Interview With Dan Auito | Business, Marketing and Technology Master | High Speed Low Drag Podcast Content

Dan AuitoHigh Speed Nation, John Lee Dumas here and I am fired up to bring you our featured guest today, Dan Auito. Dan, are you prepared to ignite?

Dan: Let’s light them up, brother!

John: Yes! Business, marketing, and technology are where Dan’s talents, skills, ability, and training is focused. With education in business law, social media marketing, and starting up and running six businesses with two more underway, you’ll find that entrepreneurship is at the core of everything that Dan does.

Dan, I’ve given our listeners just a little overview, so take a minute. Tell us about you personally because we want to get to know you, then let’s dive on in.

Dan: An entrepreneur to the nth degree, always looking at the leading edge in innovation, and seeing what people need and how we can help them. My last name, Auito, translated into Italian literally means to help, so I’m always there to do that. That’s what I was born to do; that’s what I do.

Entrepreneurship is number one on my plate at all times. I’m always looking for the opportunity to try to help others. That’s what everything leads to. It’s always about looking at what somebody needs and being able to help them get to where they need to go next, so everything revolves around that, so it’s important to ask for help when you need it, is one of the best companies to achieve greatness in your business.

John: Well, Dan, thank you for “auito”, for helping High Speed Nation today. We’re really going to be talking to an audience that’s built up of veterans and soon to be veterans or people that are currently transitioning into their civilian role for the very first time, so it’s a very focused niche audience. I really want to speak to that specifically and talk about your experience as a veteran. So first and foremost, let’s talk about a success quote because you have a great one for us, Dan, so take it away.

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Dan:?”Passion, purpose and desire — those are the fuels that will light your fire.”

Always follow your passion. As a military individual, you understand a mission and getting it done, so you always have to pivot it and take whatever comes in your way and find a solution to it.

It’s an obstacle; we have to get around it. There’s no stopping, so you must achieve your mission. It’s nice to know what that is. Back it up with your passion and the desire to get it done for whatever drives you. That’s what’s going to get you up and running and keep you going after military service.

You can use military service as understanding the mission-oriented part of it and then put your passion and desire behind the drive that you want outside of the service and leverage what you learned in the service, but I’d say go after what would really light your fire outside of it.

John: So anyone who spends any significant time in the military has probably heard the phrase of Murphy’s Law, Audie Murphy’s Law, to be full-length with that, that really just breaks down to “What can go wrong will go wrong” and that always seems to happen in the military. It specifically happens during combat situations. I can’t point to so many times that that happened to us when we were deployed for 13 months in Iraq.

The reality is that doesn’t change when you leave the military. There are always going to be obstacles in your way. Whatever can go wrong as an entrepreneur or as a small business owner, whatever career path you choose, you will face obstacles. You will have things go wrong all the time. It’s how you react to those that are going to really allow your success or failure.

So Dan, let’s take the spotlight right now and let’s turn it to your journey, and specifically, your military experience. I want you to tell us a story, Dan, really deep down, first-person story. Take us to a moment in your military experience that you would consider one of your biggest pivotal moments in the military. Tell us that story and the lessons you learned.

navy, army, shipDan: Combat engineer, that was 13 weeks of basically hell in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. That’s a wake-up call to no more popcorn, ice cream, or scotch in real life. That’s just the wake-up call. We all get our wake-up calls. “You’ve got to do something with yourself. You’ve got to grow up and you’ve got to take responsibility and move ahead and get it done.”

One of the things that sticks with me out there on the high seas with the coastguard, you’re out there and you’ve got this responsibility on watch, to look out over the horizon, to see if there’s anything out there, any obstacles, maybe drug traffickers, islands that you don’t want to run into, whatever it might be, lost souls at sea.

Over the horizon was just a glint, a very, very faint glint, and I was like, “Did I see something?” I didn?t see anything. Okay. I keep going, scanning. Two miles down the road, there’s that glint again. “I better focus on that.” I just started honing in on that. I’m like, “Hey, guys, let’s keep an eye on this spot over here.” We finally got a little bit closer and a little bit closer. The glint started glinting a little bit more.

