Driving Small Businesses

Small Business Saturday

While the motivation for getting behind the wheel may be different, every driver-partner has a unique story. From aspiring musicians to print shop owners, partners turn to Uber thanks to the flexibility and economic opportunity the platform provides them to pursue their passions. This week, we’re celebrating Small Business Saturday® by highlighting driver-partners around the U.S. who are first and foremost business owners and entrepreneurs.

Sunday Shields

Uber Driver-Partner Small BusinessHer name should be Sunny, because she’s so bubbly and charismatic. As soon as you step in her car, Sunday brings a smile to your face. After getting past the initial small talk, she reveals there is so much beyond her vibrant personality.

A technical recruiter in Silicon Valley for 15 years, she quit this past summer and ventured out to fulfill her passion. Tired of the digital world, she decided to take printing classes where she could create with her hands and be able to actually feel something that she made. She immediately felt connected to the paper and the process because it brought things ‘back to basics’ for her.

Sunday’s passion for the process shines with every mention of her print shop. Like how the simplicity of the mechanisms that you use can create such wonderful works of art. Or her numerous road trips to places like Monterrey and Point Reyes to purchase old presses from shops that were closing. She connects with these 50 to 100 year old pieces and learns their unique characteristics. Every press has a personality; they need calibration and a lot of love. No two presses are the same, but they help her create timeless memories.

She’s a serial connector. Whether it’s with the letterpress community, her riders, or wedding clients, she’s always spreading the word about her business. She currently splits her time between partnering with Uber and her print shop, and even her passengers help with her business. She uses it as an opportunity to learn more about her demographic and utilizes the connections she makes through Uber to market her local business.

With a focus on the wedding industry, Sunday cherishes being a part of pivotal moments in others’ lives. It’s an honor to her to be involved in these special occasions. She even wants to pass on her art form to aspiring printers through books with step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the prints.

Stay up-to-date on Sunday and her business, Paragon Letterpress.

Richard Gudnitz

Small Business Saturday EntrepreneurFather of two sons and former long-time NASA employee, Richard decided in May to leave his government job and take one year off to pursue more entrepreneurial and artistic endeavors. It started when he took a portion of his savings and bought a car to become an Uber driver-partner. Since he could no longer rely on a steady paycheck from his previous job, he turned to Uber as an opportunity to not only travel and make money, but to also work on his music. His car is one of his favorite places to recite, rehearse, and go over his craft.

No stranger to the music scene, he’s been rapping and writing poetry for many years. Last year he wrote and released his first project, a 5-track album. Since then he’s done another album and a mixed tape, and is taking this time to work on his fourth project. Even though he started exploring becoming an artist when he was younger, he didn’t have the time, resources, or technology to fully commit—that all changed this year.

Last month, Richard got to not only meet one of his musical icons but also freestyle with him on stage. He and his first passenger that night were chatting about their favorite artists en route to the destination, which happened to be a music venue. When they pulled up outside, the rider offered Richard the opportunity to come inside and check out the show. There was a moment during the artist’s performance where he opened it up to the audience for anyone who felt that they were capable of getting on stage and participating in a freestyle. Richard went for it and was delighted and surprised to be chosen, getting to perform onstage with someone who he admires, was an unforgettable experience.

Richard’s goal is to create musical art that educates and inspires people. Music has the ability to really affect your mood, and he’s very intentional with the words that he uses in his lyrics and poetry. He has tried to be creative with challenging topics and has developed lyrics that address issues such as social justice, economic empowerment, and inequality. His music is not only for entertainment, but also for empowerment and enrichment.

If you’re in the D.C. area, check out Richard’s Facebook page for updates on his latest shows.

Kara Oh

Small Business SaturdayA true Jack-of-all-trades, Kara has been a life coach to women, YouTuber, and writer—she published her first book 16 years ago. Lately she’s ventured into publishing children’s books with the goal to make people happier. She just got her company off the ground and is well on her way with her first book “The Joy Bug and The Grump.”

She started off her new children’s book business and took a different approach in creating it. She worked with a 9-year-old boy in Austin, Texas to illustrate the story. He had full creative license and the responsibility empowered him to gain confidence after being diagnosed with dyslexia. If that’s the only book that Kara publishes, it will be worth every moment and such a rewarding experience for her.

Like a true entrepreneur, she’s pivoted her businesses already and decided that she not only wants children to illustrate her stories, but also write them as well. It’s a creative outlet for them to be able to express themselves, and Kara plans to give each author 45% of any sales of the books. Her goal is to one day set her business up as a non-profit and help underprivileged kids earn money for college.

Kara has called Santa Barbara home for the past 15 years, and it’s such a magical place that both of her children still live there as well. She found out about Uber earlier this year from her future son-in-law, and describes it as the perfect way for her to make money to fund her children’s books venture while having the flexibility to get her publishing done. She loves being able to make her own hours and still do things that she’s passionate about.

Check out her children’s book project to learn more about Kara.

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