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Spring 2013 Vol.1 Issue 1

Magazine

A Savvy Spouse Network Family Finances Getting Hired Social Media

A Recap of the 2012 NMSN

Military Spouse Career Summit


I’m so happy you’ve found your way to the National Military Spouse Network. I founded the NMSN as a professional development and networking organization to support military spouses. Those of you who know me know that I’ve been working military spouse issues for quite awhile. One of the most remarkable things I found through the years is how many military spouses were out there living the dream. Not only were they supporting their service member, single parenting through deployments and maintaining the homefront, they had these amazing careers going on....in the most interesting industries. Now, I had met lots of spouses pursuing “portable careers”, but where did these spouses come from who were government consultants, congressional staffers, highly placed DoD officials, corporate execs?!? I was meeting the most fascinating military spouses who had networked themselves into some fabulous jobs. And they really were balancing it all. They had cracked the code on how to balance their careers with the military lifestyle. Needless to say, I was in awe. I consider myself a relatively intelligent person, but I’d always put my own ambitions on the back burner, subconsciously “waiting” for my turn. Looking back, I’m wondering what I was waiting for! Did I really think I was going to be more marketable in my 40’s than I would be in my 20’s? So, big lesson learned - don’t wait! Even if we can’t progress in our careers as quickly as we’d like due to multiple moves and demands on our time, there are little steps we can take along the way so that when we’re ready to go full steam ahead, we’ve got the skills and the networks in place to get us where we need to be. So back to these phenomenal spouses I was meeting with these crazy careers....every single one of them was so eager to share their stories. When I sat down and started speaking to them, I was stunned by their candor. They shared it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. They didn’t hold back on the lessons they learned, things they wished someone had shared with them and the advice they would give to military spouses making the same journey. So, in addition to sharing some resources and great content with you, the NMSN will continue to look for ways to highlight all the great things military spouses are doing in the career arena - because sometimes it’s easier to dream big and achieve great things when you know that someone’s already blazed that trail and left behind a map for you. Best,

Sue Hoppin

is the founder and president of the National Military Spouse Network, a consultant on military family issues and the co-author of, “A Family’s Guide to the Military for Dummies”. Before founding the NMSN, Sue served as the first deputy director for spouse outreach for a military affiliated non-profit with a 375,000+ membership. She is a recognized subject matter expert on military spouse and family issues and has spoken to audiences nationwide ranging from installation career events to leadership training sessions and national conferences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Oklahoma.

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In this Issue Networking is All About True Connection

21 Military Spouse Appreciation Night

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A Savvy Spouse Network

13 Save the Date for 2013

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Meet the Experts...

14 Family Financial Summit

8 Returning to Work

16 Fun with Goal setting

10 Recap of the 2012 Summit

18 Hidden Conflicts

12 Get A Job Series:Part I

22 Social Media

No part of this publication and/or website may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher.

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A Savvy Spouse Network:

The National Military Spouse Network Isn’t Just Your Average Network By Dr. Krista Wells

Recently, a fellow business colleague asked me to come to a local business networking meeting that excited her. “Krista, it’s before work hours; you can share your elevator speech, and attract lots of new business!” Ugh! I secretly thought. Not only was it held at the exact time I get my kids off to school; it was too structured and artificial for me.

Then I heard about the National Military Spouse Network run by Sue Hoppin, a born connector, and I thought… YES! This is more my style. Sue is so obviously living out her passion of helping military spouses recognize and achieve their dreams, goals, and ambitions regardless of the twists and turns inevitably part of military life. Sue’s idea of connecting with other professional military spouses that value collaborating, supporting, and encouraging is brilliant; I can be myself.

I find that military spouses are forced to do a lot on their own. Work, clean the house, raise the kids, help a friend in need, and pack the house up when necessary; and deal with life’s added challenges. The tasks are different for each of us, but the feeling of being overwhelmed is often universal. So when we begin our professional journey we often try to apply the same formula of doing it all. The problem is that successful people do not accomplish success all alone--they have lots of opportunity to learn, lots of support, and lots of cheerleaders. The

National Military Spouse Network is a safe place for me to share my ideas and get heartfelt feedback.

In Self-reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “to believe in your own thought … is genius.” How often have we looked at the successes of others and said, “I could do that!” But then we dismiss our own thoughts--doubt them; postpone them--because we don’t trust in our ability to really follow through on our good ideas.Then we get discouraged when we see someone else pursue our idea! What we really need is a little support and encouragement and then we can create the character we desire, changing our circumstances and taking action toward success. We have to stop beating ourselves up for not being able to do it all alone and instead embrace a cheering squad. No profession or independent business is too small or too large for the owner to benefit from a networking group.

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A networking group is a powerful tool because it takes the guess work out of everyday professional struggles, and allows us to focus on our strengths, rather than feeling that we have to know everything. I met a military spouse who sold Body Shop products independently and was struggling until she began networking with a woman who understood social media and networking online. Lisa was able to reach a whole new level of success. A study from the Small Business Administration showed that, between 2001 and 2004, business owners with an advisory board grew 44%, while those without one only grew 25%; support makes a big difference! What I love about the National Military Spouse Network is that I am networking with others that truly understand my challenges and can help each other each step of the way. But, this time it’s wrapped up with being part

of a loving community, how perfect!

Networking provides growth opportunities. When you join a network, have a goal in mind about what the networking group can do for you professionally so you don’t get lost in the details and can progress. Consider, if you have a valuable $150 product to sell then you need 700 people who are very interested in that product as part of your network to earn a six figure income each year. Networking gives you access to unlimited resources. Even if you don’t see someone in your immediate network with the skills you need, there is power in numbers. Often people who can’t help you on the surface know someone who can, but you need to be willing to ask for help and trust that the answer is out there.

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Networking allows you to contribute. Don’t be shy in your network. When Sue first mentioned to me that she is starting a professional network I didn’t just want to join, I wanted to contribute. I asked her if I could submit an article on networking as a way of becoming a more intimate part of the group from the get go; what can you do? Networking is an easy way to nurture professional relationships. So often we begin developing a priceless relationship, but do nothing to sustain it. Taking a day or a month (depending on the type of business), set work tasks aside and just check in with others or offer a colleague a new resource--a great way to nurture the relationships and cheer each other on.

Happening now at www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

Catch the 3rd installment of Janet Farley’s “Get a Job” Series Homefront Business Listings Work with talented military spouse freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Krista Wells, Ph.D. is The Military Spouse Coach; a professional certified career coach, speaker and contributing writer for several military publications such as milspouse.com, militarymoney. com, and CinCHouse.com. Krista is a motivational speaker and delivers workshops on military bases worldwide to help women create balance between their personal and professional lives.

