Ben Read – Little Big Vets Podcast – Series 1

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Ben Read, spent nearly 11 years moving through the ranks of Craftsman, Lance Corporal, and Corporal to become a Sergeant for REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), where Ben worked globally on rotary and fixed-wing aircraft for the British Army.

everything that has happened to me is because I’ve been around people who are two three steps ahead I’m 100 confidence

to that I interviewed a Nickelodeon hog who’s like the chairman of work Tech group went and worked for Xerox when

Xerox like the sales organization got best train in the world three years later he did a hundred million pound

deal with Skye for his own company so he negotiated based on that Xerox training

negotiate 100 million pound deal with Skype for sky at the races he was the first MD of sky at the races and he was

like I’ve never suffered from imposter syndrome and I was like yeah like I shouldn’t suffer I feel

like you should just go and get stuck into it like it’s only yourself saying you can’t do it why why would you do that they’re way smarter than you or

they’ve got more energy than you or it’s not the right time you know you might have a kid again soon or you know there’s always something

[Music] I’m Nick Haley founder of Little Big Tech after more than a decade in the

Army I left and joined civilian life in this podcast series I’ll be speaking to entrepreneurs who left military service

and started the next exciting chapter in their lives we’ll hear how these

inspiring individuals transitioned from active service to the world of business how did they take the first step on the

road to becoming an entrepreneur we’ll find out welcome to little big vets the

veteran entrepreneurs podcast [Music]

[Music] my guest on today’s podcast Ben Reed spent nearly 11 years moving through the

ranks of Craftsman Lance corporal and Corporal to become a sergeant for the Remy the Royal electrical and mechanical

engineers where Ben worked globally on rotary and fixed-wing aircraft for the British army as such he’s no stranger to

what it takes to succeed in a fast-moving profession which always requires you to be adaptable and keep a

clear head transitioning out of service and into a B2B Tech sales career Ben

used the skills and knowledge he had acquired to Fan the company redeployable as a way of giving back to the military

community and helping service leavers find rewarding roles like the ones he found within Tech sales

Ben thanks for joining us it’s a pleasure to have you on today’s podcast you were in the in the roomiest aircraft

Tech so do you want to tell us about a bit about why you joined and what life was like doing that job yeah of course I

was a bit of a sheep to be honest my sister is still serving in the Royal Engineers she’s a regimental sergeant

major my older brother who’s older than my sister he joined the role artillery when I was young I think I was 11. so I

always said it in the back of my mind to to join like it was always something that was in my mind went to sixth form

massively immature at that age you know 16 17 wasn’t really putting the the work

in so I decided to to jump ship after four months four months at sixth form

and go and join the Army that I mean that’s fundamentally the reasons why there was nothing I wasn’t patriotic in

in in any sense that most definitely that edge so it was a case of going out there and doing something cool like my

my brother and sister were doing you went through the uh Apprentice college is that right I went through

Harrogate yeah 52 weeks at Harrogate which were I mean some of the best some

of the best times I personally I loved it it was uh 12-man room for 52 weeks

just absolute Carnage it was at the time you know no alcohol apparently no alcohol

um but yeah it was a good it was a good experience for me at that time and then so you went off and uh where was your

first posting um you then go and do phase two because I I mean what I did when I got into uh

the careers office was you do your little test on your Pub test I think it’s called and they give you this spit out spit out what you can do and I did

pretty well so they told me I could be an rmp and then the next step was like avionics aircraft Tech and I was like

well you’re not supposed to be going to University I might as well try and get a trade out of this so I picked Air Tech

so you did your 52 weeks in Harrogate and then you go and do kind of a longer course in arborfield in Berkshire

where it happens I met my wife as well I’m still with now but yeah you do a longer course you’re doing things from

you know theory of flight advanced mathematics which it’s not a it’s not a walk in the park it was pretty

challenging kind of time from a you know a thinking standpoint as well as the additional Fizz you’ve got to do in the

in the Army so was that that was an enjoyable course probably said it like not at that time

in my life like I was all about going out with with the you know majority Lads

sunglasses like we look I love going out into into reading hours again still it probably didn’t mature up until I was 26

Nick to be honest I was uh I was a bit of a renegade 26 27 so I started to mature up a little bit but

