From Intern to Freight Agent: Tynan Guthrie’s Journey to Building His Book of Business
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This episode follows freight agent Tynan Guthrie’s journey, from interning for free to build experience, to working under veteran agents, to growing his own book of business. Tynan shares advice on cold calling, using AI for marketing, and working with family. He emphasizes the entrepreneurial possibilities within freight brokering.




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Show Transcript

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:00

LinkedIn presents. Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I am your host, Blythe Brownlee. Speaking of SPI Logistics, we've got one of their freight agents on today's episode, and that's Tynan Guthrie. Did I pronounce that right? I probably did not.

Tynan Guthrie: 0:27

That first name, right last name Guthrie.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:30

Guthrie, so I added the extra O in there. So apologies for that, but welcome into the show. How, how give us a sense of where you're located geographically?

Tynan Guthrie: 0:41

So I'm located. It's called Courtney, British Columbia. It's on Vancouver Island, about two and a half hours north of Victoria, which is a beautiful city on the Vancouver Island, and we've been here for a couple of years now.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:54

Nice. What's the weather like up there right now?

Tynan Guthrie: 0:55

It's been an amazing summer. Last summer was really rainy. We didn't get summer until like the last week of July and the month of August, and then this year it started all of May, straight through. Now it's still sunny, so only a couple of days of rain. So we've been very, very lucky this year.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10

Very lucky Now. What are the temperatures like up in Canada? What does summer look like in Canada?

Tynan Guthrie: 1:15

So summer for us would be right around like 80 degrees Fahrenheit I would say, yeah, mid 20 Celsius, and and then winter times. It doesn't get too cold where we are, which is why we liked it. It's very, very mild temperatures, Surprisingly.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:30

I say that I'm a I'm a Florida girl, so our, our summers are like 110. With the humidity, and then winters are maybe like 30 degrees is the low that's.

Tynan Guthrie: 1:40

Yeah, awesome, yeah, that's so funny. That is probably similar to us, would probably be right around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, zero degrees.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:48

Oh wow, oh okay. So yeah, we hardly ever hit like 30s. I think in Florida, in my area, our state froze for like three or four days in a row when it just wreaked havoc on all the agriculture all over the state. This was a lot of a you know for, especially for us in the South. It's one of those things where it's it's if it freezes too many days in a row then like orange crops get destroyed but then it kills a lot of, like the lizards in the bugs. So I guess you know kind of kind of ying and a ying with that situation. So so tell me a little bit about you and how you got started in the freight industry. Was freight always on your radar or did you just kind of get lumped into it by like a typically like a family member or somebody dragging you in?

Tynan Guthrie: 2:34

Yeah, I would say drag, and me in my family is all construction side, and so that's what I thought I'd always do is construction. And then I went to university and after like one year of my university program that I was taking, I was a huge fan of the program and so I was thinking about making a switch for the next term. And at that time a family member said that there might be an opening at SPI, but they're looking for somebody with experience, more so than anything. And I just sort of walked in and I met with the then at the time the vice president. His name is Greg and I sat down with him and I said I'll work for free, and so it's pretty hard to deny or not accept free work. And I said I don't know why.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:18

I don't want anything.

Tynan Guthrie: 3:19

So no point in paying me if I can't offer any value to you. But I'm sure within a few months even six months of it needed to be we'd get to the point where I brought enough value that I could be compensated for my time.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:32

And so what did those initial tasks look like? What were they having the, I guess the freight intern do?

Tynan Guthrie: 3:36

It was all with the operations team because that's what happened was one of the girls at the SPI head office, their operation girl. She broke her leg and so she was out for about a year. It was a pretty extended medical procedure for her, and so they just needed somebody to help operations, and so that's what I did. I sat in the middle of the operations department and just did whatever I could to learn transportation, whether it was watching YouTube videos, to know how to talk to truck drivers or find a truck driver to move a load or how to work with the LTL programs. So just that. Anything I can do to learning, grasp the knowledge. Just being in the mix of it is where you learn most of it.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:16

What were those, I guess, early things? If you could take me back to that time frame of like, what were the things that you were hearing that were like what the heck are they talking about? Why do we do this this way?

