HOW TO START A 3RD PARTY LOGISITCS (3PL) COMPANY
Welcome to the GrayHawk DJC podcast. In today’s podcast, we talk with Matt Ericson, owner of Trekka Logistics, a third-party logistics company based in Grapevine, Texas. We hope you enjoy the podcast.
David: Welcome to the podcast, Matt.
Matt: Thank you for having me.
David: How you feeling?
Matt: I’m feeling great. This feels good to have you guys here and welcome to Trekka Logistics. This is awesome, man. Thank you for having us.
David: I’m so like happy for you and I want to say, it’s weird, like, I’m so proud of you. This is so cool, man.
Matt: Well, thank you.
David: So before we get started tell us where you’re from, your background.
Matt: Sure, sure.
David: All about you.
Matt: I was working at the airport, right. So you know, when I was…I grew up in Indiana, um, northeast Indiana, and I was working with an air freight company up there. Working at night and going to school during the day. And I got an opportunity to come down here to Dallas and work in the ops department. So when I was 20 years old, I moved to Dallas and I worked in air freight for many years. And then, I moved on to domestic routing and courier work.
David: Did you know anybody when you came here.
Matt: No. I was just by myself. That was pretty surreal to be honest with you. That’s where this whole entrepreneur thing starts. This is where it all starts, you know. It probably goes way back to fourth grade growing up, you know, when the nerf bow and arrow came out. I might be dating myself, right. But that was the coolest thing ever, that nerf bow and arrow. You gotta have it. That came out, and I remember I wanted that nerf bow and arrow. I told my parents, “I want that nerf bow and air”. And they said, “Well, better get a job and put it on layaway”. Two weeks later, I had a paper route. So that’s what I did and it seems like it kicked off from there. All throughout school, it evolved from one paper route to two and then refereeing soccer on the weekends. Then getting into high school, you know, you gotta have the cool job at the video store, right.
David: Right there, you’re dating yourself.
Matt: Yeah, oh yeah. There we go. Definitely dating myself. You know, but it’s always been a part of me. I guess I really, you know, whether it’s a dream of something. There have been, you know, I haven’t really like skipped around jobs in my career. I’ve been at the same place for four or five years and here for four or five years, here for eight, which really enables me to learn a lot of the aspect of my jobs. Air freight is much different than routed courier work and distribution for Staples and Amazon and all of that. And then you move into the customer side of it and building the 3PL on a global network. You know, small parcel shipping is not container shipping and so I was really able to dig into all of those different aspects and whenever I moved on from a job, I had this thought of, oh well maybe I’ll start my own courier company. Like, I understand this aspect but it just didn’t feel right. And then after that, I’m like okay, well maybe, I’ll start.
David: So did you like what you were doing? Because it’s not something that people really get geeked up about. But you seem to be like very passionate about this?
