Empowered women empower women. This is the theme of this week's episode with Jen Griswold. Jen is an Air Force Academy graduate, veteran, mom, and multi-business owner. She talks about how the military opened doors to her future and how she used entrepreneurship to fill the void in her life when she left military service. As a military spouse, she could not find a career that gave her both the flexibility she needed to be able to follow her husband's career and raise her family. Listen to how the idea she formed when she was breastfeeding led to a program that empowers her to empower women.
Jen decided to attend the Academy after going to a few seminars with her friend who was interested in attending. Her friend didn't end up applying for the Academy but Jen saw it as her ticket out of her small town. And out of Montana. The Academy was tough but Jen learned a lot from those experiences and made great friends. She became a Maintenance officer and loved being able to work with people.
She decided to transition from active duty to Reserves at the end of her five-year commitment. She and her husband were ready to start a family and she knew that it would be challenging to have a family with both of them working active duty. It was still complicated being a reservist, mom, and military spouse. Especially when her husband deployed and she was given a deployment as well. It was hard to leave her son with her parents but in hindsight, it was the best choice for her.
She finished her last twelve years in the Reserves as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) because she only had to meet the requirement of 24 days of service per year. This was what worked best for her family. She retired from the Air Force last year.
After being a stay-at-home mom for three years she started looking for a job, but did not want to work full time and instead started her own business where she could have the flexibility to work her own hours and take her kids with her as needed. Her parents were entrepreneurs and she learned a lot from watching their business go through various stages. She first was an interior designer, but sold that business and began working with Rodan and Fields when they first began. Today she is a team lead for 9,000 ladies and loves helping empower women.
Through her work at Rodan and Fields, she wanted to find a way to give back to support the military spouse community that has an unemployment or under-employment rate of 90%. She wrote Mission Entrepreneur and used the skills she learned from military life and how she translated them to business. Once the book was complete she felt that she needed to provide resources to help women in their own entrepreneurial journey. And she created Mission Entrepreneur.
Boss Lady Bio
The newest product being launched by Mission Entrepreneur is the Boss Lady Bio. This tool can help all women business owners or not have a place to create a beautiful looking bio highlight them or their business/service. There is a free option so everyone can have a bio created. And to make it more personalized with different themes and added features you can pay $11.99/month. If you use the code Airmantomom when you sign up you will get your first month for $1! You can check out my own Boss Lady Bio here.
Jen's Boss Lady Bio
New Women Hair Standards
Mission Entrepreneur book
Mission Entrepreneur website
Boss Lady Bio Use Code: AMANDAHUFFMAN to get your first month for $1 (valid until May 12, 2021)
Check out the full transcript here.
Thank you to my Patreon Sponsor Col Level and above:
Kevin Barba, Adriana Keefe, Lorraine Diaz
Thank you Patreon members for your support. Want early access to episodes, ad-free content, and one on one mentorship advice? Become a Patreon member today! Click here.
Welcome to Episode 130 of the Women of the Military podcast. Before we get started with this week's episode, I wanted to say thank you to mission entrepreneur for sponsoring this episode, not only while I talk to Jen Griswold, the owner of mission entrepreneur about her time in the Air Force, but I will also talk about her transition from active duty to business owner. And this week, they're launching their newest product, which I'm so excited about. And it's called Boss Lady Bio. When I found out about this, I was looking into creating a personal website and was a little overwhelmed with how much it would cost to pay to have it done and to host it and to do all the things to have my own personal website. But when I met with Jen and her team and learned about Boss Lady bio, I stopped worrying about creating my own website and waited for the service to launch because with a few clicks and less than 10 minutes, you can create your own personalized bio, that you can change different themes with one click of a button. And it's just so exciting, and I'm really excited to share it with you. So if you're curious about what I'm talking about, you can head over to Boss Lady bio.com and create your own website. But I recommend staying tuned to this episode so you can learn more about Boss Lady bio and find out how you can get your first month for only $1. So with that out of the way, let's get started with this week's interview with Jim brisco. You're listening to season three of the women on the military podcast Here you will find the real stories of female servicemembers. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse and mom. I created women in the military podcast in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story, while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of women on the military. Welcome to the show. Jen, I'm excited to have you here.
Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Let's start off with why did you decide to join the military.
