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Episode 7: Football, Motivational Speaking, and Trucking: The Story Behind Bear Down Logistics with President Desmond Clark

Brent – 00:00:01:

Welcome to Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast, where we explore the fascinating world of trucking and freight management. We dive deep into the freight industry and uncover why the trucking industry is more crucial to our country now than ever before. Stay tuned to uncover the driving forces behind successful trucking businesses and hear from the hardworking truckers and leaders who keep the world moving. Let’s hit the road. All right. Well, welcome to Freight Nation, a podcast. I’m glad you’re with us today. And men, do we have a great episode today. I couldn’t be more excited to talk to our guest today. Freight Nation is brought to you by Truckstop, truckstop.com. We’ve been out there for 28 years, if you don’t know who we are, but really glad that you could join us. Our whole goal is always to bring the real story into freight and what motivated this person or that person to pursue a career in logistics or to enhance their career in logistics. And men, like I said, we got a great guest today. I’m super excited to have Desmond Clark on. You may have seen him play in professional football. You may have seen him in the financial services industry. You may have seen him as a motivation speaker, or today you may see him as a logistics owner. But men, it’s going to be a great time today. I know we’re going to kick this thing off and he’s going to do a great job in communicating who he is and his journey into logistics. So Desmond, thank you so much for joining us on Freight Nation. It’s an honor to have you on today.

Desmond – 00:01:22:

Men, it’s a pleasure to be on with you. And let’s do it, men. Let’s make this a great episode.

Brent – 00:01:26:

Well, as Desmond and I were catching up about being on the episode, we share so many things in common. We like the team approach to things. We like putting character first. And that’s the way Truckstop is. I know that’s how Bear Down Logistics is as well. So here’s the thing, men. You played a sport that was obviously team-oriented, but you played professionally. So you played with the Bears and the Dolphins and then one other team, right? .

Desmond – 00:01:48:

The Broncos. The Broncos drafted me in 1999.

Brent – 00:01:51:

So you played something that was public. You excelled at it because you played for 12 years, which is a long time in professional football player. I think the average lifespan is like four years or less in professional sports. But you played in something that was super public. Then there’s an afterlife. There’s always an afterlife to these things. And so what are you going to do after you do that? And so my guess is that when you were at Wake Forest, he played college ball at Wake Forest. I’m sure that they prepared you a little bit for what was going to be the next part of your life after professional sports. So tell me, how did you get from professional sports to financial services to motivation speaker to logistics? Because the story is always the best thing, men. Tell us how that happened.

Desmond – 00:02:30:

Yeah. Wake Forest did prepare me for the afterlife, but not in the manner that one would expect, right? Because once I got done playing football, I had no idea what I was going to do next.

Brent – 00:02:40:

Really?

Desmond – 00:02:41:

I had no idea. So for me, like you said, I played 12 years, three years with the Denver Broncos, one year with the Miami Dolphins, eight years with the Chicago Bears. And when I went back to the Chicago Bears and resigned in 2011, I just knew I was going to make the team. I was having an awesome training camp. And then that third game, I got hurt and I sprained my knee. And I’m thinking, okay, well, I had an awesome training camp. I’m going to be around. Like I’m still a second or at least the third best tight end. They released me. So I wasn’t ready for that. I wasn’t prepared for that. I thought I had another one or two years. And then they told me, “hey, we’re going to release you injured”. So I took a settlement. So I had to be out of the league and I couldn’t sign with anybody. Well, I couldn’t sign with the Chicago Bears for 10 weeks. Couldn’t sign with anybody for six weeks. And just so happened, week nine, the third tight end for the Chicago Bears get hurt. So I’m like, “men, I’ve been working out. I’m healthy now. I’m ready to go”. So I called the Chicago Bears and I said, “hey, I’m still here. I’m ready to go. I’m healthy”. They said, “hey, we’re going to talk it over as a staff. We’ll get back with you in the morning”.

Brent – 00:03:45:

Right.

Desmond – 00:03:46:

Next morning, got the phone call. I’m thinking, okay, I’m already packed up, ready to go. All I do is go right down the street because I’m still here in Chicago. And they said, hey, we’re going to reserve this spot for a younger tight end that we could develop. And it was at that point when they said that and I put the phone down and I said, “it’s over. I’m done”. And so this was like in October, beginning of November of 2011. And that’s when everything hit like, all right, well, what am I going to do now? What am I going to do now? And it took me a little while to figure that out. And I know you are like this. I had to sit down with myself and figure out what my life was going to be about now because I didn’t have that spotlight anymore, right? So I wrote and I wrote because when I’m thinking, I write. And when I’m trying to get my thoughts together, I write. And I wrote for a couple of months and I boiled it all down as I thought about my life and I thought about who I wanted to be moving for. I boiled it all down to one statement that I have on my stationery. And on that stationery, it reads, where excellence has been the standard, my purpose is to enhance the lives of others through any expertise or resource that I have available to me within reason and with respect for my family, whom are primary.