Tynan Guthrie: 4:27

Yeah, I don't know. I just like I grew up with like Uber, right, and I always thought it was so interesting how this isn't really On a platform where we have to find a truck driver and get him in touch with the shipper and and arrange the Transportation, where I'm like, well, that's what uber is doing. But then once you're really into it and you see how many times problems arise that no software could really handle, it made sense why brokers are still around in 2023 and onward.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:58

For sure, and that's a great way to explain it, I think, for for folks who are listening that that don't exactly know. You know the intricacies, especially for a lot of like marketing folks. They come into the industry they really have no idea and they just supposed to cover the entire industry. So that's a really good explanation, I think, for for those folks. Now you so you had this internship You're working for free what does that next step look like for you to? Did you immediately become a freight agent after that jump, or were there other roles that you took on first?

Tynan Guthrie: 5:29

Yeah. So there's two things I could do to make money. It's either I get my own customer base and do sales and operations, or there's a couple agents within the SBI network that we're looking to hire somebody, and I was still I was like 19 at the time, or maybe 20 and I needed to get some money fast. And so there was one agent in particular names Colette, and she had so much work and she didn't take a day off for like 12 years. She worked every single day and she just needed somebody that she could train to help her with the operation so that she could at least take a vacation with her family. And so she offered me a job on an hourly basis, and but I had the condition that I could build my own book of business Alongside it, so sort of a best of both worlds scenario where I could be my own agent while still getting Enough money to keep a roof over her head at the time.

Blythe Brumleve: 6:21

How did you know that you wanted to be an agent? Why not, I guess, maybe work at SPI corporate or you know what? Another role, what made you really, I guess, drawn to the agent program?

Tynan Guthrie: 6:34

I just a limited potential. He can't beat that and it's it's like I don't know. I always had the entrepreneurial spirit inside of me and I always wanted to run my own company, but it's so scary. There's so many risks involved, especially at a young age, and I got married at young age and wanted to provide for a family and but I just love the idea that you get out of it when you put into it. So it's it's the best of both worlds where you can run your own business and have unlimited potential for making money while not having too much risk of overhead or Accounting or any any extras that are usually involved.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:15

Yeah, I was talking to a girlfriend of mine who works in the industry too and I was like, I'm pretty sure, like after you know, talking to a bunch of SPI agents. You know you, of course, you just kind of hinted to it. I think the freight agent program is one of the best, maybe the best entrepreneurial journeys that you can take in freight. Would you agree with that, or would you?

Tynan Guthrie: 7:35

I guess, maybe caution it probably depends on your personality to and the opportunities that offer to you and your network that you have. I mean any we can do to build a network. So that's a little mundane. But it's just a person, your personality. If you can build relationships with a customer and have good communication skills and then you also have a knack for the operation side, then it doesn't make sense not to do it. It's just, it's just too many opportunities are available to you To make really, really great money To not do it if you can sort of pair together your sales and operation talents.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:09

And so when you are you're working underneath. You know Collette, one of the agents you said she works, you know, every single day. So did that maybe scare you at all that you're gonna have to be working every single day, or was it one of those challenges that you saw that you know? Maybe you could make some improvements to kind of have you know that work-life balance if it exists in the freight world.

Tynan Guthrie: 8:30

I just went in understanding that for the next 10 years I probably wouldn't get a day off, and I'm fine. I always said that I'll dedicate my 20s to building up my own company to hopefully have an enjoyable 30s and Relaxing 40s. So it's always my motto. So I just wasn't scared for her. She was 50 at the time, so it makes more sense for her to want to scale back. For me, I was. I'm still hungry enough. Where I don't need a day off, it's. It's all good, we can keep going.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:54

So what was sort of the dynamics, I guess, maybe of working with her, because most you know, I guess brokers are and freight agents of course are very protective of their, their customers and their customer base. But she's over here, you know, kind of sharing that knowledge with you. What were those kind of, I guess, early insights, tips that you learned from her that have helped you grow your business?

Tynan Guthrie: 9:19

Yeah, she still is very, very hands-on and Very likes to take control of her customers, so it was hard for her to give me the ability to to email them directly and to call them directly. We're at a good spot where I still can and either other agents I've helped out at that spot them to where they trust me because my trackers proved that I'm not gonna ruin their relationship. I'm gonna enhance the relationships with their customers, and so, from Colette specifically, I learned that Not only is there no days off and you have to be available 24-7, but it's also that you have to take it seriously. You have to treat it like it's your baby. Treat it they're free with more care and attention than they'll do with you.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:02

And so you mentioned something interesting just there. You mentioned working under other agents, so you're able to work under multiple agents with this program.

