#46 – Scott Jensen: From career military to new ventures and possibilities. Scott Jensen shares with me his perspective on the massive transition that takes place for veterans, whether initial term or career-length service, and how veterans are better positioned for entrepreneurship than they may realize. We dive into his story and the leap he took going from USMC retired to brand new ventures in private business. You’ll absolutely love and appreciate his approach, demeanor, and points he shares.
Aaron Spatz 00:05
I’m Aaron Spatz. And this is the Veterans Business Podcast. A podcast centered around the stories of US military veterans, and their adventures in the business world following their time and service. Its stories of challenges and obstacles. And then inside look at how veterans find their life’s work, their purpose, and their post military lives. Welcome to another edition of the Veterans Business Podcast. I’m Aaron Spatz. Thank you so much for tuning in. I’d love love to hear from you. I’d love to any feedback you have on the show, feel free to drop me a line at podcast at Bold media.us. And once again, the hope of the show is that you’re able to take away stories of encouragement. It may be a little bit of insight and some inspiration to whatever your your future endeavors may be, or the endeavors that you’re going through right now. So I’m excited to announce our guest this week. This week, Scott Jenson joins the show. Scott is a career marine aviation officer. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2016. He’s the founder and CEO of alpine global solutions. And he’s also the executive director at the National veteran, small business coalition. And so I really look forward to getting some of his insight and unique perspective. And, Scott, I just want to thank you so much for joining the show.
Scott Jensen 01:23
Thanks, Aaron. It’s great to be here with you and everyone else out there in the podcast land. Thanks for having me. And looking forward to this all week. Awesome. Awesome. Well,
Aaron Spatz 01:33
I’ve been looking forward to it also. And so would love to get plugged to get a little bit more, a little bit more perspective on you. So you share with us a little bit about your motivations for for joining like, what was your upbringing? Like what what inspired you to join the military and kind of take us on your, your initial career track?
Scott Jensen 01:51
Oh, yeah. Okay. Well, I you know, I was raised in a small town in the mountains of Idaho, very isolated, community, small town, Westerner type, attitude with really supportive family and everything. And my dad was a Vietnam veteran. And my grandfather was a world war two veteran. And I had always been enthralled and intrigued by their service. And, and so from really, I can’t even remember a day where I just wasn’t thinking about perhaps going in and, and joining the military and, and, for me, fortunately enough, that meant going to the Naval Academy and getting a commission in the Marine Corps from there. But, you know, it was just that respect and honor and love of the people who served and, and there was something bred in me through my family and everything about service to others over self. And, and there’s a lot of ways to manifest that. Mine happened to be in the military service. But you know, there’s a, there’s millions of other ways to to, to do that service, I guess I’d kind of put shot me out on the back end after 27 years of serving, so. Wow, well,
Aaron Spatz 03:12
well, first of all, I just want to thank you for your 27 years of service. That’s, that’s phenomenal. And so thank you. Thank you for that. And just to take us take us a little bit behind the process, what you know, was there, this is just me not knowing the process from the Academy. But did you did you serve a select? Was it ground or air? Was that kind of how it worked? Okay,
Scott Jensen 03:33
yeah, we so you serve a select either will service first navy or Marine Corps, and then those who of us who selected Marine Corps could select ground or aviation. And then the ground officers get further refined as they finish their basic school. And then aviation officers go down to flight school and, and get further designated into the specific platforms and that stuff once they get down and, and finish up near the end of their flight training down there. So the Navy, a whole nother story of ships and different types of, obviously service selection for them and opportunities from seals to ship drivers to all kinds of great opportunity. Sure, but sure, which I became truly aware of when my oldest child my my oldest daughter, graduated from my navy, and she’s now a jet pilot. So Oh, wow. Less less aware of a lot of the inner workings back when I graduated, but when it’s your child, you pay a lot more attention to it.
Aaron Spatz 04:37
So that’s amazing. And no doubt. Proud, proud father moment right
Scott Jensen 04:41
there. Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Aaron Spatz 04:43
Yeah. Oh, that’s so cool. That’s, that’s so cool. The, you know, and so like you You’ve obviously you’ve, you’ve, you’ve spent a few minutes in the Marine Corps. And so like you, I feel like you’ve got a little bit of a unique, unique perspective when it comes to business. You We were chatting off camera prior to rolling, but you know, was there anything like in your in your mind as you’re approaching retirement? Had it been like had it been a thought of like it? Like, were you really contemplating taking a role with the company? Or were you contemplating doing like your own stuff? Yeah. Like, where did that all come from?
