796 - Veterans connecting Veterans: Tom interviews Jared Ledbetter - Screw The Commute

796 – Veterans connecting Veterans: Tom interviews Jared Ledbetter

We're here again in September. It's Vetpreneur Month and we've got another great veteran on here. Jared Ledbetter is here from Carbon Digital.us and also from The Veteran Database that he's going to tell us about. He's a proud United States Marine Corps veteran and he's worked in supply and logistics for well over 15 years during the Marine Corps and as a government contractor and a federal employee.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 796

How To Automate Your Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

entrepreneurship distance learning school, home based business, lifestyle business

Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

Higher Education Webinarhttps://screwthecommute.com/webinars

See Tom's Stuffhttps://linktr.ee/antionandassociates

[01:34] Tom's introduction to Jared Ledbetter

[04:22] Covering digital agencies and what he helps with

[07:47] IMDb Database for Veterans

[17:35] Biggest mistakes people make when starting a business

[19:38] Getting signed up with The Veteran Database

Entrepreneurial Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

Higher Education Webinarhttps://screwthecommute.com/webinars

Screw The Commutehttps://screwthecommute.com/

entrepreneurship distance learning school, home based business, lifestyle business

Screw The Commute Podcast Apphttps://screwthecommute.com/app/

College Ripoff Quizhttps://imtcva.org/quiz

Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – orders@antion.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 Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Programhttps://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/


online shopping cart, ecommerce system



Become a Great Podcast Guesthttps://screwthecommute.com/greatpodcastguest


Disabilities Pagehttps://imtcva.org/disabilities/

Tom's Patreon Pagehttps://screwthecommute.com/patreon/

Tom on TikTokhttps://tiktok.com/@digitalmultimillionaire/

Carbon Digitalhttps://carbondigital.us/

Veteran Databasehttps://veterandb.com/

Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com

Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

Related Episodes

Encrypted QR Codes – https://screwthecommute.com/795/

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Home Based Business, Lifestyle Business, Passive Income, Professional Speaking and Online Business

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Episode 796 – Jared Ledbetter
[00:00:08] 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 796 of Screw the Commute podcast. We're here again in September. It's Vetpreneur Month and we've got another great veteran on here. Jared Ledbetter is here from Carbon Digital.us and also from The Veteran Database that he's going to tell us about. He's a proud United States Marine Corps veteran and he's worked in supply and logistics for well over 15 years during the Marine Corps and as a government contractor and a federal employee. So we'll bring him on in a minute. I hope you didn't miss Episode 794. That was Dustin Perkins. He was a veteran of the US Coast Guard, and he's got a very unique travel agency dedicated to underserved folks, veterans and also people on the autistic spectrum. And very cool episode there. Anytime you want to get to a back episode, you go to screwthecommute.com, slash, then the episode number. That was 794 today is 796 with Jared. All right. Make sure you check out my mentor program at GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com and follow me at TikTok at tiktok.com/@digitalmultimillionaire.

[00:01:35] All right. Let's bring on the main event. We got Jared Ledbetter here. Like I say, he's a proud United States Marine Corps veteran. Now, in 2012, he started teaching himself web development to support his own business ventures. And he began with the gold standard WordPress. And since then, he's had a deep desire to learn more ways. He's always been on fire and lit a path forward. And he he began learning about search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization and back end web development and a bunch of geeky stuff that's important. But I don't want to know about stuff that I don't even couldn't even couldn't even define full stack JavaScript. I have no idea what that is. So, Jared, are you ready to screw? The commute?

[00:02:23] Yes, I am.

[00:02:24] Hey, how you been, man? It's been a while since I talked to you.

[00:02:27] Yeah, it's definitely been a while. Just, you know, trying to stay busy.

[00:02:31] Well, I'll tell you what. You are extremely unique. We've done over 800 episodes, and I'm pretty sure you're the only licensed forklift operator we've had on here, so. So you can make it into the Guinness Book of World Records there. So, you know, so first thing, let's talk about carbon digital a little bit and then we'll talk about the veteran database. How did you come up with that name? Carbon Digital.

