I'm here with Lindsay Helm and this is part of Vetpreneur Month on Screw the Commute podcast. Every September, we honor and highlight all our wonderful veteran entrepreneurs. But deeper than that, we just love all our veterans for what they've sacrificed for our country and to keep us safe to do the things we're doing. So thanks to all of them. But really the reason I had her on, I wanted to borrow $75,000 off of her because I heard she just won a big deal. So let's see if I can talk her out of that $75 grand.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 645
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[02:31] Tom's introduction to Lindsay Helm [05:47] Having those dreaded J O B s [10:17] How this all started and making good business decisions [14:40] Devoting a lot of volunteer time to help others [17:22] Sponsor message [18:55] A typical day for Lindsay
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! – email@example.com
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/
KickStartCart – http://www.kickstartcart.com/
Copywriting901 – https://copywriting901.com/
Disabilities Page – https://imtcva.org/disabilities/
Lindsay's website – http://www.empoweremploy.us/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/takethehelm/
Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Joseph Garcia – https://screwthecommute.com/644/
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Episode 645 – Lindsay Helm
[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, is Tom here with episode 645 of Screw the Commute podcast? I'm here with Lindsay Helm and this is part of Vetpreneur Month on Screw the Commute podcast. Every September, we honor and highlight all our wonderful veteran entrepreneurs. But deeper than that, we just love all our veterans for what they've sacrificed for our country and to keep us safe to do the things we're doing. So thanks to all of them. But really the reason I had her on, I wanted to borrow $75,000 off of her because I heard she just won a big deal. So let's see if I can talk her out of that $75 grand. We'll have her on in a minute. I hope you didn't miss it. Veteran Joseph Garcia. He would be episode 644. And anytime you want to get to a back episode, you go to screwthecommute.com, slash and then the episode number. His is 644 and Lindsay's will be 645. That's today. All right. A quick update on our program to help persons with disabilities get scholarships. We are really excited about the program. We have three people in it right now. And guess what? Two of them are blind and they're shooting better videos than I do. All right. So, so amazing, amazing, inspirational people. And so if you'd like to help out with that, we have a go fund me account over at ScrewtheCommute.com/disability and you can click through to the Go Fund Me campaign and also see their update videos of what they're accomplishing.
[00:01:52] It's just just beautiful. All right. Make sure you let's see. I want to I want to tell you. Yeah, yeah. Download a copy of our automation e-book this you will thank me for this and you are crazy if you are not using just one of the tips in this book has saved me 8 million keystrokes over many years and allowed me to spend time with customers and prospects and developing products and services. So grab your copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree and then while you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app. It's screwthecommute.com/app and you can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road.
[00:02:32] Let's get to the main event. Lindsay Helm is a former I.T. specialist in the US Army. And shortly after leaving the Army, she worked in corporate America for like Amazon and Intuit and the Department of Defense. And she realized that there was a gap in the education and retention for employers that were hiring in the military community. So she launched Empower Employ, a company focused on supporting the economic impact of veterans and military spouses through corporate education and technology. Lindsay, are you ready to screw? The commute?
[00:03:09] Yeah, forget the commute. All turn it all down.
[00:03:14] I like that you veterans are tough. I say that to some. Some of these woke people. They would come and cancel me or something. So I got up trying to borrow this 75 grand off of you because you just kind of fell into it from this. What do you do, win an award or something?
[00:03:32] So, yes, but also not an award. So I spent about about three months going out and applying to different like pitch competitions. And if you've never heard of a pitch competition, let's talk about this just first.
[00:03:48] So like Shark Tank.
[00:03:49] Yeah, some of them don't take that's exactly what I was going to say. Only some of them don't take equity. It is your opportunity to stand in front of an audience, whether that be investors, small or large, to share your business idea and find out if it's really worth investing or giving some money to. So I found I'm plugged into a really great series of of veteran veterans year, veteran entrepreneur resources. And I found this pitch competition and I had a slide deck and I had never done this before. That's not true. I did it one time and it was scary. I never before and I applied and they accepted me. So I flew to Columbus and what I thought was going to be a pre-recorded pitch that I recorded with them with the organization before I got there. And the Saturday before the event I got a call from the event manager and she said, You know what? We love our videos, but it's really ridiculous to fly you all in from all over the United States. How would you feel about pitching live? Oh, that's fine, fine. I don't mind. And she said there's 500 people in the audience. And all of a sudden I was like, This is a bad idea. Can we just get me the stage? So, yeah, I, I took home a prize of $50,000 in cash to help grow our business. Talk about a minute. Yeah. Why? That sounds like a lot of money. But let me be clear. That money is no.