Matt: I am passionate about logistics, yes. Not to downplay it, but you know, if I was sitting in the office dispatching truckloads all day long, I would not be passionate about it. To me, logistics is just…it’s a puzzle. It’s a Rubik’s cube. And so, I feel that logistics from supplier and manufacturer, all the way to the end user, it’s a trek. There’s mountains, there’s valleys, there’s going to be times it flows right on through without issues, right. But then, all of a sudden, you come up against a 14,000 foot mountain and you’re like, “How do I get over that”? Well, you got to figure it out. That’s what it is. So to me, logistics is more than just shipping this package or moving this truck here. You know, logistics is, I guess, at its definition, the movement of ideas and people and goods and commodities. But when it really comes down to it, it’s all a puzzle. And it all interacts differently. And that’s what I get excited about is…I look at it and say, “You know, what have we done to provide a logistics solution to impact somebody’s life today”? Whether that’s, you know, this guy that lives over in Hong Kong that ordered the bracelet and it’s, you know, next day air because he’s so excited to receive it for a birthday party. And we got it out, you know, rush order and it got to him on time. I think I told you about the Crosstalk guys that called on a Saturday and said, “Can you receive these pellets and deliver at 3:00am to a surgery center”? Sure, that’s what we can do. So to me, we don’t fit ourselves into just one little box, you know. We do Crosstalk. We do fulfillment. We do kitting. We do, you know, honestly, when people started asking me, “What do you do?”, I could go on for hours about what we do depending on what the customer is. So I really look at it and say, you know, we’re a logistics and solutions consulting company that has the operation to back it up. That’s really kind of what it comes down to, you know. Whatever it may be, you know. I think I mentioned our first client that came here and walked in our door and said, “Hey, I’ve got this stuff on the water and I want to sell on Amazon. Can you help me”? Welcome aboard, you know. Because we get to look at how we impact her life and her business and all of that, you know. Life is about reactions. It’s about impacts and reactions, quite frankly. Not to get too deep on that, but you know, you never know how…what you’re doing here impacts the end user. We have our customers. We have direct Shopify API links into our WMS. And so, sometimes these gift notes pop up and you look at them and somebody that you might look at and say, “Well, they’re just sending this from here to here”. That gift message in that package has emotion attached to it, right. And so, you are impacting that person’s life by doing what you promised to the customer and getting the product out on time. Packaging it so that when the customer receives it, they’re excited to open it. It’s all of that. It’s looking at how we impact people’s lives. It’s also about how we impact the lives of our employees. Nobody ever loves coming to work every single day, right? But, if you hate coming to work every day, there’s a core problem there. You can still be extremely productive and extremely agile and extremely supportive and be happy. You can go home at the end of the day and know that I put in a good shift today and I was rewarded, not just by a paycheck, but the feeling of knowing you earned that paycheck. I was rewarded by the culture, and a culture that not only I’m walking into, but a culture that I am also helping to create. And as a team, we can get through all of this.
David: So, when you’re here by yourself, are you formulating all these ideas in the back of your mind?
Matt: I really couldn’t tell you where it came from. I was a classical pianist growing up. So I have this little plaque from back in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade from when I was doing piano competitions. It just says “Learn all there is to learn and then choose your own path”. That plaque has followed me to Dallas. Like, it’s still there in the office. Quite frankly, it’s something that for some reason, has always just been there and I didn’t really realize. By reading that every single day, it would become kind of a mantra to continue educating myself, to continue learning. Nobody is ever going to learn all there is to learn. But you can learn enough to make a decision. And I think that’s really what’s kind of driven me is to be able to learn enough, to be able to have the freedom to make my own decisions. And as a business owner, that’s the essence of making your own decisions.
David: So you knew you’d be here one day?
Matt: I didn’t know.
David: You didn’t know?
Matt: No. I dreamt for a long time. It’s been an evolution of growth. I would dream about this but the reality is, I had a well-paying, solid job, and career in the middle of a pandemic.
Matt: And then saying, “I’m going to go all in for myself and invest in myself”. That’s scary as shit. You know, can I say that…sorry.
David: Oh, you can say whatever. Just keep going. This is awesome.
Matt: I mean, I’ll tell you the story of how it evolved. Essentially, there’s got to be a spark somewhere, right. When it came down to it, I left a job that I had been at for a long time and I didn’t have any plans. I needed to determine where I wanted to be. How do I put this? I need to be in a place that I agree with. And it can be rewarding as a career, but again, if the culture is not there, if these things are not there…and that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad culture. That doesn’t mean that this person is bad. That just means, it’s not a good fit. You know, some people might walk into Trekka Logistics and be like this culture sucks, right. That’s the reality. I had a guy come in here three weeks ago. We were doing a sort of 14 pallets of Iphone boxes and accessories. And we had them on an assembly line and I had people out here in four different stations working it. After about 30 minutes, the supervisor comes in and says, “Hey, this guy wants to talk to the big boss”. I’m like, okay. Like, you know what’s coming. He’s like, “Hey man, if it’s going to be detailed like this, this job isn’t for me”. But you know what, I appreciate the fact that he recognized Trekka Logistics wasn’t the place for him. You’re not going to waste your time. You’re not going to waste my time and money. It’s all good. So to say that a culture is not the right one, isn’t bad. You know, everybody has their own perception in their own perspective, and for me, the place I left wasn’t the correct culture anymore. I didn’t agree with it and I decided it was time for me to move on. So I left.
