Her Own Boss #BossesGiveBack Edition:
Lacy Starling is the President of Legion Logistics, LLC, a third-party logistics provider located in Florence, Kentucky. Legion Logistics specializes in full truckload, less-than-truckload, government freight, hazardous materials and produce shipping.
What motivated you to start your business?
I wanted to create a business where employees felt truly appreciated. I’d worked in many places in my career, both big and small. At every place I just felt like a number. I honestly felt like no one cared if I showed up for work or not. In some places, I had no idea what my work was actually accomplishing – I wasn’t made aware of the big picture. So when I started Legion, it was with a very intentional focus on internal culture and employee engagement. Over the seven years we’ve been in business, my focus on that has not wavered. Every day, I pay very close attention to my employees to make sure they are informed, engaged and appreciated.
What is the greatest barrier you faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?
Honestly? I didn’t really know much about the logistics industry. The first year was a HUGE learning curve for me. I made so many phone calls to people, just admitting that I was lost and asking for help. My background as a reporter helped immensely in that. I’ve never been afraid to ask questions of strangers and I’m really not concerned with someone thinking I’m stupid. I personally feel it is far more stupid to not ask questions and to flounder than to admit you don’t know something or you need help. Pride is crippling when you are starting your own business.
Do you have a mentor? How did you find him/her?
I don’t. And I need to find one. I’ve stumbled so many times in the past seven years and I know that if I had someone to call or email that had been there before, my life would have been easier. I suffer from the misapprehension that asking someone to be my mentor is to burden them, but I’ve mentored several women and found it to be incredibly rewarding. It’s on my to-do list for this year.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting, what would you tell yourself, with the intention of avoiding mistakes and heart ache?
I try to live my life with no regrets, because I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that we learn important lessons from mistakes and heartache. But I would definitely tell myself that I am strong, capable and truly remarkable and that I can do more than I ever imagined. I had such self-doubt in the first five years of Legion and it’s only been recently that I’ve really come into my own power. And that is an amazing feeling. Having that confidence makes me a better leader, a better mom and a better person.
What resources have been most helpful to you?
I’ve always been a big believer in being self-taught, so the most valuable resource to me has always been my Amazon account. I constantly buy and read business books, just to get different perspectives or get re-energized and ready to tackle new projects. I personally believe that any business owner who isn’t reading and learning isn’t going to be successful for too long.
What does success look like for you?
Success for me is happiness. I want to wake up every day excited to face what is coming. The last seven years have taught me so much about myself, but I wake up 90% of the time excited to see my employees, my customers, my colleagues, my students, my daughter, everyone. The minute I’m not happy or excited, I start to think about why and what I can do to bring that back. And Legion’s success looks like happy, engaged, hardworking employees. If we have that, we’ll have all the material success we could possibly need.
What do you do to recharge?
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this in the past six months. For me, recharging is so difficult. I’m actually an introvert – I am social, I’m outgoing, I love people, but when I’m done with my networking or work, I need silence and time alone to recharge my batteries. Lately, I’ve become a total cliché and I’m enjoying a glass of wine in my bathtub with some great music and a book or magazine. I also enjoy nights when I can put my phone in my purse and just NOT BE AVAILABLE. Going someplace secluded without cell phone access is even better. On a daily basis, I recharge by reading and absorbing positive messages. I have affirmations and daily intentions that center me and get me ready to face the day, or wind down from a tough day. And every once in a while, I get on the treadmill.
What’s your advice for a young woman who is considering starting her own business?
Know your finances. Whatever it takes, stay on top of that. I have seen too many people in business, men and women, get taken advantage of because they simply didn’t understand basic accounting and finance. There is no excuse to hand that off to someone else and not stay actively involved. Your business will fail if the money side isn’t handled properly – there’s no question about that. And no one will care as much about your financial stability than you do.
To learn more about Legion Logistics, LLC check out the website: www.jointhelegion.com.