Brent – 00:04:58:

Wow.

Desmond – 00:04:59:

At every opportunity, transforming strangers and associates alike into extended family members. I said, that’s going to be my navigational tool. Still didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew I had a navigational tool to go by. And so, first of all, I got into real estate for a short bit of time. Then I went on to get into the financial insurance industry. And I found a purpose there. I could live out my purpose there by helping people to be financially sound, make sure that their family is safe of any unexpected, tragic accidents. And I was able to live out that purpose doing that. And it was 2014 when I started speaking. And speaking really gave me an avenue to live out my purpose because I’m all about how can I bring out the greatness in other people the way it was brought out for me.

Brent – 00:05:48:

Yeah, men. Oh, yeah.

Desmond – 00:05:49:

It took a lot of people to have me to understand that I had something within me. If I developed it, it could turn out to be something that can carry me through life. Everybody has that. Everybody has that. And I come from a team background also. I love being on teams. And I don’t think that you can do anything great in life unless you have a good team around you, starting with your family in most cases. So, that was my transition. And then Brian Rice from Dray Depot, he seen me. This was 2021. He seen me out trying to market myself. And he reached out. And he said, “hey, men, I would like to talk to you. I think we could do some co-marketing together”. But he had his logistics company. And that’s how I started to learn about logistics. Because he offered me the opportunity to work with him. And be a part of his team, which ultimately I declined. Because once I learned about it, he was doing drayage. And there are all these other modes of transportation that were out there. And so, I ultimately decided to say, “hey, how about I start my company and we could be like sister companies where you’re just doing drayage. I’m doing the other modes of transportation. And we could toss opportunity to each other back and forth with our clientele”. That was the beginning of me really studying and getting into logistics. When he said, I like that idea. Let’s develop that.

Brent – 00:07:12:

I want to go back just a little bit. So you got hurt, but you did your best to recover yourself. And then you came back, because I want to hear your words on this. So many times in life, you think one thing’s going to happen, and you’ve even prepared for one thing to happen, and the opposite happens.

Desmond – 00:07:29:

Mm-hmm.

Brent – 00:07:30:

And you’ve got to adjust to it. So give the listeners and the watchers just a couple minutes on what was going through your brain. You sat down for a couple of months and wrote your thoughts, which, by the way, is super, super impactful. What gets written down gets done. That’s great advice to everybody. But what went through your brain on, okay, that season’s over. He was a little footballer. That season’s over. I’ve got to think about the next one. Give me what went through your brain in that?

Desmond – 00:07:59

:

Well, I had this happen to me early in my career, right? After my third year, 51 catches, six touchdowns. I’m 25 years old, and I’m the next up-and-coming big thing at tight end. I signed my tender. It was a restricted free agent deal for like $1.2 million. And now I finally made it, right? And I’m thinking I’m going to be the starter for the Denver Broncos going into 2002. Then early on in the offseason, they brought Shannon Sharpe back.

Brent – 00:08:26:

Okay.

Desmond – 00:07:27:

So it’s like, okay, I’m not going to be the starter because they just brought a Hall of Famer back. But still got my 1.2. He’s only going to be here for a year or two. And then in camp, I go and I break my arm. And I’m thinking, okay, I’m still good. 51 catches, six touchdowns the year before. They’re going to keep me because I’ve already shown them I could do it. They released me last cut date. And that was my, okay, now welcome to the NFL moment.

Brent – 00:08:51:

Right. Yeah.

Desmond – 00:08:52:

When I had to go home and tell a pregnant wife with twins that I don’t have a job.

Brent – 00:08:57:

Right.

Desmond – 00:08:58:

So I got down to Miami. And since I was out for six weeks with no training camp, I couldn’t catch up. And they had a pretty good rookie tight end. They had a pretty good second tight end. And so I didn’t get on the field on offense. They tried to get me there, but hey, just trying to catch up, I couldn’t get there. So I literally had to beg to get on special teams. The special teams coach wasn’t having it. He had his starters. But eventually, I got on one special teams punt team, and I got on the punt return team. Then I got on the kickoff, kickoff return team. And by the end of the year, I was a standout special teams player. I caught two passes that year.