David: So right when you left, the moment you realized, “I don’t have that job anymore”…
David: What’s that feeling like? Were you scared? Was it exhilarating? Like, how was it?
Matt: It was…I don’t think it really set in, honestly. You know when you’re someplace for so long it becomes a part of who you are, right. And you don’t just change who you are overnight. That takes time to really understand who you are. Again, not to get all philosophical, but you come to a point and realize this is who I really am. And if that’s not who you are, you either decide, okay, I’m going to stay here and accept the fact that this is not who I am but for X, Y, and Z, I’m going to stay here. Or, you make the decision to say that’s not who I am and I’m moving on and that’s what I did. But you know, that place had become a part of my life. The people, you know, just everything about it, for a very long time. I left and I sent out text messages because nobody really knew I had left. I didn’t want to make a big deal. I didn’t want to cause a disruption. I didn’t want it to be like that. It was just…it’s time for this to be done, you know. Time to move on. So you know, I sent out texts to key people that said, “Hey, you know I’m no longer with this place. Here’s are your contacts”. And like three of them replied back to me and said, “Please tell me you left to start your own business”. And I’m, like, not even thinking about that right now. So what I did, honestly, for that first month after I left, is I built a gazebo in the backyard. I’ve always wanted to build a gazebo. And I was like, you know what, I’m not a handy guy but I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. I got no commitments. I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. Screw it. Let’s do this. It took me four days and, you know, there was probably some cussing and throwing of boards that happened. But in the end, I built that gazebo that I wanted to enjoy by the pool and by the back patio. I did projects like that. And all the things that had built up, that as you just go through life, and you’re like, oh, I want to do that, I want to do that, and I want to do that. I decided I’m going to do those things. I’m going to start getting those things, you know, off my chest. And so I did that. And every time, I kind of got to a point where I was, like, you know, there’s been a lot of change and a lot of movement that’s happened. Once a month, I Also would jump in the car, throw all my gear in the back and drive to Colorado and camp at the base of a 14er. And the next day, go at that bad boy and if I got lucky, I made it to the top. The first time, I didn’t. I went back two months later and got to the top of that one and finished it. But, you know, for me, it was a process. That job had become so much of my life that I had to de-program from it. And then, once you’re de-programmed from it, you are who you are you can make those decisions to say, “How do I want to live my life now?” Honestly the day that I left that job, I had a phone call like that afternoon saying, “Hey, we heard you left. Can you come interview for this position?” And it was just, like, it’s too soon. It’s too raw. This is not…no, everybody go away. Let me figure out what I want to do. Just go away. So that’s what I did for a while. Then I just lived my best life and did a lot of trail running and a lot of time outdoors. I think I made five trips to Colorado over the summer. Four of them to go climb 14ers. No, four to Colorado one to New Mexico, northern New Mexico, Santa Fe. The area is beautiful. I took my son. One time, we went white water rafting. Just got, you know, a cabin for two days and went white water rafting. I sorted out a whole lot of stuff. I went to climb the mountains. And as I was climbing a mountains, there were times where my body said turn around. My mind said to turn around. My mind said, “You’re here alone, turn around, who cares, you can lie and say that you summited it, no one is here”. There’s gonna be those times and that’s what makes us who we are. Like pushing through that and saying, “I don’t want to stop”. You know there’s gonna be those times where you’re like at 13,500 feet and you can barely breathe. You say, “Look, I’m driving here from Dallas and then I’m hitting it the next day.” So to me, it was a process and as you summit and you work your way up that mountain and you deal with whatever it is, the ridges, the valleys, the peaks and the highs, you are working all of that stuff out and shedding all of that. And for me, the most peaceful place in the world is the peak of a mountain.
David: And this is why you have the symbol?
