Annette Whittenberger is a military spouse of twenty two years and she's also a veteran of seventeen years. She retired in November 2016 and fell into becoming an “accidental entrepreneur”, able to make up for lost time with her children, use her voice to share her story about real life after the Army and living with mental illness.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 335
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[04:06] Tom's introduction to Annette Whittenberger [05:31] An Accidental Entrepreneur [07:36] Created a business, a podcast and a book [09:21] The Wall Between Two Lives – A Memoir [10:35] Podcasting and volunteering [13:24] Coping mechanisms to help others [15:10] What we need to know as civilians [17:00] Kids are just like their parents
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Screw The Commute Podcast App – https://screwthecommute.com/app/
College Ripoff Quiz – https://imtcva.org/quiz
Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there! – https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Program – https://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/
Annette's website – https://www.awildridecalledlife.com/
The Truths We Hide podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-truths-we-hide/id1492522285
Veterati – https://www.veterati.com/
Annette's LinkTree Page – https://linktr.ee/a_wild_ride_called_life
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Repurposing – https://screwthecommute.com/334/
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Episode 335 – Annette Whittenberger
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey, everybody, it's Tom here with Episode 335 of Screw the Commute podcast. We're in the middle of Vetrepreneur's Month, and we have an awesome accidental entrepreneur, Annette Whittenberger, she's a 17 plus year veteran.
[00:00:41] And I guess what she's living with some of the things that we should appreciate of people that have gone to service for us. I mean, she's doing still dealing with things, anxiety, depression and PTSD and being an inspiration to others. And, boy, now they just mentioned there's going to be thousands more troops coming home. And I'm sure they're going to need a lot of them are going to need her services. So so bring her on in a minute.
[00:01:11] So make sure you grab a copy of our automation ebook. This book has just one of the tips, one of the tips. And I'm not exaggerating. We figured it out has saved me about seven and a half million keystrokes.
[00:01:26] So I know a lot of you listen a long time have downloaded the book, but go implement what's in the book because it allows me to handle 150000 subscribers and 40000 customers without pulling my hair out and allows me to steal customers from people that are too slow to get back to people. So we're lightning fast around here in this book will teach you how to do it. So screwthecommute.com/automatefree. Now, while you're over there, grab a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app and you can put it on your cell phone and tablet and they'll do all kinds of fancy things and save your favorite episodes and all kinds of stuff. And we have video and screen captures to show you how to use it.
[00:02:17] All right, folks are still in the middle of this pandemic. Nobody knows what's going on. Some schools are open. Some schools and parents are freaking out. People are afraid they're going to lose their homes and and get evicted from their apartments. It just tears me up to worry about that kind of stuff on your behalf. I mean, I really feel bad about it. But the thing is, is I've been preaching for 20 years.
[00:02:44] Plus, if you can learn how to sell on the Internet, you will not be susceptible to those kinds of things that happen in the world. And you'll have security. You're building a security for your family. So it's a perfect also for your kids. They take to this stuff like ducks to water the technology stuff, and they're on their cell phone all day. Why not have them making money from it? We have kids making six thousand dollars a month as a side hustle.
[00:03:13] So I formalized my training in the form of a school. It's IMTCVA.org. We're also allowed by the Department of Defense to give out military scholarships, military spouse scholarships.
[00:03:28] And we're working in the future to be able to take the GI Bill. But right now we can take military spouse scholarships.
[00:03:37] And that's perfect because these military I'm right in the middle of Norfolk, Virginia, where all these military spouses have to take crappy jobs because everybody knows they're going to move and then they have to go somewhere else and take a crappy job.
[00:03:50] Well, if they had these skills, they could keep clients and do business and never have to bat an eye when they move to a different location. So check it out at IMTCVA.org and I'll tell you a little later how you can get a scholarship, another type of scholarship.
[00:04:07] All right, let's bring on the main event. Annette Whittenberger is a military spouse of twenty two years and she's also a veteran of seventeen years. She's a mom to Haley I think is the pronunciation. She's twenty years old than a college junior and Blaze's seventeen year old high school senior at Robinson High School. She retired in November 2016 and she fell into becoming an accidental entrepreneur, you know, to be able to make up for lost time with her children and use her voice to share her story about real life after the army and living with mental illness.
