The origin story of LD Aviation. Like many companies, it was started by a founder who had a “particular set of skills” finding a market that needs it!
Host: We’ve got a couple questions that we’ll take after Lindsay’s story here. So, just to give you a little bit of background on Lindsay Dyer she owns and operates L/D Aviation Services. So, it’s on demand scheduling and dispatching services from small companies to large companies. I guess you cater to the client on their whim?
Lindsay Dyer: Yes
Host: Fantastic. I guess you got some services. Lindsay you hold a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management, FAA dispatch certificate, a private pilot license, and recently you complete the Certified Aviation Manager certification?
Lindsay Dyer: Yes
Host: Fantastic. Yep, so you’ve done everything? FBO, Airlines, and every part of aviation I think that.
Lindsay Dyer: I feel like I’ve been in every section of aviation, but this (Part 91, General Aviation) is the part that I enjoy the most.
Host: Good, that’s where your passion is at. So part 91 it’s just real quick here, Lindsay strongly believes in proactive dispatching is inherent to a good flight department and what L/D Aviation does is provide exceptional value while maintaining the highest level of customer service responses. So take it away.
Lindsay Dyer: Thank you, I’ll try!
Lindsay Dyer:So, welcome and good morning. Thank you all for coming to listen. I’m just gonna tell you my story of how I got here. This is the story of how I started my own business and became my own boss and along the way found a ton of successes that I never even knew were possible. Not only is my story about that, but it is also a lot about self doubt, some really poor choices along the way, one trip to the food bank and a lot of debt. Flying solo and creating your own business is really exhilarating, it’s great, but it’s also hard as we’ve heard from the others in our panel so far.
My hope today in sharing my story is that you’ll hear something that speaks to you along your path and maybe part of my journey will help you along yours. To get a good sense of where I was about seven years ago, think back to your job, in your daily job, are you ever sitting at work thinking, “Man I do this every day, it’s the same thing every day there’s maybe not a lot of passion or excitement going on, or perhaps you are trying to get everything crammed into the day and you’re barely getting everything done and at the end of the day there’s nothing left for you. No more energy left for you. That was me in 2011. I was living in Atlanta. I had a really great job actually as a Senior Dispatcher doe a Part 91 company, and I was paid prteey well. But there was always something that was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that was.
I’ve been in aviation or at least around aviation for a long time. I used to spend weekends at the Flying Cloud airport, in Minnesota, looking at airplanes with my dad, and then I went on and got my private pilot’s license while I was living in Venezuela. Basically my entire professional career has been in aviation.
I like aviation, aviation is/was not the problem. The problem was, or at least part of the problem was the really common imbalance between your home life and your work life. Some days at work I felt like I was there all the time but at the same time, maybe I wasn’t being real productive or maybe not working on a project that felt meaningful to me. At home the things that needed to be done were piling up. So, like many people I would work my nine to five and then I would jump in the car, I’d go to the daycare and pick up the kids, and I’d shove them in the car, and then I’d drive home. I had to make dinner (hopefully I had gone to the grocery store that weekend so that I’d actually have food to make dinner, and then I would put them in the bathtub and put them to bed and then there was really no more time for me. I decided, (and I guess this my why:) I wanted to enjoy my life. So anyways, if you’re anything like me that’s the reason I started my own business.
But That part is still further down the way a bit. This is 2012 now and I’ve decided that somethings gotta change. So I found a really great job in Dulles, Virginia. I moved the whole family over there, and it was exciting. It was a management role. I was doing better professionally, I was doing better financially, but the rest of my world was falling apart. I was stressed out. My marriage was failing, my kids did not have the mom they needed, and I never felt I was getting everything done, and at the end of the day I just wasn’t enjoying my life. I just really wasn’t flourishing, and I read this book called Drive by Dan Pink, and he talks about the fact that there’s three things that we need to be able to flourish in our life. They are autonomy, which is the ability to direct our own lives, and mastery, which is the ability to be an expert in something that matters, and purpose, to be part of something that’s bigger than ourselves. Without that we feel like we’re kind of floundering, like we’re running adrift.
At this point my employer was pretty much deciding everything for me. Where I worked, when I worked, how long I worked, if I was gonna get a promotion. And ultimately they decided I had to make a choice between part of my personal life and my career. On my birthday in 2013, my employer suggested it would be a really good time for me to resign. Happy birthday to me. I was devastated, and although I take total responsibility for that choice, it changed everything for me.
Losing that job wasn’t bad just because I lost a paycheck, and it wasn’t just bad because I lost the direction I was headed towards professionally, it was hard because I was then unexpectedly forced to decide what it is that I wanted from my work, and from my life in general. The answers to those questions did not come quickly. They came quite slowly actually with quite a bit of pain. Of course, the money was gone first. We had moved to Virginia to have this great paying new job, and now there was nothing. There’s no income, zero. At this point my husband was pretty much all but gone, and I was trying to stay home with my kids, but at the same time financially support us.
