Bob Deasy
Bob Deasy
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Age: 57
Was: Military airborne navigation computer specialist

Why I did it: When he left the military in 2000, Deasy took a tech job. Then about four years ago, when that company imploded, "it struck me as a good time to use my skills and start my own business," he says.

How I did it: Fresh out of the military, Deasy found it hard to avoid military jargon. To develop what he calls his "decoder ring," he went to industry association meetings and worked the room.

"Once I developed that decoder ring," he says, "I come across as having experience when I talked to business owners because I'm using the words they want to hear."

Why I love it: "I like bringing my skills to businesses. It's like being in the military -- you bring people together and have people on the same page, knowing how to be efficient and what the mission of the organization is."

Last updated October 11 2011: 5:07 PM ET
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