Military Member of the Month Jeff Kirkham
Entrepreneur, family man, and exceptional service member; having spent almost 29 years with the US Army Special Forces, Jeff Kirkham is a man we can all aspire to be like.
Jeff is a serial entrepreneur, an author and has multiple patents under his name. He is the creator of the RATS tourniquet, CEO at ReadyMan, co-founder of and Head of Product Development at Black Rifle Coffee Company, among many other endeavors.
Jeff became involved with High Caliber Community through mutual friends, as many friendships go in the veteran space. But, he’s not just a friend to us, he’s become a great mentor and ally to this organization. We asked Jeff for some insight into his entrepreneurial life, knowing full well that dedicating your life to your passion and multiple businesses can take its toll. Jeff says, you’ve got to find a healthy balance. Between 2002-2013, Jeff spent over 8 years boots on ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he always made efforts to spend quality time with his wife and two young boys.
Jeff advises new business owners to find balance, and of course, a supportive family. His wife, Robin, has been a wonderful support to him and as Jeff says, his best friend. She is not only an amazingly powerful and influential woman, she is also actively involved in his endeavors and is the Chief Operating Officer at Black Rifle Coffee Company.
Jeff suggests that when you want to become an entrepreneur, ease into it. As an inventor, this is one of the biggest lessons Jeff has learned over time. Having a great product or an idea doesn’t mean you will be successful overnight. Ease into you-you don’t have to jump full on right away. If you want to become an entrepreneur, start small, Jeff says. “Before you know it, with a little luck and a lot of hard work, that product will take on a life of its own.”
Jeff says “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to keep from working 40 hours a week.” For those of you starting businesses, non-profits or dedicating your life to your passion, you know full well the amount of time and effort that goes into creating something great. But there’s more to it than just passion alone.
“Having an idea is a very small part of the overall process. There are very few people that, for whatever reason, can take idea to finished product. Most people can’t even take idea past idea. Then you get a few that can take idea to prototype, and even fewer that can take prototype into production…There are very few who can.” Jeff believes that being a veteran may increase your odds of success because it’s part of our culture. He says it’s because “We are taught to take ownership and live in a culture of constant improvement.”
Many people in the High Caliber app express their concerns and issues as they transition; whether it’s issues with finding employment, a new support system, new purpose in life, or issues with post-traumatic stress. We asked Jeff about his experiences as a leader in the business world and how he feels PTSD can affect veterans in civilian life. He says he feels everybody reaches a point where they need help. It’s not just veterans, everybody struggles but what you do when you get there is what matters. Jeff said that as veterans, we come from a community where we are constantly being mentored, setting goals, and mentoring others. We feel in the service that we have a grand purpose and we all know what our roles are. We take pride in knowing what our purpose is. But when veterans get out of the military and into civilian world, nobody cares. People don’t care if you’re living under a bridge, in your car or in a mansion; but it’s important, as a transitioning veteran, to find your new purpose and a strong support system. Even if you need to get creative in finding your purpose. Jeff suggests transitioning veterans also find something to help ease your mind and decompress.
For Jeff, while deployed, he began writing a sci-fi novel. He found this to be exceptionally helpful in finding an escape because he was able to write and live in the stories he was writing. He said writing provided him a very healthy, much-needed break from reality. Having a healthy break from reality to decompress from the stressors of life can be like a breath of fresh air, whether it’s fitness, writing a book, or sitting on top of a mountain and enjoying the view.
Talking with Jeff is like reading a very well written novel about entrepreneurship and success. For anyone looking for advice or mentorship, Jeff encourages you to reach out to him through ReadyMan or RATS. He is more than willing to help others looking to improve their lives and make a difference in the world. He will most likely give you a list of great books to read to get started. He recommends aspiring entrepreneurs read books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter; “Principles” by Ray Dalio; “Good to Great” by James C. Collins and of course, anything by the great Tony Robins.
Be on the lookout for some great upcoming product development in ReadyMan! They are launching new products all the time, like a fire making pen, a belt knife, version 2 of the RATS tourniquet, and multiple other survival items.
In honor of our friendship with Jeff Kirkham and his support of High Caliber Community,
ReadyMan is offering 15% all orders for the month of June with promo code “HIGH CALIBER” you can use this promo code when purchasing your items on their website, or by clicking the banner ad for ReadyMan in the High Caliber app.
ReadyMan creates custom tools and implements time-tested man skills to help inspire members to be prepared for the unexpected in our modern era. We offer outdoor survival tactics and gear, home defense techniques & products, exciting content, and powerful information to help facilitate members to be ready.