I mean I scraped through all of the all of the course like I did I did minimum

to get through yeah and but it’s not uncommon though is it in the in on courses like that so I went through

um the uh the Royal signals uh telecommunications engineering course a year in Blandford and there was a common

theme of people doing just enough to stay on the course not necessarily saying that I was one of

those but I was really lucky that I was good at football but I used to play a lot of

core football and army football and my manager was to be all one we had our football officers quite influential

major so I I got in the a little bit to be honest when I was in our field but managed to stay on course because

there were people who were kind of looking after me because of the football football perspective so I’d say I only I

was dragged through it really really if I if I was look to look at like and really look at it and create a

self-critical for myself yeah it was but it was an amazing time and I learned a lot so and so you finished your your

phase two and uh where did you go after that yeah um Germany straight to Germany which

obviously carried on that they uh carried on that whole theme of I’ve done Germany a couple of times yeah like

there’s a lot of drinking yeah it turns out there’s a lot of drinking in Germany we had I mean I

don’t think the army or the military helped you know we had a bar above above our block in the in the Attic where we

all used to be able to go and you know tax-free alcohol and there is very much

a work hard play art environment the drinking culture is completely is not I don’t think it’s there anymore in the

military which is I don’t think a terrible thing either but it’s very much work hard play hard you know you got thrashed at work you you put the work in

but you you definitely enjoy the off time and Germany was all about that you know 19 year old

cutting around Germany getting down to Berlin getting to October first you know going to you’d see things that and do

things that I I expect a lot of 19 year olds can’t go and do independently so yeah it’s pretty cool what was the day

job in Germany what were we actually doing uh fixing aircraft so I mean that’s another kind of side to that is

you you can’t really theoretically be pissed out your head fixing aircraft so there’s always that that we needed to

consider but we were we were our customer was the Army aircraft throughout my career so amongst uh you

know all the kind of SF units but the Army Air core we need to deliver serviceable aircraft like rotary

predominantly but then fix Wing in Northern Ireland um to the Army Airco so we’d be at the

Germany Edge you know days I was more of a junior kind of Lance corporal getting

told what to do so did you enjoy it

in terms of the job I think I’m a bit of a grafter I know I know I’m a grafter with a bit in my business now and what I

did when I got out but I was always uh I was just bought into like the leaders

if you know I I’ve got some pretty prominent people in my life still who

were my bosses back then that you know I I would have I would have done anything for um a grafted but I didn’t enjoy it it’s

never it was never like it was never my calling to be to fix aircraft although I did it for quite a while yeah

it’s gonna say then you you must have done it actively for something like nine or ten years yeah ten years yeah I did

just shy of 12 Years in total so 10 years of that I think nine ten years of it would have been fixing aircraft so so

why did you start doing something so long that you didn’t necessarily love

um you know getting around seeing places you’re not spending time in Oman spending time in the US uh going to

Afghan the the people so doing it for the other things that came with it the

people the people more than anything like my best mates now five years out still still those people you know my

first time in my business is my best mate is also happens to be a licensed civilian aircraft engineer is now doing

you know working with us like is the people for me like first and foremost nothing really to do with the military

for me that they give you they give you opportunities and they’ve met they made

me a more mature skilled person like a lot of what you look you ingrained in

indoctrinated with kind of carries you over into civilian life but yeah it was it was just a means to an

end I think from a role perspective what made you want to leave oh yeah I mean I could give you like

loads of detail I was looking for something else beyond the going out uh I

was getting to that point in my life where you were like going out wasn’t enough anymore you know the social side of it I needed something else I managed

to get a great posting uh got there spent six months there still wasn’t for

me well my brother my brother went out and got into Tech he’s in technology sales as well senior is senior account

exec um so I knew kind of what he was doing but didn’t really know went to a party

uh and with all my wife’s closest friends my friends now as well but and

one of them was a sick form PE teacher who just left being a sixth form PE

teacher and started selling photocopies in London right and she just randomly said to me she’s been doing it for like a year and a half she said I think you’d

be really good at this and I kind of knew what my brother went to sold Tech I mean to off his Tech

and so she said I can set you up with a meeting with my boss if you want so I was like yes sweet let’s go so I’ve not signed

off I just went and met him in stains in a pub you know we had a chat he said yeah I

think you’d be really good give me a verbal that he’d give me a job in a year so I I went in the next day and actually

got the guy you have hired now to do the seven clicks to sign me off so doc who works for me now is the guy who

actually signed me off with the army so yeah I just signed off on verbal you know probably a stupid thing but I feel

like I’m a little bit a little bit like that if I get a good feel for somebody and I trust

the word and I don’t know what the seven clicks is by the way oh so seven click seven clicks

is uh I left in 2008 yeah seven clinches there’s a system called jpa where you can go and sign off so you don’t need to

go and speak to anyone you probably should before you sign off but there are seven Clicks in jpa to completely sign

off of the military then everything else that happens thereafter but you know you go through the process of clicking seven

times so doc did the seven clicks for me you know I went and told hierarchy and then got doc to sign me off which is

pretty sweet because now he’s you know working together so you got to the end of your uh your Year’s notice and uh you

left you call the guy back up oh no no no I wouldn’t say I was like super proactive in terms of like the education

piece before I got out um as Mark I was concentrating on this specific opportunity but I was pestering

that guy you know like nothing for 12 months like it wasn’t a case of yeah thanks I’ll see you in 12 months I wanna