Brent – 00:09:35:

Two?

Desmond – 00:09:35:

Yeah.

Brent – 00:09:37:

From 51 to 2.

Desmond – 00:09:40:

I had more touchdowns than I had passes the year before. But here’s the moral to the story. I thought I was going to have to rehabilitate my career. And go and get some opportunity and start all over. The Chicago Bears offered me a starting level contract. They paid me top 10 money after catching two passes. Because they said this, we knew that you can play tight end. We’ve seen that a year before. What we didn’t understand is your passion for playing football.

Brent – 00:10:07:

That’s it.

Desmond – 00:10:08:

Because special teams is all passion, is all heart, is all grit, is all grind. And they said that impressed us the most. And that’s why we want to have you here as our starting tight end. And paid me top 10 money after only catching two passes.

Brent – 00:10:22:

Wow.

Desmond – 00:10:23:

So now when I get released, it was really the same thing. It wasn’t about me just playing ball or it’s about who I am as a person, right? And I discovered more of who I was as a person when I got released the first time. I just want to play football. And then I discovered more of me as a person when I got cut the second time. Now that this is over, now what can I make an impact? And that’s what I searched for. And that’s what I landed on.

Brent – 00:10:50:

Men, that hits home for me. I’m the son of a professional football player. I got a lot of his talent, but none of his size. I’m 5’11”. My dad was 6’5″. I’m still mad at him marrying a woman that was 5’1″, my sweet mom. My dad would always say, look, life is going to continue to knock you down, which happened to you over and over. You went from the Broncos to the Miami, but you didn’t give up. You just kept going at it. My dad loves that quote from Winston Churchill, never, never, never, never give up. He always said that to me. He called me Lewis. He’d say, “Lewis, whatever you do, if you get knocked down, don’t stay down and never, never, never, never give up. That’s how you succeed in life”. I’ll think about your approach from the Broncos to Miami and then into Chicago. Then you had a great career at Chicago. You’re in the record books of Chicago as far as accomplishing things. My guess, Desmond, tell me if I’m wrong, because you just refused to give up. You continued to move forward. So tell me a little about the Bears, and then I want to shift into how that related into you getting into starting your logistics company and then how you brought some of that aspect of never giving up forward.

Desmond – 00:12:00:

First of all, that never, never, never gives up. It’s sitting right on one of my coffee tables. Yeah, yeah. And actually my wife bought that. I wanted her to know who the quote came from. That’s a quiz for her later on today. But yeah, so the mindset is how can I continue to improve, right? It’s never a thing where I’ve made it. And I learned that really by being cut. And ever since then, I’ve never been comfortable with being comfortable. Because as soon as you get comfortable, that’s when the rug get pulled out from under you, right? As soon as you think, okay, I got it. I’ve accomplished it. I figured it out. Then life is going to tell you, no, no, son. You didn’t. You still got some more growing to do. So that’s always really been the mindset. And that day-to-day mindset of what was taught to me out in Denver when I first got there is, what are you focused on intentionally today that you want to get better at?

Brent -00:12:59:

Yes.

Desmond – 00:13:00:

How are you going to improve today? It doesn’t have to be this big, gigantic, huge thing. Just have a focus and an intentionality on improving on something small every single day. What can you get better? Because I was looking at Shannon Sharpe. I was looking at Dwayne Carswell. I was looking at Byron Chamberlain. And I was thinking, there is no way I can be like these guys. I never had played tight end a day in my life. I play receiver. And these guys are two-time Super Bowl champs. That’s not me. But when I was taught that, “hey, let’s focus on me. Let’s focus on getting better. Let’s not worry about the outside. Let’s worry about what’s developing in here”. That is what got me from being a rookie thinking a six-round draft pick, thinking that I would never make it. To retiring after 12 years and people calling me one of the all-time best tight ends in Chicago Bear history. It’s just having that focus of improvement and having an intentionality with what I’m doing with my time on a daily basis.

