[quote style=”boxed”]I would start earlier and take it seriously. Although I started in college, I was excited over the little money I was getting and didn’t invest more while I had all that time and no obligations. [/quote]
Eskat Asfaw started College Shuttles in his Mazda 626 while in college. After diving home every weekend Eskat though there have to be other students that need to go home. The following semester he took some flyers and posted them all over campus with his phone number and the phone started ringing. Eskat transported the first few customers in a black suit and his silver Mazda 626. After graduating in 2009 he took on the business full time and now transporting students from 7 colleges to airports and train stations in major cities.
What are you working on right now?
Perfecting the customer experience. Making sure that when students ride our shuttles they have a great time and enjoy the short trip.
Where did the idea for A transportation service just for college students, College Shuttles, organization come from?
While I was in college I used to drive home every weekend and always thought I am sure others need to go home often. During a meeting at the entrepreneurship club at Frostburg State the professor said during his years on campus he noticed students always complain about transportation and that did it for me. The following semester it began.
What does your typical day look like?
Wake up to phone calls from parents and students before our set office hours. Depending on where I am working for the day, I will set up my laptop and check reservations, emails and text messages. During the head I get all the phones that are missed by the rest of the team. Talking about new trip ideas, marketing plans and ways to add more shuttles for the week take up a good portion of the afternoon.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I quickly do a Google search and decide if it will work or not based on if it’s done before and how well it’s being done. Once I decide I just do it, don’t put too much money into it but get the word out and listen to what people say. Once I see a good response I then worry about how it will work and all how to expand.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I have noticed for a while now that business try to make everything available for the customer on the website, email, mobile and have eliminated the need to talk on the phone. I think this is awesome and it makes it easier for both customers and businesses. I think about how to do this all the time!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked at a bank as an intern account and it was really cool in the beginning until I realized I could do the work I do from 9-5 in about an hour. The best time of the day is when I see the CEO going for coffee and I act like I need some too and get a quick conversation going. That’s when I knew corporate America wouldn’t work for me.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would start earlier and take it seriously. Although I started in college, I was excited over the little money I was getting and didn’t invest more while I had all that time and no obligations.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read and listen, I always encounter situations where I might not know what to do or have no idea what it is. Asking someone to explain or help is the best thing ever. Always reading articles and books about your industry and other people’s experiences is very helpful.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I am horrible at explaining how to do something, I just expect it done. When you work with a team that doesn’t work well and it was hard to understand when they told me. Now I create powerpoints and explain what I expect and how things should be done. It has proved to be more successful.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Invest your time and money in other ideas until you get your own. Its better to have your hand in a few things than just waiting.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would change high school, everything about it sucks. I would have teachers more involved in the student’s plans and lives.
Tell us a secret.
I am very shy, and I really dislike public speaking but I want to be a speaker so bad.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Inc.com, I really have learnt more from Inc then from school.
- Audible, Just awesome, I used to hate to read until I met Audible.
- Pandora, without music I find it hard to function so I consider this a business tool.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
E-myth, It explains how a business should be structured. It would be great to read and understand this before you have too many moving parts in your business. This book breaks it down and makes it clear on how to build your business.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
@Inc – great information
@ThisIsSethsBlog – Marketing info that makes you think
@theYEC – they have some great articles and share inspiring stories
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Yesterday, I was talking with a team member and he told him she is hooked to a TV show he was playing while driving and she couldn’t wait to get back to finish it.
Who is your hero?
I really look up to Nick Friedman from College Hunks Hauling Junk, I met him when the company was small and followed his growth and I am very motivated by how hard he worked and the genius decisions he has made to make him successful.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I see College Shuttles on campuses all over the east coast making parents and students happier.
Why do you do it?
First it was about the money my calculations told me I would get then after the first parent said “ I love College Shuttles” I knew we were doing something good and now I just collect I love your service comments.
College Shuttles’ Website: www.collegeshuttles.com
College Shuttles on Twitter: @collegeshuttles
Eskat Asfaw on Twitter: @eskatasfaw
Eskat Asfaw’s Email: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.