Prior to 2020, the unemployment rate among veterans hovered around 3.5 percent — higher than the national average. Military Times explains that following the outbreak of the pandemic, it soared to 6.4 percent, with some segments of the veteran population harder hit than others.
If you are a veteran struggling to find a suitable job in the “real world,” why not start your own business? Entrepreneurship allows you to be your own boss and presents unique challenges that you will find far more exciting than the standard nine-to-five.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, the following tips can help veterans embracing entrepreneurship.
Determine what type of business you want to start
From gardening to books, if you have a personal hobby you’re passionate about, there’s a good chance you can turn it into a business. But if you’re stumped on what that might be, Under 30 CEO offers a comprehensive list of easy-to-start businesses tailored to first-time entrepreneurs. Options include pre-selling, offering private lessons, and web design.
You can also consider starting a franchise if you’re a first-timer. You pay a fee and get to open a fully branded business with a name that customers will already recognize. But if a franchise isn’t for you, be sure to come up with a creative (yet straightforward) name for your venture.
Get any necessary credentials
You already have many of the skills you will need to thrive as an entrepreneur. The military is the best training for entrepreneurship you can get. It teaches valuable skills like strategic planning, leadership, and resiliency.
That said, you may need some additional educational credentials to thrive as an entrepreneur. Classes in basics like accounting and marketing will give you valuable business skills, and many vets qualify for education benefits. Check local community colleges for affordable options. You can also find free entrepreneurship courses online.
Establish your business as a legal entity
Once you know what kind of business you want to start, you can establish it as a formal entity. A Limited Liability Company is a popular option, and for good reason. It’s less complicated to set up and maintain but will still protect your personal liability in case your company gets into legal troubles. An LLC also offers tax advantages.
Instead of creating an LLC, you may choose to form a corporation. A corporation also offers tax advantages, and it’ll be easier to attract investors. When choosing which state to form your corporation in, be sure to research the best state to start a business for tax purposes.
Create your business website and other marketing materials
Every business needs a website. This is an affordable and easy marketing tool that can generate interest in your company and attract clients. Having a website also makes your business credible and allows you to control your brand. You can create your own website using template sites like Wix. Take your branding to the next level by using a professional photographer — for example, to take a great professional picture of you for your website. People like to get a face to a name.
Start hustling for your first clients
With the above steps complete, you can start actually running your business. The first step? Getting clients. There are many ways you can attract customers, from social media marketing to pay-per-click advertisements on Google. There are ample ways to draw new customers, like requesting referrals, networking, and offering discounts for new clients. Try out a variety of methods to see what works for your audience.
Starting your own business is exciting, but it can also be intimidating. Don’t stress. The above guide takes you through the process step-by-step. And remember: While this might be scary now, entrepreneurship will likely be a breeze compared to your time in the military.