I got accepted to Amazon’s DSP program and launched my own delivery business. I now make $3 million in revenue and own 38 vans. – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

I got accepted to Amazon’s DSP program and launched my own delivery business. I now make $3 million in revenue and own 38 vans.

Sophia Strother says her team has been able to deliver over 4 million packages and completed over 20,000 routes.

Jarvis Releford

Sophia Strother became an Amazon Delivery Service Partner in 2020.Within one year, she says her company became a million-dollar business.After her worst quarter ever, Strother says a business coach helped her turn things around.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Sophia Strother, a 43-year-old founder of a multimillion dollar delivery company called L2E Industries in Austin, Texas. The revenue her business made has been verified by Insider. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

In 2018, I was reading a magazine and I saw an article about Amazon. The company was being ridiculed for not partnering with small businesses to do its deliveries. The article said that for $10,000, anyone could work with Amazon and potentially make $74,000 to $3 million a year.

At the time, I was a 38-year-old single mom and sex-trafficking survivor living in the Austin, Texas area. My grandma really believed in me and she helped me to build a business acumen. Even though I had a child at the age of 15, I was still able to go to college and get my bachelors and masters in business administration.

At 20 years old, I started my consulting business, Trustworthy Consulting. By the time I graduated, I owned two homes and had two degrees. As I read the Amazon article, I was sitting down thinking, wait a minute. Why not me? I applied for the partnership and within a year, I was running a million-dollar business. After 18 months, my delivery company grew to become a multimillion-dollar business.

It took almost a year to process my Amazon Delivery Service Partner application

I submitted an online application, a resume, and some financial documents. Then Amazon ran a background check. I didn’t have a transportation background, but within the application, I talked about initiatives I’ve led and how passionate I was for serving people and families in my community.

In 2019, Amazon wanted me to come to Seattle, Washington, to interview for the partnership, but I had to pay for the trip myself. I didn’t have the money or a babysitter, and with only one week to accept the interview, I turned it down. I didn’t believe I could do it.

That same year, the day after Christmas, I got an email from Amazon saying “Hey, are you still interested in this opportunity?” This time, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t let things play out. I went to Las Vegas for the Amazon event and there were over 200 people in the room. Each candidate had to be interviewed by an Amazon executive.

During my interview they asked a critical question

I remember the interviewer asked, “Are you going to work everyday?” I said, “no ma’am. I believe in work-life balance.”

Two days later, I got a call and they extended me an Amazon partnership. We entered a formal contract for the Austin, Texas area in July 2020. Then, I launched my first route for my company on September 22, 2020.

I now own my own business called L2E Industries, which stands for Learning 2 Exhale Industries, and Amazon is my transportation client. We just cleared over $3 million in less than three years.

My team has been able to deliver over 4 million packages and complete over 20,000 routes

I now have a fleet of 38 blue vans with “Prime” painted on the side and my company has grown to almost 80 associates. My delivery team goes to the Amazon delivery stations, they pick up the orders that customers put in, and come to your front door or business delivering the packages — hopefully with a smile.

I’m responsible for servicing a portion of Central Texas. We’re given 25 to 35 daily routes and I have to make sure the vans are in place and my staff is dressed and ready to go. On the backend, I lead the operational duties for my company and plan ahead for the various routes my associates need to take — whether the route is rural, urban, or underdeveloped.

My company is paid per delivery package and rewarded for customer service and safety

Our goal is to maximize and leverage safety and quality to generate revenue. We’re paid per package that’s delivered and we’re rewarded for being safe and for positive remarks that customers leave us. Whenever a person gets a package, they get a message where they can leave a remark based on a delivery. Was it on time? Were the delivery drivers courteous? Did they go above and beyond? I encourage people to always answer.

Overall, we are incentivized financially through customer satisfaction, the quality of the delivery, and for consistency and reliability. However, I don’t directly control the growth of my business — Amazon does. It dictates how much work I receive based on overall demand and volume of packages.

I can’t say we’re going to average 40 routes a day in 2024, but I can say we’ll use a certain percentage from our proceeds to form other conglomerates.

We had one rough quarter in 2021, but in business, you have to have a positive attitude

Reinforcing a positive company culture helps employees to stick it out when times get rough. That’s what happened to my company.

There was a quarter that was a very rough patch. A fatal winter storm came to Texas in February 2021 and shut down the business for one week. As a result, the succeeding quarter was devastating. I had to cash out my retirement and personal savings, and stop paying myself in order to pay my employees.

Eventually, I sat down with a temporary business coach — which Amazon provided — for 15 minutes, and she broke down some numbers for me. She showed me the metrics of individuals that were negatively affecting my entire business. From that point, I had to learn to balance caring about people’s feelings and caring about the bottom line.

The meeting propelled me to refocus and turn my company around. After that meeting, I gave those employees a deadline to bring their numbers back up so the business could get back on track. I immediately implemented a policy around our scorecards, which rates the driver’s service, and holding drivers accountable. I also started thinking about how to make smarter financial decisions that would make the business sustainable.

Since then, I haven’t missed a payroll check, and I’ve been able to start paying myself again.

I want to create an ecosystem where I can pour into people

When I was an employee, I sometimes hoped that someone cared about my feelings. I now try to mirror what I wish I had during my years in corporate jobs. I’m passionate and determined to succeed because of the families that are connected with my company.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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