Whether it's farming and selling hemp or launching an eLearning software company, veterans usually outperform their civilian counterparts in the realm of small business. A lot of entrepreneurs have the proper education and credentials, but the success of a startup often hinges on the well-rounded qualities that one often builds through military service. Here are some of the skill sets and traits that set veterans apart when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Businesses don’t tend to survive without taking risks, and who better to assess risk than someone who knows how to conduct a 5-paragraph order or an after-action report? After all, nothing is more humbling than a proper AAR. Veterans proactively anticipate shortcomings because they know that what can go wrong, will go wrong. Because of this, veteran entrepreneurs are better prepared to tackle risks effortlessly and take responsibility for the often unforeseeable outcomes.
In the service, everyone is held accountable for their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. The last thing you want is to be the weak link that slows everyone down. As a result, veterans transition to civilian life as time management masters, equipped with the ability to pivot and reprioritize on a dime. That flexibility and quick thinking is crucial for small business sustainability.
The biggest advantage veterans have over their civilian peers, besides great boot camp photos, is their continued drive to serve. Veteran startups are often purpose-driven and focus on supporting other veterans or giving back to their local communities. When service members return home, many look for ways to contribute to society by forging their own paths. With this type of fulfilling, underlying mission, it’s difficult to lose motivation or focus towards the success of your business. If you were able to handle port-a-johns in Iraq, you can handle any startup environment.
Veterans are harnessing these qualities and taking over the cannabis space
In addition to the typical challenges business owners face, the cannabis industry tests skill sets you don’t see every day, including farm labor, product ingenuity, and legal navigation. This isn’t far off from a grunt being pulled from their squad to assist supply in a logistics order (yes, this happens). But all the trials and tribulations are worth the massive growth potential and ability to give back to the military community by providing jobs and a healing product.
Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr Greg Keeley founded On Duty USA not only as a business venture, but also as a means of giving back to the community. As a service disabled combat veteran with the unique distinction of service in both the U.S. and Royal Australian Navies, Keeley found a way to provide opportunities for veterans looking for work and a product that can help those who need it most: first responders, teachers, veterans, and others on the front line of service.
“There’s hundreds of thousands of veterans that are in my situation...that have come back with anxiety issues, post-traumatic stress issues,...aches and pains.” Keeley said, discussing some of the many ailments that veterans use CBD to treat.
Keeley himself was originally prescribed a host of medications and led to believe he’d have to depend on them for the rest of his life. CBD helped ease him off all medications and heal through natural means. “I don’t take those medications anymore because I’m taking On Duty CBD. That’s how remarkable that change has been for me.”
The culture at On Duty USA also embodies a military ethos: quality over mass quantity. The product is harvested at small farms operated by veterans who raise their crops with the same attention to detail they put into their service.
“It’s something that we have our finger on from the time that it goes into the ground, and that’s a huge difference.” Keeley said. He added that producing small batches has allowed the team to ensure premium quality and keep out all pesticides, chemicals and heavy metals.
The end result is a range of top quality CBD products that provide vital benefits to the user, including better sleep, pain relief and muscle relief.