Veterans Day Roundup: 10 Success Stories from Veteran Business Owners

It’s always inspiring to read stories about all of the incredible work being done by our service men and women to protect our country.  However, the stories we don’t often hear about are the strides our nation’s heroes are making in the business world after they return to civilian life.  Just for some perspective into the impact of veterans in our business economy:

  • 4 million veteran-owned businesses are open in the United States
  • 8 million Americans are employed by veteran-owned businesses
  • $210 billion in annual payroll comes from veteran-owned businesses

Though it might not initially seem like a natural progression, veterans possess many of the personality traits that make a successful business owner.  They’re natural leaders, whether that be from leading a unit in battle or leading by example in the way they carry themselves in the face of adversity.  They have a drive and a passion for what they do, understanding the purpose of their mission and carrying out their duties until the job gets done.  They’re quick and innovative thinkers, often having to think on their feet when faced with complex and unexpected challenges both in the military and in business.

In honor of Veterans Day we asked 10 inspiring veterans to share their story, offering some insight into how their military experience impacted their transition into a successful business owner.


 

veteran business owners

 

Ralph Wolff

Owner of Jersey Coast Appliance

Service Branch: United States Navy

 

 

Tell us about your business.
Jersey Coast Appliance was started in 1981. We currently sell and service major home appliances, heating and cooling products.  We offer Do it Yourself parts and Night Owl Service.  JCA is one of the largest independent service companies in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
What inspired you to start your business?
What inspired me to start my business was an entrepreneurial spirit mixed with the desire to offer a better product and service to my customers without the oversight and restrictions commonly found in the corporate environment.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner. Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
I was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1972 after serving my Country for four years during the Vietnam War.  I went back to my old job but found that the skills I learned during my military service made me a candidate for higher level positions in the electronics industry which was just evolving.  There were no services offered for military transitions into civilian life at that time.  Because of some of the crimes that a few in the military perpetrated during the war and the fact that it was not a popular war, veterans were not look at with favor by our countrymen or employers in a favorable light.  Jobs were not easy to find for veterans as discrimination was high against them.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?
My service in the Navy helped to give me many of the foundation skills that I have today.  Precisely the value of teamwork.  A sense of how to deal with adversity and overcome it.  An  understanding of how to appreciate the liberties we have as citizens of this great Country and an appreciation and understanding of what Americanism really means.  Lastly it made me realize the value of the men and women who served before me, especially my father who served in the Army Air Corp during WWII and received a bronze medal.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?
I would advise currently transitioning service men and women to use the transitioning services that are offered today by the military and by programs like Vet to Tech and others like it.  But more importantly, bring your team building skills, your sense of loyalty to your teammate, your passion for doing the job right, your respect for authority and your learned skills to your new employer.  As an employer, these are the things that we look for.


 

veteran business owners

 

Richard Drake

CEO of Renters Warehouse Houston

Service Branch: United States Navy

 

 

Tell us about your business.

We are a franchisee of Renters Warehouse, The Professional Landlords.  We help property owners build wealth with rental properties. We handle all of the day to day management that goes along with owning and managing rental property.

What inspired you to start your business?

Freedom to be the little league coach and to be at all of my children’s activities. To travel when I want to and still have the ability to provide for my family. I was already a franchisee of HomeVestors as well as a landlord when I discovered Renters Warehouse. I immediately saw it as a very scalable concept that could be grown to a very large company. I like the technology focus that the team has put together.  Always offering new systems and products based on new technology.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.  Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?

Starting a business from scratch is such a daunting task. Having the systems and processes that a franchise offers increases your chances of success. So that is one of the main reasons I chose a franchise.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?

Accountability, integrity, and punctuality. The military doesn’t allow excuses for not performing or not being on time. Traffic doesn’t cause people to be late, not accounting for the possibility of traffic causes people to be late. It taught me to take responsibility for results and my own actions. Being in the military as an aviator forced attention to detail, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I learned a lot about leadership and about focusing on the little things that have really transferred to being a business owner.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?

Follow the systems and processes.  No need to reinvent the wheel. There are too many obstacles and pitfalls in business and you have a much higher rate of success if you follow a proven model. That is the main reason a franchise appealed to me.


 

veteran business owners

 

William Bruck

Owner of Visiting Angels – Monroe, Michigan

Service Branch: United States Army

 

 

Tell us about your business.