[00:04:50] Annette, are you ready to screw? The commute? So, oh, it's it's really a pleasure and a privilege to have on someone like you that served the country for, you know, most of their adult life and done the things that help make us safe so that we can do our things over here. So regardless of any idiots out there that are anti USA, that people will listen to this show after we thank you from the bottom of our heart. So thanks a lot and and really appreciate it. So tell us what you're doing and the accidental entrepreneur. What is that?
[00:05:34] Yes. When I retired, I had a plan because I, I retire a lot earlier than I had anticipated. And the reason was I didn't get selected for promotions. I was really devastated. And I fell into this really dark depression that just it was composed of so many things that had happened in my life.
[00:05:56] But even that wasn't your fault that you weren't selected for. Wasn't there a big decline in the military at that point?
[00:06:04] There was. But in my head, you know, in my head, I felt like a failure. So trying to figure out how I was going to continue to live, I turned to writing.
[00:06:17] And so that's where my blog came from. And then a website, and that's what a wild ride called life. So I started to realize that the more I shared myself and my vulnerability, the more I realized I wasn't alone. And so then I turned it into something much bigger. You know, I opened it up to so many other people that were feeling the same. And we just don't know it because those invisible wounds are so hidden that no one sees past it. You know, they only look at the outside and what's physically wrong with you, not what's internally. So I.
[00:06:54] Had to be that person that was like, no, no more, I'm I wanted to end the stigma of mental health. I wanted to stop suicides because, you know, it's just people don't really understand until some of us start speaking up. And it was very hard.
[00:07:13] Well, yeah, it's I can't imagine some of the things you saw and were exposed to, you know, in your time in the service. And that's that's again, why I wish these people that, you know, are clueless would have a taste of that. So they would more appreciate the kind of things that you and all of your brethren have done for us. So. So what's so this is a business now?
[00:07:38] It is. Because then I created the troops we hired Podcast's from that had such an outpouring of support. I've had people that reached out to me that were, you know, thanking me for doing for sharing my story. And I'm sitting here, you know, just so humbled because it's not just all about me, it's about everybody. And so now the truth we hide has not just veterans, but any person off the street. I mean, literally, like from the bagel shop that are suffering, but they don't have a place to to share. So I wanted to create that platform, that space for people to come on and share without judgment.
[00:08:19] Ok, so let's be clear about the names of the things. The Truths We Hide is the name of the podcast, right?
[00:08:26] And then a wild ride called life. Is that correct? .com is this is the website.
[00:08:33] Yes. A wild ride called Life.
[00:08:39] AwildridecalledLife.com. We'll have all these in the show notes so people can just click on them. So. So what will they find if they're at the website?
[00:08:49] They will find everything from my book launch to podcast episodes to opportunities to share your story, even if you want to be anonymous to all the, you know, just all the work that I'm doing and that I'm trying to create to bring more awareness.
[00:09:07] Ok, and you mentioned the book there. Do you have more than one book or is this the one that's coming up next year?
[00:09:13] This is the one that's coming up if you want. You know, I invite anybody who wants to be part of the book launch. They could go directly to the website and sign up for that. Yeah, tell them about the book. Yes.
[00:09:23] So the book is a memoir. And, you know, really, my intention is to share the story, to give hope to others. And, you know, each chapter will have a part of my life, but also how I have overcome it and what you know, how I'm here, how I'm still here today.
[00:09:43] So hope and just real life in the name of the book, The Wall Between Two Lives.
[00:09:50] Wow, that is powerful. How did you come up with that? I don't know.
[00:09:54] I just came to just came to me just like the name of the website just came to me in the podcast. It just came to me. So I'm very blessed to just be alive and to, you know, just have these things come to me. You know, I just it took a lot took many, many years to get to the place that I'm at now.
[00:10:12] Well, there's some kind of higher, higher power working with you.
[00:10:15] I tell you that for that stuff that just appear out of thin air, that's those are really powerful names in a book title for sure. And when's that coming out?
[00:10:25] Spring 2021.
[00:10:27] But people can sign up to be involved now that the anticipation of it, right?
[00:10:32] Absolutely. All right. Now, I know you tell us the podcast. How often do you have it?
