By Selena Conmackie
One thing I learned when I became an entrepreneur was that it can be kind of lonely in the beginning — especially if you are wearing all the hats. Youʻve seen those videos on TikTok where the jingle starts, “Everywhere you look, everywhere you go…” and itʻs supposed to be like the opening credits to a sitcom and all the characters are getting introduced.
- Photographer: Me
- Bookkeeper: Me
- Marketing Social Media Manager: Me
- Office Manager: Me
- IT Manager: Me
So letʻs discuss 5 reasons you need to find a community as a military spouse entrepreneur.
1. Networking Opportunities:
Finding a community of military spouse entrepreneurs provides the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. You can absolutely meet up with other entrepreneurs in your local community you and your family have been assigned to. But sometimes having that military understanding of the lifestyle we lead with others that fit the niche that we find ourselves in.
You donʻt have to do this alone. Find the right community to help you in this journey.
My Tip: When Iʻve opened myself to joining group conversations, professional meet-ups and networking events, itʻs helped open the door to resources I didnʻt realize were out there, which leads me to my next tip.
My favorite places to find community: Here at SpouseLink (see if your duty station has a local SpouseLink Ambassador); online at MilSpouse Creative® + Entrepreneurs Powered By AMSE, Spouse-ly; The Rosie Network
I will also add Veteranʻs Spouse Project as a great creative outlet that offers programming for active duty along with veteran spouses. They are a GREAT community to look into.
2. Access to Resources:
As a military spouse entrepreneur, you may face unique challenges such as frequent moves, deployments, and limited resources. However, by joining a community of other MilSpouses like you, you can access a wealth of resources and support specifically tailored to the military community.
You may ask, “Canʻt I get the same type of resources from the civilian side?”
Will the expert civilian marketing guru teach you how to move your business OCONUS? How to run your business and household when your servicemember is deployed? How to run your business if you live on post, and whatʻs needed?
My Tip: There are many organizations that have the resources to share and it can be overwhelming at times to know what works best. Head over to LinkedIn and ask your questions there, such as, “Has anyone worked with this company before and can you share feedback?”
Hereʻs a resource you should bookmark: Military Spouse Ambassador Network. I found this while doing my research for this article, among others I already knew and found it may be a helpful start for you.
3. Mentoring and Support:
Starting and running a business can be a lonely journey, but with a supportive community, you can find mentors and receive the encouragement you need to succeed. A community of military spouse entrepreneurs can provide the support system you need to overcome obstacles and stay motivated.
There comes a time in business when itʻs time to have a mentor enter in to offer you their suggestions and advice.
I spent a year doing the ACP Mentoring Program and loved my mentor. She kept me accountable on the goals I had set at the beginning of our time together. She called me out on my inability to articulate my messaging for my business and what I needed to do so I could really move forward in growing.
I had another opportunity with Association of Military Spouse Entrepenuers (AMSE) to speak with very successful business owners at the Birthing of Giants for two hours after their conference to help us build. Their clientele were some big-league movers and shakers. They told us all that they started in their kitchen/garage/coffee shop with a staff of one (themselves), they shared their advice about running a family business.
My Tip: I didnʻt think I needed a mentor because I wasnʻt “big” enough yet, or because I already knew what YouTube video gurus couldnʻt tell me. I could kick my younger business me for not taking the leap earlier. Real-time feedback with someone that looks over your business with you is INVALUABLE!
Here are two great resources:
- 1:1 and Customized ACP hand-selects a Mentor for each Veteran and spouse’s year-long experience.
- Fortune 500 ACP’s Mentors come from America’s top companies
America’s Mentoring Network for the Military
Join thousands of servicemembers, Veterans, and military spouses in setting up free 1-hour mentorship phone calls with successful professionals. We’re the only Veteran Mentorship Platform to let you choose your own mentors and as many as you would like; our average member selects four mentors, and some mentees have 25+ mentors! Create a free profile at Veterati to get unlimited access to thousands of volunteer mentors: CEOs, recruiters, entrepreneurs, managers, Veterans and civilians alike.
I haven’t reviewed Verati yet, but many of my military spouse connections have and enjoyed their mentors.
4. Business Promotion:
A community of military spouse entrepreneurs can be an excellent platform to promote your business. By connecting with other entrepreneurs, you can share your products or services and leverage each other’s networks to gain more exposure.
What I LOVE most about our military community is we support those in business that are veteran owned and I love seeing “military spouse-owned” now as that becomes more visible and an area we can support.
My Tip: Find a way to collaborate with fellow Milspo entrepreneurs and build each other up.
My resource share:
Spouse-ly. A great online marketplace created by a military spouse to showcase and help others discover products and services created by military and first responder families.
As a military spouse entrepreneur, you face unique challenges such as licensure and certification requirements that can vary from state to state. Finding a community of military spouse entrepreneurs allows you to advocate for yourself and your business interests. Through this community, you can collaborate with other entrepreneurs to influence policymakers and advocate for policies that support military spouse entrepreneurship.
I shared these stats in the first article of my year-long entrepreneurship series:
- “MILITARY SPOUSE UNEMPLOYMENT —> 38%
- 2021 Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate was at 8.1% in 2020 and was 5.1% as of August 2021.”
The military community is a good place to advocate for the talented skilled spouses. That could look like sharing with your civilian clients that you appreciate them hiring a military spouse and helping to close the gap, speaking up on panels about change that needs to happen to help our military families secure that second income to help them financially, all the way to heading to the capital and speaking to representatives about military life and its realities.
How do you start that? Just start. Speak up.
Speak about this with your family and friends of the many talented entrepreneurs/business owners who come from the military spouse entrepreneur community.
About Selena Conmackie
Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list. H A U O L I is the name of her small boutique business. It means Happy in Hawaiian and has a special meaning that became the inspiration for her new journey. Her goal is to help your business to succeed — and social media plays a part in that. She enjoys the game of hashtags and algorithms and helping her clients optimize their online presence.