[00:02:59] Yeah. So in the tech space there's a lot of usage of science and. Astrology type stuff. And so I just basically.

[00:03:15] You mean tech people get into astrology? I wouldn't think that that would mesh with tech people.

[00:03:21] No, it's just for, like a naming thing.

[00:03:25] Oh, for naming things. I see.

[00:03:27] To name your business after sciencey stuff or astronomical stuff.

[00:03:32] Okay. I didn't realize that.

[00:03:34] Yeah. So I made a list of. Of pretty much every word that I could think of. And then different combinations of digital agency related stuff like media and digital and, you know, agency and stuff like that and just basically built out a. A list of all these combinations and just started chipping away at the list one by one until I till I reached carbon digital. I was actually looking forward to doing like gravity or like cobalt type thing, but I laid it on carbon and it kind of just kind of stuck.

[00:04:11] The people vote on it or it was all, you.

[00:04:14] Know, it was me. I spent about three days working on it.

[00:04:18] Yeah, I mean, it's important. Naming is certainly important. Now, you do a lot of stuff over there, including I saw a sample of some gorgeous logos you created for one of your clients. Yeah.

[00:04:30] Yeah, we definitely cover the spectrum for digital agencies.

[00:04:34] So tell us about some of the stuff you you help people with.

[00:04:38] Yeah, so. It's a pretty standard digital agency setup. You know, we have consulting as a marketing and business development type consulting, and then we have stuff in the realm of branding. So we help people, you know, figure out who their audience is, you know, what kind of message they want to relay to their audience and how to package that up so that their all of their logos, their imagery and their message throughout all social media and their website kind of align with the same premise, the same message, and then deep dive into logos and design work.

[00:05:26] Yeah, too, too many people just jump into business haphazard and you know, I'm guilty of that myself. And then everything's kind of disjointed.

[00:05:34] It is, yeah. And that's where the branding piece comes into play, is because it can help everything be more consistent and have more cohesion. And it's a really beautiful thing.

[00:05:45] Now, have you run into situations where people like wanted to brand themselves into the poorhouse like they were so meticulous on? You know, I've had people like they want to match their website color to their website, to their printed materials. And I said, you know, go down to Best Buy and pull up like 12 laptops and look at yourself a different color on every one. So people do have to sell stuff rather than just brand, Right?

[00:06:13] Oh, for sure. And with branding, you also apply the design elements of UI UX to that as well for the imagery side of the house.

[00:06:22] What's that mean? Ui UX?

[00:06:24] Oh, user interface and user experience.

[00:06:28] Right. There we go.

[00:06:29] So user interface is the actual visual elements that you interact with on a website or an application. And the user experience is the the emotional connection to the user interface and how everything is structured and its workflow and whatnot.

[00:06:48] You know how I tell people to, to test that on their sites? I say you get a pencil and a tablet and a baseball bat. And then you have somebody sit down in front of your website and try to navigate it and let them make notes about what troubles they're having. And if you have the urge to help them, you take the baseball bat and hit yourself in the head and shut up.

[00:07:14] Yeah, there is an element of that is to try to make it intuitive and thoughtless. Yeah, that's that's really hard to do because, you know, the psychology of the human mind is evolving every day.

[00:07:30] Yeah, and sometimes for the worse. But. But there was a famous book back when I first started the Internet stuff. It was called Don't Make Me Think. Yep.

[00:07:39] Still famous.

[00:07:40] Yeah, that's right. I just mentioned it. Yeah. So you help people with all that stuff? Well, that's. That's great. Now, tell us about this project you've been working on called The Veteran Database.

[00:07:52] Yes.

[00:07:53] Speak English because I understand you speak Japanese and none of us do.

