Clarissa Rankin is an entrepreneur, a truck driver and a social media influencer. The mother of two from Charlotte, North Carolina got into the field of driving after her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice put her more than $50,000 in debt, she told CBS News.
Rankin’s husband helped her get into truck driving. She didn’t like driving but as she and her husband started planning for their trucking company, JC Rankins Transport, she realized she ought to get her commercial driver’s license.
She started the process of obtaining her commercial driving license in 2018. While at it, she also realized that there were only a handful of Black female truck drivers. In her orientation class, she found out there was no one in the room that looked like her.
After obtaining her commercial driver’s license, Rankin made some $50,000 in her first year of trucking. She told CBS News that she now makes well over $150,000 from driving. “I love the road. And it’s a break away from life, cause the only thing you’ve got to worry about is driving the truck,” Rankin said.
Rankin’s trucking business would influence her to open a TikTok account to share her hustle in a bid to inspire more Black women into trucking. According to the Women in Trucking Association, fewer than 1 in 10 truck drivers are female.
Rankin didn’t get the first six jobs in trucking she applied to. Now, she has her own trucking company with her husband. She regularly updates her over 1.1 million followers on TikTok about her work. Her interest in content creation pre-dates the birth of TikTok. She used to share short and motivational videos on social media platforms like Instagram but her videos were not getting the attention she wanted. She was ready to quit after five years but her husband encouraged her to move her content to TikTok.
In 2020, she downloaded the app and one of her first videos was about an encounter at a truck stop which got over 243,000 likes and over a million views. “I was like, ‘This is the spot! This is it, this is it!’” Rankin told Charlotte Observer. “And it just took off from there. All my hard work was finally paying off.”
Besides sharing motivational videos and her adventures on the road, she also shares stories about her family and offers promotion and sponsored content for brands and products via her website Owtspoken.
According to her, she makes in one 60-second promotional video what she makes from trucking for one week. Every month, she brings in $12,000 from social media endorsements.