I am the owner of a Visiting Angels in home senior care franchise in Monroe, Michigan.  We assist with the needs of adults who desire to stay in the comfort of their own home. We provide up to 24/7 care including all personal care needs, as well as errand service, companionship visits, transportation to shopping/church/senior centers, cleaning the home, laundry services, etc. – in short we make it possible for an individual to stay independent and maintain their personal dignity.

What inspired you to start your business?

Our mission statement is “Providing Liberty & Dignity Through Service”.  This is our goal, as well as my personal desire.  The transition from blue collar and military to entrepreneur was an interesting change in my life.  Honestly, I did not plan on opening any business that is until after being deployed multiple times I received the post 911 GI Bill, and I went back to school.  During this time while working on an MBA, the desire to open a business came to be.  I did not foresee home care as one of the options initially, but my service background and personal life philosophy added to the inspiration behind starting this business in particular.  Honestly homecare was not my first, second, or even tenth choice.  But, after a series of events and noticing Visiting Angels in the Army Times as the top franchise for Veterans in the fall of 2013, I became an owner.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.  Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?

As a journeyman linesman and a commissioned engineer officer in the Army, I have been able to use a multitude of experiences to overcome the obstacles presented when opening a business.  As a Veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, I approach life and business with a different set of values and passion than I believe a typical civilian would do.  I have overseen various levels of projects and training missions in the worst of conditions while in combat zones.  These experiences of managing even under less than desirable conditions, allows me to place business difficulties into a matrix for solving the issues.  I believe the passion and drive is a result of an attitude that does not accept failure as an option – this I can attribute to the military training and the experiences from overseas.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?

In home care, clientele and contacts are dominated by our senior community.  Within our senior community, there is a larger than average number of not only Veterans, but widows and spouses of Veterans.  So my military background once again supports the particular business environment in which I am operating in.  As a Veteran, I have a report with individuals that a non-military person does not.  It also obligates me (as a Veteran) to pay back to fellow Veterans b/c of the service they have provided to me through their personal service.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?

I have spoken to many Veterans who either own a business or are thinking about owning a business.  I truly believe Veterans have a step up on the stress of owning a business because of the experiences we possess.  The military training does not directly transfer to the skill sets needed in business, but they do complement the skills needed.  Passion is really the key element in the success I have experienced with owning a Visiting Angels franchise.  Another key element has been discipline.  Discipline to stay on a set course, discipline to not over (or under) react, discipline to overcome the obstacles that will most assuredly get in the way, and discipline to take seemingly impossible situations and make them positive.  These elements for success are not inherent to all Veterans, but certainly my military experiences have improved my level of competence and is a big factor in our success.


 

veteran business owners

 

Matthew Lewellen
Owner of
Two Maids and A Mop – Savannah, Georgia
Service Branch:
United States Air Force

 

 

 

Tell us about your business.
I currently own a Two Maids and A Mop franchise in Savannah, Georgia   Two Maids and A Mop uses a very strict cleaning system that builds quality into every clean.  We also use a pay for performance program to pay our team members, they are rewarded based on customer ratings.

What inspired you to start your business?
When I began the process of searching for a business, I was looking to use the skills I have learned to build my own business and have the freedom that comes with being your own boss. It was also important to be able to use it as a platform to give back to the community.  As long as I can remember, I have been either doing my own thing or in charge of areas I worked in.  I started by shoveling snow for people or mowing lawns as a child and as I started having jobs, I was always being put in charge of things and began to develop a love for running operations.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.  Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
After leaving the military, I began working as a financial adviser for a short time.  I moved on from this and started my own construction company and had a successful business for ten years.  After the fall of the housing market I chose to go back to working in aviation.  After working for several different companies building a verity aircraft, I decided it was time to go back to owning my own business again and started my current business.

