Best Overall

American Express Business Blueprint™ - Best for Fair Monthly Revenues

Average Monthly Revenue
At least $3,000
Min. Time in Business
12 months
Min. Credit Score

National Funding - Best For Working Capital and Payroll Expenses

Min. Annual Revenue
Min. Time in Business
6 months
Min. Credit Score
biz2credit review

Biz2Credit - Best for Short-Term Financing

Min. Annual Revenue
Min. Credit Score
Min. Time in Business
6 months

What Help Is There For Starting A Business While On Duty?

The Small Business Administration offers low-cost training and business counseling to aspiring entrepreneurs, including military members. Additionally, you can access free training specifically for military members transitioning back into civilian life.

  • Take advantage of the affordable training offered to entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration. You might also like to review SBA loan offer for small businesses.
Best SBA Lenders to Consider

Let’s start with the pros:

Build an income stream: You use this income now. But it will also come in handy when you separate from service.
Flexibility: When in control of your own business, you have more options when your military career ends.
Stable job to pay your bills: Most startups don’t turn a profit for quite a while. A steady paycheck can mitigate the stress of starting a business.

Now for the cons:

Limited available time: Does your active duty service give you the time needed to build a business?
Stress: Building a business isn’t easy. Do you have the bandwidth to handle the additional stress?

What Do I Need To Do To Start A Business While In The Military

Ready to start a business while in the military? Here’s what you’ll need to do to get started.

  • Choose a business structure: You’ll need to decide how the business will interact with the IRS. The choice includes sole proprietorship, C-corp, S-Corp, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and partnership.
  • Register your business: You are protecting your interests when you register your business. You might want to file for a trademark, DBA, or domain name in some cases.
  • File for Employer Identification Number: An EIN shields your Social Security Number and allows you to open a commercial bank account, pay employees, and more.
  • Get necessary permits: Depending on your business and state, you may need to apply for a license or permit.
  • Don’t forget insurance: Your business is one step away from financial disaster without insurance.
  • Separate business and personal assets: Set up a business bank account to keep the money separate.

Tips On Running A Business While In The Army

Before you dive into business ownership, consider these tips.

  • Set aside time: When learning how to start a business while working full time, you’ll quickly realize that scheduling specific times to work on your business is critical. Otherwise, it is easy to let it fall through the cracks.
  • Stay flexible: Your business will likely evolve. Don’t stand in the way of your own success.
  • Carefully consider conflicts of interest: Don’t start a business that might be construed as a conflict of interest.
  • Build an emergency fund: If you decide to take this business full-time after separation, an emergency fund will come in handy.
  • Always put the customer first: Don’t cut costs at the customer's expense.

Not Ready For Starting A Business? Military-Friendly Employers

If you aren’t quite ready to start your own business, there are still plenty of side jobs for active military. Check out these military-friendly employers:

  • Starbucks: Love coffee? This could be a great fit.
  • Domino’s: This pizza company is open to working with military members.
  • Papa John’s: Papa John’s has a reputation for setting up veteran franchise owners for success.
  • Wal-Mart: Flexible scheduling is one perk of this job.
  • Local businesses: Ask around town for businesses ready to work with military members.
  • Gig economy: Flexible side hustles like driving for Uber or delivering groceries via Instacart could be the perfect fit for your busy schedule.

The Bottom Line

Starting a business while in the military can lead to a smooth transition into civilian life. But be prepared to make sacrifices as you build your business on top of working your full-time job. Just remember that the hard work will pay off in the long run.

About the Author

Sarah Sharkey

Sarah Sharkey

Personal Finance Writer

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys helping people make better financial decisions.

More about me

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