[00:10:41] So I actually it went from once a week to twice a week because I've had that much support and just interest in it. So twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, every week, new episodes and people sponsor it or, you know, can you can you get money for it? So lately we are looking for sponsors because our audience is growing and we are reaching more people and helping them. So there are sponsorship opportunities. You can also go to the website to be a part of that as well.
[00:11:13] Beautiful. Now, it doesn't surprise me that people like you are heavily into volunteerism.
[00:11:20] Tell us about some of the groups you're you're supporting in and your volunteer work.
[00:11:25] Yes. thank you. You know, I was one of my Army sisters, was part of a program called TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
[00:11:34] And, you know, I since I have four children or four, it is his children for ages. Oh, gosh. Youngest five, almost 17 until they graduate.
[00:11:47] And then they can come back and be a mentor themselves. But I you know, I was blessed to have been able to be in the D.C. area and spend a whole weekend with these children, you know, who are grieving from the loss of their their loved ones. It could be anywhere from a parent or to an Antion uncle. And it's, you know, the things that Taps is doing to help them cope different ways. You know, from coloring and using your words to using colors to express your feelings is absolutely amazing. And it's just, you know, I, I always try to either volunteer my time or for those who are able to donate, it's absolutely worth it because these children, you just don't even know it's it's heartbreaking.
[00:12:34] Now, you know, I'm not sure if this was a typo or I'm not pronouncing it, but there's a thing called Veterati.
[00:12:41] Yes, yes. Correct. It is. It is called Veterati. I'm a mentor through Veterati, and it's a place for you to go to to to be a mentor or to find a mentor through many. There's so many different areas you can mentor and people just you know, they go to your bio, they see if you're a match. And I'm just so humble that people have picked me based off of my bio because I'm I really put it out there. I put that I am, you know, a survivor. I do suffer, but I'm here now and I want to help you, so. Yes, it's pretty awesome.
[00:13:21] Wow, you are you are a powerful volunteer, that's for sure. So so you are dealing with some of these things still yet? What are some of the coping mechanisms you're using?
[00:13:31] Because I guess volunteering and helping others might be one of them. But but you are suffering from these things yourself.
[00:13:39] Yes, I am. And I think the first step I had to make was finally say, OK, I'm living with this.
[00:13:46] I'm no longer going to suffer. And, you know, that really saved my life. I've I spent so many years trying to hide it, and I don't want to be seen as weak or be judged. So, you know, one of the biggest things that I actually met you Tom through was the veterans who were tribe. Right. And really, really fortunate to have met a handful of those people in person. And they've actually really helped me. It's it's really amazing. Like Tammy Moses, Rob Garcia, people like that who reach out and who genuinely want to help. And so with their their support and their nonjudgmental attitudes, it's that's the biggest thing is finding your tribe.
[00:14:28] And so that's what's really helped me. I mean, I do have days where I just, you know, I don't want to do anything or I'm not motivated. But the next day I show up again. So I think as long as we we learn to give ourselves grace, that's that's what that's the key. That's the key for me, Grace. And, you know, learning that it is OK to not be OK. And the other thing was using my message and my message, I realized that, yes, I went through a lot of crap. Oh, my gosh. Yes. But how am I going to turn that around now and how am I going to be present for my kids and for other people? And so those are the things that. Those are the things that really save my life daily.
[00:15:09] Right now, they're just announced on the news that I think about three thousand troops are coming home from overseas.
[00:15:20] Right. Where are we now need to know as civilians of what they went through and how to best support them?
[00:15:29] I think one of the biggest things that I've learned as a kid was never judge a book by its cover. So they come back, they need to reintegrate. It's going to take them time. Whether they saw combat or not.
[00:15:41] You don't know what they have gone through over there because we leave our families. We we have this whole new lifestyle overseas. And so I think we just need to be cognizant of our words, be mindful, be you know, if you don't want to be sympathetic, that's OK.
[00:15:59] But just don't if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it now to the people.
[00:16:05] Is it cliche or do people really does it mean something when somebody like me would say, thank you for your service?
[00:16:13] It depends on the person, it's not it's very oh, man, when I first heard that, I wanted to cry because that's this is my that was my life and I did it for all of us.