So I never really expected that I would join the military. I am from a very small town in the state of Montana. And when I was growing up, I could see most people stayed in our little town and either worked for the railroad or there was a big oil refinery there. And that was like the glass ceiling for both boys and girls there. And there was recruiters that would come to our middle school and talk about the Air Force Academy. And I had a good friend who wanted to go so I would go with her to listen to the seminars. And as it turns out, she did not decide to go that route. And I sat there and realize this was my ticket out of Montana. And my parents didn't have money to send me to college. So as much as I was a good student, I was our valedictorian at our high school, I still didn't really get great scholarships to pay for a full education. So the Air Force Academy was my ticket out. And it was probably the best thing I ever did for myself in hindsight.
That's interesting that you went with your friend. And then you were like, Oh, this sounds interesting. I'm gonna go check it out.
She could have done the military too. She was a really crazy talented friend. And she is now the dentist in the little small town next to the one we grew up in. But she has a huge respect for the military. It's kind of a cool story that we we share.
So what was it like to go through the application and to attend the Air Force Academy?
Well, it's a little intimidating, I would say I think I was very eager to get in. Because I knew that was the best education I could get for free. I couldn't get a full ride scholarship to anything outside of Montana. So the process was a little intimidating, you have to do an interview with you know, either a congressman or senator from your date. So I did that very naively, you know, just went in there and gave it my all, you really need to be a well rounded leader. So thankfully, I was a you know, all we had to do in our small town was play sports. So I was the captain of multiple teams. And I was a good student, and I was student body president and all that kind of stuff. So that helped to be well rounded, and they can see that you are doing multiple things. And then, you know, the whole process of getting there. They're intimidating as well. I mean, now I'm old. I'm 43 and I graduated in the year 2000. But back then they would cut girl's hair. So even before I went to the Academy, you could see me with this little you know, little sort of bob haircut but they look like boy Running in my combat boots around the park to get ready to go, because I didn't want to be, you know, the one that slowed anybody down. And thankfully all that preparation helped. But even when I got there as much as I'd cut my hair ahead of time, they still chopped it off because it was part of the process of breaking you down. They don't do that anymore, because I think it is a little bit insane. takes a long time for you to grow your hair back when it's that short, too. But you know, I think I definitely learned to be resilient. Because it was certainly not fun to you know, I look back now and I look like a little like a little boy is what I look like given pictures.
Yeah, that that's crazy. I didn't know they did that. I remember that when my friend went to West Point, he was talking about how he was going to have to have his hair cut and how how is a little nervous about it. It's like totally different. If you're a woman, you have to get your hair all the way chopped off. That's crazy.
Well think about it. Think of how far we've come. I mean, in those days, we couldn't choose even you know, whether you got your hair cut or not. Now we're to the point where and I remember the biggest thing I got in trouble for at the Academy was my hair, like if it was sticking out or if it wasn't in the bun, right. And now we just you know, just this year freed the bun. So I feel like it's been a really great progression. Women are really making an impact in the military in a good way. So I'm encouraged.
I agree. I when they said they were gonna let people have their hair and braids and ponytails, I was like, oh, my goodness, I didn't know I was gonna be that excited about it. But I was like, That's so cool. Because I always got in trouble because my hair was, I had always had flyaways and I hated hairspray. So I got in trouble all my hair.
And you know, the Academy was tough. I would definitely say it's one of the toughest things that I've done. But because you go through it, I mean, as you know, because you go through with your, your buddies, you know, both men and women, my best friends came from those years and every business success I've had started with something that came from the Academy, whether it was a friend, a connection, you know, something that stemmed from my time in the military. So I would definitely say it was challenging, but super rewarding and continues to reward me to this day.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Because the military has had such a big impact on my life, while I was in and like forming me who I am today, but also like the connections afterwards and the opportunities as being a veteran. And the people that know this, this, this and this person, and then you get connected with them. So that's so true.
And I played volleyball there. So that was another when I think back on another thing that sort of developed me or trained me to be resilient. That was another one that wasn't easy to be a student athlete, and I was a walk on volleyball player. So I wasn't as talented as a lot of my counterparts were so I had to work even harder, both at school and practice. And I now tell my daughter who's a, you know, high level soccer player, like how defining that was like I, you know, I didn't really throw to see eye to eye with my coach all the time. And I had to work extra hard. And it was challenging, but I definitely think I became stronger in many ways. But again, I'm using in life now. So lots of good lessons from the Academy.
Yeah, that's good. And so when you left the Academy, what did you get your job for active duty in the Air Force.
