Ryan Carter understands the significance of a hard day’s work. The 37-year- old entrepreneur, who launched Scotlynn USA Division with his partner in 2010, now runs a multimillion-dollar company. He was named the Small Business Person of the Year for Florida in 2020 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Scotlynn specializes in transporting refrigerated agricultural products, and has six offices in North America with more than 450 drivers.
Growing up, Carter spent his summers working on his grandparents’ farm in southern Indiana. “Farmers are of some of the hardest working people out there,” he says. “Sun up to sun down, every day of the week, they’re working.” Winters, Carter shoveled snow for cash. And when he was old enough to drive a vehicle, he drove a truck for a company in Louisville. “I’ve always been a go-getter,” he says, “and I always found ways to make money. I was good at spotting opportunities.”
When he spotted the opportunity to launch the USA Division of Scotlynn in 2010, Carter was quick to jump on it. He was only 26 at the time, but he didn’t let his age stop him. “I knew I would put forth the energy to be successful, no matter what,” he says.
For entrepreneurs who worry that they’re too young to start a business, Carter said youth can be an advantage, as young entrepreneurs often have less to lose. Today, Carter is married with three young boys, and he admits that his risk tolerance wouldn’t be the same.
To launch the business, Carter moved to Southwest Florida from Cincinnati. This area, he admitted, offers a few more distractions than the Midwest—but that didn’t deter him from his goal of running a successful company. “I came down here and it’s such a beautiful place, with the beaches and the outdoor activities year-round,” he says. “But I stayed completely focused.”
Like most dedicated entrepreneurs, Carter worked seven days a week. Even when he took Sundays “off” to sit by the pool or go to the beach, he was still on his phone, running the business. Other people his age would say, “What are you doing over there?” and he’d tell them, “This is how it goes when you own a business.”
Aside from hard work, Carter emphasizes that the key to his entrepreneurial success has been surrounding himself with strong people. He suggests all entrepreneurs build a team they can trust. In the early stages of his business, Carter brought his younger brother down to work for the company, as well as one of his best friends. “They believed in me, and I believed in them,” he says. Today, both are critical members of the Scotlynn enterprise.
“When you’re starting a business, you need people who are going to stick it out through thick and thin,” Carter says. “You need a great team around you that buys into the vision.”
A strong team, and a healthy dose of hard work, have been the keys to guiding this successful entrepreneur.