What Makes Entrepreneurship A Fulfilling Career for Military Spouses

We interviewed seven military spouse entrepreneurs and small business owners to discover why they pursued entrepreneurship, how their military experience has contributed to their journey, what has helped them along the way, and what wisdom they’ve gained.

This Military Spouse Appreciation Day, take a moment to get to know military spouses in our community and the businesses they’ve built. 

Why They Pursued Entrepreneurship

Yasmin George Military Spouse Entrepreneur

“My husband and I were living apart the majority of the time he was in service because of my job. Once he was out, I wanted to create a life of freedom for us mostly so we could spend more time together as a family. I’ve also had a long career working for other startups, and I thought it was about time for me to venture out and do my best to have an impact [on small business owners]. I wanted to help affect their bottom line after seeing so many of them struggle. I noticed there was a huge void in small business owners in understanding how marketing can be used as a driver to grow their businesses. And from there, Trend Lab was born.”
—Yasmin George, founder and CEO of Trend Lab, Army military spouse, Veterans in Residence and CEOcircle alum

“Entrepreneurship wasn’t always the most obvious route for me, but I’ve realized that my love or ‘why’ for pursuing entrepreneurship was to be able to take something from concept to reality and know that I was playing a major role in making that happen. Being hands-on and having the ability to create programs and initiatives that I believe in has been such a rewarding aspect of entrepreneurship.”
— Alexa Modero, co-founder of Backpacks for Life, Marine Corps military spouse, Veterans in Residence alum

Alexa Modero Military Spouse Entrepreneur
Shea Sines Military Spouse Entrepreneur

“I started this business shortly after we moved while my husband was deployed. Our last move had gone terribly wrong, and it would be nearly six months before our moving claim for extensive loss and damage was fully resolved. I was a frustrated consumer on a mission to prevent others from picking up the pieces of a bad move.”
—Shea Sines, founder, BoxOps, U.S. Army military spouse, Veterans in Residence alum

“Starting your own business allows you to connect and contribute to your community in a way that working for someone else does not. It’s an outlet for creativity.”
—Robin Sussingham, publisher and editor-in-chief of Edible Tampa Bay, U.S Air Force military spouse, Veterans in Residence cohort member

Robin Sussingham Military Spouse Entrepreneur
Joana Linares Military Spouse

“As a military spouse, a portable and fulfilling entrepreneurial career was an optimal solution for the sometimes underemployment, periods of unemployment, and constant job-hopping difficulties experienced after every PCS.” 
—Joana Linares, owner, Enumerista, LLC, Army military spouse, Launch Lab Online participant

“Another motivating factor was how difficult it is to build a career as a military spouse, even with multiple degrees in a specific field. I had been rejected for dozens of jobs at every duty station and even struggled to get jobs I was overqualified for. I was burnt out. I finally committed to hiring myself instead … and I got to work on BoxOps!”
—Shea Sines, BoxOps

Shea Sines Military Spouse Entrepreneur

How the Military Experience Amplifies Entrepreneurship

Yolanda Clarke Military Spouse Entrepreneur

“The military community is incredibly diverse. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. Sharing your growth with others creates a flywheel effect. I built greater momentum for my company working with my community in San Diego and that drew more interested people closer. The new introductions lead to more new introductions and it has allowed me to continue to find people I need to learn from at the next stage of growth or stabilization.”
—Yolanda Clarke, CEO and founder of Powder River Industries; former San Diego Bunker Labs Ambassador; Officer, Army Reserves; Marine Corps military spouse

“My military spouse experience has helped me develop some resilience and adaptability skills that have become essential in running my virtual bookkeeping business.”
—Joana Linares, Enumerista, LLC

Joana Linares Military Spouse Entrepeneur
Shea Sines Military Spouse Entrepreneur

“Knowing how high the military spouse unemployment/underemployment rates are, I’ve always felt inspired to build my business model around the goal of hiring spouses remotely from their respective duty stations all over the world, along with the plan to hire spouses locally once we expand into any future warehouse. I look forward to finally being able to hire in the future and bringing on the often-overlooked and undervalued military spouse community!”
—Shea Sines, BoxOps

“The grit and determination of my military spouse community encourages me, and inspires me to keep going.”
—Reda Hicks, Founder and CEO of GotSpot, Inc, Army military spouse, Veterans in Residence alum

Reda Hicks Military Spouse Entrepreneur

“As a military spouse, I learned to be resilient and adaptable. I also felt a lot of honor being a part of this community and supporting my husband. These are all attributes necessary to have success in entrepreneurship. You need to believe in what you are doing and why you are doing it.  It’s also a bumpy ride, so the resiliency and adaptability are key. But you also have to love the journey, especially the bumps!”
– Yasmin George, Trend Lab

Entrepreneurship Milestones

Entrepreneurship isn’t easy, especially for military spouses who often find themselves jugging family needs, coordinating multiple moves and growing their businesses. These entrepreneurs share milestones in their entrepreneur journey.

