With the wind down of two major U.S. military campaigns, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans streaming into the private sector looking to turn the page and start a brand new chapter. It is very inspiring and amazing to note how well many of them have not only adapted to it but also been extremely successful. I am a firm believer that our service to each other should not end when we leave the armed services, and that is why I have decided to highlight a few of my favorite veteran entrepreneurs and their companies. Though these veterans come from all branches of service and all walks of life, they all share a passion for overcoming challenges and continuing to use their skills and talents to support their families and their communities, along with the idea that they are still a part of something much bigger and greater than themselves.
Battle Grounds Coffee
One of my favorite people on Earth, and a former teammate in the SEAL teams, is Salvatore Defranco. In 2008, Defranco and I were both getting ready to deploy to Iraq with SEAL Team 3 when he was involved in a brutal hit-and-run accident. Defranco was in a coma for many weeks, and those of us that visited him at his bedside left on our deployment not knowing if we would ever see our friend and fellow warrior recover. I am proud to say that after a medical separation from the Navy and a long recovery, Defranco not only got on with his life but is back to crushing it.
In 2016, Defranco and his wife Dana founded Battle Grounds Coffee to serve high-quality coffee and to help the country refocus on the concept of living to serve. Starting in Haverhill, Mass., Defranco looks to be the cultural, political and business epicenter of local communities. In addition, the company looks to give back to the veteran community with a priority on hiring vets. Salvatore and Dana currently have about 20 employees and are already looking at sites for stores two and three. After becoming a SEAL, fighting for his life and rehabilitation to his most recent feat of putting Battle Grounds Coffee on the map in no time at all, I personally believe the is nothing that this smart and battle-tested veteran cannot accomplish.
Life Flip Media
As an advocate for veterans, it is very rare that I come across other veterans who blow me away with their focus and desire to help elevate the veteran community like former marine and founder of Life Flip Media, Eric Mitchell. Luckily for those of us who are veterans needing help in getting exposure so that we can grow our brands and businesses, Mitchell’s passion and ability to relate to veterans as one himself happens to be a big part of why Life Flip Media has been so successful so quickly. It is quickly becoming known as the company to talk to if you are a veteran and need help getting media coverage with its speakers and writers bureaus along with its team of seasoned television bookers. Life Flip Media doubled in size last year, so don’t be surprised to see another monster year for the company and the clients it represents.
One of the most fascinating things to me personally about watching other veteran entrepreneurs is the courage with which they often forge into some of the most difficult and competitive spaces known to man. The liquor business is definitely up there, with its large margins and because it’s a product that gets replenished often by its customers.
One veteran looking to conquer this competitive industry is the founder of Merica Bourbon and former recon Marine, Derek Sisson. As a SEAL, I have always had a ton of respect for my brothers from the Marine Corps, and Sisson definitely has my respect and attention. Merica Bourbon is not only as smooth of a bourbon as I have ever tasted but the experts seem to agree. It recently won silver in the Whiskies of the World Awards. When you add that to the fact that it’s very affordable and dripping with patriotism from its founder to its name I wouldn’t be surprised to see it acquire a major market share in the near future. To launch Merica Bourbon, Sisson also partnered up with veteran entrepreneurial juggernaut, Daniel Alarik, founder and CEO of one of the largest veteran-owned brands, Grunt Style.
Combat Flip Flops
If you have ever wondered what a combination of Matthew McConaughey, an army ranger and an entrepreneurial savant would look like, look no further than Matt “Griff” Griffin. You might have seen Griffin and his partner Donald Lee on a little show called Shark Tank a couple of years ago after they hysterically handed Kevin O’Leary a ChemLight to mark him for “dead” when he made the mistake of passing on an investment in their footwear company Combat Flip Flops. Not only did they secure a deal with Mark Cuban but they continue to thrive by expanding their product line by adding sneakers and casual shoes to complement their array of other products like blankets, canvas bags and shemaghs.
My favorite thing about this company is its determination to continue serving others all over the world by manufacturing its products in conflict areas and donating proceeds to support the education of Afghan women. Griffin is also an accomplished public speaker and uses his large and impressive resume to motivate and teach leadership and so much more.