If you’d like to get your own business listed, join NMSN to take advantage of this member benefit.

“ THE GREATEST

DANGER FOR MOST OF US IS NOT THAT OUR AIMS ARE TOO HIGH AND WE MISS IT, BUT THAT IT IS TOO LOW AND WE REACH IT. ” MICHELANGELO

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Sign up for our monthly newsletter Get targeted military spouse career and employment information delivered right to your inbox monthly.

Calendar of events Join us for our no-host meetups, coworking events or members only Around the Water Cooler chats. Mark your calendars now for our 3rd Annual Military Spouse Career Summit taking place October 2013 in Alexandria, Virginia. Connect with us...

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Meet the

Experts...

Learn more about our experts on our website.... Carol Bowser is the president of Conflict Management Strategies Inc. and is an expert in workplace conflict --what creates it and how to resolve it. While she HATES arguments, she loves maintaining sanity and increasing production by jumping into conflict to fully resolve it. “…What I really like is listening to people’s stories and working outside the legal system to repair workplace relationships…” She received her law degree from Seattle University School of Law and her Mediation Training through Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution. Carol is a speaker, trainer, and consultant for employers on how to avoid workplace conflict. Phil Dyer is a successful serial entrepreneur, trainer, facilitator, speaker and author. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he served as an Armor officer in both Germany and the United States, achieving the rank of Captain. Since separating from Active Duty, Phil has worked in corporate sales for a Fortune 100 company, served as the national financial educator for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and started several companies.

Janet Farley offers military service members and their families her own brand of straight-forward career management and job search advice. Janet is the author of the Militaryto-Civilian Career Transition Guide, 2nd Edition, the Military Spouse’s Complete Guide to Career Success and she writes the JobTalk column for Stars and Stripes Newspaper. She is also the Home Front columnist for the Military Officer’s of America (MoAA) and contributing editor to Bradley-Morris, Inc.,’s Civilian Job News.

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Joyce Neave is an authority on fashion and style. As founder of That Mom, Inc. Joyce has been “Styling” for over twenty years. Her many accolades include: Style Setter by Washington Post, Ten Well Dressed Women in Washington by Washingtonian Magazine, Profiled on WUSA9 News to highlight her wardrobe consulting practice as well as her forward thinking blog. Joyce is a consultant for several newspapers and blogs. “…I am a wardrobe consultant and personal shopper who specializes in helping moms find their stylized potential.Whether play-dates, PowerPoints or date night, That Mom, Inc. has you covered…”

Greta Perry’s background makes her superbly qualified to provide what any business interested in developing their on-line presence requires. She holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Maine. During her many moves around the U.S as a military wife, she became a professional volunteer, mostly in leadership positions that involved her use of technology and new media. Greta has also spent countless hours in the military nonprofit world using her communication skills, both on and off the computer, to achieve positive results. From January of 2010 through January 2012, she was the co-owner of a social media consulting firm. Setting new goals in her life, she decided to launch her own company, GP Online Media on February 1, 2012, with the creation of Kickify, while also bringing her blogs under her parent company umbrella.

Human Resources/Civilian Benefits Expert Julie Waters earned an MS in Human Resources Management from Troy University and is also a certified Professional in Human Resources. Over the last 12 years, Julie has held various Human Resource positions starting her career at FHC Health Systems in Norfolk,Virginia, and most recently at the Military Officers Association of America in Alexandria,

Virginia where she served as the Director of Human Resources. Julie was lucky enough to choose a career that easily transfers between employers as her husband’s assignments moved them from city to city. She holds a special interest in career building for military spouses as she feels it is important to have something personal outside of our military lifestyle. Julie currently resides in Spokane, Washington where she is an HR Consultant.

Krista Wells, Ph.D.,The Military Spouse Coach ®, loves helping military spouses who are ready for change, create careers they feel passionate about, and find life fulfillment. Krista specializes in working with military spouses because it is a topic close to her heart. In addition to being married to a Marine herself, she has worked with hundreds of military spouses through her volunteer work and training. As a personal and career coach, Krista has advised girlfriends of military enlistees, active duty wives, and reserve spouses who don’t have easy access to support services. She works with stay-at- home mothers, job seekers, career changers, those who want to position themselves for a career in the future.

As President and CEO of American Support, Matt Zemon brings over 20 years of operations, billing and customer service experience. American Support is the nation’s only complete provider of back-office services to the telecommunications industry. Zemon and his team helps clients grow their revenue & increase their subscriber base by focusing on making every one of their customer contacts count. American Support strives to help our customers succeed by operating efficiently, consistently and with excellent customer service, making life better for their clients, employees, investors and families, while supporting our country. American Support currently supports over 400 cable franchises in 26 states.

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Getting Hired...Negotiating Salary By Julie Waters

The opportunity for your dream job has landed in your lap.After getting over the initial excitement of

EDITOR IN CHIEF: Sue Hoppin

seeing your ideal job description laid out for you, and then getting that call for an interview, the question becomes, how do I make this job mine. You can read any number of articles about interview tips and I suggest that you do, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to interviewing. But as a military spouse you have probably been through a bunch of job interviews, new duty station, new job, again. Even if the interview process is nothing new to you, there are a few things that you need to do to prepare.

MANAGING EDITOR: Katarina Zuber _________________

EDITORIAL

Keep in mind that as a military spouse, you may not have a need for the health plan that the company offers. Some companies may offer a cash-in-lieu of health insurance option, but if they do not you may be able to negotiate more salary because you won’t be taking the insurance. You are not likely to make the equivalent dollar amount translate to salary, but one to two hundred dollars a month would not be out of the range of most cash in lieu programs.

Be sure to research the company you are interviewing with, and review the job description or advertisement by comparing it line by line with your resume. You need to be able to directly relate your experience to the skill set they are asking for. Make sure they know that you have these qualifications. If it doesn’t seem like they are going to ask, don’t be afraid to tell them. The interviewers need to know how your attributes will line up with their needs as an organization. The last thing is to be ready with the answers to the standard interview questions. “Tell me about a time when…..” or “Tell me about yourself….” Make sure the answers will relate to the organization and the job for which you are interviewing.

CONTRIBUTORS: Krista Wells, Julie Waters, Carol Fishman Cohen, Janet Farley, Carol Bowser, Phil Dyer, Matt Zemon and Joyce Neave _________________

Salary is not the only thing up for negotiation. If the vacation accrual schedule isn’t what you had hoped for, it doesn’t hurt to ask for some additional days off. Since it doesn’t directly compute to a dollar figure, the company may be more likely to say yes to that request before they would say yes to an increase in salary.

