Millions of Americans have served their country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, especially with the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the challenges facing America’s veterans is how to make the transition back to civilian life after they leave the military.
Veterans often face difficulties finding jobs. Many companies don’t know how to fit the skills of veterans into their corporate job charts. So some veterans are seizing the initiative to create their own jobs in civilian life by becoming entrepreneurs.
According to a recent story on NPR, the University of Connecticut, Syracuse University and several other business schools are running “Entrepreneurship Boot Camps for Veterans” (EBVs) that helps veterans start their own businesses. This intense two-month program helps veterans learn everything they need to start a business and get it up and running – everything from writing business plans to identifying target markets, to designing logos and business websites.
There are several reasons why military veterans are often well suited to being entrepreneurs:
- Making sense of chaos: One of the EBV program’s founders, Mike Haynie, mentioned a quote from a former Marine infantry officer, who said that being a leader in the Marines taught him how to “make sense of chaos and how to make decisions in the face of chaos.” Ultimately, being an entrepreneur requires you to make sense of chaos by making the best decisions you can, every day, with limited information, limited resources and limited time.
- Seizing the initiative: Military veterans are often thought of as being good at following orders, but the reality of military life isn’t only about “doing what you’re told.” Most career paths within the military demand creative thinking, problem solving and an ability to learn new technologies. All of these skills are essential for success as an entrepreneur as well.
- Building relationships: One reason why the EBV program has been a big success is that it offers its veterans a big network of alumni who are also former military members turned entrepreneurs. Veterans tend to share a special bond based on their time in the military, and these connections can be valuable in entrepreneurship as well. Entrepreneurs tend to be natural networkers who know how to build mutually beneficial relationships. Military veterans know how to work together as part of a team, they know how to quickly adapt to changing situations and work with people with different personalities and different working styles.
- Staying dedicated: Being in the military is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a big commitment. People join the military not just to get a paycheck, but to be part of something larger than themselves. In the same way, being an entrepreneur requires a sense of mission. The best entrepreneurs aren’t in it just for the money, they’re trying to build something, create something, or solve a problem better than anyone else.
Are you a military veteran interested in starting a business? Information is available here on how to use your VA benefits to pay for entrepreneurship training.
If you want to connect with resources specifically for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families and friends, check out the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
Ready to start a business and accomplish your own sense of mission that is more than just a paycheck? Talk to CorpNet for a free business consultation on how to incorporate a business. CorpNet’s free tools, advice and guidance can help you choose a business structure, form an LLC, set up an S-Corporation or other corporate entity to protect your assets and attain the corporate tax benefits and financial advantages of doing business as a corporation.