In honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to take a moment to share my journey to becoming a small business owner. I grew up in the military as my father served in the Army. My mom even worked on post, so all I knew was the military way of life growing up. Shortly after turning 18, I entered the Air Force Academy where I went on to become a Public Affairs officer in the Air Force and served for 6 years.
I became attracted to the business world and the other side of American life. So after 6 years, I decided to attend business school in Chicago. One thing I had heard about veterans entering the business world is that they lacked business context and business contacts. My goal was to gain business context through business school. And I did. But when I graduated, the truth is I did not have the contacts as I had lived all over with no true roots.
So when settling down in Oakland, I had to start building my business contacts. I stumbled through a few businesses on my journey until finally I created Freedom Makers which mixed all of my worlds into one. I was able to marry my experience from the military with the business context I had gained in business school and my previous business ventures. Freedom Makers was birthed out of the need for small businesses’ freedom from administrative tasks and the military spouses’ need for flexible and stable employment.
Along my business journey as a veteran, I learned that the mistakes we make as small business owners are not as severe as mistakes you can make in the military. There is more flexibility. I have learned that leadership is still very important just as it was in the military. Recently I saw on a panel at Golden Gate University of Law’s Veterans Conference. The keynote speaker, Major General Beevers, talked about how a leader was like a gardener. He or she created the ecosystem for the plants to grow and it is his or her responsibility to ensure they are nurtured and grow. I found this to be a powerful view of leadership. Randy Hetrick, former Navy SEAL and founder of TRX, said something similar in that leaders need to grow their flowers and pluck their weeds or they will overgrow the garden.
My journey as a business owner is still evolving and I strive each day to do what’s best for our clients and the military spouses who work for Freedom Makers. The civilian world is different place than the military world from which I came, but I know my time in the Air Force prepared me well for the challenges I face now. I encourage you to check out our website and learn more about Freedom Makers. Our virtual assistants who are military spouses understand how to be flexible and deliver top-notch service to our clients. I am proud to mix my small business world with the military world by creating a path to stable, uninterrupted employment and income for military spouses around the world.