Scott Jensen 05:23
Yeah, great question. Aaron. And I was all over the page, like a lot of people who, who, particularly those who serve, you know, long enough to be able to retire. I think, frankly, there’s a lot of room for help with people. And I spend a lot of time one on one with, with folks who call me and say, Hey, talk me through transition, What mistakes did you make? How did you go about doing that? You know, there’s so many misnomers out there, and so many in in years of the unknown, and you know, the fact is, the longer you spend in the military, and a guy like me, I mean, I went out of high school, to a service academy straight into the Marine Corps, there’s a lot that’s taken care for of you, when you do that, you know, you the unknown is what my next assignment will be, well, I get promoted. And those are all important things. But when you start looking at facing the end of your military career, those unknowns and your preparation for those unknowns are a lot more extreme and a lot more frightening. And you know, that the standard path for a guy like me, a colonel coming out of the Marine Corps, would probably have been to, you know, go work for a government contractor, or were a lot of the people that I had connections with. I wasn’t interested in that not no judgment against it, it just didn’t seem like the right thing for me. So I’ve really pursued more of a nonprofit approach. And that’s really where I landed in a full time position in the nonprofit space. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time since my retirement in with various nonprofits as an executive in a couple of nonprofits. But to go back to your original question, I wasn’t thinking of going out on my own. You know, I went through the transition process. And that just sounded frightening to me, you know, franchising starting my own business, how much prep do you get as a military person? To Stein, you know, this, I mean, you’re, you’re a small business owner, too, it’s, there’s, there’s a lot that goes into that, that we just don’t take a lot of time to pay attention to, it really takes a special person doing a lot of special work and preparing in advance, to really have themselves set up for that. Now, I will say, knowing what I know, now, I would have had a lot more confidence. And I think people who are getting ready to transition can be confident and should be competent. When I went to the transition program, you know, they talked about different tracks franchising, starting your own business. And I just flat out rejected even thinking about those opportunities, frankly, out of fear, fear of the unknown, and not knowing how to go about doing that. And, you know, it was it was just something I had not been aware of, and, and knowing now, what I know about what the Small Business Administration has to offer veterans specifically, what other types of organizations that are out there that have offer veterans and veteran entrepreneurs and small business, a lot of lot of great veteran service organizations out there. There are incredible opportunities for veterans who want to become small business owners. And, you know, in my role at MV SBC is the Executive Director, I get to see the statistics that show the success of veterans, small business owners over others who go into small business and, and the success rate is is higher, it’s still, it’s still high risk. It’s still but you know, there’s a lot of opportunity out there that I can get into more detail.
Aaron Spatz 09:07
Yeah, no. Yeah. Like, I like to jump into that here, here and here in just a couple minutes. But the No, I think, I mean, you’ve hit it on the head. And I would just kind of like to make a point to kind of what you’re saying here is like, I think for a lot of folks, they’re at the six or seven level or higher, the oh, 405 level and higher. You spent a career right, you’ve spent you spent 20 plus years in, we all we all know the general career progression, what that needs to look like, you get two or three options every couple of years and you know, one of them is bad. So you really only have two options. And then it’s really just shooters preference really at that point or kind of is it in line with your career goals are? Yeah, they’re usually you’ve got enough enough insight to kind of understand what, what what the best move would be either for your family or for your career, or hopefully it’s both not Not always though. And but the point that I guess what I’m getting at is like, it’s all laid out for you. And so there’s without I guess, realizing it, we there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that, you know, you’ve got pretty restrictive guardrails to some extent. And then when you realize that you can go do whatever you want to go do. It’s really daunting. It is scary. And yeah. And so there’s a lot of uncertainty around that. So like, that’s just part of your story.
Scott Jensen 10:29
The other problem is that, particularly, the more senior you get the, the busier you are, the more responsibilities you have. So your ability to think about preparing for what’s next is challenging. And frankly, I would say it’s, there’s that challenge, whether you’re seeing or not, we all have responsibilities. And typically, in our Marine Corps careers. No one walks into your workspace center or your workspace or out on the range and says, Hey, why don’t you take a break and go figure out how to run a small business before you get out? Right? I mean, they they, it’s day on, stay on, do your job, you know, do it well, there’s national security and life and death implications of it. So, of course, we all want to do well. And I will applaud the new transition programs that are really trying to drag that awareness and that decision making time earlier into people’s careers is hypercritical, but equally hypercritical are the individuals taking that seriously. Okay, if I if I have one piece of advice that I always give folks who call me and ask about transition, is it start early, start thinking about your purpose, what you want to do, how you want to do it, what your priorities are, what are important to you, and then start making, taking some action, that that helps you move in that direction. And it doesn’t have to be honestly, it doesn’t have to be go get a master’s degree or get an MBA, I’m talking about research the Small Business Administration’s website and start calling the you know, the the resources that are out there to start asking questions about how do I how do I register and start my businesses and yet loans and get financing and what kind of franchises are out there, just simple things that you can do to start getting yourself aware and prepared to transition? Well, and
Aaron Spatz 12:30
you know, there’s in there’s, there’s so much information out there, and there’s actually there’s a lot of people that want to help, there’s a lot of resources, and it can be a little again, I don’t know why I like this word. But it can be a little daunting to kind of sift through all that. So but you have a really unique perspective in your in your in your role. So like, if you don’t mind, if you can share it, maybe generally speaking some of the statistics and then, you know, but why, like why? Why do you think that is?
