Ways to Boost Your Confidence While Transitioning

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Man using smart phone to search online for companies hiring

Transitioning from military service to a civilian career comes with a host of emotions—excitement, hope and perhaps some uncertainty, especially in the wait for job offers.

As you establish your “new normal” and move into a new civilian career at VA or with another employer, maintaining a self-care routine can make that shift easier.

Here are seven ways to boost your confidence as you transition from military to civilian employment.

1. Check in with your friends
During your military career, you built a support system of contacts, and some of them may have already transitioned to a civilian career. Get talking! Opening up about your experiences solicits stories from other service members who made the move. Gain confidence knowing that you are not alone and learn strategies and tactics from others.

2. Keep an exercise routine
In general, physical activity is great for our health. But in times of transition, it’s even more important to care for your physical and mental health. Exercise boosts your mood and gets you out of the house. Consider trying out a new sport or fitness class. Need to join a gym? Check out your local YMCA, which may partner with the area VA facility to offer special services and rates for veterans.

3. Attend military transition classes
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offers military transition classes at every military installation, online and at other locations such as VA offices. TAP classes begin during your last year of service—after you have an identified separation plan. The program includes group classes particular to each service branch, briefings from VA and other agencies with veteran programs, and job and transition counselors.

4. Find a mentor
We all benefit from hearing stories from folks who have paved the way ahead of us. A mentor is a great resource in any job search, and especially for service members transitioning to civilian careers. Find someone who shares your values and have a clear idea of what you want to get out of the relationship. If you don’t have an ideal candidate in your network, search online for veteran mentor matching programs like Veterati (https://www.veterati.com/).

5. Seek out VA services
VA has you covered! We know the value of hiring veterans and have many programs available to transitioning military service members. VA works with DoD to create TAP classes and briefings. VA for Vets aids transitioning members seeking post-service jobs. And through VA Careers, veterans can identify themselves in the application process and get support from VA throughout the hiring process.

6. Leverage online resources.
There’s a multitude of online resources available to transitioning service members. You can find trainings, job boards, employers who specialize in hiring veterans, mentoring resources and online chat help. VA Careers’ Transitioning Military Personnel page and TAP are good places to start.

7. Volunteer your time.
If job offers don’t come right away, giving back is a great way to make new connections and establish yourself in the community. Volunteer in a field that’s similar to your chosen career path to get experience and build your resume.

Source: Department of Veteran Affairs

Skills Veterans Bring to the Contracting and Construction Industry

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Three contractors from Hoosier Contractors sit on top of their newly completed roofing project

By: Josh White, President of Hoosier Contractors  

Recognized by the U.S. government every year, November marks Veterans and Military Families Month, with Veterans Day falling on Nov. 11.

During this month, the country honors the brave men and women and their families who have served or are continuing to serve our nation through increased awareness and support. In the lead up to November’s annual celebrations, it’s important to provide a broader perspective on how veterans can be invaluable assets to the job force.

Oftentimes, it can be difficult for employers to recognize the key experiences and transferable skills veterans acquire during their time of military service. This creates a deep knowledge gap between veterans entering the workforce and employers searching for top talent in their industries. One industry that stands out amongst the rest in terms of hiring veterans is the contracting and construction industry.

A total of 15.5% of all U.S. veterans will enter the construction industry at some point, and about 666,400 veterans are currently working in this field. These hard-working and determined individuals can contribute in an assortment of ways to this industry, bringing their military background of unique skillsets to an American workforce in dire need of productive workers.

Experience working in a diverse team setting.  

From the moment they enter the service, military veterans are taught that genuine teamwork derives from a responsibility to one’s peers. Being an ultimate team player is not taken lightly, as members must learn to think in terms of the greater good of the team and what they can do to improve, grow and strengthen it. A blend of individual and group responsibilities allows veterans to work side-by-side successfully with teammates of all backgrounds – regardless of gender, race, religion, economic status or geographic origin. As much of the job force is done with a team in a diverse workspace, veterans with vast teamwork experience are already ahead of the curve.

Easily trainable, adaptable and determined.

