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JB Soles revisits the show where we catch up on all things related to Contra Group and Carry On. Contra Group offers world-class tactical medical training solutions for law enforcement and military. Carry On is a non-profit founded by United States Marine Corps Veterans to honor the legacy and sacrifices of our nation’s fallen military, law enforcement, firefighters and EMS. Their mission is to ensure the fallen are never forgotten and their legacies. You’ll hear about growth, challenges, and mindset with all of these opportunities.

AUTO-TRANSCRIBED – PLEASE FORGIVE ANY TYPOS OR ERRORS

Aaron Spatz  00:00

You’re watching America’s Entrepreneur on Youtube. Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And each week we interview entrepreneurs, industry experts, and other high achievers as a detail their personal and professional journeys. Before we jump in, hit the subscribe button and be sure to hit the bell icon so you’re notified every time we release a new episode. It thanks so much for tuning into America’s entrepreneur this week. So delighted that you’re here. You know, with the show has been now chugging along for just a almost a couple years now at this point. And so it’s been through several different iterations and changes. And so with that, though, I’ve made several really great friends during this during this whole journey. And so I’m excited to welcome a friend of the show, friend of mine, JB souls back. So he originally was featured on the show last year in June, for episode 20. And so now we’re up to I think this is episode 132. If my memory is right, we’re well up there. So incredibly excited to have him here. So just real quick background him he’s founder and CEO of Contra group, he’ll talk in great detail about that, as well as the CEO and founder of sorry, JB, carry on, it was sitting over there right in front of me this whole time. So between carry on and Contra group, JB stays incredibly busy, and I’m excited to, for him to share with you that’s why I don’t want to kind of spoil the surprise, there’s just a lot of really amazing things he’s doing through carry on, that I can’t wait to share with you and can’t wait for you to learn more about. So. Without further ado, JB, I just want to welcome you back. Thanks so much for being here.

JB Soles  01:30

Thanks so much, Aaron. That’s a it’s a time flip Time flies. It’s a lot has happened. A lot has happened, I’m sure in in your life and professional development, as well as my life as well as our country since the last time last time that we spoke, but here we are now.

Aaron Spatz  01:46

Ain’t that the truth? It’s been a solid. I mean, it’s been a year and just just to think about how much has changed in one year? It’s man, that’s a lot. That’s a lot to take in. Again,

JB Soles  02:00

it really is, but you know, what they say and what doesn’t kill us? Right?

Aaron Spatz  02:03

Yeah, it’s true. And and, you know, and it goes to the whole mindset thing, too, of just having a mindset of growth, right. And so facing challenges and in dealing with obstacles and adversity, and then just kind of leveraging that and harnessing it as opportunities for growth. Sometimes that’s depending on what the circumstances sometimes it’s the only way that that I’m able to get through a situation sometimes like, man, okay, I’m going to grow through this. I don’t like it, but I’m going to grow. So, but yeah, I mean, so. So for those of you that for those that have not tuned in Episode 21, I would encourage you to go to Episode 20. But if you don’t have the whole lowdown on JB JB, I’d love for you just to just quickly share a little bit of your, a little bit of your military journey. And then and then focus a little bit more on you know, the more recent days on the things that you’re doing with carry on and church group.

