Archive for the 'Career' Category

Stepping In and Out of the Paid Workforce, Part 2

Apr 19 2016

Published by under Career,Military Spouses


Remember the awkward social situation I presented in part 1 of this article series? What exactly makes the situation awkward and uncomfortable? Is it you or the other person? Before you decide on your answer, I would like to present you with a few rules of the game when it comes to stepping in and out of the paid workforce. It is a game in the sense that your end goal is to step back into the paid workforce, so a few rules are a great way to guide your decision making moving forward.

I developed these rules over time after personally navigating the transition in and out of the paid workforce (I stepped away for three and half years just after a military move and stepped back into it after the next military move), followed by extensive work with clients making the same change. The rules will help you change your perspective and feel more confident about yourself before, during, and after stepping in and out of the paid workforce.

Rule #1. Appreciate the value of what you are doing. Now and later.

As presented in part 1, work doesn’t have to be paid to be valuable. If you are questioning the value of whatever you are doing while you are out of the paid workforce, then you are due for a pep talk. Look to a friend, a past colleague, or a professional advisor to help you reframe your perspective.

Don’t limit yourself to understanding and appreciating the value of your work now. Also think about how your experiences will provide benefit later. For example, after you spend a year away travelling the globe, your future employer will benefit from your experience because you now know how to respectfully interact with people from various cultures, you are extremely resourceful and calm under pressure.

Rule #2. Know how to talk about your time away.

This rule will help you overcome the challenges mentioned in part 1. If you are confident when talking about your experiences during your time away, then others will be more apt to listen and give your experiences serious consideration.

Pro Tip: Communicate your level of performance and quantify your achievements so they are irrefutable.

Rule #3. Be confident, regardless of how others respond.

Another key point mentioned in part 1was people aren’t going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Think back on that uncomfortable social situation. If you believe the situation was awkward and uncomfortable because of the person asking the question, then you must consider this statement:

“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” — unknown

Be confident in your value and your choices, talk about them with pride and respect, and don’t allow other people’s feelings and responses to change how you feel about yourself. When you use these simple rules to guide your transitions, the right employer will appreciate the value you will bring to their team.— Michelle Aikman

About the Author:

Michelle Aikman is a military spouse and career management expert. She is one of only 50 Nationally Certified Résumé Writers in the world and was just named 2016 Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse magazine and Armed Forces Insurance. Find Michelle on LinkedIn and Twitter @michelle_aikman.

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Funding Your Business

Apr 05 2016


Entrepreneurship is becoming quite the trend in today’s military community. With the coined term “vetrepreneurs” trending on social media and self-employment recognized as one of the most viable career options for today’s military spouse, entrepreneurship is a military-community trend that is here to stay.

Launching a successful business requires a long list of resources — people, money, time, and education. Good news: members of the military community have access to a variety of specialized resources for their entrepreneurial enterprise.

If outside funding is necessary to get your entrepreneurial brainchild off the ground, be sure to check out these military-friendly resources:


Crowdfunding platforms can provide an alternative to traditional commercial financing, as its unique structure circumvents traditional financial institutions and commercial investors in favor of the entrepreneur’s community. Instead of requiring an Small Business Administration-consultant endorsed business plan, successful crowdfunding strategy calls for a compelling three to five minute pitch video and savvy social media skills to rally support for your startup. While there are many crowdfunding platforms available, MilitaryStarter is exclusively available to the military community (veterans and their families).

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Military-community specific peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Street Shares provide alternative financing opportunities to veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Unique ways of setting interest rates favorable to start-up cash flow, translating military experience to trust in veteran capabilities, and entrepreneur individuality that is presented to peer lenders can result in startup financing options. The approval process for peer-to-peer lending options is often much less cumbersome than traditional financing routes (Street Shares touts a 10-minute application process) and often offers unsecured options (e.g.: risking your family home as collateral is NOT a requirement).

Entrepreneurship Boot Camps

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families offers Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans’ Families (EBV-F) at multiple locations across the country. Employing a hybrid structure — online and on location-based information delivery — EBV-F focuses on providing today’s military community with the resources necessary to turn their business dream into a successful reality. While EBV-F doesn’t directly provide business funding to military entrepreneurs, its program assists entrepreneurs with identifying available financing options and building strong networks. Another entrepreneur education opportunity worth looking into is Techstars’ Patriot Boot Camp — a free, three-day seminar available to veterans and spouses.

Startup Competitions

The once novel startup competitions are becoming more and more the norm in today’s entrepreneurial circles. Colleges and universities, publically traded companies, and national entrepreneur organizations are organizing startup competitions featuring entrepreneurs within the military community. Even ABC’s hit show Shark Tank offers veteran and military-spouse owned businesses a chance to showcase their entrepreneurial expertise on military-exclusive episodes. Recent veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs competing on Shark Tank include: R.Riveter (owner Cameron Cruse was recently featured in the Never Stop Serving section of Military Officer magazine), Major Mom, Combat Flip Flops, and BearTek. Pitch competitions like Shark Tank can provide startups with investor access and brand publicity not available through other lending and networking opportunities.


Starting your own business can be a daunting endeavor. While many resources are required to successfully launch a new business, start-up capital and early stage cash flow often are considered the lifeblood of a young venture. If entrepreneurship is on your horizon, check out these startup financing resources available to entrepreneurial members of the military community.

— Hannah Becker

About the Author:

Hannah Becker is an author, entrepreneur, professor, and military spouse. She currently provides millennial marketing & PR consulting services through Becker Marketing & PR, and owns the grass fed beef operation, Willow Springs Farm. Hannah is passionate about military spouses achieving their professional goals. Follow Hannah on Twitter at @MotivatedGenY and learn more about her professional journey at:

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