Entering in to a new market in photography from the beginning is tough. Everyone knows how hard it is to get established in a community as a photographer let alone as a company in general. People in this industry do not get to be overnight success. I know what your thinking “My friend got one interview and they exploded with business”. Yes that does happen but what you don’t see is the five to ten years before that of them working extremely hard just to get a interview with that person and make sure their work is relevant and good enough to reach the high expectations. For every overnight success they spend five ten and sometimes twenty years perfecting there business/craft what ever niche it maybe in. Now take all the work you just did in that one community and just uplift your self to a new city not across town or across the state but across the country. This is what I did and I am learning something new everyday.

One of the things that I am doing is driving for Lyft on the side. I know what your thinking “How does this help you with your business?” and to be honest it is the best way to get your self in front of a lot of strangers from all around that community. Everyone I pick up for a ride has a story, some just want to be left alone and taken to there destination and that is fine, but most want to have a conversation. In that conversation you get to see who they are what there back story is as well as tell your back story. If they are relevant to your business for me its photography then I tell them that I have my photography business and give them a business card. We continue to talk about relevant activities that are happening around the city. That is also another way you can get ideas is by them letting you know what is happening and the best places to go for certain things that are happening in the community.

The good thing about being a Lyft driver is that I get to do to meet all different types of people everyday. it was not until yesterday that I had for the first time ever a repeat person get in my car. Every other time I have had someone different since i moved here and started doing Lyft in February. I have been doing Lyft for a while now. when I lived in Detroit area it was great I had the same type of people but I did not really leverage it for business use. At the time I thought I did not need it and I was wrong. It was not until I moved to the Raleigh, North Carolina area that I realized what I was missing out on. I had no idea where anything was and how to get around, but you know what that is why we have GPS.

Everyone see’s the bad passenger stories on the internet about how this person blew up at the driver because they would not turn on there music or how drunk people threw up in the car. The worst stories and probably the reason most people do not do this is they think it is unsafe. Now first I will say there is a element of risk to this I will agree with that, but Lyft has tried to make this as safe as they can but at the end of the day there are strangers getting in your car and you do now know who they are or what they are capable of. Now I am not saying this to discourage anyone but you have to respect what is the danger that way you can prepare accordingly.

How do you Prepare? Well I will tell you it is very simple YOU TALK. You have a conversation with the person you are giving a ride to. You find out where they are from and you tell them where your from to develop a re pore. From listening to them talk and what they have to say you should be able to judge whether they are a threat or not. For the people who just want to sit in silence and keep there head phones in there there ears just leave them be and move on the the next rider, These people are not a threat. They could have had a bad day or they are just exhausted from there day. You should be able to pick up on those riders by a few ques, one is if they give you short one word answers then they may just want to be left alone. You should have the good sense of this after a few riders on the environment. I usually ask if they are comfortable or if they would like me to add more heat or A/C and then continue with the ride. The second might be if they are on the phone the when they get in the car, if this is the case then just confirm they are who they say they are and move on it is extremely rude for you as a driver to interrupt them unless it is important pertaining the the ride. The third might be if they are talking with the other people in the car that they brought with them. Again this is common curtsy type of stuff. If you are listening to there conversation that is fine and sometimes if I have something to add to that conversation I will but I make sure that I wait for a pause and the right time to not be intrusive. The last thing i want is to seem like I am butting my self in to there conversation. If I do have something to say I want to make sure I add value. I will try to make it relevant to my life and what I know and hopefully I will be able to plug my business and hand them a business card but I feel it out, I don’t do that to everyone. You find out if the conversation is relevant to your business.

I think that Driving for a ride sharing service like Lyft is great for you to get to know the area and the people in that area. It is also a great way to network with people in that community personally and professionally. If you just moved to a new city and especially I would recommend this to anyone especially if you are trying to get a new business up and running or if you don’t know anyone in the area. I know of so many people who was doing Lyft or Uber and they have gotten job offers on the spot or at least interviews. I know what everyone is thinking what about the wear and tear on your car? Well I would say this if you can afford to put your car through that then do it. In the long term your will come out ahead with the contacts and networking opportunities. When doing this though if you want this for the networking opportunities then be sure to get business cards in return and be sure to follow up with people otherwise you just become another person in passing. The more you can be relevant and useful to someone the better that relationship will be. As for the money you earn from either one of these, do not expect to get rich or to be able to do this full time. In my opinion it is not worth doing full time, you will get burned out and to be honest depending on your market you may not be able to make enough to live off of. Also if all you are concentrated on is making a living doing this then you are not concentrated on networking or getting to know people in the community.

My final conclusion is that if you are starting over in a new city or market or building a new business this is one of the first things I would do is to drive for a ride sharing company like Lyft or Uber now I only have experience with Lyft not Uber but the concept is the same. If you do want to become a Lyft Driver please do sign up and use my code STEDWELL60375 you will get a guarantee of $1,150.00 if you complete 135 rides in your first 60 days. When I started I used someone else’s code and was able to get the guarantee it was great.