Great tips and advice for how to start your own business from a fellow military spouse who has done it herself!
A new year always offers new possibilities. For military families, a new year can include orders to a new base, a spouse deploying, or other military related changes. As a military spouse one of the biggest changes through the years, has always been employment. You may find a great job at one base you are stationed at and then you have to move and can’t find employment at your new location. Often the question I found most common when interviewing was if I was a military spouse and how long did I think I would be in the location for. Answering that question has more often than not led to not getting a job, no matter how qualified or over-qualified I was.
I know I am not alone in this issue with employment. Almost every spouse you talk to says they have had issues with employment. Each story a bit different but similar in many ways. So what do you do if you are stationed in an area that doesn’t offer the economical employment opportunities you and your family needs? What do you do if you career field is obsolete in this new location? What do you do when you are told you are overqualified for 90% of the jobs you apply for? Well for each person these questions may yield different answers. But for this momma, after years of starting jobs, leaving jobs, and not finding jobs, I changed my perspective on employment.
Why try so hard to work for someone else when I can work for myself? Yes, we often see bases littered with direct sales consultants for everything from good smelling candles to stoneware and oils. I’m not talking about these types of stay at home jobs. I am talking about working for YOU. Taking a wild idea or concept, making it into a reality, and profiting from it. Perhaps you have a talent that could create profit for you? With outlets like Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, Woo Commerce, Hyena Cart and other web sales sites, the idea of creating something and selling it to the masses is completely reachable.
I started working from home shortly after my son was born. I worked on the weekends and midnight hours. I was my own boss, my own employee. I created photography props for friends and local professionals. I also made children’s hair accessories. I would venture out to any craft show I could find within 30 minutes of our town. I would advertise on Facebook and sell via word of mouth in the community. Though it was not a consistent income it was an income that was flexible with the life of a momma of a newborn.
Though my start was with photography props and hair accessories, I have had plenty of other ventures. I always thought you should stick to one idea and run with it until it dies. Now I know that was just that an idea. I now have several small businesses, all which tailor to a different talent or craft that I enjoy. You can do this, too. Just ask yourself “what makes me happy?” Is there a craft that you are passionate about?
To help you on the beginnings of starting your own business, there are many great resources for information. My advice is to look into your local city and state small business laws. There are many benefits to small businesses and many cities offer incentives when you open up a business. Also consider safety issues when starting a business. If you plan to make children’s items check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, as there are specific guidelines for children’s products. Next make sure to pick out a unique name and check online to ensure the name is not already taken. Finally have fun!
Portable Business Ideas for Military Spouses
Here are some of the many great web resources to help you on your journey to business ownership:
- 7 Steps to a Successful Start on Etsy
- 10 Tips for Starting an Etsy Business
- 10 Steps to Starting a Business – U.S. Small Business Association
- How to Start a Small Business for less than 1,000 dollars – Forbes
- How to Start a Business Online – Entrepreneur
- Online Businesses – U.S. Small Business Association
Be sure to also check out our post on Portable Jobs for Military Spouses!