HOW TO: CREATE YOUR OWN MILITARY SPOUSE CAREER

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By Jayne Armstrong

Did you know that there are as many as 641,000 spouses of active duty service members in the United States? Thirteen percent of military spouses are also service members (known as a dual-military families), while 87 percent are civilians.[1] Did you also know May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month? To celebrate, we’re highlighting military spouse entrepreneurs all month long.

As a military spouse, finding a career that equally matches your transient military lifestyle can be challenging. Self-employment – in the form of business ownership or entrepreneurial ventures –can provide something that most traditional jobs cannot: the flexibility to move place-to-place and the security of maintaining a career that moves with you.

From training courses and business mentors to loan assistance and referrals, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) supports you as you navigate the flexible landscape of self-employment. Not sure where to start? Here are a few steps you can take to get the ball rolling:

  1. Brainstorm and conduct basic market research. What are you passionate about? Is there a way to turn your passion into a viable business? Does your business concept fill a gap that currently exists in the marketplace? Go out in your community or conduct research online to see if there’s a market for the business you want to start.
  2. Connect with your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), the “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurial services. VBOCs host business training and workshops on a variety of topics, and also have business counselors on standby for any other advice you may need. You can receive one-on-one guidance and also referrals to other programs within the SBA network.
  3. Take an entrepreneurial training course to learn the basics of business ownership. Courses like Boots to Business Reboot equip you with basic business knowledge, including how to conduct market research, the basics of building your own business plan, and mapping out other resources for you to use throughout your journey.
  4. Build your professional network. Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), military spouse organizations, business incubators, and more host networking events throughout the year – both in-person and online. Attend these professional events to meet other military spouses who share the same interest and entrepreneurial vision that you do. Plus, you can learn from other military spouses who have already launched their own businesses.

Regardless of where you are in your entrepreneurial journey – whether you’re thinking of starting, purchasing, or growing a business – you never have to navigate the landscape alone. From joining forces with other military spouses to connecting with an SBA resource, you can create a career that fits your unique military lifestyle. For more information, visit sba.gov/milspouse – or join the conversation using #MyMilspoBiz on Twitter and Facebook.

Jayne Armstrong is the district director and veteran’s representative of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Iowa District Office in Des Moines. For more information, contact her at jayne.armstrong@sba.gov.

[1] Department of Defense, 2015 Demographics: Profile of the Military Community. Page 126. https://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/2015-Demographics-Report.pdf

About Darcella Craven

Chief Fear Conqueror - Knowledge is nothing without action!

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