At the Academy, I was in the human factors engineering program, which is like a behavioral science. And the department had told me he said if you really want to work with people and be a leader in the airforce go into aircraft maintenance, because you will be leading the most amount of people at the youngest age. And so I said, Okay, I'll do it. I don't know the first thing about an aircraft. You know, I don't know what kind of wrenches what but I do know people and I love people. And so at the age of 22, I was managing an IMU aircraft be this unit of 250 people barely knowing which way was up on the airplane. Man, was it a sinker sway to the especially as a woman in a very male dominated field, but I really enjoyed it. And it was all consuming. It took every minute of my day, I would get calls in the middle of the night. My husband is a pilot. So he was working and gone a lot. So it worked for us for the first number of years until we decided to have family and I really, you know, soaked it all in. It was it was really rewarding.
So you mentioned your husband, did you guys meet while you were at the academy?
We did. We met in the soaring program. So after your freshman year, and I met him in the glider program and we had a healthy little competition over who could solo first. I of course won. And he still gives me a hard time about it this day. But yeah, we met and five years later, we did it all through the Academy. And then he went to pilot training. I went and did my first job in the Air Force. And then we got married five years after we met. So when we were 24. So yeah, and now we've been you know, in the in the military for over 20 years now.
Yeah. And I understand the challenges of dual military without kids because my husband and I were active duty for six years and it was interesting or like we weren't ever together so it's fine because I was like when you're both Active Duty, you usually travel a lot and you're like Missy, but it's, it's okay. Cuz you have the understanding and you can talk on the phone. I mean, now you can FaceTime when I was if you could talk about phone and when you have a family, it gets more complicated. So before kids, did you have any challenges in the Air Force being dual military or dealing with any other issues?
Yeah, funny that you can tell a lot of sea 70 flying, which is why he flies and what I was maintaining at the time, you know, he was gone for three weeks home for a couple days gone for three weeks. And it wasn't always the case that we could talk on the phone because he had to call her home phone, and clicky we thankfully, we're both very independent, and both into our job. So I, you know, I always tell him, he was pretty lucky to get somebody who is so independent. But then when things were really getting heated up with the war, there was surges. I was working all the time. And it just really hit me that this is not a way we can raise a family like he's gone all the time. I'm working all the time. We're both married to our work. So Something's got to give if we're gonna have kids being a woman in that male dominated field. I did an interview for a veterans thing a while back. And I had forgotten some of those instances to where I realized now I never wanted to use being a woman as a crutch. But there are definitely some scenarios I remember now, where, you know, I think I was, I think I was being I don't want to say bullied, but I was definitely being looked at differently because I was a woman. And I always held my ground. I'm very proud of what I did. I never got myself in any really sticky situation, morally, thankfully. But I definitely know that there were hard times just being a woman in that field that I look back on before kids. And then a whole new set of things happened once we started having kids. And those were different difficulties.
Yeah, yeah, maintenance is a tough career field for women. It's probably changing now, but it definitely would have been back then.
Yeah, and you know, I think back as an officer, how many things I wasn't very understanding about, like, I remember doing waist tests, you know, for fitness test and looking at women's stomachs and go, Whoa, what happened, you know, but this is before I had kids, and I had a flat stomach, and I was all in shape. But now I recognize Holy smokes, having kids does a number on your body. And it's not that the person wants to have a flabby stomach. It's just how it worked. And I look back now and wish I had had more grace on people for the things that you know, they were going through at the time. So you know, age gives you a lot of perspective, but to anyone who I judged while doing their tape test. I, I apologize now, because I know what it's like to be a mom and to go through all the things.
Yeah, yeah. Well, you just don't know until you know.
The other thing I look back on too, just real quick, is that when we were searching, and doing 12 hour shifts, like all the parenting things I didn't realize people were going through the CDC is that, you know, couldn't keep the kids any longer than 12 hours and people trying to juggle with their active duty spouse, like, there's so many things that I could have been probably better at. But yeah, now you live and learn live and learn. Right?
Yeah, for sure. So you said the lifestyle a lot more complicated with kids. So we can we talk a little bit about what the challenges were and what you guys decided to do?
