The Difference Between Being a Boss and a Leader, According to This Former Navy SEAL
In honor of Veterans Day, Entrepreneur is highlighting the work of former military entrepreneurs who are building their own businesses, chasing their dreams, and kicking a whole lot of ass in the process. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what is your business?
Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL and head sniper instructor. I'm the founder of Hurricane Group, a digital media publishing (military and outdoor content) and e-commerce (subscription box CrateClub) business.
How many people does your company employ?
We employ over 50 people, and a lot of them are veterans. As a veteran-owned business, this is important to our company. We believe in purpose and giving back. Last year we gave over six figures in cash and media to military charities. This year I am letting each member of our team pick their own charity and Hurricane will make a donation on their behalf.
Tell us about your proudest moment while serving.
My time running the SEAL sniper program and producing the best snipers in modern history like American Sniper Chris Kyle and many others who the American public will likely never hear about.
I decided to become a Navy SEAL after leaving home at 16. It was a challenge to myself and an opportunity to serve my country. I was stationed at SEAL Team 3 and deployed to the Middle East and Afghanistan right after 9/11. I finished my career as the Navy SEAL sniper course manager at the rank of Chief Petty Officer. It was the most demanding and rewarding assignment and I had the opportunity to work with great people like Chris.
What did being in the military teach you about risk?
It taught me that fear (we all have it) and risk can be mitigated to an acceptable margin that can be executed against with action and purpose. Once you get comfortable confronting your fear over and over, you master it. That's a powerful place to be in life, whatever you pursue as a career.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
In one word, freedom. I have the ability to chart my own course and pursue what I'm passionate about, which is creating content on our SVOD TV platform SOFREP TV and our other sites. I also love gear and am like a kid on Christmas eve when it comes to our subscription Crate Club. It's like James Bond in a box every month.
What should people understand about what they’ll get when they hire or go into with a veteran?
You'll get someone who can show up on time, be accountable and actually gets shit done. Getting shit done is what it's all about with me personally. My friend is in venture capital and actually said this was my superpower. So many people today think that just being busy is working. It's just not about being busy -- it's about delivering results. If my guys meet their goals and they only put in 20 hours that week? Good on them for great output.
Describe your leadership style.
Exemplary. I like to lead from the front. There's not one aspect of my business today that I haven't done myself. Content creation, sales, bookkeeping, social media marketing, copywriting and customer service. Last year we were overwhelmed with customer service tickets, so I told my team to send me tickets so I could help get us back in the green. I have no problem rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty and I think more leaders should adopt this. There's a massive difference between being just a boss and being a strong leader who inspires people with a sense of purpose.
Related Video: The Secret Business of Training Navy SEALs