I see you Small Business Owning Military Spouse!

April 04, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I see you military spouse and small business owner! I see you struggle!

Being a military spouse comes with all sorts of challenges but when you add in factors like children and small business thats when it becomes a blur really. You're constantly moving to either amazing locations or places that you tell yourself every day we will move from here one day and we will take one day at a time until we do! I am a military spouse, mother and a small business owner that doesn't move well. Let's be real you can ask in any Facebook page if anyone knows a photographer (and well a realtor) and it's going to get overwhelmed with recommendations. This is a great thing for the person that is asking, but sadly unless all those comments are recommendations for you, it's a tough business to be in. Your work has to stand out, your prices have to be lower than your competitors if your work is comparable. If it's the opposite of that, business will be slow for you for a while. I speak from personal experience here. The other hard part about being a small business owner and a military spouse is not that you move to a new location and you have to figure all that out, but you're moving to a new place that you won't know a single person most of the time. This is hard for me because like most small business word of mouth is my main source of work. Once you get your name in there you're golden, but if you move and you have no word of mouth and you're up against a ton of other photographers you're lost in the mix.

I would love to say this blog is a solution to this and if you came here in hopes of a "Hey Jennifer, how can I succeed with a small business in this military life" answer, I'm sad to say I'll have some suggestions of what works and what doesn't work but I can't promise you'll leave with a sense of optimism you didn't already have.

Ok here it goes. My advice on running a small business in a new area. Again, please don't expect this to be eye opening in any way. This hopefully will be broad enough for all small businesses but I apologize as I'm a photographer so I may be biased. 

1. First step is know the rules of all the local Facebook groups. A lot of them (and for good reason) don't all marketing of any kind. Some allow it at certain times of the week or even month but others just discourage it all together.  If you can post your business on Mondays, set an alarm on your phone or a reminder every Monday to make sure you add it to the page you can. If people see your name regularly you'll be the first person they remember when they need that product or service. 

2. Connect with local people before getting there. Don't make it about business. No one likes that person that reaches out and blasts their business without getting to know a person. It's like that running joke of "How do you know you've met a (insert whatever profession here)? They'll tell you when you meet them"

It's true. There are several professionals whether it be a Photographer, Realtor, *cough* Air Force Pilot (sorry I had to), or someone who sells essential oils that will tell you immediately and it's like SLOOOOWWWWW down, I just met you. While being on the side of I somewhat get it because well you'll remember that every time you see them, which means you'll remember when you need someone that sells essential oils. That limits that personal relationship immediately though, unless they were looking, you're now just seen as that person that sells something and you're going to just always try to sell them something. Except for those pilots, they're not selling anything they're just proud of their incredible achievement as they should be. It's not easy being badass, I'm sure. 

3. Join a local marketing group. Now this one is new to me because well I've really never thought I've needed one until here. The one I joined locally has been amazing for me already and I've not been part of it long. The point of these marketing groups is to connect with other small business owners for not only ideas but to share each others businesses with the people in their lives too. So when Nicole Eib, local realtor reaches out to me and said "Hey Jennifer, you're amazing and I have this person that just bought a house and they need a GIGANTIC picture taken and hung on their new 20ft walls, can you help them!?" She thinks of me first because we connect once a week and we've become close. See there! You're going to go to the people in your life first before reaching out somewhere else because you trust their judgment better than Frank Random that recommended a super sketchy place to get new tires for your car on Facebook" Sorry if there is a Frank Random out there and you sell super sketchy tires on Facebook I had no intentions of targeting your business.  

4. Ok to be honest I typed 4 then sat here for a good 3 minutes thinking, what the heck do I type. Then it came to me! Do events! These are so fun, I've done direct sales in the past, and if I'm honest sell Tastefully Simple for fun and because I order so much of it for myself regularly why not right? Connecting with groups and businesses that do events are a great way to get your name out there. One great benefit other than meeting people you might not otherwise have is through connections from fellow vendors. Someone set up next to you may sell amazing cups and customized shirts (Shout out to Hanging by a Jerzy Thread) and she has people who ask her all the time if they know someone who sells customized birthday invitations because they're getting these awesome shirts to wear for their kids birthday party. She can say absolutely, here is a business card for Printably Perfect, she's a military spouse too and would love your support in her small business!

5. And certainly not least because honestly my recent initiative to jump start my business again was all form the help of my Business Coach John Pyron. It was a step I wasn't sure if I was ready to take but honestly I had a quick 15 minute phone call with him where we suggested we meet in person for a strategy session. After I left that strategy session with John, I left motivated to get things done. He gave me so many tips on what to do for MY business. He sat me down and worked out all the details of marketing, managing and ideas to move forward. Ideas I would have never thought of. He is a great person to reach out to if you're getting to this point in the blog and thought well I've done all the other stuff, what's next. Talk to John. I should add I get no personal gain aside from the fact that I see him once a week at our marketing meetings and he may give me a "Hey Jennifer, thanks friend!" and thats good enough for me.


I am not sure if I have more to add to this as it's loaded with ideas as it is but know if you're a military spouse and you're really struggling and already not looking forward to that next move because you have to start it all over again. Hang in there. We have to stick together, in all my other blogs I talk about supporting and sharing other small businesses every chance you get. 

Shout out to mentions above. Follow their instagrams or Facebook pages or check out their sites! They're amazing, I promise! 

Nicole Eib & Co. Brokered by eXp Realty in Sacramento, CA area

Jessica Jerzy- Hanging by a Jerzy Thread -https://www.facebook.com/Jerzthread

Printably Perfect - https://printablyperfect.com

John Pyron - Business Coach-https://johnpyron.com/




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