Veterans continuously learn, develop and grow from day one. As situations can change rapidly and without notice, veterans master adaptability and learn to improvise as their specific roles can be affected day to day. Adaptable and capable, veterans are quick learners with little that can faze them. Not to mention that veterans are persistent and determined, sticking with a problem or solution until results are achieved. An ongoing focus on development not only proves successful for the individual, but for their team and their organization as well.

Putting the team first.

When military personnel enter into the service, the majority of whom have just reached adulthood, they quickly learn the skills to be a good follower and obtain the experience to become a great leader. Through training, education and experiences, veterans take on a variety of roles and responsibilities. In the face of ever-changing and unpredictable situations, veterans are required to make quick and smart decisions as leaders, a parallel that translates to the fast-paced work environment.  Additionally, veterans have an innate, conscientious obligation to serve others. It’s this servant leadership philosophy that allows veterans to be selfless, putting the needs of teams first and acting towards improving the organization, rather than only themselves. These skills and characteristics are becoming increasingly more desirable among prospective employees as employers are looking for the ones who will take their business and the industry as a whole to the next level.

Contractors work on a full roof replacement for a home in the suburbs of Indianapolis
Contractors work on a full roof replacement for a home in the suburbs of Indianapolis. Photo Credit: Hoosier Contractors

The contracting and construction industries are ready to welcome veterans like you (and me!). We bring these sets of dynamic traits from the military world that can transfer directly to the business world – and contracting/construction is no exception. With proper training and opportunities, veterans can and will continue to succeed in this business. What are you waiting for? Take the plunge and apply to a construction job today!

About the Author

A disabled veteran from Indianapolis, Indiana, Josh White has served as the President of Hoosier Contractors since 2013. Hoosier Contractors is a locally owned and operated residential and commercial contracting business serving the greater Indianapolis area. Using a customer-first approach to build business, Hoosier Contractors’ services include roof repair and replacement, gutters, siding, painting, home construction and more. Hoosier Contractors is part of the National Roofing Contractor Association and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. To learn more, visit www.hoosierroof.com.

The 7 Best Work-From-Home Jobs for Veterans

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military veteran sitting at desk in civilian clothes giving a thumbs up

With our “new normal” of social distancing and self-quarantine, working from home is quickly becoming an essential part of life.

Check out this list of some of the best work-from-home jobs for veterans, military spouses and service members:

  1. Medical Transcriptionist – Average Salary – $32,900

Translating the jargon of medical professionals into readable reports is no easy task, and medical transcriptionists get paid well to do it. Typically, transcriptionists work inside hospitals or other medical establishments, but there are work-from-home opportunities within the career field. Individuals best suited for this job should have patience, some medical knowledge, and excellent typing skills.

  1. Virtual Assistant – Average Salary – $34,660

There are plenty of professionals in all industries that need help managing their daily activities. Virtual assistants are secretaries of the digital age. While many still work inside offices, it is possible to do the job from home. Attention to detail and excellent time management skills are a must for this position.

  1. Translator – Average Salary – $43,300

While many translators work in-person to facilitate everything from important business meetings to personal exchanges, some translators can work remotely. This usually entails translating text or audio, but the work is largely the same. Fluency in another language is an absolute prerequisite, but patience and communication skills are usually required as well.

  1. Technical Support Specialist – Average Salary – $46,260

Tech support is one of the jobs that helps keep the modern world of business and consumer electronics running. Without specialists trained in troubleshooting technical problems, using modern technology would seem insurmountable. A certain level of tech-savvy is required, as well as customer service skills.

  1. Call Center Representative – Average Salary – $30,460

Call centers are the locus of support for products and services. The operators who man them are the first line of assistance most customers will interact with, and usually the last. Because these positions only require a telephone line or internet connection, many of them are work-at-home positions.

  1. Online Teacher – Average Salary – $51,380

Whether it’s online or in a classroom, teachers are responsible for educating the youth, and some adults, of the world. Online classrooms are a more popular venue for teaching than they were a few years ago, so it’s becoming a more viable and accepted way of learning. If you’re a teacher who can’t find a job in a classroom, or you want to pick up a job on the side, teaching classes online might just be what you need.