Matt: Complete solitude, yes.
David: Your logo is a mountain, right?
Matt: Yes. Complete solitude. Because to me, on the way up, some people will do yoga and that’s what gets them to that place. And everybody has their thing. For me, like, you know, when I’m in a place where I’m like, okay, I need to make some life decisions or I just I need to sort some things, I go to the mountains. I started out on the mountain and at the top is where you say, okay, I’ve shed all of that static. And when you come back down, the only thing that comes back into your mind, into your psyche, into your emotions is what you allow. Not all the stuff that’s built up for a month from all the external traffic, you know, friends, family, job. None of that shit comes back in unless you allow it to. So for me, it’s that trip up. And then as I come back down, I came back down focused on what the next steps are strategically.
David: How did your family react when you quit?
Matt: They were supportive.
David: Okay. Because one of the biggest hurdles for entrepreneurs is having to deal with family members who are worried about them.
David: They’re concerned.
Matt: I would be lying if I said there wasn’t any of that. But they were supportive. They knew that this has always been the dream.
Matt: When it came down to it, this last summer, when I interviewed at three different places, multiple times and I was just not feeling it. That’s when I realized that my life had evolved to, instead of having a reason not to start a business, because I had more to learn or I was looking at it from the aspect of, if I take this job, how is that going to prepare me for starting Trekka Logistics? Is it going to prepare me more and if it’s not, then why am I taking that job? Am I taking it because that’s what I want to do or am I taking that because I’m scared to step out and do Trekka Logistics? Because, like, to get back to your previous question, it’s scary as shit doing this. Stepping out there is…there’s no fallback. When it comes down to it, if something happens, you are it. You may run out of money or have too many packages to ship that day…there is no such thing as going and working for somebody else. There isn’t any of that. If it doesn’t get done, you have nobody to blame but yourself. And if you invest your entire life savings into something and you make, at the time what feels like the right decision, and then in hindsight is a bad decision that can put you under, that’s on you. So, it is very scary because you know when you work for somebody else you got a mortgage, you got a car, you got insurance, you know you have those basic things. You have the same things when you own a business but it’s just way more expensive. That bank account dips much faster and you have to hustle and work your ass off. Nothing is given. Like, nothing you know and nothing can be taken for granted. Because, yeah, there’s no easy path. Someone might come along and say it was easy for me and I would say, “You know what, fantastic”. Like, I’m glad you had that. Fantastic, roll with that. But, quite frankly, since we opened this place, I’ve dealt with things like Mother Nature. We had Mother Nature come in at the back end of what was supposed to be a good time for us that turned into three weeks of chaos. And it almost brought the business to a halt. The ice storm shut us down for some weeks and we haven’t been able to have a full ramp up yet. Also, look at this building, here. Quite frankly, you know, we did lose a couple of customers that were supposed to move in the middle of March. But fortunately, I’ve already got clients in here. You know, I think at one point, my son said, “Well dad, what do we do”. And I was like, “What do you mean, what do we do?” We do what we do. We move on to the next step. Like there’s nothing to do but move forward. There is no, it’s not an option, you know. I’ve had people ask me, “Okay, well, do you ever have like a bailout point”? My answer to that is, “No I don’t”. You know if it gets to a point where I can’t pay the bills, then I’ll know that it’s time to walk away from it. But nothing is predefined, “Well, if I haven’t done X by this time, I’m gonna bail out”. Because the reality is, some people are on a six-week sales cycle, some people are on a three-day sales cycle. We have clients overseas, like Chinese inbound clients that have come to us and said, “Can you handle it in three days?” You know, we have Crosstalk customers that say we’ve got this thing coming on, can you react in 24 hours? That’s logistics, you know.
Matt: It’s just a matter of, where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s extremely trying, 100 percent trying. You know, I can say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve done Spartan Beast races with a busted ankle. I’ve climbed 14ers, you know. I’ve put myself through a lot of trials and tribulations personally in the outdoors. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, quite frankly. But it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. So I wouldn’t change a thing. I would not change a thing, even if you asked me, would you still invest knowing what you know now? Would you have invested your life savings into this business? 100 percent.
