Left A 6-Figure Corporate Income For Freedom
Lessons Learned From A Military Retiree, Who Went To Corporate America Found A Program, Gave Up A 6-Figure Income To Obtain The Freedom Of Entrepreneurship.
My Journey To Become An Entrepreneur
I remember the day I made the decision to retire from the military.
I got a call from the Center Vice Commander telling me I had received a by name request to take over strategic planning for the United States Air Force back in the Pentagon.
During my Air Force career I was always an “on timer”. Made full Colonel, had multiple commands, but understood I would never be a General Office. Already had 28 ½ years of service and knew that if I took the assignment Peggy and I would retire in Washington DC.
Only one problem had been stationed in DC twice (the Air Staff and the Joint Staff) and hated Washington DC. So we did an economic evaluation of the move and found out it was an economic looser – it was time to retire.
So as all good military members I got permission to interviewed, got five offers from great companies, and went to work in the Defense Contracting Industry.
As with all jobs the work started out well and was very rewarding. Then we had a change of management and that “job security” my wife was looking for was quickly going south.
The boss who brought me into the company left unexpectedly and the new management began a systematic dismantling of our Division to fund his pet project which later went bust.
So I did what I was taught reached out into my network and found another position. For a couple of years after the move the new position and work was great. The only downside was being on the road for 3-4 weeks every month the travel that I once enjoyed was getting real old.
Then it happened one day in a parking lot. My new boss decided his budget was not big enough that year and he ask me to evaluate moving to a part time position with no benefits. In this position I would have to search out work to earn money, but was told I would be taken care of.
What I did not know at the time was his request to evaluate the move was a set-up. The decision had already been made without my input or permission and a week later before I could give him my answer I was moved to a part time position without notice.
For a time the promise of being taken care of was honored but shortly after the move the company acquired the division of another large company and the new division placed their people in key leadership positions (who bought who?). The work dried up and I was forced to rethink what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Remember, as a military retiree your time in industry is limited. You will be replaced with someone more connected (just leaving the Service), who will work for less money, do longer hours, and think Corporate America is like the military. Sadly they will find out that it is not like the military!
This entire scenario was predicted by a mentor of mine years before and now it was coming true.
OK what are the options?
1) I could take another job in Corporate America.
- The offers I had required moving to an area neither my wife or I wanted to live in
- The offers were more money but the net pay was less due to the cost of living
- Plus 17 moves in 28 years was enough
- I was tired of being held responsible for results and not being given the authority to make changes to produce results
- And finally I had become fed up with the terrible commutes, long demanding hours, and extensive travel Corporate America demands
2) I could retire but was not ready to retire yet.
3) So I took the part time work because I thought I needed the money. But I also began to look at alternatives.
Early in my life and prior to the military I was involved in an entrepreneurial business. The experience was overwhelmingly positive and the things I learned during this period laid the foundation for the great success I had in the military.
So I began to look into the entrepreneur profession again….
This is the single most important reason those who have been employed for years fail in an entrepreneur transition.
When you work for someone else things in the company plug along even if you aren’t there. In addition if you are full time vacations (if you are allowed to take them) are paid for.
When you are an entrepreneur it is totally up to you to develop the initial pay and eventually the residual income that allows you to take time off. You are the heart of your business and no one is there to tell you what to do, it is up to you to figure it out.
Those who maintain an employee mind set do not last as entrepreneurs.
There is one great benefit of mastering this profession; your work becomes your passion. The ability to change lives and help others get out of the mess the corporate world has created for them is unbelievable rewarding!
I always understood mentorship was a key part of a good military carrier and helps establish a path for a successful carrier.
However in the Defense Contracting industry mentorship is lacking. Why was always hard for me to understand. The military is always looking for their next leaders to preserve and improve the institutions. So I never understood why the corporate world would not want the same.
When I first started out as an entrepreneur I forgot the lesson of mentorship even though I had good mentorship and was also a good mentor for others in the Air Force. When I finally recaptured this lesson mentorship became a key part of the process of transition.
I actively sought out mentorship in the areas I wanted to master in my entrepreneur journey. My goal became to locate mentors who could teach me how to transition from the corporate world to the entrepreneur profession.
I found out real quick skills needed to be successful in this new profession were lacking and had to go back to school to gather these skills. Our educational system was established to create loyal employees and does not teach entrepreneur skills. So self-education and mentorship became the order of the day.
Being an entrepreneur is nothing like working in the military or for a large corporation. Don’t miss understand me; I learned a lot in my 35+ years of military and corporate work. But the most crucial entrepreneur skills were not taught in either profession. After all you are working to serve your country or fulfill someone else’s dream and not yours.