Source: Military.com

How to Get a ‘Leg-Up’ When Looking for a Job

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Veteran working on the smartphone

If thinking about getting out of the military, or you are already out and ready to enter the civilian workplace, here are two things you should be aware of that can make it easier to find the job you want:

Veteran’s Preference

Veteran’s preference is a preferential hiring treatment that can give you a “leg-up” when looking at getting hired. Being able to claim the preference can move you up higher on the hiring list than other non-veteran applicants. Generally speaking, to be eligible, at least the first three (and at least one of the others) must apply:

  • Have been under the rank of O4 (Major or equivalent)
  • Been discharged under honorable conditions
  • Have served during one of the eligible time periods
  • Have earned a campaign badge or
  • Have been awarded a Purple Heart or
  • Have a service-connected disability – applies to all ranks

And veteran’s preference where applicable usually only applies during the initial hire or in time of Reduction-In-Force (RIF), and does not play a factor in other personnel actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments or reinstatements.

Where is Veteran’s Preference Applicable?

Many of the agencies within the federal government (although not all) honor veteran’s preference. This can mean either an additional 5 or 10 points depending on the level of eligibility added to the veteran’s score if they meet the requirements of veteran’s preference.

Even businesses doing business with the federal government, as can be the case with certain government contractors—defense and others are bound by contract to advertise jobs where veterans will see them—actively recruit veterans and report back to the government what actions they have taken to employ veterans. They may or may not offer veteran’s preference depending on the company.

Veteran’s preference has even filtered down to many of the states in their hiring practices. Roughly half of the 50 states now have laws in place that allow employers to give eligible veterans preference when hiring into open job positions.

Veteran-Friendly States

Other states might not offer veteran’s preference but are more veteran-friendly than others. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found 27 percent of veterans have a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. Another survey found these top 10 states make transition easier than other states by going out of their way to help veterans:

  1. Alaska
  2. South Dakota
  3. Wyoming
  4. Nebraska
  5. North Dakota
  6. Maine
  7. Montana
  8. South Carolina
  9. Virginia
  10. Alabama

However…

Being able to claim a veteran’s preference does not guarantee getting a certain position. While it does give a veteran an advantage, it also has limitations. For example, if an employer wants to hire a veteran, but other more qualified individuals in one or more of the protected categories (age, gender, race, etc.) have also applied, it would be discriminatory to hire the less-qualified veteran and in violation of certain anti-discrimination laws.

Veterans can use these two tips to their advantage when seeking employment. Knowing this information can give them an inside track to getting a job and make what can be a difficult transition process easier.

Source: news.clearancejobs.com

Tulsa Welding School and Hire Heroes USA Partner for Veteran Scholarship Program

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welding wearing face shield working in shop

Tulsa Welding School (TWS) has partnered with Hire Heroes USA, a national veteran employment nonprofit, to help military members entering the civilian workforce find opportunities for training programs in the skilled trades.

The partnership will provide Hire Heroes’ clients who no longer receive military funding with a $2,500 scholarship to TWS.

“We are honored to work with Hire Heroes USA,” said Mary Kelly, president and CEO of StrataTech Education Group. “We are incredibly passionate about supporting veterans, as well as active military, to achieve their career goals. We understand that the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging, so with this new partnership we hope to make that transition a little easier.”

As a part of Hire Heroes’ education and training program, the TWS partnership provides transitioning military members with access to a world-class skilled trades education. At TWS, students can explore careers in welding, HVAC, refrigeration and electrical. They will receive hands-on training that equips them with the skills necessary to find job opportunities in their field after graduation. With an 87% job placement rate, TWS graduates experience meaningful and lucrative careers.

“Hire Heroes USA is excited to be partnering with TWS,” said Ross Dickman, chief executive officer at Hire Heroes USA. “Employment assistance is the number one requested service among military members entering civilian life. In 2019, we were able to help more than 10,000 clients find meaningful employment. By welcoming TWS as a training partner, we are excited to work to increase that number this year.”

TWS will be an ongoing employee partner with Hire Heroes USA. For clients interested in enrolling at TWS and receiving a $2,500 scholarship, they can visit www.hireheroesusa.org or call (866)-269-4596 to learn more.

Operated by StrataTech Education Group, TWS is the largest accredited welding school in the country and has been training students for sustainable welding careers for more than 70 years.

