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Beyond the Uniform

Beyond the Uniform is a show to help military veterans navigate their civilian career. Each week, I meet with different veterans to learn more about their civilian career, how they got there, and what advice they'd give to other military personnel.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 31, 2017

For our 100th episode, I thought I would share my own story. 

Justin M. Nassiri is the Founder & CEO of StoryBox, a digital marketing start-up that helps companies transform their customers into brand ambassadors. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served five years as an officer onboard nuclear submarines. After his transition from the military, he went to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, after which he started StoryBox. He started Beyond the Uniform at the end of 2016 in an effort to help military veterans navigate their civilian career.

In this episode, I talk about:

  1. My path from the military to today
  2. Advice for veterans thinking of starting a company, including advice on building a technology, raising money and more
  3. The story of how I started Beyond the Uniform, where we're at today and where we're going

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

May 24, 2017

“At that point we had about 25 employees and things seemed to be going well... and then the financial markets crashed and we went into a very deep, deep recession, right after I took over as President. So for a few years we had to weather the storm and it was a very difficult time. But I actually accredit a lot of [my success] to the military for what I was taught. So when the tough times came, I didn't start running - I just buckled down, dug my heels in and said - 'I'm smarter than this recession.'”
- Jacaob Martinez

Jacob Martinez is the President of Market Traders Institute, a trading technology and education company with over 200 employees. Jacob started out in the Army, where he served for 4.5 years in military intelligence achieving the rank of sergeant. He started out at Market Traders Institute as Vice President of Managed Accounts and has held virtually every position in the company.

Jacob has offered to connect with any veterans interested in speaking further. He is also offering a discount on his company's Forex training platform for any veteran. This is a great chance to investigate investing as a potential career, as well as learn a new skill set. You can contact him at jacob [at] markettraders.com

 

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Extreme Growth - Jacob took over his family's business and grew them from 8 employees to 200 employees, with a 1,200%+ growth in revenue, attaining Inc Magazine's #592 fastest growing companies in America... it's pretty impressive!
  2. Continuous Learning - rather than use his GI Bill for college, Jacob got out of his comfort zone and started growing his company. He is more committed to continuous learning than anyone I have met to date, and is constantly reading new books, attending new conferences, and seeking other ways to learn from others as quickly as possible. I find this inspiring, and his recommendations for resources are the best I've had on the show to date.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Jacob, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Jacob's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

