If the self-assessment activities you completed earlier indicated that your abilities and skills are entrepreneurial, you may be best suited for self-employment. Many of the skills and personal qualities you may have acquired while in the service, such as patience, drive, perseverance, sacrifice, problem solving, and handling adversity, are well suited for becoming a successful entrepreneur. Approximately 4.5 million veterans currently own their own businesses, which represents nearly 18 percent of all businesses in the United States.
If you decide to go into business for yourself, make sure you choose the right business for your particular skills, abilities, motivation, and interests. Research different types of businesses in order to better understand advantages, disadvantages, procedures, processes, and possible problems. Talk to business owners about their work.
You should approach business opportunities the same way you approach the job market: do research, develop networks, and conduct informational and referral interviews. Try to learn as much as possible about the reality before you invest your time and money. Contact fellow veterans who have started their own businesses, especially those affiliated with The Veterans Corporation or found through the directory of veteran businesses located on VetFriends.
Other resources include the Small Business Administration website’s section on whether you are best suited for the entrepreneurial life at http://www.sba.gov/starting-business, and their section of free online courses on starting a business at www.sba.gov/sba-learning-center. Free online business courses are also available at My Own Business Institute.
Several government agencies and nonprofit organizations offer a wealth of assistance to veterans interested in starting their own business. The following websites and programs are designed specifically for entrepreneurial veterans:
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their military service.
Military veterans can make successful franchise owners namely because they typically have a strong work ethic and the ability to follow the rules, key attributes for a franchisee. For information on franchising, click the Franchise Tab on the menu bar above.
For a compilation of these resources to help you start your own business, download the Resources for Entrepreneurship worksheet.