JB Soles  02:58

Well, first of all, you know, again, thank you for having me on. I’d be remissed if I didn’t give credit and point out, first of all, that, that the success that I have experienced through my life has been fostered through through God and, and definitely, through the way that I was raised, and through my father and my family and everything. So gotta give credit where where credit is due. Very, very much so proud American, come from a very patriotic family, my father, being a military veteran, my brother being a veteran. Our country’s growth, development, security, and just patriotism in general runs very deep and in my blood, so proud to be proud to be an American for sure. You know, as far as is my personal journey as As with most and I’m sure that it, it. It was developed through, you know, how they were raised, or maybe where they are raised, so on and so forth. I just happened to be a country boy from from Virginia, I grew up I grew up on a farm there, and how really small county really small public school system and everything and, and the thing that I can say about King and Queen County and West Point, Virginia is it’s it’s kind of trapped in time. And as we get older, it’s really neat to see places that that are like that. So get back as often as often as possible. I did know that I always wanted to join the military wanted to follow in my my father and my brother’s footsteps and 22 joined the Marine Corps. I was with an anti terrorism team for till 2005 supported Operation Iraqi Freedom and then I got down through working with the Department of State. You know, it’s probably collectively spent 1213 years in and out of The Middle East, on pretty much all over the Middle East. And I was afforded an opportunity of growth, I was afforded an opportunity of friendships and brotherhood that that will never be, they’ll never be surpassed, and obviously also also in the military. And I think for, you know, for those watching, especially, especially younger, younger adults, I remember my dad always telling me, you know, not only are you judged by the company you keep, but you’re also it’s like brick and mortar, you’re, you’re, you’re built by those that you you choose to be around. And, you know, I can look back over my personal and professional career and honestly say that I’ve learned so much from so many different people. And I’ve learned from their success. And I’ve also learned from their mistakes. And likewise, likewise with myself. At the end of my journey with with the Department of State, I got together with a couple of friends of mine that I had either served with or worked operationally with, and we really had a focus on, on training and training of special operations and training of mill of law enforcement, Swat. And even more specific than that, as we had spoken episode 20. Just on specifically tat tat, tactical medicine and how that applied work to operations. Absolutely. And, you know, as as with carry on the the nonprofit organization, it has been, you know, it’s been a slow burn, and it was intentional, for you know, for that I really have a strong belief that things you know, that they go up fast, can equally come down fast, just as quickly. And I know, of those that are involved, of those that have dedicated countless hours that they haven’t been paid. They don’t do it for them for the recognition, they don’t even do it for the money, they do it because they believe in it. And I And again, going back to, you know, the people that you surround yourself with finding someone who is equally passionate as you are about something that’s willing to give selflessly to it is is huge. It’s really huge. And especially when you find that and that brings us, you know, brings us really paraphrased quite a bit what that brings us to carry on was a nonprofit organization that, that myself and a veteran, Marine veteran and also a close friend of mine that I served with, we started as a as an homage and a way to honor our fallen platoon commander in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2004. There was a bit of a I don’t want to say narrow vision, but we were specifically focused on the time honoring fallen military members. And we realized that you know, with with the, with the traction, and with it with a passion that the gravity that we had around us that, you know, we could extend that to law enforcement, to EMS to firefighters, that again, without them, you know, our streets would be lawless, when we pick up the phone and call 911 Who would come so definitely want to honor those men and women that every single day they go out there and they do a job that either people can’t do or they or they won’t do so

Aaron Spatz  08:35

very very easily. Yeah, I mean it’s it’s a tremendous a tremendous organization. So for those that haven’t checked it out need to go to its carry on dash usa.org Check it out. But But JB give give folks a little bit of a visual because I know there’s there’s the honor log, right. And sometimes I mean, so kind of explain explain to people who haven’t have who haven’t experienced this what this is like,

JB Soles  08:58

right? Well, back in what 2009 2010 It’s more than that, in that area. I had developed another nonprofit to to recognize and empower wounded, wounded veterans. And the parallel I think between that and carry on is that we chose an icon and for for that organization, the Time Team extreme we use a gas mask and for this organization, were using a 600 pound piece of Texas cedar that has been meticulously carved by master carver out of Lubbock, Texas, Cameron Dockery, and the log itself has incredible significance. It’s 600 pounds, seven feet long as the average length of a casket 22 inches in diameter, representing and paying homage to the 22 veterans and law enforcement that are that died from suicide. You Each day, and just really the whole the mental health epidemic that that surrounds that and it takes it takes six honor bearers, as we call them obviously significant of pallbearers to, to carry the log. And and it has, you know, it has multiple different capacities. One is just a piece that can be put on the quarter deck of a fire station or in a police department or a military installation, or really anywhere that people want to have, you know, have them displayed. And then the the contrast of that would be, you know, six people rotating in and out on a team like we did in, in Dallas, Texas, this past Memorial Day carrying the honor love just as a, again, a memorial icon to bring recognition to our fallen heroes.

Aaron Spatz  10:52

So cool. Yes, I mean, it’s tremendous night, and I really like how you’ve included law enforcement. And all in just all these folks that really did like, I mean, like you said, You died when one, you better hope someone’s on the other line abled on the other side of that able to get to you. And so it I think it’s neat how you’re covering both both ends, both ends of the spectrum, both, you know, in over these capacity, but also here stateside, so that’s something that’s, that’s really

JB Soles  11:23

the other part of it, that really seems to resonate with people is the aspect of and we spoke about this in detail with the team that participated in, in Dallas over Memorial Day. And, you know, carrying 600 pounds over over six people for an indefinite, you know, amount of time. It’s, it’s, it’s something that’s difficult, it’s taxing, it’s physically taxing, it’s mentally taxing. But, you know, as I know, I know you’re aware, there’s something about, there’s something about the tribal nature of human suffering together, that that creates a unity and a bond that nothing else can’t. And what it also does is it pushes everything else aside, all of the all of the pity parties, all the problems in your life, and it really allows a person to be present. And in a world where we’re bombarded, bombarded by so much it can be it can be difficult at times to be present. And there’s just there’s something about pain that pushes everything else aside, and, and lets lets a person focus on on what’s on the forefront. And I think that, I think that, that caught me and of itself is really, really important.

