by Scott R. Tucker

July 13, 2021

Amanda Huffman

Veteran Wealth Secrets 039 with Amanda Huffman

Today, we have Amanda Huffman, who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer. While in the Air Force, she has deployed to Afghanistan with the Army. She left the military to be a stay-at-home mom, and through that transition, she started blogging. Currently, she is the host of the Women of the Military Podcast. Today, she will share her insights into transition and dive into the meaning of "You can't do it alone"  with Amanda. 

Episode Highlights:

03:50- The start of Amanda's blogging and podcasting journey

05-00- Amanda's catalyst 

07:59- The Women of the Military Podcast

10:32- The meaning of "You can't do it alone" 

18:24- The main theme or message of Amdanda's podcast 

Key Points:

  1. We make a lot of mistakes, but we have to learn along the way. Failing forward is the way to go.
  2. Check out different niches and find your voice  
  3. Start connecting people, use social media platforms to meet more people within your community. 

Quotes:

  • “We make mistakes, but go back, change them, move forward, and keep building on that.”- Amanda Huffman 
  • “As a woman veteran, I realized that I can talk to women and found out that women have these amazing stories that people don't know about.”- Amanda Huffman 
  • “Blogging and podcasting is not a very individual thing because you can't do it alone. “-  Amanda Huffman
  • “You can't do it alone. When we all work together, we can reach many more people to extend help.”- Amanda Huffman
  • “Your story matters.”  Amanda Huffman


Transcript of Episode 034 with Amanda Huffman 

Scott Tucker: all right. Good afternoon, everyone. Scott Tucker here with Veteran Wealth Secrets. Thank you again for joining us on now. Jesus. I believe the 34th or fifth episode already of the show. So if you haven't already please subscribe. We're really having a great time getting insight from those who have already transitioned or in transition, or are doing something else outside of the military from the traditional path, or have some insights to share that, help them along the way.

That they think, many of you could use as well. And so we're really excited to have Amanda Huffman on today to share her insights into getting out, first she was air force in the air force and then got out, became a military spouse and then became a military blogger and.

Is now the host also of the woman of the military podcast. And of course currently a military spouse and a mom of two. Amanda, thank you so much for joining us. There's a lot going on there. You obviously have quite the story to one having served yourself. I'm guessing. Is that where you met your

Amanda Huffman: husband?

Yeah, we met in college during ROTC. Okay,

Scott Tucker: very cool. Oh gosh, you guys got got, went into it together. What, tell us a little bit about that story of deciding. Get out, but obviously one of you stayed in, right?

Amanda Huffman: So I was a civil engineer in the air force. And I don't know if you know a lot about civil engineers in the air force, but they deploy a lot and I've had the great fortune of deploying the army to Afghanistan.

Oh, geez. And that was. A nine months deployment with four months of training. So I was gone almost a whole year. I got home like four days before a year would have been. And that was a really hard deployment. When I was pregnant with my son, I knew that at the time, six months after he was born, I would likely deploy.

And I was like, that deployment was really hard with the husband. It would be so much harder, like six months postpartum. Yeah. I could, I just couldn't see myself doing that. And so I decided to leave the military and my husband stay in. And so a lot of it had to do with being dual military, but ultimately the reason I left and he stayed in was because the deployment aspect of my career field was a lot more high ops.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. I can totally understand that I was army. I got deployed with an air force unit and our deployment. I already been on another army deployment, so I know both sides, it was nice where now you deed. So nobody was shooting at us. I had a pool and it was only three months. Thank you for doing what you do to support the, what you did to support the army and its cause that's the one thing I learned about working with the air force.

I was like, yeah, we always make the jokes, the chair force or whatever, but. Honestly, I w I was just never been more impressed with the military organization than what the air force does and all the, the guys on the ground, of course appreciate that. But, the real opportunity that many have that must've been a tough decision because being dual military were you both off.

Yeah. So do military officers, if they ended up doing a full career, put themselves light years ahead. So you know that must've been a tough choice for obvious reasons, but you didn't want to just, sit at home and. The kids you said, Hey, I still want to contribute to our community.

Tell us how you got into, blogging and now podcasting, because there's just so much opportunity there. Anybody can do it. It's a skill set. They don't teach us at school. What, w what do folks need to know, especially in this day and age where Hey, jobs might not be what they were in the past.

If you have no these skillsets, you can set yourself up for whatever.

Amanda Huffman: Yeah. So I started my blog writing for five minutes once a week, which it seems like such a small amount of time, but everything that I've built has grown from that. And and I also had a degree in civil engineering, not English, not marketing, but I always have.