Tynan Guthrie: 10:10

Yeah, I was that sort of that's for my needs within the logistic industry, specifically SPI is. I've been able to help a couple different agents and that's so. I have my own customer base that I work with. And then there's been four or five different other agents that needed help with Specific lanes or maybe with specific customers, just because they had too much work and they didn't want to hire an employee, and so it's sort of Me just doing a commission split with them and they get money. Wow that's working. I get my customer and my own revenue out of it, so it's great.

Blythe Brumleve: 10:46

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home, or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the freight agent trenches, sponsored by SPI logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America. Who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. I want better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI. Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit SPI 3 plcom. In our industry we talk. We talk about what works and what doesn't, and Carton Cloud's easy to use warehouse and transport management software sure has people talking. Carton Cloud's WMS and TMS is designed for growing 3PLs, giving you the tools you need to compete with the major players with flexible pricing, no lock-in contracts and expert local support. They've helped nearly 500 logistics companies worldwide with hundreds of five-star customer reviews. Want to check it out for yourself. Everything as logistics. Listeners can get 50% off your first three months with Carton Cloud. Head on over to the cartoncloudcom website and see the show notes for more information. So how long have you been building up kind of your own book of business? Like, give us a sense of the timeframe of you know, that internship that you got, and it was six months and then you start working underneath other agents. So how long, I guess, have you been in the industry overall?

Tynan Guthrie: 12:35

Yeah, so 20, and then probably the first six months with this just SBIs head office, just interning, then Colette it was probably a year with Colette and then probably another year after that with another agent and then I got my own customers. So it was a multiple year process. So that's why it was nice to have that revenue coming in from multiple sources before, because without that it would be really tough, really tough to do it from start with no income sources, to just get your own customers and start making money. It'll take, it's a lot of time.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:12

Yeah, because I would think that you have kind of like a unique model on how you got into freight because most of the time from you know, from people that I've talked to, they've been in freight for forever. They had their own customer contacts. Then they go out on their own as a freight agent or they're already an existing freight agent for forever and then they want to. You know, for whatever reason, their current provider is not working so they want to make the jump to SPI. But you kind of went a different path where you worked under agents and you really proved yourself with working, that you know that initial six months for free and before you started working with these other companies. So how did you get from the point of you know you're working with other agents but now you're starting to get your own customers? How did you start that process of going out and trying to get your own customers?

Tynan Guthrie: 13:57

I pick up the phone and start dialing. That's all it is. It's Wolf of Wall Street. Pick up the phone and start dialing. It's old school, but that's really unless you know somebody. You go to a pick up basketball game and somebody's a shipping manager oh great, here's my card. But that's so rare that's going to happen, so it's more so just finding a business that you might have delivered at, or maybe somebody's referenced you to them and a friend of a friend can get you an introduction, and then you just give them a call and see what they're currently doing, if they need any help and if they do perfect, you have your in any?

Blythe Brumleve: 14:33

do you do any kind of like your own marketing or is just strictly like pound the phones?

Tynan Guthrie: 14:38

Yeah, I try with LinkedIn. It's pretty tough. It's pretty tough to do it because most of the people that are going to be on LinkedIn are going to be other sales reps. I find so to get the decision makers that are going to choose a transportation provider, it more so has to just get them at a time on the phone where they're frustrated with their current transportation provider and they're looking for a change, and sometimes all it is is just luck.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:03

Sadly, that sometimes that's just all boils down to and so you're just, you're just finding them on LinkedIn and then pounding the phones and trying to tell me walk me through what that process looked like for your first couple. Like big customers Did that? Is it simple as just cold calling them?

Tynan Guthrie: 15:20

Yeah, yeah, cold calling or one of the ones somehow end up on an email list for them selling forklifts and I was like that's where them on your, on your email list, randomly. It must have been someone bought the email through some source. Auto auto says Zoom info. I guess, listen me also, listen you. And then I got in with with a guy that does some of their transportation projects and been great. That was probably five years ago that happened, and I've been working with them ever since too.

Blythe Brumleve: 15:51

So are you still doing the cold calling every day? Walk me through, I guess, sort of that part of the process, or you're pretty busy enough that you don't have to do that.

