Ranger Up needs your help to fund the dream of the next great Veteran Entrepreneur!
Ranger Up needs your help changing the life of a recently separated military veteran by turning them into a successful entrepreneur! With your financial support, we will hire a budding Veteran Entrepreneur for a year. The Veteran Entrepreneur will rotate through different job assignments inside of Ranger Up’s company structure so they get a hands-on look at every aspect of running a business. The budding entrepreneur will be exposed to everything from the basics like how to properly create a purchase order, how to handle sales call, and how to manage the books to more complex elements like creating a full spectrum marketing campaign, managing vendors that don’t live up to agreements, and contract negotiations. The Veteran Entrepreneur will experience once year of total immersion in the fast-paced and high-energy world of small business. At the end of the year, provided they successfully complete the program, Ranger Up will provide seed capital to help start the Veteran Entrepreneur’s own small business. For the first six months of their new business, we will continue to pay their Ranger Up salary,as they work to get their business off the ground.
And you’ll be on the journey with the Veteran Entrepreneur!
So that you can see firsthand the result of your investment we will be publishing frequent webisodes chronicling the Veteran Entrepreneur’s progress. We will detail the whole experience, from the selection of the Veteran Entrepreneur, to his or her employment at Ranger Up, and the first few months of the opening of their own business. You will be able to follow the Veteran Entrepreneur month by month as he or she attempts to realize their dream of owning and running a small business. You’ll even be able to provide them feedback and advice via Ranger Up’s social media network.
Why should I invest in a Veteran Entrepreneur?
Small business is the driving force in the economy and no population has been more successful at entrepreneurship than Veterans. Veteran-owned businesses account for $2.85 Trillion of the $22 Trillion small business market. Veterans represent only 5% of the small business population, but yet produce over 13% of the revenue! Additionally, studies show veterans are 2.5 times more likely to successfully start a small business than non-veterans. So, with your support of a Veteran now, you will personally play a direct role in creating jobs, taxable revenue, and growing the American economy.
And if that isn’t motivation enough, put simply, this is a chance for you to thank someone who has served by giving them the opportunity to find the American Dream that they fought to protect.
Plus, we have some pretty awesome perks that you will be able to take advantage of and our webisodes covering this veteran’s journey will be the bee’s knees.
I want to invest in Veteran Entrepreneurship, but why do you think you can do this well?
1) We’ve done this before. Last year, as a test case for the program we are asking you to fund, Ranger Up hired Jon Walsh. Jon is a highly decorated Marine veteran and was the first official member of the program. In Jon’s own words, he had “100% drive and 0% direction”. Over the course of nine months, Jon rotated through project-based jobs in every principle area of the business, and successfully graduated the program. We invested seed capital in his business – Five Rings MMA, a gym in the Camp Lejeune, NC area. The gym became profitable after only four months of operation, and continues to grow at a rapid clip. In fact, the gym’s one year anniversary will be at the end of this Indiegogo campaign!
2) We are veterans, care about veterans, and know how to deal with veteran’s issues. Our staff is comprised of 66% military veterans, and most of us come from the infantry or special operations community. We know what it’s like to separate from the military, to adapt to civilian life, and to conquer the challenge of finding a new mission in life. We can help a Veteran Entrepreneur set the conditions for success.
3) We are big enough to have wisdom and experience, but small enough where every decision and investment really matters. Ranger Up is blessed to have spent the last two years on Internet Retailer’s Second 500 list, meaning we are one of the top 1000 online retailers on the web. We are listed on this year’s Hot 100 list as one of the top 100 online companies to watch. We are 2nd on the Social Media 500 as one of the best social media marketing companies in the nation. We have had double or triple digit growth every year since we started. Last year we hired seven new employees. We’ve fought hard to be a good business, done a lot of things right, and learned a lot of lessons the hard way. Every company starts small and grows. We believe our environment, big enough to be stable, but small enough that the Veteran Entrepreneur will get personalized attention, is the perfect place for a future Veteran Entrepreneur to learn.
What are you going to do if funded?
We spent $117k on our first Veteran Entrepreneur between salary, benefits, and seed capital. At this stage in our company’s growth, that kind of investment is not sustainable on an annual basis, so we need your help if we want to continue this great program. Every dollar you donate is directly tied to helping a budding Veteran Entrepreneur succeed. True to our military roots and passion to go above and beyond, we have clear markers and goals for hiring up to three veteran entrepreneurs this year.
10 March 2014: We're over half way there! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far!
Above, you will find our progress to date! We will update this chart each day at 5:00 Eastern Time!
