I have always been an entrepreneur. Or at least an entrepreneur wanna be. Since a very young age I have always been curious about how things work. Mostly mechanical things as a young boy. I would take apart anything just to find out what it was made of and how it operated. It drove my parents crazy. Some favorite gadget or heir loom broken and in pieces once again.
Of course I always tried to put back together what I took apart but as a kid most of the time I was not successful during the reassemble process. Dismantling things usually required tools so my Dad would always find his tool box missing key tools on a Saturday morning. As I got older, this curiosity came in handy because my experience in taking things apart translated well into fixing things that were broken.
In High School and early college this became cars, as in my 1969 Mustang. I have always been full of ideas on how to improve or modify existing things in our lives but rarely had the resources or know how to implement any of them. Back then this trait was known more as an inventor rather than entrepreneur.
In college, I bounced around from business to computer science to engineering but never really found my passion until I became interested in military aviation, which let me to attended Officer Candidates School during two summers of college and upon graduation from the University of Kansas I was commissioned a 2ndLt in the U.S. Marine Corps. After a few years of training and flight school I became an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot.
After 8 years of active duty I transferred to the reserves to continue flying the AH-1W and pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot. I love aviation. Aviation encompasses all of those interesting things like weather, math, science, aerodynamics, electricity, hydraulics, thermodynamics, teamwork but still requires the physical fitness and mental agility of a pilot to make it all work.
As I continued my career in the Marine Corps reserve and the airlines I spent most of my free time reading business magazines, investment information and anything to do with entrepreneurship. As I got older my interest in how things worked graduated from mechanical gadgets to businesses, companies and industries. It was still the same curiosity but it was just applied to different things.
I still wanted to solve problems and fix things but I wanted to figure out how to make money on my own. Although I loved flying, I had to force myself to study for my two aviation occupations. My passion became how to make money outside my jobs. Ironic, I had two of my dream jobs at the same time, an attack helicopter pilot and an airline pilot but yet something was missing. I was more fascinated with the small business owner or the latest start-up than I was with either of my two thrilling jobs.
On a Tuesday morning, I was only a few months away from reducing my commitment to flying in the reserves, spend more time flying for the airlines and have more time for my entrepreneurial pursuits, when everything changed. I was in my family room when I watched the second airplane fly into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Within a month I was back on active duty, I eventually found myself back in the cockpit of the AH-1W and completed two combat tours in Iraq flying the AH-1W providing close air support to Marines and Soldiers on the ground. I spent my last three years of active duty at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College.
While serving on the staff at CGSC, I completed my masters degree in entrepreneurship. I still remember doing research on MBA programs thinking I don’t want to get an MBA just to impress a big company so they will hire me. I wanted to get a masters in something that I was passionate about.
One day I stumbled upon the entrepreneurship program at Oklahoma State. What? I can get a degree in entrepreneurship? I was thrilled to say the least. This program was made for me.
Throughout my military career I started many ventures, from simple things like MLM’s to affiliate marketing to real estate investment. Although somewhat successful in most of them I could never keep them going. It takes time to build momentum in any business and all too often duty would call at the most inopportune time and I would have to put my pack on and march off.
I remember leaving my brother to deal with a house we had just purchased as I headed off to Iraq. He managed to flip the house before I returned for a hefty profit and still split it with me, something only a brother would do. I still played around with my entrepreneurial ideas but was resigned to the fact that I really needed to wait until I was retired from the corps to immerse myself in anything.
That is why I decided to enter the entrepreneurship program at Oklahoma State. I wanted to be around entrepreneurship, learn it from a different angle, gain some academic skills, make some contacts and have something to show for it when I was done.
So when the opportunity came to get a degree in entrepreneurship I jumped in. I decided this was the chance for me to build some skills and expand my network. This would be my first exposure to other entrepreneurs and I could not get enough of it. Some of the classes were tough, the accounting, the finance but many of the classes were dedicated to studying entrepreneurship.
My introduction to Podcasts
I discovered podcasts around 2005 while stationed at Dobbins Air Reserve base in Atlanta, GA. My drive to work was 30-45 minutes each way so I had some time in the car. I started with CD’s about business and personal development but would burn through whatever collection I had in a short time and then be subject to whatever was on the radio.
I didn’t get much out of the typical DJ rants in the mornings and the good talk radio shows were usually on during the day so I was forced to listen to music in the morning and random talk radio shows in the evening. I would stumble across some interesting ones late at night on the way home from night flying like Art Bell or Adam Carolla but they were just time killers on my drive that never resulted in anything productive. So I started listening to podcasts.
I was instantly hooked. I listened to podcasts about personal development, real estate, online business and anything else I could find. My podcasts were my escape, my motivation, my hope. Podcasts filled me with ideas. But since I was still on active duty, deployments and family life kept me from putting any of my ideas into action. I had the idea of starting a podcast but I did not have the confidence, skills or content to even know where to begin.
My AHA moment
As I finished my Entrepreneurship degree I was struggling with starting a veteran non-profit and beginning my transition out of the Marine Corps. I still had the desire to start my own podcast but did not know what to podcast about. Then I realized that there must be other veterans out there that have ideas of starting their own business and they are experiencing the same difficulties finding information, resources and assistance.
Aha, that was it. I was going to help veterans find the tools necessary to make their escape into the world of entrepreneurship. So it began, I had my idea for a podcast. Finding people to interview was not an issue, I knew all sorts of people that could help veterans start their business. It came natural to me, talking with entrepreneurs about their business and connecting veterans to these valuable sources of information was the perfect fit for me.
Once I started…
Once I started working on Veteran on the move, there was no turning back. I was thoroughly enjoying working on my dream. My wife had never seen me like this. She said I was like a kid in a candy store. Creating valuable content for veterans to make the transition to their freedom. After all, they have fought for it, defended it, so now it is their turn to enjoy the fruits of their labor, entrepreneurship.
I woke up early every morning and stayed up late. I was finally creating my dream, a community of like minded people with the same goals and desires. I get to interview fascinating people who want to help veterans achieve success in entrepreneurship. It doesn’t get any better than that.