Yeah. So I completed my commitment to the Air Force after five years. I owed that for the Academy. And I would have been willing to stay. But, you know, like I mentioned, the just the schedule is too difficult to have kids. So I got pregnant right before my commitment was up. I thankfully had a good friend from the academy who told me about a reserve job. And she said, Why don't you just switch over to the reserves and stay in instead of just completely getting out. And I'm so grateful for that conversation, because I was able to shift into a job active duty, that was an Air Force recruiting job. And then as I transitioned to become a reservist, I was able to just move, stay right into that job as I had my first baby. And I stayed on with them for another year after, and it sort of gave me a part time option as a military Gala. So I was working two days a week for the recruiting service. And it was great because I could be a new mom and also get some time away. And it was a really great transition. But at the same time, it's still difficult, right? Like I was asked to deploy to New Zealand and Antarctica. And I had said to myself, I would never leave my baby with both of us deployed, but my husband was also deployed to Germany. And the adventure side of me said, I can't say no to this. I had to leave my son with my parents. And that was really tough as a new mom, but it was also really exciting. And now in hindsight, I'm super glad I did it because I have the stories to tell my kids but those kind of moments are really tough, right? When you're trying to make those decisions and career on one hand, kids on the other and wanting to do the right thing as a mom, I think everybody's felt some of those tugs. So it just, you know, it was tricky. And I think I chose to do the after time. So I started out as a traditional reservist working on the weekends, and I would High Five my husband on Friday night and I would go to work and he would take the kids and it was a real, you know, juggle when we were younger. And the kids were really little. And then as my kids got older, I transitioned into a lesser reservist role as an ima, where I would just work 24 days a year at the Pentagon. And when they had games on Saturdays, I wasn't willing to miss them. So that was the right answer for me. And we found our way. And now, you know, this past summer, I retired after 20 years in the total military, six years active duty and 14 in the reserves. And I'm really proud that I was able to do it that long. And both my kids have a GI Bill, one from him and one from me, and it's worked out. But yeah, it definitely was a juggle in always, both before and after kids.
Yeah. And I think that people sometimes think, oh, the reserves, it's such, I mean, it is a great option. But it doesn't come without sacrifice, there's still a lot of sacrifice required to do that one weekend, a month, or the deployments that pop up or whatever is required. I mean, it's like a light version of the military, but it still requires a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of hard work to make it happen.
So yeah, I would definitely say that if I were to turn around and give advice to people, you know, in, or me even as a younger person, you know, I was always looking to the all active duty, you know, go getter or the all reservists go getter or the civilian go getter. And they each had a different set of advice for me. And you always felt like you're kind of doing it wrong. And what I've really learned over the years is that the only people you're answering to is you and your family, that there's a right for you and your family that's going to look different than somebody else's. Because if I looked at the all active duty woman, she usually didn't have a very put together family, that's what I learned is that things fell apart, because she gave it all to the military. And if I looked at the all civilian, they weren't very driven, you know, they were stay at home moms. So it was just I wasn't any of those things. I was a blend. And so over time, I just stopped caring what people thought and knew ima for the last, you know, 12 years. And I was really happy with that. I just had to stop caring what other people said about it. And in the end, that was that was the right decision.
Yeah, that's so true. I think you have to do what's right for you and your family and put blinders on and not worry about what other people say, which is a lot easier to say, than to actually do especially to not listen, I just feel like this is what I need to do.
I think the military is realizing that too, though. That's why they're changing the way they do retirement the way you know, they, they cater to families. So I think that is evolving very slowly, I wish it would go faster. But I think they're realizing that people, you know, they value their time. So the military can't tell you every little decision anymore. It's not like at once.
And my husband's in the process of transferring from the space force. And they're talking about doing six year tours instead of three to four. And I think that's all for like helping to build stability for families.
I wrote my master's thesis on that very topic in 2001. So it's taking forever to do the things I thought we should do a long time ago. But
those are only 20 years. Oh, my goodness, that's crazy. So you left the military into the reservist role so that you guys would have a better balance between military life and family life? When did you decide to start a business on the side.
So I grew up as the child of some entrepreneurs, my parents had a home business that they ran out of the bedroom next to mine in the basement, I started watch them do that. And as soon as I came to the place where I was getting out of the military, and I was staying home with kids, I tried valiantly for three years to fall in love with stay at home motherhood. And I just felt like my brain wasn't used to its capacity at times. And I just remember this moment where I was sitting on the floor, my husband was deployed, both kids were sick. And I realized in that moment that I was kind of miserable. I just knew there was more for me. And it was in that moment that I decided I was going to start a business. Well, actually, I thought I was going to find a job. But I quickly realized there was no part time aircraft maintenance jobs. So I decided to start a business instead. And that first business was it was basically a decorating business that formed into a staging for real estate business. And I was able to start it and run it with two little kids in tow on a very small budget. And it just gave me all the confidence in the world that more military spouses should start businesses. And after four years, I sold that and was approached by a great friend of mine who was financial advisor about another business, Rodin and fields which I joined. As I sold the other business in 2000. Let's see it would have been 2011 ish. And I've been doing that ever since and have now you know, had multiple other things since then. So it was really that miserable moment on the floor that caused me to start the business just to say there's got to be a better way.