For more information about TWS, please visit www.tws.edu.

About Tulsa Welding School

Tulsa Welding School (TWS) was founded in 1949 in Tulsa, Okla. and has trained thousands of individuals to become professional, entry-level welders for more than 70 years. Students learn hands-on, technical competencies and skills in labs, workshops and classrooms, with a curriculum designed to meet employers’ needs. TWS offers Professional Welder and Pipefitting programs. Upon program completion, TWS graduates are equipped to start entry-level careers in a variety of industries, ranging from automotive to manufacturing. TWS is an ACCSC accredited school and licensed by OBPVS. For more information, visit www.tws.edu or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

About StrataTech Education Group

StrataTech Education Group focuses on the education, growth and development of specialized career education schools, particularly skilled-trade programs designed to address the nation’s growing infrastructure needs. Holding an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, StrataTech Education Group’s portfolio includes The Refrigeration School, Inc. (RSI)Tulsa Welding School (TWS)Tulsa Welding School Jacksonville, and Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center (TWSTC). For more information, visit www.StrataTech.com.

About Hire Heroes USA 

Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit organization that empowers U.S. military members, veterans and their spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce. We offer personalized one-on-one coaching, professionally revised resumes, mentoring, workshops, a job board, career fairs and more, to tens of thousands of job-seeking veterans and military spouses annually. Funded exclusively through public donations and private grants, we provide our services at no cost to clients. Hire Heroes USA prioritizes transparency, earning a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the GuideStar Platinum Seal. For more information about our organization, visit hireheroesusa.org.

How to Disagree with a Superior Without Starting World War III

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boss and employee in a heated conversation

By Steven Matthew Leonard

As we sat in the general’s office, the conversation carried the typical banter we’d come to expect. The general had a habit of talking out new concepts until he was sure he fully understood them and could articulate them clearly.

We were there to help him frame his thoughts, sort of like speech prep for big ideas.

That particular day, we’d brought in a major from a subordinate headquarters to give us a hand as we worked to make sense of a white paper he’d written. The topic wasn’t particularly difficult to grasp, but the writing was a little thick, so we thought it best to make him part of the process. Everything seemed to be progressing normally, until the junior officer’s tone changed sharply.

“No. That’s stupid. That’s not how it works,” the major blurted.

“Excuse me?”

“You’re wrong.” The major pushed his chair back and crossed his arms in front of him. “I wrote it, I know.”

“Okay, let’s dial this back a bit,” the general answered. “Remember who you’re talking to.”

“You want a debate? I’ll debate you,” the major replied, pointing his finger at the general. “Right now. You’ll lose.”

The aide-de-camp and I looked at one another, totally dumbstruck. Try as we might, we couldn’t intervene quickly enough. The general didn’t have much of a temper, but the major had pushed his buttons to a point we hadn’t previously seen. The aide distracted the boss—whose face was rapidly approaching a disturbing shade of purple—as I pulled the major outside and away from the general’s office.

“He’s afraid to debate me,” the major said confidently. “He knows I’d win.”

“That’s not the point,” I explained. “If he’s wrong, you’re here to help him understand, not to piss him off. Not to argue with him. Not to tell him he’s stupid.”

“Nobody can beat me in a debate on this,” he said. “I know more about it than anyone. That’s why I wrote the white paper.”

I pushed the major out the door and down the hall, still in disbelief. Words like blunt, tactless, and caustic came to mind. I’d seen people disagree vehemently before, but never in quite so spectacular a fashion, and never with someone so senior to them. I shook my head as I watched the officer walk away, shoulders back and head held high. There was no doubt he believed he’d just achieved a major victory, oblivious to the fact that he’d probably just written the epitaph on his next evaluation.

When Trying to be Right is Really Wrong

It’s not unusual to want to disagree with your boss: A new project proposal you don’t think will solve anything, a timeline that isn’t realistic, or an initiative that will cost more than it’s worth. Disagreeing with the boss elevates speaking truth to power to new heights. This isn’t just about providing unsolicited feedback or sharing knowledge of a problem. It’s about telling someone you think they are wrong. And not just anyone—someone senior to you who could just be in a position to influence your future. For a lot of people, this situation triggers a fight-or-flight response, and they choose survival over disagreement.

