Taking Chances

AIE_VeteranWritingServices (1)It’s been three years since a Navy friend asked me if I was interested in applying for the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program.  At the time I thought:

“Entrepreneur? Doesn’t that mean someone who wants to get rich?”

Fortunately, I learned through the program that the true meaning of entrepreneurship was not about getting rich, but about taking chances. I embarked on my entrepreneurial path and officially launched my business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC in March 2014.VWISE_Proud_Graduate_Logo-JPEG

I consider January a good time to reflect, and I count my blessings as I look back to some of my business highlights in 2016. Veteran Writing Services:

  • Earned a spot as a subcontractor to Kforce Government Solutions (KGS) on the $22.3 billion Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG) contract.
  • Received Acquisition International Influential Businesswoman Awards for Most Outstanding Writing and Editing Consultancy in Prince George’s County and Most Outstanding Local Businesswoman, Prince George’s County.
  • Continued good partnerships and met new, exciting clients and business friends.
  • Shared lessons learned on the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) process with fellow Veteran business owners through Maryland’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
  • Enjoyed press coverage through the local Bowie-Blade News which led to additional business.
  • Celebrated recognition in its book division by inclusion in the Equus Film Festival’s Literary Collection, and attendance at the Calvert County Local Authors Festival and Freedom Hill Horse Rescue’s award-winning Pony Palooza event.
  • Won a Maryland Horse Industry Board grant to distribute “Believing In Horses, Too” to all county libraries in the state.
  • And so much more….VeteranWritingServices - Copy

Yes, I took chances. Rather than starting a second career in an established job with a predictable income, I took a chance. It started with a hobby book – “Believing In Horses” – and then led to more. To me, entrepreneurship has opened the door to new opportunities I would never have considered. It has provided a wonderful way to learn, grow, and help share lessons learned.

I look forward to the future and thank all those out there who have helped turn the chances I’ve taken into a successful new adventure. Here’s to 2017!

Brave HEART – Horses Helping Military

BraveHEART_CoverI recently had the opportunity to work with the Brave HEART program on several writing projects. Brave HEART (Heroes Equine Adventure & Riding Therapy) “provides an environment where Veterans, military members, and their families come together to facilitate healing and strengthen relationships through equine interaction and outdoor activities.” A 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Brave HEART program supports those who have served, or still serve, at the peaceful Larkspur Lane Farm setting in Hagerstown, Maryland.

While speaking with the founder and Executive Director, Laura Lane-Unsworth, we determined one of the Brave HEART projects would be a tri-fold brochure to help inform people about Brave HEART’s work. Laura was most helpful in getting me the top five points to get across, testimonials, and a general feel for the tone of the brochure. I put together the words and then enlisted the help of my talented graphic designer friend, Brittany Klein of Radiant Resolution, LLC, to display the information in a far more pleasing manner than I could. I am not a graphic designer – at all – and know the value good graphic designers bring to any visual project. [Read more…]

The Business of Writing

I spoke at the Military Writers Society of America conference on “The Business of Writing” last year. Since starting my own business in 2014, I’ve talked to many people interested in starting their own writing businesses. I’m sharing a few of my slides here for any readers who may be interested in a similar pursuit. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some thoughts and lessons learned.

Reasons to Treat Writing as a Business_slide1 [Read more…]

Fifteen Top Tips on Time Management

15successful2_final_kindle

If Kevin Kruse was a rock star, I’d already consider myself one of his groupies. But his latest book, “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs,” makes me an even bigger fan. As Kruse points out, time is a commodity we cannot recreate. And, unfortunately, it is a commodity people and institutions want, and think little of taking from us for their own purposes. [Read more…]

Small Business Resources – You Are Not Alone

Veteran Writing Services, LLC logo In March of 2014, I founded and became Chief Executive Officer of my own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. I was fortunate to attend a program for women veterans within Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program gave me the tools, training, and guidance to transform what I had been doing part-time into a full-time successful woman, veteran-owned small business.

Recently, several people have asked me advice about starting and managing a small business. So, I decided to share some resources I’ve used over the past year. I know there are many more out there, but I’ll stick to those with which I have personal experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my first year in business is this: you are not alone, if you know where to look. [Read more…]

The Man – or Woman – in the Arena

Motivational speaker and business leader Mary Kelly asked, “What is the best coaching advice you remember? In sports, business, life?”

I answered, “My Navy dad used to remind me of ‘The Man in the Arena’ quote. In other words, it’s easy for others to criticize when they are not in the thick of it. It has always stuck with me.”

Earlier in the week, I had also referred to this same quote by former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in response to a different question.

Then last night, looking through some old memorabilia, I came across a piece of paper my father sent me when I was stationed in Korea in the late 1980’s. [Read more…]