  • 4:06 - Jacob's background
  • 5:04 - How Jacob would explain what he does for a living
    • Investor education and trading
    • Teach people how to trade in the Forex market, exchanging money.
    • When deployed, Jacob would stop in Germany before Afghanistan and would check the exchange rate. When he would stop there on the way back, the dollar would be worth a different amount. So he helps people understand and take advantage of this
    • Their in the business of changing people's lives through empowerment. His goal is to empower people - teach them to fish - and grow their financial income
    • Only about 30% of investors make money... their clients see about 57% of people making money
  • 7:56 - Jacob's Growth & history getting there
    • His father started the company in 1994 and ran it until 2004
    • He grew it to 8 employees during that time and it supported his family
    • When Jacob left the military he joined the team of 8 people and took what he learned in the military - process & structure - and instilled it in the company
    • Within a few years did every position to understand the company and put structures in place and grew the company to 25 employees
    • In 2007 became President and things were going well... until the financial market collapse right after took over President. But his experience in the military in these tough times
    • 2008-2011 there was no growth - just a fight for survival. But at the end of 2011 had figured things out.
    • Since 2011 grown 1250% in revenue, 25 to 200 employees, listed on Inc 5k #592 fastest growing companies in America. He's also been committed to growth and listed top 10 places to work in Florida
    • He talks about constantly having to reinvent yourself as a company - what challenges you see at 25 employees is different than 100 employees
    • What was important to us and what we tracked a year ago isn't important today. And what we're monitoring today won't be important in the future. And what makes the difference is constant growth - grow or die. Not revenue but growing yourself personally.
  • 15:10 - Resources
    • The key to his success has been the commitment to growth and learning
    • Success is a journey, not a destination - this qoute really shaped his look towards education
    • You will never reach "success" - it is constant evolution and growth - it's the only way to push the journey forward
    • We don't want to be first but we don't want to be third. There are a lot of successful business in this world. Go get a mentor and learn from successful people
    • Jacob doesn't have a college degree... but he reads a book a month. He read a study saying the Average American reads 1 book per year! If he reads one book per month, in 5 years he'll have read 60 books vs. 5! The knowledge he has acquired in this way has tremendously helped his company
    • Books
      • John Maxwell - teaches leadership. There's never a time when you will have too many leaders. Staying focused on developing your leadership will create opportunities
        • Leadership Gold -
        • The 360 degree
        • 12 laws of leadership
      • Who moved my cheese - Jacob has read this book 10-12 times over his career. It talks about change and adapting to change.
      • Danger in the comfort zone - currently reading as part of book club, the danger of entitlement and living in the comfort zone
    • Conferences - anything, industyr conference or leadership conference
      • Tony Robbins - Business Mastery. this is pricey but the knowledge gained
      • Industry-focused
        • Steven Covey - 7 habits of highly effective people
    • Training
      • Sales - only way to grow business is to grow revenue. Only way to grow revenue is grow your knowledge
      • Cardone University
      • Caris school of negotiation
      • Fred Pryor seminars - 4-6 hour classes at local hotels or online, very good for constant development
      • Vistage - he meets with executives monthly to discuss areas of growth, culture and challenges of an executive
    • If you're wanting to trade forex, you need trading programs. They have forex foundation courses
  • 24:28 - The Book Club
    • Jacob has several of these at his company now. It started with his father, who would shut down the company for a few hours and discuss a few chapters of a book they were reading at the time
    • Before this he had only read a few books, and this catapulted his reading
    • It has helped his personal income and the business - continuously growing things
    • They accicdentally stopped this during the recession and realized the dramatic impact this had on their growth. How can you change if you're not learning?
    • He leads a book club every week - as an executive team they discuss the chapter they read. He asks his managers to hold their own book club pertaining to leadership or a technical skill in their department
    • Unless you highly recommend this, life will get in the way. We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. But an outsider looking in is actions... they speak louder than words.
    • You can't learn in the comfort zone or danger zone, but in the uncomfort zone. Skirting that line between danger and comfort.
    • Harmony doesn't create growth - dis-harmony does. Every major breakthrough came from his team being in dis-harmony. Something wasn't going well, and they tried something new and it created a breakthrough
  • 31:43 - A challenge Jacob has faced in growing his company
    • He has faced MANY challenges in growing a company
    • Many of them have been internal - struggles with how he views himself, not being able to live up to external expectations
