Today we are talking to Army wife Julia who is co-founder and CEO of Spouse Serve.
We dive right into their military life moving with small kids and doing their first DITY or do it your self move and what we learned, because we just did our first DITY move this past summer.
Julia shares how Spouse Serve came to be and how they have grown and developed their planner for military spouses specifically.
We dive into what makes the Spouse Serve planner special and unique for military spouses. Julia also shares the other products Spouse Serve has to offer.
Julia also offers insight into growing and moving a business across state lines and the challenges that has as well as running a business out of your home when you live on base.
Julia shares some of her favorite ways to connect with other mil spouse business owners and shares her favorite mil spouse events that you might want to check out as well!
The deadline to order products to ensure you will have them by Christmas is December 1!!
Connect with Julia:
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And please check out our brand spanking new website! www.themilspousepodcast.com
[00:00:00] On today's show we have Julia, who is a mill spouse entrepreneur, and she is the, co-founder Yes. Co-founder and CEO of Spouse Serve. , one of the main things that you make is a. Planner, a calendar day planner for military spouses specifically. But you also have started rolling out some other stuff as well.
[00:00:19] So we'll get into all of that . But initially, Julia, welcome to the show. We're happy to have you here
[00:00:24] Thank you so much.
[00:00:26] What is your affiliation to the military and what has your military life looked like so far?
[00:00:32] My husband has been an a army officer for the last 11 and a half ish years. Mm-hmm. , and team until military university prior to that.
[00:00:42] And so, We met when he was in college and I was in college not together, and fell in love and did the long term girlfriend thing for a while. And then, we've been married almost nine years and we've lived in several states. I'm a mom of three and then, you know, I have businesses and things that are.
[00:01:04] Just growing and, serving our, our military families both in business and in his work as a volunteer. And, we are now in Fort Riley, Kansas. And, we've been here for a couple months, so we're just kind of settling in to life here and, and seeing what the Midwest has to offer. Yeah.
[00:01:23] , what move number was this for you?
[00:01:26] Oh, I've lost count. , this is our fourth state as a married couple, but. I don't know how many moves I, I really stopped counting them. Yeah. We were just in Leavenworth last year, so we were just two hours down the road, still in Kansas, just outside of Kansas City. So it was a really easy move for us to come here.
[00:01:47] Okay. And so we just moved like a hundred miles .
[00:01:51] Oh, nice. God. I've never done that before. That's, yeah. That, but it's also, I don't know. I think that would like make me angry almost. Like really? I gotta, You gotta still go through all the stuff, right? You still gotta pack everything. You still gotta load it all.
[00:02:06] You still like, you still have to go through all of that stuff and you're only going like .
[00:02:11] Yeah. You're only going, I really wish we could have just picked up our house and moved our whole house over. Oh my gosh. We did our first Diddy move though, so that was like a really. We felt like we could handle it.
[00:02:20] We're like, Okay, we're only going a hundred miles. Like yeah. It doesn't have to be perfectly packed. It just has to be packed well enough to go two hours down the road. Yes. So, how did that go? How was your first day? It great. Yeah. I mean, in the moment, like packing and loading and unloading the truck on the hottest days of the summer.
[00:02:37] Not what I would recommend. That was us on
[00:02:40] our, We Move, we did Ed, so we were Washington State before we came here and we didd, we decided, I'm like, I'm not, I'm done with, this was our eighth move and I'm like, I'm done. Our last move from Florida to Washington State was a disaster and they, there was tons of stuff broken and they held our stuff for a really long time, which I know has gotten way worse since.
[00:03:00] And and then we had a bunch of stuff stolen and I'm like, I can't, I'm not doing it anymore. So we Diddy too, and it was literally the hottest day and the record of Washington State when we loaded our truck, it was like a 10, which is unheard of at Washington State. It was miserable. So I totally feel you on that one.
[00:03:16] I tell you.
[00:03:17] I get it. And I understand The last move we did, into Leavenworth was our last like, possible goods move. Yeah. And. It was like yours. Awful. Yeah. Yeah. I was like a zillion weeks pregnant and we had two small children, a son that had just broken his leg and couldn't walk. A daughter who like just refused to walk.
[00:03:37] And then I was super pregnant, so we were like never again. Yeah. And so this one while a lot more work obviously, was just nice to have control over it and we could un unpack right away and. I like to purge every PCs, so as I was packing stuff, I could be purging things. Mm-hmm. . And because like I said, because we knew we were only going a short distance, we knew what the climate was gonna be like.