Aaron Spatz  12:42

So true. It’s so true. I mean, I look back on all the different experiences I’ve had in life. And I I mean, I have to I have to agree with you. 100% is like some my Sunday. So the friends that I still call friends to this day, are people that I’ve endured some of the worst worst things that I would not want to go back and do again. But I would but like going but going through some of these things, it really does it creates a creates a camaraderie creates a bond. That is very difficult to, to do through any other means. And I don’t know why that is. It’s just Yeah. just is what it is, I guess I mean with with that, that you’re you’re having to overcome something together, I think is probably what it is. And there’s a comfort knowing that somebody is there with you going through what it is that you’re going through. And so somebody else gets it, right, somebody else understands what it’s like. And so it’s hard to it’s even hard to articulate into words some of the things that people experience. And so there’s like so much that you can say without saying it’s true. No, you know, her lady,

JB Soles  13:48

I’ve mentioned mentioned to some friends of mine, I said you know if, if my DJ, if my day jobs failed, I think I could always make it in marriage counseling. I said because, you know, you take you take two folks that are not seeing things eye to eye and wanting to call it quits. Just you know, give them a one way one way ticket to somewhere that’s, that’s fairly austere and double and put them together for a certain amount of time. Like alright.

Aaron Spatz  14:19

Oh, no. That’s lost it. Wouldn’t be this one.

JB Soles  15:02

Sure, not sure if that was that was made, I think that was made for whatever reason the the stream yard just completely dropped in closed out

Aaron Spatz  15:11

just crapped out. That’s weird. It’s all good. So we’ll, we’ll just roll back into it, you, you’re, you’re saying how marriage counseling, just pick it up for like,

JB Soles  15:22

in talking with some friends recently I was just standing at my day job failed that I could probably I could probably manage marriage counseling pretty well, you know, you just take foot two folks that aren’t seeing eye to eye and give them a one way ticket to an austere location and say, you know, I’m going to be back on the flip side to pick you up. And, you know, I’m sure everything is going to have itself worked out one way or the other.

Aaron Spatz  15:43

And that’s, it’s, that’s right. It’s either either figure it out or Yeah, something, something’s got to happen. something’s got to happen. Yeah. And there’s something about that adversity that forces people have to work together, even people that may not even get along, you know, and so, yeah, that, you know, that may be a bit, maybe another business, you need to start there, JP as well, you know, maybe,

JB Soles  16:04

maybe see some of the reality shows that are out there now. And it’s, it seems like they’ll, they’ll pick up just about anything.

Aaron Spatz  16:14

That’s right. That’s right. Well, then, so then, let’s, let’s shift back to focus on tackle medicine. And so like the story of Contra group, and like, where, where that came from? And what what are you guys working on right now? Like, what? What, what and who are you impacting? How does that look?

JB Soles  16:31

Well, we we’ve worked with some teams down south, and when I say South, back back east, in North Carolina, and probably some of the some of the best clients that we’ve had, as far as guys, that a they really needed the training, and be just alone, and just go, just go boys, and just good, good human beings, good people. And that’s not taking anything away from from any other law enforcement and or military, we just had some really great experiences with some of those guys down there. And was just recently speaking with, with one of them about some, some follow up training. And, you know, we’re really looking forward to looking forward to locking that down. And going back down and doing that, you know, I’ve had the opportunity recently to be to be the student and to work with other companies where, you know, very like minded guys coming from a special operations background. And what has been the most amazing to me is to really see how what we thought at first was the was this paradigm was this idea that was really unique is something that is sincerely catching on. And, and I’m so glad, and that simply is the fact that you know, with with tech Med, definitely prior to either the wars, I think that EMS, if they were attached to say, any type of special operations team within a law enforcement capacity, they would be held outside of the crisis site until the building was clear, and then they would be sent in. And what we wanted to try to do was to really bridge that gap and take operators and turn them into, not specifically medics, but to give them the tools to where they could be well versed where each we can bring them up to a level where each operator on the team would have the ability to utilize the march algorithm and have basic life’s life saving steps. And you know, the the first the first letter and that acronym is, is massive, massive hemorrhage and, you know, 99% of massive hemorrhage can be resolved with a turn a tourniquet and, you know, just teaching situations where you know, you have an active situation going on and finding the right moment to address something that could potentially kill you within 60 seconds. So crew recreating those scenarios and putting the emphasis on you know, eliminate, eliminate or mitigate any potential threats. And now try to try to seek position where we can effectively deliver buddy aid or self aid. And it really doesn’t start with Buddy aid, it starts with the individual doing certain things that can can save their lives. And then once that foundation is built that can be taken that can be taken across the across the spectrum. You know, unfortunately we know we have events like what happened in in Las Vegas with the the mass shooting there. And from each one of these very unfortunate events, we learn the lessons about medicine that that carry forward is regardless of a person’s political view on on on war itself or the previous wars we have, we have been able to aid learn so much, but also pass that information on to frontline EMS, here in the US that that is game changers and to speak of tourniquets, again, that’s really one of those things were, you know, I’d say 1520 years ago, it’s like, no, don’t put on a tourniquet, you’re gonna lose an arm, you’re gonna lose that leg. And that’s, that’s just not the case, you’re gonna say someone’s gonna save someone’s life. So really just the education, and then taking education and putting it into a scenario, scenario based training that culminates with force on force, and trying to get the stress levels and trying to get all of these things that are, that are going to impact and that they may, they may experience, and now they’re able to incorporate this the demonic of March.