Something as certain as death and taxes is that veterans will continue to lead and serve no matter where they wind up. I for one am glad to be a member of this community and now it is just icing on the cake to have the opportunity to help highlight the others who are being disruptive, inspiring and serving others in their own verticals. It is our duty to look for ways to support our brothers and sisters exiting the service and remember that the camaraderie doesn’t end when we take off the uniforms. Long live the veteran brotherhood.
You Don't Have to Pay Your Dues Before You Start a Business
My job consists of building cool stuff, helping people build apps and helping startups grow and scale. This means I field a lot of questions and hear a ton of startup ideas.
One day, an impressive young entrepreneur came to me with an interesting idea. It sounded promising, so I thought he should go for it. He did, and found a gaping hole in his local market. As any good entrepreneur would do, he went in full-force to exploit it. The idea was solid, he was able to validate it and went to build.
But before he got started, he wanted to incorporate. This is a great idea. It helps protect your personal assets if something goes wrong. It can help you with taxes depending on where you are and honestly, it helps make you look professional if you are in the B2B, consulting or services spaces. It’s quick and easy, and you can get it done for a small fee in a few dozen places online.
Lucky for this young hustler, he had a family friend who was a lawyer. Time to save some cash and get some expert advice in the process, right? Sadly, that’s not what happened. Instead, my young student got an earful of horrible advice that put him down and out. “You’re in high school. You’re too young for this. Focus on getting into a good college, work hard, get a job, then start this business.”
That pissed me off.
The opportunity was right in front of him. There’s no law saying a high school student can’t start a business and make money. There’s no rule that says you can’t have an app and get into a good college. The time to do this was now — when there was a gap in the market, and he was in the best position to fill it.
When I was in high school, I ran a business with one of my buddies selling bootlegged anime. I didn’t know that was legally frowned upon at the time, I promise. When I was in college, I started a web development agency and a SaaS company, which I later sold.
I didn’t wait to start those companies because someone told me I was young and inexperienced. I didn’t put my dreams on pause to get good grades and an entry-level job. I didn’t want to wait and pay my dues. I knew I had a skill that others were willing to pay for, and I offered my services to them. Funny thing is, my customers didn’t seem to care that I was still a student with no real job experience.
Does that sound like “skipping to the front of the line?” It should, because it is.
There were definitely people doing what I was doing, and doing it better, but I was competing on their level. And I didn’t work my way up for 10 years before I started. I built my empire one client at a time. And I’m definitely not alone.
So why do authority figures — I’m talking parents, legal counsel, etc. — tell people to pay their dues so they can get a good job before they work on their real dreams? And then, focus on your job and do this entrepreneur thing on the side for a while to test the waters.
Building an app on the side when you have a job is a good idea. It’s called a “side hustle” and if you want to do it, do it. It’s a great way to transition out of your boring 9-5. And if you don’t want to go full time, it’s a great way to make some passive income on the side.
But if you’re a student, why not start your business right now? You’re in the perfect position with limited responsibilities and endless resources — resources to help you with business or technical challenges and tons of time to get some solid training on the internet.
So why wait to pay your dues before you find your success? Screw the old ways of the business world. Don’t wait for the world to give you permission. If you have an idea; if you have a dream; if you have the passion and the drive — do it.
Let them say “you can’t” right up to the day where they ask you “how did you do it?”
5 Ways to Grow Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Income
When I was 12-years old, I begged my parents to loan me some money to start a business. I needed capital. Dial-up modems were still the norm and I needed to scoop up a 9600 bps modem (blazing fast at the time). I also needed to run eight phone lines to the house to setup my internet chat board.
Well, the phone company came out, drilled across our street and ran a huge pipeline to our home so that we could support the additional lines. It cost my parents a small fortune at the time. Plus all the hardware I needed to make this whole thing a reality. But, I was a technical kid. An engineer in the making, if you will.
Long story short, that business never made money. But, it was my first foray into the world of side hustles. Sure, I was a kid. I didn’t know how to run a business. The lines were costing over $1,000 per month to support. Back then, that sure was a lot of money. I was only making roughly half that so I was constantly in the red.