It turned out there were three guys in a little boat that were floating at sea, lost at sea for probably three weeks. They were living off of ocean water and whatever fish they could catch, but they were pretty sunburned up. They were really happy to see us. If their boat had been adrift and they got into some sea channel lanes and they were out in the middle of no man’s land, they would have been dead.

The lesson learned there is when you’ve got responsibilities, you’re supposed to live up to it, take it seriously, apply it to yourself. If things come up along the way that jump out and get your attention, pay attention to those real quick. Continue to do your duties and follow your plans. Monitor and pay attention to the things that jump out at you along the way because they might be trying to tell you something.

That’s just saying that along the way, you’re going to save some lives if you’re doing your job correctly, and I think that’s the lesson learned. Work to try to help other people live a better life and the ultimate is to save their lives. That’s one story that hits home with me, but there are lots of those.

John: Dan, that hits home with me, too. Actually, I haven’t even thought about this in quite some time, but your story prompted back to mind when I was deployed to Iraq. I actually was also in charge, besides my platoon, an armor which was four tanks and 16 men while we were out in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Habbaniya.

I was also in charge of writing up the BDAR, which is the Battle Damage Assessment Report. So anytime any vehicle got hit with a mine, with a mortar, with any kind of RPG, whatever it might have been, I had to write up that report. There were a lot of other officers that had to do the same thing in their quadrant so to speak, and we get together and talk about that.

It didn’t seem like people were really taking those things seriously. It was almost like, “These vehicles are damaged. We’ll write it up, we’ll send it out, but let’s focus on the mission at hand.” But for me, I was like, “You know what? I sense that these are more important than really what maybe even the leadership know,” so I would really take time and really draw out exactly where this actual attack happened or where this mine was planted, et cetera.

Because of that, because I really focused on my job and did it to the nth degree, we were actually able to start seeing trends out there and really combat those trends and take action on that instead of just being reactors when we go out there, so just a little side note on that story that prompted it up, so thanks for bringing that back to mind.

I hope High Speed Nation learns from both of these stories. If you’re going to do something, do it right whether that’d be in the military, whether that’d be in your civilian career right now. Do it right. Believe me. If you do enough things right often enough, good things will come.

Dan, what I really want to talk about now is your transition out. You’re in the coastguard. You’re doing your thing. You have the training. Now, let’s go forward to when things are winding down for you. You transitioned to the civilian world. Talk to us about that transition, whatever that might have looked like, and just things you learned during it.

Dan: A little bit of forward planning as you well did. Before you get out, it goes a long way. While I was in, I had gotten to real estate licensing, appraisals, certification, had a bunch of houses and we’re selling property. I’ve pretty much written a few books on real estate, too, so I had a few things working for me before I got out, so it’s nice to plan your exit, if you will.

When I retired in 2005, we came back here and promptly sold a piece of land and walked away with, I don’t know, $284,000, but that’s beside the point. It was there. It was waiting. It was planned for. A week later, I had found a trailer park, ended up picking it up for $80,000 and sold it for $145,000 and walked away with $59,000. So my first week of retirement was pretty good.

But then, the market dropped out, 2006, boom, no more real estate. Now, what are you going to do? That’s what you knew. Well, I’ve always been an online maniac. I’ve always loved to communicate and to try to help people online. It was just picking up from there, so I started making connections and the collaborations online is where I started to gravitate to, and I’m still doing that today. We’re doing events now and just growing business mentors, websites, just certain things like that to try to do just what is behind me. I just try to get the mentors to give back the knowledge to the people who will need it that are coming up behind them so that they don?t make the same mistakes and they can leverage that knowledge and move further forward faster.

That’s my journey. I’ve always known since the age of five that you’re here to help, so do that. Of course, I joined the military. I joined the coastguard. It’s a helping service, not a killing service, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with the Army. I was there. I understand that too, John. We’ve got to protect and defend.

John: Absolutely.

