From Military Service to Entrepreneurship: One Veteran’s Inspiring Business Journey

Free Agent Podcast, General
Military to Business Success Story by Zack Husted

Military to Business Success Story: One Veteran’s Inspiring Business Journey

Zack’s journey from serving in the Iowa Air National Guard to his deployments in the Middle East gives a unique perspective into the challenges and triumphs military veterans face. His transition into civilian life after retiring from the military exemplifies his resilience and adaptability.

With a heart for giving back to the military community, Zack’s entrepreneurial endeavors and dedication to supporting fellow veterans make him a compelling and relatable guest. His story shows that military veterans can and do thrive in entrepreneurship. Zack’s insights are sure to inspire and empower others in similar transitions. 

 -If you have an idea and you’re thinking about it, do it. 

-Spend your money last. 

-Have a very well-structured business plan. 

Make sure you’re clear on what you’re doing. – Zack

My special guest is Zack Husted

Zack Husted is a military veteran, podcast host, and founder/ CEO of Pillars of Valor.

Military to Business Success Story by Zack Husted

Zack’s story:

Zack’s story is a powerful journey from a 17-year-old joining the Iowa Air National Guard to navigating the challenges of transitioning out of the military. His candid narrative captures the emotional weight of leaving behind a defining chapter of his life. From the shock and awe of basic training to the life-changing events of September 11, Zack’s experiences shaped his perspective and instilled a strong sense of duty and camaraderie. His transition from military service to the civilian world was not without its struggles, but it also sparked a newfound passion for giving back and supporting fellow veterans.

Zack’s story is a testament to resilience, personal growth, and the transformative power of entrepreneurship. It demonstrates the strength and determination of veterans transitioning to civilian life.

In this episode of “Military to Business Success Story”, you will be able to:

  • Discover the transformative power of mentorship in launching your own business.
  • Overcome mental health struggles and cultivate resilience on your entrepreneurial journey.
  • Unleash the potential of storytelling to inspire and connect with others on your path to entrepreneurship.
  • Build a supportive and like-minded community for entrepreneurial success as a military veteran.

Overcoming Dark Moments

 Nobody is immune to life’s trials and tribulations. Overcoming dark moments can be challenging, requiring resilience, self-belief, and determination. Yet, these moments also present an opportunity for personal growth and development. Emerging from these situations often entails finding sources of strength, seeking support, and continually reminding oneself of the light at the end of the tunnel. Zach’s narrative paints a picture of his civilian identity struggles.

He openly discusses the dark moments he encountered and how these experiences became transformational. Zack’s story portrays his resilience and emphasizes that overcoming challenges can lead to the creation of something impactful, as it did with the founding of his company, Pillars of Valor.

Personal Struggles and Seeking Help

 Life is filled with obstacles that can be overwhelming and generate feelings of isolation and helplessness. During these dark moments, seeking help is instrumental in finding ways to cope, heal, and grow. Zach candidly shares his personal struggles, recounting when he reached a breaking point and felt lost. Rather than succumbing to his feelings, he courageously reached out to his friend for support. This experience was transformative for Zach. His story brings to light the power of friendship, the necessity for open conversations about mental health, and the courage to ask for help when needed.

Creating a Supportive Ecosystem

 A supportive ecosystem can profoundly affect individuals – especially those seeking to venture into entrepreneurship. It fosters innovation, encourages collaboration, and provides access to resources, including mentorship, funding, and strategic partnerships. Through these systems, individuals can receive guidance, gain confidence, and elevate their chances of success in their entrepreneurial journey. Through his experiences, Zach realized the importance of a supportive ecosystem in entrepreneurship.

He currently hosts a podcast called Leaders Lead. He has a Leaderslead Life website to establish a community where individuals can access valuable resources, connect with successful leaders, and learn from their experiences. Zach’s initiatives underscore his belief that entrepreneurial success relies on both individual effort and a supportive community.

The resources mentioned in this episode of “Military to Business Success Story” are:

  • Visit the website: LeadersLead to access a curated list of resources for veterans seeking funding, business development, and mentorship opportunities.
  • Explore the Pillars of Valor coffee at retail locations in Waconia, Excelsior, and Chaska, Minnesota. 
  • Look up Mike Sorelli, a mentor and friend who has been instrumental in providing guidance and support, especially for individuals navigating mental health challenges and seeking transformational growth.
  • Stay tuned for the upcoming episode of the podcast featuring Meg Schmitz, where she will share her own inspiring story and insights, contributing to the power of storytelling in inspiring and motivating others.

We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.  Please contact us with questions.  Best to callemail, or visit our site for the best response.  We do invite you to engage with us on social media (just not for immediate needs). As always, if you like, you will find us on the following social media sites, among many others:


Listen to Meg Schmitz Franchise Consultant Free Agent Podcasts:

Apple Podcasts
Podcast Addict
Amazon Music


Keep Reading

Access My Free Resource Library

I encourage you to do additional research into franchising. Here are my trusted resources.

Meg holding books

A Free, Consultative Approach

I provide free franchise consultation service to individuals considering franchise ownership. When a match is found, I collect a finder’s fee — from the franchise, not the franchisee.