Get ready for your next career in IT and cybersecurity.
Kyle Kotecha is the Founder of Veteran Transition Mission.
After leaving the armed forces, many soldiers realize that they often can’t perform the same jobs they had in the military due to various regulations or roadblocks. Transitioning to civilian life only becomes that much more complicated after soldiers learn the cost of living outside of the military. Not being able to find a rewarding job makes re-entry that much more depressing and stressful.
Learn more about how Veteran Transition Mission can help veterans transition from active duty to civilian life by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
All right with us right now we have Kyle Kotecha. Kyle, you're the Founder of Veteran Transition Mission, and also the CEO of LeadSpeed. Thank you so much for joining us. Hey, thanks for having me, Josh. So, just kind of start off, just explain what the work that you're doing with Veteran Transition Mission. You and I talked a little bit about that before. We started this interview and I love what you're doing. I think it's a badly needed service. And you're helping a lot of good men and women.
Yeah, no, thank you, Josh. Um, so what we're doing with Veteran Transition Mission, the goal here is to help vets, you know, after the military service, come out and have a real career, you know, so a lot of guys are able to find jobs. But in those jobs, they, they still have that feeling of anxiety, depression, because they're not being treated the way that they feel. They're not making the money that they need to be making. So what we really focus on is helping guys have you know, a long term career. So, we look at markets like Information Technology, cyber security, so we bring that sand and equip them, you know, to take on jobs like that, whether they had experience doing that in the military or not. So, you know, our mission with veteran transition mission simply is to you know, help these guys have a rewarding career after their service.
Yeah. And talk about talk about how you work and and how you've built a relationship with trade schools.
So, what we looked at in the beginning of when I first got out of the army myself, I struggled To You know, find a good job I was, you know, I left the Virginia station in Virginia, I left Virginia and was like, Hey, I'm just going to move to Florida, right? I wanted to be somewhere more. So I started looking. And I remember, you know, week one, I had landed a job, and it was selling tire tire Kingdom coupons, walking door to door. And I just wasn't able to, you know, I was actually losing money doing that job, but I enjoyed it. It was, you know, getting out and meeting people, all of that. And so, I actually got connected with a school called a new horizons out in Orlando, right. And they were doing a lot of really good work helping veterans, you know, get into it careers, and they offered me an opportunity to help more veterans. And so that's really how it all got started. I got to see hey, these guys don't have to go back to school for you know, four years in order to you know, have my way they can do a, you know, a nine week program, a 10 week program, get the certifications they need and quickly get into these careers. And so veteran transition mission was kind of born from there. So what we did is since we could Work with a limited pocket out here in Central Florida veteran transition mission said all right, let's help guys from all across the country, you know, access training and opportunities like this.
Well talk about the some of the biggest opportunities that are available right now. And I, I know you're going to hone in on one because I've got two boys that are in STEM right now. And there are so many incentives and programs to funnel people into this field and that field is cybersecurity.
Yeah, I mean, you're you're spot on with that on that. I think there I've read something. I think in Forbes it was talking about there's 2.1 there's going to be 2.1 million unfilled cyber security jobs alone by 2021. So our country is far far behind, though we consume, you know so much regarding technology, our security is is so low, so you've had major corporations being hacked, you've got the government. You know, there's so much of this going on. people's personal accounts are getting hacked. So cyber security is now you know, on the forefront, everybody understands Hey, we have to Start securing your network securing our infrastructure and there's just not enough skilled workers. So there's a huge push to bring in vets and just people in general into this industry
No kidding now does it help if you came out of the military and you had some kind of security clearance?
Yeah, so having a clearance is really is really good as well. So a lot of guys, I mean, it's not required in all of these positions, but having a clearance really does help so you'll see entry level jobs if you have a clearance paying upwards of $35 an hour your entry level entry level jobs
35 bucks an hour
Yeah, it's crazy. And these are guys so I brought an infantry guys right no it experience no tech experience brought him in got him a few certifications under their belt, they had a security clearance and they went on making 35 $40 an hour just just with that. I mean, it's it's a powerful thing that clearance is something guys, you know, a lot of times aren't leveraging, but should, if that makes sense.
So, in cyber security, again, I just want to talk just a little bit more about this because I'm I'm totally geeking out on this subject that I've actually had some really great conversations, you know, again, I've got a 16 new 13 year old and they're both into it. As Dad, you know, I'm always looking out for opportunities. And, you know, that's one of the things too, I mean, they're both great 4.0 students, but you know, the passport doesn't necessarily have to go through a four year university, if this is the field you want to go into.
