Driven to Succeed: 5 Professional Lessons I Learned From Uber Drivers

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What can job seekers learn from entrepreneurs ? Just about everything.

Every day, entrepreneurs are on the front lines of the business world as they create, innovate, solve problems, and strive to outpace their competitors and better serve their customers. Creativity, critical thinking, and agility are all part of the entrepreneurial mindset that is key to success whether you work for yourself or someone else.

Personally, I’m always finding business lessons in everyday life. For example, on a recent trip to Phoenix, I learned a lot about professional success while riding with seven different Uber drivers in 24 hours.

These folks are all entrepreneurs working for themselves and using the exact same platform to serve customers. While most of the drivers performed the basic task of transporting customers from point A to point B, they exhibited widely different approaches to their work. Here are a few of the lessons I learned by observing each driver’s approach. I believe they can help anyone looking to advance in their career or stand out to recruiters:

1. Don’t Make Customers Take a Hike

Have you ever called for a ride and been told you have to walk a long distance to be picked up? This happened to me on my first ride in Phoenix. For some reason, the driver had me hike half a mile to a spot where it was convenient for her to pick me up.

The customer experience drives sales in every business. Even if you don’t work directly with customers, how you play with others will directly affect the company’s bottom line and your own success or failure. Make it easy for others to call on you when they need you, and reach out to them where they are.

2. Got Tools? Use Them!

In every profession, you find people who try to skate by without using the tools they are provided. Case in point: I hailed a driver for what should have been a three-minute ride, but the driver wasn’t using the mapping program he was provided. Instead, he asked me where he should turn. After driving around in circles for 10 minutes, we were back where we started! His work-around became my drive-around!

It seems so simple, but some folks still forget this rule: Don’t ever ask a customer to tell you how to do your job. Get the training you need so you don’t waste your time and the time of those depending on you.

3. Know Your Customers

No matter what business you are in, sales are based on how the customer feels. This doesn’t mean the customer is always right, just that it’s important to avoid making the customer wrong!

My first driver didn’t only make me walk half a mile, she also insulted members of the millennial generation, ranting about how they are ruining corporate culture by wearing flip-flops and shorts to work. If she had taken a closer look at her two riders, she would have seen that one of us was wearing flip-flops and the other was a millennial! I laughed it off, but the point of this episode is clear: Always understand who the customer is, and go out of your way to make them feel appreciated — not insulted.

4. Know Your Numbers

One of my drivers had a nice new Prius. He shared that he was renting the car for $250 a week. Doing the math, I figured he gets 71 cents a mile, meaning he has to drive more than 1,400 miles a month just to cover his lease payment. That calculation doesn’t even figure in other operating costs like fuel.

No matter your business, success or failure always boils down to dollars and cents. The more you know about those numbers, the better equipped you will be to maximize the flow of cash that keeps everyone happy.

5. Master Your Time

If you want to advance in your career, become a master of efficiency — like one of my Uber drivers. This guy drives full-time for Uber, and he loves the freedom it gives him. When he is not driving for Uber, he drives for Lyft and Amazon. He has figured out how to get his Amazon deliveries done in half the time allotted to maximize his efficiency. When he gets done with a delivery, he turns on Uber or Lyft and keeps driving.

No matter what business or industry you are in, you have to be driven to succeed. Always look for ways to do your job better and free up more time, then use that time to create more opportunities for yourself and your business. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, your enthusiasm, expertise, and focus on customer satisfaction will make for a smooth, fast ride to get you where you want to go.

David Woodward is the chief revenue and business development Officer of ClickFunnels and host of the weekly ClickFunnels podcast, Funnel Hacker Radio.

By David Woodward