EP. 4 – The Ultimate Blend: Navigating partnerships, family, and business with John Richards from OneNation Coffee

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We have you on source, all things working dogs.

And one of the important things that I look at is, , there’s a lot that we have to do as business owners and it doesn’t really matter the industry. And that’s something that’s really revealing to me is that I always thought it was just me. Dealing with some of the things that I deal with. And it wasn’t until I started talking to other owners.

, and I began to realize that it ain’t just me, you know, we all struggle with very similar things. And, those that are out there listening to this, when we say all things working dogs, it really is because we deal with, , great vendors. Like one nation and how we kind of came together and now we do business together.

And now it opened the doors for even a relationship between us. And I think that’s important when we talk about vendor business relationship or B2B type business, we have to build relationships. So I want you to introduce yourself, man, and tell us a little bit about you. [00:01:00] Tell everybody who you are, what you do. Tell us about your business. Like I’m excited to jump into this. Thanks again for having me on your show.

And, , my name is John Richards. I’m one of the co founders and president of one nation coffee. We’re a veteran and first responder owned coffee company out of the Charleston, South Carolina. area. You can check us out at OneNationCoffee. com from subscriptions to, you know, whatever your coffee needs, we can take care of it from retail to wholesale to coffee to your home.

 We’ll take care of you. , , I’ve spent almost 22 years with Navy Special Operations within the EOD, community. This is exposable at its disposal. I just, , went on terminal leave last week. So I retire in, in December. So I’m.

I’m pretty excited. I’ve grown out the beard a little bit. It’s been a while since my last deployment since I’ve had a beard, you know, so, , excited about, , closing one chapter of my life, , very proud of my time , in the Navy, , . [00:02:00] That has definitely affected my life and who I am and, and giving me that perspective of switching over and, , giving me a drive to be successful in the civilian world with hopefully, , one nation coffee, so, , I started

this , with another guy who’s in the law enforcement, he’s, , pursuing his, , law enforcement career and so all the best to him and his family . But, you know, , from our backgrounds, we just.

Had that desire to start a company, to take care of guys like us, that’s in the military first responders to make coffee for people that, like, , just having a good cup of coffee and then that love America that, you know, want to protect, want to serve, so .

That’s the genesis of that. And then throughout the years, a couple years later, I had another business partner, Neil Johnson, who was also a Navy veteran. , he became a business partners with us and we’ve just been trying to take it to the next level. But the [00:03:00] genesis of One Nation Coffee is to make great coffee for guys like us to have a purpose behind it, not only to, have good coffee, but.

to support the veteran first responder communities . So that’s something I’m very proud of. We strive to, even as a small business, get back in and support wherever we can and then, , also blessed with a beautiful wife and three kids, you know, .

, I can’t talk about my career and everything like that without talking about my family and hopes and desires is, , it’s a strive to be a husband and a dad and a business owner, and put them in a blender each day and try to, make everything happen. , it’s not having a balanced life.

It’s trying to maintain the chaos and finding that path through it each day and being intentional one day at a time.

Absolutely wonderful man like you hit so many points in that blurb that you know it’s a lot to take in I want to hit on some of those points that and talk a little bit more in depth [00:04:00] I have the privilege of knowing you so I’m hearing all this from a sincere heart being introduced to you and

then I tried to coffee, , to be honest with you, I don’t trust many people that don’t drink coffee. So that’s one of the first. Introduction questions that I have is how much coffee do you drink and how do you drink it? And then if they don’t give me the right answer, I’m automatically turned off.

 I love the story behind it. And I love the way that you guys produce it. And like, you’re not buying this coffee from someone else and then, you know, switching hands and giving it to the consumer.

You’re and forgive me for my layman terms, but you’re producing this right here. It’s actually Doug a roaster. He was with the sheriff’s department as well and , Air Force veteran. He’s currently roasting in the back right now. So it smells awesome in the shop right now. So, but yes, that’s correct. . You talked about family. We haven’t even jumped into faith. We haven’t jumped into mentorship.

We haven’t talked [00:05:00] about different things that you’re learning as well as also running your business so that you can be the best you can be based on the vision that you guys have. And gosh, it’s just amazing to hear that and refreshing. Because I hear so many people just do it and oh, I want to do this, this and this, but they don’t take the steps to do that.

They want someone to give it to them and you’re actively taking those steps. So, you know, we heard the philosophy, you know, where did this idea come from? . With this company and then namely, how did you get to a point to where you even knew how to roast coffee? Like, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

That’s a lot of, , credit I give to, , my old partner, Philip, he’s the one who was already kind of. And, you know, we’ve been childhood friends and, and so it was just kind of like, let’s start it because , we wanted to do a business.