Aaron Spatz  20:52

Wow, I mean, that that’s really incredible. Because what you’re doing is you’re, you’re training people, but you’re also they’re, they’re being and they’re gaining confidence, right. So like when they, when they hit these situations, they’re, they’re going to have an idea of what they what they need to do. And so whether it’s like, Hey, you take around in a carotid artery and like you got to like, get behind some micro terrain and deal with that with a tourniquet and take care of that. And so it’s like, but you’re turning it into a situation where you’re not reliant on just one individual on that team who may be delayed getting to you now. It’s like, everybody, whether it’s you yourself, or someone’s helping you, it, like you said, deal with the immediate threat, but then you’re being told you can more quickly turn your attention to that life saving situation.

JB Soles  21:37

That’s right. And these are, these are, these are skills that are so easily cross pollinated, you don’t you know, you don’t have to be an operator, you don’t have to be part of military, you don’t have to be a firefighter. These are these are basic life saving skills that anyone can comprehend. Anyone can employ, you know, they can have a regular med bag in their vehicles, and they can potentially save their life or the life of another human being. And that’s an empowering thing.

Aaron Spatz  22:07

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Especially when they have a confidence from the training that they’ve that they’ve gotten. So, alright, so So backing it up, like where? Where did you see this need? Like, this isn’t? This isn’t an This isn’t an everyday thing that someone just thinks of as just tackle mammoth, that’s a very focused problem that you’re solving, like, Where Where did that idea come from?

JB Soles  22:30

Well, it came from the familiar familiar arity, of being in the military and seeing basically how, you know, how the medical paradigm was, was, was utilized. You know, we had medics on the team, but the the medics were, they were shooters, and you know, like vice versa. And they were able to solve a tactical problem, and then render medical aid, if necessary, coming out of the military, and then going through, you know, follow on training. And even, you know, with us having the amount of friends that we do within law enforcement, so on and so forth, we would, you know, we would talk to certain guys with departments really all over the nation. And very, very often we got the same thing unless they were more the full time teams are definitely progressive, and they have been leaning towards this concept. But the teams that are not full time, there was, you know, maybe budget restrictions, and maybe even just ideological restrictions, more prescribing to an old method of thinking of you know, tourniquets being taboo, or we’re not going to do that’s what, there was a separation. There, there was and there still is to some degree of separation. Well, that’s the medics job. That’s EMS, that’s firefighter EMS. That’s their job. Well, if you take a look at that, in present time, in real time, and and what actually happens if there is a crisis site where a team is entering into, you know, just again, going back to the massive hemorrhage, Time is not on your side, you may not have time for that site to be to go from a hot to a cold crisis site to be able to bring any Ms. And and that wasn’t just an observation on our behalf. I’m all about statistics. Most people who know me they know I’m a pretty big fan of statistics. So looking at national averages and national statistics of of officers and what was what was causing the most fatalities and the number the one of the number one were blood loss and massive hemorrhage specifically in a dynamic trauma related situation. Massive are active shooters, so on and so forth. And again, not just for the individual team members, but you know, take take a lot enforcement officer typically it’s not going to typically it’s not going to be the the SWAT team that makes the initial entry, it’s going to be the closest road officers. And now them having the ability to render care not only to themselves, but to the those who are unfortunate to be inside and may have been affected by the by the surrounding events. Well,

Aaron Spatz  25:24

yeah, and it’s it. I mean, without we go down this whole rabbit trail here, but just understanding were like, that taboo of using tourniquets. And so it’s like that I just, I find I find that interesting. Like, what like, what, what was the reason that they don’t, they thought it was like, like, guaranteed, like, loss of that limb was that basically,

JB Soles  25:43

there’s definitely there has been definitely a stigma that that has affected that. That any EMT organizations, the National Emergency Medical Technician, organizations, and North American rescue, some of the some of those entities have had done more for the these Miss concepts or misconceptions, then then I can count. I know, I know, the the owner of North American rescue, and, you know, they’re just such huge proponents of educating people, not just selling products, but educating people. And, you know, you know, first aid caregivers, whether they be EMTs, paramedics, so on and so forth, educating them that, you know, this is a stigma that has been set in place for a very, very long time, and it’s just not, it’s not accurate, and you are more likely to save a life with this intervention than you want to cause any type of loss of limb.