[00:07:57] Yeah. I also speak tech, which is a whole different aspect. Um, so back in 2020, I had the idea to create a veteran website that mimicked the premise of IMDb, the Internet movie database. Right. Um, you know, back in the day, a lot of us veterans would torrent and download a lot of stuff, and we'd use IMDb as a reference when discussing movies and entertainment side of the house and whatnot. And my thought was, why isn't there a veteran platform that is interconnected the same way that IMDb is how you can navigate from movie to actor to, you know, producer or whatnot. And that was the original idea to do that for everything business and entertainment. And so back in 2020 I bought the domain veterandb.com and I started planning how is this going to work. And it's it's no small undertaking that's for sure. Um, but we have since gone through several iterations of the website, several different versions. The first few versions were on WordPress and now everything is a custom coded platform. So basically I wrote all the code from the ground up.

[00:09:27] Veterans are able to list themselves there. Yeah.

[00:09:31] So it's a free platform. And the premise is to help veterans grow their ventures, whether that be a nonprofit or a business or a podcast type stuff. It's 100% free. You can register, log in and add all of your listings with no, no additional charge.

[00:09:53] It's now, here's the I'm always skeptical. How do you vet the people to make sure they're really veterans? Because there's been so much of this stolen valor stuff going around.

[00:10:03] Oh, yeah, for sure. And that's a that's a big concern for me because I want to make sure that the information on the website is as pure and authentic as possible. So how does.

[00:10:15] A veteran prove that they're a veteran? What's the right now.

[00:10:18] Our verification status is manual. So you will basically upload a redacted Dd214.

[00:10:26] Dd214 for us. Non-military is what?

[00:10:30] That is the document that says that you have military service and that you are no longer tied to the military.

[00:10:38] And is there some way to check that it's real, that they haven't forged one or made one up?

[00:10:44] No, there really isn't. If the information is not redacted, which means that your Social Security number is there, then you could go to a website and check the information. But I don't want to deal with any type of PII breaches. Personal identifiable information. Right, Right. I don't want to be the cause of that. So right now I'm only accepting redacted documents. There is a lot of push in the works for us to use a verification system like Id.me, which is what the VA uses. The problem is, is that it's about three grand to get started and about $500 a month minimum.

[00:11:27] Well, I think we could get donations to fund that when this thing gets really rolling. I can tell.

[00:11:33] That's the idea, is once this thing's, you know, generating revenue and, you know, sustaining itself, then that's definitely on the table.

[00:11:41] Yeah. So in the meantime, I would just threaten to send a your version of The Expendables to the guy's house if they and see how that goes. Yeah. So, so how far along what percentage of complete I mean is this ready to roll now and just being improved or is it not yet ready for prime time?

[00:12:04] Oh, it's ready. Yeah. So it's. It's been ready for a few months now. I just spend a lot of time updating it and making it better, and that's.

[00:12:12] And that'll be forever. You'll be doing that? Yeah.

[00:12:15] Pretty much. Yeah. But there's a certain level of. Achievement that I'm trying to get to rapidly so that I can start really promoting it on a mass scale.

[00:12:27] Yeah. I'm thinking what's going to happen when you got 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 members and then. Well.

[00:12:35] I hope by then I'm also generating a sustainable revenue and I'm able to then bring on more people. And I'm also able to expand the premise of what veteran database is, because there's a phrase that we have in the military that, you know, this is a living, breathing document type of situation where this is the source and we're always editing the source and it's improving as we edit it. And so that's the same thing that's happening here. You know, whatever it is today, you know, veteran database is not going to look the same in one year or five years.

[00:13:18] Yeah, because you'll learn as you go and you'll run into problems that have to be overcome. And so you think the the revenue source will be advertising.

[00:13:27] Not only that, it's also. This isn't just something that I've dreamt up. You know, there's people provided a lot of feedback on things that they want. I see. You know, like some people have asked for a store where they can sell their product. Well, that's definitely going to change the landscape of what it is today. Yeah, that's for sure. Um, and so that's, that's what I mean by that.