Eventually, we want to do something outside of the military and law enforcement. So it’s just like, kind of came up with the idea of roasting. [00:06:00] And so he was already kind of doing it as a hobby. And then we, , he went and talked to another local roaster, , cook. Transcribed , Coastal, , Coffee Roasters here in Somerville, who’s, he’s a veteran as well, and explained the concept.

 They let us lease a spot from them for our, for two years as we grew, , they helped teach Phil how to roast, you know, so, so he got to learn how to do that, while we started a company out of nothing, it was just, you know, taking ideas and trying, trying to turn it into something was a process in itself.

And, you know, not only physically, but then mentally taking your ideas and then believing them in enough to, to go, being confident to be able to talk about your product, your business as a real business,, , and so that was a transition in an experience in itself, especially speaking for me, coming from a community that we, [00:07:00] you know, pride ourselves to being quiet professionals where we don’t really talk about like what we do and just kind of like, whatever, and so to become in something like, hey, if I want my business.

To succeed, I had to become a shameless promoter, , of the brand, of what we’re about, to tell the story, , and kind of explain what we represent, . Not only do we have great coffee, but this is who we are. You know, just, just hearing that.

shAmeless promoter and you’re absolutely right. Right. Our background tells us like, we’re very against salespeople. We’re really like researchers. And then let’s just go out there and do it. And so it is hard for us coming from our background both law enforcement and military, that. It’s not inherently the thing that we do go out and meet everybody and try to be friends with everybody.

We kind of stick to ourselves and we get along with what we get along with. And we have inside jokes that we tell each other that no one else understands. And, so it is getting over that hump is a big thing. [00:08:00] To be out there and be in that shameless promoter, you have passion, you do this because you love it, but how do we translate that and communicate that to others

it’s hard for me to do that. I still, I don’t get on social media, I don’t do any of that. I have voice of reason that handles all that for us because of that point. And I made that very clear with her from the beginning. Like, that’s just not me. Yeah. I’ll train a dog. I’ll mentor people.

I’ll pour my heart into things, but I’m not gonna be out there. Yeah. And I, and that is always a constant battle. I think most of us like struggle with that. You know, I, I like what’s helped me. I’m still terrible when it comes to taking a picture or doing something and like trying to post it up.

So it’s just, you know, it is that balance to try to do that, , and get it out there. But , what. , I had to embrace was if I can’t get behind it and do what’s needed, then no one else is going to do it, and so, and so that’s [00:09:00] when times where I work events or go talk and kind of like, in the position I am, I’m kind of also the.

The face of one nation coffee, promoting it and doing it, , so I have to be that ambassador. I have to be that person that’s going to try to share that passion and build that passion in other people. So I just, when I view it. In that light, it’s like, well, if I don’t get on board with this, then the business is going to fail.

The other thing that I picked up from your, , from what you were saying, and I want to touch on this a little bit because in our industry, I hate to be the one to shed light on this, but we are our worst enemies and I’m talking about the canine, I don’t know how the coffee business is, but it’s cutthroat.

You gotta have your shield up to block the arrows that people are shooting at you for one reason or another. , I don’t know why, you know, you hear things like the one [00:10:00] thing that every trainer can agree on is the other trainer is wrong. And I don’t know why we can’t get over that, but I heard you say that you learned and you started your business because another roaster taught you how to do this, leased you space and helped you to build your business off of their lessons.

So I guess my question is, how did that other roaster take that? Knowing that you were going to go into business and be one of their direct competitors. Yeah, that, that, Roach, the owner of that is Brad Nolett and his son Richard, , and what he saw in us was, , veteran law enforcement of something that like, he’s like, man, if I can impart something on some guys that can go and be a other successful company.

Yes. , would be a competition, but if I can do that, then he kind of does a success, you know, and, I definitely respect his area [00:11:00] in that, like, I work really hard not to encroach on his business

that’s a general rule we have just because that respect that we have for each other , and I think that’s where people it’s out of fears. Like what you’re mentioning with competition, people think competition is a bad thing. they think business is a finite thing that it’s a, you know, a rare commodity, you know, and.

But the reality is, is that in all the, industries. There should be enough that goes around, you just have to fight for it, like if me and you are competitive competitors and you took, , a client from me and I’m like, oh, my business on a fell will shame on me for, , only being dependent on one thing, I mean, there’s always going to be someone that’s going to try to come up behind you and take something from you anyways. So it’s just like, it’s up to you to create your own business to create your own brand. I mean, just like you, your integrity, . Who you are, what [00:12:00] your ethics, the product or your services should speak for you.