Aaron Spatz  26:52

Yeah. Well, and, and there, I mean, then it creates, it creates opportunity for you. So, so then, kind of tying this all into the entrepreneurial journey, entrepreneurial mindset, you’re, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna make some assumptions here, but feel free to correct me if any of this is wrong. But so like, you’re you’re taking your experience from the military and private security days, and seeing what the application to that could be in a private sector, or, you know, local governments, police department and so forth. But you’re seeing that there’s a divide of training of some of the basic tactics, things that you’ve seen, versus what they were using. And so you’re just thinking like, wow, well, this is an opportunity to, like, legitimately help people. I mean, this is like, this isn’t like selling widgets, like you’re like you’re you’re selling and working with people on training and things that would help legitimately save lives. And so like, so like, all those kind of gears are turning in in your head. So like, then you turn your attention to what like designing the course or like designing the program of instruction, that that you’re going to be executed on what it’s like what’s going on what’s going on through your mind as you’re starting to kind of put all this together.

JB Soles  28:03

First and foremost is identifying the needs of the client. Each you know, each team, again, whether it be a team and I use that I use that word team, I use Operator rely, this is not just specific to some type of specialized team. This is just as valuable, if not more to law enforcement officers to firefighters, any type of EMS, first responders, so I don’t want to you know, pigeonhole with with just that. Identifying really what it is that they need is it tactics combined with training, because that is where the genesis of this concept came from. I know myself, getting out of the military going to a couple of courses. Well, if you go to a tech med course, you’re just doing tech Med, you’re doing round robin stations, you’re doing wound packing hemorrhage control gum, basically going through the entire March mnemonic. But very seldom was that then you’d leave that training and then you go, Okay, now we’re going to go to like seek up close quarters, battle training and room clearing, training, hostage rescue training, so on and so forth. And so they were didactically separated. And what we what we were trying to do was bring all of that together into one course teach the tech med figure, Figure out what it was that they wanted as a client and now shape that into a full package where it’s a call, it leads to a combination. And that’s what we do with our courses. There’s a combination exercise. Typically when we start out, we will do a scenario or exercise that creates a baseline. And typically there’s, you know, in some situations, there’s some low heads coming out of that. But it’s simply to give them a baseline to the end they can look back and say okay, this is how we’ve grown and develop as individuals, as a team as officers, you know, so on and so forth. You know, the other side of that, too is we have no desire to go in and change tactics. Tactics is a slippery is a slippery slope, you put, you put three different guys into a room from three different military backgrounds and ask them to come up with a plan of how to take down a building. And there’s a very real chance of a fist fight before it’s all over with. And that all goes back to indoctrination. How are you? How are you indoctrinated? And I use that example? Because I have been part of that exact example before and it was, it was interesting to say the least.

Aaron Spatz  30:46

That’s amazing. Yeah, three, three, very passionately, held sincere beliefs of what the right way to do it is, and everybody else is wrong. And

JB Soles  30:55

all of that is contingent on like I said, how they were indoctrinated? Yeah, well, this is how we did it. And, you know, I think that’s also the fun for, for me, as well, as is learning along the way different, different methods to the madness. You know, as a professional, I’ve grown so much because I have been there I’ve been there was like, This is how we did it. And, you know, I think you reach a point professionally, where you’re able to open, open your eyes, open your mind, and allow different concepts and different ideas to come in. And that simply parallels with the fact that no two situations are the same. You know, it’s, we change up our scenarios all the time, trying to base those scenarios off of real life, you know, doing case studies in real life events. The other great part of it is is to work with other organizations or other companies that are doing this doing similar things. And they are also injecting the product design and development into it, there’s some, there’s some stuff that’s coming out, that’s just light years beyond what where we were in the medical field, and just, you know, getting to see that getting to, I guess, play with the toys, so to speak, and just see how far and how fast we’re coming. And again, a lot of that is agenesis off of experiences. And OEF. And oh, if

Aaron Spatz  32:22

that’s really cool. I mean, that’s, that’s a, it’s an incredible journey that you’re on and you’re able to, but then you also have like a front row seat. So it’s like I get like, I’ve kind of imagined like what some of these some of these tools. And some of these innovations are that you’re getting exposure to that’s that I mean that those I’m sure could be game changers for all sorts of different groups of people.

JB Soles  32:43

And one of the other one of the other challenges now, specifically Aaron is the you know, and I have no interest of going down the rabbit hole of the politics surrounding it. But there is a reality of defunding. And I have worked with teams, my cadre we’ve worked with teams before, and pretty much only had just our expenses covered to get out to the site with absolutely no regret, in hindsight, because that’s not that’s not what it’s about. The department that I’m working with now, I literally told him, I said, Man, you tell me what you guys can afford. I said the training is so much more valuable than than money. If I have a firm belief that if you have, if you have a skill set, if you have a passion, and you base that solely on giving it out on a monetary value, then you’re not doing any service to your, to your soul, so to speak, and you’re not you’re definitely not doing service to those who who really need it. I’m not out there every day. So these men and women, they they are in they need it and you know, hope I’m wrong, but there are chances that it may get worse before, you know before it gets better. And with I’ll put it this way, I’ve seen what it’s like without them have seen what it’s like without the frontline defenders, the the first responders. And, you know, I’ve heard people speak flippantly before using words like revolution this than the other and that we don’t we don’t know about that as a as a whole in current time. There are Americans that do, but we don’t want that here. And, you know, it’s it would be it would be very bad if if things like that came so, you know. With that being said, being prepared and and also having the honor of being part of preparing them for that or Just basically for their everyday duties is a significant reward and a reward that $1 sign can be put on?

