As a military spouse, finding meaningful work can be challenging. Add in a pandemic that has caused thousands of offices and workplaces across the country to shut down indefinitely, and the job search can be disheartening. So maybe now is the right time to consider entrepreneurship.
With a limited selection of gigs available that will allow you to transfer certifications, take your job with you when you relocate, or work remotely, you might find yourself asking what other options you have. If you have not yet found your dream job the old-fashioned way, do some self-reflection and consider whether starting a small business is for you. After all, the only thing better than finding your dream job is making it yourself!
Whether it’s freelance writing, event planning or something entirely different, it’s important to keep in mind that as a military spouse you have skills that make you especially cut out for the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur. Among other things, you’re most likely flexible, a quick learner and a creative problem-solver. Starting a small business isn’t easy, but life as a milspouse isn’t either.
At ACP, we have a number of Mentors who have successfully helped their Protégés launch their small businesses. Read below for some advice on how to take the first crucial steps towards realizing your dream of owning your very own business!
1. Make a Detailed Business Plan
Arguably, the most important detail you’ll need in your journey to becoming a successful small business owner is having a detailed business plan that you can use to pitch your business to potential investors and partners. Writing a business plan is not easy, but there are ways to approach it so that it’s not a huge undertaking. You’re going to need to have a general idea of what the business is and what it should be doing, your ideal customer base, a general idea of the start-up and operational costs of the company. If you’re going to be hiring employees or working with a team to start the business, you’ll have to factor in that cost as well a timeline of your launch, and even more. When you outline all the aspects you’ll need to have a successful business plan, it can seem overwhelming. Be sure to break each element down into its own goal and build on each aspect until you have a full plan. For more information on how to efficiently outline your business plan, consider reading this article from BPlans. However, keep in mind that there are other ways that you can own and operate your own business without starting it from scratch.
2. Consider Opening a Franchise
Opening a franchise is a great option for people who want to be their own boss but don’t have an original business idea. As a military spouse, you have gained a great deal of communication, logistical and operational skills that can be transferred to opening your own franchise. As a franchise owner, you will be in charge of managing your business’ finances, operations, employees and your own schedule, but will also be afforded a built-in system of support and logistics to follow. There are hundreds of franchises out there that you could become a part of. If you feel confident in your ability to open and manage a franchise, start considering which industries you are most drawn to. The obvious ones are restaurants and coffee shops, but there are many more options for you to choose from. If you’ve been thinking about starting a small business but aren’t sure you’re ready to take the leap, watch ACP’s Webinar from August 2020: Introduction to Franchising to learn more about the process and to weigh your options.
3. Sign up for a Small Business Mentorship through ACP!
Regardless of whether you decide to hone your own original business idea or take the initiative to open a franchise, these moves are easier made with a support system at the ready. ACP’s Mentoring program has been offering year-long, customized mentorships to the spouses of active-duty service members for the past two years, and we have been astounded to see the growth the program has made in such a short space of time. We are proud to say that our Spouse Program Mentor pool is significantly diverse, and we have mentors on hand who are able to answer your questions about starting a small business and provide support and advice along the way. If you’re ready to take the next step in your journey to becoming a small business owner, look no further than ACP’s Active Duty Spouse Mentoring program! Click here to apply.
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