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Transcript – Joseph Land Speaks – Episode 1

 THE HUMBLE BEGINNING

Hello, this is Joseph Land, and welcome to my podcast today. I’m so excited about this format as we have these podcasts going forward and, they’re designed to encourage you and to be all that you can be and encourage you to go for your dream. 

And in the future podcast, we're going to have:

I’m doing this, so that it may be an encouragement to someone who’s listening, who has a dream, and who might want to really, hear some of these things and be encouraged and to really go for their dream.
 
Today I want to give you just a little bit of an introduction as to who I am and how I grew up and what my story is. And so, you know, a lot of times people look at someone who’s had a measure of success in business and they think, well, maybe he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
 
Well, I want to tell you categorically, that’s not me. I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth and, you know, I’ve had to work for everything I’ve done, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. But I grew up in a small town in South Carolina and I had great parents.
 
My father had a fifth-grade education. He was brilliant, brilliant with math, but at a fifth-grade education, because when he grew up times were tough and he had to provide for his own family. But my father worked in a textile mill and my mother was a homemaker. And so, you know, we didn’t have a lot of luxuries, but we had all the things we needed.
 
I believe that growing up in that way, fuels me to become successful and to fight for what I believed in, and to provide for my family – the things that I didn’t have. You might be listening to this. You might be, you’re saying, gosh, I feel exactly the same way that he does.
 
Growing up, I had a great mom and dad, two beautiful, wonderful sisters who were older than me and who were role models in my life. And so growing up, my dad said, you know, you’re a great athlete. You know, you could really be something special if you worked at it. And so I determined that I wanted to play professional baseball because I knew that would provide the things for my family and for my parents and for my future family that I dreamed of.
 
I started working on baseball and I became good at it. And a lot of times the dream robber comes along when you’re working on your dream – doesn’t it? And so no different with me. And so people would tell me. Hey, you know, nobody from our town ever made the big leagues and you’re not going to do it either.
 
Well, they don’t mean anything by that. That’s just what they know how to say. And so I never paid them any attention. And my father said, you know, they’ve never done anything, so don’t pay him any attention. And, so one day lo and behold, the Dodgers drafted me, to play professional baseball. And all those people who were telling me, I couldn’t do it were saying, Oh, we knew you were going to do it.
 
And the Dodgers at the time still are, one of the top clubs in the major baseball league. And so I’d said, gosh, you know, this is amazing. And I’ve accomplished my dream. Before I could really get going with it, I tore my rotator cuff. Oh my goodness – back then it was an injury that was devastating. And my career was over before it even got started.
 
And so I was depressed and discouraged. And how am I going to provide for my family? And I’m sure you’ve had some of that kind of thoughts in your life. And, and so I decided, hey:

I'm not going to wallow in my misery. I'm not going to feel sorry for myself. I'm going to get up and find another dream.

And I did. So I decided that I was going to get into the transportation business. And so I borrow $50,000, and I went to Florida, lived in a 26-foot travel trailer the campground. I couldn’t even afford to rent a house. And I started my transportation company.
 
Now talking about broke. I don’t know if you’ve ever been broken in your life. I was so broke. I couldn’t pay attention. That’s pretty broke ain’t it? But, I had a dream – and so I’d go to my little Truckstop office every day and work. And I was scared. Oh man, I was so scared, but I had a dream and I knew I had to do something for my family.
 
I remember taking my lunch to work and, in order to eat it, I have to put the phones on hold for a minute and just close my eyes a minute, just to catch my breath and, and go again. But my new, my model was disruptive in the industry and it continues to be so today 35, 40 years later, because the model I started in Florida, they’re still using today of seeking. Seeking the freight from the person to constantly who is purchasing the freight in the first place.
 
So anyway, had $50,000 and after, three weeks or a month or so I was out of money. And boy, if you don’t have any money, you don’t have a business. And so I saw this company that was financing receivables, for our line of credit. And I called him on the phone and gave him my business plan and they were rude to me. And so I said, you know, gosh, I have a great business plan. I just need somebody to believe in me and – I’m sorry, we can’t help you – and so that thing just started eating at me and I said, they didn’t even give me a chance to explain it to them. And so I said, you know what, I’m going to go see them. 
 