Now, I didn’t know a thing about marketing back then. After all, I was just a kid. But, since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about making money online. I’ve also learned business basics, which is something I hadn’t quite mastered back then. But, if you’re struggling right now to find the time to grow your side hustle into a full-time gig, you can probably learn a thing or two from this post.
Over the years, I’ve managed to take several side hustles and turn them into passive income producing streams of revenue. However, you can’t do that when you exchange your time for money. I knew that. But, it was a trade-off. I’ve always been in the camp of doing lots of work in the front end for little pay, but reaping the benefits down the line when the same work you did one time continues to pay you repeatedly.
However, if you’re struggling to make ends meet, that might not be the path for you. But, either way you look at it, there are ways you can turn your side hustle into full-time, income-producing businesses. It’s simply a matter of identifying and scaling out the proper activities that bring you the biggest results. Here’s how you can do just that.
1. Effectively manage your time.
Okay. I know. It sounds pretty basic, right? But, how well are you managing your time? The truth is that most of us waste lots of time. When you waste time, you have less of it on things like growing your side hustle. The hard part? Being honest with yourself and just how you spend your time.
If you want to figure out where all the time is going, start logging all the time you spend. Chunk them into 15-minute or 30-minute intervals. Use the quadrant time management system. Simply categorize each of the types of activities that you did during that interval based on the following four quadrants:
- Quadrant 1: Important and urgent crises that have to be handled in that very moment
- Quadrant 2: Important but not urgent tasks related to your long-term goals (i.e. growing your side hustle)
- Quadrant 3: Not important but urgent tasks that interrupt your time
- Quadrant 4: Not important and not urgent tasks that simply waste your time (i.e. binge watching television or endlessly surfing the web)
Throughout the day, in each block of time you choose to track, place the corresponding number of the quadrant and circle it. At the end of the day, do an audit. How much time did you spend in each of the quadrants? How much did you waste in quadrant 4? How much did you devote to quadrant 2? You might be shocked by the results. If you’re serious about scaling your side hustle, then knowing where your time is going is crucial.
2. Follow the 80-20 Rule.
The 80-20 Rule, or the Pareto Principle, states that 80 percent of our results comes from 20 percent of our efforts. When it comes to your side hustle, that means that only a fraction of your efforts are generating the biggest results. The key here is to identify those efforts if you intend to scale.
In fact, the best way to scale your side hustle idea is to follow this rule. By tracking your time, you can better manage this. But, you need to be meticulous about how you track all your efforts. Identifying this might be a challenge. But, once you do, the sky really is the limit.
3. Spend one hour every day planning.
Take the first hour of every morning and spend it planning. Sit and think about your business. Notebook and pen in hand, do it the old-fashioned way. Ditch the laptop and phone for the hour. Turn off all the other distractions. And just write down what it is you plan to do to get you from your current situation toward your goals.
If you’re serious about achieving your goals, you need to plan. The devil is in the so-called details. That’s why you have to obsess over the planning phase. Make it a habit. Do it every single morning. It will help you to determine what’s working and what isn’t.
4. Model other successful businesses.
Tony Robbins often says that you should model what works. “Success leaves clues,” are words that he often speaks. However, it’s not just Robbins who believes in this. Russell Brunson, who’s one of the greatest marketers in modern history, believes wholeheartedly in modeling. He calls it funnel hacking. And he’s devoted an entire TV series to help instill this into his fans, followers and overall culture.
Brunson suggests going through a business and buying everything they have to offer. And record it while you do it. This way, you can see all the up-sells and down-sells and emails and headlines and copy throughout the process. Then, you can just model what’s working. If there are five paragraphs under a title, write five paragraphs. If there were two one-time offers, create two one-time offers. And so on.
You can scale any side hustle by doing this. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Head to Facebook and like all the pages and groups associated with that interest so that advertisers begin targeting you. Next, look for ads with hundreds of thousands or millions of views that are relevant to what you’re offering. Then, hack the sales funnel. Plus, you can use Ad Beat and Similar Web to see all their ads and where their traffic sources are coming from.
5. Use email marketing effectively.
It doesn’t matter what type of side hustle you’re engaged in, if you’re not building your list, you’re wasting your time. You can’t expect to scale your efforts of earning money online or as a digital nomad from anywhere in the world, if you’re not sending out emails.