    • Every day he comes to work and faces challenges - he is now in the business of people and managing, so most of his challenges are people-related. At any given moment about 30% of the world is facing some sort of major personal crisis... that means 60 of his team members are facing a personal crisis (divorce, death, sick child, birth, etc).
    • Business isn't about money it's about developing people. In the military he thought business would be cut throat - but that's not what a successful business is. It's about helping and growing people. So in this respect the challenge is an opportunity to have a positive impact.
  • 35:22 - Maintaining emotional stability amidst the chaos of growing a company
    • You need to keep things in perspective - 30% of the world is having a personal crisis right now
    • He has had many challenges - 2 tours in Afghanistan, medically discharged from a shartered vertabrae. These challenges, vs business challenges, are not nearly in the same bucket. These challenges are nothing compared to what others are facing. Seeing the problem as smaller helps him get to a solution quicker. The Sky is never falling.
    • When you take a step back and evaluate
    • Get a mentor - get several mentors. There is no such thing as a perfect mentor. Depending on the crisis you will have a different mentor - business colleague, someone outside the business, a family member. They help you put it in perspective because they're not emotionally involved with the problem
    • It can be VERY uncomfortable to be vulnerable around a mentor, but it will lead to growth. Maritial problems, money problems, relationship problems - when you let go of the fear, you get out of hell a lot quicker
  • 41:22 - Creating systems in a company
    • Success is a formula, not a fantasy. Even gut feelings are intuitions that you prove with a process or strarety to see if it's valid
    • Nearly everythign at MTI is run through a process: even the amount of money they spend. Spending $X for marketing to get Y leads that dictates the # of sales people they have to the # of clients they bring onboard, and that determines the number of customer support which determines the amount of product developers... everything is connected
    • In the military, Jacob saw that everything was a system. He was in a company of people who were virtually identical, with very similar skill sets. This didn't happen by chance - it was a process the military created. If you continue to refine a process you'll get the same results
    • Business isn't a massive feeling of how you feel today. If you have a process and are dedicated to a process you are constantly refining and iterating, you realize that the business starts to operate at high efficiency. It doesn't matter how you feel today - it matters how you adhere to the formula. Of course emotions matter, but structure helps a company grow
    • Don't be so married to the process that you're blindly married to it - be committed to improving ti and
  • 46:31 - Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
    • If you're on active duty and thinking of transitioning, know that it's an emotional experience: exciting, fearful, and sad.
    • Jacob wasn't sure what to do - be an overseas contractor, use the GI bill to go back to college, or join his family business and not make much money
    • He opted for opportunity - he could make 10X more money as a contractor... but is that sustainable income in 10-20 years. For him, it was short-term.
    • Look for opportunity - for things outside your comfort zone. Sometimes small opportunities - like his with his family business - can become enormous.
    • If you're already out of the military and looking to grow: companies don't always communicate what really matters. If they tell a salesperson you need to have 80 calls a day to have 1 sale per day... so if you make 60 calls and make 1 sale, you may feel like you weren't successful. This comes from not properly defining what really matters - what matters is changing someone's life. If you make each call with this intention, it can change things. So find out what 1-2 items REALLY matter. "Moving the rock" - what are you doing that will "move the rock"
    • Force X Distance  = Work... what really matters is DISTANCE. It doesn't matter how much force... how far does it go
    • Are you moving the rock? find the 1-2 things that really affect this
    • Train yourself to separate yourself from other people. Grow your knowledge - it's not the companies responsibility to train the employee. Sometimes people will say 'if the company can't send me to a conference I won't do it' But if you take responsibility, this is what I need to grow... it changes everything. Do I need this knowledge or not? If yes - find a way to get there. This is how you separate yourself - the average person won't do this.
  • 55:18 - Final words of wisdom
    • Thank you for your service
    • When I was in I thought I was just one of the bunch. But since then has realized that he has made a difference on the world. It is a real sacrifice to serve in the military... no matter what you're doing you're having an impact
    • Idea not coupled with action is not worth the brain cell it sits on
    • You can have the best idea, but if you don't act it doesn't matter. You're going to fail 100%. You will fail WAY more often than you succeed. there's no such thing as a true failure if you learn from it.
    • Act on your ideas, even if they're failures - learn from them and grow from them and eventually - it just takes one good hit. It's not luck - its a culmination of all your learnings from all your
May 17, 2017