I got a contract through probably six months into my termination but I guess the fact that I didn’t have a contract

in front of me to sign off which you know is challenging with a Year’s notice you know I I might think the guy like I

became a bit of a fun in his side I think until he got his contract so but I

got it and started there um nine months ten month later so during your last year did you take up much of

the the resettlement opportunities not zero you go to CTP you do that you’d

go and carry you I think it’s three three days I think in older shot

um it was all right at the time I wouldn’t say I was like fully engaged with the process because I felt like this is

where I wanted to go they give you like a jobs portal and it it was suggesting to me like job roles that weren’t really

what I felt like were a good fit for me you know my biggest memory was going

through the process and I think the first thing that I did was I went to a CV writing Workshop that was run and

it was possibly the worst piece of training that had ever been on and the output of it wouldn’t have got a job

anyone a job anywhere it was it was horrendous I think we’ve got better since 2008 I think there’s I think

there’s been like quite a bit of of money sunk into it but there’s still I think there’s still some gripes it’s a

it’s a tough gear guy I think because he saw bloody generic you know like how many industry you know how how many

like aptitude levels of people getting out you’ve got different ranks you know completely different spectrum of people

you’ve got different skill sets you’ve got different education you’ve got people coming out of degrees people come out with no qualifications people coming

out you’re struggling to read and write in some cases you just got such a broad spectrum of people they’re never going

to be able to service without a lot of money be able to service people in the most perfect way so I’m not def I’m not

defending ccpr and I don’t we don’t even have we’re not partnered with CTP anywhere but what I would say is I think

it has got a bit better um but yeah like a generic CV Workshop

like you need to then tell yourself you don’t you’re like trying to figure out whatever industry you’re going into so

so then you’ve left you’ve got this contract and what what was it like starting off uh a civilian job in what

we selling they didn’t like calling it four copies

they like calling it multifunctional devices yeah yeah you know about this yeah you’re in the RT again uh

multi-functional devices you know prop like serious commodity cell I had an area in London you know I used to drive

in fact I used to have five o’clock in morning every morning up to North London to Highgate I used to like bunker down

in a cost of coffee that is an hour 15 hour 20 Drive get down and across the coffee and then I used to just go and

like meet companies and just like go and like I don’t know you you’ve jumped

ahead a little bit there like day one you’ve never done this before yeah all right so I’ve gone I’ve gone more into

like the weeds of it ever yeah so I’m a little bit of a it like let’s just get stuck in kind of guy like I

feel that action is the most important thing I think you can get bogged down with worrying about things so I just

went into it with a similar military mindset of you know I’m gonna be wearing a suit you know and

tie so I’m gonna get a seat looking suit and tie where you know that I look good get in there and just get stuck into

whatever they thought yeah so that’s exactly the mentality I’ve always had I mean I’m not dressed as as smart now

but um and founder now you know I’m definitely not in the software

industry like I don’t see many people wearing seats but at that time it was like just go and uh have a bit of

confidence in myself that you know you know whatever I don’t know I can get we’ve you know how many how many times

you’ve gone to a new unit you’ve got to figure out new care and you’ve got an equipment costs two weeks or you go you know we in in aviation we were having to

go post it every three years new full airframe engines hydraulic systems you

know gearboxes and it’s like you’ve got to figure all that out then you’ve got a go and try and fix them and

they’ll give you signatures pretty quick so you like and people are flying in in those like and they could crash and die

and it’s like if you really just boil it down like I’m I’m managing accounts that’s

what I did I was managing accounts for the new company and trying to upsell and cross-sell them and resign new contracts

like it’s not like for death is it I just thought it gets stuck in so that’s what I did so then early starts long days

convincing people to buy more photocopiers or have new

photocopiers I mean it wasn’t a case of like transactional one one one for copier is more of like a

you know 50 100K deals um got selling to government as well public sector which is different than

selling to commercial as well so it’s more like uh it’s got more like larger contracts

renewed but then you’ve got more commission if you sign new net new deals so you’d obviously try and go after netany deals as well so it was it was

like it’s just education 18 months education in what’s good about selling

and what’s bad about selling that’s it and it’s not eye-opener as well you know I won’t say the guy’s name but this guy

in my team who I think is like week two shouldn’t he shouldn’t have showed me this but he

um you just want to deal with a big Council and he uh and he showed me a commission

check of like 52 Grand in one month and I was like

that’s 14k more than I earned a year in the Army and I was like what I was like

I can’t I couldn’t even believe I could not believe that that was even a thing yeah

um and then what I discovered more and more is you know the opportunity to

learn and to for your effort to directly relate to more money you know is

absolutely vast in Tech so that’s kind of what give me that bug to go you know if I graft and do well and not