For writing. And so it was when I started my blog, I started connecting with different people and getting involved in different communities and I just slowly started adding more things to it. And it usually, I had no idea what I was doing, but I just tried to figure out what I could do and then make mistakes, go back, change it, and then move forward and just keep building on that.

Scott Tucker: What was the catalyst to get started? Cause I totally understand what you're saying. I remember I, I finally hired someone to make a website for me and when she got done, she was like, all right, when you start blogging, I was like, fuck, what am I going to write when I was a Portuguese major? And it's, but I'm always curious, like eventually I just, I felt the need to do it.

W what was your.

Amanda Huffman: So I found this blogger who was a mom blogger, and she did this thing called five minute Friday. And so every Friday she'd throw out a prompt word and then I would write for five minutes on that private prompt word. And so mine started out really small and I've erased a lot of my blog, but if you used to go back and look, my blog was like, whatever Amanda felt like about for the day.

And it wasn't like there was no niche, there was no focus. And I tried to be a mom blogger, a military spouse, blogger, a travel blogger. And then slowly I found my way towards the women veterans space, but I made a lot of mistakes and I learned a lot along the way. Yeah.

Scott Tucker: We, if we don't, if we aren't trying, we're going to be failing along the way.

Failing Ford is the way to go. At least you're building the skill set and also checking out different niches, finding, finding your voice. Tell us about that because clearly you're now writing for veterans and there's a huge community out there. There's lots of bloggers entrepreneurs in our space and lots of just resources.

W, what did you use to help you out along the way?

Amanda Huffman: So someone told me I should start going on LinkedIn, because I was writing a lot about transitioning and LinkedIn, you should really be there. And I was like, really? Isn't that a place you find a job? I don't understand. So I did a like 30 day challenge where I wrote every day and there were different prompts for LinkedIn.

And through that, I started connecting with veterans and I was like there's this whole community of veterans, especially around transition. Or just after training, there's that huge veteran community on LinkedIn. And so I got involved in LinkedIn and was like, this is a really cool place to be, and it's my favorite platform.

And so it was really when I started to get on LinkedIn, I started connecting with different veteran organizations and meeting more veterans and it drew me into where I was heading with the podcast. No,

Scott Tucker: You're exactly right. I remember, I think I saw Gary V video two years ago and it was just, he was just like, oh, you gotta be on LinkedIn.

And I was like I'm trying to publish and write more. I might as well throw it out there and ensure enough. And by the way nobody's being mean like on Twitter, Facebook everybody wants to support. But what's that tell us about the podcast, women in the military, obviously.

Served or appreciated part in, in yet, so many new changes and for, I think as females going through Navy seals now, it's a time for obviously the female voice in the military and the veteran community to really stand up. Because quite frankly, I think a lot of the military spouse.

Community has really been on the forefront of getting online. And so someone like you, who's both a military spouse and a veteran clearly has a unique perspective of the opportunities for that community.

Amanda Huffman: Yeah, I did. I started I'm really active in the military spouse community, and I got connected with a lot of military spouses and I was really surprised when they were like, oh, you're a veteran.

Can you write about being a veteran? And I was, yeah. So do you want to know about that? And they were like, yeah, we love your perspective. And it was the military spouse community who drew me into the Veteran space because they wanted to hear my perspective and hear about what my experience was like.

And in 2017, I did a deployment series and I emailed a bunch of people that I had deployed with. And. Put it in different forums to try and get people to share their stories. And it ended up that I only had women respond to my call for deployment stories, which was not what I expected at all. I was expecting it to be mainly men.

And so that series made me realize as a woman veteran, that I can talk to women and women want to talk to me and women have these amazing stories that people don't know about. And so that's when I started shifting. From like military in general and focused on women. And then that's where the podcast idea came from.

Scott Tucker: Wow. I'm so glad that you did that. It's really cool that you started down doing one thing and then found something completely different. And, that's the opportunity if, for anybody just putting yourself out there, don't have an agenda find what people would like, but I know you want to talk a little bit more about that.

You can't always do it alone, a blog, blogging a podcast and seems like a very individual thing. And it is, I have to do is hit record or start writing and put it up there, teach yourself some skills. But if you are going to grow and have any sort of influence, which for doing this thing, hopefully you want to influence people for good, can't do it alone.

What did you want to dive into there?

Amanda Huffman: As a woman veteran, I felt really like an outsider. That's why I. Went to the military spouse community, because I was like I'm a woman, there's lots of women in the military spouse community, and the veteran communities like old mills, like the VFW, I had the stereotypes.