Scott Jensen 12:59
Well, I mean, to me, I love veterans, and I love people who serve. So maybe I’m not the most objective person in the world. But I will tell you that either. Well, I know. I mean, that’s why I say you say thank you for your service. I say thank you back because we both you know, right, yeah. And we’ve both kind of been through the fires of hell of leaving uniform, and then figuring out what’s next and trying to be successful. There. But I will say and what I tell audiences and the people that I talk to, is, would you rather do business? Would you rather assume risk with working with a veteran or working with a non veteran? And what what foundations? Do? Can you make an assumptions can you make about that veteran that you can’t make with other people, you know, that they’ve gone through boot camp, or some other type of intensive entry level training, you know, that they’ve been trained in a trade or some type of an expertise, you know, that they’ve faced incredibly stressful and strenuous life experiences, both professionally and personally, in whatever’s demanded of them and their role, regardless of service. And they’ve come out on the back end as a success. Not everybody can say that. You don’t get that foundational, you know, platform for most people that you do business with. And so I say to those who should who want to do business with people look for a veteran owned business for one thing, and to those veterans who are thinking about whether they’ve got what it takes. I can answer categorically. Yes, you have what it takes. You’ve already you’ve already proven it. You’ve already you’ve walked that line. And there are a lot of people out there with a lot less experience. They seem to have a lot of confidence, but don’t have the capability. And I think veterans oftentimes are just the opposite. They have the capability and they lack the call. confidence, and anything we can do to help them get that confidence and, and support them in the process, helping them get the answers, getting them with the right people. There’s there’s great opportunity and our nation needs that now more than ever, you know, I mean, why? Because veterans hire other veterans, veterans hire military spouses, veterans have a loyalty to those populations. We’re seeing large unemployment populations in the veteran, but particularly in the military and veteran spouse communities. And to me, this is an opportunity for growth, opportunity to give back and an opportunity for a challenge that in some cases is higher than the challenges faced in uniform. Yeah, it’s like, like we both know, it ain’t easy. It just ain’t easy. Yeah,
Aaron Spatz 15:50
no, it’s the it’s really well said. And I think that’s the,
Scott Jensen 15:53
it’s a not hidden
Aaron Spatz 15:57
information. I just feel like it’s not it’s not talked about, it’s not talked about quite a bit. And then I think there’s an additional stigma associated with it. So and I think I think I asked the Marine Corps by the worst at it too, right. So like, we’re, we’re all generally speaking, really no high D or very high ambition, very driven, go getters. And so you don’t want to admit that you haven’t figured it out, or you don’t want to admit that you’re struggling or you don’t want to admit that, you know that and, and so it’s like this, this pride thing. And, but it’s so much uncertainty. And so like, you know what? Like, I mean, because you you said it so so wells few minutes ago with the the balance of confidence, and capability. And what do you see, and you may not even know this right now, but I’m just curious, like, what your what your gut tells you of, like, what is the way as veterans, whether whether it’s guys that are looking to get out either as transition or retire? Or they’re wanting to go start their business, but
Scott Jensen 17:04
how do they build that confidence? Well, I think one thing and, and something I failed at, for a long time, was understanding the value of networking. And, and, and understanding what networking means. And when I was getting out of the Marine Corps, I saw networking and was told network network network. And frankly, I was I, I saw it as a transactional endeavor where I was going out and asking for things from someone and expecting things from someone. And I had a bad perspective on them. And I was also uncertain concerned about stretching out and getting out beyond my, my, the boundaries of the people that I already knew, and going and talking and opening myself up and you know, just cold calling people that might be an areas that I’m interested in, but I have no expertise or knowledge. And that’s precisely what networking is designed for, is to go out and find out about things and learn about other people. But I also think that it’s also not a transactional process. And if you treat it as transactional, you’re not going to want to do it, because it’s miserable. And you’re not going to be successful. And people aren’t going to want to network with you. Um, but so I think the the idea of networking and doing it, right rectly, you know, learning about people looking at it away as a way of connecting with people who can share their views with you, who can share their ideas, who can who can just help educate you, everyone’s will loves to talk about themselves. You know, and that’s a good thing. And, you know, if you approach that from there, you start making connections and making friends, frankly, that’s how you and I met, right? I mean, LinkedIn, hey, let’s talk we might have some connections through almost a year ago. And it’s led to this connection that you and I are engaged with, what each other weekly now, right? And so many times, once I embrace that idea of networking for the value of, of what it is and kind of stepped out of my comfort zone, that that is key. And networks connect to networks, people to people, I have a mentor that says, you know, networking is always a bank shot. It’s never a direct, you know, score, and you just never