Afraid to send out emails? That’s quite okay. You’ll get used to it. But, this single activity will net you more money than all the other activities combined in trying to scale your side hustle business. Plain and simple. So, get really good at email marketing. Create a lead magnet that adds value and tell your story.
Engage with your audience and they’ll engage with you. Remember, people don’t buy products from brands they don’t trust or know. They buy from other people. If you get people to fall in love with you or your journey, then they’ll buy whatever it is that you’re offering. And you can offer just about anything at any price point, and people will buy it.
10 Mistakes Millionaires Never Make Twice
To make millions and live a successful life, you have to learn from your mistakes. Yes, it is cliche, but it is significantly more challenging and important than it sounds.
We make mistakes all of the time. Both recognizing and learning from them in the midst of everything else happening in life is difficult. What differentiates those gaining higher success is their ability to learn from these failures and not repeat them.
Here are 10 common mistakes, specifically, that millionaires seldom make twice that contribute to their successful lives:
1. Worrying about people who do not like them.
Upon achieving even a basic level of success, there will likely be others who are jealous of you or do not like you. Worrying about those people and trying to please everyone takes attention away from what really matters.
Successful people tend to have a time in their lives when they realize that worrying about the “haters” is not productive. From there on out, they are able to forget about them and focus on the people who do matter. Doing so increases their confidence and productivity.
You will have haters and people who dislike things you do at many points in your life. Learn from them and make changes if needed. Most of the time however, you’ll just want to ignore them. It’s not productive and will not lead to you becoming the person you need to be.
Related: 10 Things Confident People Don’t Do
2. Making emotionally driven important decisions.
It just takes one poor emotionally driven decision to mess things up big time. This could be with work, with a partner or in another area of life. When we are experiencing intense emotions, we tend to have a clouded judgment that can be very detrimental. Successful people have learned to take a step back and clear their minds before making key decisions.
3. Not being honest with themselves.
When life gets you down, it is easy to rationalize your perception of the world or blame your problems on others. Most successful people realize they need to take accountability for their own actions. Blaming others does not accomplish anything, even when someone else might be partially to blame. When you start a business this can be particularly hard when you put so much on yourself. I’ve personally been through this countless times, you will have a million things going through your head. It becomes overwhelming.
Instead, taking the blame and being honest with oneself is a huge step toward success. Doing so will allow you to overcome your vices and be much more receptive to feedback and change. It will also help you to learn to delegate. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to learn this important skill.
Related: 10 Behaviors of Genuine People
Lying is almost never a good thing. That is especially true in high-stress situations. Despite the immediate gratification or the conflict that it might prevent, lying nearly always tends to be detrimental down the road. All it takes is one bad lie for millionaires to realize that they should stop being dishonest.
There are definitely successful people that do lie, but they have accumulated their success and wealth in the wrong ways. They are at higher risk of getting caught and losing what they have worked for. Plus, they are morally in the red and tend to have bad reputations that will manifest themselves at some point.
5. Not seeing sunk costs for what they are.
Any time, energy, or money that has already been put into something is sunk. The cost already occurred, and thinking about it when making future decisions is counterproductive. This is a concept that is taught in every basic economics class, yet, so many people still fail to realize these flaws in thinking.
Successful people may take one short moment to grieve a sunk cost in their lives. Then they let it go — learn to do this. When unsuccessful people focus on the sunk costs it hurts them greatly. This could be in regards to a financial decision, a company relationship, or a project/job.
Understanding that holding onto the hurt and pain and thought can take you out of the game. It’s a fallacy in to make a cost/benefit judgment based on future outcomes using a sunk cost as your measurement. It’s a great way to whip yourself but crucial to let go for effective decision making.
6. Worrying about the little things.
Millionaires have a lot on their plate. Spending thought and energy on trivial parts of life can be a huge problem. The world is vast and we are just a small part of it. Being able to put life into the larger picture can be greatly beneficial in honing attention toward the things that matter most. I personally have found this is a big factor in making people happy.
