More than half of military spouses reported they made less than $20,000 in 2016, according to a new Blue Star Families survey released in November. It is one of many factors that have made side gigs a popular trend for those married to service members. From entrepreneurship to blogging to direct sales, these types of jobs offer the flexibility needed for on-the-go professionals whose life circumstances may not support a nine-to-five type of career.
Moni Jefferson, a military wife of 16 years, started MilSpouse Creative — a gathering place for spouses to connect and collaborate across various industries, in 2017 to fill what she saw as a void in the community.
“When I started my virtual public relations agency in 2015, I was looking for places on Facebook to connect with those that were like-minded, ask questions, get support and guidance on how to do this whole entrepreneur thing. I felt lost and lonely,” she explained. “Being a military spouse comes with its own challenges. I noticed on all these other private entrepreneur Facebook groups, fellow peers were collaborating and referring each other for work and projects — and I thought wow that’s amazing, what if there was a space for military spouses to do the same thing. Instead of hiring a designer in the local community why not hire a fellow spouse?”
Now, with more than 850 members and counting, the group cultivates an environment of opportunity for spouses seeking the exact type of side hustles that have grown in popularity and tap into the talent of spouses. Examples include freelance writing, graphic design, and coaching. Joining MilSpouse Creative is free and includes mentoring, access to influencer interviews, and daily prompts for motivation.
“Honestly — becoming an entrepreneur, it is the most empowering thing spouses can do right now,” Jefferson said. “Spouses are realizing that we don’t have to rely on anyone to hire us, invest in us and advocate for us. Because we can do it and there are the resources and community — like the MilSpouse Creative — to support them along the way. And while so many things are out of our control in this lifestyle, one thing we can control is who we work with and what we do and that what we decide to do is what makes us happy and drives us to excel.”
Air National Guard wife Kara Fidd, owner of Foxtrot and Pennies — a website with resources for military families looking to budget, cut expenses and use their military resources to save money, did exactly that: started her own income stream that could work with the components of her life.
“During my husband’s first year in the military, we also had our son and I became a stay-at-home mom. Obviously, our income was decreased on both ends and money was very tight as we adjusted to our new budget,” Kidd said. “But, when we were down to just dollars in our account, I was able to budget and cut expenses enough to help us get by. I started writing articles on my blog about it and soon realized that a lot of military families also struggle with finance. I wanted to help them cut their expenses, start a budget, and supplement their income with PCS job opportunities, as I had done — which is why I have a fi nancial focus on Foxtrot and Pennies.”
Kidd, who has become a go-to expert on all things fi nancial, talks about side hustle-type of careers on her site. She says blogging has become a common option for spouses because it has limitless potential for income and low startup costs.
“Blogging is a fantastic way to make money from wherever you are stationed,” she said. “Unlike a traditional business, blogging doesn’t take much of a fi nancial investment — you can start a blog for around $20. It does take a time investment when creating a blog, but the income potential is endless, you can set up your income streams to be very passive (which means you are earning money while PCSing, on vacation, etc), and you can pick up and go whenever you need to without worrying about job hunting or losing the income you rely on.”
Other side gigs that can likely be found at most duty locations:
Uber (or Lyft) – The transit phenomenon that transforms anyone into a professional transportation company does not require any formal training .
Care.com – From dog walking to elder care and babysitting, Care. com connects service providers to clients all around the US https://www.care.com/.
Upwork – Offers opportunities in freelance contracts, like grant-writing and blogs www.upwork.com.
To join MilSpouse Creative, go to https://www.facebook.com/ theofficialmilspousecreative/.
For access to information on budgeting and careers, visit Foxtrot and Pennies at http:// foxtrotandpennies.com/.Read comments