Darcella Craven—Chief Fear Conqueror and President of the Veteran Resource Business Center
Darcella Craven, President and Chief Fear Conqueror of the Veterans Business Resource Center, VBRC, is a real champion for veterans. With a colorful personality, she shared exceptional and valuable information with us on the GOVCON GIANTS Podcast.
Thanks to Public Law 106-50 in 1999, the non-profit agency was created. Since 2004, Craven has assisted veterans with startups and expansions of small business, in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Southern Illinois.
However, they are also part of the nationwide Veterans Business Outreach Centers, VBOC, where they basically work as business consultants and assist in transitioning military members and their families.
Under that program, they conduct two-day entrepreneurship trainings on the military post, called “Boots To Businesses,” where experts in different fields come in to speak on a variety of topics and the directions you can go once you exit. They equip veterans with the knowledge and communication skills needed in their entrepreneurship journey.
With more than 18 million veterans in the US, either you or someone you know will be able to benefit from the information Darcella Craven gifts.
HOW DO YOU FIND OUT ABOUT VBOC?
- If you’re in the military, the TAP office will be the first place as you transition out.
- If you’re not on the military post, “Reboot Boots to Business” is the way to go.
- Sign up on their Facebook page, “Vetbiz.”
- Check out the website for a list of classes across the country.
TRANSITIONING OUT OF THE MILITARY, FEAR, AND STRUCTURE
With all of the resources available, it can become overwhelming to know which way to go. Naturally, there can also be a feeling of fear when trying to leave something you’ve been exposed to for so long and are transitioning into something new and less structured.
“In the military, I know when I’m getting up, where I’m supposed to be, what clothes I’m wearing. Someone tells me when I go to the dentist. Somebody tells me when I go to the doctor. Someone tells me when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to go home, right? Now, there’s a lot of flexibility in there doing my job, but quite frankly, it’s structured. One of the biggest things that we do hear from our clients is just the interpretation of when I get out, what? Who’s going to tell me what to do and how do I find that structure?” states Craven.
This can be scary. However, with proper guidance and community, it doesn’t have to be.
VBOC has 22 centers and while they all work a little bit differently, Craven focuses on “the why” of small business and directing people on a clear path. She focuses on mindset change and management of your language in small business.
“How we do it is, I don’t just say, ‘Hey, here’s a new resource, good luck.’ I say, ‘If you’re looking for this, use this resource. If you need this, go to this webinar.’ I try to make clear paths for people. There is so much information out there. You can completely get lost in it and then, you’re just swimming around in information and you don’t know how to use it.”
Identifying your goals is major when transitioning and to help keep you on track. Having a certification doesn’t automatically mean you will be making millions.
So where does this myth come from?
“It’s the guy in the question mark suit who at two o’clock in the morning. He said, ‘You’re missing out on all the free money.’ It’s bad information passed down from person to person. And quite frankly, it’s our American belief that there’s something out there that we’re all missing because I read a book and the guy said he was homeless one week and four weeks later he was a millionaire and he found the secret and I don’t have it.”
But according to Craven, that isn’t enough. It’s not concrete information.
“That’s wonderful when you’re reaching and you’re striving and you’re going for goals, but unfortunately, if we don’t also shore that up with actual facts and information and how to, then all you basically do is dream all day. So, part of what we’re supposed to do is help them go, okay, yeah, this is the big goal. The dream. The moonshot. Now, let’s see how you get there, right?”
In addition, you want to assure you have an unbiased support of some sort. Someone who will help you make unemotional business decisions. That’s where VBOC comes in.
“We’re not emotional about your business outside of we want to see you succeed. I don’t have the money tied into it. I don’t have the emotion tied into it. So, folks should use organizations like ours to really be the detached group that can look at a situation subjectively and objectively and say, well, here’s what’s happening.”
Your military structure can be your strength in business. Your structure, your discipline, you regiment, those are all key skills needed for a successful business. You just have to know what to do with them and how to work them.
TEAMWORK IS KEY
Teamwork isn’t always the easiest, but it is crucial. Darcella Craven also works on attitude adjustments, and comprehending that all business is about relationships.
“The thing that frustrates me the most in this entrepreneurship space, and I’ve been doing it for now 20 years, is the attitude that people think that success just happened yesterday. Like I read the book and then I became a millionaire…No. No one’s ever done it by themselves. There’s always been a team whether they want to identify them or not.”
Get into relationships and find the correct help that you need, or someone you love or know needs, to get started or keep going.
Whether you are in the military or you are a military spouse, Darcella Craven can help you in your journey. Military families are also welcome. The goal is to make sure that business is there for the veteran. To help veterans and families not make the same mistakes she made when transitioning out of the army.
DARCELLA CRAVEN’S “WHY”
Darcella’s children are her why. When transitioning from military life to corporate life, she realized shiny things weren’t what mattered. Time with her children was not only what she wanted but what she needed. She left the military to be a more present mom, not work endless hours for a corner desk. Therefore, she left Corporate America.
“I also realized that I could have a flexible schedule. So I was able to be engaged in my kid’s life. We didn’t make all the money in the world that I was making in the corporate space, but we made enough to have a good life and I got to be a part of my kid’s life. So that was what I wanted. An opportunity came to help veterans start small businesses better and not make the same mistakes I did. And I was like, I’m in, I’ll take that. So that’s my reason for the push here is that it’s amazing to watch people make a decision that changes the course of their life. And so for me, that’s the thing. Whether that decision is, yes, here’s a business and this is what’s going to happen, or no, not right this time. This is not what I want to do. I just appreciate that light bulb moment that you see with folks.”
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Veteran or family member and need assistance? VBOC.org
In Darcella’s region? Vetbiz.com