Dan: There’s that, so that’s the journey I’m on. I’m still on it, looking to always find those mentors who give back and then assist the people who were coming up, and trying to get our country back on track with small business owners because a lot of people have been outsourced. If you’re going to run a business, you’re going to need HR, PR, tech, sales, marketing, legal, accounting. Those are just divisions or bases that have to be covered.

ready-fire-aim-michael-mastersonSo I just want to make sure first and foremost, the folks that want to start a business, take a good look at some business books. “Ready, Fire, Aim” by Michael Masterson, a great book once again, then the “Business Model Generation” by Yves Pigneur, which if you’ve got an idea in your head, run it through that book and a business model will come out of there, so you can see where you might be missing a few of those things.

I think planning again is a big deal. A lot of guys just want to go to work doing what they did in the service outside of it, so security. You can work for — was it Black Hawk? You’ve got something, but then you’re away from home again. I think GI — the Post-9/11 Bill, the GI Bill, is great stuff.

John: Yeah, the yellow ribbon —

Dan: They go back to school, get a part-time job at the same time, and work towards whatever it is that you might want to do for a company outside of what you used to do in the military because sometimes the military only has so many occupations you can do, unless you’re a nuclear engineer, then I think you’ll have a better opportunity —

John: Dan, I’m actually going to cut in here because there’s a lot of stuff I want to get into. You’re giving a lot of cool stuff. We’re really focusing on the transition part right here, which is exactly where you’re drilling in on, so I love this.

I want to qualify a couple of things here. What you said, which is really powerful, is you had your table set for you waiting when you transitioned out of the military, and that’s huge at High Speed Nation to really put things in a place.

Don’t just be blinders on, military, military, military, even during your transition out so when you get out, you’re like, “Okay, world, here I am.” Nobody is going to know or really care besides your family, of course, which would be excited for you. You need to set your own table in the civilian world while you are thinking in transitioning out of the military. Dan did that incredibly well, and you can, too.

Dan brings up some great points like there are some amazing yellow ribbon scholarships for veterans that are out there. Personally, I’m really against going back to school for a lot of reasons. That’s just my personal opinion because I feel like in this day and age, people can absolutely just sit down at a computer, at an internet, and just find out whatever they want to do, that they’re passionate about, that inspires them, become an expert, turn pro, as Steven Pressfield says, and just start crushing it and just get things done. So a couple of different ways to look at it, neither way is right nor wrong, but you always want to be thinking of what resonates with you.

Dan, let’s talk about your civilian life now. You’ve had a lot of interesting moments as a civilian, but talk to us about that one moment that was just a light bulb for you that really has shaped the rest of your civilian career. Take us to that story, Dan, and in just a couple of minutes, tell us that story.

Dan: There have not been any great light bulbs. It’s a journey, so I look at it all as one big picture. There’s no one light bulb other than when you’re out of the military, you no longer have the camaraderie, the support, the structure, the regimen, the security. That all goes away.

I guess you could say the paradigm shift is once you get out, you need to be focused on what is going to take you to where you need to go next, and you need to find it relatively quickly because if you meander too long, you tend to stay in that spot.

13271846384_bb6a688f97_zWhen I got out, I wanted to make sure that we focused on the kids because what’s most important out of all of this is your family and your health. Now, my son — get this — 28 years later, he’s on that same coastguard pier I worked at Key West. He’s moving up the ranks, doing great, and he loves it. Now, the daughter, she’s 17, high grades, and she’s looking to go on to Coast Guard Academy or Harvard, so she’s got two choices. That’s what is important — family. You don’t forget your family.

John: Okay. Dan, family’s important. What we really are just looking to focus in on these interviews is to pull out specifics, so I’m going to pull out some specifics from what you said for High Speed Nation.

There is a paradigm shift absolutely when you leave the military. That camaraderie’s gone, like you said. So two things, High Speed Elite, that you can really focus in on, this is when you join a mastermind of like-minded entrepreneurs or small business owners or people in corporate America. Whatever route you’re taking, find like-minded people and peers that you can engage with. If you can find that mentor and you can be an apprentice in that, that is so powerful.

