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How (and Why) Veterans Should Become Entrepreneurs

The option to become your own boss is an attractive potential solution to the challenges veterans experience while trying to find jobs. Even if the veteran hiring programs available were the best in the world, it’s unlikely every former military person will find exactly what they are looking for in formal employment.

Why Veterans Are Ideal Entrepreneurs

It’s a well-known fact the military teaches leadership, self-motivation, discipline, focus and risk tolerance, which are all essential elements of entrepreneurship. A 2012 study by Syracuse University showed military service instills a number of the characteristics necessary for business ownership, including trust, comfort with making decisions and a need for achievement.

What’s In It for You

Apart from the obvious benefits of having a steady income and something to occupy your time, entrepreneurship opens the doors to multiple other advantages for veterans. Some of these are:

  • The freedom to pursue your own vision
  • Control and flexibility over your work and leisure time
  • Opportunity to gain knowledge in a field that interests you
  • A chance to build a lucrative enterprise for your family’s future
  • Escaping the restrictions and politics of a corporate environment

For tech-savvy veterans, especially, the market is wide open for anyone who can deliver the services needed to support rapidly-advancing industries like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). This is currently listed at #1 on the list of the 10 highest paying jobs for veterans.

Some Options to Consider

There are multiple ways veterans can go into business for themselves, which don’t all require bundles of capital:

  • Buy a franchise: Ok, this one usually does require financing, but veterans can often get a franchise for a laundry or dry-cleaning depot for under $10,000. If you have (or can get) financial backing then a coffee chain or gas station is a good way to be independent.
  • Purchase a business: Similar to the option above, buying an existing business can be exceptionally lucrative. Chances are good you will get financing if you have reasonable credit, because an established business should have some goodwill and equity that can serve as collateral for a loan.
  • Become a consultant: “Consulting” is a catch-all name people are working under in a multitude of fields, ranging from writers and photographers to IT consultants and salespeople. Ideally, veterans can look for an opportunity to work for yourself but not by yourself, through organizations like this one that provides support.

With the availability of e-commerce, veterans can start an online opportunity providing a service, in which you operate as an intermediary and earn a portion of the value of each transaction. LegalShield is a great example of providing a much-needed service to individuals that they would have difficulty obtaining independently. By consolidating the costs, the business is able to leverage economies of scale and pass the savings on to clients, while still turning a profit through website customers.

Of course, one of the best perks of being your own boss is the opportunity it gives you to create veteran hiring programs of your own. Help other veterans to help themselves, and in doing so you’ll build a future worth passing on to your children.