By Jaimi Erickson
This time of year, after the holiday scramble of gift-giving and travel, we are naturally drawn to setting goals. There is something about a new year that just begs us to make a fresh start.
If you are looking for inspiration on how to build your skills into a career that can travel with you during your spouse’s military career, let’s learn from other military spouses.
The military spouses I will share with you today have built their own businesses from the ground up. These creative MilSpouses have not let the challenges of military spouse employment hold them back.
Military spouse entrepreneurs are building creative careers. Their businesses can flex around military life because they are portable careers.
Spotlight: Creative Careers Built by Military Spouses
We all know an enterprising fellow spouse who had a skill and created a business around it. These women are using everything they’ve learned from military life as motivation to think big when it comes to growing a career as a military spouse.
Jessica Stremer: Children’s Book Author
Jessica’s military spouse journey has provided different seasons of work and career goals. After changing gears a few times to balance military life, Jessica set a goal to become a writer and children’s book author.
If you think writing is a career you would like to pursue, Jessica shares the benefits, “The best part about being a writer is that you can create relationships with people from anywhere in the world. […] to be a writer you have to do the hard part — write. Schedule time in your day and show up to that appointment.”
Jessica’s first children’s book, Great Carrier Reef, will be published in summer 2023. Soon after, her second book will be published as well! She is currently focusing on writing nonfiction books for children.
She says, “The nonfiction books being published today aren’t anything like the ones we read — where the author just threw a bunch of facts at the reader. Today’s books tell stories and take readers on an adventure… which I think helps kids really connect with the subject matter.”
“My first book, GREAT CARRIER REEF is a nonfiction picture book about the USS Oriskany’s transformation from aircraft carrier to the world’s largest artificial reef. This STEM picture book is perfect for kids who love science, engineering, the ocean […] and military history.”
Many Milspouses can relate to Jessica’s reason for diving into writing: “I like the flexibility writing offers, especially since our schedules and lives are so unpredictable.”
You can check out Great Carrier Reef and get updates about Jessica’s next book on her website.
Amber Crane: Fashion Boutique Owner
Amber is a go-getter with a heart of gold. She and I met while stationed at Twentynine Palms, in the desert of California. Amber has always had a passion for empowering fellow military spouses to embrace their own version of beautiful.
Amber recently founded her own online fashion shop: Crane & Co Boutique. Her active-duty military husband is her business partner. They are building the business as a family.
Amber has a genuine way of offering clothing that is comfortable and cute. You will find loungewear, military event apparel like dresses and tops, and seasonal fun items too.
She does weekly live boutique videos in her Facebook group so you can view new arrivals. The handy shopping app makes snagging deals really easy. Who better than a milspouse to help you find the right outfit for your next spouse event?
Get access to all of the fashion and tips through her website.
Ashley Chitty: Podcast Creator
I met Ashley at the pool in our base community a couple of years ago. She has a special way of talking about tough topics with a positive perspective. That is what she does in each episode of her podcast #ChitShow.
Some episodes are pure fun. Others get right to the heart of the challenges we face in military life. Fun fact: She started recording her podcast in her closet — I kid you not! Military spouses win when it comes to creativity and flexibility!
When asked about her podcast, #ChitShow, Ashley shared, “I’ve really been putting my heart and soul into it. I personally think it’s my purpose. Definitely my passion and I’m inspired everyday by military spouses to keep pushing. I love being able to create content that helps our military community.”
“Apart from being a mom, wife, military spouse, etc., I was losing who I was. I just knew there was something more I could be giving not only to myself, but to our military community. Who better to do it than me? I had the [military spouse] experience (15 years at the time) and had been through it all. I wanted to share with the military community and spouses that we matter too! How can we support our service members if we aren’t supporting ourselves?”
Her advice to any Milspouse looking to creatively build a career while navigating military life is to just start. “There will never be a good time. There will always be an excuse not to do it: PCS, kids, “their” career, etc. I say JUST GO FOR IT! Keep pushing forward and you will see the reward. It’s hard work, but who better than a military spouse to push through and reach for your goals.”
Handling Your Career as a MilSpouse
The online work and work from home opportunities have expanded. And, best of all, they pack right up and PCS with us.
We military spouses get the opportunity to bust open the box of career success. With creative career ideas, we can build our careers as we choose, wherever the military sends us.