The truth is you can disagree with someone without fearing for your livelihood. It requires a delicate blend of timing and social intelligence, but it can be done.

First, weigh the risks. Is the matter at hand so important that you want to take a stand? These are what I often call silver bullet moments. You only get so many silver bullets; don’t waste them on squirrels.

Second, acknowledge their authority. A little respect goes a long way if you’re planning to disagree. The decision is usually theirs to make, so acknowledge that. Your role is simply to help them make an informed decision, not to make the decision for them.

Third, ask permission to disagree. This is one area where it’s far better to ask permission now than to beg forgiveness later. Often, all this requires is a statement like, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to offer some thoughts.” This allows your boss to invite you into the discussion instead of you barging in like the Kool-Aid Man.

Fourth, validate their position. This is a simple, yet essential step in disagreeing with your boss. Acknowledge their position, even if you think it’s completely wrong: “I think that’s a great point. Maybe we could also…” If you allow disagreement to turn into debate, you’ve already lost.

Fifth, keep your emotions in check. Sometimes, our passions are our undoing. If you feel particularly strong about an issue, this can be a true challenge. Always remember facts, not emotions. This might also save you from using judgmental terms, such as “stupid,” “short-sighted,” or “wrong,” or inadvertently telling someone senior to you to do something that might be anatomically impossible.

Finally, stay humble. You’re not the authority figure in the room and it’s not your decision to make. Don’t pout if you don’t get your way and don’t gloat if you do. Keep things in perspective.

You can disagree with your boss without committing career seppuku. Be smart about it.

Source:  news.clearancejobs.com

What to Ask When Interviewing a Veteran

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woman recruiter interviewing man during a virtual meeting online

By Emily King

When interviewing a former service member, your goal is to understand the various roles, responsibilities, skills, and experience the candidate has accumulated over the course of his or her military career.

To do this, you may need to look well beyond the most recent position, going back 10 years.

Unlike a civilian resume that often culminates in the highest level of responsibility to date, the military resume is often a collection of seemingly unrelated experiences and must, therefore, be considered together as a whole.

Below is a list of questions you can select from to assist you in understanding the candidate’s background, and convey your interest in the world from which they are coming.

General opening questions can build rapport and sense where the individual is in his or her transition from military service to civilian employment.

Begin with “I know leaving the military can be a big transition . . .”

  • How is it going, separating from military service?
  • How has the adjustment been?
  • What has been the biggest surprise about the civilian workplace?
  • What opportunities are you looking forward to taking advantage of as a civilian employee?
  • What challenges do you foresee as a new civilian employee?

For each job over the past 10 years, ask:

  • How would you describe this position in layman’s terms?
  • What was your primary mission in this job?
  • What did it take to accomplish this mission?
  • What were the key activities you performed, and in what circumstances/conditions?
  • What people or resources were you responsible for in this role?
  • What were the greatest challenges in the role?
  • What is an example of a time that everything went as planned?
  • What was your contribution?
  • What did you learn from the experience?
  • How did you incorporate what worked and what you learned?
  • What is an example of a time that things did not go as planned?
  • What went wrong?
  • What did you do, and what was your contribution?
  • What did you learn from the experience?
  • What did you change or do differently as a result of this experience?
  • What aspects of this role or job would you like to find in a civilian position?
  • What aspects of this role or job would you prefer not to perform in a civilian position?

General questions to ask include:

  • How would you approach a situation in which… (describe something “typical” of the job the candidate is applying for; avoid irrelevant questions that may come across as setups)?
  • What kinds of things did you coordinate and accomplish in the community (e.g., community social events, charitable projects, leadership roles)?
  • Looking across your recent military work experiences, what key knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences would you say are most valuable?
  • Setting aside the specific job you were required to do, what activities do these knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences prepare you to do?

Emily King, a nationally recognized expert on the transition from military service to civilian employment, is founder of the consulting firm Military Transitions and author of the book, Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing & Retaining Veterans.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Land a Civilian Job

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airport employer holding guiding sticks for airplane to taxi in

Being able to translate your military skills, experiences, and accomplishments into terms that civilian hiring decision makers will easily understand and recognize as being valuable to their organization is key.