Tynan Guthrie: 16:00

Yeah, I'm at that point for the last probably year where I haven't had to do any cold calling for new sales, which has been really nice, just handling the operations. But then again it also comes to the point where do you want to grow it and become a full enterprise, or are you happy with just being status quo for the last year and maintaining that sort of book of business? So that's a battle that I have to fight every single day. What to do.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:24

Let's talk a little bit about that, because I think that's interesting for a lot of business owners out there. It's like things are going good. I don't want to rock the boat, but you know that you know some kind of wrench in the future is going to get thrown into the middle. So how are you, I guess, sort of thinking about how you're going to grow? Does it look like hiring? Does it look like streamlining AI, like what is sort of your thought process around growing?

Tynan Guthrie: 16:48

Yeah, I love AI, so we'll see what that does. I don't know what it's going to do to our industry or how I'm going to be able to utilize it besides just simply making captions on LinkedIn or helping me write captions for LinkedIn. That's what I'll do for so far, so we'll see what happens over the next five, 10 years with that. But short term, I'm right now always debating whether bringing in an employee so then I can grow. I can just teach them the operations, then I can go back to doing cold calling and sales and try and grow the business a little bit more. And it's just perfect timing because my wife was looking for a change in her career path. So I offered her to come into the office home office and we can just start doing operations together and if she likes it perfect. Then she can take over the operations and I can start working on growing a little bit.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:38

I love that you brought that up, because that was one of the interesting questions that I wanted to talk to you about is how does that I guess sort of process look like for her, because maybe it was like a little bit of deja vu for you going through that same sort of training process. So how did your initial training help to guide her initially with the training? Does she know a lot about freight, or are you having to teach her a lot of those things now?

Tynan Guthrie: 18:04

No, it's the exact same Zero, zero knowledge with transportation and the freight market. And it's funny because she works for the school board, so she gets the summers off. So it's literally identical to my storyline where just spent a couple months intern for lack of a better quote or a better word intern with me for the summer, and if you like it, stay with it, and if you don't like it, just go back and we'll figure it out. Maybe I do hire a different employee, but so far she loves this. I'm sure I'll just work out.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:33

Oh, that's cool. So what parts do you think that she loves and what parts are maybe a little bit challenging for her? That you've witnessed.

Tynan Guthrie: 18:44

Probably the difference between, like LTL, partial truckload. So all the operations behind that, especially LTL. Ltl is a tricky one when you're dealing with NMC in class and specific carriers that have are working under either common carrier or contract carrier basis. So the operations, the intricacies of the operations, probably not the service level, but the tough part of the operations that can set you apart from other brokers.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:15

So that's so. She's been on the job for what a couple months now is.

Tynan Guthrie: 19:18

It doesn't look like she's going to go back to the school board job, or you think she's going to stick with freight, I think she'll stick with it because once you're in it and you can start seeing especially once you start seeing the commission cuts that can happen on a load, it gets almost addicting to look at the numbers, and especially when you don't have to deal with little kids all day and just getting harder and harder. For people that work in the school board, sadly, and their, their pay never goes up as seems, and they're always battling for pennies on the hour or more. So, whereas this is, just go get another customer. If you want more money, just go get another customer. It's simple as that. Nobody's holding you back besides your own motivation level.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:57

Yeah, that's well said. And so, with the type of customers that you're going, are you going after a specific lane? Are you going? And not that you don't have to share anything personally that you don't want to, of course but is there a special kind of like commodity or mode that you, that you guys, specialize in?

Tynan Guthrie: 20:13

Yeah, it depends. I've sort of worked with all different types of shippers over the years. Now it seems like my best suited is with Open Deck, flatbed work. It just seems like the truck drivers are better. It seems like the carriers are more reputable. You have a way lower chances of there being a double broker involved because when my forklifts operating I tell them the truck driver the name of the company that's picking up the load, so he just seat on the truck drivers the door right there what the company name is, so he can see right away. So it minimizes risk involved with shipping. So I like to stick with flatbed and Open Deck work. But there's definitely times where you move vans and reefer loads and whatever else the customer needs you to do. Ltl.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:58

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think for this industry you say yes to all the freight and then you figure it out.

