Name: Lindsay Hinger
Business Name/Occupation: MilSO Box LLC. / Owner
Tell us about your business! MilSO Box is a subscription box company that delivers a monthly box of gifts to female Military Significant Others. All of the products in the MilSO Box are Made in America, and sourced as much as possible from MilSO's and Veterans. The aim of MilSO Box is to inspire, encourage, and delight MilSO's with this monthly delivery, and to simply brighten their day. The business was inspired by my very dear friend who is the MilSO of an Army soldier. After having a conversation with her where she was stressed and upset about her husband's current absence during training and impending deployment, all I wanted to do was support her and make her happy. This led me to think that it would be wonderful to do the same for as many other MilSO's as I could. Thus, MilSO Box was born!
Why did you choose entrepreneurship? While I was in the Air Force, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. His ideas changed my view of the world, and my place in it. I no longer wanted to work for anyone but myself, and be in control of my own financial future and freedom. For 10 years, I searched for just the right idea and opportunity. After a few attempts at starting, buying, or partnering with others in various businesses, I finally found the one business concept that seemed like the perfect fit.
Why do military spouses make great entrepreneurs? Military spouses and Veterans (like myself) make great entrepreneurs because they are constantly thrown "outside of the box." The life of a civilian can be very routine, and almost shelter a person from different experiences, possibilities, and adventures. Being a MilSO or being in the Armed Forces pushes a person to discover things about themselves that they never knew existed. It pushes them out of their comfort zone, which is something that a successful entrepreneur must be able to do. MilSO's and military members must embrace adventure to thrive in their lifestyle. This adventurous spirit parlays beautifully into entrepreneurship, as it is quite the adventure in itself!
What is a "blocker" for you in business. What holds you back? A blocker for me is patience. I have a vision of where I want to be. However, I must pace myself, and not attempt to grow too quickly. I know that this is best, but patience has always been a struggle for me.
How has being a military member changed your for the better? In the Air Force, I came to know people who would do anything for their country and for the freedom of their loved ones. I saw that some people are willing to put their beliefs before their own lives. That was a humbling experience, and it also made me incredibly proud to be an American. My patriotism grew with my experience in the Air Force, and continues to grow as I meet more of these amazing people, and their dedicated support system who sacrifice in their own ways.
What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur? With very limited funds, I discovered that I could learn to do things I never thought possible. I faced the fact that I could not afford to pay professionals, and drove myself to learn what I had to in order to make the business take off. I built a website, began marketing, styled and shot photos of products, and became my own saleswoman. These are just a few examples of things I would never have expected to be able to do. I have completely surprised myself, and learned that with determination, I can accomplish almost anything I set my mind to.
What would you tell a milspo entrepreneur who is feeling discouraged? Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. So far, I have experienced extreme lows and extreme highs. The real testament is whether or not you keep going. Determination is key to making your business dreams come true, especially in a world where entrepreneurs are not the norm. They are the exception, who “the norm” don’t understand. Find other entrepreneurs who will fan your fire instead of stomp it out. Make sure you have a mission and a vision. When discouraged, re-focus your efforts on them, and the reasons you started. It will help you pick yourself back up when you experience the inevitable lows. One of my favorite quotes is, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow” by Mary Anne Racmacher. Just keep going.
What are your five favorite things that you can not live without as a milspo entrepreneur?
- My support system is my number one thing I cannot live without. If I was not encouraged and cheered on by my husband, family, and friends, this adventure would be so much more difficult than it already is.
- MilSO suppliers. I have been dumbfounded by the kindness of the MilSO entrepreneurs I have reach out to since starting this company. After explaining my vision, I have been repeatedly welcomed with open arms. Their encouragement and willingness to work with me has been the highlight of my experience, and I am so grateful to have met such wonderful women.
- My Facebook Subscription Box support group. There are a group of us who bounce ideas off of each other, give each other advice, and ask and answer questions. Miraculously, this is done in a non-competitive manner, and is a lifesaver for newbies like myself.
- My laptop. Being able to update, research, and actually perform my business interactions would be next to impossible without it.
- Coffee. I have a full time job, which is not MilSO Box LLC. I am a mother, a wife, a board member of a non-profit organization, and on my best days, I consider myself a great friend, daughter, aunt, and sister. Coffee is a necessity.
What is the most amazing thing you have experienced in your business thus far? The most amazing thing I have experienced is finally feeling professionally fulfilled. I have known for a long time that I have wanted to own my own business, but have never been extremely excited about past ideas. However, MilSO Box encompasses so many of the things I love, that I finally feel like I have found my professional calling.
How do you want to be remembered? I would like to be remembered as someone who lived her life to the fullest, and made the people around me want to do the same.
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/milsobox