This process wasn’t without it’s struggles.  The military provides a very structured environment to work in and after leaving the military, that structure was no longer there.  I had to learn to use my experiences in the military to help me bring structure into my new adventures.  I found that after leaving the military, you no longer have the support team to help get the answers or services you need.  To overcome this I had to learn to research and learn how to accomplish tasked needed to run a successful business.  Part of that came from education and part came from trial and error.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?
During my time in the military I learned many things that helped me to become a successful business owner.  Perseverance was a big part of my training.  To perform as a Flight Engineer, you have to endure a variety of physical and mental challenges.  This training helped me to not give up when it was difficult to get my business from the idea stage to the open and operation stage. Also, while I was in the military, I worked experimental tests with large test programs.  Performing in this capacity helped me to learn the skills needed to work with all the different organizations needed to keep a business operating at its best.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?
 I would tell others leaving the military to take the time to properly evaluate all your options.  There are lots of opportunities out there and finding the one that is the best fit for you and your current situation is very important.  Understanding all the requirements to get the business up and running and to sustain it until it can sustain itself is critical to the success of the business and you should never cheat on this part of the process.  The last thing I would say is to lean on the training and experiences of the military and not to be afraid to take that first step.


 

veteran business owners

 

Tom Wicklow

Owner of Let Mommy Sleep Northern NJ, LLC

Service Branch: United States Marines

 

 

Tell us about your business.

My business is Let Mommy Sleep Northern NJ, LLC.  We are an overnight newborn care service.  We provide highly qualified, medically trained baby nurses to new parents of single babies and twins soothed can get the relief and education they need to be successful.

What inspired you to start your business?

I was fortunate to participate in some very fulfilling missions while  I was in the Marine Corps, such as  Operation Tomodachi after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and a deployment to Afghanistan during which I was a crew member providing close air support from a KC-130J  aircraft to ground troops of many nations.  I knew serving others was my “calling” and I wanted to be personally fulfilled by the work I did when I got out.  When I returned home, there were some “demons” from my service which were very hard for my family and friends, and to some extent myself, to understand.  This caused a very big rift in my familial relationships and I was missing my nieces and nephew growing up, not to mention had a very poor relationship with my siblings and parents.

While working towards my MBA, a friend who worked for Let Mommy Sleep in Northern Virginia called me and told me the CEO was trying to franchise.  My initial response was that I wasn’t interested in babies or newborn care.  But after giving it more thought, I felt it could be very rewarding to help people as they begin and grow their family.   As I had experienced stress within my own family, I wanted to offer something to other families so they would not struggle with the things I and my family struggled with.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner. Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?

My transition home was challenging. I came home and did not have a plan in place.  I had no income and I was pretty lost.  I began to slip into a dark place and knew I had to take action to stop the downward spiral.  This is when the problems with family started.  I began going to college to finish my bachelor’s degree and moved right into my MBA.  This at least gave me something to do and I got a part time job at school.  This got me back into a routine and developed a schedule.  I also started volunteering with a homeless veterans outreach called Operation Chillout.  This gave me the fulfillment I was seeking, but I still knew I had to resolve my personal issues and rebuild relationships with my family.

I credit my ability to overcome these obstacles  to personal counseling, and getting on a good exercise program.  It allowed me to strengthen my body and mind and as I rebuilt my body, I rebuilt the important relationships with my family that had been suffering for so long. When those bonds were repaired and I had my family’s support, around the same time I completed my education, I began to feel I could do anything.  It was then that I really decided to pursue Let Mommy Sleep and knew I had the best chance to be successful. I also participated in a program through my school called Veterans Launching Ventures, specifically for veterans who were looking to start a business, and with that came a SCORE mentor.  That program and the mentorship from a very experienced businessman were tremendous in guiding me down a path that was focused and built a good foundation for success.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?

My job in the Marine Corps was a KC-130J Crew Chief..  I was responsible for ensuring our aircraft was ready for the mission at hand and I was responsible for any emergencies that might arise in flight, and they did.  You have to know everyone’s ability and role in a high stress situation in order to coordinate the response.  Now, with a business that has so many “moving parts” and nurses with different skills and abilities, the same principle applies.  There are obvious things to coordinate like where the nurses live compared to where the families live.  You have to know who has the ability to calm a nervous parent, or is good with twins.  There are some unexpected items to coordinate also, like if a nurse is allergic to a pet and can’t care for a baby in a particular house because they have that pet.  It’s a lot to coordinate, and things like allergies and pets are totally random, but when it comes together and a family sends an email expressing such gratitude for our nurses and our service, it’s completely worth it.