Tynan Guthrie: 21:03

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about with another guy when I was talking with him, because he asked me is like do you think it's better to have a niche or do you think it's better to look at anything and everything? And it just depends on where you are in the transportation. If you have experience, maybe it is better to go for a niche. But if you're starting off brand new, I don't think you have that luxury to go niche. You sort of have to just test it all out and see what you're good at, see what you'd like to do and build it from there.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:30

Yeah, well said, and so you had mentioned earlier about using AI to come up with captions for LinkedIn. Walk me through a little bit of that process. Like what are you, I guess, inputting into? Is it chat GPT? Like what's your, what's your, I guess, tool of choice?

Tynan Guthrie: 21:46

Yeah, so chat GPT for sure, just because I was the easiest one to get signed up with and Microsoft bought it, I'm pretty sure. So obviously it's pretty good if they're going to spend billions on a product and artificial intelligence. The trouble is right now is the prompt. The prompt is what creates the response. So your prompt that you're putting in is going to create what it's going to reply to you, and so you have to be strategic with what you tell it to do. And so I will tell it act like a marketing manager for a transportation providing, transportation management term, and create a caption for our LinkedIn profile. The cap or the post is going to include a couple of pictures of the truck driver delivering to a job site in Sacramento, california. So it'll be three or four sentences. Then it'll come off with this lavish fictional novel five paragraph story. So then you have to say no, no, no, that's not what I want. Three or four sentences maximum, no, like, reduce the adjectives by 50% and let's make it more professional. And then I'll do that. Then you sort of play around and then the more you use it, the better you become out, and it does become a really useful tool, I found.

Blythe Brumleve: 23:01

Yeah, for sure. I keep three tabs. So I keep chat, gpt, I keep barred open and Claude, and so I was telling my boyfriend the other day that I think that this battle, that they're all gonna get a little bit better than the other one, it's almost like a constant race. But I think this battle is like the PlayStation versus Xbox of our time right now where each one's gonna get a little bit better, but you got to keep trying them out. And one thing I will say is with the Claude platform, which I don't think a lot of people have been using. It's free, first of all, but you can upload spreadsheets, you can upload text documents, word documents to it, which chat GPT. You can do a little bit with that with like the different plugins, but it's not as user friendly as Claude and it's better at writing so far. So right now, you know, as far as if there's like a race going on, highly recommend checking out Claude, because it's one of those things where it's a game changer Once you start uploading files and it's like find the error in the spreadsheet and it just saves you so much time and it saves you from like looking at a blank screen and wondering you know what to create, what to write, which I would imagine that that's helping you with, like your LinkedIn marketing.

Tynan Guthrie: 24:16

Totally yeah. I've never heard of Claude, so I have to check it out.

Blythe Brumleve: 24:19

Yeah, it's one of those where it's it's so Google has a barred, which is okay. Chat GBT, of course, is really good. That's Microsoft's and then Anthropics. So there's like three companies that are like the leaders as far as like AI is concerned, and Anthropics doesn't get mentioned nearly as much as it should, because I think they're more, like, you know, privacy focused. You can upload drawn data to them and not, you know, worry that they're going to scrape it and sell it off to anybody else. But that's my, that's sort of my AI pitch. But you had mentioned, you know you'd mentioned LinkedIn. What other social media platforms, if at all, are you using to maybe like, find customers or source customers? Is it really just LinkedIn?

Tynan Guthrie: 25:03

Yeah, that's about all I've ever used. I'm always tempted to do what I do on LinkedIn and transfer it over to Instagram or TikTok of some sort, just what I'm putting on there. I haven't started doing that yet, but I'm always, always tempted to just another thing that's going to be on your to-do list. So some hope. For sure your wife stays with it and she can handle that.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:25

She loves social media. That's your ticket.

Tynan Guthrie: 25:27

Social media marketer operations over many hats.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:31

Yes, that is the, I think the journey of American or North American entrepreneurs is wearing all of the hats and hopefully you get the check to cover all of those services. All right. What about email marketing? Are you doing any kind of like cold email outreach or anything like that?

