Hi this is Pete Blum bringing you another episode of the Veteran Connections Podcast where my mission is to help transitioning Veterans and Veterans already out of the military engage with the business community, and to share the knowledge and tools needed to successfully start a business. The Veteran Connections Podcast brings you experience and advice from fellow Veterans who are business owners and have made the transition from the military and into the business community.
There are Veterans transitioning out of the military every day. Some of them have an idea or a passion that they want to turn into a business. Having the right connections can be the one thing that makes the difference between a success or a failure. In this Veteran Connections Podcast I will be talking to Veteran business owners about what steps they are taking, the hurdles they have ran into, what advice they have for you, and what they hope life will look like a few years from now. With these real life interviews and real life results you can gain the expert knowledge from those that have been there. From your military brothers and sisters.
Today’s guest is a project management and career transition expert. He is a Navy Veteran and host of The “Extra Tap Class” Webinars. He is the Co-Founder & CEO of Vets2PM. I would like to welcome Eric Wright.
You can follow Eric here
Eric is a decorated two-service, two-era United States Military Veteran; Founder and CEO of Vets2PM; an experienced, credentialed project manager and mentor; and an entertaining instructor/public speaker on project management, PMI’s PMP® and CAPM® exams, and on project manager development. He helps Military Veterans the world over become successful PMs in the CIVDIV through inspiration, translation, training, and placement. For more information, please visit www.vets2pm.com.
So tell me a little bit about what you did in the military
Transition from the military (easy or hard)?
Hard, took 12 long, dark years!
What was it that caused you to start your business?
I realized that as a military Veteran and a project manager, general manager, and business professor and executive, I knew what the Veteran was capable of and what industry needed them to look like, sound like, and act like; I just needed to map it. So I did; and the result is a complete transition program to take Veterans from Service to Project Manager; i.e. the program and company name Vets2PM!
Tell us about your company’s mission:
It’s simple; help Military Veterans become Project Managers!
What were the steps you took to get your business up and running?
From 50K’, I created the concept and proved it in the marketplace year 1; I am building it to scale in year 2; and we’ll scale in year 3 by developing the additional business lines of Professional Placement Services and Project Management as a Service, which will augment our Veteran training and development channel.
Tactically, we obtained a business license, filed OA, created Web Site and curriculum, and marketing message. After several extremely hard knocks, I’d add I should have secured a trusted Accountant and Attorney much earlier! Do that! Find the money! Even if you’re boot-strapping!
Do you feel like your military experience and training helped prepare you to be a Veteran business owner?
For sure! It helped me develop autonomy; communications savvy around identifying audience and level, answering their probable questions through analysis and preparation; decision-making; problem-solving; leadership, followership and coaching; planning, and clearly identifying objectives, processes, standards, and discipline to those things.
These things, by the way, also serve project managers well Pete! Which is why I have a working hypothesis that since PMs and Entrepreneurs fill the same organizational, economical, and societal role of creating value using disparate scarce resources, Entrepreneurs would benefit from project management training!
What were some of the challenges you faced getting your business started?
Balancing “working in the business” with “working on the business”, and rejection and hostility.
What is the key to the success of your business?
We provide a clear solution and simple plan to qualified Veterans on securing meaningful, lucrative careers in project management. We inspire them; help them translate their secondary military occupation experience into commercially viable, highly valuable resume, social media, and project management credential content civilians recognize; train them if necessary; and provide them with lifetime job coaching and career assistance in project management.
Would you say it was your military experience or other things you learned that have been more helpful in making you successful in your business?
It was every single battle scar I’ve received; homework, papers, knowledge from multiple degrees; professional OJT under wise mentorship and training culminating in several professional credentials; transition struggles over a 12-year period; and my military training and experience. After all, it’s the latter that’s the foundation to persist and complete the others!
Are you going to use your business in some way to either help or hire other Veterans?
That is the only thing my business does. We place PM-credentialed PMs into starting salaries averaging $80-$95K a year at a rate of 93%!
This number and rate is steadily growing too, because we form new partnerships monthly that result in placement opportunities for our Brother and Sister Veteran PMs.
I would like to add though Pete, I am not Vets2PM though; instead I see myself as a Veteran that focuses his entrepreneurial efforts on brining solutions and companies into the marketplace that help Veterans transition.
Now I know I am one of tens-of- thousands saying that, but I do it daily. In fact, I am founding a software company as we speak that will revolutionize Veteran transition through professional translation. If the Veteran can identify a profession that has a body of knowledge and a professional credential demonstrating his or her command of that field, they’ll be able to translate their military experience into it for their resumes, social media profiles, and profession-specific credentials. The difference is this is not enter-your- experience and here’s an equivalent title or suggested job, but capturing and presenting your secondary parallel career in the military as its unique stand-along profession.
I believe this will change the game; heck, even disrupt it! A lot of traditional yet antiquated models and paradigms are about to be shattered.
I’m not “that guy that started Vets2PM; I’m that guy that founds social needs-driven industrial solutions to help military Veterans NOT take 12 years to transition from service-to- civilian like I did Pete”.
What is the one most important thing you have learned since starting your business that you can share with future Veteran business owners?
Hustle, hustle, hustle; never taking “No” for the answer.
For transitioning Veterans wanting to start their own business what action items list would you give them?
This is probably more philosophical than you were hoping, but there are a lot of great programs, organizations, and other Veteran Entrepreneurs, like this and you Pete, that can help with the tactical, so, I would say…
Think about a solution to help somebody else with a painful problem; Develop, Beta test it, and sell one, even if for a dollar; Then figure out how to do that 1 million more times, and you’re set; You’re a millionaire, but more importantly, you’ve helped hundreds, thousands, or millions first! And that’s the key; you have to help somebody else first or there’s no value, no motivation through reciprocity, no deep root ball of value. You get paid to help others; first!
In this episode with Eric we heard some great advice you can take advantage of on your own vetrepreneur journey!
- When you start a business your family starts it with you, find the right work/life balance so you get the work done but still make time for creating those awesome family memories
- Learn to delegate so you are not the bottleneck in your business
- Answer the questions “who you provide value to” and “what would that value be”
- Test your idea until someone is willing to pay for it, then go scale that
The Veteran Connections Podcast provides advice from Veterans for Veterans. A lot of people like you and me that have been through the military have the same thoughts and a lot of the same questions. We may have even had the exact same struggle. I hope you find some answers as you go on this Veteran Connections journey with me where we will learn, explore, and get answers to your questions.
Another great resource for Veterans wanting to start their own business is the Small Business Administration (SBA)
If you need more information or want assistance implementing one of the things you learned about today you can contact me. I can teach you techniques and strategies to help you connect and network in the business community so you can reach your personal or professional goals. Email me at email@example.com and let me know how I can help you!
I hope that you have enjoyed this podcast episode and if you have a burning question that you would like to get answered by an experienced Veteran business owner about starting your own business go ahead and email me. I will be sure to answer it in a future episode!
Thank you for listening! -Pete