A Community of Boss Babes: Military Spouse Entrepreneurs

At Paperback Events, we believe that every brand tells a story. Every wedding tells the unique love story of a couple. Every open house tells that business' story of who they are, what they do, and their place in the community. At Paperback, our story started even before we decided to embark on this journey together. It started when we became military spouses, a part of our identities that required flexibility and patience when it came to our own careers.

Writing the Paperback story... (Photo by John. A. Butler Photography)

Writing the Paperback story... (Photo by John. A. Butler Photography)

We’re two Kate Spade loving, event-planning, Instagramming, dog mammas who found each other. We’re also both proud military spouses who have experienced the unique employment challenges that our community faces. Challenges like leaving a career behind when your husband is posted, relocating to a remote area, and maintaining a sense of normalcy and balance during an exercise, operation, or deployment. Navigating the landscape of the career world is hard enough, throw in the realities of military life, and it sometimes feels impossible. Many spouses have said, and we know first-hand, that mobility and lack of employment opportunities are two of the key challenges we face in regards to employment. Since 83% of military spouses are women (thanks PMFRC for that stat!), employment becomes increasingly difficulty due to both the realities of military life and the unique challenges women in business face. Despite our overall high level of education, diverse occupations and extreme resilience, we military spouses continually struggle with underemployment and unemployment.

This reality, combined with our desire to build something of our own, sparked our conversation about entrepreneurship, about creating an event planning business. It was over lattes one morning that these two military spouses began building what is now known as Paperback Events & Consulting.

The Paperback Girls (Photo by John A. Butler Photography)

The Paperback Girls (Photo by John A. Butler Photography)

Entrepreneurship is an attractive option for a population that is transient and requires the flexibility that owning your own business can provide. Many military spouses start their own businesses to have something portable that they’re passionate about. They can carry that passion with them across the country. One of the most important things we’ve learned on our journey of entrepreneurship, is that community is key. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and other women in business. Cultivate a community you can learn from, that will support you, and that will help you grow as a business owner. One essential skill and tactic to building this community is networking. We are lucky to be a part of two women in business groups here in the Ottawa Valley, She’s in Business and HER Network. And while we’ve been incredibly lucky to connect with so many amazing women from a variety of business backgrounds, we wanted to create a network that focused specifically on military spouses who are entrepreneurs or thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. So of course, we put on our Paperback Girls hats and hosted an event: #BossBabes, a networking night for military spouses.

#BossBabes : Networking for Military Spouses

#BossBabes : Networking for Military Spouses

With the apps plated and the Sangria poured, #BossBabes connected women from our community who had been self-employed for years, who were new to entrepreneurship, and who were considering making the switch to owning their own business. The one thing we all had in common, we all lived the realities of military life. #BossBabes was the start of an important network of military spouses here in Petawawa and was an outlet for us to troubleshoot some of the issues we have related to owning a business. The first #BossBabes networking night focused on social media marketing for small businesses. We plan to host the next #BossBabes networking night for military spouses in the Petawawa area soon.

Round 2 in August!

Round 2 in August!

Building a community amongst Canadian Military Spouses who own their own businesses is invaluable; not only here in Petawawa, but across the country. We’re thankful to be a part of an online network of incredible entrepreneurs who help each other with business advice and support. Most importantly, when a posting comes up, you already have a network of like minded women waiting to support you wherever you end up. We’re excited to be a part of this community - to learn from other military spouses and to support each other throughout this journey. We recently won our local Start Up Canada Pitch night by proposing an annual conference for military spouses called the MilSpouse Collective. This event will bring military spouses together and focus on professional development and networking and will take place in the Fall of 2018. We can’t wait to share more information about the MilSpouse Collective moving forward and to further unite this network of amazingly talented Canadian Military Spouses.

The winning pitch! Pitching the Milspouse Collective at the StartUp Ottawa Valley Pitch Night.

The winning pitch! Pitching the Milspouse Collective at the StartUp Ottawa Valley Pitch Night.

We’re both so thankful that we started Paperback Events & Consulting as now we’re able to pursue our love for event marketing and build a life and career that we’re passionate about. We couldn’t do this if it weren’t for the amazing community we’ve built and, in particular, the network of incredible #BossBabes from the military spouse community!

Cheers,

The Paperback Girls