Tynan Guthrie: 25:49

Not on like a massive scale, no, but definitely if there might be a few guys where you move one or two loads for them and then they sort of disappear, and so then you put them on your email list. That you so it's not really cold emails, more like a warm email just to see where they're at. And maybe you did fail the first shipment and you got to get a second chance and you got to beg them for it. Or maybe they just forgot about you because they're such a big company and or maybe they moved on to a different position in the company and that's why they haven't emailed you, as somebody took it on and they brought their own transportation provider. And when you do that warm email back to them reminding them that you're around and can help them with whatever logistics that they need assistance with, and they can give you the contact that's in charge of that now at their company, so it's more warm emails and so for sure, yeah, cold email.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:41

I haven't. I'm not, I got it. It's one of those things that's on the to-do list. Well, I'll cover it when I can get a chance, but right now it's a good thing to have, you know, inbound leads and trying to grow your current customers. And speaking of growing your current customers, how are you, I guess, expanding that? It our freight company or our shippers right now, expanding what they're offering as far as, like, opportunities to bid on that new freight, or is it all just, you know, just kind of survival mode right now?

Tynan Guthrie: 27:11

Yeah, probably, depending on who you talk to, they'll have different answers. I've noticed it's definitely plateaued this year, if not decreased a little bit, which is okay. But I do know other agents that have been growing it exponentially, because there are major transportation companies that are asset based, are going out of business right now and if they have specialties with what those companies do, then they can go in and say hey, I remember that you worked with yellow, for instance. Right now I know that you use yellow as your primary carrier, with them going to business. We have a full network of a lot of different options that can probably replace them and give you a better service level, at least for the time being, and you can test it out just as a temporary placeholder. Well, that's getting figured out and I'm sure that they're going to do great with that.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:57

But yeah, for sure. I mean it's almost like Vultures or something.

Tynan Guthrie: 28:02

Yeah, it is. I can definitely see that. Yeah, a lot of vultures, yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:07

Except for the trucking. Company is dying and the customers still have a chance at survival, so why not be the one that helps them with a little bit of water?

Tynan Guthrie: 28:15

So that's the way I see it yeah exactly.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:18

So what would you say are the top issues besides plateauing or the freight industry? Plateauing right now, it does look like it may knock on wood pickup later on in the year for the holiday season, early 2024. What other, I guess maybe two or three challenges that you're dealing with market-wise in the industry, trying to cover freight?

Tynan Guthrie: 28:39

Right now, trying to cover freight is pretty easy, to be honest, just because there's a lot of trucks on the road and not a lot of shipments. So operations-wise it's been a breeze. It probably is the biggest dilemma that transportation providers can be finding is to get the customers. That's what I would predict is the majority of people are struggling with this to try and build their business in this time, because operation-wise it's pretty seamless. If you have a load, you're going to get a covered for market price. It's not going to go for above market price or you're not going to really have to haggle prices too much, which is nice, super nice.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:16

And so with your business right now, are you still kind of a sub-agent, or you kind of have, or you almost treat, you have your own book of business and then it's almost like different revenue streams from the different agents, If I understand that correctly. Right, Exactly.

Tynan Guthrie: 29:32

Yeah, and so I view the agents I work with as my customers, to be honest, because I have to keep them happy, otherwise they wouldn't use me. So I view these other agents that I work with, these big dog agents at SPI. I view them as my customers and I treat them as such and want to make sure I do the best to keep them happy.

Blythe Brumleve: 29:52

For sure. I mean, I feel like that's a perfect scenario where you can have access to additional customers and help out your agents that are on the same platform and the same program as you and you don't necessarily have to worry about somebody coming in and trying to steal your customers away. Now from, I guess, a technology standpoint, you have a unique position where you've been in the industry for a handful of years, so I guess maybe you haven't witnessed the tech revolution that's been going on over the last handful of years in this space. Do you have any favorite software within freight that you just can't live without?

Tynan Guthrie: 30:30

Besides the load boards like DAT and Truck Stop. I don't think I could that's a definition. I could not live without those because, like any load's covered, we've done a few different CMS programs since I've been here. Even in the short period when we first started, we had a program that was it must have been from the 90s. It was pretty old school. And then we've tried a few different ones along the way and right now the one that we're using with Revenova. It's been pretty solid. And SPI is their own IT department, which is insane to me. That's so cool and they're able to customize the software to each agent, not even just to SPI. But if I need something done specifically for my book of business or something added in, they can easily do it. They have their own IT department that can add it in. So that way it just makes your job so much easier.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:23

Yeah, for sure, eze has been on the show previously it's actually one of our more popular episodes. Everybody loves tech for some reason. I thought that it wasn't tech topics. That could be a little a lot of folks maybe not interested in the tech side of things, but that episode numbers did very well. So there's a lot of folks out there that are interested in what SPI's tech has to offer. So I guess, maybe with your current business, where do you? I guess maybe the task that you're doing right now that you don't want to do, that's a good question, I think the easiest to.