Brent – 00:13:57:

Yeah. That is so awesome, men. Most people don’t realize that. And this is life. This is life. It’s constantly starting and stopping. And I love your point about constant improvement. If you look at your life as you want to improve a little bit every day, it’s hard not to find success. It really truly is because you got to look at yourself first. That’s the most important thing. All right. So super great words, men. Motivation. Motivation and encouragement, men. This is like fresh water to me. So that’s super awesome. I hope that the watchers are taking in the same thing I’m taking in, which is a guy that really truly cares about helping others create success. So you met the gentleman, Brian Rice, and he’s on the Dray side. And you said, I don’t want to get into Dray. I want to get into the bigger part of the marketplace. I want to get into the other modes, which is the bigger part of the full truckload part of the marketplace, where, by the way, most all of the money in the industry is made or success is made. I won’t just put it in money standpoint. So you decided to start a logistics company. You’re bringing everything in here. You’re bringing your team. You’re bringing your financial acumen. You’re bringing your motivational. You’re bringing yourself, your character to motivation. So you decided to start Bear Down Logistics. And what that looked like first couple of days?

Desmond – 00:15:06:

What did I get myself into?

Brent – 00:15:08:

Everybody says that.

Desmond – 00:15:10:

I’ll start off. The reason why I was feeling like that is because I committed to myself to put six figures into this company, right? That was the risk that I was willing to take. And so those first couple months, it’s just me. Like I said, okay, I have to figure this out so I can teach it. And I had Brian. He was teaching and he was coaching me along. But I mean, those first five or six weeks of 100, 150, 200 calls a day and nothing, like nothing. I started to doubt, like, dude, does this really work? I started reaching out to people who say, “hey, men, reach out if you have any questions. I got a lot of questions”.

Brent – 00:15:52:

Yeah.

Desmond – 00:15:53:

Does getting on this phone really work? Because I’ve been dialing my butt off and I haven’t gotten a single low yet. Everybody’s like, hey, just keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going. And then after about six or seven weeks, I got somebody to give me an opportunity. And at the time, I still didn’t know what I was doing because you don’t know what you’re doing until you actually go out and experience it and figure out, okay, well, I did that part right. I did this part right. I could communicate that better. I sounded like an idiot when I said that because I didn’t know what I was talking about. So I’m not going to say that again. All of those things, right? So I played every single role from salesperson to operations to invoicing and building.

Brent – 00:16:31:

Wow.

Desmond – 00:16:32:

Because I wanted to know the whole scheme before I went out and brought anybody else on to help me to build this company.

Brent – 00:16:40:

You were doing this all yourself.

Desmond – 00:16:41:

Oh, I started as a one-man gang.

Brent – 00:16:44:

Your employee number one.

Desmond – 00:16:46

:

Employee number one.

Brent – 00:16:47:

This was in 2021, right?

Desmond – 00:16:49:

No, this was… So I started my company October 27th, 2021. I didn’t go into actually operations and doing anything for May of 2022 because I had to study. I had to really study.

Brent – 00:17:01:

Oh, okay. Well, that’s smart. Okay.

Desmond – 00:17:03:

Because if you’re about to put that type of money up, you got to at least know the concepts of what you’re doing. So yeah, it was May of 2022 when I actually started to dial and started to reach out, build up my list and all that good stuff.

Brent – 00:17:18:

Okay, yeah. Not a bad market to get started in. Not too bad of a market to start in.

Desmond – 00:17:23:

No, it was the worst market. Because that was when everything started to come down.

Brent – 00:17:31:

Come back down to normal, yeah.

Desmond – 00:17:32:

I got in at the peak and it’s been going down ever since.

Brent – 00:17:36:

Right, yeah. I guess what I mean by that is it’s like, there’s a lot of activity going on in the marketplace. And so you could learn and certainly there’s realities behind every marketplace. And so certainly ours has that. And, so you spent six weeks just doing the same thing you did in sports, busting your butt, doing the standard, what they said, just like blocking and tackling, men. And you’re just moving forward, trying to get it done, educate, improving your game, improving yourself, improving yourself. And so what, okay, so this, I got to ask this question. So do you remember the day that it was like, all of a sudden you got your first customer to move their freight?

Desmond -00:18:10:

Oh, yeah.

Brent – 00:18:11:

What was it? Okay, tell me about that. Tell us about that. That’s a big day.