And that should be part of the thing that differentiates you from that, that’s where faith comes in, where I’m going to strive to do what is right.

Operate in the light, and keep moving forward, , being a good business, and so I know there’s competition. I know there’s things that you have to strive to do, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to backstab someone . It’s not what I’m about.

Yeah, that’s awesome. You know that and that’s great for us to and refreshing for us to hear that because oftentimes we want to use everybody else’s shortfalls to make ourselves seem better or rather than sticking to our character sticking to. The right thing. And I always say this dude was right in our heart.

And it’s one of the things that we live by, , along with family, but when you look at that as a whole and in general, in business, , there’s a lot of people that don’t live by that. And so we constantly combat that in, in [00:13:00] some form or fashion. And some of it’s just internal grief that we have where we’re like, why, why are we doing this?

Like, it doesn’t matter to me. You can have the client, you can do this, but what can I do better? And then we got to maybe self evaluate, right? Why did we lose that person? Why did they, you know, why? So there has to be some kind of underlying factor that we can work on to do better. And so we can learn more from it.

Rather than getting bitter and, like I said, shooting arrows at each other in order to try to get one client . There’s a lot to go on and I respect what everybody’s doing. And I say that everybody in our industry has something to lend. And, we all have things that we excel at and we all have things that we fail at.

And we should be striving to do better for the people that we serve. So I just found it interesting and I wanted to make sure we drove home that point that you called on a network on your network and somebody wasn’t scared to help you to build a competitor per [00:14:00] se. He wasn’t fearful.

He wanted to. Enjoy the blessing of seeing your successes, and that’s just awesome to hear. Absolutely. You know, that’s another blessing of the Lord. we’re grateful for that and the opportunities that we’ve had. And, don’t forget it. I think first and foremost, do the right thing, and you’ll be taken care of.

I mean, you can always case study a competitor and see, Hey, where are they doing right? Where are they doing wrong? You can always have those takeaways, but like getting caught up with petty rivalries or that’s just a distraction from you being your best you, because as you’re saying, because it comes back to the customer, where are you doing?

What do they want? And how can you improve on that relationship? That sell that. Trading course for you guys, that product, whatever it is, that’s reality, is that a lot of times we spend so, so much time looking at our competitions, looking over when really we need to look at our product and our [00:15:00] customer, keep doing that and, that will lead us to success.

 All I just do is come back. It’s like, Hey, try our coffee. If you like ours, cool. If you like theirs, stick with theirs.

You know? So, you know, that’s all I can say. , yeah, that’s the question we get most often, um, when it comes to people that are shopping around for services.

You know, what do you think about this? We never focus on what everybody else is doing. We can tell you what we do and what we excel in. Maybe we’ll even reveal to you some things we struggle with. However, we’ve never gotten ahead and you’ll never get ahead ultimately by putting or shedding light on other people’s shortfalls.

We need to lift each other up. We need to help each other out because we just never know. When it’s going to come around and we’re going to know a person, you know, because oftentimes we meet people professionally versus knowing them in a relationship and because of [00:16:00] that, we only see what the public sees, but we don’t know them.

We don’t know their hearts. We don’t know, you know, oftentimes you can do everything right and still fail. And, , It’s just the way it is. And so absolutely focusing on the things that we can do and what each business owner can do and what they do well, , versus what everybody else’s shortfalls are, you’ll never get anywhere that way.

I assure you, I promise you. 100%, 100%. So now that you’re into this for a while now, what are some lessons that you’ve learned and maybe some misunderstandings that you had getting into a business? Like I had this field of dreams mentality. If I build it, they will come and I don’t have to market.

Everybody knows me and you know, I’m a great trainer and everybody will just, you know, miraculously appear at my door and be knocking me down and I can’t keep up. Yeah, I soon found found out that that doesn’t work that way. So can you give maybe one or two takeaways that [00:17:00] or misconceptions that you had going into business that you’ve now learned the differences?

Yeah, even you mentioned it because like each of us that started a business or if you’re out there. Wanting to start a business, your primary thought is on the actual skill set or the product that you want to do. You’re very passionate about , that thing, which is good. That’s what you need to be.

, but as soon as you start a business, you realize that part is like one facet. , Of actually running a business and then there’s everything else that you’re like, I don’t want to do that, but, , you learn over time those requirements in order to be successful, it’s like, you gotta, , like the accounting and personnel and just everything that comes with that you start.

