Case Study: Jocko Willink

John Gretton “Jocko” Willink (born September 8, 1971) is an American retired officer of the United States Navy, who served in the Navy SEAL teams. He is also a podcaster and author. His military service saw combat actions in the war in Iraq, where he eventually commanded the SEAL Team 3‘s Task Unit Bruiser that fought in the bloody battle of Ramadi, and was honored with the  Silver Star and Bronze Star for his service. 

Beyond his military service, Jocko’s ability to build a personal brand surrounding his interests and expertise is incredible. He is a perfect case study when looking at building multiple income streams because he has been so efficient with the development and interconnection that he has made for them. 

List of Jocko’s Multiple Income Sources:

Sometimes I wonder how Jocko balances everything. It obviously takes alot of discipline. My theory of what makes this many projects so successful and even possible, is from the way Jocko weaves each of his projects together and how he is able to form great teams that can get the job done. Here is the list below.

Echelon Front: Leadership and business consulting

Jocko Podcast: Military history, leadership, interesting people, Jiu Jitsu, marketing for other products: Origin USA, Molk protein drinks (Co-brands), other athletic wear, book marketing

Origin USA: Manufacturing, ties in closely to Jocko athletic brands

Jocko Co-Brands: Molk is such a genius product. Also sold at Origin USA.

Co-owner of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gym: Again, such a great tie in with the podcast, always discussing how Jiu Jitsu relates to the military and leadership.

Book Writing: Extreme Ownership,The Dichotomy of Leadership, Way of the Warrior Kid, Leadership Strategy and Tactics, and more

Do you notice a common theme? Leadership, military, writing, history, exercise. This creates a great map for us on how focusing on personal interests and essentially building projects based on your interests can work and be efficient. Jocko’s echelon front consulting firm and military experience give him great examples for his books, podcast, and likely even his exercise and fitness brands.

Lessons to be learned:

Reflect on what you are passionate about.

Know what you like doing. It is my opinion that you don’t always have to be 100% passionate about your entrepreneurship project. Often we like what we “passionate” about, what we are good at and what projects become successful. Loving things that are successful is fine, but you should be willing to push through the hard times and to put in the commitment required to make it happen even when it might not be going according to plan.

Reflect on what you are good at.

Having a natural ability towards something can help the development process. Also, for whatever reason it seems like people like doing things that they are good at. I know I’m that way. Reflecting on this will also help you realize what your strengths and weaknesses are. This is important because when you are starting a project, you might not be an expert in every area, but you should be self-aware enough to know where and when you will need to seek help.

Connect what you are good at/passionate about with what people will pay for.

You need to stretch your creativity on this and not underestimate yourself. Most people will pay for something you are offering, it is about being creative, marketing it well, and being organized.

Build multiple sources of income that all play off of your interests and strengths. 

Work to make your time as efficient as possible. Connect everything that you can. Jocko’s podcast is a perfect example of how he talks about his interests, but markets for his other businesses at the same time.

Utilize teamwork with your closest friends and business partners. 

Find people that you can trust and share the same ideals. Examples of who Jocko works with are Leif Babin (co-author, business partner with Echelon Front, podcast guest), Echo Charles (podcast co-host, business partner).

Be disciplined, prioritize the best ideas and focus on one idea until it has momentum.

 You can likely push yourself pretty far when it comes to tackling numerous projects if you stretch yourself. Don’t start so many projects that you don’t make progress on any of them. Prioritize your best ideas and develop them.  

My Personal Experience

It is probably helpful to have the credibility of being a Navy Seal, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from this example and apply it. In my own journey of attempting to develop side projects that lead to financial freedom, I’ve tried to really take Jocko’s example to heart.

Being in orthopedic surgery residency, I find myself studying frequently. I also remember how, as a medical student I really wished that I had someone to help me learn orthopedics. Sure there are free sources out there, but it can be difficult to even understand the language differences. I thought to myself, well because I’m studying so much, maybe I can funnel what I am learning into easy to understand packages for medical students. This would help me focus on getting better at my job, but still allow me to build a side income. I had been trying to learn how to make “no-code” websites for a few months prior, so I decided to take a shot. 

So far, this has been the result: It is a website that is membership based where I can funnel what I learn into content for medical students. I tied in my enjoyment of orthopedic surgery into my enjoyment of teaching, so it creates an efficient win-win scenario! So, we shall see how that goes!

So try to reflect on the things you enjoy and what interests you could utilize in a project that could be profitable. If you aren’t sure if something would be profitable, try to make a survey on a Google Form. I hope to post more about getting side projects started in the future so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, please post a comment, share some of the side projects you’ve been working on. Also, it would be great to hear about any case study examples you might have for developing multiple incomes or other financial freedom related topics.


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