On a recent trip to Miami, my family and I took an incredible Uber ride—and learned some surprising business lessons from our driver, Luis! Let’s dive into the business lessons learned from this short, 20-minute ride.

The Difference Between a Side Hustle and A Small Business

According to Quora, “A side hustle is something you do in your spare time for extra income. A small business is something with which you plan to make your living.”

Many of us view Uber drivers as side hustlers. While I’m NOT saying this is right, it’s how most think. Uber and other rideshare companies even market to potential drivers with the promise of earning “extra” cash rather than a full income.

Business Lessons From Luis

I was recently on vacation with my family. We took an Uber to our hotel in Miami and met Luis, the Uber Driver.

Scratch that: Luis, the Business Owner.

Strategy Matters

As we chatted with Luis on our 20-minute ride, he used words like profit, margins, urgency, ROI, and cost of goods.

Luis had a strategy for the rides he accepted and provided. He based his decisions on location, efficiency, and the cost of gas.

Consider the ROI of Each Choice You Make

Luis also talked about cutting expenses because the “ROI wasn’t worth it.” 

For example, Luis used to offer phone chargers, water, gum, and mints as perks of riding in his car. But he quickly learned there wasn’t much of an ROI for those perks—and in fact, he was taking a loss when passengers took the phone chargers with them.

Customer Experience is a Big Deal!

However, Luis does focus on the experience of riding with him. He had an immaculate car, Latin music playing (hearing reggaeton music in Miami gave me ALL the vibes!), disco lights, dark curtains for privacy, and even a fog machine! 

He also provided excellent customer service! He was friendly, talkative, and engaging. He loaded and unloaded our bags for us.

We were able to connect with Luis on a personal level, too. Before we even got into the car, Luis gushed about how he had become a first-time Uncle earlier that day. His love for his family shone through.

What Drives Luis? His WHY.

According to Luis, he has been able to pay $30,000 to get other family members to Miami from Cuba—all from running his Uber business. 

I was incredibly impressed with Luis and told him so. I asked, “What is LUIS’ ultimate business goal?” 

I just knew it went beyond driving an Uber. Luis definitely had a plan. He told us he’s now saving up to open and run a jet ski business in Miami. And yes, he already had this ALL mapped out in his head.

I wasn’t the only one impressed with Luis. My husband gave Luis a generous cash tip, acknowledging what I noticed while in the Uber.

After we exited the Uber, I looked at Luis’ profile. Driver profiles always have the prompt “Why I Uber” on them.  And Luis’ response was short and sweet, “freedom.”

So what drives Luis? 

HIS WHY: freedom for himself and his family!

I think it’s easy for us to get lost in the how-to, the frustrations of running our businesses, the numbers, managing people, the inventory, and wearing 100 hats. 

But what about OUR WHY?! 

Luis was savvy enough to treat what people often consider a side hustle as a BUSINESS. But even more importantly, Luis taught me a memorable lesson in just a 20-minute drive: do not underestimate the power of your WHY.

Resources

Timestamps

  • [05:22] The Difference Between a Side Hustle and a Small Business
  • [06:01] Business Lessons From Luis
  • [08:10] What Drives Luis? His WHY.

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