NextGen MilSpouse is going beyond traditional career tips and tricks for military spouses! We are sharing the real stories of working military spouses (just like you!) and their professional success stories on Wednesdays.
Name: Zoie Hoffman
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession:
I own Zoie Hoffman Tutoring, an online tutoring business that helps students in kindergarten-6th grade. My business started as an in-person tutoring business in Pensacola, Fl., (my husband’s first duty station). I transitioned my business online during our last PCS to North Carolina, and it has been great for my students and for me.
I love being an educator and starting my own business was a great way for me to keep my career going through all the changes military life can bring.
Each day you can find me managing my business and tutoring my students. I am currently the only employee in my business, so it can be a challenge to manage the business side plus tutoring all on my own but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! In the future, I hope to expand my business and employ other military spouses to tutor alongside me.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
This is full-time self-employed work.
How long have you been working in this career field?
I have spent 4 years in education and 2 years in my tutoring business.
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
I work from my home.
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I love getting to help my students gain the skills and confidence they need to excel in the classroom and life. Seeing their faces light up when they finally understand a concept they have been struggling with or come to me with an improved grade, makes every day worth it. I also enjoy the challenge of running my own business and all the learning that comes along with it.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I got this position by having a dream and then deciding to make it a reality.
When we got to my husband’s first duty station, it was next to impossible to find a job. I got really discouraged and missed working with kids.
I couldn’t get a teaching job because we knew we would be moving every year for at least the next 3 years. One day I got the bright idea that maybe I could tutor.
I told my husband about my idea and he encouraged me to go for it. It was a huge learning curve to figure out how to make a tutoring business happen and get clients, but students slowly trickled in and I was officially self-employed.
I have kept my students and gained new students through providing quality tutoring sessions. I am always perfecting my craft which pays off for me and my students.
Are you looking to connect with career-minded military spouses? Join one of In Gear Career’s 20+ local chapters around the world. In Gear Career is a part of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Keep at it. Whether you are looking for traditional employment or decide to go the self-employed route, it will take a lot of persistence to get what you want. Successful people are the ones who keep holding on when everyone else lets go.
I would also suggest networking with like-minded spouses. You never know who might have a connection that would help you find your dream job!
How do you feel about failure?
I love failure!! It feels really terrible when we fail, but we learn so much more from failure than we do from success on the first try. I encourage my students, myself and my friends to embrace their failures and learn everything they can from them. If you aren’t failing you aren’t trying!
If I am scared to do something for fear of failure – I know it is probably something I should do. Just to make sure, I always ask myself “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
The best career advice I have ever received was from Seth Godin in his book “Linchpin.” In the book, he encourages the reader to do the things that make them feel uncomfortable enough to want to run away. If we only do the things that make us comfortable we will be very mediocre employees or business owners.
The worst career advice I have ever received was to give up. Some people have told me it is OK for me to just take some time off since we move a lot. It is OK, but it’s not what I want to do or what will help advance my career. I always want to be doing something to advance my professional and personal goals.
Who is in your support squad (i.e. spouse, neighbor, bff) and what role do they play in supporting your career?
I am so fortunate to have an awesome support squad. My spouse is constantly cheering me on and encouraging me to push myself professionally. Without his encouragement, I may have never started Zoie Hoffman Tutoring.
I also have a military spouse best friend who gets me through the day-to-day. We go on regular walks together and discuss our goals and professional setbacks. Kate is always encouraging me to keep pushing even when I whine that it’s too hard. She is also super inspiring in her own professional endeavors – so I always have someone to look up to.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?
Yes, we split all household tasks. We plan out our dinners on Sunday before we go to the grocery store and agree on who is cooking what depending on what each person’s schedule looks like that week.
We also do all our cleaning on Sundays. We usually write down a list of all the cleaning and chores that need to be done and take turns choosing tasks until they are all assigned. This system works great for us.
Obviously, there are times when one of us is busy so the other one has to pick up the slack a little bit but it all evens out in the end.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:
When I am having a hard time being productive, I set a timer for 30 minutes and devote myself to completing a task before the timer goes off. This usually kick-starts me into a more productive mindset.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:
I love Acuity, my online scheduler. I can send clients and peers a link to my calendar that allows them to schedule an appointment with me which saves so much time.
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
“Almost Home” by Ben Rector is one of my favorites right now. I like to sing along when cranking out work.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
If I had an extra hour a day I would spend more time with my husband or our close friends.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
I would have to be Flexigirl. Ever since being introduced to military life, one of the things I love about myself is my ability to adapt and adjust. I think flexibility is my super power.
Are you a working military spouse? Do you want to share your career tips and tricks? Fill out the MilSpouses Who Work It Q&A today. Click here to complete our form.