Entrepreneurship presents many opportunities for today’s military spouse. The autonomy, flexible scheduling, and virtual options entrepreneurship offers can translate into a dream career for many spouses. Plus, being able to take your career with you every time your family moves to a new duty station can have its perks — no more dreaded job hunts!
Military spouses have access to multiple entrepreneurial resources to help them begin and grow their business. Check out these five budget-friendly, business-building resources for military spouses interested in starting their own business:
Entrepreneur Boot Camp
Through Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), military and veteran spouses can attend an entrepreneurial boot camp that provides on-site instruction, online education, and a strong network of experienced entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans’ Families (EBV-F) is available free of cost to family members of post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is available to female veterans and female military spouses for a registration fee of $75, plus travel expenses. Both entrepreneurial education options from IVMF offer spouses an opportunity to increase their business knowledge, grow their networks, and identify applicable entrepreneurial resources.
Social Media Groups
Social media sometimes gets a bad rap; but when used efficiently, it can be a great way to connect with other military spouses exploring the world of entrepreneurship. Several military spouse-only social media groups provide crowdsourcing and networking options for the self-employed.
Here are a few popular social media groups you should consider:
- Blue Star Entrepreneurs (Facebook group moderated by Blue Star Families)
- MILSPOUSEPRENEUR™ Mastermind (Facebook)
- Military Entrepreneur Program (Facebook group moderated by Inc.)
- Drop & Give Me 20 (Facebook group moderated by Germono Advertising)
Military Spouse Networking Chapters
Connecting with other military spouse entrepreneurs in your area, whether it’s on base or within the community, can be a great way to network and grow your business. Consider joining local chapters of the following military and veterans’ organizations:
Online Educational Opportunities
The Military Spouse Business Academy is an online educational resource providing start-up tips, access to volunteer professionals and mentoring, and mastermind groups. Initial coursework is available free of cost with additional access offered at a nominal fee of $10-20 a year.
The MILSPO Project offers online workshops and monthly workbooks specially designed for military spouse entrepreneurs looking to grow their business. Additionally, MILSPO Project provides book clubs, educational events, and local networking for members.
Military Business Directories
Online, military-affiliated business directories can be a great way to market your business and increase awareness within your community or industry. Check out these four online directories offering free or budget-friendly listing and membership options:
- National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)
- Red White & Blue Pages™
- The Rosie Network
- Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA)
While juggling a new business with the military lifestyle can be challenging, it’s not impossible. By plugging into helpful organizations and identifying relevant resources, you can navigate the world of entrepreneurship with ease. The tight network of military affiliates extends beyond service; by exploring these entrepreneurial resources created by and for member of the military community, today’s military spouse entrepreneur can maximize efforts and realize self-employment dreams.