Aaron Spatz  35:10

Yeah, sure. Well, and that kind of kind of answers my next question. I was just curious, like, for this kind of a service, like, how are you doing business development? Like, how are you getting out there? And how are you getting in front of the right people? Like, what does that? What does that look like for you? Like, what’s what’s been some of the challenges associated with

JB Soles  35:27

that? That’s, that’s interesting. So coming into it, obviously, you know, we had we had our business model or business plan, but we thought that we thought that utilizing, and we did, and we had a lot of help in the beginning with the whiz bang, media. I know. Drift Media Productions. And several others helped us tremendously, really did a lot of pro bono work, because they also believed in, in what we were, you know, what we were doing. And we, I’ll say, I, I think I got, I went down that rabbit hole pretty deep myself, just because I was like, Well, this is the way to do it, you know, Instagram, Instagram, Facebook, this is the this is the, this is the way to get the name out there. And I think that any young or or veteran entrepreneurs can get really caught up in that. I guess in a little bit of that distraction, and maybe like, drinking their own kool aid to sort of speak, when I think at this point in my career, I’m more of a huge believer in grassroots, grassroots initiatives, grassroots ideas, going back to the basics, and just really develop development based on not what you’re getting. But what you you know, what service that you can give, utilizing media, YouTube, all of the old video assets, media assets, I think it’s a great tool. But there’s nothing like word of mouth, there is nothing, you know, when you finish a course, and you do critiques, and looking back over those critiques, that’s valuable to us as a contract for development for coming up with new ideas, or even seeing how, you know, maybe there’s, there’s, there’s holes in what we’re doing, and we can we can improve ourselves professionally. There’s, there’s no value, like a law enforcement officer or firefighter or whoever received the training to go out and speak highly of your course and say, You know what, that was, that was world class training, I walked away from that. A better medic, I walked away from that a better officer, I walk away from that a better operator, and to some degree, the product will will sell itself if you can establish that baseline.

Aaron Spatz  37:58

Yeah, no, I mean, the thing that I was thinking about, as you’re saying, this was like, let let the best idea when not the most paid for idea when, right? And so it’s like, there’s, there’s a way to say, hey, yeah,

JB Soles  38:12

come like, you know, trying to figure out the Instagram algorithms, the hashtags, and then getting bombarded by the offers for, you know, paid paid promotion. And I learned very fast that can get expensive, that can get very, very expensive. And it’s it’s not always, it’s not always needed, nor is it always as effective as some may think.

Aaron Spatz  38:38

Sure. Yeah. And I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s something to be said for just a, just just delivering a quality product and service, and letting letting your customers tell the story. And then just distributing that that out. And that’s when I’ve advised so many people on this is like, it’s one thing to it’s one thing to tell the story for, for a prospective client, from yourself, but when you’ve got other people telling the story for you. I mean, it does, it literally doesn’t get any better than that. I mean, because it’s, you don’t have to take my word for it. You’re trusting somebody else’s experience and everything that they’ve experienced. So it’s it is interesting, because we do live in a time where it’s difficult, I think, for people to hop through the fluff of like, hey, like this is legitimately good, because there’s a bunch of people who are like, raving about it. But then there’s also this other dynamic of like, what do I believe? What is like, what’s been bought? Or what, like, what’s been paid for, you know, and so like, trying to understand that dynamic, and I think I think it ultimately comes out, like in the end because, like, the truth will win out, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. So, but that’s really cool. That’s, that’s, that’s amazing. So what’s the so what’s the current what’s the current state of affairs then for the for the company?