I also continued the leadership that I learned in the Marines.  I tell my new nurses in orientation that they will be the reason for the business’ success because if they do their jobs well, families will keep calling.  In the same respect, I will take ownership of any failures because it is my job as the business leader, to make sure things go well.  I explain that although I employ them, I work for them in that everything I do is to make sure they can focus on serving our families.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?

I would tell any transitioning service member to find your passion and pursue it.  If you find it working for someone else, go into that business and be the best you can be.  If there is a chance to start a business and work for yourself, it’s going to be hard, but if you take that same sense of mission accomplishment you had while you were serving, and you are willing to struggle and work hard for it, surround yourself with a great team and go for it.  Just make sure you go step by step and build a foundation to continue to build on.  Don’t try and “wing it.”


 

veteran business owners

 

 

Graciela Tiscareño-Sato
Owner of
Gracefully Global Group LLC
Service Branch:
United States Air Force

 

 

Tell us about your business.

Gracefully Global Group LLC is an award-winning, educational publishing company with ten literary awards received in international competitions for unique literature that celebrates both women veterans and the entrepreneurial Latino American community.

We are a Woman, Hispanic and Veteran-Owned Business, certified by the Small Business Administration as a Woman-Owned Small Business and 8a firm too. We’ve sold and shipped our bilingual, multicultural books, eBooks and DVDs to 43 of 50 states and 13 nations in the last five years.

What inspired you to start your business?

Since my first published byline in a newspaper at the age of 15, I’ve been an insatiable storyteller and writer, sharing the phenomenal experiences I’ve been blessed to have with others. Creating a publishing firm to write inspirational children’s picture books in my first language of Spanish and my adopted language of English, is my life’s calling after flying for the U.S. Air Force and seeing so much of the world. My company is in the business of inspiring a wide variety of audiences, from preschool to B (business school) and more. I was inspired to create my own business after realizing that my global experiences as an aviator, a techie, a woman, a Latina, a leader, etc were valuable to others and since I love most to write and speak in public, Gracefully Global Group was born after my transition into a global marketing role and nine years learning how to be a business person, brand marketer and PR guru in the telecom and renewable energy sectors.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner. Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?

I was mentored by a group of women (led by a veteran) as I transitioned out of the Air Force.   They set me up with many informational interviews to learn about a variety of corporate roles and what their functions were. I learned to separate what I LOVE to do from what I CAN DO well….passion/happiness vs. skills/competencies. This mentoring was paramount to my successful transition into a global marketing role with Siemens Enterprise Communications in Silicon Valley directly from the military flight deck. I promised them to pay it forward and thus I teach “Personal Branding for Military Veterans” and “The Art of the Informational Interview” so that military service members transitioning can master these critical skills ASAP.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?

Military service is risk-taking that manifests in many different forms, in many different organization types, different environments, different nations, using different technologies and with different types of people. Sometimes the mission is clear. Sometimes the mission objective requires navigating a wide variety of obstacles some which don’t present themselves until the very last moment. The ability to stay flexible, think your way through it, tackle puzzles, continuously evaluate and reevaluate resources available, ask for allies, be persuasive…all of that is echoed in being a business owner and entrepreneur.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?

Realize that the problem – solving skills you developed during your service are the essential CORE of your valuable business skill set to showcase to potential employers and to potential clients when you own your own business. The ability to jump into new environments, assess the skills of the people around you, find their strengths and weaknesses and find a way to lead them, collaborate with them, and work towards a common goal, are additional and essential CORE business skills. Promote these skills in all conversations with potential employers. Prepare for those first interviews as you transition by jotting down specific examples of when you applied these during your service. Use these stories and examples of your skills, applied, during your interview answers. Become the Storyteller who impresses the interviewer with everything you’ve already done, that will help her/him imagine what you can do for their organization.


 

veteran business owners

 

 

J. Holden Gibbons

Owner of Veterans Combating Child Hunger

Service Branch: United States Army

 

Tell us about your business.

Veterans Combating Child Hunger (VCCH) is an initiative which utilizes volunteer labor to sustainably farm vacant and delinquent land in the Cleveland area for the purpose of engaging more stakeholders in the community, reducing government budget waste, reducing society’s carbon footprint as it relates to food supply, and reducing government food subsidy reliance by replacing it, slowly, with locally sourced food.

What inspired you to start your business?

