I entered the bustling coffee shop and immediately began searching for a familiar face. I quickly spotted someone who resembled the tiny thumbnail profile picture I had seen on the Facebook event page and cautiously made my way over.
Although I had entered into these somewhat awkward , blind-date-esque social interactions thousands of times before, the anxiety that accompanies never goes away. I had never attended a MasterMind event (a wide variety of professionals who are looking to network, discuss goals, and share strategic visions) before and wasn’t sure what to expect.
As soon as the meeting started, I was quickly impressed.
The air was almost electric as passions were shared, problems were solved and contact information was exchanged. I left the meeting re-invigorated and inspired to continue on the arduous journey of entrepreneurship.
I also left the encounter wondering what the “secret” was to the magic of the group, how each individual had found success in their respective fields.
After further examination, I realized what helped propel this group from “good” to “great” was we were all Military spouses, whose lifestyle had unknowingly prepared us for the volatile and exciting world of entrepreneurship!
I believe that the unique Military spouse lifestyle helps create, and refine, characteristics that we may not even be aware of! These 4characteristics help Milspo’s survive many challenging circumstances and predispose them to being able to take control of their professional career and successfully start their own business. So without further ado, here are the Top 4 Reasons Military Spouses Make Great Entrepreneurs:
(the ability to quickly solve problems with limited resources)
Coordinating international moves, shuttling children to a multitude of different activities, and maintaining a career are all events that are stressful enough in the civilian world, but are further complicated in the Military due to lone periods of absences by our service members. As Military spouses, we are forced to creatively solve problems to overcome the difficulties brought on by our Military lifestyle. This ability to think outside the box prepares us to own/operate businesses. As Military spouses, we possess the creativity required to solve the daily problems of entrepreneurship and survive in today’s chaotic marketplace.
(the ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment)
Moving frequently forces military spouses to constantly adjust to new climates, new accents, and even new cultures. Our chameleon-like ability to adapt to new environments translates well to entrepreneurism, where you must rapidly respond to changes in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs must have the ability to constantly evaluate, adjust, and evolve their business to ensure they are meeting their clients’ needs.
(ability not only to go through a crucible, but to come out of the other side stronger)
Deployments are a stressful time full of lonely nights, dealing with unfamiliar tasks, and stepping up to pick up all household responsibilities. These crucible experiences- a trial, test, or transformative experience that forces a person to question who they are and what matters- force us to stretch outside of their comfort zone not only to survive, but to thrive. This willingness to go headfirst into the fire is a necessary trait for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to possess nerves of steel to endure the hardships that come with owning a business.
4. Natural Networkers
(ability to make new connections quickly and maintain existing relationships)
The nomadic Military lifestyle has many benefits- not only does our network stretch across the entire globe, but we, through many years of practice, are able to quickly make new friends. Friendships formed by military spouses often transcend surface-level acquaintances and feel more like extended family after supporting each other through deployments and other hardships brought on by military life. The ability to make and maintain authentic connections help us when we start our own business. Whether it is finding strategic partnerships or cultivating future clients, entrepreneurs need to be able to cultivate a robust network in order to grow a successful business.
I don’t mean to imply that all military spouses are equipped to become entrepreneurs nor do I think that all entrepreneurs need to experience the Military lifestyle to be successful. But I do firmly believe that Military spouses should be aware that their life experiences have, and will continue to, hone their skills in ways they may not be aware of. When leveraged, these skills can be used to start their own business, rise within the corporate ranks, or find purpose in staying at home to raise children. I encourage all Military spouses to take an inventory of their skills, experiences, talents and strengths to ensure that they are being utilized to live the best life possible.