Desmond – 00:18:14:

Oh, yeah. It’s a huge day because all of a sudden I’m talking on the phone to this lady. And she was like, “oh, I remember you”. She’s like, and matter of fact, yeah, we do got a couple of those that we need moving. If you could give me a quote, and it’s a fair quote. She didn’t say give me an opportunity because I wasn’t presenting myself as fresh out of the box, brand new. She was like, if you give me a good quote, I give you opportunity to move these loads. I gave her a quote. I called Brian, had him quote it for me and sent it back, gave it a quote. And she emailed back, said, “okay, here’s the details”. Yeah. And at that point, I’m like, oh, what do I suppose to do now? What do I do now? And she didn’t give me one. She gave me two loads. So now I’m calling Brian like, “Brian, okay, we won it”. He was like, “good job, dude. Good job. There you go”. So I was like, “yeah, but what now? What now?” So he’s like, “send me over the information”. And then so he helped me read through the information. He helped me put it all on my TMS and all that good stuff. And then he’s like, “now, you know, you got, you got a three or four days that this has to be picked up”. So he was like, “now you, you listen on the low board. You start to dial out to different carriers”. And I forget what the amount was, but it might’ve been like $1,500 or something that she was paying me. And he was like, so just try to get it covered for a couple hundred dollars less than what she’s paying you. And I got both of the loads covered for $250 less for what, of what she was paying me. And I actually made $500 off of my first two loads. And I was super pumped. But now, okay, now you got to get the carrier, right? And so now I got to carry it to a green. I’m calling Brian again. All right, I got to carry. I got to carry. I got to carry you. Now what do I do? Okay, now you got to tender them the load. And so he walked me through the whole process, right? So I was lucky to have Brian there to walk me through everything. And then once they delivered, it was again. All right, so now what do I have to do? What do I suppose to do? Hey, call them, get the POD, make sure they send you the invoice. And then he turned me over to his operations guy to learn how to put everything and invoice it through QuickBooks and all of that jazz. But it was just one of those things like I’m so thrilled, but yet I’m so nervous because I don’t want to screw this up. Yeah, that was the feeling.

Brent – 00:20:34:

Right. It’s so funny listening to you. I watched your excitement and I can imagine it’s comparable. Like I just caught the ball for a touchdown. I just booked this break. Yes, yes, yes. First touchdown.

Desmond – 00:20:47:

Yes, exactly.

Brent – 00:20:48:

Let me ask you this. I want to ask you, I want to continue with the story, but I want to ask you something I think that the watchers would really benefit from. There’s a constant theme in me listening to you that you have a certain everyday mindset. You mind talking a few minutes about your everyday mindset and how you’re approaching your everyday? Because look, you didn’t take a little leap. You took a big leap. Put your own money on the line. You didn’t know a lot about the industry. Although you had a good expert in your corner with Brian to help you out to try to not create as many mistakes might somebody who doesn’t have someone like that. But your everyday mindset is what I’m hearing is what’s setting you apart. So tell me a little bit about your everyday mindset and how that that gets you through things.

Desmond – 00:21:30:

So a lot of days I say I wear a uniform. I get dressed in the dark, by the way, because I get up around 4:00 or 4:30. No later than like 5:00 every morning.

Brent – 00:21:39

:

Yes, I mean.

Desmond – 00:31:40

:

And I can’t turn on the lights because my wife is asleep. So she put all of my stuff in a certain area. So all I got to do is reach down and I know exactly where to grab. But I have this shirt that I wear a lot of days for my speaking business. And on it, it has win the day.

Brent – 00:21:54:

Win the day. There you go. Yeah.

Desmond – 00:21:55:

Somewhere on it is win the day. And that’s what I wake up and I want to understand how do I win the day? Even with my agents, we have on Mondays, we have a 30-minute meeting. And every other day we have a 15-minute meeting. And the first question that I ask each of them, what was your win from yesterday? What is your win? And then for me, if I’m doing something, I want to do it. I want to do it at the highest levels. I want to be great at it. And so our company culture is all wrapped around this statement. And it’s our process of greatness. Execute the details in excellence consistently over time. So it’s not about you got to be perfect at it, right? And I certainly wasn’t perfect at booking freight and I still got a lot of growing to do with owning a freight company and coaching and all of that stuff. But the level of excellence that I’m aware of, that I’m conscious of, that I know how to do it, I want to execute at that level every single day. Every single day. Every single time. And as I learn more and my conscious level let me understand more, I just level up, right? That’s what I wake up every single day. So just going back to the beginning of win the day, I wake up every day knowing what I’m doing that day. I don’t go to sleep the day before not knowing. Hey, here’s what the day should look like tomorrow. So I know waking up what that win is going to look like when I wake up.

Brent – 00:23:25:

That’s fantastic, men. Yeah, that win the day mindset. I used to tell a lot of the new peeps that would come in to, I’ve been in sales and marketing my whole life. I’d say, “look, you got to perform every day”. It’s not, I performed well two days this week or three days this week. It’s you got to perform well every day. And if you take that mindset to things, it’s just hard not to find success.