David: So here you are. You’ve quit your last job. You’ve gone on a few interviews. How did you start then? Like, take us through that process.
Matt: Okay, I read a book. I told you I was living my best life during the summer and I’m, like, okay cool, whatever. The only reason that I was interviewing and doing those things is because I was like, well, I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to be doing, right. Like, I should be doing this because that’s the next step. That’s what society says you should do. I also spent a lot of time, honestly, in the pool. Last summer, I’d go for a mid-morning run over at the park and then come back and jump in the pool. And like, again, just live my best life. Maybe I had the midlife crisis early or something like that. I got to have that summer where you’re like, I have enough money where I can support not working. I can’t just go wild but I’m going to do what I want. I’m going to be me. I’m going to climb mountains and do all this stuff. So for my birthday last year, two of our friends, Patty and Joe…I miss them. They just moved back to Europe. But, they gave me a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. And this summer, I was laying in the pool reading that book. And he starts to reference in multiple parts, generational shifts in business and commerce, in the economy, and he mentions how, and don’t quote me on this because I don’t know, but basically like when Bill Gates is coming into play. Bill Gates had enough understanding of technology and enough of a vision to see the future that he could make an impact right then and there. The people that came five years before him were too set in their ways and couldn’t see what the future was. The people that came five years after him, we don’t know who any of them are because Bill Gates has already arrived. So I’m reading that and I’m thinking, I’ll never be Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos or any of those guys but the reality is, this is a generational shift happening right now, the pandemic. It has caused a generational shift and what is my passion and my expertise? It’s business development, fulfillment building, and global third-party logistic networks to impact the customer’s bottom line. So I said, okay, so why am I interviewing? I can go make six figures and make good money and have three weeks of vacation a year and all that, but then I’ll still be doing it the way somebody else wants me to do it. Instead of being able to say, “Sure we can we can provide that solution, let’s figure it out, come on board”. That’s what I love. So I looked at that and I said, okay, I’m just interviewing because I’m scared to take that step forward. And, it took me a good four or five weeks of being a nervous wreck, going back and forth back. I remember when I just said this is what I’m doing, you know. Like, this is what I’m doing. And a huge weight was lifted. And then I wrote a check for two months of rent and a security deposit to the landlord and it became real, very real.
David: A check for this place?
Matt: Yes, to the property management company. And I was like, okay, it’s real now.
David: When you did that, did you have all this planned out already or is it just, here’s the check and that’s your commitment right there?
Matt: Oh you know, I formed the LLC in June and I had done a little bit of prep work. But it wasn’t really until we could get into the building that we could start, you know, designing layouts and doing all that type of stuff. So no, I had the general strategic idea of what we needed to do, but no, nothing really specific. We took possession of the building end of September. I came in and spent two weeks repainting and cleaning. I opened the doors in the middle of October. And since then, it’s been just move forward, keep on moving forward. My buddy, Aaron, he…this guy, I call him at 8 o’clock at night, Hey man, hate to do this to you, again. Are you free tomorrow? What for? I got a really good deal on all this racking out of the Best Buy that just closed down. Okay. It’s gonna cost me half of what I would if I was gonna get it elsewhere but I need to go, load it on a truck and then come over here. So can you come help me load up some 12-foot steel beams and all that type of stuff? He said, “Cool. What time do I need to be there?” You know, and from that to managing projects, you know. We got a five-day lock project where we’ve got 35 pallets of these things rolling through and we’re doing QC and kitting and retail labeling and all that stuff. Hey man, I got this big thing coming up tomorrow are you available? Sure, what time you need me? There’s been people through this process that I can only…you know. Having the love for the outdoors and the backpacking and the trekking and, you know, people that do like the Appalachian Trail. Along the trail, just randomly, there will be a guy who is just there and he’s got cold Pepsi and Snickers and he’s handing them to these people doing the hikes. And they call them trail angels, right. Well, there have been business angels for me that just kind of, out of nowhere, have helped me. They say things like, “Hey, you know what, let me refer you to this person and then blah, blah, blah”. And you meet with them, and they say, oh, you were referred by her. We’re going to go ahead and give you their terms and conditions. Right, oh wow, that’s fantastic. Or, you know, the network that I’ve built and the relationships I’ve built in the past with UPS. I’m trying to get something kind of pushed through because I have the big company mentality but they’re looking at, well, you’re a new company. So you’re a small