Coming from a military background means you have discipline, you understand leadership, and you have the ability to follow through. In other words, it’s an ideal preparation for becoming an entrepreneur. What better way to exercise your hard-earned experience and skills? What’s more, as an entrepreneur, you have an opportunity to be your own boss, deciding what you do and how you’ll do it each day. First, though, you need to decide what that exactly means to you.
Explore the Possibilities
You might already have some ideas budding in your mind, or you might not have the first clue what particular direction you want to go. If things are up in the air, think in terms of where your interests lie and what excites you. Do you love to be outdoors, or do you prefer a job that is primarily indoors? Do you enjoy thinking creatively and problem-solving? A little research and asking yourself questions like these can help you determine what your best niche is. In the meantime, read on for a few possibilities that could fit the bill.
In our increasingly internet-dependent world, opening an e-commerce business could be a wise first venture for those fresh from the service. For instance, you could become a drop shipper, which involves minimal financial outlay, and ongoing overhead expenses are low.
On the other hand, if you have a particular product or service you intend to develop and then offer via the web, you might need to set up shop for production and distribution. This can be a satisfying and highly inspiring option, but it requires a bit more planning and investment than dropshipping. For instance, you might need to invest in manufacturing equipment and supplies, as well as a building in which to house it all. With that in mind, do some online sketching to configure a logical layout from start to finish, so you can start to frame up your ideas and needs.
Does your dream involve building a remote team? Whether you’re planning a new marketing agency, are moving into IT security, or are ready to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, transitioning from an in-person military unit to a computerized team might feel like quite a leap. In reality, it’s very similar. You’re used to communications that must be clear and concise, and you’re used to leadership that can span countless miles.
In this case, you’re the sole leader, and building your team involves finding ways to connect that keep everyone on the same page and develop a positive vibe. You can put platforms like Slack or Teams to work to build rapport and trust, and set deadlines and policies that ensure things stay on track. Unlike the military, individuality will be a plus in this type of civilian role. Ensure your connections feel safe to express themselves so they offer you their very best.
Invest in Real Estate
Investing in a real estate venture is a sure way to set you up for future success, so long as you go about it in a logical manner. Your work ethic, ability to handle the paperwork and good judgment—all qualities your military experience surely enhanced—will be a boon to a career in real estate investing.
If you’re contemplating this avenue toward passive income, get familiar with how to analyze a prospective investment. Learning about things like the price-to-rent ratio, how stable an area is, and how likely area growth is will help you determine whether a property is a good prospect.
While owning an investment property doesn’t necessarily mean being a landlord, many first-time property investors elect to fill those shoes. Keep in mind that there are responsibilities you’re legally obligated to fulfill, such as ensuring tenants have a habitable home and that the property provides the basic security for them and their belongings.
Managing a rental property isn’t entirely passive, especially if you elect to carry the full weight of landlord responsibilities. You have all the landscaping and basic upkeep to tackle, as well as following up on repairs, processing tenant applications, marketing the property, bookkeeping, and so forth. It’s a nice blend of hands-on work and paperwork for those who are so inclined. Because it is involved, and because it can be time-consuming, many people turn to a property manager for the daily operations.
If you invest in a rental, this begs the question of knowing when is the right time to connect with help. As Nolo explains, if you live far from the property, have a lot of irons in the fire, or have a significant number of properties to manage, hiring a property manager should probably be at the top of your list. And on the flip side, you might decide to become a property manager to learn the ins and outs of the business side of things, make some money, and then invest it in the purchase of a rental unit.
Plan and Prepare To Be a Work-from-home entrepreneur
Are your finances good to go for your new endeavor, or do you need to do some sprucing up? Now is a tough time for many people, but it’s important to address things like your credit history and savings plan if you intend to apply for loans, purchase equipment, or need some seed money. Thankfully, there are funds available to help small businesses during this challenging time, so do a little research into what you might qualify for.
Along those same lines, what about your education? In some roles, a degree or certification are either essential or highly desirable. Keep in mind that as a veteran, you have access to educational benefits that can help you secure that degree or certification, so you should put it to good use.
Also, consider what business structure would be best for your situation. You could establish a limited liability company, corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership, depending on who is involved and how your business will function. Many locations require licensing to operate businesses as well. Keep in mind that discussing your particular details with an attorney and/or financial advisor is always an option if legalities and finances are beyond your comfort zone.
When it comes to your civilian, work-from-home venture, you have nearly endless possibilities. Think through what makes you tick and how you want to use your skills and experience, and evaluate your prospects. Organize your finances and requirements, and soon, you’ll be good to go.