BTU #99 - Jacob Martinez: Army Sergeant to President of USA's 592nd Fastest Growing Company


“At that point we had about 25 employees and things seemed to be going well... and then the financial markets crashed and we went into a very deep, deep recession, right after I took over as President. So for a few years we had to weather the storm and it was a very difficult time. But I actually accredit a lot of [my success] to the military for what I was taught. So when the tough times came, I didn't start running - I just buckled down, dug my heels in and said - 'I'm smarter than this recession.'” - Jacaob Martinez

Jacob Martinez is the President of Market Traders Institute, a trading technology and education company with over 200 employees. Jacob started out in the Army, where he served for 4.5 years in military intelligence achieving the rank of sergeant. He started out at Market Traders Institute as Vice President of Managed Accounts and has held virtually every position in the company.

Jacob has offered to connect with any veterans interested in speaking further. He is also offering a discount on his company's Forex training platform for any veteran. This is a great chance to investigate investing as a potential career, as well as learn a new skill set. You can contact him at jacob [at]

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Extreme Growth - Jacob took over his family's business and grew them from 8 employees to 200 employees, with a 1,200%+ growth in revenue, attaining Inc Magazine's #592 fastest growing companies in America... it's pretty impressive!
  2. Continuous Learning - rather than use his GI Bill for college, Jacob got out of his comfort zone and started growing his company. He is more committed to continuous learning than anyone I have met to date, and is constantly reading new books, attending new conferences, and seeking other ways to learn from others as quickly as possible. I find this inspiring, and his recommendations for resources are the best I've had on the show to date.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at

Selected Resources

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Jacob, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Jacob's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