JB Soles  40:00

To be completely honest, it’s it’s it’s still a grassroots slow burn. Sure, I don’t have my I don’t have my phone ringing off the hook per se. And we’re okay with that when when we first started out, we threw, we threw, we threw all in. And what I mean by that is, you know, everyone pulled away from basically their, their day jobs or their, or their main revenue generators and said, you know, we’re all in and we’re gonna, we’re gonna make this work for all of us. And this is going to be, you know, our career in our day job. And it just did, it didn’t, it didn’t work, it didn’t work out that way. And if you can, you can, as an entrepreneur, you can bleed, you can bleed yourself, you can bleed yourself out financially, it takes it takes time, it takes time to build a reputation, it takes time to build a name, it takes time to build a brand. And, you know, thinking that you, you’re just going to come into an industry just arrogantly, I might add, you know, well, I have this experience, I have this superior product, and we’re just gonna, we’re just going to crush it. That that’s, I don’t think that’s always I don’t think that’s always the case. And I also think that’s a pitfall for some young companies or young entrepreneurs, because they start setting expectations that aren’t that are not realistic. You know, again, going back to this statistics, were the statistics surrounding pretty much any startup company, within the first years, sometimes two years, you’re still not looking at a significant revenue generator, other than covering overhead, and maybe just a little bit beyond that, depending upon circumstances are now at now, if you’re talking about putting bread on the table for for guys, and their and their family, you’ve you’ve possibly mismanaged your, your own expectations. So No, fortunately, I’ve been able to secure work outside of you know, outside of Contra group to help assist and offset and, and also grow and develop. I don’t want to ever stop learning, again, to re emphasize I’ve had the, the opportunity to go through training and other amazing companies training, and to see, you know, what is new, it’s it’s changing, it’s changing, it’s evolving all the time as it should be. Tactics are the same way. You know, it’s there’s a common term, I don’t know if I used to the last time I was on, but there’s a common term, I didn’t make it up, I heard or heard a guy say it once. And it struck me as funny. He’s like, Oh, that guy’s a SWAT asaurus. And, you know, guys not continuing to sharpen their sword not to continuing to grow, reaching a plateau and saying, you know, I’ve done this, I’ve done that. And this is, and that’s just that’s not that’s not it, tactics, medicine, it’s evolving. Every single technology obviously, is evolving every day and staying on top of it is very critical to any type of success.

Aaron Spatz  43:26

Yeah, well, I mean, yeah, I mean, that things are things are always changing, for sure. And I appreciate you, giving us some insights, I think it’s important for entrepreneurs. And for people that are, that are interested in starting their own their own ventures thing, it’s so important that they understand the realities of what that looks like. And so like, I really do appreciate your just your, your openness about this, like, going all in and like Hey, guys, like it’s not it’s, it’s working, just not working to the rate that we want it to work, right. And so, and you know, and I’ve fallen victim to that to just having mismanaged expectations, like, you actually think it’s always gonna be here. And it’s like, you’re actually down here, you know, and so it’s like, dadgummit, it’s never gonna happen as fast as we want it to. And so it’s like, we have overly optimistic forecasts and in scenarios and so and then when it doesn’t happen, and how do you deal with that? Right, like, how do you overcome that mental anguish and frustration and there’s a whole I mean, there’s a whole slew of emotions that that can come out of that and so I think it’s important people understand as best you can set set expectations as reasonable as possible. But then be prepared I think I think as you’ve so well put it, you know, be prepared for just the continued slow burn grassroots because you’re I mean, you’re totally right man, like it takes it takes multiple years, for most endeavors, of any substance and longevity to really to get off the ground and I’ve seen that I’ve seen that firsthand with with close friends of mine where it’s like it took them two, three, even four For years for things to really start to, like, for the wheels to start to grab traction, and then they start to go. And it’s like, wow, that’s, that’s, that’s some pretty crazy level of endurance to be able to see that far, you know, so

JB Soles  45:14

to two other critical aspects are, you know, conducting a very thorough and effective market analysis. Again, I think that I think that entrepreneurs can get caught up and I have, I have this amazing product, it’s signed, sealed, it’s, it’s packaged just right, it’s got all the bells and whistles. But the key is, is looking, Okay, who wants my product? Who’s buying my product? What is the what is the revenue growth of those within my niche or within my area of expertise. And I would say that those are things that we didn’t, we didn’t consider enough early on. Because the truth about it is, is that with, with TAC men, in particular, really any type of training, the ones that need it, the most are going to be the officers, any officer, and, you know, either their department can’t afford the training, or they’re paying out of their pocket. And I’ve come across a lot of officers who are paying for training out of their pocket, and I, I personally have a soft spot for that. I mean, it’s not only do you know, do they realize that they need it, but they’re willing to go out and take their own money to seek training. That’s that could mean the difference between life life or death. And that’s, that’s pretty powerful. That’s pretty powerful. And the second aspect of that is is prepare for and be the be aware of the unforeseen. We we could have never foreseen the ramifications of COVID, we could have never seen foreseen the ramifications of a defund the police initiative. Somebody had asked me that two years ago, I’m like, there’s no way they’re gonna do you know, that that’s absolutely ludicrous. So, you know, having an open mind for for things like that, that can happen. And being able to, you know, there’s a military term, I guess, fill in flow, you know, just being able to fill in flow, take it as it comes, and redirect what it is and figure out another path, seeking, you know, seeking paths of least resistance and pushing through. And, again, I would, I would love to have our courses, you know, booked up and, and, you know, there there are some providers out there that that are in that space, and I have no I have zero animosity for them. Because it again, it is something that, that there is a need, and there’s going to continue to be a need for. But but in the interim, the only thing that, you know, that I can do as a professional, and even on a personal level is continued to keep myself as sharp, mentally, physically tactically, technically, to, to be ready to pass on that knowledge to those who seek it.