know how something’s going to develop personally or professionally. Yeah, I’m out of networking. And I think that’s one area to really boost confidence. If you if you just rip off the band aid, start reaching out with the right motives for reaching out to people and explain who you are and what you’re doing. People react to that whether you know them or not, whether they’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 or whether they’re a small business owner or they’re just some Rokan retired Colonel like me, who you might want to ask about small business owners. We’re all willing to talk and particularly for veterans and military folks, you know, we are all open to that. So, yeah, that’s, that’s a huge way of gaining confidence. The other way of gaining confidence, you know, I reflect back to the interview of a four star general and World War Two, and I’ll slaughter the story. So if somebody knows a better, forgive me, but he was being interviewed, and he said, and the interviewer said, you’ve made a lot of good decisions in your life general, what do you attribute to making those good decisions, and he said, making bad decisions. And And my point is, is you gain confidence by going out there and trying, and putting yourself out there, and not always being successful in what you do. In fact, most of the time, probably not being successful, but getting back on the horse, and trying again. And if you if you try to avoid that discomfort, it’s actually going to have a negative impact on your success, in my view. So networking, and being willing to make some mistakes and get back on that horse and are two very prominent confidence builders in my mind. Yeah. Yeah.
Aaron Spatz 21:12
I could not agree more. could not agree more, I think. And I think actually, and I’m really glad you brought it up. But I, I really do believe that networking is one is a very underutilized and underappreciated skill set or tool. When is done, right? Just you said, it has to be done. Right. And, and I think for a lot of folks, they just don’t know, like, okay, like, I know, I need a good LinkedIn profile, right? Like, I know, I need to, I know, I need to look polished, I know, I need to write my buy, like, I know all these like little, like, tactical level things that I need to do, but, but the actual execution of like, okay, but now what, like, and, you know, and I’ve been blown away by the power of the veterans community, I’ve been so overwhelmed with I just, I, there’s days, I just, I cannot believe just how incredibly supportive the community is, but you have to reach out. And I think that’s the point you’re making.
Scott Jensen 22:13
Yeah, they’re not gonna come to you. I, you know, yeah. The other thing, you know, that comes to mind before it slips out of my mind, which happens, it seems more frequently these days. But, you know, that I would emphasize is, so many people I talked to, and I do talk to a lot of folks who are in transition or getting ready to transition. And particularly the older population of folks, regardless of rank, whether they’re enlisted or officer, they typically have a family, they have responsibilities. They’re uncertain about the options, and that oftentimes translates into, I’m just going to take a job because I need a paycheck. And then I’ll figure it out from there. And, and to me, that is one of the most dangerous approaches to transition that I’ve seen out there. But I will tell you, Aaron, it is one of the most consistent approaches that I have seen out there. And it leads to a couple things. For one thing, most of us are going to jump from one or two jobs as we figure ourselves out and transition. But we also have an incredible amount of stress on our families, and our kids. And in our you know, our social connections and the people who matter to us in our own health, our own health and in an emotional and in and physical health. And when you make a step that just says I’m just gonna go out and earn a paycheck, just try to get get the dollars flowing, because I have all these responsibilities. That’s a shortcut to turmoil at home, it’s, it’s a almost assured bet that you’re going to go to a job that you don’t like, and after a year, you’re going to resent them for taking it, you’re going to resent yourself for taking it, you’re going to resent your family for letting you take it. And it just has this you know the snowball effect on your attitude. And, and you leave bitter. And, you know, even with the best of understanding of yourself, and an emotional intelligence, a purpose driven understanding, you’re likely going to jump from a couple jobs as you get it all figured out. But to add add stress to that by simply selling out and taking the taking the easy deal and I understand how, again, frightening it is I got to get a paycheck I’m I’ve spent 2030 years with a paycheck coming in and all of a sudden that sucker is going to dry up. And, but but being solely focused on getting to that next paycheck without doing all of the other work behind it, and really put you in a spot that it isn’t healthy for you personally, professionally, or family. So just just advice to avoid.
Aaron Spatz 24:57
Yeah, well, I think it’s I think really what you’re saying there too is figuring out what it is that you want. You know, so like, really take stock of what you want, like, if you if you want to go work somewhere where like what, what kind of industries do want to work in? If you want to start your own thing, well, what does that plan look like? You know, do you have enough runway to go ahead? And just Yeah, while in now and try it? Or do you need to moonlight there? Like what does that look, but I think the point you’re making there is like, you got to think through it, you got to really think, make the decision that’s going to help like, I mean, it’s got to provide your for your family, but be it’s going to help you feel the most fulfillment and satisfaction with what what you’re doing, am I am I understanding you? Right?
