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8 Quick Veteran Business Ideas

If you’ve spent time in service, there’s a chance you may want to find a desk job and steer well clear of anything that remotely resembles any active role you played in the field. On the other hand, you may have that itch that prevents you from ever taking a desk job – that wiggly nature that makes the thought of 40 hours/week in a chair feel like your worst nightmare. That’s totally understandable.

For those vets who are looking for more active ways to earn a living while being entrepreneurs, we have some ideas to get you started.

8 Active Business Ideas for Veterans

  • Real Estate Photography – If you have a decent camera and an eye for good shots, you’ll be in demand with real estate agents, especially those who work with high end properties.
  • Mobile Pet Salon – More and more people are skipping kits and getting pets instead – and they’re often busy, high-earning people who have no qualms about shelling out cash on their furry friends.
  • Restaurant Design Consultant – This one requires some schooling, but it’s a multi-disciplinary friend that includes everything from color selection to which furniture will work best, to the installation of energy-efficiency 12v led strip lights. This is a great job for someone with an eye for design, great people skills, and the willingness to do a bit of selling.
  • Dog Walker – Enjoy being outside? Love animals? Dog walking won’t make you rich, but it can be a great way to fill in gaps. It’s also great work for someone who wants time and free headspace to think.
  • Personal Trainer – If you ended your service recently, you’re probably already in great shape – and it only requires a little bit of training to become a personal trainer or fitness instructor. Whether you want to be a general personal trainer or get on board with a particular activity like yoga or even hula hooping, there are tons of great options to choose from.
  • Boat Rentals – Enjoy being out on the water? You could run a business offering Duffy boat rentals or electric boat rentals. This is particularly great if you have credibility in the form of a Navy or Marine background.
  • Moving – Moving is no fun, butt that’s also why people are willing to spend a ton of cash getting someone else to do it. Whether you build your own business or buy into a moving-related franchise, this is an area why demand doesn’t seem to be shrinking anytime soon.
  • In-Home Care – Are you the caring and considerate type? As the American population ages, demand for in-home care services will continue to increase. This isn’t about nursing or skilled care, either. This is often simple stuff like helping with getting dressed, doing some grocery shopping, or preparing meals. It’s a great way to give back to your community without putting yourself in harm’s way.

What Kind of Business Would You Start?

Are you a veteran who’s started his or her own business? What did you choose? Would you go back and choose something different if you could do it all over? What advice do you have for others who want to start a new business after leaving the military? Let us know in the comments!

3 Great Articles on Military Entrepreneurship

This is going to be a quick post, but there’s a lot of meat in the links below.  We’ve been working on gathering a massive list of resources for active and retired military, but we couldn’t resist sharing a few of the best articles.  For your reading pleasure…

Know of any other good articles on military members and entrepreneurship? Or – are you a case study all by yourself? We’d love to write about you and your business if you are. Let us know in the comments!

Researching Your Business Plan


There are many differences between being a Veteran business owner, and a Civilian business owner.  These differences can include, but are not limited to,

  • Military training and mindset
  • Drive to succeed
  • Superior work ethic

One thing that does not differ though is the requirement for all those desiring to open their own business.  The Business Plan.  This sometimes daunting task is a must do for every prospective business owner, and can take some time to get complete and correct, but it is worth it.  As it is this plan that banks look at when considering loans, or potential investors read when deciding whether to back you or not.  It is the single most important part of beginning your business.

When approaching your business plan the first and most important thing to consider, is what business you will be opening.

  • What business would be both a good fit for you and the community you will be doing business in?
  • Is there some niche market missing in your area that you would be able to fill
  • Is it possible that the area you are looking into is already saturated with providers of the service you are looking into providing?

The answers to these questions could be some of the most important answers you will need to know for your fledgling business.  For example: how could you thrive as the new HVAC repair in town, if there are already numerous businesses offering the same services?  You have to find your own unique niche market, something which you can offer that no one else is able to provide.


After you have decided what service you are going to provide, it is time to start into deeper market research.  It is very unlikely in any area, that you will have no competitors at all, so this is the time that you need to study up on your competition.

  • What goods and services, does your competition offer?
  • Is there any service which they do not offer that you could?
  • What can you offer they community that they cannot?

Once again you must look into finding that one thing that no one else is willing or able to provide to your community.  Let’s say that you are opening a small bookstore, but there is a Big Box Store near by, who also sells books and at a discounted price.  What can the small business do to compete with this Behemoth?  In this example you could offer better customer service (which is the Number One way to succeed in any business) You could order books for individual customers, showing each that they matter to you.  Learn your repeat customers names, and show them that you care.  Always find the one thing, that makes your business stand out from the crowd, and this is what will set your business apart.


imagesNow that you have thought deeper about your business, and researched the market you will be opening in, it’s time to start to put everything down on paper.  Make sure that your plan looks as good, as it reads.  Bound well, even if only in a three ring binder, and printed out. Never hand written. Professionalism is the key.  Good luck out there!  And don’t forget that the more you know about the market and business that you are looking to open, the more perspective investors will sit  up and pay attention.

For complete step by step instructions on building your business plan please visit the Small Business Administration  website.