Michael Bilokonsky is the CEO and President of Whitehorse Freight. Michael grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and went to high school in Cleveland. From there Mr. Bilokonsky went to West Virginia University where he earned a degree in Physical Education. From an early age Michael Bilokonsky planned to be a Physical Education teacher and high school football coach. After graduating college in 2010 however, there were no openings for teachers at any of the High Schools in his area. Michael took a position at a mega logistics company and continued to work there for the next five years. During his time there Michael was eager to learn about trucking and logistics. It was always his dream to start his own company. After gaining enough knowledge in the industry and now having a strong understanding of logistics brokering, he was able to launch his company Whitehorse Freight on November 2, 2015.
Where did the idea for Whitehorse Freight come from?
It was always a dream of mine to start my own company. I thought the name sounded cool, and it was very unique. There was not another company out there by that name, so that’s the name I rolled with. I loved the transportation industry from day one. I am very comfortable with the job. It is very fast paced and right up my alley.
There are a lot of similarities between being a teacher and coach, like I had originally planned to be, and being a freight broker, and especially being the owner of a business because I am constantly coaching, training, and teaching new and current employees. It is almost like a sport where each day you could always be getting better. We look at business like a sport where we can continually improve and try to become better salespeople.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I try to be as productive as possible. I am a big productivity guy, so I like to get up at 6:30 and work out every day. Then I’ll take a shower and eat a good breakfast, and I’m at my office at 7:30. In the morning I’m prospecting for new clients and new business and I’m also looking for new employees on the internet to come work for us. In the afternoon I’m training my current employees and salespeople. The company currently has 15 employees. We are always looking for motivated salespeople, and we are always trying to grow.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think of the idea and before it gets forgotten – I usually always have my cell phone on me – and I’ll send myself a quick email. It could be 8:00 at night when I’m leaving the grocery store and I’ll think of a good personal idea. I might think of a goal I want to achieve, or I’ll think of something that’s good for Whitehorse Freight, and I’ll send myself a quick email. It could be something like: Hey, I saw a good prospect at the grocery store, and I’ll say, you know, I should call them tomorrow. Or, it could be: Hey, I just drove by a gym and I see a lot of motivated people in that gym. Maybe I should go in that gym and look for new employees to come work at Whitehorse. When I get those ideas, I’ll send myself a quick email, or I don’t have my phone on me, I’ll write it down real quick.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend is that every day is always different. The one thing I fell in love with in transportation is every day there is something new, there is a new technology going on, or the market is changing. It’s a constant trend that I’m always going to be on the edge of my seat. That is how I like to work. I like to work on the edge of my seat with my back up against the wall, and that keeps me very excited and very motivated.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am very goal oriented. Once I get it in my mind that I want to achieve something, I’m going to do it. I’m going to write it down, and I’m going to make it happen. I thrive on that process of making it happen. If it’s going to take one month or 10 years, the process of trying to attain that goal is what I live for. That is a habit that separates me from others and makes me more productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My advice to my younger self would be to take my studies more seriously. I also would have started my business earlier because I enjoy it so much.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can do whatever you want in life if you put your mind to it and work hard enough at it. People do not always agree with that because they find excuses on why you can’t do whatever you want.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing I do over and over is exercise. Every entrepreneur and every person out there who wants to be a more successful person in life and in business should exercise. You are going to be stressed out, and when you exercise you can relieve a lot of that stress. You can go to bed and wake up feeling refreshed. You must exercise if you want to keep going and keep fighting through to the next level of your business and to fight through the stress.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy I have is I like to create a graph showing where we are at now and where I can be in a year from now. I start with the revenue that we did last year and put a goal out there for the revenue I want to generate in the next year. Using a picture graph, I write out how we got that revenue in the past year and then how we can grow from there. I’ll add more diagrams on how we can get to the next level of revenue and achieve that goal. The visual graph helps me to understand how we are doing, instead of just letting the idea float around in my head and talking to myself about it. It helps me to write it down and thumbtack the wall and look at it every day. It helps me to take action.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first got out of college and was looking for a job, I remember having a phone interview and I was very nervous. It was my first phone interview ever. Now I work in over-the-phone-sales, so it’s funny to think I was nervous. I never would have thought it would be comfortable doing over-the-phone sales or that I would have been successful at it because the interview went so poorly. The way I overcame it was I talked to a mentor of mine and asked him for some tips. I just kept trying to improve and kept going on more interviews, instead of giving up or saying that I can’t do this.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
That is a hard one because everything seems to be changing so quickly given the pandemic that even big businesses are struggling to survive. Given today’s climate and the way things are going we just need someone to build a reliable way to tell if you are sick fast. Like the medical technology we have seen on TV since we were kids. Why is that not here already?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a new seat for my bicycle and it makes me a lot more comfortable sitting on it. I do quite a bit of biking as part of my exercise.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft Outlook. I am always sending emails and reading emails.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend the book, Raving Fans. It is about how to make your customers raving fans of you and your business. Business is all about customers. With no customers you have no business. With raving fan customers, you can go to the next level.
What is your favorite quote?
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Muhammad Ali.
● Go to church every Sunday.
● Treat people the way that you want to be treated.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.