7 Best Resources for Military Spouse Entrepreneurs

military spouse entrepreneurs

These Resources Can Help You As a Military Spouse Entrepreneur

As a military spouse, you may have had to put your initial career plans on hold due to military life. However, that doesn’t mean you have had to give up your goals altogether. Becoming an entrepreneur can be a way to take your job with you from location to location or allow for you and your spouse to have a plan for after military life. Whatever the reasons, becoming a military spouse entrepreneur can have many benefits.

By going into entrepreneurship you can be your own boss, have the potential for unlimited income, and make a living doing what you love. You can create a positive impact in the world, take your work with you wherever you go, and choose who you will be working with.

Getting started as an entrepreneur can be challenging but you don’t have to go at it alone. There are many resources out there. Here are 7 of them to help you on your journey.

The Rosie Network

The Rosie Network offers entrepreneurial programs and support services for active duty, veterans, and military spouses to help them realize the American dream of owning a small business. Their program, Service2CEO, is free and offers individualized small business training and a mentoring program. They also have Rosie Chapters for military spouses and Warrior Chapters for active duty and veterans.

DAV/Patriot Boot Camp

Patriot Boot Camp offers mentors, educational programming, and a community of experts and peers to help active duty service members, veterans, and military spouses innovate and build impactful businesses. They have both in-person and virtual events.

Bunker Labs

Bunker Labs provides community, programs, and courses to help military veterans and military spouses start as well as grow successful businesses and startups. They offer programs such as Veterans in Residence, which is a business incubator for early-stage startups and growth-oriented small businesses for veterans, military spouses, and military family members.

Boots to Business

Boots to Business is a program offered by SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. The program offers entrepreneurial education and a training program for transitioning service members and their spouses. They also provide an overview of business ownership.

AMSE

AMSE, (the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs) is a global network for military spouse entrepreneurs. With AMSE, you can sign up as a member and have access to the AMSE Slack channel with over 1,700 members. They also have 15+ monthly digital and live events. The community works together to build ideas, brand collaborations, and to help you work on your businesses.

Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce 

The Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce wants to ensure that all active duty, veteran, and military spouse business owners have the tools and resources that they need to strengthen their families, communities, and our economy. Their membership is free and through it, you can obtain Milspouse-Owned Enterprise Certification. You can also find a mentor, find a job board, and find tools, resources, and advocacy. The membership is for those who are considering starting a business, are already a business owner, work in the gig economy, are freelancers, are self-employed, have a side hustle, or consider themselves entrepreneurial.

LinkedIn Learning 

LinkedIn Learning has 17,000+ expert-led courses where you can earn a certificate when you complete the course. You will need to have LinkedIn Premium to access the courses which you can get for free as a military spouse.

As a military spouse entrepreneur, you want to get the best advice that you can and get off to a good start. These organizations and companies can help.

 

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PCSing With an Established Business

When you have to move your established business for a PCS

As a military spouse small business owner, you are thankful you can take your business with you when you move. However, when those PCS orders come, you can feel a bit of a panic. How will you move the business? What if you are going overseas? What do you need to know?

If your business is already established, you will want to keep things running smoothly during the move. Just taking a few months away from the business isn’t always an option. Here are some things to think about when you PCS with an established business.

Legal

There are legal issues related to moving with a small business. Each state can have its own laws and regulations. This is where you need to do your homework and figure out what the move will mean for you.

If you have an LLC, you will have options between keeping your old LLC and starting a new one, dissolving your old LLC, and starting a new one, to merging your LLC into a new one. For more information on that, visit How to Move Your LLC to Another State.

Become aware of any permits, or licenses you will need in your new area. You will also need to be aware of taxes and what you need to do as a business owner in your new state to be in compliance.

Going Overseas

Moving your small business overseas is not going to be easy and in some cases, you might need to make some difficult choices. You will need to find out if you are allowed to run your business at your duty station and be aware of the laws of the country you are going to be in. Each country that has American troops will have a SOFA agreement that tells you what is allowed and what isn’t.

