Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with EJ Snyder, Owner of Skullcrusher LLC., located in Raeford, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a professional survivalist and instructor, and I bring customers the best survival, preparedness, and safety tutorial videos on the market today. I couple that with also selling the very best tested and proven gear you will find anywhere that I personally use. Lastly, I also offer my customers live training and adventure experiences.

Tell us about yourself

  • Ranked #1 Survival Expert by Top Tens
  • Retired Army Combat Vet of 25 years
  • 6 Time Naked and Afraid Legend
  • Host of Dual Survival
  • First Man Out
  • Host of Mountain Masters
  • 25+ TV/Film/Commercial Appearances
  • Extreme Survivalist and Professional Instructor
  • Adventurer and Trekking Guide
  • Motivational Speaker
  • Writer and Author
  • Successful Business Owner & Entrepreneur

I grew up in Northern New Jersey, just outside NYC, in tough Italian neighborhoods. I learned many outdoor skills and a love for the wilderness with my late kid brother Jeff when our father took us camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and trapping. We furthered those skills by canoeing, rafting, rock climbing, and long extended hikes. My brother and I could often be found near the nearest set of woods or waterways we could find within the confines of the concrete jungle, honing our skills. My brother was killed before his 22nd birthday. And it greatly affected me.

I am a highly decorated Army Combat Veteran with 25 years of military service under my belt, serving in Ranger positions in Infantry and Airborne units. I joined the armed forces at 19. Moved up the ranks quickly, seeing combat in the Gulf War in 1991 and a 15-month tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 from 2004 to 2005. I earned two bronze star medals, the Legion of Merit, the Order of St. Maurice (Centurion), and over 40 other medals and decorations while serving the nation.

When I was attending US Army Ranger School, I received my first formal survival training and fell in love with the concept right away, so I started a self-study on the skill. Once I was assigned as a Ranger Instructor, I attended US Army Survival School (SERE-C) and Tracking Course and became the Primary Survival and Tracking Instructor for the course. During my time in the Army, I attended a vast number of schools, highly increasing my diverse set of skills, deployed on training and missions all over the world, and received many accolades throughout my career. I stepped up as a Ranger Instructor, Survival & Tracking Instructor, and Drill Sergeant.

I was a renowned athlete and fighter during my time, earning the nickname “Skullcrusher,” I retired at the rank of Sergeant Major/E-9. Upon retirement, I worked as a government contractor for 6 years, teaching survival skills to future Green Berets and other soldiers at the US Army SERE School. I say that whether in the wild or the field of combat, I will always live by my motto: Tua Sponte Superstes, which means to “Survive By Your Own Will.” I have been formally teaching survival skills to soldiers and civilians ever since for well over 30 years.

After the Army, I was looking at retiring from the US Army and was not quite sure what I wanted to do after, but I decided to rekindle an old dream of moving into the entertainment world in some capacity. I decided to try my luck as a TV/Film Military Technical Adviser, as well as doing some stunt work and acting on the side. I found some success early on and was involved in many mainstream films, TV, commercials, web series, and independent and student film projects. Most known for my role and stunt work as “Redfern,” a Freighter Boat Mercenary of the Hit TV Series “LOST.” Some of my other known projects are the History Channel’s “Patton 360,” and the Chiller Network’s “Can You Survive a Horror Movie,” amongst other TV & film projects.

I soon found myself being recruited for several top reality competition shows, being a finalist for “Survivor 21” and “Big Brother 14”. My real-world survival skill set and TV finally crossed paths as I was setting out on TNT’s “72 Hours: The Fijian Jungle (Episode 7)”. Discovery Channel came calling and initially tried me out for their hit TV series “Dual Survival” with four others.

I was passed on but quickly found myself thrust out on the filming of the pilot episode of “Naked and Afraid: Terror in Tanzania,” a 21-Day Survival Challenge where a strange man and woman come together for 21 Days completely naked with one item each and try to survive til extraction. I was the first man to complete the challenge. Seven months later, when three people quit, I was joined by Laura Zerra to complete the challenge in “Naked and Afraid: Man Vs. Amazon,” making me the first man to complete the 21-day challenge twice. I was asked back for the 40-Day challenge of 6 men and 6 women in “Naked and Afraid XL” in the Colombian Badlands, making me the only man to complete the challenge three times! I was recently joined by my Naked and Afraid XL Partner Jeff Zausch as Co-Host for the 9th Season of “Dual Survival.” We tested our skills and partnership in several of the harshest locations, environments, and situations, finding ourselves in Brazil, South America, Utah High Desert, Louisiana Swamplands, a cave in the former USSR State of Georgia, South Africa, and Botswana, as well as surviving the recent Turkish Coup while in the Istanbul Airport.

I was once again called upon in 2019 to take on another Naked and Afraid challenge, but this time solo…in “Naked and Afraid ALONE: Lonely Like The Wolf,” where I was placed in the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria…all by myself, while on the other side of the mountain, unbeknownst to me, three others were also taking it on together, after 21 days when the mountain mist cleared, stalked by wolves, frozen, and half-starved, I reached the 5500-foot extraction site standing on top of the mountain…all by myself…thus being the ONLY one to make it out of the Balkan Mountains! The Beast of Bulgaria! I then took on the Atchafalaya Swamp Basin of Louisiana in Naked and Afraid Legends 60-Day Challenge. I halfway suffered a life-threatening injury by tearing my genitals and having to receive stitches in the field with no pain meds to numb it, and I stayed in and finished the challenge! Solidifying the status of LEGEND!

I was then asked to enter back into the challenge once again, returning back to the Amazon to the same location I was at in 2013 after eight years, when several others were claimed once again by The Amazon Jungle. I went in to help the others out and did another 43 days! I now have a total of 206 Naked Survival Days to my credit, as ONLY The Godfather of Naked and Afraid could do!!! I am the Co-Host of a New Hit Series, “Mountain Masters,” on Inspire Network. I'm also now working with Mr. Beast on YouTube video content for the YouTube Channel!

I am an extreme survivalist and adventurer who employs a “Train as you Fight” approach to survival and believe in pushing not only the limits of your environment but yourself as well. I am constantly pushing these limits and trying to continually break through the “Law of 3’s of Survival”. I've thrust myself into many extreme survival situations and environments to grow as a survivalist and pass these lessons on to others. I believe that my brand of survival can be dropped into any environment with no notice and little supplies, making it out where no man should walk.

I pride myself on being one tough old SOB with the tenacity, fortitude, willpower, and determination to be dropped anywhere in the world with nothing and come out on top! I also believe that if I'm with other people, I can lead them there as well – unscathed! You can also hear me from miles away screaming to the heavens with my battle cries! My quest and journey to where I now stand is a testament of struggle, perseverance, dedication, and hard work.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Self-made man! Veteran-owned and driven to use a portion of my profits to aid other Veterans and Vet Charity Organizations. I am never satisfied with where I am, and mediocrity doesn't suit me; this causes me to keep driving harder, open other new businesses, and invest in other projects and businesses.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Always staying ahead of the competition and reinventing myself if need be!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Believe in yourself and your dream because no one else will! I know this firsthand!
  2. Wake up every day with a hunger to succeed no matter what! Stay thirsty!
  3. Always stay positive and keep the nay-sayers away! Never take 'NO" for an answer! It is always "YES," or I take my business elsewhere...they LOSE!

Where can people find you and your business?


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