Start a business, they said. It’ll be easy, they said.
Every business owner probably rolls their eyes when they think back to the humble beginnings of their company. Whether those companies are side-hustles, or full-time money makers, military spouses know the value behind a thriving business. And the stability that comes with owning your own venture is priceless.
Just ask Andrea Gallagher, a military spouse who founded The Better Business Babe after struggling to get her portrait photography business off the ground.
“I think entrepreneurship was an amazing option for me,” Andrea shared. “I am very driven and creative, and my husband’s demanding military schedule made it the only option for me to earn income while being present for my 3 children, who were very small at the time.”
Many military spouses put their careers and educations on hold while their loved ones serve our country. Frequent moves, multiple deployments, and other unexpected circumstances hinders the ability to finish a schooling program, or find meaning work in a location. Often, spouses who do manage to find employment are underemployed, making significantly less money than they’re actually worth. Others are simply unemployed, despite their best efforts to find jobs in fields they’re qualified to work in.
Andrea is no stranger to the struggle. “I believe we are undervaluing our military by undervaluing the people that support them—the military spouse,” she explained. “Service is something that we, as a family, take pride in, and I hope our country will continue to find ways to strengthen the network of support for our troops and their families.”
Those networks of support are critical for the military spouse business owner. Because they move so frequently, it can be difficult to create meaningful mentorships, friendships, and clientele in one location.
“I wished I could have gotten more strategic support from an expert on what I needed to do, when to do it, and how to avoid the slow (sometimes costly) mistakes you can make as a new business owner,” Andrea told us.
She says connecting with others is just as important as remembering to value one’s self along the way. Andrea said she’s seen other women start their business journey with big goals, only to get burnt out because they overwork and undervalue themselves in so many ways.
With her own experience behind her, Andrea created a space for other women to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs on similar journeys. The Better Business Babe Forum provides a virtual network of encouragement and strategy, giving members the ability to ask each other questions, give advice, and share experiences.
Today, Andrea’s expertise covers Strategic Brand Consulting and Life and Business Coaching. She says her focus is on helping others realize, pursue, and achieve their goals and dreams.
“Military life has been rewarding,” she says, “but having a fulfilling life while supporting your spouse is important, too.”
If you have an education or career goal, but need help paying for it, NMFA is here to help! Since 2004, the Military Spouse Scholarship program has given away more than $4 million in scholarships and funding to deserving military spouses—and you could be one of them this year.
Apply today through June 30, 2018 by answering a few questions and sharing how you’d use the money to reach your goals. Not sure what you’d do? Check out the NMFA website to see schools who offer free tuition to military spouses that meet certain restrictions and eligiblity requirements. Win, win!