I am so excited to be participating in Operation Create Your Own Path: 30 days, 30 small business owners, 30 ways to Create Your Own Path
Having a job in the economy today can be a struggle, add to that moving every couple years which is common for a Military Spouse, and it can spell real trouble. Being a Military Spouse with a career is not easy, but it can be done!
Each day a new Military Spouse Business Owner will be interviewed by a blogger, Today I am that blogger and Melanie of Treasures By Melanie is the Military Spouse Business Owner.
2. How long have you been working for yourself? I left the corporate grind in late 2010 and found that I didn’t miss it one bit even though I missed associating with people. It helped that I was in the process of moving at that time, but I have discovered that I really need “people”. I’ve tried a couple of other things, but when I stumbled across my current products, I realized the passion that I had not had with the other products and my new vocation was born!3. Did you begin working for yourself before or after becoming a military spouse? I guess that you could say that I was married to my husband and he was married to “The Corps”. I am now and have always been a wife and mother first and foremost, until it was finally time for me to become an individual.4. Did you work outside of the home previously? I have worked outside the home before and really enjoyed what I was doing because I’m a “people person” and find that I really need the interaction with others in order to thrive. I was successful with what I was doing, but there does come that time when you need to make a change for any number of reasons, and that (change) was what led me to where I am now.5. What made you decide to start working for yourself? When I moved to my current location, the job market was really slow (almost non-existent) and even though I didn’t need to work, I wanted to have something to do. That’s when I started down the path that I’m on now.
6. There are a lot of work at home and small business ideas, what made you decide on this particular business? I’ve always said that I didn’t choose the company, the company chose me because the products made the decision for me! I love candles but I do not like burning paraffin (even the so called food grade) candles. They emit a black smokey residue that is dangerous to breathe and leaves sticky smokey gunk on surfaces. You do not have that problem with soy or soy/coconut candles. I also wanted products that are eco-friendly because
the area that I live in is environmentally fragile.
7. Being a military spouse myself I know there are a lot of obstacles being a military spouse that works outside of the home, Would you say working for yourself alleviates any of those issues? If so which ones? Working for someone means you don’t have the flexibility in scheduling that you have when you work for yourself. That alone has the possibility of being the best benefit. When you become a parent, it is even more important that you are able to be flexible and working for yourself allows that also.
8. Is there obstacles to working for yourself due to being a military spouse? Whether you work for yourself or work for others, there are always obstacles. I think that working for yourself allows for more flexibility with what you do and how you do it. And then you get orders…..working for someone else means quitting and hoping that you can find another job at your new duty station, and if you are in a profession that requires credentials of some type, then you often find yourself “jumping through hoops” before you can start working again. Seniority? Forget about that since you will often find yourself back at the bottom starting over.
Working for yourself, you pack your products/samples in the car and change the stickers on your catalogs when you have your new address. If you are fortunate to be with a company that is as “military friendly” as For Every Home is, then you just notify corporate as to where to send your next commission check. The fact that I have no territorial boundaries that I must abide by means that I can recruit and sell all over the US, and that is just what I do! I currently have a front/downline that reaches coast to coast and I’m enjoying helping them to grow their own businesses.
9. Was it difficult to begin working for yourself? What went into becoming a small business owner? Starting to work for yourself isn’t hard in the beginning because you have the desire and haven’t hit the “slowing period” yet. Where you find the discouragement is when you hit the slow times and it becomes necessary to start “thinking outside the box” to get back on track. This is the stage where you discover the real passion for what you are doing. If you make it through, then you will keep going and thriving. If you feel like you are a failure, then it is time to (if you truly believe in yourself and your products) find yourself that “thing” that will help you to discover other ways of getting past the roadblocks that will always crop up when you least expect them. That “thing” could be a book, an inspirational quote, a mentor, a friend or a group of friends, or a stranger that you meet and talk with. You never know what it is that is going to help you and that is why it is important to remain focused and not give up the battle.10. Does your spouse have any part in your business? Do you plan on them having a part in it if they were to separate from service? My spouse is older and has now retired. He will help me sometimes, but this is my business and I need to be able to make it on my own. It is also vital to me (after the last year of my corporate experience) that I be able to say “This is my business”!
11. Would you continue to work for yourself if your spouse was no longer in the military? I think that it is vital that I continue even though he has retired. Just because he has retired doesn’t mean that I must retire also.
12. What would you say is the most difficult aspect of working for yourself? Daily motivation…..there are always going to be those days that you just don’t want to work or you don’t feel good. You might call in sick if you are working for someone else, but when you work for yourself, you can’t do that! You also need to have a “cheerleader attitude” at all times, because there are going to be those moments when you question yourself, and then you have to grab your own boot strings and pull yourself up. You don’t have someone looking over your shoulder all the time telling you if you are making a mistake or doing good, so you have to be strong enough to carry on without that feedback.
And of course what most of us want to know
12. What is it that you love about being a military spouse that works for yourself? Benefits? When you are married to a military man, you become known as “wife of” and of course, there will always be the ever present reference to rank. When you are married to a military man and work, especially for yourself, you have more to offer that “new person” that you are talking with. You’re also not as intimidating to “LCpl Smith and his/her new young spouse” when your husband is several grades higher in rank. Your “business owner” attitude serves you well because you have something else besides the military to talk about and opening up that avenue of communication can make it much easier in the long run for everyone.
13. What advice could you give other Military Spouses looking to begin working for themselves? Do what you love and love what you do but be ready to work harder and smarter than you ever did in a “9 to 5 job”. More important, remember two things…..
But most important of all is 2) Just because it didn’t work today doesn’t mean that it won’t work, it just means that today wasn’t the right day for it to work!!!!
Thanks so much Melanie! You were a pleasure to interview and gave some great advice.
Tomorrow head over to: