Warrior To Business
Guest Post by Cait Elisabeth Caits Cozy Corner
Image: Dan Anton
There are hundreds of thousands of military vets out there. Stories to be shared, ears to listen, and to hopefully never forgot. Today I want to talk about one particular military vet named Dan Anton. Why should we even care about this vet? His story if one of duty, of strength and his ability to adapt from the war to being a civilian.
Dan is the oldest of three boys and grew up in Neptune, New Jersey. His father instilled a work ethic that resembled an obsession, which manifested as Dan began loving boxing and became a Junior Olympic Boxing Champion of the New York and New Jersey area. After several reports of brain trauma, due to repetitive blows to the head began to take place, Jim, Dan’s father pulled him out of boxing due to concerns for his sons health. A sophomore in high school, Dan refocused his passion from boxing into creative problem solving.
Matt, Dan’s younger brother began explaining how he discovered a large community of individuals online who were searching for video games in large forums. They were going to be paying for his convenience to finding the game buying it and then shipping it directly to them. In other words, Dan had just discovered the basics of arbitrage, buy low, sell high and then find a market. Amazing! He began to buy video games from local stores and sell them online with a markup. This spun off into finding popular games like World of Warcraft, which was on popular demand for people all across the country. Although he wasn’t making a ton of money with these, he was making thousands of dollars, and for a part time high-schooler, it was all he needed.
When the Twin Towers fell, thousands of men and women signed up in droves just like Dan to help fight for the United States. He felt an overwhelming sense of protecting the innocent and bringing justice to those that attacked America. Putting his career on hold as an internet entrepreneur and enlisting to go to basic training, Dan graduated with honors from Montclair State University. He was a natural leader and went on to Officer Candidate School and then become a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.
With Dan now starting his first deployment in Iraq, he called his father after his convoy was hit by a series of IEDs and his friend Salie was killed in combat. The story was so compelling that Dan and his unit were featured in a book; The Gods Of Diyala by Caleb S. Cage and Gregory M. Tomlin. Tomlin chronicles Task Force 1-6 Field Artillery’s year in Iraq and its response to the insurgency that threatened to engulf their corner of the Sunni Triangle. After Tomlin relinquished control of his platoon, he spent five months in the Diyala provincial police headquarters in Baquba. In this environment he found himself living with and advising senior Iraqi security leaders, many of whom had served as colonels and general officers in the former Iraqi army. Together they planned security operations for the province’s 165 polling stations during the January 2005 national elections, Iraq’s first democratic elections in nearly thirty years.
Image: Dan Anton
After his first deployment was finished, Dan began to get interested again in internet marketing. In 2006 he began chatting with his brother Matt about building a social network for gamers, which was similar to MySpace at the time. He wanted to take risks and while other networks received funding or had a large team, the two-man operation relied on learning every aspect of internet marketing there was including SEO, Social Media, PPC and Email Marketing. He actually ended up turning it into a full time business by accident. Dan began noticing that business owners didn’t have time or the desire to market their own products or service themselves online, so Matt and Dan began to get clients locally and from the business forums. With Dan’s Computer Science background, he began seeing inefficiencies in repetitive human-based tasks and began to develop software to help assist in the process of increasing the ranks in Yahoo, Bing and Google. The military experience has taught him the importance of detail, which made it simple and useful when it came to effective software.
Today, Dan currently runs RankCrew, a successful and well established business and manages a team of software developers and marketing specialists. His services and products are used by thousands of businesses each and every day and as a byproduct, he has successfully become a multi-millionaire! Although this only Dan’s story, there are thousands of other military veterans that have created their own success story out there. We can’t thank the brave woman and men that continue to serve and put on their uniforms everyday enough, and to those that have transitioned the freedom to their own path of success and excellence.