My dad’s career advice has always been simple and straightforward. “Find something you love to do and then find someone to pay you for it,” he told me often. His belief was that if you worked on something you loved and seemingly were good at, you would never actually work a day in your life.
My dad would reiterate this advice as I pondered a number of career options for myself. The advice was simple, though it seemed easier said than done. Growing up, my career path changed as it typically does for students. In college, I started as an engineering major, then dabbled in political science and landed on international business. I enjoyed studying this discipline within the business school, though I honestly didn’t know what it meant to have a career in international business.
After college, I worked for a nonprofit in community relations. I built the department from the ground up giving me a love for the “start-up” mentality. In this job, I worked closely with military families, which hits close to home as an Army brat and active-duty military spouse. The position was great because it provided the necessary flexibility a military spouse needs in order to have a remote career while also supporting their service member. I had found someone to pay me for work, though I didn’t love what I was doing.
In this role, there were several frustrations eventually coming to a head where it was time for me to walk away. After a few years with this organization, I found myself with a brand-new baby, a deployed husband and in the midst of a global pandemic, all while balancing a full-time job. I had one too many items on my plate. After many discussions with my husband about finances and what I would do next, if anything, I decided to walk away from my position. I quickly missed the sense of purpose I felt from having my own job. I had a few “side gigs” I dipped my toes in while I was working, one of which is writing for Military OneSource. I have been writing for Blog Brigade for a few years now. Writing has always been my escape and the work I look forward to the most. I love bringing stories to life and hearing someone’s voice even through a blog post. It was through my “casual side gig” of writing for Military OneSource I found my passion for writing and the desire to make it my career.
I started working a few hours a month for small businesses, mostly family friends, on their marketing efforts. I worked with clients to take their product or vision and turn it into a captivating campaign attracting clients. From there, I found my niche market – small businesses focused on the military family community needing copy editing and marketing support. I found that many small businesses are not able to focus on marketing the way they wish they could and look for someone to take it off their plate. This, coupled with knowing the military family community well, became the perfect recipe to start my own business.
Leaving the comfort of a full-time salary to start my own endeavor was not an easy decision or one that was made lightly. Making bold decisions, especially ones related to my career, does not come naturally for me. I was, and am, still determined to find something I love and find someone to pay me for it.
I am now fully in charge of my consulting business. I work the hours most conducive to my schedule while knowing I won’t have to find employment elsewhere when we inevitably PCS in the future. A career path is not always rainbows and sunshine, especially with the additional adversity military spouses face when it comes to their employment opportunities.
I would encourage anyone thinking about what their next move (career, not military) might be, to find what you love and find someone to pay you for it – anything that doesn’t fit in that box can continue to be worked on until it does.
There are a number of resources in place to support a military spouse thinking about starting their own business, including education and employment resources on Military OneSource. If you think writing might be a passion of yours, try it out by submitting a piece for Blog Brigade!