I sold Amway for a while, and I really quickly realized I am not good at selling that stuff at all. I baby sat also, which although I really love my two kids, but I’m not cut out for baby sitting or taking care of other peoples children. I also taught Spanish lessons for a total of $6 an hour, and I can tell you that $6 an hour, really won’t pay the rent. You’re not going to be able to cover your bills. This went on for a while, and I racked up quite a bit of debt. Until one day I found myself standing in line at the food bank with my kids, and I realized how far I had let myself fall. I knew something had to change immediately.
In the summer of 2015, I went out again looking for another job, but this time I wanted to go back to aviation, but also something that allowed me to be more creative and have more decisions in what the job entailed. I found a great job with an aviation start up. It had an awesome new concept. I was getting in at the ground level, which meant I could grow with them, and I thought this was perfect. I was super excited. Not only to have a steady paycheck and some health insurance, but this company was exciting. I was super pumped to be there. I don’t know about you, but have you ever gone to the first day of your work, and made that horrible realization that you have made the wrong choice. So that was me.
I think part of it was the unfamiliar start up vibe, but part of it was that that voice inside of my head was telling me that working for someone else and having them decide where it was or how I was going to do my job was no longer a good fit for me. I was just about 45 days into my job, and I did something that a few years ago I probably would have never done. I called in sick, I put $56 down on an airline ticket to Vegas. I knew that NBAA was happening at that time.
That trip changed everything for me. When I got there it wasn’t like a choir of angels, it was more like a sense of opportunity. There was a need, and I could meet that need. That need combined my abilities and my interests at the same time. In Vegas, I met with PFM, which probably a lot of you guys know. So, I met with PFM and I talked to them about providing my dispatch services on my own. At first, I started with just one client which I did alongside with my full time job. And then I got a second client. Now the second client was only supposed to be temporary. They were onboarding PFM, and then they were going to find somebody local. I thought if I could just do the best job ever for them, they wouldn’t ever want to let me go.
About two months into my fabulous start up job, I quit that job, and I went out of my own. I think the first thing that, I felt right after I quit my start up job is that I started feeling freer, and I did feel those feelings of purpose and mastery and direction. I could direct how my life was going on my own every day. It was also completely and utterly terrifying. I was now the HR department, and the IT department, and the marketing manager, everything relied on me. But day by day over a period of a couple months things fell into place. I started making order out of a chaos that I had felt for so long. Now, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that every day is awesome, cause it’s not. I work hard here. I just spent this last Thanksgiving, all day long on the phone, not eating dinner with my family, because we were moving a new airplane back and forth between a couple different cities. I’ve had some bills show up at the most inopportune times. I my phone is always on, like probably many of yours is.
And now I have the added responsibility, which I like, but the other responsibility of making sure there’s enough business coming into the company, so that I’m able to pay the fabulous two ladies that work for me.
I guess the reason to work for yourself is not because it’s easier, but because it’s freer and many times it frees up all the creativity and energy you may have had to bottle up when you’re working for somebody else.
This is part of the encouragement I’d like to leave with you today. Owning your own business it’s not easy. It’s often harder than any other job you have had before, but if you can balance that with your life it’ll bring you a satisfaction that you will never be able to get when you are working for somebody else to earn your salary.
The second part of my encouragement is even more important. It’s this, is that what I did isn’t unique. It wasn’t special. In fact it was really simple. There was a need, and I met it. And in meeting that need I created a company that I’m pretty proud of, but there are an infinite number of needs, and an infinite number of niches out there. I can name five tasks right off the top of my head that I would love to hand over to somebody else who is equally passionate about their area as I am in mine. And I bet you everybody on this panel could do the same.
There’s really no end to the number of jobs that need to be done. It’s just the matter of finding the one that matches your ability and interest, and jumping in. I guess working for yourself frees you up to fix all those things that are fixable. Once you get to do that,, there’s never a dull day on your calendar. Every day is different.
To conclude, owning a business may not be for everybody, but I think everybody needs to give themselves a chance everyday to create something new and exciting. I guess if you’re considering owning your own business, welcome, because you’re joining a group of people who are really passionate about others, and at the same time you can create a better life for yourself. That has made it all worth while for me.
Speaker: What does your business do specifically?
Lindsay Dyer: We provide dispatch services to companies who may not need or want a full time person. We’re like a virtual flight department. We can do pretty much anything. We’re not a management company, but we do liaison between the pilots and the assistants, maintenance.
Speaker: So is this strictly with PFM or do you all have others that you work with?
Lindsay Dyer: We can work with anybody. We have four of them that we run right now!
Speaker: Do the companies, do they just give you your own username and sign-in for their company?
Lindsay Dyer: Yeah, that’s a good question, It’s totally customizable. Some of them, we use their logins or their system and we just get another login. And others we host the whole system ourselves, and then we let them login to our system. It can go either way. We do dispatch releases and weather checks, NOTAM checks. We do more than just put the schedule on the board and let everybody know. We want to make sure that it’s operating safely. We’re trying to do some other cool things. We’re working on a recurrent class, that’s going to include the weather and NOTAMs similar to what the normal recurrent classes do, but we’re also going to try to touch on some of those things like how do you get the rental car company to actually answer the phone when you need them to. Simple things like that. We’re also trying to start a Slack channel for everybody, schedulers and dispatchers, so that we can share information in real time.
Speaker: I can vouch for her!