That translation requires that you understand how business decision makers think and the language they speak.

One way to speak an employer’s language is to communicate the impact and results you’ve achieved in your work experience.

Employers understand results; by communicating your ability to make a positive impact on critical aspects of the business, you’ll increase your chance of being hired.

Most organizations are focused on:

  • Attracting and retaining customers
  • Improving customer satisfaction, and product or process quality
  • Increasing operational excellence
  • Boosting the performance of the organization (in part or as a whole)
  • Improving the organization’s strategy
  • Maximizing the return on investment

Review the following examples for ideas on how to translate your experience into a framework employers’ value.

Result/impact statements

Results: Results hiring decision makers care about

Impact: How you have delivered results in these areas in the past, and/or how you can deliver them in the future?

Result: Quickly solve problems, and then prevent them from occurring again

Impact: When conducting after action reviews, I focus on the root causes of problems rather than searching for someone to blame. As a result, I ensure we only make a particular mistake one time, and that we can accurately identify and address any operational weaknesses.

Result: Improve safety and reduce accidents

Impact: Having spent time on rifle ranges, handling hazardous materials, and working around dangerous equipment, I understand how to develop, disseminate, and implement safety guidelines that virtually eliminate accidents or injuries.

Result: Increase the reliable operation of equipment, reducing breakdowns and expensive repairs

Impact: By inspecting and maintaining equipment before, during, and after an operation, I eliminate unexpected breakdowns and prevent the need for expensive repairs.

Result: Nurture teamwork and collaboration that allow staff to achieve things together that would be impossible for them to accomplish individually

Impact: I make sure all the members of my team understand how the tasks they perform will affect their coworkers and other units or departments that depend on us. Once they understand why and how their role is important, they stay motivated and collaborate more effectively with others.

Result: Analyze and select from among competing courses of action

Impact: I have learned to quickly generate several possible courses of action, evaluate each to spot the strengths, advantages, and weaknesses, and then develop an action plan around the most promising one.

Source: careeronestop.org

Air Force Vet’s Business Franchises Take Flight

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Headshot of Don Stone

By Rhonda Sanderson

Don Stone’s entrepreneurial spirit first began when he learned to fly while serving in the Air Force. After leaving the service, Stone took his flight knowledge and chose to open his first business as a fixed-based operation, which is basically a gas station for planes, at a small airport in Colorado.

While it was a fun business overall, he faced challenges with the city and county governments that owned the airport. This experience helped him immensely for his next endeavor—owning and operating a franchise.

Stone’s first franchise was part of a 216-location hair salon company near Texas. After selling that business in 2000, he was immediately interested in purchasing another.

“My experience with franchising was what made me pursue future opportunities,” Stone shared. “I spoke to someone in Dallas about a mobile pet grooming business that wanted to expand and start franchising. Because of my experience with the hair salon franchise, I thought of using that same model to expand it, but instead ended up buying the business outright.”

After much due diligence, Stone realized it would be complicated to turn the mobile grooming business into a franchise. He was surprised to learn that mobile pet grooming salons are more complicated than the average person would expect, so instead of franchising, he kept the business as it was and it has since grown significantly. Stone now operates over 50 mobile grooming salons in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

As time went on, Stone continued to watch for a complementary business to purchase.

“I knew one of the founders of Pet Butler,” he said. “I watched the business as it grew and franchised.”

Once the Dallas/Fort Worth market opened, he jumped at the chance to diversify by adding a Pet Butler franchise to his current business model.

“It was easy for me to add on because we had the back-office services in place already,” Stone explained. “It was a great way to acquire a much-needed service, popular in the pet specialty services group.”

Stone was able to keep his focus on the same great services for pets in people’s homes or offices. He has a full-time manager and six scoopers—four having been a part of his organization for more than 10 years. And when Pet Butler was acquired by Spring-Green Enterprises in 2017, franchisees of Pet Butler received not only digital marketing help, but also back-office support—a huge advantage Stone says because he’s not tied to a desk.

The company’s National Call Center answers all calls from would be and existing customers, and provides immediate information to the franchise owner.

“Within minutes, we are on the phone with the customer solving any issues or schedule changes.” Stone said.