I began to realize I had to become a student of the profession. Some of the skill sets of leadership and team development were similar but there were still unanswered questions.
When I first started I was taught to build a business by going after friends, family, and co-workers. I did this but never liked this method of building a business. I made the decision that this was not the way I wanted to build a business. These methods simply did not appeal to me.
So I had to change course and learn a new way of building a business.
Marketing became incredibly important like; on-line marketing and driving customers and leads into a business. When I first started I had a “build it and they will come mentality.” That couldn’t be further from reality. Fortunately through research and proper mentorship I found a process that teaches the skills I needed to market myself on line. I became a student once more and learned the skills a lifetime of military and corporate work never taught me.
Attraction marketing became the single most important skill to obtain my FREEDOM.
I spent most of my adult life with friends in the military and corporate circles. These are amazing people who I still maintain friendships with but they only understand the military and corporate way of doing business.
Many of my corporate friends are 6-figure earners and are afraid to make any move that would jeopardies that income. In fact a lot of them did not understand why I would leave a 6-figure income to chase my dream of owning my own business.
Most people in the baby boomer generation were taught by our educational system to go to school, get a good education, get a good job, work until they are 65, retire, and everything will be OK. Unfortunately the facts do not bear this out.
Because of our educational system very few had parents that taught them there is a better way. I had a father who taught me you could leave a job and become financially independent by owning your own business. His wealth was developed after the age of 60 when he opened his first business and began the journey to financial independence. Prior to age 60 he had no wealth because he followed what was taught by our educational system.
If my father had not made the move to become an entrepreneur he would have died broke like 95 percent of North Americans do today!
If you choose to become an entrepreneur you will encounter those who think you are crazy. In my case many of these were my 6-figure earner friends who are afraid to make the move.
There are times on your entrepreneurial journey that you are completely alone. These are the times you need that mentorship and need to remember what your dream is, what puts a fire in your belly. Use your passion and your mentors to keep pushing forward.
I’m going to be perfectly honest, as with many of my corporate friends I was afraid of losing my 6-figure income. However, I had the good fortune of a corporation going through an acquisition that forced me to make the decision of becoming an entrepreneur.
It is critical you develop a workable budget for the transition so you can live life and support your business. I had never done this. I always assumed I needed that 6-figure income to survive. After all, the only thing I knew was trading time for money.
Once I took the time to review our real expenses and place them in a new budget I understood our financial position and the fear of losing that 6-figure income was reduced.
In fact I began to asked myself why I didn’t make this transition earlier. Why was I staying in a job I no longer had passion for and working for a company I had lost trust in?
I’m also going to dispel one of the big myths perpetuated by some entrepreneurs. That myth is building an entrepreneur business is such a low cost it’s practically free – don’t buy it. The truth is if you are going to be successful as an entrepreneur you need to treat your business like a business not a hobby.
You need capital for things like products, advertising, websites, networking events, communications, etc. The list will differ based on your entrepreneurial path but one thing is for sure, you need capital for a successful business.
As you start your entrepreneur journey do not fall into the trap that you will make money overnight. I’m going to be upfront with you; you won’t make money when you first start. If you don’t have realistic expectations, follow your mentor’s advice, and take consistent action every day just like you would on a job or you won’t make money.
Treating a business like a hobby is an expense – treating a business like a business produces profit!
There is no such thing as a get rich quick business. Building a business takes time. You will need to have patience with yourself and the entrepreneurial process. Very few businesses make money in the first year. A real entrepreneur knows that and plans for it. It is crucial you have a plan of action and stick to the plan. That is why you need a good mentor who can guide you along the path to success.
Do I Regret Leaving Defense Contracting
ABSOLUTELY NOT, in fact if I had it to do over again I would have started my entrepreneur journey right out of the military and never gone into Defense Contracting.
The one thing missing in the Defense Contracting industry is that sense of being part of something greater than yourself. On my journey to become an entrepreneur I once again found that missing part of my life!
If you want to learn more about how I’m building a business on line I highly recommend you check out The Attraction Marketing Formula. This mastermind course provides both mentorship and a path to success.
Well that’s my story and I hope it helps you. If you are like me and want to make that move towards becoming an entrepreneur let’s connect.
I’m look forward to helping any retired military or corporate person feed up with where they are in life and looking to make that transition to entrepreneurship!
To your success,
FREE INTERNET RECRUITING COURSE
Recruiting Is The Key To A Successful Entrepreneurial Business!
Now There Is An Easy Way To Grow Your Business – Rejection FREE – Without Wasting Your Time & Money Chasing The Wrong People.
Claim Your Free Internet Recruiting Bootcamp…