Over 200,000 U.S. veterans return to civilian life each year, and the transition to that old lifestyle can be challenging. One of the things that they often have difficulty with is finding a way to use their military-honed skills to get a job and make a livelihood. But what veterans might be forgetting is that they have plenty of skills that today’s employers are looking for – grace under pressure, quick thinking, and technical skill, among others.
Many veterans have what it takes to start their own businesses, as they possess skills, knowledge, networks, and resources. Here is a list of top business ideas for veterans so that you can put your personal loan or VA mortgage to good use.
Many people say that starting a franchise business is a much safer option than starting your own business from scratch. And in some ways, that’s true. Rather than conducting extensive and tiresome research about the market and consumer purchasing habits, you would already be dealing with something that you know has a sizable market. Most of the data that you need will already be laid in front of you. There are, however, still some risks involved, but not as much as there would be when starting a new business.
One thing that makes franchising an excellent business opportunity for veterans, in particular, is all the rules that are involved. Veterans are excellent at following the rules, so following operating manuals that are hundreds of pages long shouldn’t be difficult. Those who struggle with running a franchise business are often those that are unwilling to follow those rules.
For example, franchisors might not be allowed to offer products or services that weren’t listed in the agreement. They might also be limited to decorating their locations with only the colors and fixtures that the parent brand stated.
One thing you’ll take away from the military is acute expertise and dexterity in physical fitness. This could make you the perfect candidate to be a personal trainer.
Your military training also gives you the advantage of changing workout routines to make them more challenging and interesting. Being more than familiar with calisthenics and obstacle courses, you’ll be able to incorporate them into your clients’ routines to help build strength and endurance.
Another aspect of fitness that you can focus on is self-defense training. Apart from just the physical fitness benefits, you can teach your clients or students how to defend themselves, in turn helping them boost their confidence. Muay Thai and boxing, for instance, are hailed in the fitness world for being effective high-intensity workout regimens. They effectively burn fat and lower stress levels instantly while also sharpening reflexes and hand-eye coordination.
Apart from just workouts, you can also consider stepping into something more universal and integral – healthcare, particularly for fellow veterans and their families. More than anyone else, you would have an understanding of what benefits need to be included in a veteran’s healthcare package. You’d also know what benefits and support their families would need. Your experience with the military would also make you more trustworthy in the eyes of veterans and their families to provide these kinds of services.
You can also use your knowledge of and connections in tech and IT for founding a startup for something you’re passionate about. Think of a field you’re passionate about or a sector you’d like to help, and think about how you can apply technology in that field. For example, how can technology help engage students in the classroom? Elemental Path was founded by a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps to manufacture smart toys that can make classroom learning a more enjoyable experience for young children.
In the food industry, Plated was a veteran-founded startup that endeavored to use technology to make healthy, high-quality meals more accessible to everyone. Customers sign up for weekly food boxes containing all the ingredients they would need to prepare their meals.
The connections you’ve made in the military and your knowledge of technology can also come in handy should you choose to go into private security. When it comes to security detailing for certain households or individuals, you’ll need knowledge on operating security systems and what technological upgrades can be made to improve them. Setting up a private security firm might also involve contacting your network from your military days for manpower and other resources.
Veterans often find it difficult to adjust back into civilian life, especially regarding finding a new job. But the truth is that they possess a wealth of skills, knowledge, and indispensable resources should they decide to start their own business.