Scott Jensen 25:37
Absolutely. And I think the, to me, this also gets back to the value of networking, your, your, it’s really hard to spend your career as a helicopter pilot, or as an artillery officer or an infantry officer or a jet pilot, or a surface warfare officer, or, or you know, name any one of the specialties and be able to say, this is what I this is what makes me like to come to work every day. That is translatable to what I might be able to do out in the civilian world, it takes some time to be able to understand and evaluate that. And I don’t think most of us can do that without help without opening up to listening to our spouses if we’re fortunate enough to have a spouse that’s supportive family members, mentors, peers, and that network. And that network of people who may have nothing to do with the military. But you reached out to a year or two before you transitioned and established a relationship, who will see something in you that they can define differently than all the people in uniform can define for you. Yeah. So again, that community activity of involving yourself with others, and then being willing to be vulnerable enough to ask for their thoughts and inputs are the critical factors to that. Yeah, no,
Aaron Spatz 27:01
no, I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s really good. And then the other point that you’d made was getting out there and trying to back to the competence point we’re talking about a minute ago. So and I like in, like, I personally can relate to this, just within the last six years of trying a number of different things, and even recently, within the last one to two years trying different things. And, and you are so so right is like, and so I think it’s part of my encouragement to people and I’m curious your perspective on this too. But encouraging people to like, assuming that you can meet your responsibilities in your, in your, your responsibilities as as a contributing member, to your family. And in covering all the things you need to cover. Assume that you can do all that. Going out there and give it giving it a shot, or, you know, being thoughtful about it. Like Don’t be stupid, but being thoughtful about how you want to do and go and go try different things. Go go try and taste different things, maybe it’s a gift, or it could even apply to a job if you’re wanting if you’re thinking want to go work like in technology, maybe go try work at a software company, go work for a hardware vendor, or whatever. But if it’s in business, going out there and just giving it a shot with with an idea, maybe partner somebody because you’re going to learn stuff, like you’re gonna learn taxes and formations and contracts and taxes, and all and all sorts of stuff, right? But you’re gonna learn a lot of things that relate to business development, marketing, and strategy and networking, and then and then maybe, maybe want to pivot and go do something else. So oh, that’s just kind of like my thoughts on on what Yeah,
Scott Jensen 28:40
and what you’re not and you know, what, it doesn’t have to be full time either, right? You can, you can be working and take it on a couple of these other exploratory ideas that may not come with a paycheck. And, you know, I think to your point, be willing to jump out there and interact with a couple of different levels with a couple of different things. That was the other thing I I really made a mistake in my transition early on in my transition is I avoided opportunities out of fear that they would seal my calendar up too much or that I would overextend myself. And it really wasn’t frankly, until the last year or so that I really, for me, personally pushed myself out there to commit to a few more things than I really felt like and I discovered that about myself as I was governing myself way too far back out of fear of over committing and that that was holding me back from learning from meeting people that would help me learn more. You know, spending time with people that are different than me that I could get different perspectives on and those people have connected me to other people who’ve connected me to other people who some has led to business. Some has just led to great people that I like to be around and, and meet up on zoom right now because we We can’t have coffee together. Personally, you know, but But it’s enriched my life beyond just the business enrichment. Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s,
Aaron Spatz 30:10
I mean, I love the I just, I just love, love those examples. And I love. You know, again, I didn’t mean to, like, I think we accidentally stumbled into the structure of this conversation has been, but it’s been perfect because he, you know, once again with with your role in in in some of the stuff you’re able to do, you kind of have a front row seat to a lot of these things. And so identifying the confidence versus capability and so understanding and for those listening and watching understand that you have the capability, you may not realize you have the capability, which is where the confidence comes in. And so, to your point, you’re getting out there and networking with folks just wanting to pick their brain not being salesy about it or Bing Bing, my advice to people that have asked me about the networking people might make it abundantly clear that you’re that you’re just you’re wanting to receive information, you’re not you’re it this isn’t a bait and switch. And it may take a couple messages, because I don’t know about you, I get I get tons of messages a day from people that look like they have good intentions of connecting. And then 25 seconds after connecting with somebody on LinkedIn, I get this. Now I get a, you know, an automated solicitation over the next three months for stuff.