“One of the first things I heard in grad school was: Get used to B's instead of A's. And I had a knee-jerk reaction to that. But you know what - I'm pretty OK with high B's now, and solving cool problems with cool people for a really cool company. So you just need to decide what trade-offs you're willing to live with in your life and divide and conquer.”
- Jared Wymer

Jared Wymer is a Program Manager for Global Talent Management at Amazon. Jared started out by enlisting in the Marine Corps, where he served for eight years in logistics, supply chain management, and intelligence, while also pursuing and receiving an undergraduate degree and MBA. Jared transitioned from the Marines into a PhD program, working concurrently in finance and as a Fellow for the Department of State. Since that time Jared started his own consulting company, Wymer & Associates, and joined Amazon. Jared is currently one year away from obtaining his PhD.

The top reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Amazon - Jared talks about working at a fast-paced, top technology company like Amazon. He discusses interviewing tips and advice on finding the right job for you
  2. Improving your working habits - being in Global Talent Management, Jared has a few tips for any veteran on how to grow, improve, and stay ahead
  3. Education - Jared talks about getting a PhD while working full time, and advice on higher education.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Links

  • Resources 
    • Service 2 School - they were a big help in Jared finding his way to a PhD program
    • TheGradCafe.com - it's like Reddit, where ideas / questions are voted up or down. There's feedback on program, professors, and classes
    • Kanban Board - list of projects you will do this week, next week, tomorrow, etc. You limit the number of projects you can focus on. Trello is a great example of this.
  • Books
    • The Wisdom of Insecurity - Jared's big takeaway was to not get too wrapped up around material possessions but to be present in one's life. It's easy to focus on moving the ball forward at every moment, but really being present in whatever you're doing
    • Deep Work - a great book at being more focused at work
    • The Everything Store - a biography of Jeff Bezos and look at Amazon

Show Notes

  • 3:00 - Jared's background
  • 3:36 - What Jared does
    • Program Management is similar to most NCO' responsibilities - a go between for people aligned with a certain program: how you promote someone, a piece of software, event planning, etc. In general it's aligning with one of these things and bringing the user's of the product and team responsible for it, and helping it come off without a hitch.
    • Talent Management is promotions, and what it looks like once you're hired (performance review, etc)
  • 5:46 - Jared's road from the military to Amazon
    • Build your network while on active duty - talk to people who leave before you do; people at universities you're thinking of applying to; people who have jobs you admire
    • Jared didn't get into Amazon through a traditional recruiting process - it was through a friend of a friend, where he emailed his application directly to a hiring manager
    • This is true of his first job out of the military, which was in finance
    • Take every moment you have to think about where you might want to go (and where it is possible to go)
    • Figure out how to talk about what you did within the military - get comfortable telling your story in a way a civilian can understand
    • (10:30) Networking is rarely about me - it's about the person I'm speaking with and what value I can add for them
  • 11:42 - What drew Jared to Amazon initially
    • Right time, right place - there was an opening right at the right time
    • Amazon has many of the positives from the military - there is a high standard for everything (it pays to be a winner)
    • Amazon does not have much red tape - you're encouraged to run fast and people are willing to take risks on you
    • Many Marines are offered jobs that don't take advantage of their full skill set... Amazon is the opposite of this. They understand where you've been and where you want to go. If you can prove yourself once or twice, they will make BIG bets on you
    • It's a great example of the importance of narrative - everything they do is based on an overarching vision document. Nothing gets done without a vision document - synthesize where you want to go and how you want to get there.
  • 15:00 - Advice on applying to Amazon
    • The Star Interviewing method - make sure you have examples from your experience, what you did, what was the outcome, who did you do it with. You should definitely have this under your belt and know what you're doing.
    • Amazon, similar to the military, is very serious about their leadership principles. You can research this easily online, but every interview is structured around these leadership principles
    • Being able to talk about your resume in 2-3 different ways in this Star Format
    • Veterans shy away from "name dropping" or referring to leadership principles directly but people love it when you do this
    • There is a whole new veterans initiative at Amazon. You could apply at Amazon.com/jobs, but it's hard to make it through this way. But the link in the Resources section is much better
  • 20:15 - Career Advice for veterans a few years out of active duty (how to avoid failing)
    • People at Amazon move at the speed of Amazon, and there is a lot of ambiguity in each role
    • The #1 best thing you can do is to - regardless of role or company - have a framework that reduces the ambiguity you're feeling. It will make you more happy & content, and will also help you move forward when you do have an ambiguous situation.
    • An example would be 3-4 conversations where everyone is brought together, and they decide as a group which action items are dropped from the communal list, and which are given priority. A timeline is established with all major deliverables and milestones, and 5 minutes of conversation around each milestone is re-grounding everyone in where they are in the process, and what steps are involved between different parts. It leads to a lot more collaboration and identifying of potential faults
  • 26:52 - Pursuing a PhD while working full time
    • He started by creating a list of people who could provide honest feedback, people who could provide empathy, a career board of advisors, a list of people who are social support. Throughout the PhD process he has viewed a part-time or full-time job as a way to continue to network and have a social circle outside of the PhD process.
    • Jared has two brothers who have done this as well; while it comes at the expense of grades and research, it adds incredible professional experiences that may outweigh these (especially applying what you learn as you learn it)
  • 31:38 - Advice for veterans considering pursuing a PhD
    • Service 2 School was a huge resource for Jared
    • Grad school / PhD program are going to seem like a lot. He found so much by calling the universities he was applying to and professors he would work with... it provided incredible insight (as well as an inside track to admission)
    • Many school website are not updated as frequently as you'd expect, so it's important to get the info first hand or from sites like TheGradCafe.com
    • Think 2-5 steps ahead so you can stay ahead of where you want to go
  • 35:48 - Resources
  • 40:26 - Final Words of Wisdom
    • A lot of time we don't talk to each other about our successes and failure, and our time in the military can feel like high school rather than getting to know people on a deeper level
    • Talk to each other about the highs and lows. Whether it is professional or educational or otherwise
    • In doing this you will come across people who tell you something cannot be done... be your own myth busters.  Whether this is learning a new skill, or reducing dependencies on others
    • Veterans have a lot of qualifications and this can make things scary and ambiguous - we don't know how to tell our story or brand ourselves. get out there, talk to people, get out of your current circle to figure out what you want to do and how to talk about your past.
    • Celebrate the small things in your life. When you're a young military member it may be about going out drinking. as you get older, intentionally celebrating the small wins - redo your resume, get into a program, meet new friends, etc - intentionally take time to reflect on the positive things in your life
May 10, 2017