[00:13:51] So do you think one of the revenue streams would be or one of the big ones would be advertising? No. Oh, so.

[00:14:00] I have I have zero intentions of putting ads on the website.

[00:14:04] Okay, so what would the revenue streams be for a website like this?

[00:14:09] So I am considering a paid featured block, but that is low down on the totem pole. What I'm really looking at is to start up a podcast and get some sponsorships for the podcast. And I'm looking at creating. Transactional stuff for the website so that I can take a percentage of that. For example, if I add a store, an online store, I could take a small percentage of that for every transaction and that'll increase revenue. Got it. I'm also looking at adding a. It's an LMS. It's a learning management system. So you can sell courses and that's another aspect of transactions. So then I can take a small percentage of that as well.

[00:15:03] So are you saying that there will be ads on the site but will be from the veterans that are participating? Is that is that fair or not?

[00:15:14] Not exactly.

[00:15:15] No. How would somebody find the store and know what the person is selling? Is it from an outside ad, from their website or something that drives them there to purchase?

[00:15:26] See, So yeah, so the on that front veteran database has to promote two entities simultaneously. We have to promote ourselves so that we get more SEO and ad traffic and then we have to promote each agency, each organization that has created a listing. And so some of those things are going to be easier to do, for example, you know. Bob's woodworking X, Y, Z, you know, creates, I don't know, cutting boards. And he has 12 different types of cutting boards and his section of the store. It be pretty easy for us to run ads for cutting boards to directly to his listing of products. So in that realm, we're promoting him and we're promoting us.

[00:16:18] Got it.

[00:16:18] Got it. So that's part of revenue generation is so that we can start doing stuff like that. Um, but on the website itself, the traditional, um. Thing where you see ads and it looks all spammy. Like I just searched this on Google and now your website is showing me to go buy that product. That type of advertising is never going to happen.

[00:16:44] Seems like that IMDb is pretty good at that though.

[00:16:48] A lot of websites that have clickbait do that and I want this to be the best of all of us. You know, one of the big lessons we learned in the military is integrity. And I do not believe that putting ads on your website like that is showing integrity. So that's not something I would ever do.

[00:17:13] Okay. So now back to carbon digital just for a second. Do you only serve veterans or do you serve anybody?

[00:17:23] No, it's it's open. We don't have a defined audience per se. Okay. We're not not specific to veterans or non veterans. Okay.

[00:17:34] So so then when a person what are some of the biggest mistakes that people are making when they when they're thinking about starting a business and getting the stuff that you provide, What are some of the things that as soon as they they hit you up about it, you say, oh, my God, that's that could be trouble.

[00:17:53] Oh, I mean, there's a lot. Um, the biggest problem and challenge that I encounter is branding. Several years ago, I made a business foundation framework, and it constitutes all of the elements of problem areas for your business. There's some internal type stuff, like your workflow, SOPs, software type stuff, but then a lot of it is related to your your marketing and then branding is the first item on that list. So if you're branding is not done correctly, then nothing else. Can be correct because nothing else can match your branding and then nothing else will be consistent with your branding. And several years ago, I want to say it was like 5 or 6 years ago. Um, over 100 millionaires were interviewed and consistency was number five on their list of what made them successful. So branding is that element of maintaining consistency. Consistent image. Consistent visualizations, consistent message, consistent tone. And that has to be consistent across all of your mediums. And so that's typically the first hurdle that we encounter.

[00:19:18] Yeah. And I'll have to agree because I get interviewed a lot and they say, well, you know, how did you get your success? The first one I say is persistence, and then I say consistent because you could be consistently procrastinating and don't do anything. So yeah, so I always say persistence and consistency for sure. So what do people have to do with to get signed up with the veteran database?

[00:19:47] You just go to the website and there's a button to register and log in.

[00:19:50] Veterandb.com, right?

[00:19:53] That's correct.