And so I didn't feel welcome to be a part of the veteran community. And I was missing out on this. Enormous wealth of knowledge. And I actually went to lunch at podcast movement with Ben Kaloi. He does the military veteran dad podcast, and we had this in-depth conversation where we were talking about transitioning.

And he was like saying what was in my mind. And I was like, oh, Mel veterans, understand what I feel too. And I felt so alone before that conversation where I felt like I was the only one who. Was dealing with what I was dealing with. But in reality, when I talked to him, I realized it wasn't just women, veterans that I needed to talk to.

It was male and female veterans, and that when we all work together we can just reach so many more people. And the male veterans have supported my podcast in a way that I never expected because I felt like I was leaving them out by focusing just on women, but they're the ones who are like, no, you should just talk about women and they need to hear their stories.

And so it's been really cool to realize that the veteran community is not. For men, but for men and women and it's a really great place to be.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. Th thank you for saying that because it's totally understandable that a female veteran would come out and feel like, Hey, there, aren't going to be resources to me.

Clearly the numbers are one side of the other, so therefore it must be different. I honestly, I hadn't really thought of it. And that way. And we're all supportive of veterans, but just, yeah, when you go on LinkedIn, it's a bunch of male faces and, over and over again.

And then sometimes we see the female face. Maybe it's easy to assume that it's a military spouse that is active in the community. But really we go through a lot of the same thing. So thanks for that. I actually noticed that you recently interviewed a friend of mine car Corrine, Devin that the,

Amanda Huffman: her podcast

Scott Tucker: came out.

Okay. Very cool. Because she was someone that when I met. Holy cow. Like she's not just a dentist, but like really high end one and famous, but then she's also got this beauty career going on the side. And so I love that you're showcasing someone like her to to the different opportunities we have, while on active duty or otherwise.

Tell me as as you're trying to transition out and finding these resources and how, maybe we're going through some of the same things, what were you thinking of doing when you got, where you were you planning on originally being a stay at home mom, or were you looking at various jobs? So what were the struggles you felt you weren't, you didn't know how to solve during your transition?

Amanda Huffman: I felt like I was the only one. Dealing with the emotions that I was dealing with, because I felt like the reason that I was struggling so much was because I chose to be a stay at home mom. And not because I was a bedroom that I lost my identity. Like I didn't realize that we all go through that.

And the reason that taps is find a job is because they're trying to replace that identity. And they don't ever talk about like the emotions I I listened to Ben's podcast a lot. His, that conversation really had a huge impact on my life, but he talks about how there's a transition people.

Don't talk about us going into the military and how it changes you. And they only focus on like when you leave. And it's just that it's. They don't military. Doesn't talk about you're not the same perceive and it's just so hard. I wrote a blog piece called how the military affects your brain because I talked to a psychologist and she said from 18 to 24, your brain is in its final formation of being an adult and the military training.

To react and do certain things based on like rank and how we are like mission focused. And it was, it actually went viral on LinkedIn because people related with it so much, because I think it was for them. They were like me where they're like, there's not something wrong with me. The military made me this way.

And it's just such an interesting perspective of like how much the impact of the military has on your life. And we don't even realize it. No one talks about that.

Scott Tucker: No. You're right. And man, I'm so sorry. We got a little choppy there for the last 30 seconds. Can you hear me all right. Okay. I think we're back.

I got most of that, but if you want to, if you want to go back and reiterate, you're talking about identity of coming out of the military. That's so relevant because you were somebody before the military. Why do we ignore them? When we're coming out and only think about I turned a wrench, and I was fixing planes or doing this in the military.

Therefore I had leadership skills. So therefore I only have that. Like for me personally I forgot I was a creative, I forgot. I liked to perform, until, 15 years later I'm like, oh, I like doing this podcast rating type stuff. I was totally leaving that. Out now. And so my identity post-military as a financial professional, like it was gross.

I didn't resonate with it all, but I had a job. Yeah.

Amanda Huffman: It's so true. And it's, I think that's a really good point because the military is so mission focused that we're always like, get the job done, get the job done. And I was working on a project after I got out of the military and I came in and out.

Dah. And the person's hello, how are you? And I was like oh, you're a civilian. We don't talk like that. And it was just so interesting that she was like, we're in the real world. Now we talked to people in the military just as get it done. And so the fact that you don't think about being creative and like who you are, and you're just like, I just have to do my job.

And you don't think about what do I actually want?

Scott Tucker: Yeah. So as you started getting into to writing and creating, when did you start to realize it was helping you. Form an identity. Did you have any sort of apifany that you're like, holy cow, I just created this for myself.

Amanda Huffman: Yeah. I think it was in the first year of podcasting.

