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From Military Service To Entrepreneur: What You Need To Know When Starting Your Own Business

According to the United States Small Business Administration, veterans are almost twice more likely to be self-employed than those who have never served in the military. Perhaps this is due, at least in part, to the discipline and dedication that is instilled and ingrained into those who serve in the armed forces. Here's what you need to know if you are a veteran, or you are currently in the military and quickly approaching your ETS date, and you are interested in starting your own business. 

File Your DD-214 At the Courthouse 

When military service members end their service, they are given several copies of their DD-214, which is the document that releases or discharges them from active duty. This document is crucial and lists a lot of information that may benefit you in the future, including in your entrepreneurial endeavors. Your DD-214 should list your training, military accomplishments, and the dates and places of service. This documentation can be used to verify training and experience and to access certain privileges provided to veterans, such as discounts on insurance coverage for veterans. Take your DD-214 to the Veteran's Affairs office at your local county courthouse so it can be kept on file and always be readily available to you should you need it in the future. 

Visit the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal 

The Veteran's Administration recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit in veterans and has developed a Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) to assist veterans in their pursuit of self-employment and small business ownership. VEP will help you in doing things like developing a business plan, choosing whether to establish your business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability corporation, finding information to access financing for your business start-up, and using resources to network and grow your business. 

Obtain the Correct Insurance Policies 

To protect yourself and your business, it is crucial that you obtain the correct insurance policies and the appropriate contractor bonds , if necessary. By going through VEP first, you will have a business name and have filed your business under a specific type, such as a sole proprietorship or an LLC, which will make a difference in the type of insurance policies you'll need. Speak with your insurance agent as the requirements you'll need to satisfy are determined by your state. If the policy terms and premiums are determined by training and experience, you can use your DD-214 to show the insurance and bonding companies that you are trained and experienced. You should talk directly with an insurance company, such as Northeast Insurance Agency, to know what kind of insurance coverage you will need for your type of business, like if you would need personal or contractor liability insurance.