Veterans Are Not Entry Level Talent and Rich Cardona Is Proving It.

Rich Cardona is a former Marine, turned leadership developer for Amazon, turned business owner and entrepreneur. His open, authentic style has recently caught the eye of VaynerMedia’s Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver, and the two are creating content that features Claude in a setting that makes her nothing less than perfectly relatable.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of veterans dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent in 2017. This Entrepreneur.com article mentions that 78 percent of veteran-owned businesses register sales of $100,000 or more, while more than 38% have sales of half a million or more. Veterans who would otherwise find it hard to break into the labour market, are recognizing their talents both as leaders and creatives.

Rich has a clear and powerful message: “Veteran’s are not entry level talent”. Rich wasn’t an A student in high-school like so many entrepreneurs before him.

“In high school I was crazy I played a lot of football, I was really into track, but I was always more interested in trying to be cool and popular and having a lot of friends, than I was about my grades or team. I knew moving forward that I was not going to be in a position to go to college and perform. My parent’s wouldn’t have been able to pay for it anyway. I was a junior and I decided to go into the Marine Corps delayed entry program. The contract stated that upon graduation sometime that year, in 1998, I would go to Marine-Corps bootcamp and be a recruit and eventually become a Marine.”

As I continued to interview Rich I naturally wanted to know why he chose the Marines specifically.

“The Marine Corps is a very very special place, it is the least sought after armed service, it is the smallest armed service. We take a lot of pride in being incredibly efficient and doing more with less. I started as a private and I retired early as a Captain and I never regretted that choice.”

After working at Amazon for a few years he decided to take a risk and start his own business.

“It was time to make a change, I wasn’t seeing my daughter as often, I wasn’t happy and I was starting to act out of character. My wife is the one who actually made the call and said ‘you’re done’. I had always been really interested in photography and videography and so that’s what I decided.”

LRG_DSC07118.jpg *photo of Ann Cardona taken by Rich, “she is the love of my life I never have and never will feel this way about anyone else…ever.”

I was surprised to learn that Rich didn’t have previous experience as a videographer and had to teach himself everything he knew, ultimately founding Flybysmedia. Veterans today might leave the armed services feeling stuck but Rich is the perfect example of getting creative in today’s fast paced digital world. Nothing is out of reach for individuals who are adaptable to change and willing to learn something new.

On what changed the course of his business:

“I went to VaynerMedia to meet Claude, I made a LinkedIn post about it, that my life might change forever, and I went in there and offered to vlog for her because I believe in her, I love her, and I wanted to create content for her, I wasn’t qualified really to create content, but I didn’t care. I had a one on one discussion with Gary Vaynerchuk  thanking him for all that he has done for me personally and for recognizing next-level talent in Claude.  Claude and I then came to this agreement where I would come to New York and make content for her…and I’ll never forget how she said ‘I trust you’. We had known each other for about a year and a half through phone calls and LinkedIn and emails and that changed everything. Fast forward my business now involves creating content, I am attached to my phone and always on my computer. I love to create content and tell a story and tell other people’s stories.”

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*Rich meeting Gary VaynerChuk at VaynerMedia NY.

I also had the chance to interview Claude, the woman I had heard so much about for her ability to create amazing culture, inspire others, and find talent in places others fail to look. When asked why she chose to work with Rich she responded simply but beautifully:

“Rich is untapped talent. He’s a veteran who chose to give his life for our country and there is so much courage in that. I trust him…I can trust to record my videos with him.”

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*Rich sitting with Claude Silver during one of their candid conversations.

With veterans leaving the military each day and entering the work force I asked Rich what skills he believed were characteristic of veterans and how they related to entrepreneurship.

” The Marine Corps. is notorious for discipline, attention to detail and supporting each other. It’s all about realizing the bigger picture that is it’s not about you, even as an entrepreneur, it’s about who you’re providing value too.”

When hiring a veteran you can expect:

  • Solid leadership and leadership development skills
  • Work ethic
  • Accountability
  • Attention to detail
  • Team player
  • Take initiative
  • Creativity
  • Forward thinking
  • Research/presentation skills
  • Adaptable to change
  • Problem solving skills

When I asked Rich what he thought the biggest challenge for veterans entering the work force or becoming entrepreneurs was, I was intrigued by his answer. I thought it would be to overcome serious anxiety or PTSD. Admittedly, I had watched a lot of cinematic movies on veterans returning home.