Again, Dan gives a perspective. You don’t want to just sit around fiddling your thumbs. I totally agree with that, but at the same time, I actually believe that you can’t rush into anything either because when you do go in, you should be going all in something. So get out there, look around, test the waters. Dip your toes in, check some things out. Get inspired by people, but don’t fully commit to something until you know inside that intuition’s telling you, “This is it. Let’s give this a roll.”

Dan, what would be just one lesson that you want to pull out from this plethora of non-aha moments that you’ve had?

Dan: The lesson in this is to find your passion. Find out what you love to do and try to make it pay. That’s easier said than done. It really is, but you really got to drill down. Your insights into networking and masterminding and finding the people that can help you, that is a tremendous bone right there that you threw at them, John.

We all need that support, so do find people that are in higher stations than yourself, if possible. It’s who you circulate with, so find the people who’ve been there, done that, that are already at the highest levels and come underneath them as a mentee so that you will just be there learning from them. Assist them, help them, grow underneath them, and come up with them.

I think that’s awesome advice that you got there, John. That’d be my thing, is to find somebody who’s really doing it, has done it, continue to do it, and has a mission, a vision, a goal, and it’s in alignment with who you are or what you want to do or where you want to go. Jump on that ship and help them sail it to the next destination.

John: I love that and you put an exclamation point on that, Dan. I want to give an example. Let’s say, High Speed Nation, that I was really into real estate and I really wanted to make that something special, and I knew that Dan just knows it. He knows the industry. He gets it. He’s where I want to be in 10, 15, 20 years from now if I work hard and I make things happen. There’s an opportunity for me to reach out to Dan and say, “Dan, I would love to be your mentee. I would love to be your apprentice, but I’m not just asking you for your time because it’s so valuable. I’m also looking to offer this value. This is the re-exchange in value.”

I’m not just asking from you. I’m not just looking to take, but instead, I’m looking to give, first and foremost, and then asking in return just you sharing and guiding some of that knowledge. This is the thing, High Speed Nation, and this would be totally fine. Dan could say, “You know what, John, I commend you for actually asking because I know the courage that takes, but I don’t have the bandwidth.”

“This is not something I’m going to take on right now, but guess what? Here are three or four names of people that I know that I think could potentially be great mentors for you. Reach out to them.” See, by taking that courageous act, High Speed Nation, you have no idea what could come of that in that really powerful way. What are your thoughts, Dan?

Dan: You’re dead on once again, John. You’re pulling these puzzle pieces together. This is perfect because what you just said, you don’t leave people less than where they were when they came to you. You always try to give them a direct connection.

Instead of just maybe the names, I would suggest, “I’m going to introduce you via a two-party email or a conference call” or I’m going to talk to that person first and ask them to call you, and then get that set up to where there’s an actual time, date, way for the communication to happen with the certain individual that I think can help them and then hand them off.

And then I’ll tell that person, “If for some reason that does not come through, come back to me and I will give you a new person that will make it happen. If that doesn’t work, keep coming back to me until we find somebody.” That way, you never leave them hanging. That’s how you help people. You stick with them until they get to the next level.

John: Dan, we have a lot to get through right now and just five minutes of time remaining because we have an entire lightning round of six questions I’d really want to just drill through. Right before that though, I do want you to take about a minute and just fill in High Speed Nation on exactly where you’re at right now, just maybe one thing again in just a minute that you’re just really fired up about right now.

Dan: Along the mentorship line, I’ve got a new crop and we’re up to like 70 speakers. We’re shooting for 5000 people at the Tampa Convention Center, November 3rd, 4th and 5th this year. It’s a, so it’s huge. It’s an undertaking of epic proportions and you’ll never know where it’s going to go next.

Be bold, believe, and do what you’re born to do no matter what. Even if you fail, you never really fail unless you quit. It’s a journey and the only way you can fail is if you quit. Otherwise, you’re just learning what won’t work along the road to that which will.

John: I love that. Thanks for sharing that, Dan. High Speed Nation, check out what Dan has going on. This is just a great segue to the lightning round. This is where I’m going to ask you five or six questions and you’re just going to come back lightning fast with one sentence direct answers, and let’s just get some knowledge bombs dropping all over High Speed Nation.