Having employees and then employee handbook, and then, like, man, like, then taxes, and then budgets, then, , like, oh my gosh, there’s so much that go in, social media, marketing, and so it’s so much more than just [00:18:00] The idea, the initial concept is like, man, it’d be cool to have a roaster and roast coffee and then sell coffee and sit around and, , just roast coffee and hang out, , that was the naive initial, dream, , of having your own coffee company and it’s just like, man, I’m working.

All the time, it’s more money, more sweat, more tears, , more ups and downs, more strain on relationship, like all those things come with, , being a business owner, you’re an entrepreneur for like five minutes, then you’re a business owner. And it’s all that burden and stress that comes with it.

So I think that’s the biggest, , thing, that I would share with people on that is. As much as you can, before you start get a true understanding of like what you want to do and everything that’s involved, you know, so, you take those [00:19:00] steps that you can jump in mentally, physically, financially, , spiritually prepared to do whatever venture that you want to do.

Yeah. That’s great because you’re absolutely right. And you brought up. You know, your wife and your kids and I, and I had the same thing, right? I was already collecting a paycheck. I was in law enforcement, so my paycheck was secure and I left all that.

And really, if we think about it, I just had to show up to work and every pay period, a check hit my bank account. Nothing to worry about per se. Then when you get into business, you realize that that security is no longer there. And I didn’t come from a wealthy family. I didn’t come, from money per se.

I didn’t have some hedge fund that was supporting us. , and so the reality hit that that check is not in the bank and. I have to go out there and earn it every single day. Well, on top of that, [00:20:00] if I had a wife and kids that added pressure to what I did, I can assure you right now, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.

But on the flip side, I had a great wife. I had a great kids that supported what we did, even when we didn’t have money. And I can give you a handful of stories where, man, the Lord has just blessed me in many different ways where I had nothing and not even a contract to show. And next thing you know, something hits.

but if I had a wife. And kids that were on me and putting pressure on me on top of that, man, it would have been very difficult. And I, and I assume that you’re in the same boat that I am because you constantly talk about your family and I can just imagine the support you have with, with your wife.

Is that right or wrong? No, that’s very true. , obviously some heated discussions always comes from the wife because of [00:21:00] concerns and everything, but for, , my wife and I, she’s very supportive, and, like you said, , it takes a lot of faith to take a lot of time. I’m just now.

Retiring out of the military. So like this whole time, same thing I’ve, , depended on pulling my Navy salary, and not the business to provide for me and my family so that we could further the business and everything like that. So all that extra time, , if I. Wouldn’t have put any time to the business.

, my career was already busy enough, , so the sacrificing the weekends, the time off or whatever, , just every other moment, for the business, , did sacrifice family time and time with my children, time with my wife and just, the ups and downs of the business, you’re locked in, , and , it is a stressor, but at the same time, those are decisions that we accepted and were committed to and going, Hey, this is a dream.

If this is something that, , come [00:22:00] great risk comes great rewards, you know, so, like, if something that you want to step away from, the. The sense nine to five military law enforcement isn’t necessarily a nine to five job, but for this thing, it kind of you want to step away and jump out into the unknown, that’s a double edged sword.

You don’t know what, we tend to focus on the success of it, but it’s very real reality is is more likely you’re going to fail than succeed, so that is a huge step of faith that it is a huge commitment Even with the responsibilities of that, I can’t forget that I am a husband, that I am a father, , and at what price are you going to succeed?

You’re trying to achieve your dreams before it takes away from other things. So, that’s very. Especially coming from a military, I’m sure law enforcement where the goal is to work, , and we come high tempo type of had a career that’s very high tempo. So it’s just like the Navy never stops, , like in a [00:23:00] community never stops.

So in the same thing, like seamlessly coming from that into a business where it’s your responsibility, the buck stops with me. Puts more pressure on, like, I can work more, I can do weekends, I can do… And then at some point, that takes a sacrifice on the family. So one of the lessons learned, and one of the things that I would,, challenge other people is to know that, there’s always going to be one more thing to do.

 But just as important. There’s, , there’s, the wife needs help with dinner. There’s kids that need help with homework or sports or the memories. Don’t lose out on those things. , to gain, to see yourself that it’s worth it. Yes, there’s seasons and times where you have to work hard, but to sacrifice like everything, , , for me, that is a price that I’m unwilling to pay, , like my wife and my kids.

 To come first. Yes, I have to work hard and I have long days, but at the same [00:24:00] time, I’m home. I need to be home, you know, and I need to carve out that time for my wife, carve out that time for my children, and it’s that’s where, especially this last year, putting in boundaries, of, , okay, I got to be home.