company and I’m trying to get these services put in. Being able to call and say, hey, can you help out with this and here’s the contact 10 minutes later. You know, there have been people that just appeared out of nowhere. There was one woman at DHL when I brought on my first sales team. She said, “Matt, I tell you what, why don’t you set up a zoom call and because these guys were all located elsewhere they want you to have a zoom call. I’ll come in and give them a sales training for an hour on how to sell Ecom, no questions asked”. And it’s been really awesome to meet some really cool, like-minded people that have the same mentality. I’m not doing this because I want something from you. I’m doing this because I see that I can help you. And you know what? As humanity, we should just say, “Let me help you”. We should hold the door for each other. We should, you know, say, “Bless you”. We’ve gotten so far away from that. Like, it’s been really amazing because you can feel you are on an island sometimes. You can go home to family. You can text with friends. But, unless you have gone through starting a business like this, you really can’t put it into words to describe it. It’s the toughest thing and like we could sit here and go on for hours, about the things and then the context of how they happened and everything else. So it’s very easy to feel like you’re just on an island and you’re just sitting here. And you’re banging your head against a wall because the people at a place like Frontier, they don’t give a shit. Like, you’ve called six times over the past two days. Your internet still isn’t working. Whatever, okay. You know you have those moments where there’s no internet. So we can’t process orders. We are a 3PL. So we can’t do this through our virtual WMS. Say you need like Canon technical support. God, I’ll never buy a Canon ever again ever. Because none of them do it the same. It’s always this and that and they don’t have the callback. Okay, they don’t. So they hold you hostage. So as a business owner, you’re already pissed off that what this guy did last time broke again. All you want to do is just scan something. You just want to scan a document to your computer. That’s all you want to do and so you call and they’re like, “Oh, wait times are longer than normal”. But, they don’t give you an option to call back. I’ve called and the wait time is expected to be three hours. So I sit there with the phone on hold, at my desk, for three hours because if they answer and you happen to go to the restroom… I’m sorry, you lost your place in line. Hey Canon…please don’t leave a comment. My comments about Canon have already been left on Bestbuy.com.
David: But that goes back to you saying, you’re by yourself.
Matt: You have to just go forward and deal with it. Here’s an example. As a director or a GM, in my previously roles, it was my job to strategically create and make sure that these things happened, right. So, for example, the details of an API integration. I understand and can get all those concepts and I need to accomplish this, this, this, this, and this. I had people who I could use to find the correct hardware to do it and then developers to write it. Well, I don’t have those people here. So like, standard tech support is one of those things now where you get kicked in the teeth. You’re just learn how well some people’s tech support truly is. You truly are the janitor and the CEO when you start something like this. And the reality is, you have people here, but at the end of the day, you can invite them into the culture and they can be part of the culture but nobody’s going to care about your business as much as you do. That’s the reality of it. So when it comes down to it, if it’s…well, let’s say everybody’s gone for the day and I don’t like the state of the restrooms. Guess what? I’m cleaning the restrooms. If it’s 10:30 at night and I’m finishing up a project and I see we’ve got these orders in the late night drop off and I can still get it there by midnight. Okay, screw it. Let me get this customer’s orders out and drop them off on the way home. If it can be done today, just do it today. And move forward. I’m a list person, right. When you have four lists, that means that there’s too much going on and you can’t put any more on it. You just got to start knocking things out and one thing after another, after another. And so, that’s really just what it is. Just the next thing, after the next. But it can be very frustrating dealing with tech support people. You ask a question and they respond in their language and then you reply back and then you get a one sentence response and then you reply back and then two days later, you get another one sentence response and finally you say please take a screenshot, put an arrow to it, and tell me what needs to be done. But when you give me the stupid ass one sentence reply, like I can’t deal with that. Time for an entrepreneur is the most precious commodity. You can run out of money, you can run out of food, you can run out of all this type of stuff. You can replenish all of those things. You can’t get time back. Especially, when you’ve told a customer, I will have this to you by the time. If it’s 11:00pm and you haven’t left the office yet, and you haven’t sent it out, you still have to get it done. And that means that you’re cutting into your five hours of sleep that night. It is what it is. Time is the most precious commodity and you have to manage your commitments to make sure that you don’t over commit because you can’t make time up. Well yeah, like, that’s reality for me. I wish I would have started all this years ago. I wasted all that time.