[00:04:00] We knew what our kids were gonna be wearing for the next year and like what kind of stuff to buy and all that. We would have to like figure that out. Yeah. Cause we knew Kansas and. So, I mean, we will, I think while a lot of work, we will definitely be digging again. We might be digging differently,
[00:04:18] We learned a lot on our first, but yeah, we'll definitely be digging again. Yeah, a
[00:04:23] hundred percent. That's gonna be us from now on as well. And we we're the same way. We learned a lot of things. Did you have help to load and unload the truck? Cause that is like, if I, if I talk to anybody about DIDs, I'm like, Have you heard of Hire a Helper
[00:04:38] Because that is the best thing you can possibly do for yourself during a Diddy move, cuz it. It's like Angie's list for moving help. That's all they do. Oh, and so you pay, I think we paid like $200 and we had two guys for two hours and they busted their butt. The whole like moving stuff on and all, you know, in and out of the house and.
[00:05:00] Both ends. We had two people for two hours because I feel like that's the worst part is loading the truck and then offloading the truck. And it's like, you know, all of your friends are where you are, are your military friends, right? So you don't wanna ask them to help you move because, hello, We always move all the time.
[00:05:16] Like you just, it's that weird like, Oh, I don't wanna ask for help. So you're like, we're just gonna gut it out and like do it to, and it's freaking miserable. And so, The best thing that we, that I, and I don't remember how I found out about it, but I'm like, Oh my God, this is it. Because that was like the, that was like the thing that was stressing me out the most is I was like, Oh my God, how are we, like, I'm a pretty fit person, but I'm like, geez, like I don't even
[00:05:42] I don't wanna do
[00:05:42] it. , I wish I could say that we had hired help. We, we kinda outsourced some things to grandparents came in to help keep kiddos outta the way, cause our kids. At the time we moved for four and a half, two and a half, and not even one yet. Yeah. So, that was a lot. Mm-hmm. . So, my mother-in-law, thankfully kept them kinda entertained and out the way and then, My father-in-law, husband and I, we were able to just load a 10, mostly them.
[00:06:09] And then I could kind of stage what was going next. But we definitely know next move we are going to be way more truck ready. We were packed, but we weren't staged and ready to load the truck. So loading the truck took. Forever. Yeah. Because we just, we didn't know because we'd done this and like, you know, the Army's always had somebody come and , load our trucks and pack our steps.
[00:06:28] So we didn't really , I guess pay attention to what they were doing, but there's a
[00:06:32] whole science to it. . Yeah.
[00:06:34] Just like having things organized in your house to be , ready to go out the door, and then where do you fit stuff and how do you latch things in so that they're not, I don't know, It's just so, it's a learning experience.
[00:06:47] Yeah. I was gonna say the, luckily for me, my husband is YouTube. Obsessed and there's tons of videos like, this is how you need to load your truck. So he was like, , This is how we're gonna do it. And I'm like, Okay,
[00:07:01] Yeah, that was, Yeah, there.
[00:07:04] Exactly. And there was, yeah, there was stuff that, And it's one of those like, I don't know. I'm just, I'm just so tired of moving at this point though. Cause it's like you get into your new place and you're like, Oh, that doesn't really work there. What are we gonna do with that? And well, I don't really wanna get rid of that, but it doesn't work in this house,
[00:07:21] I mean, it's just
[00:07:22] like, ugh. I know. I cannot tell you the number of things, like praise God we have a huge at in this house. But we had a gigantic basement that was, guest room, both of our offices, like weight room, kids, play area gymnastics, space storage, all this in our last house. And we don't have that here.
[00:07:39] And so we, we also had this like, really great, like. Bar height counter that we had stools underneath, but we don't, they don't fit here because we don't have a bar height counter. But you know, the next house inevitably will. Of course. So we're like shoved a whole bunch of stuff up in the attic and we're like, Yeah.
[00:07:57] Right. Yeah, yeah. See you in the next house. I know, right? Well hold tight. We'll see if you fit the next, I know I was looking, I. Feel that way about where we are now. We're, this is, so we're in Colorado and this is the first house that we've ever had that has a basement and it's like a full basement. And I do, I've got my gym and we've got storage and I'm like, this is fantastic.
[00:08:17] And, but at the same time, I'm like, Oh my God. What if we go back to Washington State, what am I gonna do, ? Where does all this stuff go? There are no basements there. They don't have addicts. Like there's like, there's no place that I'm like, oh gosh. So, but I try, I'm trying not to do that. Like , Oh gosh, what's the next place gonna look like?