 I was helping coach my son’s football team, which forced me to leave work so I could go and do that and then be home for dinner. And, , so it’s putting those hard and fast times and then leaving it and having the faith that it’s going to be okay, , that I can let it go for a couple hours to go enjoy time with the wife or time with the kids,

yeah, absolutely. I mean, I, I’m hearing you talk and I hear the same things and, , being lucky, , where there’s been times where my wife has put me in my place and say, Hey, you need to put it down and you need to spend some more time with the kids. I adjusted my schedules.

I get up very early. Usually before the kids get up so that I can get some work done. And then when I’m front facing with [00:25:00] them, I’m getting that time in. So I’ve had to make adjustments over the years as well in saying, okay, well, when the kids are home and I need to make sure that I’m here present and involved, as soon as they go to bed.

that I’m back on on the grind to get some more things done. So I tried to make adjustments that way. But getting the reality check sometimes from my wife, where from the outside looking in, she’s like, Hey, you need to settle it down and you need to spend some more time with the girls or you need to do this or, or that.

And so that is something that A good wife will put you in your place when it comes to that. But then I think a good husband will also accept that criticism and receive it and go and not get mad because , I have caught myself getting upset at times about, Hey, I need to do this. You don’t understand.

But then I take a step back and get some of those thoughts together. And I go, you know what? She’s absolutely 100 percent right. [00:26:00] And, , so great advice for those that are doing it. And the reality of it, John, is this business is not for everybody, even though your desire and maybe your mind tells you it is if your heart’s not in it and it’s just not for everybody.

It just really isn’t. And it’s, that is true. And I, well, I’ll even go one step forward. Like I know that I can only take the business so far, you know? So then that’s where another question is having the right partners, bringing in the right people, building your team to be successful is that, like, because I know I can be passionate all day long, but there’s certain skillsets I just do not have.

I do not have, so that’s where I like. You know, another lessons learned is making sure that you bring in the right people, building the team, you know, not just bring people to fill a job, but bring the right person to the team or as a partner or consultant, [00:27:00] whatever it is, as you’re building out your.

Business is making sure the right people are in place, you know, because that, because you can’t do it all, you know, and, and being, being humble enough to know that you can’t do it, that I’m not the end all be all, nor should I be because, because as a family man, I have other responsibilities. I can’t, I can’t do it all.

 I’ve spread myself too thin, , so I think it’s, , I guess it would be humility, having the humility to realize your left and right limits of what you can do, what’s your swim lane, and then realize that. And then you look at it , as this. Okay, this is the reality is and they make a game plan built off of that.

 Don’t be so prideful that you can’t only up to your mistakes or your shortcomings. Look at as it look at your strengths and weaknesses and then build off of it. That’s all it is is keep building that game plan and keep [00:28:00] reworking and being honest. You know, that’s what business is, is problem solving.

It may not be having the right answer, but asking the right questions, you know, so. Yeah, that’s absolutely right. Maya told me that she needs to find another host for this show because I really have some shortfalls when it comes to running this thing. So, hey, I accept that. I accept that criticism, right?

 And that’s really like right now. I feel like that’s where I’m at right now. Yeah, I was telling Maya this, not really building the team because we have a great team, but really drawing the lines of responsibility. Yeah. Right. So I made a lot of mistakes on people that I’ve hired, people that I brought into my circle, things of that nature.

I made a lot of mistakes and I say mistakes, but I’ve learned a lot. I think that’s a better way to put it, not mistakes. I’ve learned a lot. , But where I’m at right now is I’m really, I’m a doer. And I want to be involved and I want to, you know, inspire and I want to mentor, but I’ve also now come to the realization that I need to take a step back and [00:29:00] just allow other people to do what we pay them to do, and then hold them accountable for that, because I don’t think.

At least the people that we have on our team, they don’t like that micromanagement type stuff. That’s right. Which I’m a firm disbeliever of that. I don’t micromanage, but at the time, at sometimes I just feel like I need to be involved and I need to carry it forward. Where now I’m at the point in mine, I talked about this, I think last week.

I’m stepping back and I’m not doing that no more. I’m not. Holding hands, I’m gonna let people make mistakes so they can learn from them and grow. And I think a lot of that comes from just being protective and not just of CCU, but of them too, because you don’t want somebody failing all the time and feeling like they can’t accomplish their goals.

But, but I’m really at the point now where I’m like, they need to fail, they need to learn. And learn bigger lessons, and I want to be there to help them to learn those [00:30:00] because, , because they can do it. They absolutely can do it. If not, they wouldn’t be on our team. Yep. And I, I need to refrain from always wanting to step in and be that, that helicopter mom that just, , kind of shifts them where they need to go and protects them.