Yeah. And I read your book, mission entrepreneur last last week, the last two weeks. It took me about two weeks to read. And I really liked how you told that story and the story of your parents and Little bit greater detail and just how you had this like path towards entrepreneurship. And I think one of the great things about being an entrepreneur is like that you can make it work around your life, especially a military life where you might move or your spouse might be gone. And so I think I really enjoyed your book and how you took like the principles for military life and how you can use them in entrepreneurship. How did the book become a thing.
So when I started my business, and Rodin and fields is grown significantly, I think we have about 9000 people on our team, it was almost like a social experiment, I was able to watch how this worked for people. And you know, not everybody does rondon and fields, I was also watching other friends do other businesses. So I started to see trends in what was happening and who was successful and why they were successful, which kind of businesses they were starting. And so you know, I've never met a more talented group of people than military spouses. I knew that from the start, but 90% of them are under or unemployed based on the statistics that we keep seeing. So it was just this real passion of mine to make sure that people understood they could start their own business, stop waiting for the magic job that's never going to appear when you're moving every two to three years and start your own thing. And in this digital world, you know, you can take so many things with you no matter where you move. I mean, we've had friends from Ghana, Africa, or you know, Japan that have started very successful businesses as spouses. And so I just tried to put all my tips and experience and those trends that I had seen into the pages of the book as a little bit of a handbook for, for me for when I was sitting on the floor going, what the heck do I do with myself, I didn't have anybody to look up to ahead of me to say, hey, let me tell you, here's what you're going to do. And so I wanted the book to be that guide for the lost spouse that just doesn't know what to do next. That's what I was hoping it would be.
Yeah, I think it really was. And I've already recommended it to some military spouses who are like, What do I do? I'm like, read this book. Here you go. And one of my favorite chapters was when you started to ask people about like, what were the biggest failures and how people talked about how like the failures were what made them pivot, or lead to the next success. And so I think that chapter was like, my favorite. And it really resonated with me and my story. I guess you were surprised you said in the book, you were surprised by the answers. But what did you learn from that part of the writing that section of the book?
Well, I think what everybody needs to know about entrepreneurship, which is very different than the way we see things in the military, because in the military, we say right or wrong black or white, like we very much put things in boxes. Entrepreneurship is a whole journey of failures, and there will be a win in there somewhere. But mostly, it's a lot of failure in strings of failures until you hit the win. And so just like with military life, which prepares you so well for it, you just have to be willing to fight through those failures, the hard things to get to the good thing. And we've trained ourselves to do that through deployments and through, you know, all sorts of weird things that we get thrown at us quick PCs is and moving kids in the middle of the school year, and all the things that we prepare ourselves, you know, for resilience for in the military, work really well, to set your mindset in the right place to be an entrepreneur, it's just that we need more more of us. So that, you know, everybody knows that they can be an entrepreneur. So seeing my friends fail, seeing you know, everything not go rosy many times over, but then have it worked out is such a great thing to be exposed to because then you know, you're not wrong, you just because you bump into something the first time means you got to push through it, I can't even tell you how resilient I am to failure anymore. Because I've just learned that it's it's not the finish line, there's always another try afterwards, and you will succeed if you try enough time.
Yeah, that makes so much sense. In an interview, someone was like, what would you change in your entrepreneurship journey? And I was like, well, I can't change anything. Because if I didn't have this failure, then I wouldn't have this success and like everything builds on top of each other. And if you just had a straight line, it wouldn't, it wouldn't get you where you are today anyways.
Right. And, you know, I think Steve Jobs, you know, who was the Apple CEO that we all know, is an icon, who was also fired from his own company prior to that would have seen that as a failure. But he said in his last days of his life, you know, you look back, and you can't connect the dots at the time that you're going through it, but you'll see how they connect after. And I've seen that to be true many, many times over and this, you know, journey that we've taken to get to where we are now. So yes, it feels messy, and it's scary, and it's awkward, and you don't always know what you're doing. But I promise it always works out if you keep at it.
I totally agree. So you mentioned that you guys that you started other businesses and one of those businesses is mission entrepreneurs. So how did that start, and then we'll talk more about what you guys are doing today.