Desmond – 00:23:45:

Let me say something else about that too, because sometimes we get so wrapped up in the past and we get so wrapped up in the future. And one of the things I try to tell my guys, like my guy made a huge mistake on Friday. It was like all weekend, men. I was just stressed and I was just sweating. And I was like, look, you made a mistake, right? There’s nothing that you can do about that now. But what we can do right here in the moment is understand why that mistake was made, right? And now once we understand why that mistake was made and we fell below our standard, now how can we take that mistake and understand it so now we can bring it up to our standard?

Brent – 00:24:20:

Right.

Desmond – 00:24:21

:

It focusing on what you can control right now today, I think is the only way to live because I can’t worry about tomorrow because I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. I can influence tomorrow by what I do today, but it still comes back to today. I can’t worry about yesterday because I can’t change anything from yesterday, but I can make it better by what I do today. Everything comes back to today.

Brent – 00:24:44:

Without a doubt. We get today and that’s what we need to live in. What a great mindset. You’re keeping people present. Present in the day that they’re in. So that’s great words. All right. So you got your first couple of loads. Moving forward, that was after what, six or seven weeks of dialing, smiling and dialing and trying to get people to listen to you or believe in you. And so you got a couple of loads. And so tell me what it went from then to today and tell us also once you describe that, what sequential more success or acceptance did you get after that? And then describe a little bit of your operation today.

Desmond – 00:25:20:

Yeah. So after getting those first loads over the next couple of weeks, started getting more and more, and it was a compound effect of all of those calls, all those emails, they didn’t necessarily need me at that point, but that consistency, they started to call back eventually and give me opportunities, quote, opportunities. So when I was just doing it by myself, I got up to maybe six or seven customers before I said, okay, I understand this enough that I can go out and start to hire my first teammates. So it happened in August. I hired my first teammates August 18th, matter of fact, of 2022. One person to do sales and other person to be my carrier rep. And then I handle operations.

Brent – 00:26:03:

Okay.

Desmond – 00:26:04:

We scaled up pretty quickly after that because it’s like, hey, I’m just going to take everything that I’ve been doing. These guys know what they do, but I wanted to get everybody on to, hey, this is how we’re going to do it as a Bear Down Logistics. And by October, we were at $100,000 a month in revenue.

Brent – 00:26:23:

Wow.

Desmond – 00:26:24:

And then we did that again in November. And then we did it again.

Brent – 00:26:29:

You were going $100,000 up each month.

Desmond – 00:26:31

:

No, no, no. So it was $100,000 in October. And it was $100,000 again in November. Not $200,000. We just stayed right at $100,000. We were right below $100,000, $97,000 of revenue in December. So now I’m like, we’re rolling. We’re rolling. We’re rolling. And that’s just with three people. So going into the new year, I was like, okay, let’s pour some gas on the fire. I hired six new people. I hired five new people. And it was the worst thing that I could have done.

Brent – 00:27:01:

Oh, no way. Really? Tell me why.

Desmond – 00:27:03:

