Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with David Dearie, President and Founder of Enlisted Leadership Foundation, located in San Diego, CA, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

Building America's Leaders! The Enlisted Leadership Foundation provides leadership classes for enlisted military members across all branches of service. We instruct how to be a relational leader and be more prepared to join the civilian workforce someday. Who better to lead America than those who volunteer to sacrifice for our nation?

Tell us about yourself

I am a 31-year Navy Veteran who had many investments in me to be the leader I am today. I built leadership training on active duty and created this nonprofit business as a way to keep these grassroots programs going. What motivates me are the words of our students who share how their lives have changed as a result of our programs.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Starting, growing, and maintaining. Regardless of challenges and setbacks, we never strayed from the mission.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

As a nonprofit, we don't have the typical heartstring that motivates others to donate. This prevents growth but does not prevent us from providing our service. With more financial support, we could hold more classes.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure there's a market need for your product.
  2. Don't get in love with your product.
  3. Pay yourself.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Whenever you have the chance, hire a veteran.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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