So at the time, I had an old Pontiac station wagon with the wood – plastic wood siding – fake wood siding. And I decided to drive in my car from Florida to Atlanta, Georgia, a 10-hour drive at night, and I took a coat and tie and a shirt, and I slept in my car, (listen to this story) – slept in my car I wake up in time to shave and shower and put on my shirt and tie at a truck stop. And at eight o’clock in the morning, I’m sitting in the office of these financial people that I’m trying to get a line of credit from.
 
The guy walks into the office and says I don’t have an appointment today and I said: “no, sir. I said I don’t have an appointment, but I said, I drove all the way from Florida to see you, because I didn’t think I had a chance to explain my business to you. And if you just give me a chance, I’m just looking for somebody to believe in me” – says, okay, son, I’ll give you 15 minutes.
 
And so, we went back in his office in 15 minutes – turned into three hours. He was fascinated with my tenacity. With my will to win with my determination, with my business plan. And he says, gosh, if everybody was this determined to do business with us, he said, we’d have a great business. He says – son, how much line of credit do you need?
 
And, I knew from experience that I would ask for twice as much as I needed. And so I said, okay, I need a, $300,000 line of credit to grow my business. He said, okay, I’ll give you 180,000. I started saying under my breath, I was saying, thank you, Lord. And so I took that 180 line of credit. I went back to Florida. I kept building my business. And after that, we never looked back. In fact, the gentleman who gave me the line of credit would even in the years later called me in and asked me to give him advice on other companies in our sector of business and how I was doing so well and others weren’t.
 
And so it was just amazing. I’ve been this grew and we would have a triple growth overgrowth every year. And we were in a vertical pole. I’ve been, this was just rocking and we were hiring people. It was so much fun and things were really rolling. 
 
And twenty-five years later, I looked back at the company. I started in that one-room Truckstop office – and it was the eighth largest refrigerated transportation company in North America. We had created a giant, we had created a giant with $180,000 credit line and a dream. And a dream! And so we were doing a 189 million in annual sales, annual revenue, running 1500 trucks with 2000 employees, 23 terminals all over North America and our business we’re just growing leaps and bounds.
 
And so I look back at that experience and I said, you know, how did I get to where I am? And the way I got there, was having a dream, but also failures and disappointments along the way…

...the failures and the disappointments are always your best teachers.

You know, you can have a great education. You can understand the financials and all of that, but you’re going to learn your best lessons. Your best teachers are going to be your disappointments and your failures in your life. 
 
And so I remember one time. One of my biggest failures was – I tried to get in the train business. I would put my refrigerated trailers on the train car and deliver, green tomatoes up into the Northeast and the trailers were designed to gas the tomatoes, and turn them, start turning them pink  – so I could deliver them to stores. And on paper, I made a billion dollars, but in actuality, you know, I almost lost my company.
 
We started out in our first month and gosh, I thought I had a big-time winner and right away, I realized I had a big-time loser because my competition – saw me get into their marketplace and they immediately tried to put me out of business. 
 
And they were cutting rates. It was one railroad company against me and another railroad company. And I knew I couldn’t last cause my pockets – my financial pockets were not deep enough. And so what do you do when, you know, you got to lose her? You get rid of it. 
 
And so immediately I started trying to get rid of it. I bought some trailers so I could sell the trailers I had. And five years later recouped all my investment as God might have it. And that’s the short story of the pain and agony I went through, certainly, they get to that point. But that was one of my greatest teachers. And I realized, hey, I got into refrigerated transportation business, not the rail business. And so I’m going to focus on that and that’s what spurned our growth and fueled our growth. And I was more determined than ever. And…

...what you're going to learn in life is you're going to learn from your greatest disappointments. You're going to learn from your failures. You're going to learn from the things you did wrong, that you know, that you shouldn't have done, all those things. And there's not one person walking on earth who hasn't done something that they're probably not proud of.

And certainly, that’s my case. And, but you know what? I learned that I serve a God of second chances and third chances and fourth chances and a God of forgiveness. And so, I’ve always done this –  when I’ve had failure and disappointment in my life, I’ve always dusted myself off and prepared myself to go again.

