There are no traffic jams along the extra mile." -Roger Staubach, NFL Hall of Famer
I picked up some great business reminders from my Uber driver the other day.
I tell ya, the lessons are everywhere once you start looking!
Let me paint the picture for you:
Last week, I took an Uber to get around the city because I was toting Miss Nala with me (my Bengal kitten who’s a spaz on the subway).
As soon as my Uber arrived and I hopped in the car, it was clear to me the this was no ordinary Uber.
On the back of each seat were laminated signs. In the place of the console was a snack dispenser. Soft jazz was playing.
I’m one of those people who loves silence, and I’m also one of those people who has never met a stranger and will talk to anyone. My curiosity got the best of me, so I started a conversation with the driver. I complimented him on his choice of music and asked him about it.
What followed was a fascinating conversation that reminded me of the power of intention, integrity, and the massive possibility for all of us to make money doing something we care about.
Turns out, this Uber driver makes over $480k per year and has spoken about his driving at events. He has a degree from Columbia and used to work in business. He left the business world where he was making great money because he realized he didn’t have the freedom he wanted, didn't love his work, and his salary was capped at an amount decided by other people.
His solution to all of that? He took something he loved, driving, and found a way to take what others consider a side gig and turned it into a half-a-million dollars per year business. He considers his driving his business and treats it as such. I leaned in started asking more questions.
The jazz music? Not an accident and very intentional. After hundreds of drives, this driver noticed how his passengers behaved when he played certain music in the car. He realized, it was tough to find a genre that was universally appealing, didn’t agitate people, offend anyone, or put them to sleep. Jazz was the only music he found that garnered neutral results.
You might not like jazz or agree, but I think we can all respect the thought and intention that went into creating the best possible experience for everyone who gets into his car.
The lesson and takeaway for us? Pay attention to your clients and serve them well. Care enough about their experience to care about the details. They matter.
Next up, those laminated signs. This was genius and accounted for a huge increase in his revenue.
The signs clearly asked you to leave a 5-star rating and a tip if you liked the ride and reminded you how it affects the driver if you don’t. They were essentially a clear call to action that stated exactly what the driver wanted and expected in exchange for his service.
We talked about those signs a bit. Turns out if Uber drivers drop below a certain rating, they don’t get rides, so not only did these signs increase the driver’s tips and bottom line (remember he makes $480k a year), but they ensured he was able to continue driving and picking up quality rides.
He told me that he’s spoken at events about this and mentored other drivers, but very few people are willing to make the effort to print up a sign, laminate it, and hang it in their car.
Moving on, I asked him what makes him different. He said he treats driving Uber like his own business, not just a way to make some money.
Takeaways for us: Oh so many.
First and foremost treat your business like a business. Then, ask for what you want. Don’t assume your clients and customers know the next step you want them to take. Want a tip? Want a rating or testimonial? Ask for it!
Ask clearly and make it easy for people to follow through. These signs were right in front of my face. There was no way I could miss them. The letters were large, bold, and clear. Nothing confusing. No apologies. No long explanations.
What most of us do instead is make a confusing request, bury it where no one would even notice it in teeny tiny-hard-to-read print. It's like we hide our requests on the corner of the foot mat in a car.
I think it’s easy for most of us to say here, that, "Well, shoot if all I have to do is make a sign, laminate it, and hang it up to make more money, I’d do it. Why not?!" And yet, how many of us have something equally simple we know would help us grow our business but aren’t showing up and following through?
Last but not least, as we talked more, the driver opened up about how much loves his work, thinks of it as his business, takes pride in it, cares about doing his best, and continues to improve his skills and service.
He shared with me that he gets a sense of ‘flow’ a la Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi when he drives and navigates the Manhattan traffic.
He also explained the pride he takes in his work. Every morning, he wakes up at 4 am to read the different news sources to check the events going on in the city that will affect traffic that day. He notes which roads are closed and what the traffic reports say.
This is the type of dedication to excellence and service that goes above and beyond to give someone the very best possible experience.
These are also the sorts of unseen, behind-the-scenes actions most people will never know about. I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t been digging. But these are also the types of actions that add up for this driver and compound with the other actions we are able to see to generate what turns into a $480k per year revenue doing something that feels, in his words ‘zen-like.’
To recap, if we want to make a killer living doing what we love, here are a few steps to do just that:
- find something you love and can take pride in doing.
- show up for it and treat it with respect.
- treat your business like a business.
- find ways to go above and beyond.
- serving your clients and customers exceptionally well.
- ask for what you want clearly in a way your people can hear it.
- believe in the possibility of making money.
You never know when the lessons will hit you in the face, but I definitely got my 5-stars worth on this Uber ride.
I'd love to know, what's your favorite takeaway from our Uber ride?
Wishing you your version of success!
P.S. Know you're ready to get your own 5-star reviews and make a great living doing what you love? I'd love to help you do just that! Click here to learn more about working together and book a free coaching consultation.