After years of living the military spouse and mom shuffle, Gabriela Bell decided to stop putting her career on hold. Like many military family members, this would be no easy feat. The nomadic ways of the milspouse don’t mesh well with a typical corporate job. This traditional route would not suffice. Instead, Gabi decided to head down the path of entrepreneurship. Not long after, she found herself among other burgeoning business owners as part of WeWork’s Veterans in Residence program, powered by Bunker Labs. For Gabi, and hundreds of other military-connected individuals, this business-building program became the launchpad for their dreams.
Answering Big Questions
Active duty military spouse-hood, comes with both its perks (government-sponsored overseas travel? Um, yes!) and worrisome drawbacks. Life will be altered dramatically, and consistently. You move away from friends and family, your job, and then perhaps you start growing a family of your own. This sort of rapid transition often creates a nagging loss of identity. Suddenly, questions like, “Who am I?” and “What do I want out of life?” start to surface.
Gabi had these questions, too. She had worked outside the home until the day her first child was born, but they moved soon after. This meant that she would not be returning to that job after maternity leave. The career that had been so integral to who she was, was now on hold. Instead of starting all over with a new job—in a new town, with a new baby—it made more sense for Gabi to act as the stabilizing force at home while her husband rotated through deployments.
Several years, and three additional kids later, Gabi would be offered a life-changing opportunity. She became a Virtual Assistant (or VA). For the first time, she held a job that could travel with her. Fast forward to 2019 and Gabi now operates her very own VA agency, Organized Q. As a Veterans in Residence participant since March, both she and her business have grown by leaps and bounds. Not only is she acquiring all the skills she’ll need to flourish, but she’s also been able to answer some of the big questions all military spouses ask themselves. She’s working diligently too. With her kids as her inspiration, Gabi is not taking this opportunity lightly.
Start Thinking Like a CEO
For any military spouse frustrated with unexpected career difficulties, entrepreneurship may be the solution you’re waiting for. You might think, “with my frequent relocation and single-parent-like responsibilities, are you joking?” Absolutely not. In this pursuit, you’ll create a job that’s just as portable as you need it to be. As a matter of fact, you’re in good company. Hundreds of military spouses have realized this and started their own profitable businesses. Today’s technologic and economic climate demands new enterprise. So why shouldn’t that growth come from the infinitely creative and well-connected milspouse community?
How do we know you’ve got what it takes to do this? It just so happens that military spouses have skills that mirror those of a successful startup owner! For instance, we know that you are a master planner. You can coordinate an overseas household goods shipment with one eye closed. Additionally, you’re a networking champ! How else could you locate all potential preschools and in-home daycares within 50 miles of your new home? Innovation and adversity are ways of life for you. Likewise, every startup owner requires this type of endurance.
Is the Veterans in Residence Program Right for You?
Perhaps you’ve already embraced the idea of your own location-independent business. *High-five!* The next question is: how do you turn this baby business into a smashing success? Trial-and-error works, but it’s surely not the easiest path. Quality guidance from those who have “been there” can take you much further, a lot faster.
Veterans in Residence is an opportunity that offers all the mentorship you need, and much more. The program is a national initiative by collaborators WeWork, a co-working company, and Bunker Labs, a national network of veteran entrepreneurs. Above all, their goal is to help veterans and their families. They generously provide free working space, services, business mentorship, and a thriving networking community to each participant that is accepted. And, their programs, events, and cohorts are open to military spouses.
Let Veterans in Residence Help You
The mission of the Veterans in Residence program is to “to help veteran and military family member entrepreneurs find their tribe and create their life’s work.” If this opportunity interests you, apply to this incredible program. The application period ends September 2nd for the newest tribe, which starts up in October.
In short, the rewards of working for yourself far outshines that of any job. Organizations such as Veterans in Residence are here to help power your entrepreneurial journey.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out How to Move Your Business When You PCS!
Photo Credits: Arnel Hasanovic, Brooke Lark, Veterans in Residence, Gabriela Bell, and Cowomen