So once I was approached by a friend to write to write about what I was doing in her book, the same publisher asked me to write my story in which the name became mission entrepreneur. And then from there, I realized, I can't just stop there. Like, I need to now give people a way to start a business, right? So if somebody reads this book, and they want to start their own small business in any of the categories that I recommend, I need to give them some resources, because that was the other thing I was missing. When I started, my design business was okay, if I only have $2,000, where should I spend it, somebody helped me decide what's the most important thing to do first, and one of the first things I did was start a website, and I was a homemade website that I, you know, toiled over in the middle of the night. And it eventually got trolled by people on the internet. And it wasn't very, it wasn't very useful. And so I wanted to create affordable websites, and branding, logos, you know, and business cards and all the kinds of things that you typically need in the first phases of your business, I wanted to give affordable resources to these women to be able to start that but not only that, also give them a resource of other women who have been through it before who can come alongside you and tell you, this is how I would do it. Here's what I recommend. Let's do this together. And let's get it done. Because what I found is that so many women stop themselves, because they're paralyzed, they're worried about spending that hard earned money, and if it's going to be the right way to spend it. And they never get going, because they get stuck in those decision making loops. And so mission entrepreneur was really there to solve those problems to help you get off to a good start with somebody coming alongside you and locking arms and making you get it done. So that's our mission entrepreneur came from. And then of course, we've spun off lots of new things that we're excited about, just from listening to our clients and what they need and what they want.
Yeah, and I've used mission entrepreneur for when I launched my girls guide, YouTube channel, and I had like, no idea what I wanted. But I was like, I want something. And I worked with the graphic designer, and she made the best logo, and I was so happy. And I was like, I don't know how you came up with, I want something and you made this. And it's exactly what I wanted. And so I was really happy and was really thankful, because like you said it was it was reasonably priced in a way that I could make that investment in myself instead of trying to do it myself and have it not look good at all. And I think it's just great that there's so many tools and resources out there that you guys have created.
And you know, one of the things too, that I think women beat themselves up for, again, is not knowing the answers. And so what we've done with the journey that we take a client through is we start with a marketing clarity call to just say, What is your business going to do? And let's put some words to that, you know, how are you going to talk about that. And we have an amazing copywriter who will sit and just listen and put it into something that makes sense. And then we move you through into branding, where you create the logo and the look that you know that you're talking about Amanda what matches the thing that you're trying to achieve. And that's where graphic design comes into play. And then if there's you know, not a website, or they want a website, we'll put all that together the words, the images onto a website that, you know, portrays what they want. Now we can even take them through two memberships and two courses if they want. So we've got a lot of resources that we can offer to those startup businesses. And it's really fun, because what I see is that once somebody has that look and feel that feels like it's them, they're proud of it. And they're really excited to go talk about it, which is, which means they want to amplify their message. And I can see the confidence in the way that they market themselves after they've been through all of our wickets.
Yeah, and we'll link to your website in the show notes so that people can find it easily. But I know that you guys are working on a new project that I'm really excited about. And I've been in the a little bit behind the scenes waiting for this. So what are you guys working on now?
Yeah so we have built a lot of websites for people, and you know, listen to a lot of clients. And what we discovered is that there's a whole missing product out there for the person that's not quite ready to go to the length of spending 700 to you know, 15 $100 on a website, but who has social media accounts and wants to market themselves, there needed to be something in the middle. And when we started looking at the link in your bio, on your social media accounts, the resources out there were really basic, there's a list of links, you know, but it's really basic and, and it doesn't really give you a whole lot of possess. So we were discovered we could use our website making, you know, design skills and this amazing coder that we have to kind of tweak everything down to make many websites for your social media so that you can use that link in your bio to create a mini website to market yourself and to market the products that you really want to put out there. And they don't even have to be business related. We've now learned that this can really work for anybody. So I was telling my mother in law, you know, she said, Well, this sounds like something for just business owners and I said Well, yeah, business owners, obviously, I'm gonna put my services for whether I'm talking about skincare or websites or my book, I can put that all on my mini website in my Instagram leak. But you, you know, you're like the church lady and my mother in law where you've got your zoom link for your Bible study, and you've got your zoom link for your bridge group, and you've got all these other little things, your volunteer ladies, and all those links can go on her bio. So we call it Boss Lady bio, designed just for women, we've got a whole bunch of templates that are, you know, that are kind of fashionable to match whatever kind of personality you have. And we're going to be dropping new templates into the mix every quarter. So people can kind of change their outfit as they feel necessary. But it gives somebody a really affordable option to either use our free version, if their budget is that tight, and I wanted to make sure that we kept something free, because the startup woman doesn't always even have 10 bucks to spend, you know, so there's that or we have the upgraded template ID version, that's a little prettier, and it's 1199 a month, but it can be that many website that's super duper affordable to be able to splash all over your social media, and sell your cupcakes or sell your skincare or sell your handbags that you make or whatever to be able to achieve this flexible entrepreneur mindset that I so you know, wholeheartedly believe in?