Tynan Guthrie: 32:08

Yeah, it's so funny because I just love it, so I love doing it all. There's not really a task that is involved where I'm like oh, I'm like dread it. It's like if you talk to a new customer, you're making a new friend. I love that With operations. You feel so satisfied when you're getting the loads covered and the customer is so satisfied that you're helping them out too and getting it done on time and on budget, and it's just it's like every day there's multiple almost goals and every time you reach the goal, every load you book is a goal and it's just constantly ticking off goals all day long. So I don't think there's anything too much. Maybe social media is just another task. Until you start seeing the rewards, until you start reaping rewards, it's like why am I even doing this? And I've been doing it for like months now. I haven't like I haven't done anything, so that's all the work.

Blythe Brumleve: 32:54

Oh really, let's talk about that.

Tynan Guthrie: 32:57

I wanna hear where, maybe like your struggle, moments are happening on social yeah, I just when I do it on social, the feedback that I get where, like, the people that reach out after are usually headhunters for other transportation providers or other sales reps from other industries that wanna headhunt you for their sales show I feel like that's more so what I'm getting then. And a shipper that says hey, I love your post. It seems like really knowledgeable to want to test it out. So maybe it's just my network that I have on LinkedIn too.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:26

So Well, how, how, how often are you posting?

Tynan Guthrie: 33:30

Uh, probably like once, once or twice a week is not much.

Blythe Brumleve: 33:34

Okay, and so you haven't had any. I guess maybe leads that have reached out, or or probably not so far.

Tynan Guthrie: 33:39

No, nothing so far on that, which is understandable, cause the Gary Vaynerchuk model is just post as much as you can and don't expect anything back. And that's what I'm doing Just provide knowledge, provide knowledge, provide knowledge, and you never know when, when it's going to hit somebody that says, hey, that actually has to do just with what I have going on today 100% Cause, I think, at the overwhelming majority of people, they just scroll social media.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:01

They, they don't interact, um it's what the term I think is called um dark social, where you, you don't interact at all, but you'll take a screenshot and you'll send it to a friend, um, and you'll, you'll send it as an email to yourself and you'll, you'll keep a mental note until you're ready to make that buying decision, which I mean, let's be honest, for shippers right now. They just they're, they're sitting pretty, they don't have to make those kinds of decisions. They got brokers and agents beating down their door, so they don't have to worry about finding new providers, unless something like a yellow situation happens where they, you know, they, they got a pretty much scramble, okay. So I guess um time to get into a little bit of uh, maybe like a little rapid fire questions. I kind of pitched this, you know, before, um, but you had mentioned, you know, talking about LinkedIn and using LinkedIn. Are there any other marketing tasks or sales tasks that you would like to try in the future that you just haven't had time to? Uh?

Tynan Guthrie: 34:57

visiting my customers in person, face to face. I know that's what Mike, the VP of sales and operations at SBI, he's always. He's always reminding the agents the importance of going and seeing your customers face to face. It's just with where I'm at, operations is so busy during the day I couldn't picture myself leaving and for from where I'm at the fly uh, fly out to see the customers all across North America. So that's just such a daunting task. It's something that I know I need to do but never done yet. Yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:28

That, well, that's a great point. As you know, I was asking it from like the lens of, like digital media and like social, but that is so important to be able to meet people in person, using social as one thing, like your, you know, your digital handshake, but being able to submit that relationship with visiting them in person, um, is definitely, I feel, like a goal for for any business owner that they should seek out. And so you know, as you grow your business, as you are are implementing you know you mentioned SBI having such a great, you know, it department Um, what about other like software programs? What is sort of your favorite SAS tool that you like to use on maybe a daily basis or a weekly basis?

Tynan Guthrie: 36:09

Yeah, we touch base on the load boards. That's probably the only SAS tools I use. That, um. I don't know of any other SAS tools that I'd use besides the load boards, because that's all I need really just to handle the operations. You have load link and they in Canada, and then you have DAT and truck stop down the States.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:27

And then Renault you mentioned. Renault was one of those other ones.