And I really need to step back. Whereas now you’re at the point where now you’re realizing where you need to put your people in place and, you know, the pros and cons to doing that. , I’ve seen them, where I put the wrong person , at the wrong place and just, , things that you learned again through that experience that you navigate through lost a lot of money, , lost a lot of time and effort and probably did a disservice altogether, but it’s also our responsibility as owners, , or at least as managers based on our position , to build that team.

Thank you. But sometimes we just don’t get it right. That’s right. Oh, yeah. I think very rarely you get it right the first time, you know, so you have to you do learn. I think more people you [00:31:00] learn from your mistakes than your victories, you know, so they’re like, like, all right. So it’s at the back end of it is, you know, is having that honest assessment or that constructive criticism is like, what did I do wrong?

Okay. How do I be better? How do I not mess up as much the next time, you know? You go , that, way of, like, Unaware, like I used to teach, , shooting, you have your unaware bad shooter, then you have your unaware bad shooter, then you have your aware good shooter, then you become, , unaware good shooter.

So, like, as you go through , those things, a lot of times you don’t know what you’re doing, then, but it’s up to you to figure it out. And it takes a lot of work and gumption to, , to shed off the bad. Habits or the bad practices start learning the new one and it’s super hard but at the end when you become You know unaware good at whatever that is Then it then that’s whenever it [00:32:00] starts flowing.

And so but but that’s that’s fakes the hard work the humility, you know the teamwork trying to Having those real really being a leader You know, being getting people to be that team leader, you know, because you can be nice and kind and I’m not going to rock the boat, but you’re not going to get anything done or achieve until you step up, hold your teammates accountable, admit to yourself, because.

Once again, if you take out yourself and go, it’s not about me. It’s about the success of the organization or the business or the team or whatever. It’s everything that we taught, teach in sports and you learn, but somehow we forget when it comes into every other aspects of your life. You know, you take those same principles into your marriage or your relationship with your kids.

It’s not about me. I’m no longer me. It’s. Me and my wife. It’s no longer me. It’s the business. What’s best for the business? You know, currently perfect example, like I’m the president, but hopefully I grow the [00:33:00] business to where it’s a big business. I bring someone else in to take it to the next level. I’m only here because right now , it’s me.

I’m not thinking I’m some type of miracle president or anything. I make mistakes and all that stuff. I’m doing the job because it needs to be done. But as soon as we get to the level. You know, I want to find the right person that can take it even further because it’s not about me. It’s about the business.

It’s about the success of that, you know, and that’s where I think people forget, you know, when it comes they make it personal in that sense. It’s like, oh, it’s about me. No, it’s about your customers. It’s about your business. It’s about your products. It’s about that. It’s about that organization that that’s been made.

So Yeah, I was explaining to a gentleman not too long ago that I happen to be friends with for many years and, , you know, there’s a couple of things that I kind of live by and one of which is it’s not about my decision. It’s the team’s decision. No matter who I hire, it affects [00:34:00] the entire team. And the other principle that I live by is that we feel roles.

We don’t have titles. We have titles on paper, but really we’re all just filling roles. So when we’re in the training field, we have no boss. , I can’t stand that term, military veterans that work for us are notorious for that. Hey boss, what do you need? Don’t call me boss. We feel roles. I just happened to be in a role that has to do XYZ.

Your role is to do ABC. And without those roles, we don’t function. But it’s not about me being in charge. I just happen to be the one that has to make the decision because of my role at the time. And I like for us to get out of that. , that mentality that, okay, I’m at the top, you know, everybody has to respect me.

Everybody has to listen to me. No, I’m just making the decision, but everybody on the team plays that vital role in making us move forward. And I like that mentality, but it’s hard for people to get [00:35:00] over that thinking. Well, you’re the boss, not the boss. I’m just, I’m in the role right now. That’s my role. I got to make the decision.

That’s it. That’s right. But other than that, let’s move this thing forward. And I like what you’re saying about that. And, , I know one day we’ll see , the vision come full circle because we’re going to play this back and, let’s say three years when you’re a multi billion dollar company. And we’re going to say, you remember when John said this, And, , we’re going to look back at that and go, man, these archives are cool because he had that vision early on on where he’s going to take this thing and it’s based on those small principles that you’re implying are employing right now and it’s just awesome to see man really is I appreciate it, you know, and like you said, it’s, , not just me, there’s obviously a team behind this right now representing on this podcast with you.