This is the unedited, full interview of my conversation with Jonny Coreson. An edited, production version can be found at: http://wp.me/p7MLkR-wx

Jonny Coreson is currently on active duty in the military, and has started two different companies while on active duty. His current company - Blue Jacketeer - helps Navy Sailors prepare for their advancement exam. This is a great interview for anyone on Active Duty or recently separated who is interested in entrepreneurship.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Links

May 10, 2017

Jonny Coreson is currently on active duty in the military, and has started two different companies while on active duty. His current company - Blue Jacketeer - helps Navy Sailors prepare for their advancement exam. This is a great interview for anyone on Active Duty or recently separated who is interested in entrepreneurship.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Links

May 8, 2017

In this interview, I take a look at Cal Newport's book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, which provides information about how to work more productively and efficiently. I've found this book to be immensely helpful in my own work life and hope that it helps you as well.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • Cal Newport - #86
    • Secret to finding deeply fulfilling work is NOT about following your passion
    • Instead about getting really, really good at whatever it is you do
    • And that developing a craft - honing a specific skill set, will lead to the three ingredients of a fulfilling career, which is:
      • Autonomy
      • Competency
      • Relatedness (connection to others)
  • Deep Work
  • Special thanks to Ryan Guina - BTU #61 - cash money life & the military wallet
  • I’m just going to skim the surface
  • Talk about the 3-5 tips that have been most helpful to me these last few weeks
  • The book is FULL of other ideas - some that may resonate more for you.
  • So check it out.
  • Audio Book or Digital Book - do order through BTU helps offset the $120 it costs to keep this showing going every month. Full disclosure if you do a free trial of Audible, BTU makes z$15, if you buy a book through our link we get about $0.15… clearly we are crushing it financially Not really, but if you do either of those things, it means I lose less money on this show.
  • LOVED this book
  • HUGE impact on my productivity
  • Very excited to share this with you and hope it helps you in whatever you’re doing
  • Structure
    • Background and Deep Work for context
    • Tips
      • Email
      • Scheduling
      • Daily shutdown procedure
      • Sprints
      • Work-centric meditations
      • Free time
  • Focus on Deep work
  • What is deep work
    • How long would it take (in months) to train a smart recent college graduate with no specialized training in my field to complete this task?
    • If answer is less than a year… probably not incredibly deep work
    • May keep you busy, may make you feel momentum and feel like you’re making progress
    • Not the deeply skilled work that will set you apart and make you fulfilled
  • Balance of Deep and Shallow Work
    • Will always have shallow work
    • Writers, intellectuals may be able to detach for months to focus on their work
    • Most of us can’t do that
    • What is important though is maintaining an awareness of when you’re doing shallow work
    • "It’s difficult to prevent the trivial from creeping into every corner of your schedule if you don’t face, without flinching, your current balance between deep and shallow work, and then adopt the habit of pausing before action and asking, “What makes the most sense right now?”
    • Focusing on highest leverage item
    • "If you give your mind something meaningful to do throughout all your waking hours, you’ll end the day more fulfilled, and begin the next one more relaxed, than if you instead allow your mind to bathe for hours in semiconscious and unstructured Web surfing"
    • Might think this would be exhausting
    • Always pushing your mind to focus on the highest leverage & most strenuous activity
    • "One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep.”
    • If you’re like me - some of the things that typically distract