“That is humongous and I’m working on something for that [solving the challenge] we don’t know where we want to go, no-one knows what they want to do. Some veterans will just stick with what they’re doing even when they don’t want to do that anymore, meaning if I was a logistician I would go into logistics because that is where my skills are,  because we don’t have the confidence to go anywhere else. We are not entry level talent, we let people think they can get us at a bargain, when in reality in the military you don’t do the same job the whole time. We get scared, we start feeling rejection because we know our place in the military but we don’t know our place on the outside. It’s a process of rewriting your resume a million times, not trying to lose your military identity while taking on a civilian identity. It is very, very challenging.”

Rich Cardona’s advice for veterans who don’t want to feel stuck:

“The best thing you can do in my opinion is to determine how much you’re going to need to survive for X amount of months and pursue exactly what you want. Go after it or you will never know.”

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Where to find Rich: 

http://www.richcardona.net or flybysmedia.com

LinkedIn or Instagram @flybysmedia

 

Quotes: 

“Marine’s don’t like cutting corners, it’s all about the long game.”  

“Nobody cares about the company anymore, everyone cares about the people at the company.”

“Building my business is really just me building my personal brand and showing people what it looks like when a former Marine who left a “good job” says f*ck it, hustling as hard as I can.”

“I absolutely attribute all of my leadership abilities to the military.” 

“To be deemed a survivor it takes an incredible amount of failure.”  

“You are worth being in this world. You are loved and You are cared for.” 

“The right people will always see when you have their best interest in mind.” 

“I believe you can train your mind. I expect nothing from anybody. I truly mean it when I say that.” 

“Remember who you are. Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Woman. Fierce Woman.

You are a wild woman. [sorry to the men if you read this, you’re wild too baby] You are fierce like mother-nature, with a heart that only get’s rebuilt stronger and stronger every time it’s broken.

To allow anyone to dull your shine would simply be a disservice to the universe, it so graciously gifted you with this life, this one in a trillion life.

Yes this is an empowerment post and I’m not sorry about it one little bit. Read these words and soak them in, down to the very heart of you.

You are the ancestor of all the Goddesses that came before you

You’ve got brains and beauty and courage that runs from the top of your hair down to the tips of your toes. You are a whole mixture of stars and planets and violent galaxies. You can never take up too much space in a universe that is ever expanding, so I’m asking you, no screw that, I’m telling you…we need you. US… the other women, your tribe, your community here on this spinning globe, we need you.

YOU, wild woman, powerful woman, strong-intelligent-loving woman.

Be the boss babe you were always meant to be and shine-shine-shine.

 

Love to you all so very very much,

 

Carlee.

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Respect Your Readers • Respect Your Followers ❤️

I’m twenty-seven years old do this realization is a little hard to admit, rather embarrassing actually, but I’m going to share it because I think it’s important. I didn’t come to the realization all on my own, I had two really awesome people show me the way.

Last month I connected with Rich Cardona on LinkedIn. Rich is an ex-marine turned entrepreneur who documents his life and business journey in real time. He’s seen his share of struggles, moving into his in-laws home to start his business, and then moving out again to keep the momentum and positivity. His family supports him and he has a growing base of followers supporting his journey as well.

I then interviewed Claude Silver, the Chief Heart Officer of VaynerMedia who has begun creating content for her personal brand with Rich. She shared her personal journey, full of risks and adventure, like the time she moved to London without knowing a single soul. The way she connects with people through social media is reflective of the way that she is completely herself on and off the camera.

For a long time I thought that in order to build a community or grow a following you had to be model-like… seriously! 🙄 I thought especially as a woman you had to wear a ton of makeup, cute clothes and take Instagram model photos to grow an audience. I was SO wrong.

Honestly, after talking to Claude and Rich I realized they were living, breathing proof that you don’t have to do any of those things to be successful and grow. 🌻

It all came down to realizing that people are intelligent, they deserve more respect than just posting pictures of exposed skin or well posed photos. If you have a talent, knowledge or creative gift, it is your epic duty to share it with the world! 🌎

The last week of December was a learning experience. This is a really informal post just sort of rambling off my strange epiphany. Your audience is intelligent. Respect your followers enough to give them value. There is a space for you in this world to be exactly who you are on and off social media ❤️

Remember you are loved, you are worthy, and you are blessed.

Love to you all,

Carlee. 💕

Let’s Get Real About Depression and Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs, the business savvy hustlers of the world, are human too. We need sleep, food, water and believe it or not, downtime. When we think of entrepreneurship, we don’t think of depression or mental illness. Depression mild or severe, can really happen to any of us either because of life circumstance, a moment of loss, or a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Entrepreneurship can be a daunting task, full of hardship, failure and detours. The weak do not choose this path. Anyone who has chosen to be an entrepreneur and is succeeding or in the process, is a strong individual. The whole “profession” takes a shit-ton of personal development. It makes you look at every area of your life and improve it, to better yourself beyond what you think is capable in the moment.

