How To: Build A Sustainable Military Spouse Career
Updated | College Recon
Many think that the full-time job of a military spouse is automatically to support their active duty military partner. While being a supportive spouse is SO crucial in a successful military career, that doesn’t mean that it has to be their FULL-TIME, 9 to 5 commitment. Military spouses should still be able to have their OWN career, and job aspirations if they so desire. (Is that taboo of us to say? Well, it’s true.)
Difficulties of Having A Military Spouse Career
Oftentimes military spouses are discouraged because of the less than ideal lifestyle they live being married to the military. However, by changing your outlook and seeing the possibilities instead of the limitations, your career opportunities will begin to blossom.
If you are really passionate about having your own career as a military spouse, you can do it. It will be a little harder, with a few more bumps in the road, but it’s still possible.
Be your own boss. Make your own schedule. Be accountable only to yourself.
This allows you SO much freedom as you navigate through a military lifestyle. PCSing soon? No problem, front-load your work, plan meetings weeks prior, & work until the wee hours of the morning if you need to. You control how it goes down. There’s no boss that you have to begrudgingly approach the fact that you will soon be moving and leaving that job.
Does this sound like something YOU have always wanted to do? 2018 is your year.
OK, but where to start?
These 5 steps will get you on track to developing your business:
Work on your business idea
This involves a lot of research and time. Don’t ever skip out on this aspect though. Laying the foundation and knowing where you want to go (having vision) is so crucial. Some entrepreneurs swear by having t business plan before delving too deep into the project. This isn’t a bad idea. Of course, if your business plan is limiting you, then maybe you should skip down to #3 to discuss the issues you’re having with your business plan in order to move forward.
Learn From Those Who Have ‘Been There & Done That’
Ask around and find a network of people who have done this before you. Entrepreneurship in the military spouse community is not a new thing, but it also can be hard to find connections of other business owners who you feel comfortable picking their brain and asking advice. There are private Facebook groups that are all about supporting other military spouse businesses.
Find A Mentor
This individual doesn’t necessarily have to be a military spouse. We would even go as far as suggest that it’s someone who is more of a business or industry professional. This is someone who you don’t ask the small questions, but you go to them for the big picture stuff. This needs to be someone you can feel comfortable going to and saying “I have no idea what to do….” or “I messed up big time, help!” Where to find a gold start mentor? Networking!! Use your military connections, friends, and LinkedIn. Don’t be shy. Ask to be introduced to others whom you want to learn from. People love talking about themselves, so research your potential mentors and ask them about their path and experiences. You’ll learn a LOT from the mistakes and successes they’ve had.
You might get far into your business plan and realize you could really use some of those base skills that are taught in entrepreneurship degree courses. As a military spouse you are uniquely set up for success by already having the GI Bill benefits at your disposal. Connect with not-for-profit colleges and universities here and see what kind of military assistance programming universities are offering right now.
Read, read, & read
Sometimes, we can do our best learning from listening. Listening through reading others’ stories, failures, successes, and trials. We’ve rounded up some great reads to get you started and inspired. (If we’ve left off some titles that are absolute ‘musts’, please leave them in the comments and we will add them!)