      • Apps
      • facebook
      • Reddit
      • Email
    • I often find myself reaching for these things instincitlvely before i even realize it
    • Effort to keep from getting bored
    • Cal is a HUGE advocate of boredom
    • It’s restorative
    • It allows you mind to recoup
    • and allows your subconscious to solve problems in the background
    • Great idea in the shower or on a drive
    • But these things like Facebook, email, apps - they have a way of creeping into our lives
    • "Addictive websites of the type mentioned previously thrive in a vacuum: If you haven’t given yourself something to do in a given moment, they’ll always beckon as an appealing option."
    • One way to help when it comes to these apps that often pose themselves as productivity boosting or necessary is a message Cal has:
    • "These services aren’t necessarily, as advertised, the lifeblood of our modern connected world. They’re just products, developed by private companies, funded lavishly, marketed carefully, and designed ultimately to capture then sellyour personal information and attention to advertisers”
    • Cal talk about how there is no way to increase your ability to conduct deep work unless you start to ween yourself off of these distractions
    • And so to help with this Cal advises to really be deliberate about which tools you let into your life.
    • Are they really helping you?
    • "The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.”
  • EMAIL
    • "Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times. I suggest that you keep a notepad near your computer at work. On this pad, record the next time you’re allowed to use the Internet. Until you arrive at that time, absolutely no network connectivity is allowed—no matter how tempting.”
    • I’ve done this the last couple of weeks and been amazed
    • Cal talks about how even looking at your email distracts you for minutes and tens of minutes afterwards
    • this CONSTANT distraction takes a toll little of us realize in our daily work
  • SCHEDULE
  • Scheduling day before in 30 minute blocks
    • Schedule work day - each line 30 min, draw line down center. Block out all activities; provide overflow time. Assign task block and to right detail what tasks. Haveoverflow time allotted for email or something else. Ok to reschedule as many times as necessary throughout day
      • If you stumble on insight, pursue as long as necessary regardless of schedule. Point is to build habit of asking what is most important to work on
      • Evaluate depth by # of mos it would take a college grad to learn. Assign % of time for deep work and plan accordingly
  • SHUTDOWN
  • Fixed schedule productivity: don't work past 5:30. Don't offer excuses when declining opportunities and don't offer consolation prizes
  • It's essential to shutdown from work at the end of the day and give subconscious time to rejuvenate and work on problems. NO intrusion of work email or work website ready. Unaccomplished tasks will dominate attention. Daily shutdown ritual:
    • Check email - anything urgent?
    • Review to do list - anything urgent outstanding? (Ensuring plan in place will relax mind)
    • Review next 3 days of calendar - anything I'm missing
    • Set plan for tomorrow
    • Say "shutdown complete" - give mind permission to disengage
  • Schedule when I will be online (e.g. Every 15 min for 5 min) If I absolutely cannot work on offline activity without access to internet, impose 5 min wait and then reschedule internet time (don't do it immediately)
    • Schedule online blocks in evening too. Need periods of boredom
  • SPRINTS
    • Roosevelt dash - once per week, set aside time and give self less time for deep work than you need. FORCE self to work more productively. Can expand frequency after a few weeks
  • MEDITATION
    • Productively meditate - 3x / week, take a walk and think about one specific problem. Keep coming back to it. Avoid distraction and beware of looping back over same points continuously.
  • FREE TIME
    • Need to plan free time with structured activities that exercise mind and truly rejuvenate - social networks and web shouldn't be used for decompression and will fill any time left vacant
May 3, 2017

