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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: September, 2017
Sep 27, 2017

“I'm not sure that I'm the best necessarily at starting a business from scratch - figuring out a business model in my garage, making this thing work, and taking all the risks there are in the startup phase. But I was pretty sure that I could take a business that had cashflows, infrastructure, and a business model and make it a lot better."
– Jim Vesterman

Jim Vesterman is the CEO of Raptor Technologies, which is the nation's leading provider of integrated safety technologies for K-12 schools. He got his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, after which he worked at both the Monitor Group and for a software startup. He deferred his MBA to join the Marine Corps as part of 3rd Force Recon Company. After he got his MBA from Wharton, he started an entrepreneurial vehicle called a search fund - which we’ll get into - called Liberty Place Capital. Liberty Place Capital ultimately purchased Raptor Technologies in 2012 and he has been running that company for 5 years.

The top two reasons to listen to this episode are:

  1. Perspective - Jim is the only person I've interviewed so far who had career before the Marine Corps. His look at re-entering the civilian workforce is compelling
  2. Search Funds - this is a great entrepreneurial vehicle well suited for veterans. Rather than coming up with an original idea, you can raise money to buy an existing business, which you can grow. Jim talks about how this process works, and why it may be appealing to veterans.
  3. Balance - Jim used used 5 vacation days and nights and weekends to raise money for his Search Fund - it's a great example of using one's extra time to further their career.

Our Sponsor:

  • StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
  • 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

  • Stanford has an incredible library of information about Search Funds that you can find here
Sep 25, 2017

This is a new type of episode, and I'd love any feedback on this approach. Usually, I interview military veterans about their civilian career. Today, instead, I'm going to dive into a specific skill I think would be helpful to veterans in their civilian career: Empathy. This has come up in many episodes as something that veterans have needed to develop to progress in their civilian career. A tool that I have found to be extremely helpful in my own life in building up empathy is something called: Non-Violent Communication (NVC).

In this episode we'll talk about how to build empathy (just like a muscle), and how identifying feelings & needs can uncover strategies to meet more people's needs (your team, your co-workers, your spouse, etc).

Our Sponsor:

  • StoryBox – People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
  • 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

Sep 20, 2017

"I was a Signal Corps Officer trained in telecom - I managed switches and all those kind of things, so I really understood traditional telecom infrastructure. These engineers who became my co-founders developed a soft switch - basically, using a computer, you could control a big piece of hardware somewhere else to make a phone ring. What I knew was that was massively disruptive. And what we didn't know together was where that disruption was going to lead us.  And that disruption led us, eventually, to LiveOps."
- Patrick

Patrick is the Founder and Managing Partner at High Ridge Global, which is a private investment and advisory firm. He started out as a ROTC student at the University of Southern California, after which he served as a Signal Corps Officer in the Army for four years. After his service he got his MBA at Georgetown. He has worked at JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, was part of the Founding Team of LiveOps (a company that now has over $100M in revenue), and has founded, invested in, and served on the board of multiple companies.

Why to Listen:

  • Networking & Preparing for meetings (~43:00) - Patrick talks about how one of the best things you can invest in is your network. His personal story illustrates how his network led from one incredible opportunity to the next. But he also provides tactical advice about how to prepare for meetings that we haven't covered in other interviews.
  • Building expertise - although Patrick rotated between industries (finance, tech) and companies (JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, LiveOps, and more) he consistently built up expertise that he was able to leverage in his career. His thoughts for veterans about building up expertise and taking a 10-year time frame approach are incredible
  • Resources - Patrick has been part of incredibly successful startups and has started his own investing and advisory fund. He has coached many entrepreneurs and business operators. His advice - and recommended resources - are really priceless in this interview

Our Sponsor:

  • StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
  • 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