like get stuck into all this stuff and learn you know I could I could I could

have a pretty comfortable life and so did you did you enjoy the actual selling

or did you enjoy the rewards of the selling or both to begin with

I I think I’ve always enjoyed selling to people back to the Army like people people you say things to me in the

military like you know you could you could sell out to an Eskimo like I used to get that but that I don’t see Tech sales as that I see Tech sales and

selling like Solutions like where people are committing large amounts of money it

is it’s about you know having a level of Integrity you know being personable all the good things that you expect but it’s

not like trying to fog someone on the dead horse right it’s you know be empathetic to what and

listening to what people want to is all the people things that I liked about the job the money was amazing uh to begin

with what I found is the more money you you earn you could keep earning more and more money and

if there’s something in within you that’s like you’re not completely fulfilled you’re going to risk and do

something else and maybe drop a you might your wife might hit you for it but you drop you drop a really well

paying job to go and do something else or try and Chase something that really fulfills you so money is back to the

point selling is I love it because you get to talk to people and build relationships and you know do just chat

to people and understand what they’re what they need and money is important to me still like really important like I’m

definitely money driven in in some sense but fulfillment I think trying to find

that thing that really fulfills you is the scratching that itch yeah now you’ve left you’ve left the Army you’ve got

this new career that you’re enjoying you’re making loads of money but you’ve got this itch how is that

feeling because like you know you’ve changed your life in in quite a short period of time leaving the military and

then to talk us through what what happened why why did you wanna I didn’t change I

didn’t change my life to begin with like you know I I took a what a 14 from you know 14 took a 14k 50

uh 13k best drop to go into this role so I went from earning 38k in the in the

Army as a sergeant to earning 25k base with the potential of a lot of commission I think I doubled in that

first year my military wedge through doing doing well selling but it didn’t fundamentally change my life it just

gave me a you know I was all home gave me the flexibility to do something that I felt that was more suited to me

my personality what I enjoyed um but that next step for me was getting into software again being the sheep that

I am my brother was in software and it’s like come over here Ben this is what you need to go over here so I I it was finding

the right opportunity for me and SAS software as a service for you know people who are listening and don’t know

um to get into that suspense to to start progressing my career there so

um and I’d say that’s probably more than one decision at that point okay yeah yeah definitely

um bigger base bigger commission just bigger all over yeah yeah bigger yeah 100 yeah after one base first first roll

uh double yeah double well my On Target was you know sizable it’s when I started

to like get to that six figure on target earning kind of Realm and it just like that opportunity working for a global

company you know you’re dealing with Canadians us you’re selling to you know our Center people in the Philippines

Singapore France Germany so you’re just getting the experience of different cultures selling to different cultures

you know selling to somebody in Singapore is completely different than someone in the UK in the UK sounds people in Holland you know they operate

in a different way really straightforward you know we’ll tell you how it is uh you know crude business

people so it’s like just just having that extra and that notch in my in in kind of my Armory of just experience I

think experiencing more money which was which was important so how long were you out of the army when you moved into the

SAS sales 18 months 18 months yeah so in a year and a half yeah you’ve gone from

30 something Grand a year in the Army yeah and now you’re in and around the

six figures in a year and a half yeah so I was probably near around the six figures in my first gig I think for what

what I was doing I was I was doing all right but then I guess it was the progression where what I saw in the SAS

space like I joined I’d gone from this Hardware cell commodity sell so less margin to this

software sell for a Canadian company that was Global uh there was a lot of opportunity to progress therefore earn

more money so yeah it was 18 months and and I was I was on that kind of six

figure six figure piece and so uh how long did you do that for well there’s a there’s another job in between

starting my own business but I did I was at that company for three years did you enjoy that yeah well I mean it progressed

progressed what happened is I started like uh in kind of like this transport Logistics space like selling software to

the fedexes of the world your companies with like fleets of vehicles so we’d be doing like root planning software you

know stuff I’d never done before just like absolutely knock off too tough like blogging it until I I knew it and then

we acquired a business or the company acquired a business um for 25 million which was a bit more

like an e-commerce and I I was getting to the point where I need more than this like I smashed my number the first year

you know I earned quite a bit of money and as I need something more fast-paced to keep me interested and keep me going

and we acquired this Ecom software business smaller team you know that are

going to be imaginated into our business so they gave me the opportunity to go and sell your the European sales lead

for that business so that’s what I did I I went and got into that business unit well while they were there

um and that was like fast-paced Ecom you know fashion brands who are growing super super fast so it’s you know you

don’t dress in suits you’ve got your spin to Fashion Founders the mid-20s that may early 30s dressed way smarter

than I could have addressed so it’s like again I was looking for more I promoted

there you know I got senior way either senior account exec so it was just that I think progression that I was I was

