While many soon-to-be graduates are searching for jobs, senior Zach Freeman is making his own.
The double major in supply chain and entrepreneurial management said he is almost ready to launch his moving company.
His startup, called Veterans Moving America, will seek to hire veterans and conduct residential and commercial moves in Fort Worth, he said.
When generating his business idea, he said he wanted to create a values-based company.
“Businesses should be about more than making money. Businesses are very influential, and they have a lot of power, so they should try to use that power and influence for good,” Freeman said.
First, Freeman needed to decide what needs his business should meet. Veterans came to mind because he said he had gotten to know some of their needs after a former Marine lived with his family for almost three years. He watched this veteran struggle to find and keep a job because people didn’t understand his challenges, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“I’ve always felt a high respect for veterans and people in the military because they do something that I’m not willing to do,” Freeman said.
With the target selected, he then had to assess what veterans need. He said almost everyone he talked to said veterans need opportunity. Therefore, he decided to employ veterans.
He considered what veterans’ skills are, and a moving company was the first thing that came to mind as having transferrable skills.
Since then, Freeman has created a name, logo, website and social media pages. He has raised money on an online funding platform. He has test driven moving trucks and interviewed veterans.
Brad Hancock, the director of TCU’s Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, attributed this thorough development process to what could make Freeman successful.
“He’s being very thoughtful, not just having an idea one day and launching the next,” Hancock said. “He’s aligning himself with people who have a similar passion and goals to help reach that target market.”
As of April 27, Freeman had interviewed three veterans for positions and had three more scheduled. He said the interviewees seemed to like his idea.
“I want my employees to know that there’s going to be a very strong culture involved, so my hope is to go beyond giving them opportunities, to start trying to address those other needs,” he said.
To establish this connection, one of Freeman’s ideas was to invite his employees and their families to a weekly restaurant dinner. He said he wants everyone involved to be friends inside and outside of work.
As the company gets started, Freeman intends to hire about 10 veterans. He wants a full-time chief of operations, 2-3 drivers and 6-7 movers. He said he will welcome student veterans who might only be available on weekends or evenings.
Though he said he hopes the company will grow to employ hundreds of veterans and expand outside of Dallas-Fort Worth, he is starting small. He is converting his garage to an office and looking to buy two 26-foot box trucks. He also needs to purchase dollies, blankets and packing supplies.
As for moving boxes, he already has a partnership aligned. He will offer customers boxes from Pure Box, a company in Dallas that also hires veterans and supplies plastic, reusable boxes for moving and storage purposes.
Regarding the overall outlook, Freeman said he is not too nervous.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “Even if it fails, that’s okay; I’ll learn from it and move on and do something else. For me, the biggest part about being an entrepreneur is being willing to take a risk.”
Hancock said he supports Freeman starting his company right after college.
“If you’ve got a sound idea; you’ve thought it through the way Zach has; you’ve bounced it over with people in the industry, as he has done; you’ve raised money on a funding platform, then why not? He has shown that he has the passion and the skills to execute,” he said.
Both men mentioned that now is a good time to start a business because Freeman has less to risk than if he starts a business in 10-15 years. By then, he might have a wife, children and a mortgage.
In only a week, Freeman should receive his diploma, alongside hundreds of other seniors who might go on to graduate schools or the professional world.
Very few, however, are following the same path as Freeman.
He is starting his own company, and he plans to stick with this path indefinitely. It could be his whole life or until the company would benefit from having someone else in the position.
And if that day comes, he said he will simply “start something else.”