For the last several months I have been driving for Uber. Sometimes I do it a lot, sometimes I go weeks without logging any hours. Every time I do it, however, somebody will undoubtedly ask if I like doing it. While we have all heard the horror stories and the calls for driver benefits, etc., for me the answer is clear: Yes!
I started driving for Uber the last few months of my MBA to limp through the finish without having to borrow more money. Soon after, however, I got into the Soaring Startup Circle accelerator program to work on my startup, Radici Travel. Uber gave me the ability to say yes, knowing that even in the lean early days of the business, I would be able to pay my bills. The financial benefits were clear and expected but there are two other distinct reasons why I would encourage any entrepreneur to drive for Uber, Lyft, or another ridesharing platform.
Incubate Your Idea
At least a quarter of the time, in the flow of conversation my riders ask if I drive Uber full time or what else I do. This gives me the opportunity to tell them about my business, to hear the take, and to test different messages and ideas. Through doing this, I have gotten some very useful suggestions, I have made some strong networking connections, and have even got a few leads! Normally I would have to pay for the kind of quality info I get, but in this case they are actually paying me!
One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur (and especially a solo founder) is the loneliness factor. You spend a lot of time alone in front of the computer and this can take a toll on even the most introverted among us. Driving Uber now and again provides an opportunity to break that cycle and get out and talk to people. Occasionally, you get the people who just want to sit quietly and speak on the phone, however, most riders are friendly, engaging, and polite. Just yesterday I had conversations about the complexity of developing marketable treatments for rare diseases, the evolution (or lack thereof) of East Boston’s best pizza joint, and the merits of birding!