Today, G.I. Jobs launches an honor that recognizes veterans who are having a huge impact in the veteran space: The Veteran Influencer of the Month.
These are veterans who are highly engaged in social networks and are using their extensive influence to help America’s military, veterans, and their families excel in the civilian sector.
Fitness Influencer Nick Bare
Nick Bare is April’s Influencer of the Month, and today we speak with Nick about his journey as an active duty Infantry Officer to a successful entrepreneur. He started his military journey while attending the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and contracted as a cadet in college. Fitness and nutrition was apart of Nicks life in school, and the roots for his company Bare Performance Nutrition developed at this time. Nick transformed a small supplement line to a growing company with a following of military members and fitness enthusiast alike. Enjoy the video interview we shot with Nick answering questions you asked!
What is your background and accomplishments in the military?
After graduating from IUP with a 4-year degree in nutrition I left for training. I was sent to Fort Benning to attend the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course, Ranger School, Airborne School, and Bradley Leader Course. As an Infantry Officer, this process takes about a year. I was later sent to Fort Hood as a Platoon Leader for about 2 years with the same Platoon taking these guys on a 9-month rotation to South Korea. After my PL time was up I started the process of transitioning out of the military to become a full-time entrepreneur.
What is the process of running a business while serving on active duty?
The process while on Active Duty for me started when I was in college. I had to get approval from my professor of military science because I was starting the business with a small loan from USAA bank. This approval required my chain of command to get involved, and luckily he was super supportive. In the first couple of years in the military, I was just trying to keep the business afloat.
There was not a lot of time demanding sales coming through from the supplement side. We only started to scale towards the end of it my time in the military. At every phase, I had to get approval from my chain of command from my Company Commander up to Battalion Commander. My priority was always my job for the Army as a PL, but my side project was my business.
How did social media help your business grow?
When I was a cadet I went to Advanced Camp, formally known as LDAC. This 30-day assessment is to develop yourself and also qualify for the job you are working toward. This is all in preparation as you transition into active duty upon commissioning. I had confidence from this leadership school and wanted to start a business.
Looking into this pre-commissioning loan for $20,000 that kick-started the company with the inventory right away. I walked into this blind with no idea how to scale business or entrepreneurship. Everything I learned and everything that happened to get to the place I am now is from some hard lessons learned. This successful business did not come easy, it was a lot of hard work and took about 4-5 years to really start making money.
Social media really started helping when I first got to Fort Hood. When I arrived I had time to kill waiting for my unit to come back from Germany. From that period, I started a YouTube channel. I documented my diet planning, workout routine, and supplement brand along with it. This was just a hobby, but I gained some subscribers in those first 2-years. I made one video called “A Day in the Life of an Infantry Platoon Leader” and it started to pick up a lot of traction. From this, I really started to show some life as a military leader. This niche is something I found that helped my business.
What advice do you give to military services members wanting to transition out of the military?
I would change one thing about the transition process. If I could document more of the hard times I experienced, I would. I never wanted people to know online or in person about the tough times scaling the company. I wish I could share these feelings and the process to help others do the same. My biggest piece of advice is to embrace those times that you struggle and share it with other people. Everyone goes through those failures if you are trying to do something big.
Have a plan when you are coming out of the military. Put your goal on a whiteboard of a place you want to be. Analyze each step as best as you can to get there. Go from left to right and really describe everything you want to accomplish. When you backward plan from here, consider everything you normally have in place such as finances to a place you want to live. Fill the gaps you are missing and do the research in those areas. Put in the time to complete these plans and set your self up for success when coming out of the military.