Jess Sands is no stranger to the challenges of starting a business. After giving up her career to live the military life, she set up her own company and is passionate about helping other service spouses and partners do the same. She initially started The InDependent Spouse – a series of fun, informative podcasts exploring the world of business featuring inspiring military entrepreneurs – which evolved into the Milspo business network. We caught up with Jess to find out more…
Tell us about your reasons for creating the Milspo business network.
It started as a way to connect the amazing guests that feature on The InDependent Spouse podcast to the greater community of Milspo business owners. The network has grown massively so we wanted a new name to reflect how inclusive it is. Milspo stands for Military Spouses, Partners and Other-halves.
What type of activities do you do?
We connect online and offline through events, training and mentoring. We often organise ‘ask the expert’ training and more generalised support to help us navigate through military life.
How do you mentor business owners?
The Milspo network is all about connection, no matter where you’re posted. If you can find someone, just like you, achieving their dreams despite the challenges of military life, you can be inspired and mentored by them.
How have you managed to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic?
We started weekly online Milspo meet-ups– a chance to have a friendly chat and check-in to make sure that the community was okay. We’re hoping to evolve into real-life meet-ups in time. My advice to others is to take forward all of those things learnt during lockdown and apply it to how your business is now. Maybe you became aware of how precious time with family is, maybe you regained your love of reading or you took your business offerings online. Whatever it is, incorporate that into this new normal. Make sure you’re running your business, not that your business is running you.
Join the community at milspo.co.uk
“I highly recommend Milspo catch-ups – the amount of knowledge that’s shared collectively is an amazing resource that’s worth so much,” she says. “Milspo has welcomed and supported me, enabling my confidence to rocket and given me the idea to launch into virtual events as well as to specialise my business.”
Military wives and SWiRL Global owners Steph, a swim teacher, and Rachael, a designer, add: “Milspo is an amazing network who not only understand the struggles of running and setting up a business but also military life and the highs and lows that come with that.
“We especially like the weekly catch-ups to check in with everyone, celebrate the highs and assist anyone that is struggling because every business has issues.”