WHEN DID YOU KNOW STARTING A BUSINESS WAS RIGHT FOR YOU? TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?

For me, it was out of necessity to be home with my at-the-time newborn daughter. I had been working full time at a large regional CPA firm, and I just didn’t have the heart to put my daughter in full-time day care and go back to work.

In my business I specialize in small-business accounting and tax. As well as working with entrepreneurs to keep tabs on their financial well-being while keeping them compliant with various taxing authorities, and overall just helping them thrive. 

WHAT IS THE MOST DISHEARTENING THING YOU HAVE ENCOUNTERED IN YOUR CAREER AS A MILSPO?

For the first six months at my husband’s first duty station (which is still his duty station 7 years later!) I could not find work to save my life. I had left a high paying job in the Boston area, to come here, Fort Bragg, and found literally NOTHING. There was nothing available that fit my background in financial services, and I was overqualified for many positions, which also worked against me. It was an awful feeling.

WHAT CAREER CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED BECAUSE YOU ARE A WOMAN?

More than because I am a woman, but because I am a mom, I have faced major challenges. It is so hard to juggle all of the responsibilities, but my daughter comes first, no matter what. That puts me in a hard place as I cannot grow my business to what I would like it to be while putting her first. It’s that struggle between career and family that most women face at one point or another. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A WOMAN, IN PARTICULAR A MILITARY SPOUSE, INTERESTED IN STARTING HER OWN BUSINESS?

For a military spouse, my biggest piece of advice would be to find something portable, a business that you can take with you no matter where military life sends you. Luckily, that is getting to be easier and easier with technological advances, so, there are so many more possibilities now!

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING THING ABOUT BEING A MILSPO AND A BUSINESS OWNER? WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING?

The most challenging thing for me is the constant state of being in limbo. It’s hard to put your all into a community, when in the back of your mind you are always thinking: could I have to do this all over again soon? The most rewarding thing is having something that is MINE. As a milspo, our lives kind of revolve around our spouse’s job. It’s nice to have that one thing that is all yours, independent of your spouse’s career.

HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN YOU MADE YOUR FIRST SALE?

When I landed my first business client, it felt great! A little scary, like, this person is trusting ME to handle essentially every financial aspect of their business? But, so very rewarding!

Photo Credit: Caroline Lime Photography Justine is a CPA, Army wife of seven years, and a mom to one sweet little girl and two dogs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University in 2003, and will graduate with a Masters of Business Administration at Boston’s Suffolk University in January 2016. She is the owner of her own business, Justine E, Laurie CPA. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook to learn more, or connect with her on LinkedIn. Justine will be speaking at The Milspo Project's career conference Embark.

Photo Credit: Caroline Lime Photography

Justine is a CPA, Army wife of seven years, and a mom to one sweet little girl and two dogs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University in 2003, and will graduate with a Masters of Business Administration at Boston’s Suffolk University in January 2016. She is the owner of her own business, Justine E, Laurie CPA. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook to learn more, or connect with her on LinkedIn. Justine will be speaking at The Milspo Project's career conference Embark.

WHAT IS ONE OBSTACLE YOU HAVE FACED AS A BUSINESS, OR ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, AS A MILSPO THAT YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER EXPECTED?

A major thing for me on a personal level was making friends. I always had a huge group of friends back home, and they were mostly people I’d known since early childhood. Along with it being hard to find a job, it was SO hard initially to meet anyone at all that I had a thing in common with. It became easier with time, but, it was quite an obstacle my first year or so as a milspo.

WHAT IS ONE BUSINESS GOAL YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH BY THE END OF 2014?

To be 100% virtual, so that there is no shake up if or when a move becomes reality and also so that I can expand my client base to serve businesses outside of my current geographical area.

HOW HAS BEING A MILSPO HELPED YOU GROW ON PERSONAL LEVEL?

It has really helped me to let go a bit of my obsessive planning. One thing that is almost impossible to do as a milspo is plan ANYTHING. It’s taken a lot of time for me to let go of that, but, I have improved hugely!

AS A MILSPO, OR BUSINESS OWNER, I KNOW ONE THING FOR CERTAIN, IT IS . . .

Owning a business is a LOT of hard work. Success does not come easy.

WHAT STRENGTHS DO YOU POSSESS, THAT YOU DID NOT KNOW YOU HAD, UNTIL YOU BECAME AN ENTREPRENEUR?

I took for granted my knowledge and experience. Not until recently did I learn that I really do have a wealth of knowledge in certain subjects that most don’t, and leveraging that has helped my business grow far beyond what I’d ever expected.

MY BIGGEST FEAR IS . . .

Spiders. OMG. Terrifying.

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS . . .

Ella Marie, my beautiful daughter

WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE . . .

A CPA. 

IN 2050 I HOPE WOMEN can . . .

Stop choosing between being a wife/mother and having a career. We CAN have it all.

WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY?

I hope that my legacy is that I am not just a number cruncher, but that I truly help others succeed financially. And of course, that I’m a great daughter, wife, mom, friend, and cook!

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