Below, you will find a detailed description of what we will do for the veteran community each time a funding goal is achieved!
If you help us raise $50,000 we will hire a Veteran Entrepreneur for the program in 2014!
We will post an application process on our various websites and through social media so you can be heavily involved in the selection process. With your help we will narrow the field down to the very best candidates, and then bring in successful entrepreneurs to judge the finalists. The winner will start the program. All of this will be captured via webisode and posted to the Ranger Up YouTube Channel.
If you help us raise, $75,000, in addition to hiring a Veteran Entrepreneur, we will identify a veteran small business that requires assistance in some area, and the Veteran Entrepreneur along with Nick (our CEO) and appropriate Ranger Up staff will provide that business a week-long consulting engagement to assist in their problem. This engagement will give the Veteran Entrepreneur a chance to gain experience solving complex problems, while simultaneously helping a Veteran small business in need. You will be able to see the Veteran Entrepreneur’s hard work during the consulting trip via webisode on the Ranger Up YouTube Channel.
If you help us raise $100,000, the Veteran Entrepreneur and the Ranger Up team will identify a different veteran-owned small business and perform a second consulting engagement. Again, additional funding will allow the Veteran Entrepreneur to get priceless experience in a real world small business, while helping a small business improve. You will be able to see all the Veteran Entrepreneur’s hard work via webisode on the Ranger Up YouTube Channel.
If you help us raise $125,000 we will hire a second Veteran Entrepreneur to go through the program!
If you help us raise $150,000 we will take our Veteran Entrepreneurs to a third consulting engagement to help a different veteran small business than in the first two engagements. You will be able to see all the veteran entrepreneur’s hard work via webisode on the Ranger Up YouTube Channel.
If you help us raise $175,000 we will take our Veteran Entrepreneurs to a fourth weeklong consulting engagement to help yet another veteran small business. You will be able to see all the Veteran Entrepreneur’s hard work via webisode on the Ranger Up YouTube Channel.
If you help us raise $200,000 the Ranger Up Team will develop and execute a complete marketing plan for a veteran-owned small business in need. The application process will be posted on our website, selection will be driven by the Ranger Up fans, and we will publish the engagement via webisode. The Veteran Entrepreneurs will be in charge of running the contest and developing a suitable framework for the applicants. You will be able to see all the Veteran Entrepreneur’s hard work via webisode on the Ranger Up YouTube Channel.
If you help us raise $250,000 we will hire a third Veteran Entrepreneur! This is the maximum number that we will hire for 2014. We want to ensure that each Veteran Entrepreneur has plenty of attention from our staff, sufficient individual and group resources, and the proper amount of unique experiences as they go through the program.
Any monies collected above $250k will either be invested into the three Veteran Entrepreneur’s businesses (if warranted) or we will open a separate business entity and apply for 501(c)(3) status with the remaining funds so they can be used to fund future veteran entrepreneurs in the program.
About Ranger Up
Ranger Up is the premiere military lifestyle apparel brand on the planet. We exist to serve members of the armed forces, police, fire, and EMS communities and the patriotic civilians who support them. We believe that success means giving back more to our community than we take from it.
I started Ranger Up in 2006 as a hobby to stay connected to the military community after I had left the U.S. Army. At first it was something I did for an hour or two a night after my corporate job, but in short order it became my passion. I worked at a Fortune 100 company from 7-6 every day, came home, ate dinner, and worked on Ranger Up from 7:30 until 3am. I did this until September 17, 2009. A few days before that magical day, I found out that I was going to get promoted again. I should have been excited, but instead all I felt was dread. All I could think about was that I was on a life path that delivered no joy and no real challenge. The fuel in my life came from Ranger Up. So on Monday, to the chagrin of my family and friends who wondered what the hell I was doing leaving a cushy job to sell t-shirts, I quit and became a full-time entrepreneur.
And do you know what happened next? I almost went bankrupt. That’s what happened. I blew through all my savings trying to keep the company afloat and worked every minute of every day trying to make ends meet. At one point, I remember looking into my checking account and I had $1300 left. That’s it. I had maxed two credit cards, had emptied my savings, sold my mutual funds, and left a great job…and I had $1300 left. But, I refused to quit, and the next month an amazing thing happened – I had $1350 in my checking, and then $1400. Fifty bucks at a time I started to get ahead. Today, we’re a multi-million dollar firm with retailers in every state and multiple countries, our own line of American Made Jeans, and even our own animated cartoon, and every success occurred the same way, by fighting for it…$50 at a time.