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Depression is something that might be taboo in the world of entrepreneurship, because it might symbolize the opposite of the image we have created for it.

But, there are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs currently living with depression that have thriving successful businesses.

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To manage my own mindset during a period of depression is perhaps one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do…. although rehab was also challenging, shoutout to Grant Cardone who publicly speaks about his addiction issues and how they changed his life, now he’s a multi-millionaire. It’s challenging because you feel, depressed, you don’t want to get up, you don’t want to shower, you don’t want to do anything. It might last a day or a few weeks and you don’t want other people to notice, especially your team… what would they think of you?

Entrepreneurship in a way helped me with my own depression. Starting or running a business means you are responsible for your own success or failure. Each day I know that if I don’t do anything, my blog and writing career will vanish.

Being unafraid to be open about what you’re experiencing with your team creates a better relationship. Your team needs to be able to understand where you’re coming from and why. The strength to speak your truth beyond the fear of rejection or judgement will build authenticity, a culture of trust and pure communication, and bring you liberation.

You don’t have to be perfect or on all the time. This business thing takes a lot, like a LOT of hard work. Don’t ever be afraid to share your personal journey, and don’t ever feel bad for taking care of yourself first. My gosh!

There are plenty of us out here working, building and growing that have depression or another form of mental illness. Don’t let it hold you back.

I truly believe the only way to end stigma, shame, feelings of guilt, is to shed light on the topics that need to be talked about the most.

You CAN succeed as an entrepreneur with depression.

I’d love to connect and grow with you.

 

Love you all,

Carlee.

 

How To Remain A Badass Even When You’re Having A Bad Day.

We all have bad days, they happen because we are human and sometimes life likes to mess with us a little bit; make sure we know we’re still living. The day goes something like this: the alarm doesn’t go off, you call the office to tell them you’ll be 15 minutes late, you get in your car but you remember you chose not to put gas in it last night…sacrificing that time to watch another episode of Shameless on Netflix, now you’re another 20 minutes late, by the time you get to work Stacey has taken credit for the idea you told her about yesterday, and to top it all of you forgot to brush your hair.

Wait, did I mention coffee? Yeah…you didn’t have time to grab a coffee either.

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Now tell me you haven’t had a day like this at least once. It’s so easy in that moment to say f*ck it and write the rest of the day off as a complete disaster, I’m definitely guilty of doing it.

It’s taken me some time, but I’ve learned the difference between having a bad moment or morning, and making it last all day. (cheesy quote alert)

When you really think about it, can you even afford to have a bad day…for the whole day? It just takes up so much time and energy. It’s not really the fact that you might have children, or other people counting on you (although important), it’s the fact that you know you’re stronger than a few bad moments, and surrendering to them would mean letting yourself down.

You remain a badass when…

You can laugh it off and find the humour in an otherwise annoying situation. Why, because everyone would rather be stuck in an elevator with someone who’s calm and can crack a few jokes, instead of someone who’s loud, angry and aggressive. (Replace elevator with office, school, or any general activity in which you partake).

You choose to walk away and master your emotions. One of my biggest shortcomings is not walking away at the right time. If you’re having a bad day because someone keeps pushing your buttons, remember your awesomeness, and choose to walk away. All the fuss usually isn’t worth your time anyway.

You say “f*ck it” and continue on as usual. This strategy has worked well for me in the past. Sometimes there’s not much left you can do, and the minute you say those two magical words, the stress just melts away. The day can start a new!

You practice self-care like a damn pro. Obviously I’m big on this one. After a bad day, I like to remind myself that yes, I’m still a badass, and yes it’s a good idea to continue to take care of myself. Find what self-care looks like for you, a bubble bath, good music, yoga, doing some artwork, boxing; it’s individual to you and what makes you feel good.

You connect with your tribe. My tribe is literally a few good friends and my mom…mostly my mom. It’s the people that you can share anything with, and they always have your best interest at heart. Connect, laugh, cry, share your day and all of it’s bizarre mishaps, I promise you’ll feel better.

You learn from it. So maybe you set two alarms, get a coffee maker that instantly brews at 6am, stay away from telling Stacey anything in the future… whatever it is, you can learn from it and going forward, you will have levelled up your badassery.

You’ve managed to define the word “badass” for yourself and live up to it. Yup, whatever the word badass means to you. Maybe it’s hitting the gym everyday, not letting other’s control your emotions, continuing to hustle, standing up for what you believe in, knowing your worth when other people don’t, speaking up for yourself, having the courage to do what is right. Find what it means for you and live it.

