Dave is a retired infantry officer and Afghanistan war veteran. His goal is to help 100k veterans lose 2 million pounds. He’s the creator of the BE.A.S.T. Body Blueprint program that was built on the principles that got him from not being able to get out of bed to competing in the Crossfit Open, Spartan Races and the Ironman. You can find more mobility-based exercises in his new book, “The Nimble Warrior”, now available on Apple Books and Amazon or tune into his new Hard To Kill Podcast.
Imagine you had a young, highly skilled, disciplined individual who thrives under pressure in your business. You’d be pretty happy you hired them, right?
Now imagine that individual decides to create a business. Knowing their capacity for hard work, honesty and teamwork, would you be more or less likely to shop and or invest in their endeavour?
With nearly 21M veterans in Canada and the U.S. combined and a large new batch of very young, highly motivated veterans that have resulted from the 20-year, War on Terror this is an untapped pool of incredible people.
I served for fifteen years in the Canadian Armed Forces and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. I was injured over there and it resulted in me having to leave the Army and fall back on my education as a high school teacher. My injuries became worse once I left the military and it forced me to find solutions. I decided to learn why I was in so much pain and fix the underlying issues that lead to my back and knee issues. From this experience, I was able to overcome but not only that; I was able to share my successes with my friends and former colleagues. Before I knew it, other veterans were interested in my method and my business. This is how Dave Morrow Personal Training was born.
But why wasn’t teaching a good fit for me?
Essentially, I was used to having an entire area of operations to manage with reconstruction projects, school re-openings and “shuras” amongst all the local Afghan leadership. I was teaching twenty students how to multiply fractions which left me bored and exhausted. This is classic underemployed which is a significant issue for veterans.
33% of veterans are underemployed in the U.S., meaning they are doing work that doesn’t fully use their skills. This is a strong driver towards entrepreneurship; it definitely was for me.
One in 10 businesses in the U.S. is veteran owned which translates into about 2.5M businesses total. U.S. veterans are 45% more likely to start their own businesses however entrepreneurship rates have been plummeting with the newest crop of veterans, post 9/11.
You may have noticed that I’m Canadian but my data heavily refers to the U.S. That’s because Canada has next to no data on veteran entrepreneurs. Some organizations are trying to change that but progress is slow.
The Veteran “Renaissance”
My intent is to rapidly bring awareness to what I call, “The Veteran Renaissance”. This is a term I coined a few years back on my podcast, The Hard To Kill Podcast with Dave Morrow when describing the large influx of Canadian “vetrepreneurs” in my network. Not only are Canadians waking up to the idea of an entire, new subsection of entrepreneurship that is veteran operated but the “Renaissance” is borderless. Ideas and creative opportunities are free-flowing, from coast to coast and it’s encouraging more veterans to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Since the last twenty years of warfighting were multi-national, so is our business approach. I currently run two online companies and rely heavily on my American network of military veterans to help promote and create new business opportunities. My podcast and Facebook groups have now crossed over the 51% threshold of American v Canadian participation. This isn’t by accident. We shared similar experiences and hardships and now we’re home looking to take on our next “mission”. Who better to do that with than a fellow brother-in-arms?
I see this next chapter in my life as a continuation of service to my country. I am able to provide value to other people’s lives by helping them change their health and fitness habits and live healthier lives, free of pain and disease. This is massively fulfilling for me and I feel like most veteran entrepreneurs would echo the same sentiment, whether they’re selling high-quality merchandise or coffee. We want to share our passion for what we do so that our sacrifices and those of our fallen comrades aren’t in vain.