Seasons Priorities

Seasons Priorities

Independent operators during the months of December and January can be a lesson in priorities both past and present. There is no season that more reflects an operators condition than their actions or inaction’s during the holiday season. Do they work through to survive? Do they work through for the opportunity? Do they hang up their keys because they can?

I’m just finishing the prequel to The Millionaire Mind (that I finished earlier this year), its called The Millionaire Next Door. The book is another great read for those who wish to know how to financially succeed in North America. It’s an academic study but has outrageously practical advice. There are seven factors that wealthy individuals adhere to that most other people do not. They are: 1. They live well below their means. 2. They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth. 3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status. 4 Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care. 5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient. 6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities. And finally 7. They chose the right occupation.

If your adherence to these factors represents the average independent operator you probably are not very encouraged right now. Most drivers (actually about 50%) are actively looking for some means of employment other than driving. They are not committed to their chosen industry. If they could find something that would pay the same as what they currently make they would stop driving today. The problem is they can’t find anything comparable, so they keep doing what they’ve always done… drive truck. They think they simply chose the wrong occupation. I disagree with that assumption. I’ll get back to that point shortly.

If your mind and heart is not fully engaged in what you are doing to make a living you will most likely never rise above your circumstances and find your way out. Incidentally “finding your way out” may not actually mean stop driving. Finding your way out may just mean only doing the things you want to do when you really want to do them.

I know several drivers who only work 10 months (or less) of the year. They are able to do this because they’ve invested time, energy and all available resources in prioritizing their finances and career over many years so they can provide for themselves what they want when they want it.

It’s like Dave Ramsey says…”live like nobody else so eventually you can live like nobody else”. Achieving your goals takes time and focus… or patience and sacrifice… or discipline and planning.

Fully applying yourself to your career requires a level of dedication that is rewarded years (sometimes many years) into the future. Building your reputation within your carrier or market niche means being the go to guy to get the difficult or risky things done when very few others could. Then once your at the top (so to speak) you must continue adding to your abilities in other related or even unrelated areas. Become a wealth of various abilities, a person to trust in both capabilities and character. The more proficient you become, the more opportunities open up for you. It’s like the famous proverb… “ a man’s gift will make room for him”. Develop your abilities.

Everyone would love to be rich but so few people actually make it. Its not that opportunity only hits a few lucky ones… its that very few actually prepare for success or advancement.

How many people save money for future opportunities? Most assume that when an opportunity arrives they will take a trip to the bank and borrow what they need. Then, when they are denied a loan they “blame they system” or cry victim in some form. Live like nobody else so you can eventually live like nobody else.

Remember, you have not necessarily chosen the wrong profession. I know many drivers who are surprisingly wealthy. They certainly never built their wealth over night, in fact the quickest I know of building wealth in trucking was 11 years (from penniless to the ability to retire with dignity). It can be done, it is being done and will continue to be done. It’s just not well publicized, or even encouraged within our society.

If it will happen, it will be up to you.

Robert Scheper

Robert D Scheper has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of two books, “Making Your Miles Count: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes” and "Making Your Miles Count: Choosing a Trucking Company".

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