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Before going out on your own, there are some tried and tested ways to prepare for the title of business owner. You can earn experience as an employee or learn best practices for business strategy by earning an MBA. But one path to becoming your own boss flies stealthily under the radar: the United States military.

While veterans represent 7.6% of the country’s population, they make up a larger percentage of business owners at 9.1%, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. These veteran-owned companies contribute about $1 trillion to the economy and employ more than 5 million people, the SBA reports. And there’s a reason these businesses are having an impact. Three veteran entrepreneurs share their secrets to translating military training into business success.

From officer to owner

When considering the types of veteran-led companies, former Marine JD Kameen says that a business in the art industry is one that often tilts heads.

“We do get some funny questions, military and art haven’t always gone together,” says Kameen. “The Marine Corps specifically though has been really great about fostering artwork among enlisted Marines.”

Kameen didn’t shy away from the industry when founding Paintru, a company that connects artists with customers looking for commissioned paintings. Paintru is 100% veteran owned and operated, and Kameen says that the team’s military training has helped the company scale to include 2,000 artists and the capacity to ship 10,000 paintings each month.

“We run it really similarly to a Marine logistics unit,” Kameen says. “At any given time, we have framed artwork all over the world — which is good for veterans because we have a lot of logistics experience, but it’s a lot of long nights.”

For Kameen, training for combat meant addressing weaknesses by asking for help, something he often does with his co-founders. But the most valuable skill he learned in the Marine Corps was how to build and care for a diverse team of people.

“At face value, it seems like such a simple principle. But it wasn’t until I became an entrepreneur that I realized how effective the military is at instilling it within leaders … having respect for everyone we interact with and celebrating this diversity,” he says. “It made my transition from an active-duty Marine to Paintru CEO seamless.”