January 18, 2017, by David McCauley – If you’re a hardworking and creative veteran who is tired of taking orders from someone else, you might have the makings of a great entrepreneur and business owner. After years of deployments and service, many service members crave the autonomy that they had as a civilian. The military teaches you how to follow orders, but your time taking orders isn’t done. In traditional workplaces you’re still putting your own initiatives on the back burner and taking orders from bosses and corporate overlords. The only way you’ll truly turn this ship around is to take command of it yourself. Think you have what it takes to run a business? Good.
You’re the one calling the shots now.
Many veterans have found the autonomy and purpose they crave building their own businesses. It’s a great time for veterans starting businesses because more than half of American employees are disengaged in their workplaces and crave change and purpose. A veteran entrepreneur who understands the value of leading from the front could build an engaging and worthwhile company that they can believe in. On the path toward becoming a veteran business owner, there are a handful of concepts you’ll want to keep in mind.
Build a business according to your strengths
Clearly define what product or service you’ll be offering. It’s important to be passionate about this core idea you’re starting from because you’ll need that drive in the early days of your business. Every person on this earth has their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding yours is important if you ever hope to successfully run a business.
Are you introverted or extroverted? Don’t put yourself in a business that lives and dies in direct sales unless you have a personality that thrives in these working environments. Play to your strengths. Later on you can find and hire other like-minded individuals to balance out your weaker areas and strengthen your business.
People rally around great leaders
It’s estimated that by 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce could be made up by freelancers. A study about freelancers conducted by ReportLinker in November 2016 asked respondents what they find most appealing about becoming a freelance worker. The number one response among both traditional workers (18%) and freelancers (28%) is that being their own boss is most appealing. The same study also reports that “39% of job seekers say the gig economy appeals to them because it offers better work-life balance.” Another 38% reportedly, “don’t believe their job offers them a real sense of purpose.” If you keep doing what you’ve always done, how can you expect a different outcome?
The connection here is that the more dissatisfied workers are with traditional employment, the more likely they’ll look for something else to do. I think everyone is capable of reaching the point where their life feels out of balance with work. The same holds true for you as an aspiring business owner. There’s a lot you can learn from failure and it doesn’t mean that you’re defeated. It’s an opportunity to grow and learn from those mistakes.
As you overcome obstacles and share your story, others will be inspired by your example. Offering an alternative is important if you want to bring these dissatisfied individuals into the fold. People follow leaders who inspire them. Show them your vision and values and in time you’ll attract motivated business partners to help you achieve the success and independence you both crave.
About the Author: D.M. McCauley is a former U.S. Navy sailor who worked in Intel. After the service, he has dedicated his time to writing and traveling with his significant other.