[00:19:54] Veteran that is written out.

[00:19:56] Okay. Yep. Veterandb.com And you just go to the website and at the top there's a um there's a link to go register and log in and that'll take you to our custom developed application to manage all of your content.

[00:20:11] And they start filling in answers to questions there or what do they do?

[00:20:16] Yeah. So on the left hand side you'll see all of the different modules that we have available. You'll see Business directory, nonprofit and podcast. So if you have a business, you click on business and then there's an Add business button and you just go in and click Add and it'll bring up all the information. Um, you fill out the name first and then you can go back in afterwards to then fill out all of the nitty gritty details like your contact information, your blog, RSS feeds as an option that's in there as well. Um, we actually just released last week additional customizations for SEO for your profile listing on our website. So it used to be fully automated and now you have greater control over that too.

[00:21:12] And they put pictures of their products and services of their business or their building. Any of that?

[00:21:18] No, but there are two images that you can add. Each profile listing page has been structured similarly to a Facebook profile page. So there's a cover photo. Okay. And and there's a logo for you to upload.

[00:21:33] Okay. And your your headshot or anything.

[00:21:37] No, no. There's no headshot section. Right now, we don't have any individual profiles on the platform.

[00:21:47] Or their businesses.

[00:21:49] Correct. It's a business listing.

[00:21:50] So I see you'd have your cover image like you would on your profile page, like a.

[00:21:56] Business page on Facebook, not your personal. Correct. Got it. Okay. Beautiful. And and and the.

[00:22:03] Image requirements are the same size as well as Facebook to help make that transition a little easier.

[00:22:09] That's easy because they might have made all this stuff already. Exactly. Now. Now, when did the vetting process happen? Can they do this immediately? And then you vet them afterwards and kick them out if they're fake or what?

[00:22:25] So right now, we're not booting anybody out unless we have reason for cause. On our to do list, though, we are adding an unverified flag to identify that they have not verified their veteran status. And we're hoping that that's going to push people to go through and do the verifications. But right now, anybody can sign up, anybody can get started. On the main website itself, there is a verification, a veteran status link at the very top of the website, so you can follow that and that'll take you to a SharePoint form, Microsoft SharePoint form, and that also has the link for you can upload your Dd214.

[00:23:09] Okay. And so let's say they they come and they have a business, can they come back? And then what if they have a podcast?

[00:23:17] Also, they can add that too.

[00:23:19] So they just come back and go to the left hand side, click on podcast and then fill those those details.

[00:23:25] Yep. It's, it's structured exactly the same and the information on each is also very similar. It's almost identical.

[00:23:33] Can they put their RSS feed to their podcast in their.

[00:23:37] They can. Yes. Yeah.

[00:23:38] Beautiful.

[00:23:39] So people could actually probably want to stick with your your primary feed for now. Um, but yes, you can put that in there.

[00:23:46] Boy, it sounds like a great thing. You say you've been working on it for about three years.

[00:23:51] Yes. December will be three years. Wow.

[00:23:54] It's it's a wonderful thing you're doing there. Veterans helping veterans. So it's veterandb.com folks that are listening to this especially on the veteran per month or if you know veterans make sure you send them over there if they're in your family or friends or neighbors get them over there and support what Jared is doing because it's a really great thing to support our veterans. So so thanks for coming on, man.

[00:24:21] Definitely. Thanks for having.

[00:24:22] Me. All right. Now, if they want to get a hold of carbon digital, what's the best way?

[00:24:28] Uh, our email is on our website. Carbondigital.us.

[00:24:34] Okay. Carbondigital.us. All right. Right. All right. Well, thanks so much for coming on, man, and thanks for your service.

[00:24:45] Yes, sir. Thank you.

[00:24:47] Okay, folks, we'll continue on with Vetpreneur Month. All month of September. Make sure you tell all the friends you know to listen and support our veterans. So. So catch you all in the next episode. See you later.