So there’s, you. Prior partners, there’s current partners, like people, everyone had a part to play and I don’t want to [00:36:00] diminish anyone’s, as you said, role where what they’ve done or contributed to the business. And, I’m grateful for all of it. And hopefully as we each step of the way you.

You grow and develop as a person, you know, and so no matter how big or small it goes, , so I’m excited. I’m excited to see, so, well, success is not always about the dollar. It’s not about the size. I think it’s about the heart that’s in the business and, you know, 45 percent of veterans are likely to start a business.

And currently there’s 2. 4 million veteran owned businesses. And you’re among those. And, , it’s just remarkable to see that I always advise law enforcement, , and or current military that life is not always better outside of that. But you need to prepare for the life after it whenever that’s to come and oftentimes we get caught up with the lack of preparation.

And we [00:37:00] know that’s what we, we are taught from the core to be prepared, but yet when it’s time to transition or to be prepared for that, oftentimes we don’t do that. You have done just that. You’re now on terminal leave and you’re about to transition out. And now you have one nation coffee that you’re going to put 100 percent of your efforts into.

So with the growth and the stability that you have right now, imagine what it’s going to be when you’re 100 percent involved in that. It’s just going to be amazing. And I know that. So how does one nation stand out in the crowd of many veteran owned businesses, or even let’s just talk about coffee companies.

How do you plan on having one nation stand out? On their own. That’s a great question. I mean, I think partly, obviously, , you got to talk about the product, like, we can talk all day long about, , what we try to do, or my intentions but if we don’t have a great product, if I don’t have something that’s like, [00:38:00] hey, you really need to try our dark roast, our dark roast is nice and smooth.

You know, it’s freshly roasted, we put the caffeine back in it, , so that you’re having that extra caffeine. And so there’s, there’s characteristics and qualities that it’s important to talk about our roast profiles that I believe, , are important.

I’m not going to stand before you and, say, Hey, you know, this is all these things, , but it is important to try to distinguish our coffee to other. Compared to other coffee, coffee companies, , that’s the challenge. Like, how do I promote my brand as we discussed before without putting down other brands, , focusing on how do I focus on, our products, from our whole being to ground to coffee pods or whatever it may be, , like, how do I, focus on that and really try to push and promote, that’s another lesson learned

and that side is, , obviously salesmanship or marketing of our [00:39:00] businesses is telling the story of who we are, but also letting people know, like, , informing them why they should buy our coffee. Over there’s that’s still something to learn like always that process of learning that part of that , and so that’s where currently where we are now I would say a big part of us, one of the lessons when I’m learning is that since big part of who we are is e commerce is really recognizing how little I’ve Understood e commerce and made decisions, you know, our partners from, we’ve made a lot of decisions without really truly understanding.

So trying to catch up now and learn, and educate ourselves or try to bring someone in, that really know that. So, it’s identifying those shortcomings, like what we talked about and like moving forward to, be even more successful than we are. [00:40:00] Right now, you know, so, so that answer your question.

Absolutely. , absolutely. I don’t think, and I don’t even know if you remember telling me this, but things I don’t even know about coffee and I, I take myself as a coffee connoisseur in the sense that I drink coffee all day from sunup to sundown, right? I love coffee. , and, but with that being said, you taught me things and I didn’t even realize about coffee.

As an example, how much influence the water that we use to brew our coffee makes the influence on the taste of the coffee like things I don’t even know and I think that’s a I just love that aspect of it. And I love to, to not just the backstory behind one nation, but also the, the education and the knowledge that you guys truly have about coffee that you don’t find with a lot of other companies.

Oh, it [00:41:00] tastes good. Oh, you like the taste, but we don’t know everything that goes behind that, which you guys, you, you give with your knowledge. It’s awesome. Yeah, absolutely. And then Doug, our roaster, you know, he knows a lot. He’s definitely. has grown as a roaster and you show up, you start asking questions, you better bring a Snickers because you’re going to be there a while so like you’ll, you’ll fill your ear full of, coffee facts and everything, , , about coffee, you know, so, so yeah, you just.

I, I still don’t know everything. Obviously, there’s, there’s a lifetime of things to learn about coffee and what to do and everything like that. And, , it’s what I won’t, I won’t sit here and pretend to, to know half the stuff of what other people do, but I try to at least know my products and , know our coffee and, and see what people like and try to improve on what we’re doing, you know, so, yeah.[00:42:00]

Yeah, that’s great. , it’s crazy how quickly time flies and in an in depth conversation like this. But as I do with every guest that we have on, I kind of recap at least three lessons that we can learn from John Richards and One Nation Coffee. And, , so before we let everybody go, I want to recap some of the three lessons that I learned from you and, , hopefully Those that are listening are learning the same lessons, they’re probably going to take more out of it and come up with three or four more lessons that they learn outside the ones that I highlight.