David: When did you get your first real customer and when did you get your first real customer that wasn’t a referral?
Matt: My first one, actually. The first customer came out of the blue. I had to ask them, “If you don’t mind, can you tell me how you found us?” Like, we’ve been open two weeks and you found us. The lady told me she just left it up to her husband because she was looking for somebody local. So her husband actually was using keywords and searching on the internet and just found us.
David: So how did you feel?
Matt: Oh, it was amazing. Like that day, I was on cloud nine. It truly was and, it still is amazing. Like, it doesn’t matter if it’s a new Crosstalk customer and if it’s gonna be 15 bucks a pallet for 10 pallets to Crosstalk and we might never see them again. Because it’s not the same thing every day. Here, it’s never the same thing. And that can be good and that can be bad. The core processes are always the same but there’s always, you know, this driver shows up late or this driver shows up early. Oh shit, we got to do this. There’s always those variables that come into play. I remember our first real fulfillment customer. I get this email saying, “Hey, can we talk?” So I called them and I was like thinking to myself, they’re probably going to be shopping me or something. And we went back and forth a lot. But, one day, they called us back and when I spoke to them, it was, “Hey, we’ve been through X, Y, and Z and we’ve decided that we want to partner with you, when can you move us in?” Now that was a fantastic feeling because, it was a like a real a sales cycle and we closed it. That’s when I learned that all sales calls don’t have to end with “Yes” or a “No”. Sometimes nothing happens until much later. Or, you know, sometimes they just ghost you. I’ve had people literally ask for the updated proposal and the general service agreement to sign, all that stuff. And then, all of a sudden, they just disappear. I’m like, is it something I said? It’s like, dude, what’s going on here? If I follow up with them, then I’m that needy stalker. You’re going through all this in your head like, I don’t want to seem desperate because I’m not desperate, come on. But you know, because I’ve been on the other side of this for 10 years, I know what it’s like when you get that cold email from people and you’re like, I’m not even giving you the time because, quite frankly, you’re telling me you can do X, Y, and Z but you don’t know anything about my business. How are you going to do anything for my business? There are also instances where we’ve gotten customers on the first try and it’s really quick. We spoke to one client once and, a week later, their pre-shipment was in and it was let’s get rolling, you know. And we’re suddenly shipping worldwide for them. So you never know, like, what’s around the corner. So you just keep on moving. You keep on pushing. Even if you don’t get the customer, you learn that it wasn’t a good fit. But that doesn’t mean that you suck. That doesn’t mean that they suck. It just means that you keep on rolling. Every potential customer is different.
David: So what does a typical day look like for you?
