Transition is an ongoing process for any person but for the veteran community the scale of the change can be extremely dramatic. For the purposes of this article, the community includes ex-service personnel who have left the military, currently serving members and their families. From the first dramatic shift into the military, to the life changing separation which can redefine a person’s sense of purpose and sense of self-identity. Regardless if the transition is forced through a medical discharge or a personal decision, it can be a time of great uncertainty with many challenges.
The immediate concern for many is employment. Whilst the majority will seek paid employment, or a job, there are many who are called to the path of entrepreneurship, looking to carve their own path and seek self-employment. For those who choose this path, the road less taken, there are distinct challenges but abundant opportunities ahead.
The Australian soldier, sailor or airman is well suited to self-employment, largely due to the high level of skills and training from their military career which is directly transferable into entrepreneurial pursuits. The focus on delivering results, ability to lead teams, plan operational delivery, gather intelligence and understand the environment around them are among many obvious examples. How it is the intangible character traits of the veteran community which really have the most impact. Determination and understanding hard work may be required, resolution to complete the task, a sense of loyalty and honour when it comes to making deals and transactions.
Self-employment is also a viable path for partners and spouses of both serving members and veterans as a career option. They have also demonstrated commitment and service as they juggle to manage families, careers, social networks and their own sense of purpose during their time supporting the service member. The uprooting and dislocation on the never ending posting cycle severely hampers continuous career progression caring a heavier workload than average in parental responsibilities when the serving member is absent.
Whilst there are a plethora of skills that transfer from the military to business, there are gaps that need to be filled. Raising business acumen and education in the fields of sales, marketing, accounting, cash flow and digital transformation are all essential. However, it is rebuilding or sustaining a connection to the community which is most powerful. The willingness of the veteran community to support, share and encourage others is second to none. When two strangers, who are both members of the veteran community come together in a business transaction, the baseline level of trust and understanding is very powerful. This sense of striving for a win-win solution can lead to engaging, lasting and profitable relationships.
Flexibility, control and the ability to geographically relocate as required are all tempting reasons to pursue self-employment. The ability to be responsible for your own decisions, carve out your own path, create your own impact on the world and provide jobs and livelihoods to others can lead to a powerful sense of new purpose and identity.
The Veteran Community Business Chamber is a purpose designed organisation to develop existing businesses and provide a pathway to self-employment. Founded and operated by veterans for the veteran community.
Veteran community entrepreneurship – dare to be different.
Pete is a former Australian Army Officer who transitioned successfully to self-employment. A passionate advocate of veteran community entrepreneurship, Peter has co-founded several businesses with Duntroon classmate Matthew Moseley including trusttheprocess.com.au
Peter and Matthew are the co-founders and co-CEO’s of the Veteran Community Business Chamber.