The last thing is to be ready with the answers to the standard interview questions. “Tell me about a time when…..” or “Tell me about yourself….”

ART & DESIGN GRAPHIC DESIGN: Katarina Zuber CONTRIBUTORS: Courtney Chauvin _________________

SALES & MARKETING info@milspousenetwork.org

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comes along, “What is your salary expectation?”

You can find many tools on the web to help you figure out a general salary range for your profession. You can find calculators on sites like Salary.com or Indeed.com. They may not always be right on, but you will at least have some idea on where you should be when the time comes to start a salary negotiation. Of course if you have been in your profession for a while, you will already have an idea of what you are worth. You may also be able to find more specialized information about salaries in your local area on the internet. Knowing all this information ahead of time will hopefully aid you when the question that most of us dread

The most important thing for you to know is the number that is the absolute lowest you can go. Unless the job is your life’s passion, it is still just a job, and another one will come along soon. If you take a job that you know will be frustrating if you aren’t getting paid what you deserve, you may come to regret that decision and perhaps resent the people at the organization.

Julie was born and raised in Washington State. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English and earned an MS in Human Resources Management from Troy University. Over the last 12 years, Julie has held various Human Resource positions. Julie currently resides in Spokane, Washington where she is the Human Resources and Operations Manager at a law firm. She holds a special interest in career building for military spouses as she feels it is important to have something personal outside of our military lifestyle.

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Tips for Military Spouses Returning to Work By Carol Fishman Cohen

Returning to work after years away is complicated enough, but the combination of lengthy overseas postings, having to function as a single parent when a spouse is deployed, and moving every two to three years, on top of the usual issues of lack of confidence, reviving old networks and creating new ones, and figuring out what you really want to do, can make the process even more overwhelming. As a military spouse, it’s no wonder that you may question your ability to make a successful back to work transition even more than your civilian counterparts. However, these challenges can be addressed and overcome. We have found that success in returning to work has less to do with number of years out of the workforce, age, or reason for the break, and more to do with identifying exactly what you want to do, updating yourself so you are ready and qualified, and then being absolutely relentless about persevering until you get hired. Don’t make the mistake of taking your strengths for granted, and thinking they are not worth highlighting to potential employers. Employers tend not to recognize the special capabilities military spouses bring to the workforce, so make sure you emphasize these strengths in a job interview. Also don’t think that returning to work is not “worth it” because the incremental income you will bring in will be wiped out by childcare and other costs of working. You and your spouse should look at your projected combined income and weigh your expenses against that combined number. Your first year or two of working may be a breakeven proposition, but those early years are an investment in the profitable years to come when your kids are in school (and day care costs decrease) and you are making more money. For military spouse relaunchers, Katja Presnal provides the following excellent advice:“Including your military spouse activities on your resume is an easy way to show the potential employers what you are capable of -- for example fundraising, involvement with Family Readiness Group (FRG) or supporting other military organizations like BOSS (Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers), or even organizing events like Cav Ball, promotion parties or homecomings. Also, Twitter is a great tool to get connected fast with people in any geographic location or occupational field.” I would add that you should describe your military spouse activities in business terms, quantifying results whenever possible (“attendance increased 30% over the previous year”, or “the event raised twice as much money as in past years”), and include them in a “Career Break Experience” section on your resume.

Here is some additional advice specifically for military spouses looking to resume careers after a career break: I. QUALIFICATIONS: You have unique qualifications to offer employers as a military spouse. Make sure you highlight these areas of expertise when you discuss your strengths: Emotional Resilience . You are emotionally resilient because you have had to deal with your spouse being away on lengthy military deployments, often with his/her life at stake. Experience in Dealing with Uncertainty. You are constantly dealing with uncertainty about your spouse’s whereabouts, and the timing and location of your next posting. Dealing with uncertainty is a qualification lacking in many job candidates at any life stage. Comfortable with Constant Transition. The business world is in a constant state of flux. Transition is a way of life for military spouses, and your comfort level with transition is a strength. No Benefits Required. Military spouses have benefits, so all employee benefits may not need to be part of your compensation package. Use this as a bargaining chip when negotiating terms of your employment. II. READINESS: Due to moves and your spouse’s deployment status, relaunch readi-

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ness may be trickier for you than for non-military spouses. This means you may need to wait longer than a non-military spouse to relaunch your career.This also means you need to be extra patient with yourself as you move forward in the process. To score your readiness in three categories, take iRelaunch’s Relaunch Readiness Quiz here. Lack of a Support Network. Because of frequent moves, military spouses often do not have time to develop friends and family support networks to turn to when their spouse is away and they need coverage for going to work. If you are in a new area without an entrenched network, you will still be able to use your out of area contacts to help. Use tools such as LinkedIn to find out where those “people from the past” are now. (See our iRelaunch website for more networking info). At Home Responsibilities are Overwhelming. Since you are bearing the brunt of the childcare and eldercare responsibilities alone, you may feel these responsibilities are too overwhelming to consider returning to work even if you did have some sort of support community in place. This may be another factor in your “relaunch readiness”. III.TIPS: Take a Series of Baby Steps. Find career-relevant volunteer work (we call this “strategic volunteering”) that can be done when your schedule permits,Take one class at a time instead of enrolling in a more demanding program. Seek occasional consulting work from time to time. The

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objective is to maximize current and relevant experiences , so reference to these experiences can be made during informal networking, formal interviewing and on resumes. Consider employment with global employers. Global employers have offices in many locations to which you could transfer or from which you could possibly work remotely. Some of the big accounting firms actually require their CPA’s to switch offices every few years in order to get broad client exposure.

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Seek employment with a staffing firm such as Mom Corps. Mom Corps places employees in interim or part time positions that often convert to full time positions. Mom Corps is also franchising and looking for Franchisees. Which reminds me... Starting Your Own Business is an Option for Some but Not Everyone. Keep in mind the cash requirements and income delay starting your business often requires. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Small to mid-sized companies are often interested in relaunchers. Small to mid-sized companies are often thrilled to hire high caliber employees who are returning from a career break, even for a two to three year period. Target “Military Friendly” Companies. Military Spouse magazine releases a list of the Top 10 Military Spouse Friendly Employers annually. They include USAA, Home Depot, Re/Max, West Corporation, Health Net Corporation, and more. Develop Transferable Skills. Military spouses in the fields of human resources, IT, nursing, sales, and teaching report an easier time finding employment after a transfer.