While serving in Afghanistan, I saw abject poverty at every turn, especially on the faces of children, and was moved to do something about it. I was frustrated by the fact that the soil and climate simply could not support any agriculture; the land had exceeded its ‘carrying capacity.’ The 2007-08 financial crisis had ravaged my hometown of Cleveland, and led to many vacant lots sitting idle in the inner city. This land availability combined with the desire to utilize it to feed those in need the most, was what inspired me to start VCCH.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner. Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?

I think the single hardest part was trying to convince many different stakeholders that this was a project worth supporting. I knew I needed to further my knowledge of business, so I enrolled in Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe program. CORe gave me the fundamental competency in business and accounting that was pivotal in my own operations, in addition to the ability to prove the impact on the bottom lines of the cities VCCH operates in.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?

 I would say that leadership is one skill I brought with me from the military into the business. Secondary to that, I am the quintessential entrepreneur whose creativity and ambition is boundless. Still, I knew that starting a non-traditional business, I needed to do myself a favor and seek an educational foundation to allow me to understand, and converse, with the more corporate/fundamental side of the business world.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?

In the Army, as a member of the Infantry we had a saying, “jack of all trades, master of none.” I think it’s important to identify and develop any skills you may be lacking when transitioning into the business world. Then, you can become a master of your own trajectory.


 

veteran business owners

 

Larry Sharp

Founder of the Veterans Appreciation Program

Service Branch:  United States Army

 

 

What inspired you to start your business?

Almost a year ago today I started the Veterans Appreciation Program which is a Resource to connect Veteran Friendly businesses with the Veteran/Military community here in East Tennessee.

The idea is for businesses to provide a discount to the Veteran/Military community on their product or service and in return we list them on our website(with a hot link to their website) as being Veteran Friendly. The increase in business offsets any discount they offer. It’s a Win/Win situation.

What inspired you to start your business?
I was inspired to start this business because as a disabled Veteran from the Vietnam era there seems to be a lost appreciation for Veterans(especially from that era) and I found some businesses who gave a discount the Veteran/Military community had no idea they did so. I try to connect the two.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.  Did you come across any obstacles along the way?
Any start up business is swamped with obstacles. One I encountered was ‘credibility’. I carried with me a copy of the business registration with the IRS and obtained several letters of Reference; one from the Mayor of Knox County, Mayor of Anderson County, Mayor of Blount County, and one from Jimmy Duncan, the US Representative for the 2nd district.

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?
The military is good for any businessman in that instills in you a discipline and a MUST-DO attitude critical for business success.


What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?
Obstacles are made to be overcome. We used to say in the Army(E 4), ‘there is no hill for a climber’, and that is the attitude you have to take into starting a business. I would suggest you start with a good business plan, test it on a small scale(establish Proof of Concept), establish a budget and watch every expense and then be as determined as if you were charging a hill with a machine gun emplacement!


 

veteran business owners

 

 

William A. Stack
Founder of
Stack Financial Services
Service Branch:
United States Army

 

 

Tell us about your business.
I am an independent financial planning consultant, and have been since getting out of the military after serving in the Persian Gulf War, in 1993. Since that time, we have worked primarily with retirees and pre-retirees, helping them produce income plans to help their assets last throughout retirement. I have helped people invest over $45,000,000 from our offices (2) in our rural Missouri community, and make a good living while helping them make a good living in retirement.

I have also written a best-selling book (on Amazon) on financial planning, called “The 7.0% Solution”, which helps explain our philosophy to clients nationwide, who contact us for financial advice. My business is Stack Financial Services LLC, with offices in Salem and Steelville Missouri, and a staff of 4. I have been a member of the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table organization for 7 years, and a top producer for several companies in the financial services arena.

What inspired you to start your business?
A few things. I had a college roommate that introduced me to investing; been hooked on investing ever since. The first few years of marriage (while in the military), my wife and I spent more time apart than we did together. When I finished my tour of duty overseas and decided to become a civilian, we thought it would be good to choose a profession that would allow us to work together. Since she is an accountant by trade, becoming a licensed financial advisor seemed like a good fit. Since my favorite role in the military was as a leader, becoming a business owner seemed like a natural fit as well; have never looked back.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.  Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
One thing I had to learn was that there is still a rank structure to deal with in business, although people do not wear uniforms. I also tended to look at people as either friend or foe, which is not always an accurate or healthy way to view other business people/leaders in the community. As most of my military experience (from 1984-1993) was either training for war, or being in war, this was an outlook that took a while to adjust from. There was also a sense of frustration from dealing with people that seemed to have no sense of urgency about doing what they said they would do.