But then I want to finish up with you just sharing how people can get ahold of you where they can buy one nation, and how you’re going to support them and their coffee needs. So first, you talked about being intentional, and you talked about that early on. And you, you gave the, the intention on this with your family, and then the things that you talked about, about being intentional with your business.

[00:43:00] And I think that’s a point that we can learn because nothing is gained without being intentional. You can play the lottery and get lucky. But that only happens every so often. And the chances of winning the lottery are very low compared to those that play. Whereas the success in a business, when you’re intentional rises to the levels of success, when you are intentional versus when you’re not.

And so a lesson that I gained from you today, both in business, in career, and in family, be intentional about the things that matter, because they’re going to carry you a lot further when you’re not. Then when you’re not intentional. So that’s the first lesson I learned from you. I want to go back and I’m going to put these two together and I’m talk about the network and being shameless, a shameless promoter.

, because I want to drive home the point about the importance of the network that you mentioned. And it’s come up several times throughout our podcast, , episodes [00:44:00] now, even in our short life so far, network seems to resonate. My last guest talked about a, about network, we have the opportunity to meet a lot of people, both in your military career and the people we come in contact with, if we’re intentional about our relationships, catapulting off your first lesson and build our network, your simple network took you to a place.

Now you’re building a career off of coffee and. It was because of your network that supported you and taught you that got you to that point. And because of that, you’re where you are today. , yes, you added a bunch of characteristics and things to it, but if it wasn’t for your network, you wouldn’t be there.

And so. Being intentional with our network, but also being willing to help our network and there was somebody that was willing to help you within your network and oftentimes we want to keep everything a secret like we got the secret to [00:45:00] success and we really don’t and we’re scared to help others within our network.

But I want us to take that point and drive it home. Spend the time to help your network. People need your help. You don’t have all the answers. You don’t have the secret. You don’t have the secret sauce in your pocket. And if you share it, you know, they’re going to have the, the ingredients to Coke, if you will.

Share what you have and help those around you, you will profit. And I say profit. Off of that and not in a monetary value exactly or specifically, but you’ll profit in, in the ways that people view you and your reputation within your industries. If you help those around you, you won’t lose business. I promise you that you’ll gain so much more.

All right. And then lastly, you brought up being, , just being comfortable and, , another guest brought up. One of the lessons they taught us is being comfortable, being [00:46:00] uncomfortable. And it was a female handler learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And that was something you mentioned, , as well.

And I think it’s a lesson we’re not going to be comfortable with everything we do as a business owner. There’s going to be things we got to try and we got to do, and we got to step off that ledge and maybe jump into the deep end of the pool a little bit. But that’s what makes us who we are versus if we’re scared to not take that step.

It will hinder us a lot more than if we fail. So be okay with that, be okay with failing and not having all the answers, but embrace being uncomfortable because that’s, what’s going to carry you on in these, in our businesses is, is being okay being a little bit uncomfortable. And that’s a hard thing to get over a lot of times, but if we can embrace that a little bit, it will grow us a lot more.

If we do that, so those are the three lessons I learned from you in this talk, and I hope I know there’s many more than I can [00:47:00] dig into because I always learn so much from you when, when we. When we talk, so as we exit, John, tell everybody where they can find you. Tell everybody where they can get ahold of you.

Like, I want you to put one nation out there because I believe everybody needs to be drinking one nation coffee. It’ll make them a better trainer. I’ve said it time and time again, it’ll make them a better handler. It’ll probably make him a better husband. I don’t know if there’s any research behind that, but that’s just coming from me.

So I want people to find one nation. Tell us about it. Hey, well, once again, AJ, thanks for having me on the show today. You can find us. At one nation coffee dot com, your website, you can order coffee.

We got subscriptions and then for your viewers telling me that you can use your promo code C. C. U. 15 for 15 percent off, you know, . I have it going until the 17th. I but yeah, go to our website, support us, check us out, check out a roast.

, and if you have any questions, or if you want to reach out to me, you [00:48:00] can go john at one nation coffee dot com is my email address. Shoot me an email. And if you want to collaborate or work together, please let me know. You know, and, , and once again, AJ, it’s a blessing to be on here. , wish you all the best with your business and, you know, whatever I can do to support.

And I always, my tagline at the end of my thing is just remember as we drink One Nation, let us be One Nation. So, take care, guys, and God bless, my

friend. God bless you, buddy.

Interested in making a guest appearance? Have a topic you want us to discuss? Send us a message!

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