looking for um which is Mega I loved it really good time and so why did you leave there the

company that I was working for uh when we Amalgamated that the company we

bought the we acquired the company the head of growth that company moved on started the founder so I let that team

left you know I think they must have had like an urn out and uh the head of Groff

went to a startup 30 person startup in London and he he you know he just

carried on China because we thought we’d sold worlds together we’d had a mega time it’s it’s good and it’s like you

know this is pretty cool yeah like he didn’t obviously didn’t didn’t offer me to come there however but I said you got

anything you got any positions got any positions and and it was ahead of sales role so I was like you know I’ve gone

from account manager a senior get into a head of sales gig what it’s

three years after leaving so I was like yeah let’s go let’s go and give it a go in a startup which is a

you know for people who have not been in the tech space you know the difference between a startup to a scale up to I

mean Enterprise you could class Enterprise what I thought Descartes the company that Canadian company was 1500

people you know you could go and work for a Salesforce or a that’s Enterprise but the difference between a 1500 person company and a

startup 30 persons just wildly different so that that challenge you know excited me were

reporting directly into the founders co-founders uh it’s pretty pretty cool how long did you do that for 10 months

and then that was when you left and started your own yeah yeah I got the I got the itch then I was like

I got the itch of like do you think that was being around people who’d scratched their itch and

launched something you were like you know what I want to do my own thing 100 everything that has happened to me is

because I’ve been around people who are two three steps ahead I’m 100 confidence to that and I might you know I can I can

go and smash that out like why can I not go and do that and then you meet Founders you’re working with every day you’re like you know I’ve got something

that I feel like I can make I can do and make an impact you know why can I not go and do that so it’s just like just that

yeah I really do think it’s like that input that imposter syndrome a little bit like I interviewed

a Nickelodeon hogues like the chairman of work Tech group he got out in 1990 and went and worked for zero a Xerox

when Xerox like the sales organization got best training in the world three years later he did a hundred million

pound deal with Skye through his own company so he negotiated based on that Xerox uh Xerox training negotiate 100

million pound deal with Skype for sky at the races he was the first MD of sky at the racers X ex-navy diver and he was

like I’ve never suffered from impost syndrome and I was like yeah like I shouldn’t suffer I feel like

you should just go and get stuck into it like it’s only yourself saying you can’t do it why why would you do that like

they’re way smarter than you or they’ve got more energy than you or it’s not the right time you know you might have a kid

again soon or you know there’s always something in there that’s easy to find excuses to not take action

yeah just get uncomfortable and go and do stuff yeah and like I’ve caught I’m

not gonna say the name of my person I’ve called it a name I’ve called that person

um a name I’m not gonna say it because it sounds ridiculous but me and my wife know who that person is

so I’d be like you know so-and-so leave me here again yeah yeah I don’t want to offend anyone with a name

I don’t know why I don’t I’m gonna it’s not Nick is it no no no I’m fully aware there are probably some

lovely Debbies out there he’s called it’s called debit I don’t know why I was like I can’t remember

what he’s initially got here and it’s like damn Debs is on my back again or some of that I know now it’s like

I go on a run and I’m gonna do 5K oh oh I go on a run not planning on doing out

however long I go for a run and then I might go right and you can do 10K or go left and you’ll finish at 5K and you’re

not saying so Devi’s she’s telling me to go left I’m gonna go right I’m gonna go

do 10. so it’s like I think that little voice joking aside on your shoulder like it’s so easy to get sucked into it you

know like my alarm’s gone off I said I was gonna go to the gym but I could just go to the gym tomorrow yeah or

a lot of people in the military are good at kind of getting rid of that noise I think um but I’ve had to call it a name

yeah no offense to Davis I love I’ve got some lost Debbies in my life I love it

so uh so tell us about what your what your age was and what you started yeah yeah I

think it’s pretty evident that there’s there’s going to be a digital skills girl I think there is a digital skills right now you know come Ferry reported

in 2018 that by 2030 there’s going to be an 85 million person skills Gap globally

now I think it’s something like 8.5 trillion dollars worth of Revenue missed so there’s a massive Gap and I’m seeing

it across that energy you know big companies where five to seven years uh

40 of the workforce is going to retire you know 80 000 person companies like significant problems they’re having

around pulling Talent from elsewhere I I had a lot of friends leaving the

military who because CTV was quite broad had no way to get into Tech you know I’m

out there earning very good money like very very good money towards the end and

I don’t I didn’t see myself still don’t see myself as like anything special getting out like there are so many

talented people getting out of the military so many who could smash any raw given the opportunity and then when

they’re in that opportunity they’re around people who were that two steps three steps ahead then they can go

and do whatever they want to do so I had a lot of people contacting me and asking me you know I got into engineering but I