Stay up to date on all the best information and resources for military spouse employment issues. Click here to sign up for our newsletter

Carol Fishman Cohen is the co-founder of iRelaunch, a company producing career reentry programs, events and content for employers, universities, organizations and individuals www.irelaunch.com

Connect with us...

Ask Joyce

Joyce Neave is an authority on fashion and style. As founder of That Mom Inc., Joyce has been styling for over twenty years. Her many accolades include: Style Setter by Washington Post, Ten Well Dressed Women in Washington by Washingtonian Magazine, Profiled on WUSA9 News to highlight her wardrobe consulting practice as well as her forward thinking blog, www.thatmominc. com. As a NMSN Expert, Joyce answers fashion questions from our readers.

Question: I am a male who is now a stay at home dad, but not prepared to abandon a professional image: what are things to absolutely avoid so that I look like a grown man and not slave to a 7, 5 and 1 yr old?

Answer: There are so many things to avoid: sweatpants, kid smudged t-shirts, concert t-shirts, wrinkled clothes-

basically anything that reveals how hard it really is to stay home with children. My advice is to dress well every day. Try khakis/khaki shorts and button down shirts or polo type shirts (all machine washable). Avoid linens and silks. When playing sports with your kids, I suggest warm up/ track pants (or shorts) with a matching zip up jacket (or t-shirt). But be careful…they are so comfortable you may be tempted to wear one every day. Don’t.

Question: With regard to: hair, makeup, nails, jewelry etc… for work. What crosses the line? Is trendy OK? How much is too much?

Answer: Trends are best left for the weekends. Hair should be neat and clean. Nails should be trimmed and painted. Avoid bright colors and designs, stick to clear and neutral shades. If your polish is chipped - GO BARE. Jewelry is an expression of yourself - but in this case…less is more. Try small earrings, a delicate bracelet (make sure you do not jingle), a conservative ring. Remember, you want them to remember you, not what you were wearing.

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Photos: Dwelling Moments Photography by Alaina Fitzner

2012 Military Spouses Care

Click here to watch

For more information about our 3rd Annual Military Sp 10


eer Summit

Alexandria, VA

a recap of the event

Thanks to our summit sponsors:

Carla’s Copy Cat

pouse Career Summit go to www.milspousesummit.com

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Get A Job Series: Part I

Federal Opportunities

By Janet Farley

A professional career and a military spouse! No, it’s not the opening line to a bad joke although once upon a time it could have been. Fortunately for all of us, times have changed for the better. Many opportunities to build and grow a career while still remaining happily married to the uniformed love of your life peacefully coexist today. Welcome to this first installment of a three-part series, written especially for the NMSN with content adapted from my book, The Military Spouse’s Complete Guide to Career Success: Finding Meaningful Employment in Today’s Global Workplace (Impact Publications, 2008). In part one, we will examine federal employment opportunities while part two takes a closer look at the job market outside the main gate. Finally, part three discusses self-employment as a path to career success. Let’s get started, shall we? Part I: Federal Employment Opportunities Your significant other works for Uncle Sam; maybe you should consider it too. There are definite pros and cons to a career as a federal employee. Let’s examine a few of them here: Pros: • • • • • •

Salary levels are competitive with private industry. Civil servants with career status receive excellent benefits to include annual leave, sick leave, medical, vision, dental and a retirement savings plan. You may not have to start over every PCS move. In most military communities, you are likely to find federal opportunities available there too. As a military spouse, you may use a Military Spouse Preference or the Executive Order 13473 giving you priority over others in the hiring process. Getting fired from a federal job is difficult. Over time, you can work your way up from administrative jobs to management levels positions, even without a college degree.

Cons: • • • • •

Visit USAJOBS, the official website of the Federal Government and create an account for yourself or begin searching for jobs right away. You can also download the Ipad and Iphone versions to your mobile device giving you the chance to look for a job from anywhere - except from the car when you’re driving. To apply for jobs online from that site, however, you will need to have your USAJOBS account up and running. Once you’ve created an account, you can request specialized job alerts be emailed to you on a routine basis, saving you valuable surf time. You can build or upload your resume to the program in order to apply for specific jobs. Once you’ve applied for a job, you can access the status of the recruitment process from USAJOBS as well. Tips for Success • •

• •

Despite ongoing efforts to improve the hiring process, it can still be a lengthy ordeal from the time you apply for a job until the time you actually start one. Like it or not, it is still often the “it’s who you know” situation. Federal employees having a good job will often homestead there until they die making it harder for new blood to come on board in preferred jobs. You may have to start out in a job for which you are vastly over qualified or work for someone who should be working for you. Many times, spouses are hired for temporary, part-time or sesonal jobs not having benefits.

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Applying for Federal Jobs

Don’t limit your federal job search to USAJOBS alone. Network face-to-face with employers in your community and with colleagues to get your name out there. While most federal job opportunities are posted to USAJOBS, some never make it there. Be sure you also check out military branch specific federal opportunities at the sites below. You can also use their unique site resume builder to apply for jobs, too. Army - Navy & Marine - Air Force Volunteer in your community and get your face known to those who may have job openings. Networking, on-line and off, is crucial. Use keywords when applying for federal jobs. What keywords you ask? Read the job vacancy announcement and highlight the key words you read. Use those words in your resume as well. Don’t forget to quantify your past accomplishments and keep the narratives as short, sweet and relevant as possible. Read the vacancy announcement carefully. Make sure you are eligible to apply before you waste your time. Note the closing date and meet it. For individualized assistance, visit the family service center’s employment readiness manager on the installation nearest you. Or take advantage of Military OneSource counselors 24/7/265 who can direct you to more resources.

Janet Farley serves as a NMSN subject matter expert and she is the author of The Military Spouse’s Employment Guide: Smart Job Choices for Mobile Lifestyles (Impact Publications, 2012). For more military spouse employment tips and thoughts, follow her @Smartjobchoices on Twitter.

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Save the Date - October 2013 3rd Annual Military Spouse Career Summit

Join us for the third Annual Military Spouse Career Summit!

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Don’t Let Money Ruin Your Relationship: Hold By Phil Dyer

a Family F

When it comes to money, the adage that “opposites attract” can lead to marital discord. A spender marr different styles can blend well if they shake things up a bit -- through talking, planning, and compromis communicate might be doomed. 50 percent to 75 percent of divorced couples identify financial difficu dangers of unresolved money issues, many couples find it extraordinarily difficult to discuss money in a c as well as newlyweds.

