Talking about being a freelancer, I must point out that I truly enjoy chatting up private drivers. I don’t have a license to drive yet hence my only form of transportation is through these private drivers.

Through the conversations I have with these private drivers, I learned a few life and business lessons.

file6221263245727Clarify if you don’t understand
The drivers never take a chance. They always asked me which road or which highway I would like to take. If they are not familiar with the location you are going, they will be quick to say so.

What I’ve learned:
Too often, we let our ego get the best of us and refuse to open our mouth to clarify or even to just tell the truth that we don’t know about something.

Strike up conversations to bond
They are the masters of networking. Especially when comes to talking about welfare, government politics and economy. They are not afraid to comment and they know the latest news to entertainment gossips.

What I’ve learned:
Networking is an important skill to move up the career ladder. Whether it is toward your next move in your industry or a business opportunity, there is little harm mingling and rubbing shoulders with the right people. In order to do that, we need skills like theirs and abilities to stay on top of current affairs.

stock-624712_960_720Always stay on top of current affairs
These private drivers are sometimes my radio stations. They have the latest news, even down to which highway is congested and whether my flight is on time. I used to have a regular private driver who ferries me through and from airports, he is aware of the time of my flight, the weather at the next destination I’m going to, even their current top news. Along the long roads to the airport, I often rely on his news that are both entertaining and informative.

What I’ve Learned:
I know my private driver probably read up before picking me up but it left a deep impression that he is willing to talk the ‘same language’. By doing so, he learned some new knowledge and strengthen his bond with me. Collectively, I have recommended a number of clients to him.

talk-845619_640Increase your network
I have only started using private drivers since I relocated to Shanghai and now in Malaysia. Back home, public transportation is easily accessible and no excuse not to go green. I have met a lot of people throughout this time from a yoga instructor to a teacher, to bubble tea operation manager to a Boeing engineer.

What I’ve Learned:
Using their knowledge as people in the ground, I manage to find out the best places to hang out, the cheapest places to buy my groceries and even the places with great food! Through them, I’ve also learned which companies are retrenching and downsizing, which companies are hiring.

Think out of the box
Free wifi, magazines, tissue box, sweets, snacks, drinks even mobile chargers are some of the novelty items I see on private drivers’ cars. They innovate and willing to think further on their clients’ needs. Stuck in the traffic on the way to work? No problem when the car is equipped with a laptop, a wifi router and a mini photocopier.

What I’ve Learned:
You need to constantly break out of your comfort zone, your own man made mould and be creative. Listen to what your customers are saying and work within your limitations to bring a much higher level of service to surprise and delight.

the-business-man-713327_640Collect Regulars
The successful ones have a common secret and that is they are never lack of regulars who probably made up of their 40% pool of customers. These drivers are networking specialist and able to sniff a potential long term customer from afar. Like for me, I’m a foreigner, I’ll probably have a need to use private drivers more than the locals since I don’t drive and as a foreigner, I probably travel to and fro the airport a lot more frequently than the locals. Those who sniff out the opportunity would quickly pass on their personal name cards, asking me to book them on the side on a regular basis.

What I’ve Learned:
For my freelancing business, I rather work with long term clients and have regular work than to hop from one project to another. This method has worked well for me. During lull period, all I have to do is to pick up more adhoc projects to supplement my gaps in income.

Have you learned anything in the past through conversation with others? Share with us in the comments below.

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16 replies on “What I Learned from Private Drivers

  1. I know this is a post aimed at working more productively and successfully. I think a few of these pointers work in our day to day lives outside of work– networking and thinking out side the box is two if the main ones . Improvising is another great skill to master . Great post . Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so great, Kally. Judging the lives of those private drives, you have taken out some really great lessons here. This is indeed special and I know only one person who can do this, like no other 🙂

    Like

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