feel stuck I got into this you know they said that the bank’s going to be amazing it wasn’t what I thought it was going to

be how do I get into Tech um so I started helping people and then I started getting a bug for

helping people and and doing it and and I just felt like there’s there’s got to be a better way to help

not only veterans and service leaders get into these kind of high growth High reward roles not just in as well in

sales you know in the future we’ve got some we’ve got some pretty cool plans but also creating these opportunities

for these tech companies to grab these people who you know are so dedicated

committed have all this these soft skills that come into a room read a room well you

know you’re going to go into an office with a kernel versus going to an office or Manchester actually know how to act right it’s like up and down you

understand you change the the your whole approach just little things like that I just feel

uh strongly that you know tech companies just like like these people when when

you get them in front of these tech companies they’re like yeah they’re they’re a bit of us we want to get get

some people like this in so so I started the business specifically to do that to connect tech companies to to Veterans

how did you get started what what did you do when you Back To The Man of Action so I just set

up a limited company I was like if I settle them and come there all this putting it off just don’t know I made it real yeah so

set up a limited company way before I was even going to start the business did a little bit of like LinkedIn in just to

see if there’s a bit of appetite you know then I had an honest conversation with the

founders of the business that I was in to say listen you know what we’ll get you to where you need to be there was something that they were working towards

working towards a raise you know I work you know until my last day uh getting to

where to where you need to be bought at this point I I want to go and I want to go and do this myself so

I just I just went and you know went and committed to the work I was supposed to be doing but then jump jump ship and and

set up on my own luckily you know I’d been quite successful in in sales since

since I started so rather than investing all my money into other people’s businesses I had a nice nice chunky pot

of money in the bank to to sink into my own business so how’s it going

it’s such a funny question that isn’t it how’s it going because you I think as a Founder you never know what to say

because that it’s an emotional rollercoaster it’s my experience like the the moments when things come

together like they’re supposed to are like ecstatic they’re just amazing

and then you have the days where things don’t pan out how you how you thought they were gonna and

things that you thought you’d planned well it turns out there was something you hadn’t thought of and the wheels fall off it’s like oh that’s so

disappointing we put so much stuff or it turns out you’ve blown a couple of grand on something that didn’t work out the

way you thought it would but it’s proper highs and lows uh is is kind of How It’s been on on my side well

yeah I mean I can’t I couldn’t describe it in a better way you know you

you uh you just don’t it’s just all they’re not you you’re rolling like everything you you’re trying to solve a

problem a big problem that consumes you as a person like this is all I’m I’m doing

things I’m taking steps to make sure that it’s not all like you know I’ve got 14 14 15 14

lad you know amazing wife you know going for a spa down Saturday all day and Tech

not just Tech work aware like there are things I’m trying to do to limit that you know all consuming how to

solve this problem what’s the best way to solve this problem is that the right decision you know I’m taking this here you know how to be going with that

Capital you know should I raise the capital here or should I wait and try and drag it out and see you know

how do I get into this company what’s that what’s our ideal client profile should I be speaking you know I could keep going like what tech do we need to

use you know do we need a new website right now like all this stuff like you lie in bed trying to go to sleep and

you’ve got a nagging question in your head and you’re like that for three hours thinking about you like I should be asleep yeah because I’ve got to get

up early in the morning because I’ve got a 14 15 month old kid who’s gonna wake up at five o’clock my family’s

livelihood’s right this is why you know I take it really seriously I might have this conversations with my wife all the

time like we’re best minutes I take it seriously because I’ve got one of the best mates working

for me you know don’t work out you haven’t got a job you know we’re hiring more people you know if you don’t work

out they ain’t got a job so it’s not just is the business going to work people people are not Henry who works

for me I know his family really well like that it’s a daunting experience the moment you become responsible for someone else’s mortgage as well you’re

like well yeah I’ve I’ve got my livelihood here but I’ve employed this person they are entirely reliant on

the success of this to pay their wages now I found that really look really daunting yeah when I first started

getting people on payroll I’m completely convinced that we’ll succeed but I guess

every founder probably says that but I I am like with like the energy that I have and I feel

like I can sell which is such a um if you’re trying to bring money into

a company yeah yeah so I’m selling like luckily I’ve got that skill that I think there are like two ninja skills like to

bring into a business if and I say like if you combine them both if my body grows up and he can do both of these

things like he’s he’s all right can he sell I hold a room you know understand what people need and can he develop

you know can he write code can he build and I don’t like those two together I’ve met one person who I won’t say his name

an old like big big boss big big boss he wasn’t big he was just you know what I mean

he he could do both and he was like a killer salesperson and also spent 10

years developing and he was just smart you know when you’re in a room where you just yeah