Because I didn’t do my due-diligence. I was caught up in all of the things are going well, so all I got to do is plug and play. So I bought in three people that sold me a dream about their capabilities and what they can do and how much they had done in the past. And it didn’t turn out that way. And then I hired two more operations people. So those operations people, their job is dependent on the people who can actually bring in the revenue. So ultimately, after three months of cost and cost and cost, I had to cut bait like quickly. And I hated to cut those two that were on the support side because they were actually doing their job. So I learned quickly. But one of those guys still with me today. He’s my top agent. And I learned quickly to be very, very slow and meticulous about hiring and ask the right questions and make sure that the people that I bring onto this team, they understand the Bear Down Logistics way of we want to be great at what we do and we don’t want to settle for less. And greatness, I don’t think is one of those things that’s so far out of reach. It basically comes down to, hey, you want to be an agent. You got some talent. You can communicate. You can sell a little bit. Now we just need to develop that so you can execute the details in excellence consistently over time. I don’t know if those guys were cut from that cloth. And so I lost big time. Everything that I had gained, I lost that and more in three months. And from there, I had a W2 Employee and I had this agent. And quite frankly, this agent was kicking ass. And my W2 Employee, I was having to push him. Even though, I mean, he had value, but I was having to push him to get stuff done and to create more opportunity for himself and the company. Eventually, I coached him out of the door. And I say that in a very positive way because as I started requiring more and expecting more, he wasn’t willing to give more and he found another position to go to. So that led to me adopting the agency model. I said, I want people like this guy. And I built out, I said, this is my avatar. And that’s when I got into social media and started letting people know who I am and what I do and all that stuff. And I had a bunch of people who wanted to come work, but I’ve only hired two other, three other people since then as agents. And they had to have a specific makeup about themselves. And now, so from the beginning of January to where we’re at now, I mean, we’re continuing to grow in this down market. And it’s because as a leader and as a employer or whatever you want to call him, the owner of a company, I got better at understanding who I really wanted as teammates on, on this Bear Down Logistics team. And I think I became better at communicating exactly what the expectations are. So once people came on, they knew what they were getting into. They knew that what they were getting from me. And I set the expectations of what I wanted from them. And what they get from me is they’re going to get full support. Like I said, I meet with my guys 30 minutes on, on Mondays and 15 minutes every day. And then besides my top guy, each of my other agents, they get a dedicated hour of time with me a week where it’s just me and them, whatever coaching, whatever counseling or whatever it is that they need from me, I’m there for them. And that’s just the one focus hour. Now they call me at other times too throughout the day, but I feel that it’s, it’s necessary that they get focused time. So it’s all about them. I’m not rushing on and off the phone. I’m not over here doing this over there doing that. And I think that has been the reason why we’ve seen the success early that we’ve had in the first 18 months of existence is by me figuring out who it is that I want and then finding those, the right teammates. And like I tell them, my job is to make you successful because if I make you successful, then I’m going to be successful. So I focus so my attention on them.

Brent – 00:31:17:

Well, that attention to detail. Well, it’s funny when you talked about hiring people and then not working out. It’s amazing how sometimes we don’t think about this. We don’t think that we make decisions casually and we don’t realize that every decision has a responsibility. And sometimes, sometimes that decision is very hard to get through when it comes to like, if you’ve hired the wrong person or they just weren’t the right fit.

Desmond – 00:31:37:

Yeah.

Brent – 00:31:38:

So difficult on the business, especially a small business where every person has a quantity increase in your business. So that’s exciting to know that you sit with your people 30 minutes. And this, I think this is good for any small business starting out, sitting with the people, your greatest asset, who, by the way, they walk out the door every day, right? At five o’clock, right? Your greatest asset walks out the door at five o’clock, but sitting down with them 30 minutes on Monday and then 15 minutes every day, do a check-in. You’re always checking in, always checking, always coaching. And so tell me what you’ve seen from the value of just motivation and how you’ve seen, what’s been the response to that from your teammates that you’re working with? That you are willing to invest that much time into them.

Desmond – 00:32:19:

I had one today, my guy, Joseph, the broker, as I call him, young guy, 23 years old. So I had a call that went long. We had 15 minutes. He was like, “hey, you still want to get on the call or push the next week?” I was like, “I got 15 minutes. Let’s do it”. And so I got on the call. I was like, “what you got for me today?” He said, “not much. I just want to be consistent with this call because he say I get refreshed. I get energized from just having a back and forth with you”. And so these calls are not necessarily to talk about the X’s and O’s, right? Especially for a young guy like Joseph, who’s still trying to build his clientele. And you know, 99.2% of those calls, they’re not going anywhere. And so continuously building him up, keeping him motivated, keeping that fire up under him, telling him my experiences, coaching him through the things that like today, he’s like, “men, I got my first opportunity to quote oversize over dimensional”. He’s like, “so walk me through”. And so I gave him the resources. I told him my experience on it. I gave him a contact from a big project that we just did in September. I was like, “call these guys. They just work with us. They coached Corey, my other agent on how to do everything for that project. And because we work so well with them, I bet they will walk you through even better than I can, because that’s what they do every day on what you need to be looking at for this particular company that wants you”. So it’s those type of things, right? And so we get a little bit of the exercise. And I think that’s where we’re at right now. But I think the most important thing is to keep people inspired, keep people motivated, keep people focused on why are you doing this? When I started my podcast, some people jumped on me because it was like, this is not necessarily logistics and freight brokering. But my comeback was this. Most people know the X’s and O’s. They know how to pick up the phone. They know how to do the job. Yes, we got to get better. But some people, they fizzle out because they lose that motivation. They lose that fire. I mean, it’s grueling to pick up that phone 100 times a day and not get anyone to answer or you get hung up on or you’re trying to get your point across and people will be like, “no, thank you”. Like, that’s hard to do every day. So to keep people inspired, keep people motivated. I believe that’s where the greatest value comes in once they understand how to do the job.