Scott Jensen 31:26
Yes. So Don’t you hate that? Yeah,
Aaron Spatz 31:31
I hate it so much. It’s such a tremendous waste of time. But
Scott Jensen 31:36
to your point, yep, you know, the same with me, I, particularly last year, as I was trying to get my company off the ground, I did, you know, very specific search of some affiliation terms in LinkedIn, that I might have something in common with, you know, and for me, I’m a Naval Academy graduate. So it focused on Academy grads. For others, it could be whatever university you attended, or some your specialty and your, or it could just be Marine, or navy, or Air Force or army. Um, and I, you know, I started reaching out to people, and I was disciplined about it for a change, I had a spreadsheet and, you know, hey, I’m gonna reach out to these people and see if I can’t learn something from them. And their response rate was incredible. You know, I mean, you’re a web guy, normal search engine, if you get like a one or 2% response rate from people, you know, looking at WEBS and stuff, you’re pretty happy about that. I’m about 40 to 50% of the people I reached out to responded. And half of them I had a conversation with that helped me formulate my you know, but all I did was say, Hey, I’m trying to start a new business. I’m interested in the work that you’ve done. We have an affiliation. We both served. I would sure appreciate some of your time. I’d love to hear your perspective. Yep. And then be legitimate with that. Don’t don’t follow the next one up with good now Now, will you give me business? You know, right.
Aaron Spatz 33:06
Exactly. Exactly. No, that’s, that’s, that’s exactly it. And I think, you know, again, with enough those conversations, and you’re able to build confidence, you’re able to gain more insight. It will inform your business decisions, and maybe maybe a couple of different ideas or things that you you’re stewing on, and it could it could help you course, correct. Because you’re getting more insightful information from people that have gone out and done it. years, years and years and years ahead of us. So, yeah, nuts,
Scott Jensen 33:35
and they want to share it, you know, I mean, those interactions, you’ll get business plans, you’ll get, you know, how to write a contract, you’ll get suggestions on proposal writing. And when I say suggestions, I mean, like hardcopy examples of your just change your name and use this, you know, I mean, we’re particularly veteran, non veteran, we are a very sharing community. There’s no original ideas out there are some and most people are doing really well in business. But, you know, when it comes to just the baseline, how to run a business stuff, it’s all been thought of, there’s somebody out there with a solution that can help you. Yep. So good.
Aaron Spatz 34:13
So you kind of switching gears then. So share with us a little bit about the, the genesis of your company, kind of how that how that how that came about. What what like what really inspired you to,
Scott Jensen 34:26
to just go for it? Yeah, yeah. To a couple things, for one thing, like I said, I was in the nonprofit space, managing executive roles, started in higher education and then move to the veteran serving organizations and enjoyed that. But I also found again, discovering about myself that I get itchy and want a couple projects and want to move on to things you know, I mean, sounds like our military careers, right? You move every three years inside of that three year window. You Typically change, you know, as you get older or promoted you change jobs, you know, and, and I discovered that that was particularly one of the reasons that was appealing to me in the military. And staying on long, in longer roles with one focus sometimes was less intriguing to me. And at the same time, I had a lot of peers, nonprofit leaders, mill military mentor, saying, Why aren’t you taking the skills that you have, and helping others do that and helping, you know, rise all boats with that, and, and you should really consider starting your own company. And then, you know, talking good with bad full transparency on a year ago, almost to the day, I got a good push in that direction, because I lost my job. And, you know, with with a nonprofit, and I, and thankfully, I had kind of gotten my business off the ground, I had all the paperwork, I you know, had gotten that started. But I, I finally had to have come to Jesus a reckoning and say, Hey, are you going to continue to go out and look for full time jobs? Or are you going to start this, this business that you’ve been aspiring to? And it was terrifying? I mean, it was walking off the end of a board, because what if I can’t get clients? How long will it take for me to get clients how, you know, when will I you know, looking at your family, saying, Hey, we might have a couple of months of spare time here, without a salary, you know, and, and thankfully, you know, we, those of us who are retired have pensions, and we have medical, you know, so it’s not as bad, but you still are used to, to a salary. But it was at that point that I, I just had to find a fish or cut bait. And, and I, I had to take a risk, and probably one of the biggest risks of my life, to, to, to meet all into my company, and start marketing and start reaching out there. And then the client started coming in. No, and, and, and leveraging, you know, my premise, I do a lot of management support for nonprofits and other organizations. I think there’s a lot of times, organizations and companies pay for full time senior executives, and pay a lot of money for them when there are people like me who were willing to help them at less than full time rate as a consultant, and you don’t have to pay all of those overhead costs and expenses of a full time person. And so far, that premise has been been paying off for, for me, business line.
Aaron Spatz 37:39
That’s really cool. So I mean, just to kind of go a little bit deeper, and I’m, like, kind of plugging you here. But like, what’s the, but like, but what’s, what’s the, what’s the target kind of demo that you’re like? What’s the role? Like what like, what’s, what’s the main service that you’re that you’re offering through your business?
