Traits of a Successful Business Owner

+500 MILES
Many professional drivers dream about owning their own tractor. For many, it’s a way to have more control over their schedule, but for others it’s more about the pride of ownership. Either way, the difference between moving from company driver to owner-operator involves more than a name change on the vehicle title.
 
An owner-operator is no longer a professional driver as much as he or she is a business owner. Instead of making a phone call to your carrier when your tire is flat, you make a phone call to a repair shop, and that involves a credit card number. In fact, nearly everything you do as an owner-operator requires a credit card or a healthy checking account.
 
The challenge is in managing more than your schedule; you now need to manage the business side of the operation as well. Joe Robinson, author of “Work to Live,” identified a list of characteristics shared by the most successful entrepreneurs. Using a University of Maryland study by J. Robert Baum and Edwin Locke, the researchers found the following seven traits successful business owners share.
  1. Tenacity. Tenacity, or determination and persistence, is vital for anyone who decides to take the financial risk of owning a truck. There will be a lot of setbacks and obstacles that will get in the way of your progress, so a focus on the long-term goal is vital. A mechanical breakdown or personal setback will make you question whether you can survive the challenge, but tenacity will keep you going.
  2. Passion. Without “an intense desire or enthusiasm” for your business, you’ll fail. If your goal is merely to make money, you might be able to accomplish that in other ways. Most owner-operators have a passion for the lifestyle or they wouldn’t invest a large amount of money into a big truck.
  3. Risk-taking. The authors use the phrase, “tolerance of ambiguity” to describe the characteristic toward risk-taking, or an acceptance of potential failure. Ask any business owner what keeps him or her up at night and they’ll quickly give you a list of their fears. From paying bills to making a career mistake, the uncertainty over your future success keeps many people from taking a risk as an owner-operator.
  4. Vision. Without a vision, an entrepreneur wouldn’t be able to see a better future as a business owner. Identifying an opportunity means looking forward and making that chance into a reality. Maybe it’s a great deal on a truck that made you start thinking about leasing to a carrier instead of just driving for them. Every trucking company today started with someone who had a vision when they bought that first truck.
  5. Confidence. An entrepreneur must have self-confidence and the belief that he or she can and will succeed in their new venture. Knowing that you are going to provide a service that is desired and needed should give you the security in moving into a new opportunity. If you lack belief in yourself you won’t succeed.
  6. Flexibility. You must be able to react quickly and respond to changes in your business. If you depend on one customer and lose that contract, you’ll need to be ready with a back up plan to implement right away. Being flexible means you will be more adept at dealing with change.
  7. Rule-breaker. The final trait needed to be successful as a business owner is the tendency to break rules. No, this doesn’t mean running over the speed limit or lying on your tax return, it means that a tendency to take risks will help you move beyond your peers’ comfort zone. That’s what makes a good entrepreneur:  the ability to defy conventional wisdom.
If you’re thinking about becoming an owner-operator and you are concerned about whether you have it in you or not, consider these traits of successful business owners before you take the first step. If you feel confident that you can be flexible and self confident in making your vision a reality, then go for it!
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By
Ellen Voie

Ellen Voie founded the Women In Trucking Association in March of 2007, and currently serves as the nonprofit organization's President/CEO. Women In Trucking was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members.

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COMMENTS +300 miles

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TYRONE BROWN
NICE... WHAT PEOPLE DONT KNOW IS .WAKEING UP IN THE MORNINGS IS A RISK. BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE..THINK ABOUT IT. DEAF IS A HEARTBEAT AWAY. SO LIVE EVERYDAY DAY LIKE IT YOUR LAST FORREAL... JUST SAYING....
3/31/2014 11:15:00 AM

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Shalom Jacobs
I figured if my BANKER made money on my work I could do the same for myself.
nice thing about been an entrepreneur, there's more then one way to get to the cheese.
3/2/2014 9:10:08 AM

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Henry Albert
It never occured to me to think of it as taking a risk. I figured if my employers made money on my work I could do the same for myself.
3/2/2014 6:47:45 AM

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shamon hall
Very helpful and passion of mine I would really like to be an entrepreneur in the trucking industry
3/1/2014 1:26:22 PM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:15 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:12 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:10 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:07 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:05 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:03 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:02:00 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:58 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:56 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:53 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:50 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:46 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:42 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:40 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:38 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:35 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:33 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:31 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:28 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:26 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:24 AM

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Frank Doss
Great article!
3/1/2014 5:01:19 AM

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Linda Caffee
I have never considered myself a risk taker and I said this to a friend at ATBS Richard and he said "REALLY?" That was an eye opener as I stepped back and looked at what we had done by leaving pretty secure jobs to purchase a truck and start our business. So now I consider myself a calculated risk taker as I know we will give it our all. We will probably never be a big fleet owner as that is not in our goals. Great Job Shalom and I have watched you grow and it is amazing what you have been able to do. Another good article Ellen!
3/1/2014 4:43:16 AM

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Super User
Thanks for all of the feedback Shalom!
2/27/2014 4:00:44 PM

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Shalom Jacobs
Thank you Ellen for yet another great post.
id say that 2 things makes it for a successful O/O.
Training & Cash king.
I'd recommend any OwnerOp wannabee to first take a business class, & then take on the job training.
that's how I'v started, and took several business managements classes ever since.
The cash king rule i have in place have 2 parts.
always have 25K cash on hand per unit. {this is hard because i needs to accept paying interest on those funds}
always use someone else money to expand.
this meant buying cash & earning the interest on selling the equipment.
i really appreciate the part your wrote about Vision .
for many years, i was an O/O without business goals. then as i took one more business class, back in early 2010, the vision took, for the first time, a leading role inside the business plan.
using someone else money to expand my business, will allow the creation of an trucking company that will be sold when retirement time comes in the not so far future.
which bring us back to #3. my business vision allow for only a minimal risk reward ratio. i have yet to see even ONE fleet owner that take such little risk in their business plan.
which allow for #5.
& as you can all read, #7 is the innovation built into my business plan, which will allow for much early retirement. god speed!
C-U-@MATS.
2/27/2014 3:33:55 PM

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