Part of our Tandem Nomad community includes military spouses who share the same challenges and ambitious as all other expat partners. Today we hear about one particular military spouse, Erica McMannes, who shares how she started her portable startup and began generating revenue in under a year.
“Give up perfectionism, when you start a business you cannot know everything.”
Erica McMannes started out her career path in 2003 working for the American Army in various director and leadership positions. Erica is also a military spouse and after 10 years, 6 moves within the US and abroad, 2 kids, and limited traditional job opportunities, she had to get creative! She found a way to find fulfillment and income that meshed well with the unpredictable military lifestyle.
Her entrepreneurial spirit started when she joined a veteran-owned start-up as a consultant and managed to find the flexibility she was looking for. The sparked her interest in entrepreneurism and in 2016, Erica co-founded her own startup, called MadSkills, a company that sources virtual work opportunities for military spouses to clients ready to outsource.
“We discovered that there was a lot of work to do just to bring awareness on the amazing talents of the spouses’ community who help corporations thrive and grow”
Highlights from this episode
- Similarities between expat spouses and military spouses dual career challenges
- The career challenges and opportunities for military spouses
- Erica’s “a-ha” moment, how she had this business idea and launched the startup Mad Skills.
- How to build a community around a business (To learn more about community building listen to Episode 78 with Naomi Hattaway)
- How to grow a startup platform that depends on the supply and the demand at the same time
- How to grow customer loyalty
- How to research the market and analyze the potential
- How to build customer development
- How to define the pain points that you need to address for your customers
- How to create a business model and revenue streams
- How to find the right business partner
- What marketing strategy helped Erica grow her business
- What challenges Erica encountered in her business journey and how she dealt with them
Watch this video from July 2, 2016, where the then-President Obama announced a “milestone” initiative for military spouses streamlining professional certification processes.
Erica’s Book Recommendations for portable startups
- Quiet by Susan Cain
- The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone
- The End of Competitive Advantage by Rita Gunther McGrath
- The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
Erica’s Online Resources
- Military Spouse Judiciary Network
- Military Spouse Behavioral Health Clinicians (for mental health support)
Find Erica Online
If you are a military spouse, make sure you check out all the resources and information in this episode. For more inspiration from other military spouses, listen to Episode 72 with Marcelle Yeager