Yeah, I agree with you. So the way that I kind of position this and show people how to access these careers, most people you know, in the country for many years, it's always been geared towards degrees. And for a while that was true, you know, like, my dad, if he didn't have a degree probably wouldn't have been as successful. But now companies are running leaner. They're looking at how how can this person make an impact, right, versus Oh, he's trainable, which is what a degree used to teach you show about you. And so what I instruct a lot of guys to do is just go ahead and get your certifications. Get your foot in the door where you're working because Nothing Trump, right?
Right. Nothing, nothing agree nothing of
nothing is going to Trump, you know, that experience that you have. So when you have those certifications, you're able to get your foot in the door. And once you get your foot in the door and you're working in the industry, then you pick up on your degree because now you know exactly how you're going to leverage and utilize that degree to move up versus, you know, picking a degree and say you go towards networking, but really you like cyber security, and the two don't necessarily correlate. So yeah, we, we tend to get guys to go ahead and get their certs and get their foot in the door first, and then start working and chipping away at that degree. How expensive is it to get a, you know, go through a program and get certification? Oh, so it really varies. There's some really good free resources online. So a lot of times even the students, excuse me that we bring in, I'll send them free resources before they come through the actual paid training. Right. And so you can look at things like Professor Messer on YouTube and he does things like comp to a plus net plus and security plus, which are really big certifications to have in this industry. But I mean, it can It can vary anywhere from free to, you know, 10s of thousands of dollars depending on which route you go George,
but you know, if you get out and you can step right into a 35 $40 an hour job and that's kind of like your first gig outside the military. That ain't too bad. Let me tell you my job right out of the military was working at Great America. This Six Flags and making like five, seven bucks an hour and then was in college and again, working in a group home overnights while I was taking classes and yeah, I got it, you know, back in the day, but again, you know, making about seven bucks an hour, just pretty close to minimum wage, you know, while I was working on my degree, and it wasn't until my degree that I can finally make you know, better money and so, you know, I agree with you, it's like, Look, you can, you don't have to do the traditional, you know, I go to school, and I go to school for four years straight. I got my degree, then I can enter the real world and start working. And meanwhile, you're just waiting tables, nothing wrong with waiting tables, but it sounds like you can make a little bit more money.
Maybe with some extra certifications under your belt.
Exactly. I mean, and that's, that's a really good point. So I mean, now is a really, it's a great time to be alive. In my opinion, you know, there's a lot of really good opportunities, technology is growing. It's scary for a lot of people, when you start looking at automation, you start looking at all the things that's happening, um, but it also leaves a lot of opportunity for people. And so that's why I feel it very important for guys that have the opportunity to come in and get into an industry like this so that you have an understanding of what we're all now being built on, which is technology. Right? So having that good baseline understanding will carry you in the, you know, long term. So, yeah, and another point to what you were saying about the jobs coming out, you get a lot of these companies that that are military friendly, right, let's say military friendly, but yeah, wages aren't necessarily military friendly. They're not necessarily friendly. And so you know, that's one of things That we really want to combat because a lot of companies have a nice slogan, right about, hey, we want to help vets and hey, we want to hire vets, but then they're paying 10 $12 an hour, and you know, a vet that's gone overseas, and, you know, or somebody who's dedicated their life to the country, you know, they deserve to have a piece of American dream, which is, you know, essentially that, that, that home for their family, you know, a nice life and everything like that, but it's hard to provide that on, you know, $12 an hour. So a lot of guys are struggling. And again, that depression is starting to set in, because it's like, why did I leave the military or, Oh, I thought this was going to be a lot easier, better. So that's where we really come into play and where we try and help guys out.
