would serve quite nicely to prove we had at least been in the airport inside Holland.

The time came when we needed to locate our gate and get ready to board the plane for the long flight back to the U.S.A. This leg of the trip would take us through customs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As we rechecked, our baggage and entered customs the attendant flagged me over. I had no idea why they pulled me into the clearance area; nothing had changed since we left Ireland, or so I thought.

Do you remember the little bowl of tulip bulbs I purchased at the gift shop? The soil that came with the bulbs could not leave the country. Do you wonder why it is a set if it is not allowed out of the country? I sure did. Regardless, the soil was confiscated and they allowed me to keep the bulbs and bowl. I was not happy that I had lost the perfect soil to grow my tulips. I grudgingly handed the attendant my boarding passes and entered the plane.

For the next nine hours, our flight was uneventful. Settled into our seats we leaned back, closed our eyes and slept most of the flight exhausted from our whirlwind trip to Ireland.

This leg of our trip home reminded me that we should never take anything for granted. Just because the vendor in the airport sold the package of tulip bulbs with dirt in a bowl, it did not mean the package would pass customs inspection.

The same goes for owning your own auto transport business. We can never assume or take a customers auto transport for granted. We always need to work with a servant’s heart, providing the best possible customer service we can. Even if our customer is grumpy or yells at us over the phone our response needs to be calm cool and collected. It is our job to maintain a professional attitude and demeanor when serving all customers.

Come back next time for the concluding story of our flight home and the lessons international travel, old Irish castles and a new granddaughter taught us about the auto transport business.

We need your help! Join us won't you and help spread the word about what we do here. If you have gained insight with any business tips, life lessons or plain old good stories, send a tweet to your Twitter friends; drop a short post to your Facebook friends; better yet, use the share buttons at the top of this page. You can bet they will enjoy and thank you, too!wink smile Weekend Trip Ends At Beach Access

 
Oh, by the way…share your thoughts below…
 
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.
 
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.