By Elizabeth Boardman The Milspo Project, President
“If the military wanted me to have a wife they would issue me one,” my husband told me shortly after he arrived at his first duty station. I had been complaining to him for about a month now as I struggled to find a job in my new city, miles away from the town where I grew up and attended college.
Jobless, friendless, and certainly connectionless, I couldn’t help but feel envious as my husband zipped off to work each morning and came home late after a long day, exhausted and not interested in much more than dinner and sleep.
Of course being unemployed can lead anyone to a number of different emotions, for me it was feelings of isolation and frustration, which in turn, contributed to the difficulties my new marriage was already facing.
Eventually I found a job at a local magazine and worked part-time at a kitchen supply store, and thankfully we survived our first year of marriage unscathed.
The unfortunate truth for military spouses: after planting your roots deep into new endeavors—a social life, and community—they are ripped up abruptly and taken across the ocean, or to the desert, or to Europe, or to the middle of “where are we going, again?”
While in theory moving should be simple and exciting, it is not that easy to acclimatize to your new environment. After four moves, I needed a change. So when I arrived at our most recent location I had a plan: become my own boss. For the most part I achieved this through contract work. My hours were wonderful because I made my own schedule and did as little or as much work as a wanted, but the pay really wasn’t that great. Not even a living wage really. Also, I still wanted to do something that meant something. I was at a crossroads. I had to choose between freelancing and entrepreneurship.
For my own reasons, and with the encouragement of family, my husband and invaluable friends, I chose entrepreneurship.
If you are like me and most military spouses who move once every three years, or are one of the 95% of the 1.2 million military spouses who are women, or you are one of the 1 in 4 spouses facing unemployment, or if you want flexibility, mobility, supplemental income, and above all, purpose, consider joining us at our first annual EMBARK, a military spouse, career empowerment event. If you can’t make it, here are some resources that were priceless when I decided to take leap into the unknown.
If you are looking for insightful, intelligent and valuable advice about business and life, sign up to receive Seth Godin’s daily blog post via email.
Skillshare is great online learning marketplace. If you are thinking about starting a business, they have many classes to get you going in the right direction (Seth Godin’s classes on Skillshare are great).
Natalie MacNeil's website She Takes on the World is invaluable. Her wisdom is powerful and insightful. If you are a woman and and entrepreneur, then MacNeil's advice will certainly inspire you.
EntreLeadership is a great book by Dave Ramsey, a financial guru. His Christian-based advice from personal experience, or “the trenches” as he calls it, is great example of what a business that cares can become, and should be. This is a definite must read for any first-timer.
Finding a strong female role model has helped me greatly in my quest to start my own company. Find someone you can depend on for unbiased advice and constructive criticism. I find that most people want to help, all you have to do is ask.
I run every morning. This routine has saved me from many bad moods, and most likely health problems in the future. When I workout I eat healthier, sleep better, and form my best ideas. Consider adding exercise to your daily routine.
For some time I undervalued the importance of befriending quality people. I feel blessed to have a strong circle of friends in my life who have supported me though life’s challenges and shared in life’s joys. The Jim Rohn quote is true, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” In my case, my five closest friends.
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To Your Success!