[author] [author_image timthumb='on']https://storage.googleapis.com/pbc_app_default_bucket/Bridget-Platt-Daddys-Deployed.jpg[/author_image] [author_info] When she is not running the show at Daddy's Deployed, Bridget Platt is busy being "Mommy," while supporting her Marine. [/author_info] [/author] Over the past few years, I have been honored to speak at local organizations as an advocate for military families. During the q&a session of my first talk, a man raised his hand and asked why I started my business. My husband, who had returned from a seven-month deployment a week earlier, gave me an encouraging smile from his seat and I answered without thinking: “I was terrified my daughter wouldn’t know who her father was,” and tried to blink away the tears through the empathetic gasps from the audience.
I was never planning to be an entrepreneur: I was an English teacher. That all changed when Craig deployed when our daughter was six-months-old. I watched her confused stare as I tried to teach her the sign language for “Dad,” and knew I had to do something. On a road trip from North Carolina back home to Illinois, my business was born: I would create personalized children’s books that explained complex military topics to children. Books that make each military family the star, including family member names, ethnicity, hair and eye color, military parent branch of service and uniform worn. There was only one problem: I had no idea how to start a business and hated asking people for help.
As quickly as I was able to swallow my pride, my business started growing. I read every book (The Lean Start-Up by Eric Reis is my favorite), learned how to formulate an LLC, register a trademark, obtain a text copyright, and operate a successful online business. I have grown into an effective, compassionate CEO and I wake up every day knowing we are doing great things. Of course, there have been a few hiccups along the way and I believe that the most important thing I have learned is to trust my intuition. The only fails we have had happened when I went against my gut.
I find myself continuously saying how helpful everyone in the start-up community has been. Being a military spouse entrepreneur is difficult: often, we live far away from our families, we are full-time parents and partners, and it may seem that there are few other like-minded spouses nearby. We are currently stationed in Eastern North Carolina and there are very few start-up resources here: there is no exciting buzz of an 1871 or 1776 incubator, no local conferences to attend, but as veterans and military spouses, we are lucky enough to have programs like Patriot Boot Camp, V-WISE, and Inc. Magazine’s Military Entrepreneur Program available.
The friendships and mentor relationships I’ve formed as a result of these amazing programs has greatly assisted in our becoming a growing, profitable business that helps families who have sacrificed so much for our country.