Lessons from Postmates

Courier networks are redefining how Americans purchase and receive their goods and services. Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub are taking the delivery business to new heights by allowing users to place orders at hundreds of restaurants and grocery stores around the country. After placing their orders, it's the job of a courier to retrieve and deliver the goods.

Couriers that walk and bike will enjoy this job the most. Food delivery is a reasonable price to pay for an all-day cardio workout. However, a full day is exhausting, and you will encounter situations that test your patience.

There are male and female couriers, many young and a few old. Some couriers were raised in affluent communities, while others come from the school of hard knocks. Fortunately, diversity of backgrounds and race does not hamper cooperation among this team, and a little bit of conversation accelerates the bonding process.

Anyone can sign up to be a Postmates courier. Throughout one weekend, I earned $300 dollars over the span of 40 deliveries. Conversations with other couriers are key- they alleviate the isolationist feeling that occurs when racing between deliveries. Keeping this in mind, there are 3 lessons that must be shared among the courier community, and discussed in the field.

Delivery strengthens your social skills. Society can stifle your inner-being. We are led to believe, if not encouraged, that minimal conversation with strangers is a good thing. This is a fallacy that hinders personal growth and relationship building. Use deliveries as a way to free yourself from the "shell of complacency." At restaurants, give the cashier a smile and ask how their day is going. Upon delivery, complement the customer, or simply thank them for their order. Occasionally these small interactions will turn into rewarding conversations that brighten your day.

Delivery does not have to be mind-numbing. Take advantage of the smart phone in your hand and track down some interesting podcasts. During my deliveries, I listen to the James Altucher and Tim Ferriss shows. Their programs are smart, interesting, and elicit existential awakenings. Ferriss and Altucher host a wide variety of guests. My favorites include Altucher's conversation with Dr. Ron Paul, and Ferriss's podcast with Tony Robbins. Give their shows a listen, and learn something rewarding while on the job.

Patience is a virtue. Yes, this is one of the most common clichés we hear, and yet the delivery business will invoke it again. Patience is tested when couriers are slowed down. We face long wait times at restaurants, and heavy traffic on the road. However, a little bit of presence goes a long way. Long wait at the restaurant? No problem. Take some time to appreciate the art décor, or have a conversation with the person standing next to you. Stuck in traffic? You can handle that. Take a second and gander over at the beautiful city architecture. The world is full of interesting people and objects, and as a courier, you finally have the time to appreciate it all.

This job is not for everyone, and the motive for becoming a courier can be multifaceted. Some sign up with the intention of establishing a full occupation, while others may simply use it as "a means to an end." Regardless of your decision, these lessons will serve you well.