I began to overcome this obstacle by becoming the person that did have that sense of urgency, and became successful at taking the hard cases, creating partnerships with people more experienced than myself, and getting business done. Another obstacle initially, was the need to produce money. In the military, money comes automatically. In civilian life, you have to create money, besides/in addition to doing your job as a business owner. For me this meant taking on part-time work while getting the business started, to help pay bills until the business became our primary revenue source (took about 3 years).

How did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?
In war time, you focus on what is most important, and focus less on “spit and polish”. I began to view each client meeting as an opportunity to discover/rediscover what was most important to them, and focus my efforts on addressing those concerns. Many times there would be no discussion of products or possible solutions, until we had together thoroughly identified the “enemy”, or what was concerning them.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?
 I would recommend, if possible, to get some initial training in whatever field you think you want to pursue, by working for someone else first. I had perhaps a more difficult climb, by jumping right into becoming a business owner, while being also new to living life as a civilian adult – having been in the military since age 17. By working for a larger company in the field you want, you can make personal transitions before needing to also make business-owner transitions. Also, as a business owner, you are the commander. But you also have a commander to answer to – each and every client of your business. Remember that; it will serve you well.

 


 

veteran business owners

 

 

Nathan Sheets
CEO of
Nature Nate’s
Service Branch:
United States Navy

 

 

Tell us about your business.

Nature Nate’s is a honey company dedicated to producing the highest quality product possible. It produces only 100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Honey, which means it’s treated with very low heat, keeping all important enzymes intact. It’s also unfiltered, which means it still contains pollen and retains the best flavor, aroma and nutrition naturally. Lastly, Nature Nate’s is made from 100% American bees, helping to eliminate pesticides, and ensuring the highest quality product.

What inspired you to start your business?
My wife suggested we find a hobby to enjoy as a couple. One night while watching television, I was inspired to explore the world of beekeeping when I saw an AT&T commercial with a woman in a bee suit, keeping bees. A quick internet search for local beekeeping companies led me to North Dallas Honey Company, where I purchased a hive to keep in my parents’ backyard. After a year of working internally with North Dallas Honey Company and maintaining a flourishing bee hive at home, I purchased the company to start his own venture in 1997.

Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.  Did you come across any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
Growing up and throughout high school I lived on air force bases, moving every two years. Once I graduated high school, I went directly into the Navy myself.  Being in the “military world” was all I knew, so the transition was a big change. With that said, I was taught to have a mindset of adaptability and also a likeness for newness and change. So, when I decided to start my own business, both of those military experiences (being a military kid and also in the military myself), really prepared me for the world of business.

 In the world of business, questions of integrity and morality come into play nearly every day, and leaders are faced with tough decisions and challenges. In those times, my military experience has genuinely impacted the way I handles those types of situations. The Navy provided stability and allowed me to become a responsible citizen. I was maintaining integrity in my personal life, which affected and had a positive impact on my professional life.

Did your experiences in the military influence your skill set as a business owner?
My creativity, adaptability, and responsibility are a direct result of my time in the Navy.

What advice would you give to someone transitioning from the services into a business environment?
Don’t sell yourself short.  Take a deep breath and recognize that things are different now, but acknowledge that you have a set of core strengths that are of enormous value to companies.  I also learned that I would have to shake off the rigidity of military life to be successful in the business world.


 

Business Resources for Veterans

If you’re a veteran interested in starting your own business, these resources have everything you’ll need to get you started.

Starting Your Business:

Financing Your Business:

Growing Your Business:

Additional Resources:

 

In celebration of Veterans Day, let’s honor the significant impact veterans are playing in the startup economy. Here’s to continuing to support our veterans and looking forward to their impact in the future.  We’d like to thank these veterans for sharing their stories, and for the humble reminder that freedom isn’t always free.

 

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Keyword-cruncher, customer-collector and web designer extraordinaire. Adam is the Founder of Creative Click Media. If he's not in front of the computer marketing your business, he's playing with his son, Miles. Tweet him at @AdamBinder_

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