[00:05:12] I don't mind just borrowing 50,000 off you. I mean, you can send the the bill my payment schedule to my office in Juneau, Alaska or Ukraine. I have new one up.
[00:05:22] Yeah. And then the 25,000 we got remaining was an in-kind legal services from Stansberry and Weaver out of Ohio to help us with our legal stuff. So that's more that service alone is like gold.
[00:05:36] What is.
[00:05:36] Gold? You couldn't put a label on how much that was. So that's that's the kind of the set up there. And I'll be doing more of those over the next couple of months as a way to bring capital into the business for operating costs. Awesome.
[00:05:48] Awesome. Now you're doing some great things for the veterans and the business community, but let's take you back. You didn't always start out in business, right? So you've you've had a lot of those dreaded jobs over time. Right.
[00:06:01] Yeah, I so I started obviously we covered that I was a veteran. So I started in the military working in information technology and had to make a decision point because I was married to another service member on who was going to get out to help raise the plethora of children that we have produced. Who is going to be responsible for that? That was me. I quickly walked into multiple kind of I.T. related jobs, notably some of my favorite. We're helping plan all the technology going into military hospitals across the United States. And how did we get here? So with Empower Employee, I had gone to multiple conferences and I see it on the on LinkedIn. I was going to say the Internet, but I saw it on LinkedIn the other day and then I experienced it myself with the problem of a couple of things from the veteran perspective, a few things always here is I'm unemployed or I'm underemployed, so really cool skills. I don't know how to sell them. I can't translate my skills into corporate English saying for military spouses, I left the workforce to raise our children. Now I'm trying to re-enter work and re-entering the workforce. And despite the fact that I am basically a single parent and run the household and do everything that is involved from fixing our plumbing to running kids to doctor's appointments to being whatever that is, I don't have the skills needed to re-enter the workforce, which simply isn't true.
[00:07:26] Which leads me to the next problem that we are working on is from corporate America. I have heard and experienced a couple of things. One of them being, well, I have this veteran, he did this interview or she did this interview or they did this interview. However you describe yourself and I don't understand a single thing they said, so I have no idea what they're doing. We have our own language. Right, right, right. And then I had an experience that set me on a tangent like, I've never been so angry in my life. Like, I was so upset. I interviewed like 12 times for this company. I was moving to a new location, typical military spouse and veteran problem. I interviewed, I interviewed, I interviewed. And their decision that they put in writing was, we're not going to hire you because you're a military spouse and you're only going to be here for six months.
[00:08:12] Oh, yeah. I'm surprised they admit it. Yeah.
[00:08:14] Well, yeah. And so I went to this was like 2009, ten, 11. So there when Facebook Live just came out and I decided to do what I always do and that was run my mouth. So I ran my mouth, my friends, and it went not as viral as some other people that we know, but it went pretty widespread. Military Spouse Magazine wrote wrote to me and I wrote an article, and that's kind of how I realized that there was a problem. So in order to bring you all of those problems, I feel like as a veteran, I owe you solutions. And so the best way that I felt like I could serve the military spouse and veteran space was to go to corporate America and say, Yo, ah, excuse me, ma'am, sir company, I see you have this problem. I can custom build a solution, an education platform or education course that you can deploy from day one internal to your company. We can make it feel like your company culture. We can train people, we can really tackle this because I don't care if I give you 100 veterans tomorrow, if you can't translate their skills or understand the struggle of what it's like to transition from military life or to be in military life as a spouse and moving all the time and all of the struggles I'm going to give you, 180 of them are going to quit in the first six months and we wasted all this money.
[00:09:33] So I've been building that out as a company and that's where Empower Employee comes from. We've been in business this time and we'll cover the last time. This time for 14 months. We have 19 corporate partners. We have traction, we have revenue. Revenue. And I have helped to date that I'm aware of. So if there are more of you than my official number, don't come for me. I just don't know about you. Email me, let me know. I think we have closer to 185 military spouses and veterans placed in equitable pay roles that are remote. So screw the commute. You get to stay home across the United States. And that's kind of that. That was a long winded response, but that's kind of the picture.