So Kyle, you've built two successful businesses now both are doing very well. What's your secret? Like? How did what did you do? I mean, obviously, you didn't start right into this and immediately just the cash started pouring in. Right? No, it didn't. And you know this
and appreciate you, you know, segue into that because that's the real message that I wanted to bring is so about perseverance. Um, you know, I left I knew in my heart that I wanted to run businesses, right. That's what I've always wanted to do. Do I felt I had a job? You know, shortly after the military where I was making really good money, six figures, my wife was pregnant with our third child, we had the mortgage, we had the car payments, we had all of this. And I said, babe, I've got to take this. I've got to take the shot. I've got to try. Right, I did all the all the things, the right things I thought, you know, I studied hard, I've worked hard, you know, invested in my business and still, you know, I was failing, right? And it wasn't until the book that we discussed which is from Napoleon Hill, where he starts talking about you know, you're three feet from gold, right? Um, you know, keep digging basically, um, it wasn't until that that things really started to come clear in it and gave me that second wind. But I tell you, Josh, I was I was down and out, man. I was literally, you know, it's hard to share. But I was literally in tears. I thought I let my entire family now you know, and my wife comes in, she shakes me and she's like, baby, she was like you're three feet from gold. Keep digging, keep digging, and it just gave me that that that fire that I still hold on to the day to keep pushing and you know, it's one of those things that It's hard at first, you know, you're going to struggle, whether it's business or you're trying to get into a new industry, whatever it is, you're going to struggle, right? And and this is not for those bad times, you can't really appreciate the good ones. And so my messages and what I hope somebody could take away from what I'm saying today is to embrace that tough time and race, it might just breathe it in and know that if you keep pushing, if you don't quit, then you'll get to look back on that and feel so proud of yourself for making it through. So yeah, I mean, it things are going great now, you know, thankfully, but they weren't for a while Josh, and you know, it's, it's great to be sitting on the other side of that. And all I would like to be able to do is just let other people know who might be sitting in a situation where they're like, you know, this isn't working. What am I gonna do? How am I gonna pay my bills, or I have to sell my house to let them know that hey, look, you just you just have to keep digging. You're almost there.
Yeah, yeah, I can. It's fun. You know, and a lot of what you're talking about is I see that a lot from people who have served in the military. You learn that grit that German That, you know, failure is not an option. You'll do whatever it takes in order to achieve the mission. And that's it. That's a common thread I see among a lot of military veterans. And so you know, if you could pick that up by you know, again, someone's listening our conversation right now hearing your words and like, man, I love that, you know, they take the words three feet from gold, put it on their wall, because I promise you, look, I've been I have failed in business six times, I've been bankrupt. I've lost two houses, I've had to go back and live with my in laws at you know, with two kids, because I've failed in business so badly. And then, you know, out of that grew a company to six figures a month. And I can tell you, though, that in that experience, there's tough times at the very beginning. And just because you start making more money, that doesn't mean you're right, there's always going to be something that's going to come up and you know, the same You know, Mo Money Mo Problems, it's more problems, it's different problems, right? And sometimes those different problems, it's okay. Like it's Listen, we all deal with it, we all have to face it, you know, whether it's you know, you have issues with operations, your team, you know, cash flows, cash flow issues, who would have thought that that would be an issue when you start making really, really good money but you know, when that operations is kind of creeping up and you know, cost of goods and all that, all that stuff is very, very possible. But, you know, when times are good, man, there's nothing like it, there's nothing like it. And of course, I think, you know, Kyle to your point in either impact in what you're doing, the impact on the lives, the people that you serve, and the people that maybe are part of your team and giving them an opportunity as well. That's what makes it all worthwhile.
Yeah, it really is. And, you know, to your point, I mean, life is really a series of ups and downs. Yeah, right. Think about it, you know, things are going so well and then Pam, you know, when it happened to me In the beginning, and you know, I understand that it's going to continue to happen. And I think the big part is when you understand that, that it is going to happen, and you can brace for it and you understand that, hey, I'm strong enough to come out of it. That's, that's where the real magic starts to happen. Because you're, you're less reactive, and you're more proactive, you know, something, you're, you're prepping for different things. You have things ready. It's just yeah, I totally agree with you, man. And that's a really good point. I appreciate you sharing, you know, that part of your story with me, because I know that's a hard thing. But But look where you're at, you know, look, which
I trust me, I didn't share that story for many, many years. You know, eventually you learn that, you know, it's those failures that people need to hear. And, and that's what you know, because we all go through it. We all go through it. And I want to thank you so much. So this is a great conversation. And of course, I want to make sure that people know how to track you down. And so your website is veterantransitionmission.org is that it correct. And then of course, LeadSpeed, which we didn't even get to talk about today. But when you go to so if you look up Kyle do a Google search. Kyle your last name is spelled KOTECHA, how do you spell that? Or do you say that again? One more time? Kotecha Kotecha. So Kyle Kotecha, you're the Founder of Veteran Transition Mission and the CEO of LeadSpeed. Thank you so much for joining us. And thank you
so much for having me, Josh.
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