Matt: I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. Some days it is just straightforward as far as the warehouse operation is concerned or a straightforward E-com flowing through Shopify. Other days, it is customer portals blowing up and each one of them is 20 master cartons that we’re repacking and shipping off to here or to this distributor or this LTL. So to me, I come in with a general idea of this has to be done by this time. I leave today knowing that, throughout the day, there’s going to be situations where I could be in the middle of this or I could get a phone call of somebody wanting our services. I’ve got to divert from this mentality, to business development salesman, to the owner, to whatever. I will say one thing that I did that I never regret. I’m very glad that when I started out and I had QuickBooks. I’m like, I’ve taken the college accounting classes. I understand debits and credits. But, I need somebody to help me with the tax implications. I was like, this is not my forte. Now can I do it? Sure. But I don’t feel comfortable with it being done at a certain level of expertise. I know this guy, Hunter, at Wealth Partners. This guy is a phenomenal friend. I can count on him again and again. He’s was just a random meetup on Linkedin. He happened to see that I had started a business. They reach out. I told him, “Hey man, I might actually be in. Let’s talk a little bit”. And he’s become part of the Trekka Logistics ecosystem. He’s another small business owner. He’s extremely driven. We all interact with each other and support each other. Thirty minutes before you guys got here, today, he was calling saying, “Hey man, what’s going on”? And just checking in with each other. On another occasion, Hunter was telling me about a guy that might be able to help with some projects. If you’re interested, I can give him your contact information. I’m talking to him today, and he’s telling me about how we referred him somewhere that he got connected to. It’s not only what we’re doing here, but again, the impact of, “Hey man, let me introduce you to somebody”. Because that’s going to help you and that building, that network of people that you are going to look to, to use their services, and converse with. And you know, we’re all going through the same thing. You’re all dealing with the same thing. So it’s been really cool and really supportive to meet those people and to see sometimes that I get responses at ten or eleven o’clock at night. I’m not the only one doing that, you know. To hear these type of things and to have people be passionate about their business and how their services impact our business and that mutual just respect and passion for making each other better people. Like, this is our thing. I have a platform to make the world better. For example, we’re a UPS carbon neutral shipper. Like that might seem small and insignificant to people and in the grand scheme of things the metric tons of carbon that we’re offsetting is nothing compared to initiatives that other people are doing but if we, as a company can say, yes, we believe in that and we’re a UPS carbon neutral shipper which means that a percentage of every order that you ship, a percentage of that goes to projects that UPS invests in for planting trees and sustainability and negating the impact of that carbon. Then, yes, we’re going to do that. We’re going to believe in that. In the fall, we’re gonna do the Trekka 20.
David: Where’s this gonna happen?
Matt: It’ll happen here in DFW.
Matt: The Trekka 20 trail race is a 5k race, and all the proceeds go to Wounded Warriors because I want to be able to give back to Wounded Warriors and help with the veterans dealing with depression and let them know that they’re not alone. That there are people they can call. Like the world has gotten so crazy with the pandemic and everybody being so isolated and getting their news and their opinions and everything from quick little snippets, you know, a lot of times they don’t challenge things. They just want to be heard. Instead of stopping and stepping back and saying, wait, where did this come from, let me think about it how and can I help. I think that people just go down these paths and think that there’s no way out of it. This is my life. This is where I’m stuck. There’s no way out of it. And you know, that’s something I’m passionate about as an ex-service member. Specifically helping with veterans and helping them with PTSD and dealing with depression and anxiety. Trekka gives me that platform to do it. Trekka Logistics gives me that platform to say, “Awesome, we’re impacting here”. But philanthropically, these are things, I believe in. Oh by the way, I love trail races and Spartan races and these type of things. So combining all of my loves and passions to impact the world in any way that I can. That’s what this business does for me, you know. From a business perspective, from a parent perspective, from a husband and wife perspective, from like, all of them. It really forces you to determine who you are because it strips you down to who you are and you find out who you are. And you know, it just…there’s no room for the clutter or the static right now.
David: Well, I think that’s a great stopping point.
David: Thank you so much for doing this.
Matt: Thanks for having me. This has been fun. I got my first podcast out of the way. I know you’re one of us now, so awesome.
David: We got to have you back.
David: We’ll see where you are. And like I said, I’m so proud of you, man.
Matt: Great. Thanks man. I appreciate it.
David: Thanks, Matt.
Trekka Logistics – 805 Port America Place, Suite 200, Grapevine, TX 76051, (817) 900-9700
For more information on Matt and Trekka Logistics, go to: https://trekkalogistics.com/