Pack your Career and Go
By: Victoria Parham, Trainer, Retired Army wife, and Veteran
How many times have you relocated? How many jobs have you held in the past 10 years? Do these questions sound familiar? I bet they do. Military spouses face unique challenges when it comes to their professional careers.
Many have made the decision to forego the careers of their active duty spouse before their own. However, technology is opening doors and creating opportunity for military spouses to establish careers that travel with them.
Portable careers are a growing trend among the military spouse community. Frequent relocation once frowned upon, is now embraced with open arms thanks to the wonderful world of technology and the Internet.
Military spouses can utilize their talents and skills to launch viable online virtual companies in cyberspace. Fast dial-up connections and high speed Internet access enable spouses to conduct business online in real-time on the web from anywhere in the world, literally.
From Alaska to Japan, from New York to Florida spouses are able to sell products and services to clients around the globe. Why is this new way of working so appealing to military spouses?
Spouses look forward to those three little words every three to four years, Honey, we are relocating. In times past this meant quitting ones job and starting all over, portable careers however allow a spouse to take not only their career/business but also his/her clientele, this benefit alone eliminates the reduction in household income.
Portable careers are especially appealing to spouses who are self-disciplined, enjoy working alone, and are comfortable using technology.
Examples of portable careers that a spouse could start include: freelance writing, web design, graphics illustration, programming, event planner, secretarial support, virtual assistance, translations, transcription, information research and retrieval, photography, interviewer and the list goes on.
The most appealing aspect of starting an online virtual business is the minimal start-up costs.
Question: Do you currently possess the following?
- Desktop or Laptop computer
- Printer (inkjet or laser/color or black & white)
- A personal cell phone with voice mail
- Internet Access (dial-up or high-speed)
- personal email account (free or paid)
- Productivity software (Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works Suite, WordPerfect)
- Microsoft Outlook Express
- A space to set up your office
- Pens/Pencils/Writing Paper and Computer Paper
- A money-making hobby or marketable talent/skill
If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, chances are, you have about 85% of what you need in terms of skill sets, equipment, and basic office supplies to get started in your new virtual business, and, you saved yourself about $1900.00 or more in your computer hardware and software start-up costs (costs which would have been spent on learning a new skill set through a technical or community college — not included).
Important tips to keep in mind when starting any type of business: be sure to check your local laws (business licensing, zoning, etc.), if you are thinking about starting a business from government quarters be sure to check with your base housing and/or JAG office for authorization.
Remember, the next time your spouse announces those three little words Honey, we’re relocating, simply “Pack your Career and Go“.
About the author:
Victoria M. Parham is a (retired) army wife, veteran, talk radio host, and Career Strategist. Propelling people to reach their greatest career potential.
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