Meet Todd Bissell, founder of the website RideFAQs. He’s been driving with Uber and Lyft since 2018. When he first started driving for Uber, he wished that he had somebody who was there to give him tips. His site Ride FAQs is the ultimate resource for rideshare drivers around the world whereTodd gives you pro-tips that will help you get the most out of each trip and ensure smooth rides.
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Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Todd Bissell: My name is Todd, and I’ve been driving with Uber and Lyft since 2018.
I mainly drive in downtown Boston, but I have dual citizenship and residency in the U.K., so when I need a break, I go stay with some family in London and do rideshare driving over there as well.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Todd Bissell: Honestly, I wanted to be a pilot. My parents couldn’t really afford the gigantic fee that comes with it so I chose the next best thing instead! I have a passion for machines that take us from one place to another. I’d fly a UFO tomorrow, if I could. Who knows? Jokes apart, I was honestly always curious about automobiles and mechanics besides which I’m also a fitness junkie. That’s what led me here. Actually, in 2017, I had a bit of a life-changing experience. I had my own business as a personal trainer, but one day I hyperextended my knee and had to stop training clients altogether. At first, I was a bit down, but I’ve always been an optimistic person.
I had a friend who was an Uber driver, and they always told me how much fun it was (and how much money they made). I applied to be a driver and was quickly approved. I love travelling and it made sense to me to combine my passion for both travelling and driving. Now I run my website RideFAQs that’s helping drivers and tourists all over the world with ride-sharing information and tips. I learnt that if you don’t move and innovate with the times, you’ll perish. Survival of the fittest is true in everything in our lives. The world is fast moving and staying stagnant means death.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Todd Bissell: My website is all about helping tourists and drivers around the world. There have been many instances where tourists have asked me the most simple questions like “where can I find ride sharing options in the city?” And I felt there was a need for a platform that helps tourists, digital nomads, drivers, etc check safe and reasonable ride-sharing options. My website is a unique solution because there aren’t many blogs like mine. Since I’ve also had the experience of being a rideshare driver in a foreign country, I can answer questions that a lot of American-only drivers may not be able to.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Todd Bissell: Becoming a CEO has got nothing to do with degrees in my opinion. Mindset is the first thing followed by qualities and soft skills.if you don’t have the “do or die” mindset that refuses to give up, you’re not going anywhere. For qualities, I’d say consistency and patience over everything else. Execute your ideas consistently. Forget the reward. There’s no such thing as instant gratification or overnight success. Enjoy the journey and you won’t even know when you’ve become a CEO.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Todd Bissell: Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robbins. These people keep me going because they give actionable advice that’s real, relevant and current. Gary Vaynerchuk for consistency and Tony Robbins for my sanity. The hustle world is very overwhelming and having something that calms you down while teaching you new things is important. For me it’s videos by these two amazing people.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Todd Bissell: Consistency helps me greatly. Keeping my focus on being consistent with what I do every day rather than expecting instant gratification keeps me away from hasty decisions. To make sure I stay in the “now” rather than teleport to “what could be”, I keep a journal and a planner that lists my everyday tasks and also has a vision section that displays my long term goals. I make it a point to see only my everyday tasks in the morning and check my vision and long term goals only once a week to not get obsessed with them as that can lead to procrastination because you start executing less and imagining more,
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Todd Bissell: With the pandemic hitting the world, my industry was among the most adversely affected. People stopped travelling, there were lockdowns and we all know how all of that went. The biggest challenge I faced was seeing a huge drop in visitors on my website and of course, in the number of commuters. Another challenge was working remotely with my website team which now I believe to be quite a blessing! Communication was a problem initially but as we adapted to collaboration apps like Basecamp and Zoom, things became much easier and faster.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Todd Bissell: Rigidity. I know the time was such and people needed to think things through overnight and change jobs, businesses and even industries. However, there’s a difference between a smart quick decision and a hasty jump to one’s death. Many businesses were rigid to not evolve and decided to “wait and watch”. As I said before, those who won’t evolve will perish. Either you adapt your business to the current situation or change your business if it’s obsolete or you lose. There’s no array of options here. Everything moves quick but the quick has to be smart. Rigidity murders sustainability.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Todd Bissell: My website. If you’re not online in today’s world, you pretty much don’t exist. Ironically, your existence in the real world is validated online. I survived because I wasn’t just a driver, I was also an entrepreneur who ran a website that enabled drivers to be able to run as emergency transport during Covid related patient hospitalizations in some parts of the world.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Todd Bissell: The number one problem I noticed was that there were hardly any platforms giving advice on something that’s used so regularly. In fact, I came across none that helped drivers and tourists with all possible details. We’re trying to make every possible ride-sharing tips and help available to everyone around the globe. Whether it’s someone stuck in an unfamiliar area or a tourist looking for options to commute, nobody should feel unsafe because of lack of information on ride-sharing.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Todd Bissell: At school, I felt like they’re trying to prepare us for jobs and not life. Everything we did at school was aimed to please someone or the other, whether our parents, teachers or neighbors. I wish they had more “life” skills that can help us navigate through situations better instead of doing everything to validate our existence in an ocean of people. Life is not about making it big, it’s about keeping it real. That’s what helps us accept our circumstances to be able to overcome the challenges. If we don’t even accept who we are and the reality of our situations, we continue living in a bubble and that too someone else’s! How far away did school take us from who we are? Think about it.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Todd Bissell for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
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