[00:10:16] Okay. Well, tell them tell them how this started and you got rich instantly off of it.
[00:10:22] Not so, you know, in 2018 I had the same problem and I tried to launch this company by myself and I put myself in $80,000 a debt and caused myself some family problems. I never landed my first customer and then I got divorced. So lots of challenges there. And so between family and debt, like being in business for myself wasn't an option. I had to go back to corporate America to pay that off and I swore I would never do it again. So clearly I lied because we're talking about it today.
[00:10:55] But you had it in your blood. It was in your DNA. So.
[00:11:01] Yeah, I was building other people's companies on the side as a consultant, but was so emotionally invested in my own, I couldn't do it. So, yeah, we've been building for a while.
[00:11:10] Yeah. So your lesson there was don't go borrowing money, don't go getting investors. I think you rattled off a bunch more.
[00:11:19] Oh, my rant. Yeah. So, listen, if you are going to hashtag screw commute and you are a veteran in ideation or you think you want to start a business or you think you want to do something cool, for the love of all that is holy, not holy, for your sanity and for my well-being. Please go to a warriorrising.org. Please go to a founder institute. Please go to Bunker Labs. Please go to your local tech. Please go to scoreboard. These are all free places for you to get the training that you need with access to mentors for you to make good, solid business decisions before you take out a loan. And they're like, Well, Lindsay, my business needs money. Well, we all need money. And I don't care if you have to go out and mow lawns on the weekend to earn your keep. Please make these decisions y decisions wisely.
[00:12:16] And the more, the more knowledge you get, Lindsay, the less money you need. Because you go in blind. The vendors will just tell you. You might as well put a target on you, let them shoot grenades at you and stuff because they know you can they can tell in 2 seconds you don't know what you're doing. They say, oh, you got to have a website. Oh, I know that. All right. Five, ten, 15,000. And we teach people for 150 bucks to have a world class website, and that's just a couple of days worth of knowledge. All right. So so yeah.
[00:12:48] And I'm glad you brought that up because again, like, don't get caught up in the hamster wheel of I need a fancy website. Go read like profit first. No, you don't need money or money need money. And if we talk about well, Lindsay, where did you get your your capital, your startup capital from? Well, I am a service disabled, female owned, veteran owned company. We went to Sam.gov and I got really creative. And this is kind of where grit comes in. And this isn't for everybody, but it was for me and it's a way. So I found this government contract that was moving office furniture for a government agency. Now, at this point in my life, I've moved 18 million times every 2 to 3 years I've mastered I am a master mover, so I bid on the contract and I won it. And then after I won it, I took me a U-Haul truck, pizza, adult grape juice for the for the people and five of my friends. And we went to the building, we inventoried everything, we boxed it, we loaded it, we drove it two miles. We unboxed it, we gave it back, we checked it off and the government issued us a check. And the profit on that was about, I think between 12 and 14,000. This was last year. I bid on another one. I won that one. We showed up in Florida. These were all over the United States. I showed up there with my friend. The building was condemned. I was so sad. I thought, Oh my God, we're screwed. And I hired a consulting firm who helped me write a rebuttal that, hey, we showed up. We did all this planning, your building was condemned, this is your problem. And then the government issued us an $11,000 check. So loss on labor, there was about 1000, so 10,000 profit. And so I instantly had $24,000 of startup money, which was enough to get us to our first contract, which led us to our next contract, which led us to our next contract. So that is how I bootstrap this without any investors. Zero debt, no credit cards.
[00:14:40] Blah blah blah. Nice, nice. Now, but all this stuff, working jobs, taking care of kids, moving all over the hell's half acre.
[00:14:52] How do you have time to. You have more volunteer work on your thing than the last 20 guests that I've had on here.
[00:14:59] So I have been choosing where I spend my time lately, a lot more. So I'm 6 hours behind the rest of the world by living in Hawaii.
[00:15:08] Oh, that's right. I forgot. You're a big shot living in Hawaii.