So why the difficulty? Money traditionally is a taboo or off-limits subject in many families. It is considere thing costs, or how a household’s finances are handled. We all come from different financial background Those lessons, combined with societal taboos surrounding the discussion of money, cause many couple budget priorities become overwhelming to one or both parties. Whether you just got hitched or have b out of the closet and into the open for honest discussion.

Have a money talk Talking is particularly helpful for newlyweds or as part of pre-marriage planning, but it is just as relevant to couples who have been together for a long time but still have difficulty communicating about finances. Take turns sharing your personal experiences -- how money was perceived in your family and how your parents handled money and dealt with financial problems. It also can help to share your most painful memory and your most joyous memory about money. If things become heated or emotional during the money history talk, some experts suggest that couples sit back to back and take turns repeating what their partner says. Doing this removes body language and facial expressions from the equation and requires more careful listening, typically resulting in a calmer discussion. Since people also communicate in very different ways, consider using an objective assessment like the Kolbe A Index (www.kolbe.com, $49.95) to gain a greater understanding about what makes your spouse tick and how a communication approach that seems perfectly logical to you just doesn’t work for your spouse (and vice versa). Simply having clarity around how your partner receives processes and deals with information can head off many arguments before they even start!

A key to success for both entrepreneurs and work-at-home personal life provides us with a solid support system. For e control, it is easier to focus on the fiscal needs of our busi money with our spouse or family and being able to do it in a do so at work.

Merge your finances and cash flow

List your goals If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s hard to get there. Each partner should make a list of five to ten financial goals, covering areas such as retirement, housing, children, college education, paying off debt, spending, and personal development. Once you’re done, compare your lists and identify areas of common agreement. Discuss your goals, prioritize them, and give a time frame and dollar amount for each one. There doesn’t need to be agreement (or even buy-in) on each goal, but most couples find they have general areas of agreement once they take the time to actually write down their goals. These goals should provide the foundation for ongoing financial planning, because the financial decisions you make in terms of investments, insurance, and tax, estate, and education planning will be made in the context of supporting your goals.

Once you have established your goals, you should tackle merging your finances and cash flow and budgeting to support your goals. Deciding to completely merge your financial lives can be difficult, particularly if one or both of you has been independent for a long time or married before. Some couples choose to put everything into a communal pot with joint checking, savings, and investment accounts; others opt to keep separate accounts. A third way to handle financial shares is by creating accounts that are “yours,” “mine,” and “ours.” With this method, each spouse contributes the bulk of his or her income to a common account from which most household bills are paid and investments are made. Each spouse also keeps a separate checking or savings account into which he or she puts a pre-agreed amount each month. Each spouse then can use his or her “allowance” to pay for small luxuries, to buy gifts for the other spouse (keeping the price secret), or to spend any other way he or she sees fit.

Phil Dyer, CFP®, RLP®, CPCC is a West Point grad, serial entrepreneur, trainer, facilitator, speaker, author and America’s Entrepreneur Strategist™ aspiring) entrepreneurs, including many veterans and military s

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www.nationalmilitary


Financial $ummit

rying a saver is akin to mixing oil and vinegar for a salad dressing. Their se. Couples with different ideas about how to handle money who don’t ulties and disagreements as a major factor to their divorce. Despite the calm and rational manner -- a situation that proves true for older couples

ed impolite to ask how much money someone makes, how much someds -- with lessons learned from early childhood through young adulthood. es to avoid talking about finances until problems of debt, spending, and been have married for years, these steps will help bring financial issues

e professionals is to take the steps needed to ensure that our example, when we know that our household budget is under iness from a professional perspective. Learning to talk about a productive manner, can provide us with the skills we need to

Talking about money can be difficult and even scary, but not talking about money can lead to financial and marital disaster. Coming to agreement about money issues through planning and compromise can pay huge

Dance around debt

Invest and save Many of the goals developed in step two will require saving and investing money. This is another area where differing money backgrounds can cause conflict. If one spouse likes to make risky stock investments and the other prefers the safety and guarantee of less-risky bonds or CDs, finding common ground can be difficult. Avoid being too aggressive with short-term money and too conservative with long-term money.

In this era of easy credit, runaway debt, and identity theft; consider getting a copy of your prospective partner’s credit report before you get married. First, you want to ensure there are no errors on the credit report. Second, you want to gain an understanding of how your partner treats credit and debt. Substantial debt doesn’t need to be a marriage deal breaker, but your partner’s debts essentially become your debts once you tie the knot, so you should proceed with accurate information. Saying “Honey, can you show me a copy of your credit report?” isn’t the most romantic line, but it is essential for selfprotection. If you already are married, get a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies at least once a year to check for mistakes and “hidden” debt (secret spending binges on behalf of one or both spouses). You can receive a free copy annually from the three major credit reporting agencies -- Experian, Trans Union and Equifax at www.annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228.

dividends and enhance long-term financial success. So don’t delay -hold your financial summit today!

™. The co-author of VICTORY: 7 Entrepreneur Success Strategies for Veterans (with Larry Broughton), Phil has counseled hundreds of current (and spouses. Contact Phil at success@entrepreneurstrategist.com

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Photo: Alaina Fitzner

Have Fun With Goal S

Six Small Steps On Your Path Toward B

By Krista Wells, Ph.D.

Step 1: Clear Out the Old, Invite In the New When I choose to coach a client, they usually come to me with a “dilemma” of some sort:“I can’t decide whether to stay home with my kids or work,” “I don’t like my career,” or “I am stressed about an upcoming deployment, and not sure if I should go back to school.” The issues are often heavy ones that don’t energize or excite, so I have clients back up and change their mood before we really get started. Instead of asking clients to send out 50 resumes or apply to 10 schools this week, I often suggest that we create a positive environment as a great first step. This may mean their only “fieldwork” is to clean off their desk at home and put a vase of flowers on it. Instead of applying for 50 jobs, I may suggest fixing a cup of tea and reading one of my favorite gettingstarted books, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys by Marilyn Paul even before reading the career-discovery books. The first step to getting energized and excited about accomplishing our most meaningful goals is to make sure we have the mental and physical space for success. So often our lives are filled with so many activities that we get caught in the grind rather than taking the time to focus on what we really want. My challenge to you is to have fun getting rid of clutter and distractions in your life, so that you can participate in our upcoming “Goal Setting Tele-class Series” and begin getting your goals out of your head and onto paper. Your chances for success increase just by taking a little time to clear the path to success. Step 2: Create A “Me Area” That Energizes You Designate and/or create a “me” space that makes you energized just by looking at it. If you have room in your house, set aside an area such as one end of the dining room or space in the spare bedroom. I even turned a large closet in my home into a creative nook for my laptop, inspirational books, and a small money tree. I am not a feng shui expert; but I do believe that the area where you work needs to make you smile. It is important to dress this area with meaningful touches to teach your

