Tuesday, November 26, 2019

6 Reality Checks for the work-from-home military wife

The nuts and bolts of starting a home-based career are the same in any sphere of life, but when you’re a military wife you have to take into consideration the many variables that come your way. From unexpected postings (PCS), to long stints of single parenting when the hubby is deployed, to the many logistical issues that happen when you’re living at a small base, there are lots of big and small things that add color to entrepreneurial life.

work-from-home milpreneur

Have you factored in these 6 reality checks in your work-from-home plan?
1.     Posting orders and frequent moves to military bases anywhere around the country: Just when you’re getting cozy at work, your husband might come home with his posting/PCS orders. This means, slowing down your work and diving straight into a flurry of packing and moving. Add to that the long wait for accommodation at the next base, and then some more for a working internet connection, and you’ve got a ready-made sabbatical thrown in. 
2.   The need to tweak your venture/business/career goals as per the new place or portfolio:
This may not be true for everyone, but my work goes through changes whenever we move. When we were in a tiny little town, I worked on content writing projects. When we moved to a larger town, I changed my focus to freelance journalism for publications across the country and the world. As a health coach, when we were in bases where consulting clients at home wasn’t permitted, I’d coach via Skype. And in yet another major city, I launched a green lifestyle online magazine and started teaching in-person workshops. Every base and place has certain limitations, and when you work with those, you can continue with your career.
3.   Long and frequent stints of single parenting when the husband is deployed: Deployments and tours of duty are common in the military, with your spouse having to leave on a TD at short notice and for long stretches of time. And, when you’re on your own, being the primary caregiver to your kids as well as trying to work, your days can get a tad overwhelming. I tend to slow down some on the work front during those times so that I'm not burning the candle on both ends. 
4.   Social, welfare and volunteer commitments at short notice, which can change your work timetable: Let’s be honest, the social scene is very active at military bases. You have parties, welfare meets, coffee mornings, Ladies Club events and VIP visits to cater to. These take you away from your home office for a considerable amount of time. But the idea is not to throw in the towel at work or refuse to attend the events. Depending on your work goals and the social schedule, prioritize what you need to do and where you need to be. 
5.    Lack of understanding within the community about what it takes to be a military spouse entrepreneur: When I started working-from-home 14 years back, people would ask me all sorts of strange questions about what I did. I’d either get all prickly about it or spend copious amounts of time explaining my work. None of it helped. So over the years, I’ve learned to accept the fact that very few are actually interested in what you do and the odd comment about your work-from-home life is an inevitable part of it.
6.   Erratic internet connection that can slow down your work: At almost every military base we’ve been posted to, getting an internet connection has been a challenge and when we’ve finally got it, getting it to work regularly has been an issue we’ve dealt with time and again. This slows down the work process, makes meeting deadlines a mammoth task and generally, drains you out. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it, but accept these challenges as part of the journey and deal with it.

Things to think of:

  • What are the logistical and daily life glitches that you foresee when you work-from-home? 
  • How do you plan to deal with these?
  • Do let me know by leaving a comment below. 
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