7. Not finding ways to decompress and re-energize.
There are people who work their tails off and achieve success without taking time for themselves. These people almost always burn out eventually. The ones that are able to successfully recover find the outlets they need to live a more sustainable life. Whether that is more exercise, more time with loved ones, meditating, or anything else, they learn how to re-energize when needed.
8. Never changing their mind.
Sometimes being stubborn can be positive, but never all of the time. There are situations when our biases have swayed us in one particular direction and we are adamantly against change.
The most successful people have learned from these moments when they were wrong. Moving forward, they are able to push back on their own perceptions and ideas in order to achieve a higher level and quality of thinking.
9. Not asking for help.
In order to become very successful, you’re going to need to work with others. Going through life as one of the smartest people makes it hard to ask anybody for help, though. That said, doing so is critical.
Successful people have realized that others are better than them at certain things. Plus, they know that they cannot do everything on their own. Those reflections are invaluable in getting more accomplished at a higher level each day.
10. Always playing things safe.
People who always take the safe route do not tend to make millions. There might be times in one’s life where risk aversion makes sense. Although, you cannot excel if that is you 100 percent of the time.
Successful people have had experiences where they passed on opportunities that could have yielded them great rewards. The best have learned from these moments and become more willing to take chances moving forward.
Go Bigger Than a Resolution
Let’s be real. It is time.
It is time for something different. It is time once and for all to forget silly resolutions that are overreaching quick fixes for some surface issue. It is time once and for all to stop focusing your energy, time and passions on what the masses do. Time to stop rushing towards a short-term solution or change.
It is time to rise above the chaos of now and instead, to do something meaningful. Instead, it is time to crush our gigantic, very incredible and astonishing dreams for your future.
Because you can. But you can only get to your final destination if you know where you want to go. We all get that. But do we live that? Are we working towards our future every day?
Thought leader Tony Robbins says, “Most overestimate what they can do in a year, but they underestimate what they can do in a lifetime.” The good news is, with focus, we can far surpass the goals we set for ourselves, no matter how outrageous they are.
More than New Year’s resolutions.
As you set your intentions for 2018, don’t just look at what you want to change or the resolutions you want to make. Set your overall destination for your future based on smaller goals to accomplish this year in order to make your very real big dream come true.
I go through a dream process every year. It has allowed me to be a better boss. A better mom. A better wife. It allowed me to become a best-selling author multiple times and to lose 50 pounds. I took my marketing firm from bankruptcy to a multi-million-dollar agency, while taking more time off from work to spend with my family.
All just by focusing on the big dream goal? Yes, every day. But the process isn’t magic. It is focused on outcomes first and then the steps we need to take in order to make that outcome happen.
It is time: Start here.
Here’s the process: Go to a quiet place that you find inspiring to do this exercise. It may be your favorite comfy chair, a mountain hike or the water’s edge. Plan on at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted quiet to complete all steps.
Set the dream:
Picturing ten years from now, what do you want your life to look like?
- Where are you living?
- Who is living with you?
- What does an ideal day look like?
- What do you look like physically?
- What is your family make up?
- How much money are you bringing in each month to support your lifestyle?
Amplify Your Strengths:
- Of all of the things you do right now as part of your job, what do you enjoy doing most?
- What do others come to you for advice for?
- What are you best at?
Uncover what matters:
What is your why? Why do you do what you do?
Bring it all together:
Focus on your why, on your financial goals, and on what you are most passionate about. Ask: What do you want to accomplish in your career ten years from now?
With that in hand, reverse engineer steps to get from that future back to today:
- What do you need to have done five years from now to make your ten-year goal possible?
- What do you need to have done one year from now to make your five-year goal possible?
- What do you need to have done during the first quarter of 2018 to make this one-year goal possible?
- What do you need to have done this January to make your quarterly goal possible?
- What do you need to have done this week to accomplish your monthly goal?
- What do you need to do today to make this week’s goal possible?
Seal the deal with yourself.
When you’ve completed those steps and created that map, deepen your journey’s meaning by walking yourself through this visualization process. I like to play music to create a more dimensional experience, but that’s totally up to you. If you take the music route, try “Devi Prayer,” found on Spotify or iTunes.
