Veterans are some of our nation’s most brave and generous souls. From the military to the navy, from the air force to the marines, our veterans literally risked their lives so that their fellow citizens could continue living in a safe and prosperous nation.
Sadly, many veterans return home after serving their country with physical and mental health issues that can lead to other more serious issues such as suicidal thoughts and substance abuse, and possibly even a sense of uncertainty about what to do next. For wounded veterans who must now learn to live with disabilities, it can feel like hope is lost for reclaiming the lives they enjoyed before.
Thanks to government assistance programs and advances in modern technology, many veterans – including those with mental health issues and physical disabilities – are finding new freedom as business owners. In fact, if every disabled veteran in the United States started his or her own business this year, it would bring an additional 3.8 million businesses into the nation’s economy.
It’s a fact that many veterans are not only turning their lives around as entrepreneurs; many are also thriving in happy, fulfilled lifestyles and relationships. If you or a loved one are a wounded veteran considering taking taking the plunge into business ownership, here are a few things to consider:
What type of business do you want to run?
Your very first step on the path to entrepreneurship should be your business idea. What type of business do you want to run? What industry would be a good fit for you? Will you build your own idea from scratch, assist the government with a project, or open a franchise?
Veterans should also take their physical health, mental health, location and interests into consideration when deciding on the right business idea. Here’s a great list of business ideas for veterans, if you need help brainstorming.
Who are your ideal clients?
Will you continue to collaborate with the government as a contractor? This can be an easy transition for many veterans. Many of these government contracts are in high demand and include great pay and benefits.
If government contracting is not for you, you could also consider making money from your passions. Many veterans are choosing to open retail stores or selling crafts online. Wheelchair-bound veterans may be happy to know that online businesses could be a great fit for them. By taking a moment to consider your industry and the types of clients you want to work with, you can help narrow your focus and set your future business up for success!
How will you secure funding?
Financing a new business is a hurdle many business owners need some assistance overcoming – and the same is true for veterans. Luckily, the government and the Veteran’s Health Administration are here to help. The United States government offers a variety of grants for new business owners, and some of these are specifically reserved for veterans interested in opening their own businesses.
If you apply for a grant and are turned down, don’t fret. Angel investors and venture capital are two other ways to raise money to launch a new business idea. Of course, it’s important to realize that not all cities have angel investors or venture capitalists. Depending on where you live, it may be necessary to travel out of state to pitch your idea to investors.
What are you waiting for?
As you can see, there are many options for veterans looking to open their own business. Disabled veterans should not despair; entrepreneurship can be a fulfilling pathway into a free and happy life after serving your country. Although you might have to put a bit more thought into your business strategy as a disabled veteran, the rewards of running your own business are well worth it.