My dad became a taxi driver once we moved to Russia when I was 11.
He didn’t have business cards, had an old Orange 20 year old Mercedes but somehow got all the small boutique hotel’s business with all the fancy business travelers next to us.
How did he do it?
He had 3 daughters and our mom stayed at home with us.
He had to figure out a “job” that paid him daily in cash so he could take care of us. He didn’t have any time to mess around.
We all had to survive in 1990s Russia.
We lived in a 700 sq ft house with no bathroom inside, but the location was great – there was a very fancy 4 star hotel nearby.
So instead of parking outside the hotel and wait for customers, like other taxi guys did, My dad would go in, meet front desk receptionists and …
offer them something not a single one of them ever refused.
After that, they would call my dad for EVERY customer who needed to go anywhere. My dad got busy so fast, but very rarely would say no to a call.
He also almost never had a full night sleep, and would sleep 2-3 hours here or there. His phone was on all the time.
I don’t know how he did it.
But we always had food at home and he would always take us to school in the morning.
Want to know what was the thing he offered to all the front desk ladies?
At that time in Russia very few women had their own cars, and because of the 12 hour shifts, the hours were crazy for these front desk ladies.
So without a car, and with crazy hours, they had a hard time getting to and from work, so he offered to pick them up from home and take them to work and then back home when they were done.
Not one said no.
He gave them something they really needed and appreciated.
And in return, they all called my dad when a guest needed a ride.
I remember thinking how smart my dad was to figure this shortcut.
He clearly was amazing at sales without knowing it.
And I learned a bunch of lessons:
– I don’t need a fancy equipment or business cards to start a business
-I always have to think outside the box to solve the problem
– There is never a stranger that I meet after I saw my dad treating everyone like they were his friend
– Once you know what is important to someone you need something from, figure out how to do that and go do that.
– Don’t be like everyone else.
My dad is my hero.
He never lectured me.
He set an example of how to survive when you are an underdog.
And I will never forget the annoying looks of other taxi drivers who were parked at the hotel waiting for the business to come to them while my dad would take one trip after another. 😂