Who you are and what you did in the military?
Who am I? What a great question! By name I am Joshua Karrasch, I am thirty-four years old, I am from Bradford, Pennsylvania and am a veteran of the US Navy where I served as a Hospital Corpsman, Petty Officer Second Class for five years.
After the Navy I completed my degree at the University of California at Santa Cruz; a life changing experience to say the very least. After graduation I migrated back to the east coast in search of “the dream”. During that time I worked as a carpenter and then as a physical security specialist and counterintelligence agent at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. As things tend to go, I became uncomfortable in my comfortable job, I became disenfranchised with the dream of a stable job, retirement, blah, blah, blah.
So I set out to find my own path! The result: The Gun Dude. For the past three years of my life and with the help of some really great people, I have plucked this loose concept from my brain and turned it into a reality. Who I am is a statement I am trying to fully answer in my own head…so let us leave it that I am “in transition” discovering new and exciting things about myself on a daily basis.
How you got interested in creating a tech company?
The Gun Dude started as an online retailer of firearms with the intent being that I could operate it from any location. I soon discovered this was not a viable model and adapted to the reality of the market. I discovered that the firearms industry, as a general rule, is technophobic, lacking in customer service, and down right intimidating for many.
With that in mind I have set out to develop a new model for firearms retail- to become the gold standard in the industry. By implementing uncompromising customer service and leveraging technology and innovative lean business models, I am providing a community where my customers can engage firearms, an admittedly daunting topic, through digital and physical means.
All of that said, I never planned on starting a tech company or a retail business. What I have found is a nice blend of tech and local retail to create an entirely new and exciting experience. In the end it is my goal to create responsible firearms owners and decrease the occurrence of negative outcomes associated with firearms.
What led you to Patriot Boot Camp?
I have heard many times that where you end up is right where you are supposed to be. In the early stages of the start-up I experienced a great deal of isolation and loss of identity, both of which I was admittedly unprepared for. A good friend and mentor called me one day after hearing of my challenges and stated that I needed to be at the next Patriot Boot Camp. While the event was free the expenses involved in the travel were prohibitive, but we pulled it together and made it happen. And wow what an experience!
To be exposed to other veterans going through the exact same challenges that I was facing was invaluable. To hear that the feelings of isolation, the emotional roller coasters, and the loss of identity were all normal in the start-up and entrepreneurial journey gave me hope that I would make it out alive. I went from feeling like I was loosing my mind to feeling like I was part of a community again. The connections I made during Patriot Boot Camp continue to this day.
What did you gain from Patriot Boot Camp?
Without a doubt Patriot Boot Camp gave me hope; it refilled my reservoir with whatever it was that I needed to continue to preserver along the journey. I argue that resilience is the single most important trait in many instances, not least of which is being an entrepreneur. My resilience at the time I traveled to PBC had been worn down and I was in dire need of a family.
What better family than my military brethren? And in what better format than to receive mentorship and guidance from some of the most successful names in the business!
What is next on your entrepreneurial journey?
World domination….. just kidding!
It is my goal to open a Gun Dude in every major US city center over the next ten years. That is going to require solidification of my brand, creating replicable processes, and continuing to develop a digital and tech presence. I have many side projects that I am excited to begin as well!
The world is full of complex problems that need to be solved and I want to try my hand at a few of them. I have many role models, but one person who I admire from a business aspect is Sir Richard Branson. His willingness to tackle large problems and develop great outcomes is not only an inspiration, but a level of success I aspire to.