Editor’s Note: Military Spouse Entrepreneur Spotlight is a Q&A designed to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges of a military spouse entrepreneur.
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via our links, you help us keep the lights on and the good times rolling.
Name: Jen Griswold
Military Branch Affiliation: Air Force
Years as a Military Spouse: 6 active duty, 12 as a spouse
Business Name: Mission Entrepreneur
Year Established: 2015
Tell us about your business: I’ve run several businesses throughout the years, but the one I’m focused on building currently is called Mission Entrepreneur. At Mission Entrepreneur, we help military spouses and families achieve personal, professional and life goals by providing mobile, on-the-go business training, personalized coaching and mentorship, entrepreneurial education and resources that support our military community.
Our goal is to help design careers that not only endure frequent relocations, but businesses that actually grow with every move.
By giving back to those who serve, we can reverse the employment gap for military spouses, improve military readiness and family satisfaction, and strengthen our nation.
What’s your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur so far?
One of the most surprising things I’ve learned in working daily with women entrepreneurs (many who are milpreneurs) is that women tend to struggle when it comes to believing in themselves.
They believe in their spouses, their friends and their kids, but they are usually less than convinced that they personally have what it takes to be successful. Sadly, most often there are very few people cheering the average woman on in her daily life.
How many times during an average day do you hear, “You’re so good (at something),” or “Wow, that’s a fantastic idea that you should develop further,” or even, “Thanks for putting in the effort you do every day. It’s so valued.” Those lack of compliments add up.
And often the thought of starting a business is way too scary to even consider. The fears automatically start piling up.
What if I’m not good enough?
What if I fail?
What will people think of me?
So the first thing I do when I’m coaching a woman in business is to rebuild her belief by using a backdoor approach. I help her find her passion. I usually start by asking,
“What’s the dream that you put on the shelf when your adult responsibilities set in?”
If I can connect her to her passion, whether that’s riding horses, helping kids with special needs or starting a non-profit, it takes the focus off herself, which then becomes less scary. Plus, when she connects to her passion it puts a selfless spin on her motivation that somehow becomes much easier to sink her teeth into.
On managing work and life – is it all about blending or all about balancing? Why?
It’s a giant blending act for sure!
I think of it as a toggle. Sometimes you toggle toward family, like when we move (again), when we’re starting a new school, or when Dad’s out of town. Other times, like earlier this year when I was writing my book, you have to toggle more time toward work.
The thing I love about working from home though is that my family and my work are so intertwined that big work goals become a family affair for all of us.
While I was writing the book, my kids would see me up early before school and stay up late after they’d be in bed and they could see how much effort and passion I was pouring into it. They would often leave me notes or tell me, “Go get another 800 words done, Mom. You can do it!”
And those little cheers were so rewarding because
1) it was proof they were learning a valuable lesson in hard work by watching me
2) they were also demonstrating the fact they recognize the need to provide words of affirmation for someone who is working hard and
3) they know when I succeed, they succeed and they don’t have to feel like my time can only be spent with just one or the other. It’s a beautiful blend!
Tell us the one thing that makes your dual-working military family successful?
The things that keep us successful are communication and true respect for one another. Neither of us could truly be successful or happy without the support and help of the other, so it’s very important that we keep open lines of communication to make sure we “get” what each other needs on a daily and weekly basis.
I get up early and tend to kid things all day, so when 7 p.m. rolls around and everyone is home and settled, I plug into my work and Kevin takes over as the cook and bedtime guy. We’ve done it this way for 10 years.
Thankfully, he finds it relaxing to cook after work because I am a terrible cook. And then he gets quality time with the kids that wouldn’t happen if I were still in the mix.
Not every day or week is perfect and often one of us has to give more than another at certain times, but we know that it’s appreciated. We also learned when our kids were little that communication could easily be missed if we didn’t stop to have a little “date night” here and there to recalibrate our thoughts and remember all the great reasons we are in this together.
Are you interested in purchasing Mission Entrepreneur? Click here to buy today!
Choose one: coffee, wine, water or soda?
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without:
Word Swag app for making word graphics!!
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake…nobody can resist the good vibes that song brings!
Leave us with some wise words…
Business isn’t just about making money, it’s a beautiful journey of self-discovery and helping people.
If you can figure out your passion and purpose and execute it every day through your business, no matter what the dollars and cents say, you’ll feel “paid.” You’ll also find yourself more motivated than ever and hungry to do more.
And the best part is that success seems to just happen financially when you are authentically pointed to your own “true North” and doing everything for the right reasons.
I see people chase so many superficial things and they often become disenchanted with their businesses very prematurely because they can’t push through the hard days to see the other side of success.
And then I see others who are so genuinely happy with their businesses, not because of huge paycheck but because they know their work is truly helping others.
Are you a military spouse entrepreneur? Do you want to be featured as a Military Spouse Entrepreneur? Click here to fill our milspouse entrepreneur Q&A and we’ll contact you for a future spotlight.