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subconscious that you are “worth it!” A beautiful scented candle on your desk or pictures may seem insignificant, but they can help create a relaxing environment and motivate you for a productive goalsetting session. Tools such as vision boards can also help you channel that creative new commitment to your ultimate happiness in your career and life in general. If you don’t create some personal physical space for working on your goals, you are less likely to review them on a regular basis. If you don’t have space in your home for a dedicated space, don’t despair. I’ve had clients keep all their goals and work in a notebook and decamp to a local coffee shop for their monthly goal setting. Whether it’s a dedicated space in your home, or a portable notebook and a quiet location, work with whatever makes you happy. Remember this is about keeping it fun and productive for you. Step 3: It’s Not Just About the Dangling Carrot In a study of Harvard graduates, the top earners reported writing goals on a regular basis--not surprising, yet most of us don’t take the time to write down goals regularly. I think one reason is that when we have tried to do this in the past our goals were not energizing enough. They were proverbial “wish lists” rather than goals we really believed in and could rally behind. A wish list with no action plan leaves us in a pool of guilt--Not very energizing, huh? So, how can we change our outcome-oriented goals such as “landing a six-figure income” into more control-driven, energizing goals? By slowing down and creating fun steps that are in our control, we can build our confidence and increase momentum. A goal such as, “making an appointment with a resume writer” and “taking a career-advancement course” or “speaking to my boss about a potential raise this month” are all small steps on the path to big success. I always have clients focus on intrinsic rewards versus extrinsic rewards, because so often wish lists aren’t very energizing because we don’t see success in sight. By creating goals that are dare we say -- fun and attainable, we are instantly energized!

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Step 4: Your Goals Should Really Excite You!

Step 6: Making Goal Setting Fun

I have clients come and say their goal is to clean out their basement-too boring. How is a client supposed to get excited about a goal that sounds more like a proverbial “to do” list than a value-based goal? If cleaning your basement is one of your getting-started tasks, at least word it in a way that excites you. How about, “Every six months I will donate unused items from my basement to Habitat for Humanity.” By putting the emphasis on my client’s values, their “to do” list may align with other goals and increase the likelihood of getting completed. Even career-based goals should be energizing and within reach. Perhaps rewording, “I will land a sixfigure deal” to “Have fun writing for 60 minutes each morning while sipping my favorite flavored tea!” so that rather than being exhausted by a seemingly unattainable goal of landing that six-figure deal, you are energized to produce more content, finish that proposal and send it off to 100 publishers increasing your chances of landing that deal. Make sense?

When you don’t know where to start, it can be tough to find the motivation to get some goals written down on paper. Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this inertia by making goal setting fun. Recognize that you’re not in it alone and start by brainstorming with others. The National Military Spouse Network was founded so that energized minds could rally together and help each other toward success. Synergy is one of the often-overlooked steps in success. We know that goal setting can be intimidating, but we’ll help you make your path toward success clear cut, and help you actually enjoy the journey, guilt free and with lots of others cheering you on! Over the next few weeks, we’ll help you find that motivation to get those goals down on paper. In addition to my series of articles, I will also be partnering with the NMSN to present a tele-class on goal setting, so make sure you check back often for the announcement on when the class will take place.

Setting!

Big Goals

Step 5:Yes, Even Creative Types Need To Write Down Their Goals Some clients tell me that they can picture what they want, but feel that goal writing will “box them in”. They want to creatively cascade toward success and work when they are “in the mood.” I disagree, it’s important for everyone to get their goals down on paper. Even the most creative member of a symphony practices her instrument daily and is taught regimented techniques that lead to her creative success. Don’t be afraid to write down your goals, because we are going to teach you how to have fun, and Write It Down, Make It Happen as Henriette Anne Klauser describes, and have fun doing it! Creative types may want to approach goal setting from a different angle. Yes, there is value in writing down specific, time-bound goals, and I teach that; but I also teach you to visualize a letter from someone who just read your novel and how good it feels to hold their letter. That is far more energizing than an artificial prize you promise yourself if you write 100 pages every day.

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Photo: Alaina Fitzner

path to achieving your goals •

Clear Out the Old, Invite In the New

Create A “Me Area” That Energizes You

It’s Not Just About the Dangling Carrot

Your Goals Should Really Excite You!

Yes, Even Creative Types Need To Write Down Their Goals

Making Goal Setting Fun

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TOP (Hidden) Escalators of Workplace Conflict & W TEN By Carol Bowser, JD

The best internal communication systems can break down. The top performers can be a pain when they push for their own agendas and timelines. Even the “Best Places to Work” suffer from workplace conflict. Unless the hidden sources that cause and escalate the tension and conflict are addressed, bad things happen: conflict escalates; people suffer; managers lose credibility; business suffers. The pain of unresolved conflict can be avoided - but only if the source of the conflict is addressed.

Here are the Top 10 hidden escalators of conflict at work, how to recognize them, and what to do about them.

Unarticulated Assumptions Every conflict has an element of unarticulated assumptions. Each person has a very closely held belief about “the way things should work” or “THE way things are” - according to them. Unfortunately, very few people articulate what those assumptions are. When those assumptions prove incorrect, frustration and anger seep in. Unmet Expectations Like unarticulated assumptions, unmet expectations are at the root of every conflict. While unarticulated assumptions focus on the way things are done, an unmet expectation is the relied upon outcome. When the expected outcome does not happen, people become upset and frustrated THEN look for someone to blame. Perceived Lack of Respect A HUGE driver of conflict. What is “respectful” to one person can be the height of “disrespect” to another. You don’t know what other people are doing to be respectful unless you ask. Others don’t know that you believe them to be disrespectful unless you tell them.

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“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” The Little Prince Clashing Communication Styles Some people speak in headlines. Some speak in stories. Some people just hint. When the communication styles are in sync, everything is copacetic. When the styles are out of sync, negative attributions fly. “Bully.” “Rambles on. Will not get to the point.” “Passive-aggressive.” Playing “FIXER” Time and energy are lost by well-intended, unilateral actions. By jumping in to “solve the problem”, individuals often create new problem because they have misdiagnosed the issue and improperly took on the role of “fixer.” All Talk - No Action Failing to take action is as bad as playing “Fixer”. Unfulfilled promises to address the problem and hold people accountable lead people to lose faith in you and the organization.