...one of the hardest things that we have to do is forgive ourselves when we have a disappointment or a failure in life.

And certainly, that was the case for me in the rail business. But, I went on to grow a huge business and bless a lot of people it was certainly a joy in my life to have an impact in other people’s lives and to create a company that others believed in and had stature in our industry.
 
In 1994, I sold that business and decided to get in the real estate business. And a partner and I started developing commercial real estate. And after four or five years, we had a portfolio of over $140 million.
 
$140 million of shopping centers, office buildings, medical buildings, things of that nature. And we were on a roll and I thought at that point I could never lose at anything in my life. But Boy, did I learn a lesson,2008 and 2009 came with a devastating downturn in the reals estate market and we saw our whole life come before us. We were losing cash so quickly. It was amazing. And people were jumping out of buildings and doing all kinds of crazy things.
 
And we just decided to fight. We decided to trust God and fight and try to fight our way out of it. And we did!

And we had an attitude of never giving up. If you have that attitude, it'll be amazing what you can accomplish. I tell you - life will not be problem-free but it will be successful for you if you have that attitude of tenacity and never giving up.

I’ll never forget what my wife told me one time. She said to me, she came down the stairs and she looked at me and she says: I love your discipline. She said: I’ve been thinking about your discipline. And I said, Oh wow tell me what you mean by that?
 
She says, well, I’ve watched you over these years and. She says you wake up at early in the morning and she says, you spend your time praying for people and reading your devotionals. And then you go off and work at the gym and try to keep yourself in some kind of physical shape and taking care of yourself then you get ready and go to work.
 
And then you come home with a positive attitude and spend time with a family. She says: I just love your discipline. She said, you’re such an encouragement, positive attitude, as she says, A lot of people can learn from that. And I thought that myself, I said, you know that is my discipline and that’s what I’ve created over all these years. You know, I’m going to be positive. I’m going to be careful what I say – because words are powerful and you can never take something back that you said.
 
I remember someone telling me that…

...you never have to take back a word that you did not say.

And so you measure your words carefully. Be a positive influence – be the positive influence in the room when everybody’s negative.

I learned from that – to be a blessing to others and to teach others what I’ve had to learn the hard way. But when I got started in business, I want to share this with you, and then I’m gonna, conclude. I realized I was not in the transportation business at all. I realized that I was in the people business and I realized that people drove trucks, people bought products, people did everything.

And I had to get really good at relating to people and being the best person I could be so that I could be successful in my business. And I worked on myself because I knew I had to relate from the CEO of Pillsbury down to the person who’s loading the truck. And that’s what I did.

And I encourage you if you’re pursuing a job or a career if you’re pursuing – starting your own business. The first thing you need to do is decide I’m going to be the best person I can be. I’m going to work on myself. I’m going to understand how to do what it is I want to do. I’m going to school myself if I want to get into business. I’m going to school myself with learning how financial statements work, how to capitalize a company, how accounts receivable work, all of those things, the balance sheet, learn all of that stuff, and educate yourself so that you can be the best person you can be.

But the one thing that…

...I encourage you to do first is work on yourself. Be a positive influence for somebody in their life. People are going to want to join what you're doing when you're positive when you were positive. And when you're focused. And when you're tenacious about what you're doing, you're going to attract the right people to join your team.

So I wanted to share this with you today. I’m very excited about the prospects of telling you more about my story. This is certainly just a capsule today. We’ll have podcasts here, stay tuned, to this medium we’ll have other people joining us. Who I have dealt with or partnered with, or a mentor in business who have great success stories.

If you’re sitting there listening to this right now…

...you know - you can become anything you want to be. You live in a great country where dreams are easy to make a reality. And all you have to do is do the work.

I had somebody. Tell me God willing, I want to do so-and-so will go. And I said, well, God is willing – you gotta be willing. And so when you’re willing to…

...get up and create a discipline every day to get in a flow every day, of doing the right thing, paying the price, working hard - working hard when nobody's looking, produces the results that everybody will see.

And so thank you for joining me today. I look forward to being with you on our next podcast, and God bless you guys. Have a great day and talk to you soon.