Alexa Modero Military Spouse Entrepreneur

Backpacks for Life has been named:

  • 2018 Vetty Award Winner for Veteran Homelessness
  • 2019-2020 Homeless Veteran Outreach Award winner for American Legion New Jersey

We’ve also distributed over 7,800 backpacks to veterans in 24 states. 
— Alexa Modero, Backpacks for Life

“We successfully launched our first issue in March 2021.”
—Robin Sussingham, Edible Tampa Bay

Robin Sussingham Military Spouse Entrepreneur
Reda Hicks Military Spouse Entrepreneur

GotSpot has been a: 

  • MassChallenge Texas Top Finalist
  • Winner, Great American Military Entrepreneur Challenge
  • Finalist, USCOC Dream Big Award
  • Finalist, The Rosie Network’s National Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards
  • Finalist, Houston Community College Small Business Plan Competition—Reda Hicks, GotSpot, Inc
  • Launched on Etsy marketplace in April of 2020
  • BoxOps® became a registered trademark in April of 2021
  • Began working with a manufacturer to outsource printing in July 2020
  • Scaled our product offerings from two to 10+ in less than a year and expanded our room labels to offer sets for up to 5-bedroom homes.
  • Served over 400+ customers in five different countries
  • Began offering wholesale + bulk orders in 2021 and had our first wholesale client (we love working with real estate agents, professional organizers, small retailers, moving companies, school fundraisers, military FRG groups, and more!)
  • Organically grew our social media (primarily Instagram) from 0 to over 1200+ followers in under one year
  • Website coming soon, as well as expanding to other marketplaces
  • – Working on extensive pipeline of creative and practical moving supplies for future online store
    —Shea Sines, BoxOps, Veterans in Residence alum
Shea Sines Military Spouse Entrepreneur

Bunker Labs’ Impact on Military Spouses

“I attest my ramp-up to Bunker’s Veterans in Residence program. It’s given me a platform, feedback and mentors who care. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey and to be a part of a group of vets and milspouse entrepreneurs who get you and the journey is beyond measure of gratitude. I have also been given multiple platforms to be on a panel to speak, to moderate panels, to host workshops to help other members—it’s been nothing short of amazing! I’ve also made some really close, lifelong friends, and a network I feel I can reach out to (and vice versa) anytime I need help or have a question.”
—Yasmin George, The Trend Lab

“The Veterans in Residence program prepped me on how to properly articulate my business idea in a pitch and in conversational networking. Bunker Labs helped put our organization on the map at a national level which led to sponsorships, grants and endless opportunities within the veteran community.”
— Alexa Modero, Backpacks for Life

“I’ve met some of my favorite people through Bunker Labs. For example, I met Marissa Limsiaco at a Bunker Labs Austin event, and we have become friends and ‘battle buddies’ in entrepreneurship. We both pitched at the San Antonio Muster, and it was so much fun winning together! Now that she’s in Florida we don’t see each other often, but she’s still one of my favorite people to call for a catch-up and a business gut-check.

Anthony Gantt and I both went through the MassChallenge Texas/Austin program, but in different years. This week, a mentor from the program reached out to both of us on LinkedIn to sing our respective praises and say, ‘Y’all should know each other!’ It was fun to be able to tell him we were already well acquainted with each other’s awesomeness through Bunker.”
—Reda Hicks, GotSpot, Inc

“Bunker Labs Veterans in Residence has empowered me to drill down on my business model, helped me prioritize more critical growth-related tasks over unnecessary busy work, and expanded my networking and business skills through group settings and masterclasses on some of the most relevant topics!

Bunker Labs has increased my network tenfold, as there were many military-connected entrepreneurs I had heard of but never met—until now.  I am so thankful to have a forever-support system through our military community.”
—Shea Sines, founder, BoxOps

“Often, the military spouse also feels a sense of mission and, by necessity, also has a life that revolves around the military. By the time my husband retired, nearly half my lifetime was spent as a military spouse. The transition to civilian life can be difficult for the military spouse as well as the military member. The service that Bunker Labs is providing for the military spouse, alongside those for the service member, is truly valuable.” —Robin Sussingham, Edible Tampa Bay

All Bunker Labs programming is available at no-cost to ensure military spouses, veterans, and active duty service members have access to the network, resources, and tools they need to accomplish their entrepreneurial dreams. We need your support to continue this work! Make a donation today to support a military-connected entrepreneur accomplish their entrepreneurial dreams.

Entrepreneurship Takeaways

“Set your own measures of success and hold yourself accountable only to those. You can’t be everything to everyone. Choose wisely where you invest your energy.”
—Yolanda Clarke, Powder River Industries

Yolanda Clarke Military Spouse Entrepreneur
Robin Sussingham Military Spouse Entrepreneur

“It’s important to be part of a network; there’s so much knowledge to be shared.”
—Robin Sussingham, Edible Tampa Bay

“Entrepreneurship takes a village; no one should ever feel like they have to go it alone.”
—Reda Hicks, GotSpot, Inc

Reda Hicks Military Spouse Entrepreneur

Support the Military Spouse Community

This Military Appreciation Month support active duty, veteran, and military spouses pursue their entrepreneurial dreams by donating to Bunker Labs. All Bunker Labs programming is available at no-cost to ensure the military-connected community has access to the network, resources, and tools they need to accomplish their entrepreneurial dreams. Donate to Bunker Labs Today – every dollar helps us expand programming and outreach to the milspouse and veteran community. 

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