Tynan Guthrie: 36:30

Yeah, revenova, yeah, yeah, so Revenova is the full on uh software that we use. So yeah, yeah, those ones. Yeah, Would all be Well what I guess.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:40

Um, as far as we kind of like round out the questions, as your year, you have a good example of you know your wife joining the business and you're helping her learn. You know the ropes within the freight industry. But for somebody else who is thinking about becoming a freight agent, what advice would you give to them as they start out on this journey? Um?

Tynan Guthrie: 37:02

maybe you can go and see. I was fortunate enough. When I first started with SPI, after a few months of uh interning, I didn't know if it was going to be my future. I got invited to their annual meetup called uh rendezvous, and it was in Vancouver, right in our hometown, and I had the opportunity to go and I got to meet all these agents and Everyone was over 50 years old for the most part and that was the only person that was in their 20s definitely, and so it was pretty cool opportunity to see the uh and uh industry that maybe is aging a little bit, but you can come in with your youth and bigger and not be scared to put in those 10 years of hard work to to reap the benefits for the next 50 years. That's what every agent does. They, they, they work super hard, very, very hard and don't take a break for maybe 10 years, five to 10 years, and then all of a sudden you can put on autopilot and and just have the revenue keep coming in while you're doing your, your operations to keep your customer satisfied. Yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:00

For sure. It almost sounds like a mini retirement plan for some of these, these folks that have been running their agency for a while.

Tynan Guthrie: 38:07

Yeah, and when my wife came with me to the rendezvous this year, that's one thing she's like it's so sad. You see all these older agents, I'm like sad they love it, they don't have to I was like, cause she grew up with the, with the thought that you're going to work till 65 and retire hard retire and and that's when you get to enjoy life. I was like these guys have enjoyed life, they don't dread going to work, they love going to work. I love going to work. Waking up and going to work is is exciting. Um, I don't dread it whatsoever. And so you don't really fear working every single day and maybe not getting those lavish vacations for months at a time.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:41

But like you said earlier, if you can work really hard in your 20s then that kind of sets you up for your 30s and your 40s to be way easier. And then you know you're. Maybe you can still be the young guy in the room. You know, as the other agents, that the funnel system still sort of reaps its benefits.

Tynan Guthrie: 38:55

I think Totally, I'm sure, I'm sure it'll be that case and uh sure SBI will maybe get more guys involved, more younger crew involved, and they can sort of follow the path that I took, because so far it's been successful. So why not, uh, replicate it?

Blythe Brumleve: 39:09

Heck. Yeah, I mean, especially for a lot of folks out there, that you're looking for a changing career. You're looking for something that you know is gonna have longevity. People always need their loads moved. So you know logistics industry is not going anywhere. It'll always be here, and so there's always there's plenty of opportunities To earn a living within this industry if you want to put in a little bit of the work. Well, as we sort of round out, you know that this interview working folks follow you LinkedIn. You know, follow more of your work. You know, check out those LinkedIn posts. Maybe we're first some shippers.

Tynan Guthrie: 39:37

Yeah, just tying in Guthrie on LinkedIn and then take a page at a Brad Clark's book when you interviewed him and just send any phone calls to SPI head office.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:48

He also had a really great tip too, because I was asking him about his marketing plan and he was like I don't really have I'm paraphrasing, but he's like I don't really have a marketing plan. But I will respond to people on email.

Tynan Guthrie: 39:59

So if he?

Blythe Brumleve: 39:59

gets copied in on an email and he sees somebody else that he hasn't worked with before, then he'll send them a separate email, which I thought was a really good insight, because think of how many emails that we get every day and you know we just delete it because it's almost like a to-do list. But he treats it as sort of his sales funnel that he can build relationships with, which is super smart.

Tynan Guthrie: 40:18

He's so smart he sees he's a great guy to learn from, and that's why I've done work with Brad for the last couple years too, and Feel very blessed to to have all these agents that have been able to teach me All their tips and tricks and how to keep a successful business going.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:34

Heck yeah. All great insights so I appreciate you sharing yours and so hopefully we can, you know, follow up and maybe the next year and then hear how, you know, you and your wife both have your own, you know, thriving freight agent businesses which is yeah, that sounds so great, Awesome.

Tynan Guthrie: 40:51

Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Play I?

Blythe Brumleve: 40:58

Hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everything is logistics calm. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's digital dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a Neighbor down the street or stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the Dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at digital dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content Similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digital dispatch I. Oh, just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.