Scott Jensen 37:58
Well, we, you know, I have a long, long history of understanding and having managed cultural change, particularly in my latter years in the Marine Corps, so I have a passion for helping organizations, probably at the smaller to mid level, understand their culture, and look for paths to increase it, you know, increasing the capabilities or, and, and helping their people be very satisfied at work. And having done the corresponding increase in bottom line support. So, so I that’s one of our focus areas is really using the lessons and the talents of retired military folks to understand and evaluate culture, and provide tools to identify where there might be weaknesses in a culture and ways to improve that. And then for me, also is management issues I, I, I love dealing with culture. Every time I turn around, someone’s needing up my help with managing either a nonprofit grant, or some type of an organization, either part time or or for a short time focused nonprofits and small business, small meaning, you know, probably less than 50 type of employees, you know, people who are trying to grind it out. Yeah. Yeah. That’s
Aaron Spatz 39:28
super cool. The shirt. I mean, you may have actually already shared this. What is one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had to endure? Just within I mean, I guess it’s been pretty, fairly fresh, but like, but what’s a what’s or maybe a better question to be what’s a business challenge that you’ve had to overcome that maybe you weren’t quite anticipating or a an example of, you know, a situation that you just you you really weren’t into you really weren’t ready for but you realize like, oh, wow, like this is this is actually a really big opportunity, whether it’s getting more deals or maybe understanding that there’s a need somewhere else in the marketplace, like just maybe maybe some, like big lessons learned or things. Yeah, I noticed? Well, I think
Scott Jensen 40:21
a couple things. One of them would be, I came into this with an idea of where I wanted to go with my business. And you know, you have to be disciplined, you have to have an eye, you need to be have a niche, you know, and you can’t be all things to all people. But you have to be flexible, with the opportunities that present themselves as well. So you know, they’re, particularly as a small business owner or consultant, or in a lot of other roles, you may think the path is going to take you hear. But as you go about your business development and the organization of your company, the path may shift a little bit for you. And you may want to continue to maintain capabilities and opportunities in that other area. But if you see this opportunity, shifting a little bit, and it likely has a correlation with, with your capabilities and your strengths, that you’re going down, you just didn’t see it as as such until you so so having your eyes wide open and being willing to, to take the opportunities that you present themselves is one of those things, I think learning about myself, or the biggest challenge that goes back to what we’ve been talking about is having patience, and being willing to take some risk. You know, I, I realize, particularly right now with the state of with COVID. And everything, unemployment is rampant, people are struggling to pay bills. So I don’t want to understate that. But But I also would say is, I have learned not to rush into things, even if it means that I don’t have a paycheck for a month or two or three. While I’m patiently and confidently waiting for the next thing, they’ll confidence while you’re in the midst of it, you’re eating your nails every night and going, Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow, have I screwed my family, myself, everybody up your butt. But having that tactical patience and being willing to write it out and realizing that you know what, I can make this work if I need to for a month or two. While I wait for the opportunity. As long as I can answer some questions Have I done everything I can. By Have I gotten all the help that I that’s out there for me. And on my continent in my plan. You know, if you’re lazy, if you’re not willing to work hard for it, if you haven’t put the time in, if you’re expecting someone else to solve your problems, then you might be in you might be in a panic, but if you can answer you know, if you’re confident in all those things, it will come. And I had you know a guy very close to you and me Tom Daley told me when in the midst of not having a client, Scott, it will come it will come my experiences it will come. And it came it came for me and I’m saying it will come for others too.
Aaron Spatz 43:23
That’s great. Yeah, I think it’s incredible, incredible words of wisdom. And I know you did a really good job of articulating the balance between ensuring that you are doing all the things that are within your control, right? You’re you’re you are stewarding the business well, you’re, you are taking responsibility for what you need to do. And, and then just trusting that, okay, like this is this is what I’ve done. Right? So it’s either it’s, it’s got to happen, otherwise, I’m gonna I’m gonna have to amend, I’m gonna have to go do something else, we’re gonna have to add something to that. But there’s another thing that you said that I thought was really fascinating. And I think a lot of people can relate to this, which was a lot of the learning that you’re going to understand about yourself, but also about the business. And, and I and I relate to that really, really personally. And so just understanding as the business evolves. And if you start to see and I’d like a like to suit you think of this, but you may you may start off one direction offering a certain type of breadth of services or a product or whatever it is that you do. And then but over time, you’re consistently going back to a couple of things that you either a are very good at, you’re interested in, but most importantly people are asking you to do these different things. And kind of causes you to realize wait now, there may be there this may warrant the baby, go do the good do the homework on it, but this may warrant a little bit more focus. Maybe I haven’t made this a primary offering. Maybe this has been a secondary or tertiary or or nothing type of offering with my business? Like, what’s your thoughts on that?
