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10 Traits That Successful Owner-Operators Possess

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Did you know that the first 18 months of starting a new business is crucial to success? A recent study reveals that 8 out of 10 of those businesses will fail to make it past the 18-month mark. As a new owner-operator, it’s important to do everything possible early on to keep your business strong for those starting months and well into the future.

Here are 10 traits that successful owner-operators possess that keep their businesses going strong:

1. They stay focused.

Successful business owners do not let distractions get in the way. Set goals for yourself, and make a plan on how to get there. Be decisive with your decisions and don’t procrastinate. Distractions are all around us, being able to work through those while staying focused it crucial.

2. They are positive.

Keeping a positive outlook on your day-to-day tasks does wonders for your attitude and gets you in the right mindset to get things done. Have a sense of humor when things don’t go exactly as planned. Don’t beat yourself up over the little things, it won’t assist with moving forward. Remembering to see the positive side will help you work towards preventing issues in the future.

3. They make commitments.

A good business owner will make a commitment to themselves, and their customers. You have to be willing to devote time to your business, and do what it takes to get the job done. Your customers are why you are in business, so prove you’re trustworthy by always working hard and following through on your word.

4. They self manage.

The freedom you gained by becoming an owner-operator also gave you the opportunity to start managing yourself. To be successful you must have the ability to be disciplined before you can manage anyone else. Be a strong leader that others will want to follow. Successful business owners take challenges in stride, adapt well to change, and are self-motivated toward the overall goal. Stay driven, motivated and determined to succeed. You are now the one paying yourself from your hard work, so managing finances and setting money aside for taxes is a must. Be realistic with your money, budget for slow times and be aware of your costs so that you can be prepared for the future.

5. They use an accountant.

Even the best business owners know when to hand a job over to someone else. You’re a professional driver, not a professional accountant. Finding accountant with expertise in your industry is important as well, as they can help you find tax deductions specific to trucking that other companies don’t know about. Doing finances on your own, or waiting to do your taxes at the end of the year (such as through an online tax company) is not the smartest way to approach your accounting needs once you are an owner-operator. Knowing all of the deductions you are entitled for can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars every year. Remember you are not having taxes taken out of your paycheck anymore, and ATBS specializes in trucker accounting. Even though you are now your own boss, there is still help out there to make your life a little less stressful.

6. They are confident.

If you are becoming an owner-operator just to be your own boss, chances are you will not make it very far. It’s important to remember that it’s not always going to be a walk in the park. Owner-operators need to have the ability to act and think independently, and be confident about their decisions. Having the right type of confidence (humble and strong, not cocky or egotistical) can be very powerful in creating respect and instilling trust.

7. They are willing to keep learning.

Great business owners are constantly curious and always asking questions. They seek out the most up-to-date information about their industry, and stay abreast of new regulations and changes. They subscribe to magazines, read blog articles, and may even enroll for continuing education such as CABS. Be proactive in your line of work, and continually observe others who are successful at what they do to learn as much as you can from them.

8. They are organized

Owner-operators that run their business well plan ahead and work towards managing their time efficiently. Keeping a schedule will ensure your important tasks are being accomplished. It is extremely important to be well organized when it comes to your budget. Keeping detailed records that are well organized will be easily accessible when needed.

9. They are honest

Strive to be straightforward and fair with your customers. Do not participate in shady deals or be misleading by hiding the facts – doing so will only hurt the credibility of you and your business. When you’re an honest businessperson, good reviews spread fast. Start with that kind of good reputation and it will gain the respect of others and prove your business as reliable. It will make people feel safe and want to do business with you.

10. They have Good Communication

The most successful owner-operators communicate efficiently. They work smarter not harder by keeping clients and dispatchers in the loop, and by making sure there is understanding. When being on time is not possible, always be sure to communicate the situation without a thousand excuses. Making sure you’re on the same page with everyone will create trust and strength in all your work relationships.

If you want to succeed you must have the will to succeed. Stay focused on your goal and continue to stay motivated to achieve it. Your determination, leadership, and hard work will lead you to success!


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