  • 4:06 - Jacob's background
  • 5:04 - How Jacob would explain what he does for a living
    • Investor education and trading
    • Teach people how to trade in the Forex market, exchanging money.
    • When deployed, Jacob would stop in Germany before Afghanistan and would check the exchange rate. When he would stop there on the way back, the dollar would be worth a different amount. So he helps people understand and take advantage of this
    • Their in the business of changing people's lives through empowerment. His goal is to empower people - teach them to fish - and grow their financial income
    • Only about 30% of investors make money... their clients see about 57% of people making money
    • 7:56 - Jacob's Growth & history getting there
      • His father started the company in 1994 and ran it until 2004
      • He grew it to 8 employees during that time and it supported his family
      • When Jacob left the military he joined the team of 8 people and took what he learned in the military - process & structure - and instilled it in the company
      • Within a few years did every position to understand the company and put structures in place and grew the company to 25 employees
      • In 2007 became President and things were going well... until the financial market collapse right after took over President. But his experience in the military in these tough times
      • 2008-2011 there was no growth - just a fight for survival. But at the end of 2011 had figured things out.
      • Since 2011 grown 1250% in revenue, 25 to 200 employees, listed on Inc 5k #592 fastest growing companies in America. He's also been committed to growth and listed top 10 places to work in Florida
      • He talks about constantly having to reinvent yourself as a company - what challenges you see at 25 employees is different than 100 employees
      • What was important to us and what we tracked a year ago isn't important today. And what we're monitoring today won't be important in the future. And what makes the difference is constant growth - grow or die. Not revenue but growing yourself personally.
      • 15:10 - Resources
        • The key to his success has been the commitment to growth and learning
        • Success is a journey, not a destination - this qoute really shaped his look towards education
        • You will never reach "success" - it is constant evolution and growth - it's the only way to push the journey forward
        • We don't want to be first but we don't want to be third. There are a lot of successful business in this world. Go get a mentor and learn from successful people
        • Jacob doesn't have a college degree... but he reads a book a month. He read a study saying the Average American reads 1 book per year! If he reads one book per month, in 5 years he'll have read 60 books vs. 5! The knowledge he has acquired in this way has tremendously helped his company
        • Books
          • John Maxwell - teaches leadership. There's never a time when you will have too many leaders. Staying focused on developing your leadership will create opportunities
            • Leadership Gold -
            • The 360 degree
            • 12 laws of leadership
            • Who moved my cheese - Jacob has read this book 10-12 times over his career. It talks about change and adapting to change.
            • Danger in the comfort zone - currently reading as part of book club, the danger of entitlement and living in the comfort zone
            • Conferences - anything, industyr conference or leadership conference
              • Tony Robbins - Business Mastery. this is pricey but the knowledge gained
              • Industry-focused
                • Steven Covey - 7 habits of highly effective people
                • Training
                  • Sales - only way to grow business is to grow revenue. Only way to grow revenue is grow your knowledge
                  • Cardone University
                  • Caris school of negotiation
                  • Fred Pryor seminars - 4-6 hour classes at local hotels or online, very good for constant development
                  • Vistage - he meets with executives monthly to discuss areas of growth, culture and challenges of an executive
                  • If you're wanting to trade forex, you need trading programs. They have forex foundation courses
                  • 24:28 - The Book Club
                    • Jacob has several of these at his company now. It started with his father, who would shut down the company for a few hours and discuss a few chapters of a book they were reading at the time
                    • Before this he had only read a few books, and this catapulted his reading
                    • It has helped his personal income and the business - continuously growing things
                    • They accicdentally stopped this during the recession and realized the dramatic impact this had on their growth. How can you change if you're not learning?
                    • He leads a book club every week - as an executive team they discuss the chapter they read. He asks his managers to hold their own book club pertaining to leadership or a technical skill in their department
                    • Unless you highly recommend this, life will get in the way. We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. But an outsider looking in is actions... they speak louder than words.
                    • You can't learn in the comfort zone or danger zone, but in the uncomfort zone. Skirting that line between danger and comfort.
                    • Harmony doesn't create growth - dis-harmony does. Every major breakthrough came from his team being in dis-harmony. Something wasn't going well, and they tried something new and it created a breakthrough
                    • 31:43 - A challenge Jacob has faced in growing his company
                      • He has faced MANY challenges in growing a company
                      • Many of them have been internal - struggles with how he views himself, not being able to live up to external expectations
                      • Every day he comes to work and faces challenges - he is now in the business of people and managing, so most of his challenges are people-related. At any given moment about 30% of the world is facing some sort of major personal crisis... that means 60 of his team members are facing a personal crisis (divorce, death, sick child, birth, etc).
                      • Business isn't about money it's about developing people. In the military he thought business would be cut throat - but that's not what a successful business is. It's about helping and growing people. So in this respect the challenge is an opportunity to have a positive impact.
                      • 35:22 - Maintaining emotional stability amidst the chaos of growing a company
                        • You need to keep things in perspective - 30% of the world is having a personal crisis right now
                        • He has had many challenges - 2 tours in Afghanistan, medically discharged from a shartered vertabrae. These challenges, vs business challenges, are not nearly in the same bucket. These challenges are nothing compared to what others are facing. Seeing the problem as smaller helps him get to a solution quicker. The Sky is never falling.
                        • When you take a step back and evaluate
                        • Get a mentor - get several mentors. There is no such thing as a perfect mentor. Depending on the crisis you will have a different mentor - business colleague, someone outside the business, a family member. They help you put it in perspective because they're not emotionally involved with the problem
                        • It can be VERY uncomfortable to be vulnerable around a mentor, but it will lead to growth. Maritial problems, money problems, relationship problems - when you let go of the fear, you get out of hell a lot quicker
                        • 41:22 - Creating systems in a company
                          • Success is a formula, not a fantasy. Even gut feelings are intuitions that you prove with a process or strarety to see if it's valid
                          • Nearly everythign at MTI is run through a process: even the amount of money they spend. Spending $X for marketing to get Y leads that dictates the # of sales people they have to the # of clients they bring onboard, and that determines the number of customer support which determines the amount of product developers... everything is connected
                          • In the military, Jacob saw that everything was a system. He was in a company of people who were virtually identical, with very similar skill sets. This didn't happen by chance - it was a process the military created. If you continue to refine a process you'll get the same results
                          • Business isn't a massive feeling of how you feel today. If you have a process and are dedicated to a process you are constantly refining and iterating, you realize that the business starts to operate at high efficiency. It doesn't matter how you feel today - it matters how you adhere to the formula. Of course emotions matter, but structure helps a company grow
                          • Don't be so married to the process that you're blindly married to it - be committed to improving ti and
                          • 46:31 - Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
                            • If you're on active duty and thinking of transitioning, know that it's an emotional experience: exciting, fearful, and sad.
                            • Jacob wasn't sure what to do - be an overseas contractor, use the GI bill to go back to college, or join his family business and not make much money
                            • He opted for opportunity - he could make 10X more money as a contractor... but is that sustainable income in 10-20 years. For him, it was short-term.
                            • Look for opportunity - for things outside your comfort zone. Sometimes small opportunities - like his with his family business - can become enormous.
                            • If you're already out of the military and looking to grow: companies don't always communicate what really matters. If they tell a salesperson you need to have 80 calls a day to have 1 sale per day... so if you make 60 calls and make 1 sale, you may feel like you weren't successful. This comes from not properly defining what really matters - what matters is changing someone's life. If you make each call with this intention, it can change things. So find out what 1-2 items REALLY matter. "Moving the rock" - what are you doing that will "move the rock"
                            • Force X Distance  = Work... what really matters is DISTANCE. It doesn't matter how much force... how far does it go
                            • Are you moving the rock? find the 1-2 things that really affect this
                            • Train yourself to separate yourself from other people. Grow your knowledge - it's not the companies responsibility to train the employee. Sometimes people will say 'if the company can't send me to a conference I won't do it' But if you take responsibility, this is what I need to grow... it changes everything. Do I need this knowledge or not? If yes - find a way to get there. This is how you separate yourself - the average person won't do this.
                            • 55:18 - Final words of wisdom
                              • Thank you for your service
                              • When I was in I thought I was just one of the bunch. But since then has realized that he has made a difference on the world. It is a real sacrifice to serve in the military... no matter what you're doing you're having an impact
                              • Idea not coupled with action is not worth the brain cell it sits on
                              • You can have the best idea, but if you don't act it doesn't matter. You're going to fail 100%. You will fail WAY more often than you succeed. there's no such thing as a true failure if you learn from it.
                              • Act on your ideas, even if they're failures - learn from them and grow from them and eventually - it just takes one good hit. It's not luck - its a culmination of all your learnings from all your