The back-office support team also handles customer billing and processes payments. Stone has also gotten his son involved with the Pet Butler end of the business, which, frankly, involves the back end of a dog! Stone has a dedicated, full-time Pet Butler manager, but he, too, scoops poop, and his son is learning to become a manager for the business by scooping poop as well.

“He will learn the business by doing, not by taking over,” Stone says.

In fact, all of Stone’s children are involved in both his Pet Butler and mobile grooming businesses. They came to them on their own, which was very important to Stone.

“It is interesting to get a different perspective from my kids,” said Stone, who is proud to build his businesses alongside his kids.

His advice to those veterans thinking about purchasing a Pet Butler franchise?

“You must have an entrepreneurial spirit, but you also need to follow the program,” Stone said, “The franchisor spends a lot of time and money on what works and what does not. A good franchisee will learn from that so they don’t repeat costly mistakes.”

Stone added, “If you’re in the pet business already or are looking for a business in a booming industry, take a serious look at this. Ninety percent of the things you need to know and do are already figured out for you. It’s a great business.”

Pet Butler was acquired in 2017 by Spring-Green Enterprises, the parent company of 43-year-old Spring-Green Lawn Care and SGE Marketing Services. They currently have 30 franchisees located in 26 states with plans to open 60 more within the next 5 years.

To learn more about how Pet Butler serves pets and their people, visit their website here.

To inquire about a franchise, call (844) 777-8608 or visit their website here.

Virtual Events Take Center Stage

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A woman in a military outfit looking at her laptop

By Innovate Marketing Group

As the live events industry awaits COVID-19 regulations, guidelines, and phase rollouts; innovations and digital opportunities arise, virtual events take center stage, and the importance of an events agency and planner sustains.

Why go virtual? Virtual events have proven to be an effective and efficient way to convey content and engage attendees. Experts shared that future events will incorporate a digital aspect as a hybrid-type model as the events industry seeks to widen their audience and maintain contingency plans. Events will see more virtual aspects embedded into their programs moving forward.

Going virtual also brings market share and new opportunities.
“Some companies that were previously on hold to wait out COVID-19 have either pivoted to virtual or seriously considering since the recovery is so uncertain. Business still needs to go on. Leadership conferences, educational and training are still vital for companies,” said Amanda Ma, chief experience officer of Innovate Marketing Group.

All of the different elements of a virtual event need to be coordinated into one impactful and engaging experience. The event agency’s role includes helping guiding businesses to pivot to the new normal, advising and adjusting contract changes, applying event strategies to help meet goals, vendor coordination and recommendations, program management and managing multiple tracks, marketing and communication, incorporating sponsors and stakeholders and the guest experience.

Some of the many benefits of pivoting to virtual include:

  •  Cost savings and lower cost per guest attending
  •  Access to a wider audience and reach, and not limited by location
  • Replay capabilities and reusable on demand content
  • Lower carbon footprint and less impact on the environment
  •  Attendee engagement
  •  Opportunity to get creative and engage viewers in new ways
  •  Metrics, instant data tracking and capture, and gaining new insights
  •  Virtual events eliminate the need for a venue, catering, rentals, stage, décor, photographer, videographer, transportation, etc.
  •  Taking action – calls to action link in right away; connect, survey, polling, Q&A and donate

Some challenges in comparison to a live event include emotion and energy, stimulations such as touch, taste and smell, memory and recall, networking, and viewer attention span.
Innovate Marketing Group also shares top best practices in going virtual, such as setting your goals on information, education, message, attendee and sponsor engagement, networking, etc.

Format: Determine your virtual event format – webinar, webcast, pre-recorded sessions, simu-live, live streaming, networking, exhibitors.

Registration: Reconsider the registration process, including number of users who will be accessing the website, personal data, payment processing safety, and customized questions per data you would like to collect.

Keep Your Audience Engaged: with tools such as live polling, question and answer sessions, networking opportunities, gamification, live leader boards, rewards and social media feeds. Maintain your event experience by making your guests feel involved and connected to your program. We are in the planning stages of a 3,000 people walk/run event, and one of the ideas is on the day of the event to have a virtual DJ play during the walk and the organization lowers the volume if messages need to be communicated. The music is based on what the organizers want. This way while people are walking, they can stay connected as part of the program.