[00:16:26] So there are soldiers who absolutely appreciate it. Some are just it's very hard for them to hear because of what they saw or what they're coming back to. So, no, I mean, don't ever stop showing your appreciation. You know, there's some of us who really need to hear that because it is that hard.
[00:16:43] So go ahead and say it, but realize that it might, you know, just not be received because of what they've been through.
[00:16:49] Yes. Yes.
[00:16:51] Don't be offended if we don't come back and hug you or say because it's it's just difficult to hear some time. Yeah. Yes. Now, tell us about these kids of yours.
[00:17:03] Oh, goodness, yes. So I have a 20 year old girl who's attending college in Texas, and I'm all the way here in Virginia. And for those of you who know me, she's stubborn and hardheaded and she wants to prove her.
[00:17:20] Is that like her mom? Is that what you're saying or what?
[00:17:23] Like her mom.
[00:17:24] Well, yes, she's just like me. Ok, so she's you know, she wants to be FBI and she's really she's really going after it.
[00:17:35] Even though we were kind of hesitant. She's like, nope, this is what I want to do. So I'm proud of her. She's on her own and all the way out there. And I have my son who's who's here in, you know, 17 year old boy. I know you guys know how it is to be a 17 year old boy. So it's difficult, but he has such a good heart. So, you know, I'm proud of both my kids, even though they're they're just like their parents.
[00:17:58] So it's one day at a time I was going to college.
[00:18:05] You know, that scares me that when people go on to college, unless they have a really important, you know, career path, because all these kids are just all there learning to do is protest and getting indoctrinated and all that crap.
[00:18:18] Yes. No, you're right. And, you know, I wanted to I want to say that I was sad when he said he did not want to go to college, but he wants to go to trade school. And so we we we have been supporting him and just having him research what he wants to do and what trades he's looking at. He wants to do underwater welding.
[00:18:41] Well, there you go. I mean, you get it a lot of money. I mean, that's the any kind of welding is a is a good profession. Right.
[00:18:51] So is and I think the biggest thing that we have tried to instill into our kids is do what you do, what makes you happy. And if that you know, if that's what really sets your soul on fire, then go for it.
[00:19:04] And if that makes him happy because he likes to work with his hands, he's you know, he takes automotive classes where he used to take automotive classes at school. He loved doing those things. So if that makes them happy, then you know what? Go for it.
[00:19:16] Well, as long as it makes them happy.
[00:19:19] And it's it's something that people will pay for because you could be happy as you want and broke and working at Starbucks.
[00:19:27] You know, you're right.
[00:19:29] But that sounds like a pretty high paying profession when they're a movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. a long time ago, or he was like the first black guy there was an underwater diver or something.
[00:19:41] And I remember with. I forgot the name, but you are so right for us.
[00:19:46] Yeah, yeah, so I think Robert De Niro is the real meany sergeant or something, but but no, I'm thrilled to death to hear that because you're not going to learn how to protest underwater.
[00:19:58] You know why you're welding with that protesting?
[00:20:02] You know, we discuss our our values are our opinions in the house. But, you know, we just don't like to go out there. We don't need to do that. I just that's what I feel.
[00:20:12] I almost made a comment when you said I'm blessed to live near D.C. He could really hear D.C. and different for different reasons. So. Voice So.
[00:20:26] Well, I'm just thrilled to have you on. I'm thrilled that you're doing you're doing well. I don't want to say great because there's always something I'm sure you're going to be improving then.
[00:20:37] But I also want to just totally highly thank you for what you're doing for the other people that need need help and maybe don't know where to turn.
[00:20:46] So thanks so much for coming on in.
[00:20:49] Thank you so much for having me, Tom.
[00:20:50] Ok, so tell them your websites again and also put them in the show notes in the podcast and where they can listen to it, all that stuff.
[00:20:57] Absolutely. So you can find everything at awildridecalledLife.com. And if you want to, you can find the podcast on there, but if you want to go ahead and stream it from somewhere else, it's called the Truths We Hide podcast.
[00:21:12] Beautiful, beautiful. Well, thanks so much for being here on Vetrepreneur's Month. We love our veterans here. And you know what? Annette, thank you for your service.
[00:21:22] Thank you.
[00:21:23] All right, everybody.
[00:21:24] We'll catch y'all on the next episode in Vetrepreneur's Month.
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