Over the weekend, my staff told me the story of a small coffee roaster based in Colorado called Devil Dog Brew. Major Hank Salmans III, USMC(Retired)spent time in Panama during his career in the Marines. And during the years he lived there, he got to know that area of the world’s coffee. When he got back to the states, he wanted the chance to give back to his fellow military family. He started up his coffee roaster, going on bean-buying trips with his knowledge of the cultures he lived in. And now Devil Dog Brew, still getting off the ground, supports charities and caters to all veterans—not just Marines. Here are three take-aways I get from his story.


1. Do what you know—Because of his direct experience in coffee while in Panama, coffee became a wonderful venue for Major Salman to support the troops. A portion of their proceeds goes to Veteran communities. The rules bend here a bit when you’ve owned and stabilized a company. Now, entrepreneuring is something you know. But if you’re dreaming to start up as an entrepreneur it is a solid bet to start with something you know—retail, non-profit, restaurant. The experience you have working in that industry will fuel your creativity as you venture into the business side of things.

2. Use your resources—Having lived in South America, Major Salmans had a specific experience with coffee and coffee farms. He used his own experience to his resource. Through the coffee knowledge he picked up in Panama, he was able to start up a coffee roaster business. Through his connections, he learned the inside of the bean-buying industry. Being open to absorbing information and skills will always keep your back pocket prepared. If your current project fails, some skill-set or business knowledge will be waiting to take the next place in line. Because Major Salmans explored coffee while doing his time in the Marines, he had something new to take home and put to use.

2. Be willing to adapt to open up your market—When Devil Dog Brew first started, they were only supporting Marine Vets. But as they grew they realized it would be beneficial to open up their market a little and thereby promote more sustainable growth. And so they reached out to Veterans of all Military branches. In the same way, it is important to never limit our market. Yes, create limits. But always know that there may come a day when going outside of them will help your business explode and take off. Always think outside the box and keep dreaming up new ideas.

There are small businesses started up by passionate business owners everywhere (especially in Colorado). Take some time to get to know a local entrepreneur and find out what helped them succeed!

Is there something you enjoy so much that you’ve always wanted to start your own business in the field? Tell me about it in the comments!

I will be posting a new blog every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Come back tomorrow to discuss Real Estate topics!