Yeah. And I was actually working with my husband on building a website to go in my Instagram bio when I found out about this. And I was like, okay, that's fine, you don't have to worry about it, I have. And we don't have to just because I really like how customizable it is, and how easy it is to like, make the changes. And like you don't have to do any coding, you just fill in the little boxes and the link trees, what I was using on Instagram before, it was just a bunch of links. And this is something that like I can use is like a business card type contact, where it could be like my website, but then it also can be on Instagram, because it's just that one link and it has pictures and all this stuff to make it easy for people to learn more about me. So I'm I'm really excited about it. And I can't wait for it to launch, which is going to happen. The week this episode goes live right?
April 12 is when it will launch to everybody. We have a set of influencers that you'll get access Amanda on April 5. But so if you you know, if you're a close friend of Amanda's you can come to her and probably get a little extra goodie, but the general public will see it April 12. And what we've added even since you've seen it Amanda is we have a video function, much like an Instagram story where you can introduce yourself, when somebody clicks on your bio leave you they can click on your video and you can pop out and say Hi, I'm Amanda know I have a podcast, I'm a mom. And here's the thing I advocate for military families or whatever, and they can check out all your links below. And then they go into your bio, and they can actually visually see your products, they can see a business card at the bottom or they can immediately contact you to call you or email you. And then my favorite part of the entire bio is at the very bottom, we have what we call the empowered connection spotlight where if Amanda sent you the link to empower you to put your content out in the world, when when you get connected to her and you set up your own boss lady bio account, it's going to have Amanda's picture at the bottom. And it's gonna say I was empowered by Amanda Huffman. And then when you empower the next person that's gonna say I was empowered by you. And then when they see your little picture there, when it says empowered by you, they can click on your picture to go to your bio. So it gives you even more exposure. But it's just really encouraging women to empower one another.
Yeah, you hadn't talked a little bit about that feature. And I'm, it was one of my favorite things that you guys were mentioning, because I just think it's really cool that not only are we getting this product, but then we're empowering other women, especially because there's the free option. So someone who doesn't have a business or is just starting and doesn't feel like they can invest, they have that option. To have this, the free template is nice, too. I liked it just not as much. But almost as much as the other ones. Just it's very clean and basic. And it has all the information that you need, especially if you're just a normal person who doesn't have all the business functions that are needed. And so it's it's cool that we can empower other women in a way sharing a little bit of our story on the internet by creating these Boss Lady BIOS.
Yeah, and you know, this, this really plays into my overall philosophy on business. My thoughts are the smaller, that's the baby step forward, the more of us that take baby steps to get our content out in the world, even if it's just a you know, a blog about your kids, or whatever it is, the more we encourage one another to get our content out there and to build our confidence to speak our minds, the more businesses will form because of it. And then the more businesses that form, even if they're little ones, they don't have to make tons of money, but even if it's a cupcake company that makes you 400 extra dollars a month Your daughter is going to see that and her generation is going to do it bigger and do it bigger and Do it bigger. So I feel like this is a really great baby step forward for all women to just get their content out there so that the next generations will build upon it.
Yeah, that's so true. My blog started with me writing once a week for five minutes. And I love telling that story because it makes it so that anyone could be like, I have five minutes, I could write for five minutes. But really, you can start a business at whatever level you want. And just put those five minutes, 30 minutes, whatever and like slowly grow. If you're at a point I had a little baby and he wasn't sleeping. So five minutes was a lot to ask of my time and and look at what it's grown into a podcast and I get to write on different platforms. And it's just amazing that something that started with simply writing five minutes once a week for I think at least the first three or four months has grown over time into this.
Yeah, and I'll tell any nursing mother or exhausted mother who's listening to this, your ideas matter, because that's where my first business was born to. I was sitting on the couch staring at the same corner of the wall that I looked at, like every three hours for days upon days. And that was how my first business was born. Because I just knew I needed to keep my mind busy. So every time I sat looking at that corner, I would develop more ideas for my business. And yeah, so I think every woman has it inside her. It's just a matter of, you know, getting it out, getting it out there into the world and owning it and feeling confident that other women are going to support you because they will
Yeah, and women supporting women just empowers more women and makes a bigger impact for the world. So that makes so much sense.
