If you’ve been through a military move a time or two as a spouse, you are undoubtedly familiar with the challenges of finding employment. Due to our frequent moves, we often settle for employment below our qualifications in an effort to hurriedly put roots down and earn a paycheck before our next move in a few years–sometimes less–where we’ll do it all again. A few savvy military spouses, however, have figured out how to beat the system. With home sales business opportunities like Stella and Dot, Avon, Mary Kay, Thirty One Gifts, Rodan + Fields and the like, many military spouses are able to create portable, successful businesses regardless of frequent moves. I caught up with a Marine Corps spouse who’s created a thriving business of her own using relationships forged through her military moves, giving she and her family more financial freedom and a greater sense of accomplishment in a constantly changing environment. Meet Ellen Jackson, military spouse for 8 years, stay at home mom, and successful Rodan + Fields consultant. I’ve asked her to share the secret to her success with us at MSM:
Tell our readers a little bit about your background as a military spouse.
When my husband I first met in December, 2003, I was totally smitten and impressed. I had never even met a Marine Corps pilot before, I didn’t even know they existed! I wanted to be with a man I could be proud of, so I took the journey with him and became his wife in 2005. When I moved to California to be with him, I started a career in sales and marketing. We both decided we didn’t want to have kids right away so we could focus on our careers. I also volunteered as a Big Sister while we lived in San Diego and as a CASA in Monterey, fulfilling my maternal instinct. Check out the things you learn as a military spouse.
What motivated you to work from home?
After I had our son, Jakob, I knew I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. So, I decided it was time to be a full-time mommy and wife. I soon discovered that I missed having adult contact during the day, especially when my husband deployed to Afghanistan for 8 months! I did not want to put Jakob in daycare–for many different reasons–so I looked for something that would allow me to work from home. (Just make sure its not costing you money!)
How did you find your current employment?
It was time to do something, but I didn’t know what…. I was invited to a Rodan + Fields Business Launch, I only went because I was lonely and bored, and it was Christmas time and I knew I couldn’t spend money on myself. I listened to several Marine wives going through the business presentation and introducing the doctors who created the Proactiv Solution. My natural instincts told me to be skeptical. I decided to buy a face mask for myself and gifts for the women in my family. The hostess, who was also becoming a friend, told me that I would be awesome at this and I laughed. I was always so against selling to friends and family, but I listened. So, over the course of two months, my friend continued to ask me what I thought about the business and I knew I was going to give a whirl, but I had a lot of questions! While I asked those questions, I was using some of the products. As my skin improved so did my impression of this company. Opportunity was knocking. After 2 months, I decided “let’s do this!” With guidance of my sponsor and team, I was trained on the products and business and I began my journey. Being a military spouse really can help you get a job!
What do you think makes you successful at this work-from-home job?
I decided when I started that I was going to do this all the way, regardless of what people thought. Because I knew this was right for my families’ circumstances and lifestyle. As long as I have a WiFi signal I am up and running and I could take my business with me everywhere. I was able to take a month off of work and rely on my residual income to go to India for four weeks with my family.
How does working from home benefit you as a mother and military spouse?
I have the ability to spend more time with my family. My husband is away a lot and works long hours, so I will take quality with my family over a 9-5, 40 hour work week any day!
During these uncertain economic times, especially for military families, any additional income has great value both financially and also psychologically. What advice can you give to our readers about trying to earn additional income as a military spouse who
moves every 2-3 years?
If you are a military spouse looking to work from home to contribute to your family, I say go for it! It is important as military spouses to have another identity besides mom and wife. Every time we move we have to start all over again, making new friends and finding a new job. Now, I have network of friends wherever we move and a career that moves with me.
You, like many military spouses, have a family to care for in addition to your focus on your paying job. What tips can you offer our readers to successfully work from home?
I think the key is to schedule blocks of time for work and time with your family. My husband helps out around the house more now that I am working, too.
What are the challenges of trying to balance family, a successful business and the day to day military spouse challenges like deployments?
I have big goals to achieve with this company so sometimes it’s hard to tear myself away from focusing on my business. But, I know that focusing on something other than being a mom and wife for a while makes me a better mom and wife overall.
What are the benefits of working in the sales field, such as the one you’re currently in, as a military spouse?
The benefits to working in the sales field, specifically network marketing, is a good fit for a military spouse who makes connections wherever we move. We know how to make new friends, so the business tends to come naturally. Military spouses know how to support one another constructively like family would.
How has your spouse responded to your success as a business woman? Have there been any challenges in your family life resulting from your success or additional role as a business woman in addition to mom and military spouse?
There have been challenges along the way, of course! My husband had to get used to doing his laundry and we ordered out more. With practice and time we began to communicate our needs better and support each other’s career goals together. You are both necessary for success; you are not solely a dependent and have a lot to offer!
What words of inspiration can you offer our MSM readers who want to make additional revenue from home?
Don’t let your fears override fantastic business opportunities–women are needed in the workforce. Women like to work with other women and other military spouses because we have a bond and we know how to support one another. Given the opportunity to work with another military spouse, you know you will find quality women you can trust and friendships that last a lifetime.