Brent – 00:34:39:

Yeah, without a doubt, men, without a doubt. So that personal touch keeps people connected to you. No doubt. All right. So we got a couple minutes left. What are the next steps for Bear Down Logistics? And then what’s the greatest piece of advice you would give somebody? I mean, you’re a motivation guy. You’re always talking positivity to everybody, keeping them going forward. What would be the greatest piece of advice that you would give to somebody starting out in logistics?

Desmond – 00:35:03:

Yeah. So the next step for Bear Down Logistics, we’ve had two consecutive, well, it’s not even a whole year yet, but we’re going to end up with two consecutive years with a million dollars plus in revenue in this market.

Brent – 00:35:16:

Oh, wow. Fantastic.

Desmond – 00:35:17:

I feel like that’s really good. The next step is, hey, how can we add a zero to that? What do I need to do? How do I need to scale to get to 10? I feel like my goal is to be at 100 million within five years. That’s a lofty goal. And I have no doubt that we can get there. But I feel like getting from 1 to 10 is going to be harder than getting from 10 to 200.

Brent – 00:35:42:

It always is.

Desmond – 00:35:43:

Because I feel like once we get to 10, we figured out the code. We’ve ironed everything out. We have a system now that we can really just build upon. So that’s next is really studying the game, going out and talking to great people like yourself and all the wonderful people that’s in this industry that’s willing to help and understand how to add that other zero to it. That’s what’s next for us. And whoever that’s going to be a part of this team to help us get there. I don’t know who those people are. Got to send them to me in due time. I don’t go out and do much recruiting. I recruit by just putting it out there and people come. That’s next also. But for the greatest piece of advice, I was just speaking at my high school yesterday. They were dedicating the building to a principal that had passed away in 2021. I got a chance to talk about my high school football coach who was there, who mentor this principal. And I told the story about, I was a high school football player. He was my coach and he jacked me up. He jacked me up. You can’t do that these days. Like, match me up around the collar. Right. Yeah. I was a little afraid for my life at that time. And it was because he had asked me to do something. I play quarterback, so I’m the leader of the team. And he asked me on two consecutive days to get something done. And I told him that I would, and I didn’t get it done. So on the third day, he had enough. And when he jacked me up, he said a whole bunch of stuff, nose to nose. But the last thing that he told me was this. He was like, “son, all you have is your word and your name. And if you lose that, you’ve lost it all”. And at the age of 16 or 17, however old I was, I didn’t get it. But later on in life, I got it. It’s like, my name, that’s my trademark. That’s my brand. That’s how I build trust with people. And I’ve added on to that. I say, “okay, what do I want my name to mean to me, most importantly?” What do I want that to mean to me? And then the second part of that is, what do I want that to mean to everybody else?

Brent – 00:37:37:

Yeah, to others.

Desmond – 00:37:38:

Now that I have that, now I got to walk in it. And as long as I do that, I shouldn’t have any problems with being authentic, being trustworthy, and just building really significant, valuable relationships with other people. So that’s the best piece of advice because for me, that’s the foundation of everything else.

Brent – 00:37:57:

Those are fantastic words, men. What a great way to end the Freight Nation Podcast for today, men. Desmond, I know that the audience is going to get great benefit from you. And I know that many people are going to flock to want to come join your business. And so just listening to your great, encouraging, motivation words of support and your just honest desire to want to create success in whatever season of life you’re in, men. And so it’s been such a joy having you on today. I’ve learned a lot. You’ve motivated me a lot. And I’m glad that we share that great quote from Winston Churchill that says, never, never, never, never give up. You just can’t beat somebody that won’t give up. I had a guy that used to teach me that all the time, but just never give up. Thank you so much for your words. Thank you for coming on Truckstop’s Freight Nation Podcast and being a part of things. And I just appreciate your time today.

Desmond – 00:38:47:

It’s been a joy. Hey, next opportunity that comes up when I could jump on again, I would love to.

Brent – 00:38:51:

We would love to have you back. Desmond, thanks for being with us and for everybody on Freight Nation Podcast. That’s a wrap for today. And remember, be kind, work hard and stay humble. We’ll see you next time on Freight Nation. On behalf of the Truckstop team, thanks for listening to this episode of Freight Nation. To find out more about the show, head to truckstop.com/podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Until then, keep on trucking and exploring the open roads with Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast.

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