"I told my wife: we're going to do this when we get out of the military. That was a tough pill for her to swallow. And you can't really blame her. If you ever tell your wife that you're going to get out of the service and sell bottle openers, she might think that you've been around too many explosions and she might think that you're crazy."
- Elijah Crane
Elijah Crane (Eli) is the Founder and CEO of Bottle Breacher, a company that creates hand crafted 50 caliber bottle openers made by Military Veterans. As President of Bottle Breacher, Eli has grown Bottle Breacher’s annual revenue to over $5 million in 2015, applied for and received 7 patents, and Negotiated a partnership with Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. Eli started out in the Navy, where he served as a SEAL for over 15 years. He started Bottle Breacher while on active duty and has run the company for nearly five years now.
The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:
- Starting a company while on active duty: Eli was making over $22k per month while still on active duty, and had plenty of traction by the time he transitioned to his civilian career
- Growth of an empire: He talks about how he grew from $350 / month to over $1 million a year... all before even appearing on ABC's show, Shark Tank
- Shark Tank: Eli shares what his experience was getting to Shark Tank, and how he scored a deal with Mark Cuban & Kevin O'Leary
- Persistence & Scrappiness: Eli talks about how he earned a PhD in failure starting his own company
- 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
- Check out Eli on ABC's Shark Tank here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHTlFtRtkG8
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Mark Cuban's book
- 2:44 - Eli's background
- 4:00 How did you make the decision to leave the Navy?
- 4:45 - Did you work at the Acumen Performance Group while on Active duty? What did you learn there?
- 5:45 - What was the genesis of Bottle Breacher?
- 7:30 - What tipped you over to thinking of doing this full time
- 12:25 - What was it like starting a company while on active duty, and what advice do you have for veterans looking to do the same?
- 16:05 - What was the application process like for getting on Shark Tank and what advice do you have for other veterans looking to do this?
- 29:30 - How have Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary helped the company so far?
- 32:15 - What has been the most challenging aspect of running a company?
- 36:18 - What skills have you had to develop since leaving the military and any advice for resources (books, courses, conferences, etc) that you would recommend to veterans?
- 38:40 - What advice do you have for someone on active duty wanting to start their own company?
- 41:41 - Final words of wisdom?