Our partner of the month for December is Shaka Boyce from Nomad Express LLC. We caught up with Shaka to chat with him about how the company got started and what keeps them trucking.
☑ Please tell us a little more about your business.
I primarily do air freight, and general freight as well, in the DMV area (DC, Maryland, Virginia). I move freight out of the three airports, BWI (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport), Dulles (Washington Dulles International Airport), and Reagan (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). My primary contract is with television networks, especially political and sporting events. Fox News, CNN, CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports, etc. For those, we take in the whole set and bring it all out.
☑ When did you get started?
I started NOMAD in 2005, but I’ve been doing trucking since 1996.
☑ What is most challenging about what you do for a living?
The greatest challenge is cash flow. You can have multiple clients but if you get paid net 15, net 30 on different time schedules, it can be hard to maintain and stay above ground.
☑ What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?
If you’re going into trucking today, give yourself 80 hours instead of the standard 40. No weekends, no days off, no holidays. Not to scare anyone off, but that’s the kind of dedication it takes to even begin to see some sort of progress. They told me I would be needing a factoring company, and I tried to stay away from that for a long time, but I was trying to manage the guys that were working with me and issues like trucks breaking down, or whatever the case may be. Whether it’s having a savings or getting with a factoring company that can help you with cash flow, it’s absolutely crucial in this business.
☑ How do you keep a work-life balance?
I pick my spots and gauge where I’m at. Early on, I was in a position where I could maybe take a weekend off, and if you need one and you can get it, you take it. But I don’t let it become a habit. I have a very large family that keeps me grounded and that’s a very big part of my balance. As far as being a business owner, I can’t just up and go on vacation. I have people that work with me and can pick up the slack a little bit, but ultimately, it starts and stops with me. I go on vacation here and there with my wife to reset, but then I get right back to it.
☑ Anything you’d like to add?
This business will test you and it’s not for everybody in terms of being independent or starting up your own business. But if you’re able to make it through the first and second tier— if you can get through the second and third year— I’d encourage you to keep pushing. The obstacles are great but the rewards are far, far greater. I’m an absolute testament to that; I started in ’96 but it wasn’t until around 2010 that I started seeing enough progress to where I felt like, “Wow, I actually have a company.” Just keep pushing. Ultimately, it’s from the heart.