As more and more veterans retire from active military service, many choose to go the entrepreneurial route, choosing jobs that are very different from their time in the service. Perhaps not surprisingly, most veterans make excellent entrepreneurs for a variety of reasons, as we’ll see below.
Of the many skills an entrepreneur will face, the biggest one is problem-solving. This is also a strongly learned and ingrained skill in military veterans. From daily work to working in the field, individuals in the military must have excellent problem-solving skills.
Their ability to problem solve also bleeds over into an ability to learn quickly. Entrepreneurs need to be quick to adapt and quick to learn, skills that are also shared by veterans. As veterans have learned skills quickly over their years of service, it’s ingrained and almost a reflex mechanism for them. Entrepreneurship requires one to be quick thinking and solve problems calmly and speedily.
At the same time, just because one is an entrepreneur and a veteran, that doesn't mean one should try to solve every single problem. There are some problems that can’t be solved. And there are some things that should be handed off to someone with more knowledge or experience. As an entrepreneur, one will need to know when to pass a problem off to someone else without feeling lazy or ashamed.
For many veterans, they’ve shown a strong sense of dedication to their job, their fellow military, and their country. As a general rule, one does not leave the military with a sense of ambivalence and laziness. Dedication is an important aspect of military life, and as those in active military service show a strong sense of dedication, veterans also retain that sense of dedication.
On the entrepreneurial side, having a sense of dedication is important to seeing projects through, picking up the pieces after a major failure, and overall pushing to see one’s vision recognized. Veterans and entrepreneurs both share this strong sense of mission and seeing a project through.
As those who have gone through active military service can testify, there are few things more stressful than a red hot danger zone. If a military veteran can handle active military service and all the stressors that it brings, an entrepreneurial position will be relatively calm.
From working on the front line to working in a team, those who are veterans excel at building relationships. And because clear communication is vital in the military, many veterans also excel at communicating.
An added benefit of the relationships that veterans offer is their opportunity to connect with other veterans from different walks of life. Because military life creates a special bond, veterans can reach out and talk to other veterans in an understanding way that a civilian cannot.
Veterans uniquely understand devoting yourself and time to other people. There is a strong sense of sacrifice and duty, especially pertaining to others around them.
The leadership skills a veteran gains whilst in active duty are lifelong and important skills. Thinking of others first is such an integral part of entrepreneurial leadership that veterans are uniquely equipped to give.
The military knows a thing or two about discipline. From early morning wake-ups, to exercise, to meals, and more, the military life works in part because of strict discipline. For many veterans, that discipline bleeds over into their daily life.
Like a member of the active service, an entrepreneur requires discipline. They may not need discipline in the same way, but there is a level of discipline that is required to successfully run a business. From scheduling to meetings, employees to basic set-up, discipline is a necessary facet of entrepreneurship.
Lastly, veterans understand sacrifice. They’ve given years of their life for their country, which is no small feat. For many, they’ve sacrificed the best years of their life, time with family, and the loss of many small moments that in any other job, they would have participated in. From frequent relocations often far from family, to deployments, veterans understand that sacrifice is difficult but necessary for a job.
While entrepreneurs won’t necessarily have to sacrifice the way active military members do, there will be times of sacrifice. Starting a business may involve financial sacrifice, a loss of social life as they know it, and oftentimes time spent with family. Sacrifice is difficult, but veterans are uniquely set up to understand true sacrifice and that will impact them as an entrepreneur.
In conclusion, the many skills one learns during a military career qualify veterans to found, lead, and be a successful entrepreneur. This is why many veterans are able to step successfully into entrepreneurial roles.
Visit our job board regularly to find companies that have positions available offering veterans jobs, and follow our blog and social media profiles to get news of job fairs in your area.
Holly Clark is a freelance health writer and a career carer. Her writing mainly focuses on elder care and well-being. Right now, she is currently working as a consultant for SureSafe.