Yeah, one other thing I want to mention too, is we've added a badging feature to the bio. So if you are one of our initial founding connectors as what we're calling them, you will get a badge. And there's only going to be you know, so many in that first month that we give out. So Amanda will have that badge. But if you join, you know, into Boss Lady bio, in the very beginning, you're gonna get one, two, or if you own a woman own business, you'll also get a badge for that. So it's kind of fun, because you'll be able to see real quick who does what and search for other women on businesses. But basically, anybody who signs up through Amanda will get their first month if you want the pro version for $1. So we're doing a very discounted sign up for Amanda's listeners for $1 for the whole month of April. So you know, feel free to jump on that it's going to be 1199 for everybody else per month. So that first month for you is
just $1. So head over to Boss Lady bio calm and use the code, Amanda Huffman and all caps, so you can get the first month for only $1. And that offer goes through May 12. So from April 12th, to me, 12, you can get your first month for $1. And of course, there also is the free option. And if you use the free option, put Amanda Huffman in the connector code so that we can be connected, and you can watch the power of women empowering other women. And I'll also put it in the show notes so that people can find it easily. And thank you so much. Is there anything else from either your military career or your time as an entrepreneur that you want to touch on? Before I ask my last question?
You know, I would just I would just reiterate the fact that I'm not any different than anybody else, you're not different than anybody else. We were just bold enough to act on the ideas. And I just hope that anybody listening who has a seed of an idea would not give up on it. I always tell you know, women at my age in their 40s, I'm like you had a dream that you put on the shelf when you started having kids or when life got too busy or whatever, never let the dream on the shelf, get dusty, like keep bringing it out, because we need all your ideas. And if you can't figure out how to do it, give me a call, you know, give mission entrepreneur a call, give Amanda a call and find people that will encourage you to keep working on it. Because it really is that important for you, for your kids for the future of our military families. I just think everybody's ideas are worth pursuing.
Yeah, that's so true. And since you gave us such good advice, I have one more advice question and it's what advice would you give to young women who are considering military service?
I would say do it. I've learned more through you know, my years in the military, just deep lessons in so many different ways that I don't think the rest of my friends in this world understand and I'm super grateful for it because not only has it made me resilient and it hasn't been easy, but it's it's made me resilient, given me perspective most of my friends don't have about what's important in this world. And I think it takes other people a long time to come to the idea that serving people is what life is all about. But we get told and taught that very early in the military, and I'm so grateful because in the end, you know after 20 plus years of serving and now a lot 12 years of business and really now financially coming to a place where I feel very comfortable for my family for years and decades to come. It's not about the money. It's not about the fame. It's not about the success. It's all about what you do for people. And so the military gives you a fast track to learning that lesson. So take it, embrace it, drink it all in, you know, soak it in, be smart. There are still lots of cases where smart women make poor decisions or find themselves in in tricky situations that I never want you to have to have. And I'm so grateful that, you know, I sort of navigated without having to suffer from any of those decisions. But I know a lot of other people that have, but I think the military experience is still one of the best things you can ever give yourself. So go for it. And then turn around and serve this world, whether it's through business or through your your military career, or through your family. It's just the most amazing thing you're ever going to give yourself.
I totally agree. Giving back and serving is what makes the podcast why I love it so much. Because I get to help women share their stories and help women join the military. And it's like, it just fills me up. So I totally agree.
And you know, the last piece of that is empower other women in my career field, sadly, there was not a whole lot of people to lift me up and push me forward and say I got you, it was more of like, stick your elbows out and find your way to survive in that environment. And it doesn't need to be that way. I was very intimidated to work with all women when I first started my skincare business, and now I have 9000 of them that I adore. Because I thought it was gonna be caddy. I thought it was gonna be you know, dramatic, all these things that I assumed it was going to be. And what I learned is that I am my best self when I'm surrounded by women. And I think we all are actually I just didn't know it at the time. So empower other women, tell them the good things that they're doing, you know, encourage them lock arms to help each other rise and don't compete, because there's just absolutely no need for us.
Now there's room at the table for everyone. Thank you so much. I loved hearing your story of being in the military, even though I had gotten a little sneak peek by reading your book, but I'm just really excited to have this episode go live and to share about what you've done and what you're doing today. Well, thank
you so much and thank you for your support as well. I love being able to you know promote each other and to like I said lift each other up. I think that's all about.
Thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women in the military podcast become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening? You can be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women by joining me on email@example.com slash women of the military or you can order my book women of the military on Amazon. Every dollar helps to continue the work I am doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the women of the military podcast audience get in touch with the woman of the military podcast team to learn more all the links on how you can support women military podcasts are located in the show not