  • Patrick's background
  • For someone on active duty, how would you describe High Ridge Global?
  • In terms of whereHigh Ridge Global is at today - what would you want listeners to know (head count, investments, etc)
  • Advice to evaluating an idea/
  • Skills veterans may need prior to starting a company
  • Many listeners to the show are interested in the world of finance - how vital is an MBA in this career path?
  • What was your experience like at JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, and how has that helped you in your current role?
  • Lifestyle differences between finance and startups?
  • What lead you to make the shift to startups and Live Ops?
  • What would you want listeners to know about your career path from Live Ops untilHigh Ridge Global ?
  • How did you go about starting your own investment company?
  • What did your day-to-day life look like when you first started?
  • What skills did you need to develop to start your own firm, and what advice do you have for veterans seeking to do the same?
  • What resources have been helpful to you that you would recommend to veteran listeners?
  • Final words of wisdom?
Sep 13, 2017

"We always say that you earn while you learn in this business. So even though we were both full-time active duty when we started this business, you can really build it into the nooks and crannies of your life, while just learning the process. Because there are people who are willing to hold your hands so that you can walk and then run in this business."
- Samantha Allen

Ray and Samantha Allen are both 2009 Naval Academy Graduates. After graduation, Ray went to flight school & became a Navy Helo pilot while Sam became a Marine.

Samantha served as a Marine for 5 years at Marine Special Operations Command (2nd MSOB) and weapons training Battalion. Ray is an HSC pilot now instructing at the Naval Academy.

The two live in Annapolis, MD with their three daughters, and have been building their business together for four years.

Why to Listen:

  • Direct marketing / network marketing - this is an often criticized & misunderstood space, but may be a great match for many veterans, as it: 
    • Is a people business (where vets typically thrive)
    • Is a business with training wheels (you get the support and mentorship you need as you grow)
    • Has a strong sense of community (which vets often miss post-service)
    • Includes a sense of purpose (which vets also miss post-service)
    • Has a lot of autonomy (to afford a flexible lifestyle)
  • Working with Spouse - if you're considering working with a significant other, they've got great advice.
  • Self-learning - they include a TON of incredible resources to check out, and the motivation to go with it

Our Sponsor:

  • StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
  • 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

  • 4:00 Ray and Samantha's background
  • 4:47 - How would you explain to someone on Active Duty what LifeVantage is?
  • 7:58 - How did you both get started working with LifeVantage?
  • 12:00 - What was the starting point like?
  • 14:54 - When you first started what was the time commitment?
  • 17:16 - How do you spend your time today on LifeVantage?
  • 22:15 - How long does it take to make an income from Direct Marketing?
  • 26:30 - What is residual income and how do you make residual income in Direct Marketing?
  • 35:05  What are negative things that you hear about Direct Marketing and how do you respond to this criticism?
  • 38:08 - How is it working together as a husband and wife team, and what advice do you have for couples thinking of working together?
  • 41:51 - What resources - books, programs, websites - would you recommend to someone considering direct marketing?
  • 49:20 - What advice do you have for a veteran considering entrepreneurship?
  • 55:05 - Final words of wisdom?
Sep 6, 2017

"Working for this company, we started outsourcing to the Philippines, and we started doing more and more work with the Philippines. Eventually my buddy and I said, 'Why don't we setup a company in the Philippines to do the outsourcing for our employer?' So we pitched out bosses and they loved it. And so that kind of got our foot in the door."
- Justin Cooke

Justin Cooke is the Founder at Empire Flippers, a company that helps others buy, sell, and invest in profitable websites and online businesses. He started out in the Navy, where he spent 6 years as a Sonar Technician 2/C (STG2). Empire Flippers is an INC 500 company - Justin runs a 22 person team and has $27M+ In Online Businesses Sold.

Our Sponsor:

  • StoryBox - People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
  • 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

  • What is your remote lifestyle like?
  • What would you want listeners to know about your path from the Navy up until starting Empire Flippers?
  • How to form a good business partnership
  • What was the Genesis of Empire Flippers
  • How would you describe Empire Flippers to someone on Active Duty
  • You have seen a lot of success stories of people buying online businesses that they've then grow. What advice do you have for someone on active duty thinking of going down this path?
  • What skills do you think someone we would need to develop after the military before considering going down this path?
  • You had an incredible growth trajectory for Empire flippers. What advice do you have for other veteran entrepreneurs seeking to grow their company?
  • What resources, that could be books, podcasts, courses, have helped you with your startup that you would recommend other veterans
  • Final words of wisdom
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