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What To Do About Them Fuzzy Boundaries Power abhors a vacuum. When organizational boundaries and job descriptions are not clear someone will step up or inappropriately take over. Lack of clear boundaries fuels unarticulated assumptions and perceived lack of respect. Running Amuck Improvisation is great in jazz - horrible in conflict resolution. Most people never have a difficult conversation because they do not know what to do or how to do it.The result? Important conversations never take place or if attempted have poor results Blame and Shame Game Ruminating over whose fault something is never resolves a conflict. Neither does attributing a problem to someone’s “personality”. Discussing an issue is productive only if the discussion leads to resolution, which means identifying the problems and moving to problem solving. Arguing with the Line in the Sand The shortest distance to career suicide is to cross the line that differentiates standing up for yourself from insubordination. Failure to recognize and respect the insubordination line also escalates conflict at work. Those who do not feel heard or respected will attempt to BE HEARD through unconventional means - usually by talking more, louder, faster, and to more people. Fixes: What To Do and How To Do It

Action Speaks. Provide updates as you can. Do what you say that you will do. Define Boundaries - personal and professional. Articulate where your boundaries are and where you believe other’s boundaries to be. State “Here is where I see the demarcation line between our jobs. Do you see them the same?” Avoid Running Amuck. Instead have a plan and stick to it. For Example: Step 1-Determine for sure how the other person defines the problem. Step 2-Tell the person what you believe to be their perspective (you could be wrong). Step 3 Articulate how you see the situation. Step 4 Set an Agenda to address each issue-yours and theirs. Step 5 Dive into the discussion on issue at a time. Step 6 Memorialize agreements and next steps. Move from Blame and Shame to problem solving. The problem is never the person -- the problem is the impact of the behavior. Make a deliberate move to problem solving by articulating how each person defines the problem then ask “So where do we go from here?” Respect The Line In The Sand. Once decisions are made it is time to move from advocating your position to supporting the decision. Ask when the time for evaluating the success of the program will be and, in the meantime, track the success by objective measurements. It might be that you simply believe the priorities should be different. Unless your job title allows you to make those decisions, it is your job to support the decision. The saying goes knowledge is power. So now that you know the top 10 hidden escalators of conflict, I challenge you to look around your workplace do you see any of the hidden escalators. Find one then try out the fix. See how it goes.You might be pleasantly surprised.

Define the Correct Problem by determining the Unarticulated Assumptions and Unmet Expectations. Do this by asking “What about this situation did not meet your expectations?” Explore if Perceived Lack of Respect is an issue or THE issue. Ask “Does respect have anything to do with this?” Assess if the Communication Style is driving the conflict, and then adapt your style to the other person’s. Add more details for the storyteller. Speak in bullet points for the headliner. Ask broad general questions that do not require stating an individual preference for the hinter. Avoid playing The Fixer. Ask those involved if they want your assistance in their own efforts to solve the problem. Do not volunteer to take on a burden that someone else can and should do on his own.

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Organizations hire Carol Bowser and Conflict Management ductivity by easing workplace conflict and tension, to train skills, to evaluate internal conflict resolution processes, to er levels of performance and to facilitate tangible change

Strategies, Inc. to increase proemployees in conflict resolution coach key employees to highwithin the working environment.

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Get a Job Series: Part II Finding a Job Outside the Main Gate

By Janet Farley

This part two takes a closer look at how to land a job outside the main gate. fessionally limited in this life and military spouses are certainly no exce are real roadblocks that can temporarily derail the most hopeful of able and available childcare is one. Being the sole parent during yet anot er. Not having the requisite education or work experience noted on your re

Pros: Working outside of the military community helps you establish your own professional identity, apart from your married to a uniform one.

You may have to decide whether or not to leave a killer job when the orders come sending your family someplace else. It could be a tough decision with long-lasting effects on everyone in the family.

Getting hired by a national or international company may open the doors to you being able to find employment with that company wherever you are stationed.

Applying for Jobs Off the Installation: There are a number of approaches you can take to locating job opportunities off the installation. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

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There are real roadblocks that can temporarily derail the most hopeful of careers. Limiting yourself to on-installations opportunities, however, should not be one of them. Whether Fort In the Middle of No Where or Camp Jobs Jackpot is your current home, there are possibilities to consider.

Establishing a decent civilian career can help when and if your spouse decides to leave the military. At least one of you will already be “transitioned” into civilian life making the big break far easier for both of you. Depending on the industry, the job, the location and your specific qualifications, the pay and benefits may be well worth it. Cha-ching. Cons: Despite these ever so progressively mobile and global times, you may run into dinosaur employers still maintaining an outdated bias against hiring military spouses or anyone who wasn’t born and raised locally. You don’t always have to be stationed overseas to be considered the foreigner.

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Visit your on-installation employment readiness office. This on-post/base venue will not be counterproductive to finding a job outside the gated community. It can be the best move you make as employment readiness managers are often well connected to the hiring managers within the local community. Connect with the local chamber of commerce to find out which companies exist in the community. Go online and research them to find out about available jobs or visit their human resources offices in person. Register with the local Department of Labor office. You can find out about potential unemployment benefits you may be eligible for and

get referred for jobs at the same time. If you have the luxury to do so, consider volunteering with an organization you would like to work for on a paid basis. Do your best. Make connections. Become a viable candidate for the next actual job opening there. Volunteer for a community cause near and dear to your heart.You will meet others, often leaders and connectors within local private industry, who share the same passion. Get to know them and let them know you are looking for a job. Watch networking begin to take its due course. Register with several reputable no-fee employment agencies in the community. Be available to work assignments and start making those networking connections in different companies where you are sent. Keep up on local community news to know where the potential jobs are or are not. Don’t waste your time courting companies going through difficult times unless, of course, you can offer outplacement services yourself. Update your online social and professional networking links indicating that you are in the market, available and ready to roll. Tips for Success: Don’t be a job snob. You may be overqualified for a position but if you want to get your foot in the proverbial door, you may have to accept what you would consider a lesser job. Again. Target your resumes and cover letters individually. If you have the qualifications for a specific job, say so. Don’t make it hard for an

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make them better with your charming personality and winning ways. Or not. In the case of the latter, don’t take it personally.