Scott Jensen 45:03
Yeah, totally agree. And I think that, that signals and those are messages coming from other people who are either smarter than me or, or know more or have different experiences too. So, you know, the first client I picked up with my company was tangentially related to what I was advertising. And he posted a, they posted a need. And I responded to that need. And as they as we were talking about the proposal and getting ready to take the next steps, this, this guy who was talking to me who has has it, you know, he’s an incredibly established, private equity type person now works in philanthropic endeavors. And he says, you know, Scott, it would appear to me from your resume, that you might have a strength in, in helping us do this, which was coaching, executive coaching. And I really hadn’t given much thought to it, you know, it to me, everybody’s doing executive coaching. And what distinguishes me, yeah, we’re all retired Marine leaders. Yeah, we can all coach all that stuff, and taking nothing away from those who are succeeding in it. It just seemed like there wasn’t much Scott Jensen could offer. So so this guy was looking at me saying, I see a strength of yours, that you’re not leveraging that, that I’m willing to pay you for? Will you do this too? And I, you know, you’re gonna pay me to do it. Yeah, absolutely, I will do that. But to your point is, other people look at you through a different lens, and don’t necessarily put up barriers that we put up for ourselves. It’s so good, that that are that are able to articulate and understand you in a way where, where you can contribute and contribute positively through your purpose. Yeah. And if you don’t listen to those opportunities, you might really be missing, you know, something that’s going to be incredibly fulfilling.
Aaron Spatz 46:58
Yeah. That’s so good. That is that is a there’s, there’s a lot there to what you just said, and it’s so important to pay attention. Because I, when, when it’s you, it’s it’s not as obvious or it’s so obvious that you miss it. Yeah. Sure, well, that’s just who I am. And let’s just, that’s just how I am. I’ve always been this way. I’ve always been the guy who did you know, X, Y, or Z, I’ve always been the person that people talk to about this or whatever. And so you just you don’t think much about it, right? And so, and then when you have an outsider’s perspective on it, and they’re like, Hey, wait, like this is this is a legit strength? And I’m like that I’m willing to pay you for it. Let’s do this. And so and then and then what’s really neat, though, is if you start hearing that consistently, you maybe hear that once or twice again, from other from other sources or, or it gets kind of confirmed or or or shown to you that that is that that is worth pursuing? Because maybe there’s some other types of signals and things coming in that kind of reinforce that idea, then it’s it is it is it is absolutely worth taking a closer look out. So no, I think that’s, I think it’s phenomenal. I appreciate sharing that, you know, in any of it, as we’re kind of winding down our time here, I would love to really just kind of hand this last segment back to you, if I know we’ve we’ve really covered quite a bit of stuff. But and so there may, there may not be a whole lot left here, but it would love to, would love to give you and you just kind of give you the floor, if there’s any if there’s any other things that we didn’t have time to talk a little bit more in substance, if there’s any final parting shots, or wisdom or maybe anything that we hadn’t really covered as fully I’d love to love to inspect over.
Scott Jensen 48:40
Yeah, thanks, Aaron, I appreciate that. I think we’ve covered you know, quite a bit here. And, you know, I’ll put my money where my mouth is the thing I would close with anyone who’s listening if if you have connect with us, connect with me on LinkedIn, love to have the connection, love to interact, if I can be a resource, or share a resource or point you in a direction personally, you know, I’m always open to those types of connections and paying it back. And that’s important. And that’s what veterans are about is, is doing the hard work, doing it together and then paying that back and respecting each other, too. I love being a veteran and that’s why I love working with and advocating for veterans. And, and the other thing I’ll just reinforce, we all have to get out of the military at some point, whether that’s after a first enlistment or whether that’s after 30 or 40 years, you got to get out. So you might as well plan for it with the same rigor that you plan for your operations and everything else. And and don’t delay. Don’t be don’t let fear limit you from thinking through the options and reach out to people to help coach yourself through that. And it takes it’s a two or three or four year process, you know, so be thinking About that, you know, and take the time to start understanding yourself.
Aaron Spatz 50:07
Love it, love it and I just against God, I just wanna thank you so much for for taking time to be with me. Thanks for Thanks for sharing some of your experience and your wisdom. And I just really, really do greatly appreciate you joining the show.
Scott Jensen 50:18
Thanks, Aaron. It was great to be with you all today. And I’ve enjoyed the time goes by fast, isn’t it when you’re enjoying your conversation? Sure. Thanks a lot.
Aaron Spatz 50:32
Wow, I really enjoy that conversation, the pace of the conversation and just how focused and the different directions that we went with the conversation I thought was really insightful. So I know I say this after almost every episode, but really, like go back kind of study some of these different points in these different ideas. Because I think there’s a lot there, especially with a confidence issue, or with a lot of veterans. I personally I can relate to that in in some aspects. And then I’ve seen many others, where you got the gifting, you’ve got the know how you know how to some extent you have the capability to get the know how it’s probably better, better stated, but then just lacking the confidence. And so, but beyond that, the networking piece, knowing how to do that doing it well. There’s just so much there. So anyway, I just want to thank you so much for listening so much for watching, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. See ya