I met Ashley initially in an online forum. The more I got to know her and heard about her story the more I knew I had to get her on to The Idea Spotlight!
Ashley was a trucker driving all over the states before she opened her own Auto Shipping Brokerage.
Ashley, everyone wants to know, how come you were working as a trucker?
I grew up around trucks. My father was a truck driver, my uncles were truck drivers too. It was all around me. I did want to be a psychologist and I went to college and was a psychologist for a year. But I wasn’t really enjoying it, I ended up in a bad relationship and I just really wanted to get away from New York. I always had the idea I wanted to move to Florida.
I thought about going in to the military just to escape and I also thought about driving a truck. Really I only wanted to do either of those things at that point. I talked to my Dad about it and he basically said I don’t want you doing neither! I want you to go back to school!
But he said if you have to do one I would rather you drive a truck than go into the military!
I love this story! Then what happened?
I got my trucking license and my first job was hauling exotic cars. Bentleys and Ferraris. I was driving with my new boyfriend. So we were moving these cars all over the country. I loved it!
When did you think about starting your own business?
The guy we were working for wasn’t very good at getting us cars to move. We would drive somewhere and then wait for days for him to find cars to fill our truck so we could make the return trip. So we decided to work for ourselves and find our own cars to move.
We did that for a while but then our truck got damaged and we had to go back to working for a company. We couldn’t get a job together so I was driving myself for three months. As you can imagine my Dad was freaking out!
Where did the idea come to move into being a broker?
I loved working with moving cars so much and I realized that later I would want to be at home more so I always planned to save up money from the trucking and then open a brokerage firm.
I had it planned for a long time, even the business name and everything. Also it meant I could live where I wanted so I made my move to Florida!
What have been your major challenges since starting your business and how have you overcome them?
As there is so much fraud in this industry some clients are cautious about hiring someone who works out of their home. At first I was really afraid of clients finding out that I do work from home. As time went on I found out that many of my clients work from home themselves and they don’t view it as a make or break.
Also because of the fraud that goes on it can be hard to gain people’s trust, especially as I am a relatively new business. I find that if I can get my customers on the phone I’m able to show them how dedicated I am, how much experience I have in the industry and how I really care that their relocation goes smoothly. Then they book me. It is challenging though to stand out in a crowded market place as a newbie.
What have been your highlights as a business owner?
I had one testimonial that was so wonderful it made me cry! Whenever I have a bad day I read that testimonial and remember I am doing a good job and I am genuinely helping people.
What would you say to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t listen to the naysayers! If it’s meant to be you’ll find a way, there’s something out there for you. Keep the faith!
You can find out more Ashley and ReloGeek here
Key take aways from Ashley’s experience
Sometimes your business can be an extension of something you have done before. You can try approaching an industry, or even hobby, from another angle.
Ashley’s case is a classic example of the fact that you don’t need to think of a completely new idea to start a business. You just need to find something you want to do and find a way to do it better than the competitors. Ashley’s angle is that she takes care of the whole auto relocation process for clients and goes above and beyond what you would expect from a broker.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Are you thinking of starting a new business in an industry you are already working in?
Do you have experience in a particularly challenging industry?
Let me know in the comments below…