Pre-Event Communication & Marketing: Communication and marketing are key. Unlike an in-person event where they must get dressed up, drive to the event, and spend more time to prepare for the event, a virtual event is simply a login to a platform. Therefore, it is very important to send out reminders and build up the anticipation of the event. In a recent virtual event, we advised the client to ask for the attendee’s cell phone number.

So, in addition to email reminders, the week of event and day of, a text notification was sent out to all attendees. We received great feedback for putting that in place. It reminded folks the virtual event is coming up and to tune in. Digital marketing, promotion, advertisement, and video content is still very important for a virtual event, before broadcasting on your event day.

Surprise and Delight Before the Event: Sending a swag bag prior to the event with items relevant to the event. For an upcoming conference, we are sending a box with a blue light blocking glasses, candle, custom door handle, notebook, T-shirt, and a coffee tumbler. We have a special note to go along with this kit to kick off the conference mindset. On the day of the conference, we asked everyone to wear the shirt provided. One less worry about what to wear on “top.”

Content is King: Offer educational, relevant, timely and meaningful content that people will want to hear. It is vital to create content that captivates guests, sparks their creativity and results in productivity.

Do Not Try to Replicate Your Live Event: Instead, look for new opportunities but stay true to purpose of your event. Keep principle of why your guests were coming together, and make it part of the equation.

Test, Test, and Test Again: Technical difficulties may occur, and it often distracts from your event. Have a run through with your speakers and moderator in advance and test the virtual release on your platforms.

Want to Become Your Own Boss?

LinkedIn
A pair of glasses sitting on a book in front of a man in a suit with his hands folded

By Jessica Evans

Walmart. Nike, Fed Ex. What do these companies have in common They were all started by veterans, proving that we’re among the country’s best entrepreneurs. The reason? Well, that’s simple: Veterans already have all the skills that successful business owners need—namely the ability to lead a diverse group of people, understanding how to manage personnel effectively, and we have the grit and determination to see things through.

If you are considering starting a business, but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few tips to help:

Take advantage of the help that’s available

There are so many programs and resources available, so how can you tell which are legit and trustworthy? Your best bet is to begin locally. Start searching for veteran-entrepreneur groups in your AO first and then go from there. This way, you’re eliminating any groups that might try to take advantage of you, and you’re leaning on the experience of other veterans to help guide your path.
The Transition Assistance Program recently launched Boots to Business. This program can help you learn the bases of entrepreneurship and get a clear idea of worthwhile programs.

Lean on the Small Business Administration

The SBA has hundreds of Small Business Development Centers across the country and nearly twenty-four Veteran Business Outreach Centers that have cultivated resources specifically for veterans and transitioning service members. The SBA helps align you with mentors, learn how to market yourself, and explore lending options.

Consider opening a franchise

A franchise is ideal for veterans because it takes the guesswork out of starting a business. Having a corporate partner who knows the landscape and the industry makes most franchises “turn-key” choices. That’s one less stress for you as the owner and one more way that the business is set for success. When you don’t have to worry about marketing or coming up with an employee training manual, you have more time to dedicate to making your location flourish.

Franchising is so exciting because it gives you a chance to be your own boss without all of the headache and hassle of starting a business from the ground up. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your research. Remember that not all franchises are created equally, so you should be careful about what you select as your investment. Visit https://hiregibiz.com to search some military-friendly franchises.

Once you have a clearer understanding of the kind of business you want to run, you’re going to need some help navigating opening your business. That’s where Hire G.I. can help.
We offer free services to veterans and military spouses who are ready to start their own businesses. By signing up to speak with one of our certified business coaches, you’re taking the first step to your next great career. Visit www.hiregi.com for more information.

Source: Hire G.I. LLC

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

Dept. of Veteran Affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs

Clover Medical

Clover Medical

Verizon

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Central Michigan

Upcoming Events

  1. Veterans Legal Institute Networking & Fundraiser Event
    November 9, 2020
  2. Vietnam POW 47th Remembrance
    November 14, 2020
  3. VA Healthcare Online Summit 2020
    December 2, 2020 - December 4, 2020