Close your eyes. It is ten years from now, and you’ve accomplished your ten-year dream. Picture yourself right in the center of your dream realized. Stand firm in this spot and feel where you are. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? Don’t watch yourself there … be there. Look out through your own eyes. See what is around you as though you are there. Right now.
Imagine that you are slowly starting to turn around. Take a step and turn to the right. You can now see all that you love most. The people who mean the most to you are there smiling at you and sharing their love for you. They are filled to the brim with love, thankful for you and your love for them. You can feel their love for you coming strongly towards you.
You take another step and see all of the lives you have blessed these last ten years. These are the people you have served who have brought you to this moment. From the customers you helped, to the employees you employed, to the vendors you supported, to the charities you have given to — they are cheering for you, holding up signs with “Thank you!” and applauding. They are jumping up and down with gratitude and thanksgiving for all you have done for them. Feel your body fill with joy at their joy. Feel your fingers tingle with gratitude.
Turn once more and see your Creator showing you a speed reel of all that you accomplished the last ten years. Your Creator pulls you into a big, deep hug and tells you, “Well done.” You are filled with accomplishment, pride, love, and thanksgiving for the now. For all that your life has become.
You then turn back one more time and feel everything around you. From where you dream of being, to who you dream being there. You can feel all of the joy and love. From the end of your toes, to every fiber on your head. You are filled with gratitude, joy and love.
Now, take it one more step.
And then — this is important, and a step you won’t want to do, but you have to: Picture everything being taken away.
Hear the cheers of gratitude change to yells of hate. Watch those who you love crying for all that wasn’t. See the place that you dreamed of, being pulled away from you like a rubber band. Picture darkness, emptiness and nothingness. Picture sadness. Feel that sadness searing your skin.
But then there is a pinprick of light in the darkness. A small glimmer of hope. You walk towards it. It is your Creator. Your Creator looks to you with sadness and asks, “Why?”
Why didn’t you, when you could have? Feel that disappointment. Feel the regret. Feel the failure. Let it flush your skin. Feel the weight up on your shoulders; so heavy it is hard to sit up straight. Sit there for a minute beneath that weight.
But then, imagine your Creator looking into your eyes and asking you sincerely and with love: “Do you want another chance? Do you want a chance to fulfill your vision? Another chance to serve those you were meant to serve and feel the love and gratitude of those lives you have touched?”
Do you take that second chance? Open your eyes and write down what you elect to do.
You get to decide. Choose!
You were made to thrive. You weren’t made to have your time wasted, your money wasted, or your future wasted. You were meant to flourish and prosper. Meant to love and be loved. You have a future dream that is yearning for you to get there. You get to decide what to do today. You know now that it will impact what happens tomorrow. You can choose what happens next.
What will you do today?
You Don't Have to Pay Your Dues Before You Start a Business
5 Ways to Grow Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Income
Astronomical Odds: Becoming an Astrophysicist Keeps Getting Tougher
Enormous 'El Gordo' Galaxy Cluster Captured in Hubble Image
New National Defense Strategy to Shed Light on Pentagon's Thinking About War in Space
Nike's 'Reverse Auction' Review Is Bad Omen for Agencies
CNN Counts Down to New Year With Live Ad From MassMutual
If you can’t spell ‘Birkenstock,’ the sandal company wants you to avoid Amazon
Inside SpaceX: What It's Like Working for a Company on a Mission to Mars
New Media Equals New PR Opportunities for Business Owners
- Top News2 weeks ago
Nike's 'Reverse Auction' Review Is Bad Omen for Agencies
- Business2 weeks ago
3 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs From Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes Speech
- Business2 weeks ago
Why I Give Away My Knowledge for Free — and How That Helps Me Drive Sales
- Business2 weeks ago
Managing Relationships on the Run: 4 Reasons to Adopt a Mobile CRM
- Business2 weeks ago
Ditch Those Silos! 3 Ways to Embrace Cross-Departmental Relationships
- Business2 weeks ago
3 Reasons Why You'll Never Become Wealthy
- Technology2 weeks ago
Nikon 180-400mm lens has a teleconverter for up to 560mm of extreme zoom
- Business2 weeks ago
Take a Lesson From the Wright Brothers When Faced With Bad News in Business