[00:08:35] Okay. Anyways, so , so tell me about how your career has progressed to what you're doing now. Cause like, like what did you go to school for and like kind of what does that path look like?
[00:08:48] Well, funny enough, I double majored in math and psychology, so totally relevant to what I'm doing. I was also on the like seven year plan to finishing college.
[00:08:57] We got married in the middle of that and just paying my own way through school and it just, it took a minute. Moved in the middle of that of course. And While I think my education kind of prepped me for the endurance of military life, I don't know that it prepped me for what I'm doing professionally.
[00:09:15] But I like started, working at. Corporate, I guess corporate work. Day job work in recreation, which is like where my heart is. Running aquatic programs and university recreation wise for several duty stations. All the while having this dream of like owning my own company and specifically planners and a few other like kind of entrepreneurship journeys that I've been on and, enjoy, still working in smaller.
[00:09:45] Scale. But, and then as I, met Brittany, who co-founded with me, we just kinda knew that this was where we we wanted to be and, and this was the dream to really dive into mm-hmm. . So, that was back in thousand 18 and we sat down one day and we were like, ok, is this just something we're gonna talk about?
[00:10:05] Or is this something we're really gonna do? And we committed to it and, and it's grown and progressed. And, Brittany is an active duty service member, so she actually had to recently step away from the company. Hopefully someday she'll be able to come back, but Pam is an active duty service member, kind of, holds onto her a little bit tighter than, than my life does.
[00:10:25] So, I'm gonna run the company solo for a while and then we'll see whenever she gets a little more time.
[00:10:32] Yeah. So you said, at the beginning that you've always been interested in planners. Where did that, where did that come from? I just have a
[00:10:39] love of paper products. My husband will joke that like, he's like, Oh, she loves office, office supplies and paper products so much that she wanted to register for our wedding at Officeman.
[00:10:49] Like, I mean, I just, I live for school supplies. I just, as a kid, I've always wanted that and. And I think, you can't tell by my, my desk right now, but , I think admin is one of my skills. And so that naturally comes with a lot of writing of stuff down and sticky notes and accessories to your, to your office suppliers.
[00:11:10] So, and then as I think. Our culture has steered into like, there is a culture of that, of people who just love office size and they've gotten cute and they're not dys functional now they're pretty, and they do all these other cool things and mm-hmm. , you can track all the things you wanna track and check off all the boxes you wanna check off and mm-hmm.
[00:11:29] As a list maker myself, that's the dream to be able to like, check everything off a box, check it off, so, and have it be pretty so. You know, I, I had gotten into this season of like just kind of oling, really pretty planner companies. Mm-hmm. , and then kind of like mentally scoring them of like, Okay, well this is what I like about this planner and this is what I don't like about this planner.
[00:11:52] And if I had this planner, I would change this, this, and this. And then, Like, Well, I could just make myself a planner and not have to buy one from somebody else because I would buy it, and then I'd still wanna change things. Yeah. So then I was like, Okay, well, I'll just make myself a planner. And then that kind of morphed into like, Well, my friend wants a planner.
[00:12:11] Well, what if I, He started a company where we sold planners to people. What if we sold planners to people that were military spouses? Because our life is way more unique than just. People that use planners lives a hundred percent. And it's like fitting a square peg in a round hole to put a military life into a regular civilian life.
[00:12:35] Right? So then it was like, how do we tailor this, this idea, this product that many people use all over the world. Serving our people and so that they get the most out of it. Mm-hmm. . So it's been kinda this journey and we started the concept of the, the company, like we're actually going to do this, starting the concept in 18.
[00:12:57] Yeah. And then we didn't even start selling planners until 2020. 20 fall of 20. Wow. So it was two years before of just like dreaming and creating and testing. And just kind of building, before we even like tried to sell anything and we were like, Okay, will this, will this work? Do people want this more than just us , Right.
[00:13:20] Yeah. And I think it's, it's just grown tremendously and, and people have, it's changed every year. So like we're still learning and growing. Okay. People have just tell us what they like and don't like, and we kinda tweak things based on what we like and don't like, and. Most of our people are telling us like, this year's layout is completely different than last year's.
[00:13:40] Okay. And the last several years have been the same and or very close. And so this is a whole new layout and I'm hearing really great feedback already. We just launched a few days ago and people are already like, I love this new layout. I'm a planner person. I'm really picky about my layout and this, this is the layout and.
