Starting a successful side business while serving in the military

As a military serviceman you will already be equipped with several characteristic disciplines that translate into valuable business acumen. Full dedication, resilience, tenacity and passion is required to run a successful side business alongside a military career. There are many things to consider while trying to work out a healthy work balance that does not conflict or interfere from your main job in the services. Your goal should be to develop a small and manageable business that works in harmony with your current job, whilst hopefully earning a decent second income- far easier said than done.

The Business Plan of Attack

A successful side business stems from the lengthy battle between trial and error. You will need to swap military arsenal for creative ammunition to build ideas. The best ideas come from a personal passion. Think about your hobbies and what you love doing in your spare time and consider if there is a gap in the market. You should spend some time researching your market and your top competitors in order to understand the current trends. Use your personal story to market your product – personality sells!  And then you can focus on a business plan.

You will need a thorough business plan to carry your idea to fruition and to convince future investors’ that you are worth their money and support. Regimental style planning will force you to think realistically and unemotionally about your business; mapping out any potential pitfalls will help you make rational and well informed decisions.

Financing Your Idea

To take your business forward you will need financial backing. You might be lucky enough to have enough personal assets for self-funding or bootstrapping your business but for those who don’t there are numerous options:

  • Crowdfunding – using social platforms as a method of raising capital through the collective effort of individual investors.
  • Start-up business loans– A fast and accessible method of borrowing online, to receive financial backing tailored to you and your business.
  • Angel Investors- individuals or a group of individuals who make use of their personal disposable finance to invest in businesses in return for shares.
  • Venture Capital– involves a whole firm or number of professional investors whose money comes from corporations, foundations, and pension funds.

Cover all Bases

If you are unexpectedly deployed for military services you need to have a solid plan and a team of professionals by your side. You will need a supportive network of friends, business partners and freelancers if your side business is going to succeed without your physical presence. You should consider hiring freelancers to outsource work and even the possibility of taking on a partner to look after your business in your absence.

Starting a side business alongside a military career is like a game of battleship – it requires you to think logistically whilst taking risks but the right moves will result in your success.