Leah Lancaster of Chattanooga, Tennessee always dreamed about working from home. So when a gig cropped up that would allow her to do just that, she seized the opportunity. While working at her former company as a freight broker for truckers, some contract revisions were made that she wasn’t thrilled about. After seeking a new parent company to work under, Lancaster formally established Lancaster Logistics, LLC in January 2015. She’s living her dream of working remotely with her husband and business partner, Nathan.
“As freight brokers, we work in logistics. We’re basically travel agents for products. We act as go-betweens for people who need trucking companies to transport the product from point A to point B,” Lancaster says.
In a fast-paced, modern world, sometimes quality goes overlooked. Lancaster feels that the old-school approach of having honesty and integrity is just part of the tremendous responsibility of being a small business owner — and believes that’s what will get her ahead.
“My main goal is to just do things the right way in regards to my customer base. I believe in doing the job honestly so I can sleep at night. There are a lot of shady people in this industry, but that also means that I get to do things my way with my business, and I know what I want my business to be about,” she confides.
Despite working from home, Lancaster still deals with a variety of interesting characters. In fact, one of the things she enjoys most about her line of work is how surprisingly people-oriented it is. She works with both the customers and the carriers.
“You wouldn’t believe the different types of people I encounter. It’s my dream job because I get to work from home in my pajamas but also make connections with so many people,” she enthuses.
What makes Lancaster’s situation unique from other small business owners’ is that she — along with many other freight brokers — works under a parent company. Her experience is similar to someone who works in a corporate environment in the sense that she must build her name within her industry and set herself apart from other brokers working within her parent company. In order to market herself to the right prospects, she maintains a presence on websites designed for brokers and truckers.
When asked about the challenges she faced in the infant stages of small business ownership, Lancaster admits she had no idea what she was doing.
“There’s a lot of industry knowledge that goes into doing this job well. At first, I got looked down on, especially because this is such a male-dominated industry. Sometimes they talk to me like I’m vapid, and I deal with it,” she confides.
Lancaster has also been forced to learn how to deal with rejection.
“It can be tough to pick up the phone and listen to people tell you ‘no’ 50 times before they give you a chance. But getting through it is the rewarding part.”
Although Lancaster loves being a small business owner, she admits competition is intense in her industry. Combating competitors all boils down to delivering the quality customer service to her client base that Lancaster swears by. Her advice could benefit anyone trying to make a name for themselves in their industry.
“Do everything you can to stand out and make yourself different. Part of my success just goes back to how I do business. It’s the level of service you provide. Get your foot in the door and then blow them away by going above and beyond. Give 100% every time,” she advises.
Lancaster also insists small business owners should never take “no” for an answer.
“Keep working. Don’t quit. Sometimes ‘no’ just means ‘not right now.’ Eventually, a break will happen.”
Leah Lancaster of Lancaster Logistics, LLC is a satisfied client of 1-800Accountant.
“I love 1-800Accountant. I recommend the service to everyone. I’d be lost without the help I’ve received,” she enthuses.
Photo credit: The photograph included in this blog post was provided by Lancaster Logistics, LLC and is used with permission.