[00:15:12] Oh, yeah. I'm only here because my my service member dragged me here, and we thought it would be a good idea, but. So where it's helpful is in the mornings. I can. Volunteer one or 2 hours. It's best for people that want my free time to join a Warrior Rising or Bunker Labs. That's where you'll find me. A lot of volunteer work doesn't take a lot of time anymore because I've built kind of processes around it. And then lastly, I have a secret hobby that I do at night. I do stand up comedy under a presumed name to protect the innocent. And by protecting the innocent, I mean me. So if you ever hear one of my comedy sets, please know it's all in good fun and why I may necessarily feel that way. It doesn't mean that my business feels that way. They are separate egos. So I do a lot of that to like blow off steam and I spend as much time with my kids and husband as I possibly can when I'm not at work.
[00:16:10] So you're doing that in in Hawaii because I never saw so many serious people in Hawaii when I went there for business.
[00:16:20] I actually I've performed live on a recording. I've performed live here in Hawaii a couple of times. I'm performing tomorrow actually live and I'll be performing in San Diego in a couple of weeks. Just every time I travel to a new city, I'll find an open mic at night. So I'm not like making myself work and I'll go do what I always do. We cover this, run my mouth and make people laugh in the process.
[00:16:43] Good for you. Good for you. You don't know my background, but I wrote custom humor for six straight years. I had a big entertainment company and it was called Prank Masters. We custom designed practical jokes and this was long before Punk was around or any of these Jackass TV shows or anything. It was inspired by Candid Camera, but, you know, Candid Camera to participate, you had to be caught by the camera and live in California. But now you could hire me. And I ended up with 35 employees and we did 4000 custom design practical jokes. So I am totally loving the humor part of this. So we're going to take a pre sponsor break and when we come back, we'll ask Lindsay, what's a typical day look like for her. We know what the typical nights look like, but now how she stays motivated. So, folks, about 20, 25 years ago or so, I kind of turned the Internet marketing guru world on its head, and the people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand up front to teach what they knew. And I knew a lot of these people, they were rip offs and you give them that money up front, they'd be hiding out in Hawaii or somewhere else to, to and not help you.
[00:18:00] So I thought that's too risky for people. So I turned it on its head by just charging an entry fee that was way smaller. And then my success was tied to your success. So for me to get my 50 grand, you had to net 200 grand. Well, 1700 students later, people kind of loved this idea because they knew it wouldn't disappear on them. It's the longest running, most successful, most unique, I'd say, because you have a immersion weekend where you actually live in this big state home with me, we have our own TV studio. We shoot marketing videos for you. We have veterans in the in the program. We we also have a school, the only licensed, dedicated Internet marketing school in the country. And and we've helped lots of veterans. And and we just we love our veterans and we love helping small business people. So if you're interested in that kind of stuff, check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com.
[00:18:56] Well, let's get back to the main event. We're here with Lindsay Helms and we just found out she is a secret agent for the comedy club scene. And I'm going to find out what her name is one of these days somehow.
[00:19:11] So you just. You after the show. Sorry.
[00:19:15] Oh, you think I'm not going to tell everybody crazy? So. So, Lindsay, what's the typical day look like for you?
[00:19:24] Organized chaos. So on Mondays and Tuesdays, we typically do. I get up about 5 a.m. Hawaii time. I try to remember to shower. I know that's gross. So I'll shower, get myself ready, grab a cup of coffee and whatever I can, stuff in my face and sprint to my office for the sales calls, the marketing calls, the team calls. Like all of our meetings.
[00:19:48] How far is your office.
[00:19:51] Screwed the commute? It is four feet. Four feet? Yeah. Downstairs. Right. So to my home office and home headquarters for Empower Employee, I'll check on my kids, make sure they're up, moving around for school and check on the husband if he's not already gone already or send him a Hey, don't die today. I love you. Text That's always fun by driving in traffic. Then we do all of our team calls, all of our meeting calls and I log those in our systems and then I start working through kind of our project management software to figure out what. Do I have to do this week versus like, what can I put off? And it's kind of like that every single day. We try to keep a standard procedure here. Sometimes we have fires to put out, and then Wednesday we do empower our, which is our weekly broadcast that goes out to a measly 13,000 people on LinkedIn. So yeah, we use that time to highlight employers that are doing the right things or people who are leading impactful programs so that the military community can make the right decisions on where they want to go to work or not work remotely. And then the rest of the time is kind of spent GSD Which is short for getting done, and that's my daily life. Then there's, you know, kid pick up and all the things that are involved in family life.
[00:21:14] Beautiful, beautiful. And, and so if a company, if somebody is listening that's in a company and they have no kinds of programs, you would be the kind of company to, to set one up for them.