It was a while because I've been blogging since 2014 and my podcast launched in 2019, but when I started hearing the stories of women and when I would get messages about how, like hearing the story of a woman. Impacted someone I'm working to help women who are joining the military by creating a guide and I'm working on a book and how I can impact not only women who have served, but the next generation of women, I was like, this is really cool.

This is really exciting, what I get to do. And I just, I really love getting to talk. When veterans, I say it's like my therapy. Cause I went to PTSD through therapy and now I get to do it through the podcast. Yeah.

Scott Tucker: And helped so many in the process. W what's your overall message as your.

Getting people, sharing their stories. What are you finding to be the main message and theme that your listeners are appreciating?

Amanda Huffman: My main message when I started the podcast is your story matters. I don't care if you've served for one year or 25 years, it doesn't matter. Your story matters and people need to hear your story.

It doesn't matter. Like how long you served? I think sometimes we get a lot of oh, I can't share my story. I only served six years or I only did, or I didn't deploy. So my story is an important, but every person who serves in the military or every person in general has a story to tell, but, and we need to tell those stories.

And so the podcast has general officers and it has airman basics on the podcast. It has every range of the ranks and it's. Like a lot of, I get some comments of people who don't actually listen and they're like, oh, it's an air force officer. She probably only talks to officers. It doesn't make no it's everybody.

It's every rank I have had all the branches and I've had enlisted and officer from every branch. And it's not meant to just be assert it's everybody's story because your story matters.

Scott Tucker: So if they do give you pushback and say I didn't do enough for his boring. What do you give them as the why?

What's, we always hear that Simon said anything. What's your, why? What do you tell them to say? Here's why you need to tell your

Amanda Huffman: story? I usually, so I have a standard set of questions and I just start with, like, why did you decide to serve and then talk about like your time in the military.

Then go through transition. And then what advice would you give to the next generation of women? And in the beginning, I think I had people who didn't feel like their story was worth telling. I know I had a lot of people who felt guilty about leaving the military before 20 years, who were like, I can't share my story because I didn't retire.

Something like that. But I think because the podcast is such a wide variety people, they don't do that anymore. They're like, I don't have an excuse. She talks to everybody. Yeah. It's amazing. The people who would tell me, like one person emailed me after we did an interview and she's I know my story is not very good.

So if you don't want to use it, you don't have to. And I thought her story was so impactful because she talked about the guilt that she felt of not serving. And and just the loneliness and everything she talked about was so important, but she still felt this. I don't deserve to tell my story, but everybody's story has value.

And I think people know that now they talked to me.

Scott Tucker: No. Great. Cause. That's so true. There's going to be somebody coming that you were in their shoes once we hear it. So often, if you willing to go out and share your story, you'd never know who you might impact. And by the way, they might reach out to you, it might make you feel really good.

All of a sudden you're networking. If you're not sharing your story. The nobody's ever going to know who you are. What are we on LinkedIn for people want to get a job? Really you're doing personal branding in a way. And personal branding doesn't have to mean getting famous. It's just getting people to know and trust you.

Amanda Huffman: That's for sure.

Scott Tucker: Amanda, thank you so much for coming on, sharing your insight. I'm looking forward to listening to the episode with Corinda day and see what you guys talked about. No, you're really an inspiration. To get the word out for a woman in the middle of this year. And looking forward to seeing how we can support and and you can grow it.

So tell us who should be contacting you and how do they do it and how do they find the

Amanda Huffman: show? So I guess my like target market is women who are looking to join the military. I created a free guide called a girl's guide to the military. And if you go to my website, you can find it in the free resources section at the top.

And then if you want to be on the pilot, Expect a week. I have lots of women who have signed up to share their story, but I have a link on the podcast landing page where you can sign up to be a podcast guest when I record, whenever I record next year.

Scott Tucker: Gotcha. Gotcha. Was that the airman to mom was at the

Amanda Huffman: best website?

Yeah. Erin minimum.com has both the podcast and the girl's guide to the military.

Scott Tucker: Very cool. Thank you for being researched that gosh, that, that, that sounds genius. Cause I'm sure there's extra. Fear of getting into the military as a female or, and and so I'm sure that's extremely valuable, but cool.

Thanks again, really appreciate you coming on and for everybody, we'll see you next time. Thank you.

About the author 

Scott R. Tucker

Scott R. Tucker is an author, speaker and the founder of US VetWealth, a lifestyle and financial consulting brand that helps service members go from paychecks and government benefits to wealth and liberty. He likes to say, "I Help The 1% Who Serve Our Country Become The 1% Who Influence It." A West Point graduate, serial world traveler, military financial expert, and entrepreneur, Scott brings valuable experience and insight to those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

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