 

Last,

You forgive yourself if you don’t do any one of these things, because having a bad day is okay, and believe it or not you’re still badass. Yeah, it’s not really a trick, it’s amazing if you can manage to succeed at doing all of the above, but if you don’t, take responsibility for your side and know that tomorrow will bring something new, and often better.

YOU are strong, capable, and courageous. Even when you forget to do that one thing… you know, the thing that’s been on your list for the last two weeks and it’s finally caught up to you? Yeah, even then, still a badass.

Keep it up,

Carlee. xx

 

 

True Confessions of A Recovering People Pleaser.

As I write the word recovery, I begin to fear I may be exaggerating, am I really recovering? I’ve come to terms with the fact that saying no is always followed by a wave of guilt, and then a quick change of heart as I push the word “yes” out from my lips, just in time to bring a smile to the hopeful face starring back at me. I suppose the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem.

Hello, my name is Carlee and I’m a recovering people pleaser. There, I said it. I wonder if you’re supposed to feel a sigh of relief afterwards, instead of what I can only describe as cautious hope mixed with a strange sense of shame.

How did I become this? Who am I afraid of disappointing? Why do I care so much about what other people think of me, that I will abandon all recognition of an independent, confident, self-loving woman?

I’m not going to bore you with tales of an alcoholic father, my own indulgent trips to the mental hospital, the autism diagnosis, the sleepless manic nights followed by weeks of depression, because although I’m sure they contributed, I’m not really sure what caused it. Is it possible you can be a born people pleaser, graced with a docile personality and a sensitive nature? Whatever the reason there’s a few things I need to get off my chest about the relationship between the person deemed “the people pleaser” and the individuals I call “normies”.

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  1. Even though I say I’m fine with the things you’re asking me to do, I’m not, and we both know it. I know, that you know, that I feel pressured… but because you know I’ll say yes, you continue to do it. I am the “go-to” for any shifts that need covering, help with moving, giving rides that are clearly out of my way, and other requests that any normal person would immediately dismiss. Let’s stop pretending and just start calling it for what it is, a cyclical relationship between the classic “user” and “pleaser”.
  2. Please know that if I ever do muster up the courage to say no, that I feel extremely guilty, and the whole experience will start an internal struggle between me feeling positive about standing up for myself, and feeling like complete garbage at the thought of letting someone down.
  3. I’m sorry for all of the times I ignored your text messages or phone calls trying to avoid all possible scenarios where I’d have to utter that two letter word.
  4. Even though I might seem happy to please you now, just know that I will soon become angry and bitter towards myself, and ultimately towards you. This be shown through irritability and sarcastic comments, but it’s more likely that I will continue to internalize everything and just keep a raging resentment burning inside myself. Because, I do try to be at least a little mature, I can recognize the fact that I only have myself to blame, which although it should, doesn’t make me feel any better in the moment.
  5. I will need time to recharge after a day of betraying myself, so again if I cannot be reached once I enter my house, just know that I have become a hermit for the next 24-72 hours. Thanks for understanding.

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Now, for a few deeply shameful confessions before explaining the ways in which I am actively trying to recover.

I once stayed in a relationship for 8 whole months, saw the person every-single-day…all-day-long. Supported their drug addiction while diving into the beginning of my own, spent my entire paycheck on their habit in fact, and then when they broke up with me I apologized! I was younger, more naïve, and hadn’t even come close to knowing what true love was, let alone self-love.

I once drove 2 hours out of my way so that someone could see their boyfriend for half an hour. I still get pissed of at myself for that one. I was new at a job and clearly trying too hard to be accepted.

Every time I order pizza and get it delivered I end up tipping way too much because I did it once and now I don’t want to disappoint them.

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Okay, so how am I actually trying to recover?

By slowing things down. When someone asks me to do something I wait and ask them if I can think about it. I then try to “feel” my way through the situation. Why would I say yes, because I actually wanted too or because I would feel guilty if I didn’t?

I’m also doing a shit-ton of work to build up my self-esteem and begin to actually love myself. It’s a difficult, mentally tough process that involves doing the right things for myself and my body, even if I don’t want too, which is the hardest part. I have to repeat the phrase “self-care isn’t selfish it’s necessary” and remember how good I feel when I actually do take care of myself.

I’ve also tried to surround myself with real supports and people who I know won’t use my people pleasing side, while limiting time with anyone I don’t fully trust at the moment.

Always, a journal is my best-friend in identifying how I’m truly feeling and being able to talk myself through anything and everything.

Like me you’ll find your way through the recovery process, if that’s something you’re willing to do. Life get’s better and there’s a lot less shameful moments committed in the sake of people pleasing. I can actually feel myself getting stronger and caring less about upsetting everyone, which is a pretty sweet side-effect.

I’m here with you.

Stay strong,

Carlee. xo 

 

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