Not many people have taken the leap to quit their job to be a rideshare driver full-time. One driver did it and rebuilt their life in 6 months of driving for Lyft. Keep reading to learn how Erika from Seattle started her own successful business thanks to the freedom Lyft provided.
In 2018, Erika decided to leave her sales executive position to become a Lyft driver. However, instead of just hitting the road and hoping for the best, she had strategies she put in place that worked in her favor.
“I knew where all the tech execs stayed when they visited Seattle, so I’d hang out by those hotels on Friday mornings and score airport runs,” said Erika in a LinkedIn post.
Not only did she receive big tips, Erika also kept her ears open and kept conversations going, learning about leadership and entrepreneurship from her passengers.
Here’s Erika’s recollection of one conversation that stuck with her, as told in a separate LinkedIn post:
I drove a bizdev (business development) tech exec from her hotel in South Lake Union to the Sea Tac airport.
She asked how long I’d been driving for Lyft, and then about 20 follow-up questions. She was highly encouraging.
Right before I dropped her off, she told me that I should write an article about my experiences driving.
“I bet the Atlantic would pick it up,” she said.
I drove away thinking “The Atlantic? Me?!” I audibly laughed.
But as I drove on I realized that she was serious.
She wasn’t being condescending.
She didn’t mean she, the accomplished exec that people would look up to, should write the article for the Atlantic.
She meant that I should.
In HER mind, that was possible.
In MY mind, it wasn’t possible.
I began to wonder if, (aside from time and experience, which are no small things indeed) this might be the biggest difference between the two of us.
The way she thought was Bigtime. The way I thought was small.
I was really good at taking risks. I wasn’t as good at believing I could do anything more than survive.
After this interaction, I developed a mantra: “Bigtime mindset.”
Even though she was at the top of a different game than the one I want to play, her mindset that got her there is a tool I aspire to emulate.
I’ve used this mantra to say “yes” to things I was almost too scared to jump into, and my world keeps expanding.
Highly recommend the “Bigtime mindset”.
With that mindset, along with confidence in herself, Erika was able to start her own business. She stated that driving for Lyft is what allowed her to go back to grad school at the same time as starting her business.
Starting Her Own Business
Erika is the founder and CEO of ESL for Professionals, a company that helps ambitious professionals improve their workplace confidence with goal-driven, engaging English classes, according to the website.
And yet, despite this success, Erika still says, “I believe quitting my job as a sales executive to be a Lyft driver for 6 months was the best career move I’ve ever made.”
As she says, “Sometimes, you need to make an unconventional move.”
In comments on her LinkedIn posts, Erika also mentioned that she doesn’t like using the word “just” in front of a job title. We’re not “just” rideshare drivers. She believes putting “just” in front of your job underestimates your worth and devalues what you’ve accomplished. No matter what work you do.
There’s no shame in using gig work and rideshare driving as a stepping stone, or doing it because that’s what you enjoy doing and it brings you success.
So, jump in with both feet. Take the risk you’ve been wanting to and see where it leads you.
Has driving for Lyft or Uber opened up opportunities you didn’t expect? Have you used it as a stepping stone for a new career path?
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-Paula @ RSG