[00:21:28] Yeah. So if you are listening and you currently have not let go of your commute and you work in your office and you're sitting here and you're like, man, we don't have a hiring program. You definitely want to reach out to me because we have one that we can roll out with you all that we can customize definitely within 30 days. And we teach you the benefits of hiring from this community. Work Opportunity Tax Credits, How to get money back from the government for making good hiring choices. I say make good choices all the time, so hashtag make good choices. And then if you're a veteran or military spouse and you can't find remote employment, I've designed a training course for you that will teach you how to how to write a resume, how to translate your skills, how to interview, how to do just all the things I've written it for you. And you can take those courses, you can reach out to me, and then afterwards we can do some high touch. But I ask that you take the course first because all the secrets to the source that I've written that have been successful are inside these courses. And then on the venture preneur side of the house. Again, if you are looking to build your own business, definitely go to to a Warrior Rising or Bunker Labs or find me on LinkedIn and I can spend some time with you. But come ready with a specific ask, don't send me a message. Please don't send me a message. It's like, Hi, Lindsay, I see that you build a business. Can you help me? Yes, I can. But can you tell me what you need so I can get you the resources ahead of time and give you a read ahead so we can have an effective meeting and an effective use of time. So that's those are my my highlights from all of that.
[00:22:59] All right. So from the company perspective there, you kind of like an interpreter showing them, okay, this guy was a sonar technician. Then they think, well, how could we use him? And you help them understand how his skills could transfer. Is that fair statement?
[00:23:18] That's completely fair. Sometimes I do some of that on the consulting side, while we're teaching, we also teach things like this guy was a staff sergeant and they did these things and now they can do these things for you. But sometimes I have to be really careful because I've coined a phrase called rank racism. Don't be a racist. And we talk about this. The other day I saw on LinkedIn it was a company and they posted want to hire a staff sergeant with ten years of experience, the blood of a virgin just kicking in. And so I said, like, can I ask why you're asking for a staff sergeant? Well, staff sergeants are leaders. And I'm like, no. Like, let me break this down for you. Gasp. Guess who wasn't an ethics in the military and now runs her own successful company and have all of these skills? In fact, I was less than an E5. In fact, I was less than an equal was me four ish. So tell me like so we're teaching those kinds of things. And I really started a ruckus with, with that conversation. But I want to be careful that when we're describing these skill sets, that while we're general, we highlight that every person is different and they have secret talents that are just our limitless uses.
[00:24:33] I'm thinking like some of these corporate raiders would hire like snipers, you know, because they have people in the back and shoot them and and kick them out. How should the people get a hold of you?
[00:24:47] So I think the easiest way is via LinkedIn and my LinkedIn name is it's Lindsay Helm. But if you're looking for a quick way to remember it I did LinkedIn.com/takethehelm because I thought it was a fun play on military and leadership and marketing.
[00:25:06] The only thing to make it cooler would have been if I was a I guess the Navy would have been a lot of a cooler choice. But we were all born with this last. We had to marry into it.
[00:25:20] I am Lindsay because my parents wanted to make us sound fancy, but yeah. Lindsay Helm. And I'm happy to answer any questions about business, how to build a business or the programs that we provide, or a combination of both.
[00:25:36] Beautiful, beautiful. Thanks for all the work you're doing and on behalf of myself and to your audience, just basically the old I guess it's somewhat of a cliche now, but I hope it's not to. You folks is. Thanks for your service.
[00:25:51] Well, thank you. It's not cliche, in fact, without being long winded, I appreciate it because I think people forget that women are veterans. And one of the most awkward experiences ever is if you ever decide to park in like Lowe's has, like veteran parking, you get somebody that will walk up to you and be like, You shouldn't park there. Now. I'll be like, Well, why not? Like, I mean, I don't typically do that anyway, but like explain this to me. So it is greatly appreciated. Don't forget that there are female veterans out there. There are female founders out there. And just because I don't have a buzz cut and I'm not a man doesn't make my service any less valuable.
[00:26:31] That's for sure. That's for sure. So. So, again, thanks for coming on and take the helm. Everybody could.
[00:26:38] Go out for the commute and take the.
[00:26:41] Helm. There we go. All right. Thanks, everybody. We'll catch you on the next episode. We're in the middle of Vetpreneur Month on screw the commute. See you later.