Aaron Spatz  48:14

Yeah. Fantastic. JB the was Was there anything you want to cover on? Carry on? I know, we we talked about carry on. Earlier in, in our talk here. But was Was there anything else that you wanted to add there as we’re starting to kind of wind things down? Yeah, sure.

JB Soles  48:32

We were really making a push right now towards what we’re calling our ambassador program. And so you know, we started out with the Texas honor log, and one of our organizational goals was to create a log for each for each state or representative of the Fallen of each state. Since then, we do have a I don’t want to, I don’t want to diminish it by any means. But I’ve seen an offshoot log but last year, we created a 911 Honor log, unveiled on September, September 11. We also have a 911 Honor log in remembrance in honor of those who who sacrificed in Benghazi on the same, you know, the same day, obviously a different year. And we’re, we’re looking for and unveil, you know, and unveil the date and location for that as well. But as far as the ambassador program, we’re just really seeking the guidance of representatives from each state, whether they be law enforcement, military, they don’t have to be any of those. And we’re not, we’re not looking for any money per se. To do that we have sponsors that are willing to sponsor these logs. Cameron Dockery, the master carver, out of Lubbock, Texas, the guy is donating, you know, all of his time to carve these just incredible masterpieces of of honor and recognition. For our fallen, and so what we, you know, myself and the board members, we could go out and conceptually say, Okay, well, we’re going to do this for Nebraska, we’re going to do this for Virginia, we’re going to do this for Ohio. But, you know, I didn’t grow up in Ohio, I didn’t grow up in Nebraska. You know, we would like as people that are, you know, that were either born or residents of that state and to be able to come together with a collective of people, not just one and create something that is truly unique, and something that they can take pride in within that state that, that that State pride can can gravitate around through the through the honoring and the remembering such. You know, again, the symbolism within the logs is just is so great. And I feel like anything. Anything that can unite Americans in our country right now, I think is is something that is absolutely critical. We’re working with Ohio right now. We’re starting development possibly with with Washington state. And so it is it’s coming around slowly. But but but surely, and we’re really excited about that.

Aaron Spatz  51:24

That’s so cool. That’s so good. That’s a really that’s a really neat concept. And I think it helps kind of drive the patriotism, not just from a national standpoint, but then patriotism for your state. And it’s really like having a pride in your community, which I think is Yeah, I think that’s so vital, and so huge. So, yeah, that’s great.

JB Soles  51:43

I think that, you know, I think that if more if more people can connect with, again, Memorial icons, if more people can connect with what the cost is, for freedom, for justice, for their safety, for their security, if they if more people can connect with the blood that’s been shed, through each of those professions. I think that there that there can be a realignment of what is truly valuable. I think there can be a realignment of who our heroes are.

Aaron Spatz  52:21

Yeah, that’s a very, very well said, man. That’s yeah, that’s as powerful. So I’m gonna go and plug this for. So carry on. usa.org throw this up on the screen. So go there for more information. Yeah, I’ve been on the website. Absolutely. Tremendous. Just all all the work that’s been done there. And I’m so excited to see like to see it continue to grow. And then went through contra group calm up as well. So if you have any interest there, blades is so JB, what, is there a preferred way that you would have people reach out to you? Is there a preferred way that you’d like people to do that?

JB Soles  53:00

Sure. Yeah. Both of them the contact through the the website, which we’ll come to or eventually get to me. Or respective, to carry on and be JB, carry on hyphen usa.org, or JB at Contra? group.com.

Aaron Spatz  53:18

I’ll leave this one up there for now. So awesome. Awesome. Well, man, my friend, this has been this has been fun. It’s been it’s been great to catch up with you. It’s great to see and just hear all the things that you’re holding that you’re working on the the slow burn, but I think it’s not it’s it’s meaningful, right? It’s like what you’re doing has tremendous purpose and meaning behind it. I think that’s what makes it so powerful. And I really do believe that’s what makes things like this stick around. stand the test of time, because what you’re doing is is leaving a mark on legacy, it’s marking families, it’s it’s providing people hope. It’s providing people confidence. I mean, there’s so many things that you’re doing through through the service of both these both these organizations. And so I commend you, I applaud you in that I I’m, I’m here cheering for you, man. I think it’s terrific.

JB Soles  54:11

I appreciate it. I really do. Thank you so much for having having me on again. And you know, it’s it’s it’s my it’s my honor to be a part of these organizations and more importantly to be be around proud Americans that that want to make a difference.

Aaron Spatz  54:29

A percent. Thanks for listening to America’s entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course, you can write me directly at Erin at Bold media.us. That’s a Ron at Bold media.us So next time

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