a car even hold a conversation this guy like you know it’s just another level it

I feel like those two skills are pretty pretty good for you when you when you’re you’re in a startup and and I’m lucky to

have one uh although not that much experience really five years but yeah so

that’s actually quite a good point about the uh the learning to code uh and like yeah any sort of code if you were

thinking about leaving the army that would be a really good thing to spend a few hours each evening

and develop an additional skill yeah that’s just super useful so my

wife’s teacher and she teaches kids the real basics of chord like five six-year-olds so like I think there’s a

recognition that it’s an important skill from I mean we haven’t I guess at the time is recording like we

haven’t announced it but from a platform perspective we’re building a platform at the moment to connect veterans to tech

companies globally we’re working for an AI company as well but a lot of this is we talk about like grabbing veterans

data and understanding what they need like their experiences their education what they’re interested in and then this

this middle bit Middle Ground of educate and upskill so we run our own uh we call it a workplace development program where

we get veterans we make sure they’ve got the aptitude to sell then we put in for an eight-week course with a number of

Partners as well as ourselves delivering stuff then they go in into employment aside from that we’ve got our partners

we’re building Partnerships up with um upskill organizations so we don’t in

in in particular work with recruiters as such we work with organizations are going to same as our development program

in sales they’re going to get these people you know make sure they’ve got the attitude to learn the the skill and

then and then get them into employment so you know a big one for us is uh is for like full stack developers front-end

developers back end so we’ve got Partnerships uh soon to be announced with organizations that offer that to

Veterans and see veterans is a real growth area for their for their businesses and for their clients store it’s a long time for making the decision

to leave to when you actually leave and if you’re motivated you can get a lot

done in that time um and in hindsight I wish I’d use that year better

um I uh in no way I made the most of that um and I think being self-starting and

actually looking at what would benefit you and um and having to think about what your

life could look like you know a year out two years out three years out and it can be wildly different

to your life in the army yeah I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself Nick you know we’ve got

swans on the wall that feels like we’ve been all right

yeah one of my aspirations is to get swamp

pictures on the walls yeah yeah I mean who does it once I’m all for it I’m gonna take a picture before I go

somewhere I can sit really [Laughter]

so uh I I usually ask people a question about how um

about giving back to the the veteran community and like service leaders but I mean your your day job now is literally

about that it’s like sort of sending the lifts the lift back there and saying come on

come and have a better life you know when you when you’ve done your time however long that is there’s a fantastic

world of opportunity out there for you and I don’t think people realize um because like the news is full of

people with veterans with PTSD veterans coming suicide veterans who are homeless

you know they’re all real problems but it’s not the whole story

there’s like so I I mean we met through the the veteran entrepreneurs group

amazing incredible circle of people who’ve done incredible things and that

was the whole idea of starting this podcast was to like have conversations like this and then

people who are leaving the military can have ideas and get inspiration and see that well

you know what this could be really good in like your sort of your second career

um so I think what you’re doing is is really incredible I think it’s important to note that we’re not a social

Enterprise or a charity though like there’s still my business head-on that I want to grow a super successful but

impactful business like something that’s going to make a difference and I don’t know why you have to I don’t know why you like got I feel like you get this

need to guard against that to say you know I want to grow our business that’s you know we go to x-mount and hopefully

make a big difference um you know aside from you know maybe a fashion retailer who grows a 500 million

pound business but I sweatshops in India and Sri Lanka and you feel like you’ve got a you’ve got a guard against the fact that you are a for profit but we

are because I I you know I’ve got other things that I want to do uh in my 40s is the is the

reality so I want to build you know build this business bring people along that are are absolutely on board you

know bring people that can also benefit from what we’re doing as well in the long run and yeah like do do you know do

something pretty incredible maybe not just in the UK you know you know across different regions as well in the future

so we’ve got some big plans if you could give a piece of advice to someone who was just coming into their last 12

months in the military what would what would that be the I think the biggest challenge is over choice

like you know but everyone this these transition piece is like you know hey I

don’t think there’s there’s a lack of opportunity I think it’s just like people are just throwing opportunities

that you’re in different sectors and you’re going on all these job fairs and there’s just so much to try and figure

out so I think it’s just really boil down what you enjoy doing you know people might be going into

cyber security I’m not knocking cyber I think it’s awesome but let’s just use that as an example your mates might be going into cyber security but do you

like sitting in front of a computer it might be trying to become a full stack developer but you know that’s 100 maybe

