120 Feet Below Sea Level: How Being an Army Engineer Diver Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship
In 2009, I enlisted in the military to fulfill the role of an Army Engineer Diver. My dual love for the water and serving my country went hand-in-hand with my newfound career. From Virginia to the Middle East, I traveled across the globe which allowed me to learn about myself and develop vital skills that I would use long after completing my tour.
As an Army Engineer Diver, I was trained to work and lead a team to undertake reconnaissance, demolition and engineering tasks 120 feet below sea level. Nine years later, I hung up my gear and began my transition to everyday civilian life – beginning with my higher education. After I graduated, I knew my discipline and experience from the military would be best served through entrepreneurship, so I started my search for a franchise concept that would complement my skills and military knowledge.
I came across Pedal Pub and knew this was an opportunity I could bring to my hometown in Missouri. I was always seeking an adventure and found happiness in the adrenaline rush of the excitement and unexpectedness of the military. Pedal Pub is exhilarating and fun concept that allows me to fulfill my adventurous passion. I just never knew how much I’d be able to leverage my experiences during my time in the military and how that would help me grow a business and lead it to success.
Commitment is Crucial
Commitment to the military is not for the faint at heart. From being separated from family and friends to the high-risk assignments, you must be dedicated to the job while also making sure you’re fully aware of what you signed up for. Commitment, passion and personal drive will keep you afloat and keep your mind focused on the task at hand and end goal.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve invested in my business and if I’m not committed to it, it won’t succeed. You have to train your mind to find different routes and paths to new solutions rather than letting current issues fester and grow. Continue to think big and never be satisfied with the goals you have achieved but instead strive to create more to challenge yourself.
Adaptability Increases Efficiency
While in the Army, each solider always planned for the unexpected and made necessary changes in an instant. It was essential our team adapted to ever changing surroundings — from finding new ways to communicate to developing new strategies to ensure we reach our end goal. We learned from everything we did to better prepare for the future, while making the overall safety of our country the number one priority. Adaptability was the only way to overcome the challenges and roadblocks we were faced with. Without it, it’s quite possible we would’ve failed.
There are always going to be unexpected hurdles you will have to overcome as a business owner. Competition in the area, government permits and laws, and even disgruntled guests can all pose a challenge to running your business successfully. Find new ways to become efficient and adapt to challenges and changing environments to ensure your business comes out on top. Use every challenge and issue as a learning experience to help you grow your business.
Teamwork Moves the Needle Forward
Being part of the military, for me at least, meant I was doing something bigger than myself – it felt as if I had a real purpose in life. Every task and job assigned is for the betterment of the whole group and even the country — repeated success will always be the end result when a whole team is working efficiently and productively together. Your team can offer different perspectives and lend their strengths where you might lack.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned my business cannot succeed without the help from others. Respect every individual and utilize their strengths to take your business to the next level. You’ll be able to create a strong bond within your team and build strong relationships in an environment where people are able to take pride in their accomplishments.
If you’re an established entrepreneur or just getting your business started, it’s important to remain dedicated, adaptable, and work as a team so your business can operate at peak performance. The lessons and skills you’ve learned throughout your life experiences will help you to build a successful business and allow others to grow and learn under your leadership.
Kyle Bradley is the owner and operator of Pedal Pub of Columbia, a Minneapolis-based party bike franchise providing customers with a uniquely fun, social, and exciting two-hour experience of sightseeing. To learn more about franchising with Pedal Pub, visit https://www.pedalpubpartybikes.com/.