FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -With the 'pick up and move' culture of the military, Fort Sill is recognizing the need to help military spouses become self-employed.
Thursday, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation held a workshop to teach military spouses how to build or grow their own business. Current business owners took the time to speak to the spouses about their own successes and failures, and shared the tools they'll need to venture out on their own.
The spouses split up into groups and rotated among six different classrooms. Each classroom had an instructor that focused on a specific topic, such as payroll, marketing, taxes and perfecting your business pitch.
Natira McGee loves crafts, and says she jumped at the opportunity to learn how to turn her passion of making things into income, especially with the hardship of often having to move around as a spouse.
"This is something we can take even to other countries and move right back and we will still have some type of revenue coming into the household," McGee said.
McGee says she is happy she found this workshop because she had no clue where to start when it came to building her craft business.
"When I started doing my own research, it was a little daunting on how much there is involved in it. So, to be able to sit down in a class and have someone outline it for me it was like okay, this is what I really need to do," McGee said.
Shelly Hossenlopp is a business owner and spoke during the workshop. Her topic was building a realistic time line. She says she's proud to share the information to the other spouses because she was once in their shoes...constantly moving and looking for employment.
"I was actually working for another Fortune 500 company and I loved my job and I was so sad to have to ask for another job with the company, but unfortunately that company did not have any positions in Alaska. You can imagine how hard some locations are. After years and years of changing jobs and changing companies for a new position, I decided well maybe I should just ask myself for a new position," Hossenlopp said.
Hossenlopp took the skills she learned from her work history and became her own boss in the same field, inventing medical technology and commercializing her inventions. She said her purpose was to get the spouses dreaming and ready to work.
"Be all you can be and just do it. It's the old Army motto and the Nike motto. I believe in both of those things. Whatever you decided to do, you can do it. There are barriers, but you can do it," Hossenlopp said.
MWR partnered with Cameron University and Great Plains Technology Center. The spouses will be able to access the resources at both campuses going forward.
Spouses were assigned a mentor, based on their specific interests, so they could provide more detailed information on how to create and grow their businesses.