“I wrote two books before I decided to leave [Proctor & Gamble] and do write full-time. You've got to have a steady source of income, you've got to have savings, and you have to have a clear path to getting to profitable replacement income for where you were. There's no real get-rich-quick path to self-publishing. I definitely think you need to have a list of products that are already out there and a proven track record before you start doing it as a full-time job.”
- Andrew Watts

Andrew Watts is the author of three books, The War Planners, The War Stage (The War Planners) (Volume 2), and Pawns of the Pacific. Andrew started out at the Naval Academy in 2003 and served as a naval officer and helicopter pilot until 2013. He started his civilian career at Proctor & Gamble for nearly four years, first as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader. He published his first two books while at P&G before making the transition to full-time author in 2017.

The top reason to listen to this episode is:

  1. Operations - Andrew started his civilian career in Operations, since he had experience with Operations in the Navy... but he found out that there's considerable differences between the two. He talks about Operations at Proctor & Gamble (and in the civilian sector in general) and the differences from what one might expect coming from the military.
  2. Proctor & Gamble - P&G is a company with a fantastic reputation, and also has a reputation for loving military veterans. Andrew talks about how, after only hist first week at P&G, he started to receive recruiting calls trying to lure him away. He talks about the interview process, how to prepare, and what life at P&G was like.
  3. Side projects - Andrew wrote his first two books while working full time at P&G. For any veteran wanting to pursue their own company or idea, he has great advice about how to make progress towards that goal before jumping off into the unknown.
  4. Writing - after publishing his first two books, Andrew took the plunge to become a full-time writer. He talks about this in a way that made me realize that it's akin to running a company entirely by yourself - marketing, publishing, getting cover artwork done... and doing it entirely by yourself. For any aspiring veteran writers, it's a great look at this creative lifestyle and the world of self-publishing.

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Show Notes

  • 3:18 - Andrew's background
  • 3:54 - How Andrew would explain what he does for a living as a full-time author
  • 4:40 - For aspiring veteran authors, how important it is to have sustainable income prior to launching a career as a full-time author
  • 6:00 - How Andrew decided to leave the Navy
  • 7:45 - How Andrew used the Service Academy Career Conference to find his way to P&G
  • 9:12 - What Operations in the civilian sector and at P&G, and how it differs from Operations in the military
  • 13:13 - How P&G boosted Andrew's credibility within the business world and lead to head hunters calling him only one week after starting there
  • 15:36 - An overview of the hiring & interview process at P&G
  • 18:55 - What Andrew would have done differently when negotiating his first contract at P&G
  • 20:06 - How Andrew would explain his roles at P&G as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader
  • 24:26 - What Andrew's life looked like while working at P&G
  • 30:24 - How Andrew was able to write two novels while working full-time at P&G, and advice to veterans seeking to start a side project while working full-time
  • 36:42 - An overview of Andrew's work as an author and the incredible traction he's received so far
  • 37:57 - How long it took Andrew to write his first book while working full-time, and then his second book
  • 41:14- Advice to veterans debating between self-publishing vs. using a publisher
  • 43:45 - When Andrew first thought of writing, and how writing on a deployment lead to his though of becoming an author
  • 46:30 - Resources Andrew would recommend to any veteran aspiring author
  • 48:27 - How Andrew structures his day when he has an open landscape for his own work and advice on how to stay on task

 

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