In the Beginning Interview with Lark Galley, owner of family trucking company and independent business consultant and coach.

In the Beginning Series: Interviews with women entrepreneurs and their journey with starting their own business.

Excerpts of the interview (full interview here):

Please share a little bit about your eclectic business background

I have been running a trucking company I inherited from my father for over five years now.  When I got the company, it was in a bit of a mess, but I have streamlined it and now my workload is about one hour a week.  Once I got that figured out, I started consulting others on streamlining their business, from the experiences I learned. I have done consulting for over a year now.

What were some of the biggest business lessons you were able to learn from the trucking industry?

First, I learned that if you are going to have a partnership, make sure it is a good fit for all.  Know who you are working with and what expectations they have. Be very specific and define your roles clearly and how you intend to work together.  I would recommend limiting as much as you can in creating a legal entity together. Get a really good CPA and accountant. Be sure to interview them and make sure their philosophies match up to yours.  Be careful in creating business partners, especially in working with family and friends. It’s not worth a relationship to lose your whole company, so be wise.

Next, create a clear vision for your business.  Don’t get distracted by other’s visions, however appealing they may be.  I’ve had to learn the hard way. If I’m saying “yes” to everyone else’s visions, I can’t fulfill what I need to do.  I have really had to rein in and learn to say “no” when it doesn’t fit my own vision.

When you transitioned and started your own venture as a consultant and a coach, what was the biggest challenge?

It was a matter of getting out in the community again.  I was thinking I could just build it online. It doesn’t work that way, but I had to actually get out networking again face–to-face and build up all these groups that I had let lapse.

Did you have a hurdle funding your consulting business even though you had the trucking business?

Somewhat. I sold some things on commission, so I was using that to pay for my business. I had to force myself into doing this, so I started doing contract work for another company (business strategy and training), which gave me more experience and allowed me to be credible in getting my own clients.

What have been the biggest resources as you have been on this journey?

I think as you are out connecting with people, you find out how they are conducting their businesses. I think it’s about being open to what other people are doing and seeing if that will benefit you. Others might have answers to help streamline your business. Be clear on what you need and find the right people to help you get there. However, we often want to abdicate our role as the leader of our business and we can’t do that.

What are your biggest tips for someone on this journey?

I try and automate everything.  For example, I have all my business expenses on one card and I do all my finances on Friday.  I make it so I get fewer invoices. I label and file everything immediately so there are fewer touches. Anything someone else can do for you that costs you less, that is when you outsource.