100 of your time majority of times spent in front of a computer or do you like speaking to do you not like speaking to

customers do not like speaking to people are you quite an introvert should you be going into sales or customer success or

so it’s like really just trying to figure out what you enjoy Tech doesn’t need to be called in if we’re talking

about tech specifically it doesn’t need to be caught in a lot of people I know the majority I know don’t know how to

code there are all different types of roles that you can jump into and with a lot of transferable skills so it’s just

kind of understanding where you’re fit in I think what’s a typical day look like for you these days

um pretty set so we we’ve had 12 months of a new baby so it’s been pretty Carnage for that it changes things a

little bit um for me I get up at six uh more stairs

unless my son’s going to Nursery he goes twice a week so I get up at six go and do some Fizz in the morning go to the

gym uh to try and stay fit because when I start the business I I was like just grinding long long hours out so pretty

pretty regimented with that I’ll then get into never-ending calls all day which is self-induced so uh just

to end up either between service leavers number one thing for us is every decision we make uh needs to make sure

that we’re we’re kind of offering a good service to service leaders because that’s the reason why we’re doing it amongst the business side

um so we speak service leavers uh companies I speak to a lot of tech companies you know we’re speaking to investors at the moment so I’m looking

at uh investment um that route then lunchtime

my I’ve got like a CTO in the business who’s not actually in the business yet so not many people know that but he

lives he lives near me so we’re going to run at 12 o’clock ish normally go and do

you know five to ten care uh at lunchtime that normally clears my head then I’ll normally you know grind up the

rest of the afternoon on calls um try and get a bit of project working trying and try and get in more stairs to

Bath my son it’s important sometimes get to have dinner but at the minute it’s busy

um and then just go back to work unfortunately which is which is terrible but not weekends I’ll try and yeah you

know eliminate the work at the weekends but normally I’m putting a good shift in getting to bed got I’ve got a journal I’m not ashamed

of it I I like to write down what I’ve achieved for the day what I want to achieve three things the next day and at

the minute I’ve cut out sugar in my diet so I do a little tick that I’ve got all sugar I’ve got alcohol and sugar for

what we are 18 days don’t feel any different probably gonna start again soon

yeah no so so yeah I usually try and reflect because it’s another habit I used to do a lot and don’t do it as much

and I always try and squeeze you know over a bit of podcast or I’m reading an awesome book at the minute called build

so I’ll try and get a bit of reading as well you’re pretty consistent on

LinkedIn posting really often yeah so I would definitely recommend people follow you on LinkedIn

yeah Ben Reed redeployable on LinkedIn I watch your website for your company so

yeah so by the time this comes out to be redeployable to IO we’re shifting out or you know our whole business the first

the first seven months of our business was to prove that there is a real a really strong model here we’ve had some

awesome success stories built some awesome Partnerships and now it’s all about uh developing a platform to launch

in May to do this scale educate service levers and connect them to amazing opportunity

at scale so have you got a success story you could you could share as a sort of yeah yeah of course yeah we’ve got Tom

Bennett you know got out got into Rolls-Royce aircraft Tech so I know him from serving

um you know stagnating it got to the peak of where it was at you know comfortable needed something else he’s

now just promoted to an account executive so he’s been enrolled for seven months and is now an AE you know

High fire works hard just smart smart guy Kelly Lewis uh lovely lovely layer

day 12 years as an rmp she’s another sales and partnership manager at spotlighter you know Bobby Loa Ruben

Jones Botha exceed one’s an account manager one’s a business development manager got loads of bdrs in Aaron

lovering we’ve got software implementation Consultants Kyle Lawton uh

maccreaircraft XJ attack bdr in London so the loads of different amazing we we

try and you know these we don’t just help them into roles and say see you later that’s not what we’re all about so

we’ve got we have a mentorship program every person that we work with in you know in the last seven months of mentors

we have a coffee call every two weeks it’s a bit of a therapy session where I bring experienced people in got a community platform so everything we’re

building is not just about you know revenue revenue revenue it’s about trying to create this ecosystem of

you know amazing folk who all up each other as well so so if people are leaving they should get in touch with

you yeah 100 yeah and and it’s not a get in touch with us because you most definitely want to get in into Tech you

know get in touch with us docs Doc’s an absolute Legends you know I have a chatter doc about the industry about you

know what you know what it’s all about you can connect you with veterans already in the industry we’ve got a

podcast you know there’s all sorts you can just just go and learn get yourself into a position where you know what you

want to do before you where can we find your podcast uh Spotify read Deployable podcast

perfect nowhere near as professional as this

Ben it’s been awesome to have you on today thanks very much yeah I know it’s a pleasure mate thanks so much thanks

for listening I sure will agree the stories from the guests on the show are incredible starting your own company is an

incredibly Brave and difficult thing to do and there’s a theme of resilience through all these stories which is key

to success as an entrepreneur if you’re a veteran with a good story to tell we’d love to have you on if you’re leaving

the military and you want to get in touch email podcast if you run a

business and you’re looking for an I.T company that’s entrepreneurial and forward thinking please do get in touch

I hope you enjoy the rest of the series foreign

[Music] thank you

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