What was the most difficult adjustment you had to make to the civilian world?

Dan: Losing all your buds, all your connections, your routines. Everything is new. You’re left to figure it out on your own and you’ve got to create, in a sense, a new way of life.

John: Get that network up and running, High Speed Nation. Find your mastermind. Find your peers — great advice. What business advice would you pass along to those that are making the transition now, Dan?

13271850984_ec1631f53c_zDan: Prepare before you get out and create those bridges so that you can jump right into networking and getting in your community and finding out who the movers and shakers are so that you can gain some alignment, some support. Get your foothold into the new territory as soon as possible.

John: Love it. What is one of your current habits that you believe contributes to your success?

Dan: Dedicated work ethic, almost to compulsion, which is not necessarily good, but really staying focused and always keeping those goals and that mission and what you’re here to do in the forefront of your mind; not taking too much time out to play, but taking enough time to relax and to get your health — to stay fit, and family, but still always going back to what you’re here to do. Stay focused on what you really want to accomplish.

John: Love that. There’s a great quote I always love pointing to here, Dan, is, “What’s easy to do is also easy not to do.” Dan is really compulsive and obsessed with his schedule, much like I am. Because of that, what’s easy to do, he just happens to do every single day because he has a schedule and place to make it happen.

But for a lot of people that don’t have that schedule, what’s easy to do, maybe go on Twitter or maybe engage with some people on Facebook, whatever that might be, is also really, really, really easy not to do. If you don’t do these things consistently, they won’t add up to something special.

Dan, what’s the biggest generalization, if any, that you had to overcome in the civilian world?

Dan: General networking, in a sense, is not the best thing to do. It’s to really be selective with who you network, for what reason, where they’re at, and really pay attention to who you’re networking with because if you get in the wrong circles, there’s a lot of — I hate to use the words shysters, charlatans, tire kickers, shiny object seekers, but they’re there.

They’re muses. They’re not there to help you. They’re there to confuse you, so be very selective when you do choose a network. Don’t go to free events all the time. Try to pay the price of admission because that will rule out a lot of the pickers.

John: I love that. Is that barrier, High Speed Nation? If you really are having to step over a barrier, say that barrier is financial, that means that other people are having too as well. Then you are going to be with qualified people in that network instead of potentially a bunch of these charlatans that Dan is talking about.

Dan, you’ve already talked about one book, “Ready, Fire, Aim”. Would you recommend another book to our listeners?

Dan: If they’re business-minded, “Ready, Fire, Aim” is the best book I can tell you to read.

John: Okay, “Ready, Fire, Aim.” Get it done, High Speed Nation.

Dan: And with the military, they ought to remember that one. It’s not “ready, aim, fire”. It’s “Ready, Fire, Aim”.

John: That’s how we did it in the army anyways. We just pointed it in the approximate direction.

Dan: Intersecting fire with crazy rounds, so make sure you’re on track.

John: Dan, you have been so inspiring, so open and honest with us today. Give High Speed Nation one parting piece of guidance. Share the best way that we can find you and then we’ll say goodbye.

Dan: Stop by That’s the latest and greatest. is coming up. Those are just places you can find help and qualified people that aren’t there to pitch you.

The parting advice is to find your passion, get on that mission, back it with desire, and pursue it completely to its end. Bring good people along with you to help you. It’s a team. TEAM in the military is “Together Everyone Achieves More”. Remember that acronym — “Together Everyone Achieves More”. It’s a team. You cannot do this alone. You will not survive, so build your team.

Everyone is an equal. Look at everyone’s strengths. Know what your weaknesses are and rely on other people’s strengths to boon your weaknesses. Let other people do what they do best and then that will allow you to do more of what you do best.

Focus on your strengths. Don’t try to build your weaknesses. You can pay attention and cognizant that they’re there, but look for other people to support those weaknesses that they consider those weaknesses of yours their strengths so you can operate at high efficiency.

John: High Speed Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with Dan and my self today, so keep up the heat.

Dan, thank you for being so generous with your time. High Speed Nation salutes you and will catch you on the flip side.

Dan: Awesome, John. Thank you, sir.

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