Where It All Started
Despite never serving, I have always had a deep affinity to people who serve in the military.
This feeling started when my brother joined the Royal Marines when I was 17 and developed throughout my University years whilst living with two reservists -both of whom went on to join the forces proper.
Partly due to this multitude of connections and partly due to my healthy appetite for ‘socialising’ between the ages of 17 and 26, I was mixing with one group or another, seemingly on a weekly basis.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, if you really want to get to know someone, go to the pub with them!
With this theory in mind, I got to know a whole host of Marine and Army personnel extremely well during my formative years.
If You're Going To Do A Job…
Aside from the robust banter and iron-clad trust that exists between military folk, their default setting of approaching EVERYTHING they do at 100%, is what I admire and relate to most.
Whether playing a game of ‘see who can spend the most time at the bar naked before being thrown out’ or deliberately skiing into each other, the games were a notch or two above what everyone else played…and I loved it!
As I have said many times, if you're going to do something, damn well do it properly. Well, this is a sentiment wholeheartedly shared by all those who serve.
Why I Am I Writing This?
But this is not a Ramble extolling the virtues of those in uniform.
That introduction was merely designed to provide some background as to my current business relationship with those in the armed forces and to illustrate the deep foundations that shaped it.
Let’s cut to the chase shall we? I believe many military personnel are tailor made for a life as Untamed Entrepreneurs and the following words will explain why.
For those who haven’t read my last Ramble, it is probably wise to start off by defining the term ‘Untamed Entrepreneur’.
‘Untamed Entrepreneur’: Noun, often referred to as ‘UE’
“A person possessing an entrepreneurial mindset who engages in both life and work activities in an unconventional manner. They are distinguishable by their gregarious nature, disregard for half measures and insatiable appetite for adventure, fun and challenge.”
Untamed Entrepreneurs prioritise the following in no particular order (excluding family):
- Running their business
- Outdoor activities
- Extreme sports
Now we understand the fundamentals of what makes a UE unique, let’s look at why I believe military personnel are so well suited to this lifestyle.
To keep this analysis simple, I shall cover the two aspects that most clearly define the life of a UE: work and play.
Work Time - Why Do People In The Military Make Good Entrepreneurs?
It is a well-worn theory that military leavers make good entrepreneurs. Indeed, a study at Syracuse University in the USA established that a staggering “49% of WWII veterans went on to own or operate their own businesses.”¹
Amongst other things, these theories typically cite hard work, problem-solving and resilience as key factors in a successful cross-over - and they are all correct.
To make a successful Untamed Entrepreneur however, a few additional ingredients need to be in the mix - most notably, a willingness to not only embrace the unknown but actively seek it.
For the Untamed, unchartered territory is where the juices really start flowing. The thrill of not knowing what’s around the corner or even how to get to the corner is the business equivalent of kayaking off an unknown waterfall.
The moment the learning curve slows and the comfort zone expands, boredom sets in. On to the next challenge.
This eagerness to potentially bite off more than one can chew and then chew like crazy, is one shared by many military folk.
For soldiers and officers alike, the base level of excitement required to offset boredom is far higher than in most of us. After all, adrenaline rushes -whether through combat or competition- are one of the main reasons most of them signed up in the first place.
So what is a leaver to do once the uniform is handed back and civvy street beckons? What possible work exists that could even come close to the thrill served up by the armed forces?
In reality, aside from doing the same type of work in the private sector, I imagine nothing comes close and it is this step-down in pace that causes many leavers problems as they make the transition. But it doesn't have to be so…
Keep Up The Pace
Enter stage left Untamed Entrepreneurialness…ness. A perilous blend of unpredictability, risk, excitement and reward.
Entrepreneurship is a tough gig. It’s a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world where only the fittest survive. Harsh lessons come thick and fast and there is no hiding place for the weak.
Sound familiar? It should do. It bares much resemblance to military life.
As I know it, military folk thrive in a ruthlessly competitive environment where the correlation between hard work and success is direct and progress is measurable…Don’t put the work in and suffer the consequences - simple.
Whilst the consequences of failure in the business world are far less extreme than in the military, a couple of poor decisions can still make or break ones entire livelihood.
Such a high risk/reward ratio is what provides military leavers the spark that is so devoid in other careers.
What Does An Untamed Business Look Like?
There are no set criteria governing the type of businesses a UE can create and it doesn’t have to be inherently dangerous -hell, my business is one on one mentoring…hardly bomb-disposal work!
What the business does have to do though, is be adaptable enough to allow the Untamed lifestyle to flourish and align exactly with the passions and interests of the founder. This melding of work and play into a synchronized unit is a key component and helps distinguish an Untamed lifestyle from many others.
By defining what Untamed Entrepreneurs' businesses may be by their suitability to a lifestyle, rather than a specific industry or sector, the door is open to military leavers from a wide range of skill sets, interests and talents.
So now we understand the entrepreneurial piece of the Untamed jigsaw, let’s look at the other aspect…play time!
This is where the fun really starts. The jumping off point for the tamed.
Let’s cut to it…spending time outdoors, adventuring, taking part in extreme sports, travelling and putting ones body on the line in the name of entertainment are all things held dear by Untamed Entrepreneurs and military personnel alike.
Whether through extra-curricular or on-the-job activities, these aspects are tightly woven into both the military and UE lifestyle.
In the same way that real soldiers differ from those who call themselves Bravo Two Zero and run around mock battlefields wearing second hand cammo uniforms; Untamed Entrepreneurs take their love of the outdoors, sports and travel one step further than the average weekend warrior.
In a nutshell, one set of people love it, the other set live it.
It stands to reason therefore that upon exiting the forces, becoming an Untamed Entrepreneur would be the best way to maintain this high intensity curriculum and keep those juices flowing.
Have Your Cake and Eat It
And that’s ultimately what it comes down to - a smooth transition; a way of living that is both very similar to the military and completely different at the same time.
Filling the void left by a career as impactful, intense and unique as the military is no mean feat.
As a minimum, the replacement must provide adequate stimulation through healthy doses of competition, risk and the unknown in order to keep the boredom at bay. Yet it must also be different enough to represent a fresh challenge and provide the individual the opportunity to add significant value by other means.
Thankfully the world of Untamed Entrepreneurship does just that. It offers all the high octane thrills and spills of military life with added freedom for spontaneity should one desire.
I can see no other more suitable lifestyle for the adventure-loving, purpose-driven military leaver to get their kicks!