We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Kyendal Eaton, LMSW. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Kyendal below.
Kyendal , looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Let’s start with the story of your mission. What should we know?
The story behind the mission simply starts by the desire to change the narrative. I am a licensed Master of Social Worker in the state of Georgia that began my journey in the trucking industry in order to not be a part of a systemic problem, but rather to be an active solution. I always desired to create job opportunities for those in need, especially offenders. I have a wealth of experience working with offenders and found that the common barrier among my clients was access to jobs and resources. Recidivism is common once an offender is released back into society. Oftentimes, they lack access to housing, resources, and most importantly jobs. So, Key Success Trucking started to provide job opportunities for offenders. I wanted to be the bridge between the system and a catalyst for change. I had this vision for a long time and was unsure if my vision would come true in the beginning of my business formation. However, my purpose aligned when I interviewed my first driver. The driver was a felon. It was in this instance that I realized I had met my first driver and that my vision had finally found me.
Kyendal , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
My fascination with trucks started as a hobby. I would read, watch, and research everything about trucks during my free time. Then I started to explore how the trucks created opportunities for growth, sustainability of the economy, and most importantly job creation. My vision then grew to include job creation for offenders as I knew this would be a way to close the gap between access to jobs. I then wrote out my vision simple and plain, but I did not decide to jump on the vision until after I took a life-changing trip to Dakar, Senegal. My trip to Dakar showed me that I had all the tools I needed to start. So when I returned back to the U.S, I purchased a trucking course that would set the stage to the beginning of Key Success Trucking (KST). That trucking course was the first investment into my business and provided me with the foundation I needed in this field. I used the information from the course along with my own tenacity to finally buy my first truck. Now don’t get me wrong it was a challenge buying my first truck especially when most lenders didn’t take me serious as a woman. Not to mention I did not hold a CDL, so I was seen in the industry as an investor. Investors are looked at differently than those who hold a CDL and are required to put down a significant amount of money because of the risk of investment. I was determined to not let this deter my vision and I invested most of my money into this truck. It was my proudest moment because I finally had my first truck and KST could finally begin.
Key Success Trucking (KST) desires to serve others in the trucking and transportation industry. We are a minority owned, woman owned, and social worker owned company. KST’s sole mission is to be a vessel by shipping freight and goods across the Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, and Northeast regions. We believe in transparency, integrity, and hard work. We take pride in our work and ensure each customer is satisfied with our excellent service. In addition, our mission is to continue to provide job opportunities to offenders. Our goal is to reduce the recidivism rate one driver at a time. KST’s community-driven mission is making an impact each day by being a solution to a systemic problem.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
One lesson I had to unlearn was to not trust myself. Oftentimes, we get into new industries, and we question whether we have enough knowledge, skills, and abilities. This leads us to rely on other’s knowledge and input when making decisions. However, I realized that I had all the tools myself to make the best-informed decisions for my business. I just have to trust myself. There is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “Self-trust is the first secret of success.” I have held on to this quote when navigating this new industry. I also had to remind myself that I had invested the time, invested the money, and most importantly invested in myself to learn this business before starting it. Yes, I am still learning as I go, but I now know to trust my inner gut as a business owner. At the end of the day, I know what is truly best for my business.
Do you have any stories of times when you almost missed payroll or any other near death experiences for your business?
The trucking industry is one that is cyclical. It has its up and down moments. Recently, we have been faced with low spot rates, high fuel prices, and less availability of loads to demand. In particular, we were recently faced with a major repair for our truck that required the truck to be down for a significant amount of time. The maintenance and repair costs in this industry can be astronomical and cause you to fear the downfall of your business. I lost a substantial amount of money in just one week. Not to mention this affected my driver’s ability to work. As an owner, I feared the retention of my driver and how this setback would change the dynamics of my business. However, this hurdle shaped my perspective and it forced me to problem solve. My grit and perseverance came through and it allowed me to see that if I can get through this moment I can truly get through anything. There is no success with any business without a loss. This loss just increased my gratitude in the process and reminded me to remember the mission.
- Website: www.keysuccesstrucking.com
- Instagram: @keysuccesstrucking
- Facebook: @keysuccesstrucking
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyendal-eaton-lmsw/
Michole Kemp @SHOTBYMK