Even if you do get approval to run your small business, you can’t use your APO for any business-related mail. This can create a lot of stress for people running a small business. You would need to use a local, in-country postal service to stay within the SOFA agreements. Those who break this rule can lose their APO privileges.

There are also rules about not being able to compete with AAFES, and not being able to buy business supplies at the Exchange or Commissary.

These rules and regulations can be complicated and discouraging. The main point is to figure out what the rules are at your duty station and within your host country. This can differ based on what your business is and where you are going to be stationed.

Putting your business on pause

Some small business owners will need to put their business on pause during the actual move. This will depend on if you have employees or assistants that can take over for a time. Notify customers beforehand if there will be a break in service or the ability to order products.

Budgets

You will need to make sure your budget is aligned with the move. There will be extra costs from licenses, to taxes, to purchasing new supplies. If your company is based on local customers, finding a new customer base will take time and that can result in a loss in pay.

Networking

Once you get to your new duty station you will need a plan for networking. See if there are any local small business owner networking groups. Join local groups to get your business out there. This will take time, especially if you feel like you are starting over, but will be worth it once you are able to get connected in your new community.

Moving an established small business can be complicated so it is important to stay organized and make sure you are checking all the boxes. Reach out for help if you need it, and visit Military One Source’s PCS and Military Moves page to help you with all things PCS.

 

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PCS Friendly Business Ideas

Looking For a New Business Idea that You Can Easily Take with You During Military Life?

As a military spouse, you want to be able to have your own career. This can be complicated with frequent moves, and just the uncertainty of military life. One option is to run your own business. Here are a few ideas of PCS friendly businesses you can take with you when you move every few years.

Freelancing

As a freelancer, you have a lot of flexibility in how much you work, who you do work for, and what you work on. You can be a freelance writer, freelance editor, freelance graphic designer, and more. There are many companies out there looking for this type of work and willing to pay for a freelancer.

Virtual Assistant

As a virtual assistant, you would specialize in offering administrative services from a remote location. Your tasks can include email management, booking appointments, calendar management, booking travel, file management, social media, and more. You can work as a virtual assistant from almost anywhere, no matter where the client might live.

Blogger or Podcaster

Whether you like to write or talk, starting a blog, podcast, or even a social media account can be a good way to get your voice out there and work towards running your own business. You would want to find a niche you are interested in and commit to posting regularly. You can earn money with ads, sponsored posts, affiliates, and more.

Tutoring

If you like to help children, tutoring is a great option. You can do this virtually or in person working with kids from K-12. You can work for yourself or even through a company such as Tutor.com.

Creating Online Products

If you are a creative person, selling your products online is a great way to make money. You can put your products on Spouse-ly, an online marketplace for military spouses, veterans, and first responders. Websites such as Etsy and Zazzle offer ways to sell your products, with or without having to keep an inventory. You can make physical products, digital products, or have products made by a 3rd party.

Teaching Online

If you want to teach children or teens, you can do that online from anywhere you might be stationed. You can do this in different ways. You can work as a teacher for a virtual school or work for a company like VIPKID as an independent contractor. Through VIPKID you could teach children in foreign countries English remotely.

Web Design

Designing websites for individuals and companies can be a great way to make an income. You can use your creativity, and knowledge of tech to create the websites. You can have several clients at once, and take as much work as you are able to manage.

FCC Provider

If you love children, you could apply to be a FCC Provider. FCC or Family Child Care Providers offer childcare in their homes from babies up to age 12. You can do this whether you live on your military installation or off. You will need to be certified and meet the requirements in order to get started. People always need good and flexible childcare in the military community.

House Cleaning

Just like childcare, military families are always in need of housekeeping services, especially when getting ready for a PCS. If you enjoy this type of work, setting up a house cleaning service can be a good way to earn money within the military community.

Living in the time we do, there are so many options for starting your own business and making money from home, no matter where you might live in the world.

 

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