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5 Ways This Veteran Used His Military Experience to Grow a $3.5-Million Beard Grooming Business Charlie Moyer's Badass Beard Care is the culmination of a lifelong obsession.

By Patrick Carone

Badass Beard Care

Credit Charlie Moyer's father for sparking his interest in all things beard-related. "I was really just curious if I would look like my dad, because I had never known him without a beard," says the military veteran and founder of Badass Beard Care, maker of all-natural beard grooming products. "I'd wanted to grow my beard out since I was able to grow facial hair."

Moyer's dreams of growing what he calls "god-like facial hair" were put on hold when 9/11 happened, and he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. "I grew my beard out whenever I could," he tells Entrepreneur, "while underway on our ship, or on leave. But the longest I was ever able to do it was about two weeks."

Related: The Most Successful Companies Led by Entrepreneurs

After being medically discharged in 2014 due to injuries sustained while serving, Charlie was finally able to start on his personal beard journey. He quickly realized, however, the products out there weren't quite good enough, and he began making his own oils and balms. Today, Badass Beard Care offers premium beard oils, balms, waxes and washes in 13 scents, deodorant, tools and more.

Image credit: Badass Beard Care

How did Moyer go from experimenting at home to forming a business that grossed $1.5 million in the first year and is projected to gross $3.5 million in year four? Thank the time he spent in the Coast Guard. As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week from November 5 to 9, learn how Moyer's military experience helped define his entrepreneurial journey.

1. He listened to his commanding officer.

"My wife was not keen on the idea of me growing my beard out, so she insisted that I get some kind of product to make it softer and look well groomed. I couldn't find anything in the stores, and online products had hit-or-miss reviews, so I decided to make my own."

2. He shared his product with fellow vets.

"That's really how this turned into a business, sharing samples at the local veteran's center. A little product goes a very long way, so I was happy to share. Soon after, they started asking to purchase some for friends and family, and even their roommates who tried the samples started asking to make purchases. I eventually put the products online so that I could just mail the products, which made it easier."

Related: How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

3. He knew how to adapt.

"The ability to adapt and overcome is something that I attribute to my military service, and that has been a big help with learning everything there is to know about running a business. I think it also helped me to gain a sense of self-accountability, which is extremely important in the success of a small business."

4. He utilized federal programs.

"A lack of experience in retail, business or entrepreneurship can be a hinderance. However, there are several local and federal programs designed to help vets transition into the civilian workforce, and even to start a business. There are also reduced or waived fees in some cases that can help get the business off the ground."

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

5. He understood the two keys to success.

"A good product and great customer service. Businesses grow with word of mouth more than anything else, and reviews can make or break you. Customer service is the key to making people want to talk about and share your product or service. It shows in reviews and repeat purchases. And remember, a well-groomed beard invites confidence, and people see that confidence. Any beard can be badass; all you really need is to believe it yourself."

Patrick Carone

Entrepreneur Staff

Special Projects Director

Patrick Carone covers all aspects of entrepreneurship, specializing in the automotive, entertainment, hospitality, spirits and cannabis industries.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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