. No one wants to feel proeption. To be sure, there careers. Lack of affordther deployment is anothesume doesn’t help either.

employer to match your skills with portunity.

an op-

Don’t limit your “local” jobs to brick and mortar buildings. Check out the potential online gigs as well. Keep in mind that communities are a lot like people. They have their unique personalities. You may not always agree with the way things are done and you may have the chance to

Don’t give up. It’s easy to be discouraged, particularly when you find yourself stationed in the middle of nowhere. Job opportunities can, admittedly, be slim. When that happens, consider trying to create your own job for a particular company or to go into business for yourself. You have skills and talents. Use them. For individualized assistance, again, visit the family service center’s employment readiness manager on the installation nearest you. And while you’re at it, take advantage of Military OneSource counselors 24/7/265 who can direct you to more resources. Janet Farley serves as a NMSN subject matter expert and she is the author of The Military Spouse’s Employment Guide: Smart Job Choices for Mobile Lifestyles (Impact Publications, 2012). For more military spouse employment tips and thoughts, follow her @Smartjobchoices on Twitter.

I NEVER DREAMED ABOUT SUCCESS. I WORKED FOR IT.

-ESTEE LAUDER

Calling All Military Spouses... Please join National Military Spouse Network for this exclusive opportunity to Shop, Learn and Network while enjoying great Food and Fun*

Fashion for Every Budget

Monday, May 6, 2013 6 – 8 PM

Renowned stylist, Joyce Neave will join us for an exclusive event held at the area’s best-kept secret, Chic Envy Upscale Consignment Boutique, 11895 Grand Commons Avenue Fairfax, Virginia.

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The proud owner of Chic Envy and fellow military spouse, Christina Crawford is extending a special discount for attendees and opening up her store for a private shopping experience in celebration of Military Spouse Appreciation. Male spouses...Joyce has lots of style pointers for you as well!

*Pre-registration required at www.nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

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Social Media and Your Business By Greta Perry

“Social networking” and “social media” are today’s big Internet catch phrases. In the online world, “social media” allows more and more people to connect and share ideas. No longer is the day of a business just putting up a website acceptable. Potential clients are looking to interact with your business through as many avenues as possible. Web users are no longer interested in static or “brochure” websites.They don’t want to waste their time with your video message or other bells and whistles. A simple, clean website with a blog that keeps the website fresh are what is “in.” Smart businesses will also have links to Twitter, Facebook, Linked In,You Tube and other places users want to be. Diving into the waters of social media can be scary for a Milspouse with their own career. Milspouse rules of social media are a little different than the rest of the world: 1. Remember everything on the internet is permanent record. 2. Screen everything you write as it will go by the eyes of your boss, potential employer/client, your spouse’s commander, your mother and the enemy. 3. If you have a deployed spouse, be very careful of what information you share with the world. 4. Operational Security (OPSEC) 5. OPSEC! Now that you’ve been warned and cautioned, how can social media help you professionally? As much as I hate the word “branding,” that is what you will do with your on-line presence. If you are going to put forth the effort to tweet, blog, make videos, or do more than just talk to your cousin on Facebook, how you package yourself to the world is crucial.

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Let’s say you have a website for your business and a fabulous widget to sell. That is just the buy-in to getting your business on-line. But now you have to let the world know you are there. A billboard or a television commercial would be nice, but most of us are simply not at that point financially. It is more reasonable to build your business from the ground up with readily accessible, social media tools. Remember that old Faberge commercial about “they told two friends and so on and so on and so on....” This word of mouth is crucial to the success of any business. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter can help you achieve this.

Tip: If you are going to invest any money into your business, consider two things (1) pay for a decent website that will best represent your business and (2) if you’re not savvy with social networking sites, or just need someone to get you started, consider hiring a social media consultant. Both are key to promoting your business. Greta Perry, owner of Kickify, ”Pumping Up Your Web Presence,” has branded herself both on and off-line with her positive energy, intuitive use of technology, and networking successes. She is available for consulting or speaking for businesses and brands of all sizes. Greta is never far from the internet and can be contacted at Greta@kickify.com, Facebook, Twitter @ kissmygumbo @kickify @freetweetadvice, LinkedIn or Google + .

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Recurring Revenue

By Matt Zemon

Starting your own company can be one of the most rewarding experiences in business, but it isn’t without its challenges. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 12 percent of new businesses fail each year. Lack of capital, poor location, failure to manage inventory, poor planning and inexperience are among the most commonly cited causes of business failure. But one way to make your business successful is to focus on generating recurring revenue from the get go. Businesses take in revenue each time they make a sale or provide some service. As business owners, we can do lots of things to entice customers to come in to make a purchase, but it is ultimately the customer’s decision whether to spend their money. As a result, revenue can go up and down drastically month to month. Such swings make it hard to plan and manage expenses. Under a recurring revenue model, customers make regular purchases, creating a steady cash flow for the business owner. Such a model means that you can better plan how much revenue will come in each month and and better manage your expenses.

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Also, lenders and investors love businesses that generate recurring revenue, as they can see exactly how much money a business will make. This means when you go to the bank for a start up loan or to expand your business, you are more likely to get that loan and more likely to get a better interest rate. That leaves a key question unanswered - how do you create a recurring revenue model? Well, some businesses are naturally linked to recurring revenue models. Fitness clubs are a prime example. Members sign up and agree to pay monthly fees for access to the club’s facilities. Those fees produce recurring revenue. And most clubs require members to maintain their membership for a certain period or they face exit fees, meaning that even when the club loses a customer, it gets a small bump in revenue equal to a few months’ membership fees. This is basically the model American Support follows. As a provider of contact center support services, our customers pay for our service on a monthly basis. As a result, we know each month about how much revenue we will be taking in, and that knowledge has helped us grow as a company and has enabled us to take on debt to expand. Another great example of a recurring reve-

nue model that is less obvious is consumables. Grocery stores know that people are going to have to buy more food each week, meaning customers will regularly return to the store for more food. Even some durable products require consumable components. Printers, for example, tend to last years at a time, but ink runs out, meaning customers will have to make additional purchases. As you explore opportunities for your small business, be sure to keep in mind opportunities to generate recurring revenue. The more recurring revenue you can generate, the less likely you are to suffer from swings in revenue and the more able you are to plan for future growth.

As President & CEO, Matt Zemon brings over 20 years of operations, billing and customer service experience to American Support. American Support is the nation’s only complete provider of back-office services to the telecommunications industry, supporting our country by providing an alternative to offshore labor. Matt has been named one of Triangle Business Journal’s 40 under 40 while American Support is included in CableFax’s “Top 10 places in the cable industry to work” and WorldBlu’s “Most Democratic Organizations”.

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National Military Spouse Network Magazine