[00:13:58] that just is really kind of affirming as somebody who is also very picky about planners. Sure. That like, you know, I always wanna be listening to the people who are making it for Right. And while, I like to be a time based planner, not everybody is that way. Mm-hmm. , so this year's planner is not a time based planner, which was kinda hard for me to let go of, but is is what people need and I'm, I'm really excited about it too.
[00:14:24] And I think it's gonna be, great. More military spouses.
[00:14:27] So, So by time based, do you mean you have hours specified? Yes. In there. Oh, okay. Gotcha. Yeah, I've used that. I, I mean, I've had that in a couple of different planners that I have, but that I've never, I've never been good about like, Cause I feel like every day is different.
[00:14:41] I don't know. So that, that's never worked for me. But for, but I know for some people, like, that's like, I need to know,
[00:14:47] you know? Well, and for a lot of people, I use my planner, like a calendar, my schedule, but a lot of people I got to talking to, a lot of different military spouses, different branches, different demographics, different age groups, different like, and how they use their planner is so personal.
[00:15:06] It's so different. Some people are using it like a scrapbook of their life of like what happened. Some people are using it a prayer journal and they do their devotionals in them. Some people are using like a schedule, some it just. So unique and so it can't be this one size fits all and you know, a time base, especially even the people that like time.
[00:15:26] In a post covid world where a lot of things are virtual. We're doing this interview in the evening. Yeah. Our time base was seven to seven and things just don't fit always in seven to seven.
[00:15:37] Yeah, for sure. So what kind of, Cuz I, I've ordered mine. I'm super excited to get it.
[00:15:42] What we, we already talked about But I haven't had, I haven't got my hands on. So what are the things, Cause you were saying that, you know, there's a lot of parts of it that are unique to military spouses. So like, tell us a little bit about what, what those things are.
[00:15:55] So the planner has a whole section about resources, and those are gonna be like, a lot of moving tips and tricks.
[00:16:02] It has your do not pack list, so you can fill that in when you're in a head space of , I can think about this instead of the night before your packers arrive and you're just like, Oh my gosh, I don't even remember what I'm supposed to put in there. Did I pack underwear? Did I pack the dog's leash?
[00:16:15] What is in that list? So you can be filling that out weeks, months ahead of time so that when the day comes, you're ready. Same thing with a high value inventory sheet. You can be tracking those serial numbers, getting those prices, getting everything kind of in a place so that when they ask you, you're like, Oh my gosh.
[00:16:32] Yeah. Do I have, should I do be on it? Do I have valuable? Sure. Yeah. Right. and I don't, I dt know what's valuable anymore, . Cause at that
[00:16:37] point you get to the point in the, where you're like, I don't care. Just get it outta of the house. Like let's take it . .
[00:16:43] Yeah. So then you can be able to really track those things.
[00:16:47] There's also, something that was new, not in this year's planner, but last year's planner is a kinda a. Rank cheat sheet. So for each of the six branches, there is insignia, the title of their rank, their pay grade, all the things. And so that when you, especially for people that are at joint bases and they like see somebody, they're like, I dunno what you, I know you have a title that you have earned and wanna be respectful of that, but I don't know how to address you a.
[00:17:16] and so, and then, you know, some of the, services are similar and then some are not. So, having those where you can just kind of like open that up and see it, that's really even helpful. Yeah. There's also stuff like every, I say every, every military holiday is in the planner, so you've got things. Military spouse appreciation day, which, you know, I like to remind my husband, I every I know,
[00:17:39] but you know what that need, I really like, we need to petition for that to get moved because it's what the Friday before Mother's Day and it's like, my husband's like, Well, which one do you Right?
[00:17:49] Yeah. And I'm like, No, we
[00:17:53] need to make that happen. Get this. But also it's a two part, two gifts, two moments at time, . But things like that. Women's Veterans Day. Obviously you got your federal holidays in there as well. And then all the service birthdays. Something that we just added. I'm always evaluating every year, like did we, are there any new days that are being recognized that we need to be mindful of?
[00:18:18] So something that's new this year is children have fallen patriots day, gold star spouses day, those things that, military marriage day. So the days that maybe aren't federal holidays, but are days that, like in our community, you wanna be aware of. So adding those in, lots of PCs specific type of, resources.
[00:18:39] The duty station reference list is one of my favorites because there are two in every planner. And it's where you're gonna like track all the like, hair stylist, your dog groomer, your, schools, your daycares, whatever, auto shops, whatever it is, all those recommendations for your installation. Mm-hmm.
[00:18:58] You can track all that there. Mm-hmm. , And you have two in every planner. So if you move in the middle of the year, You're ready for the next post that you're at, the next space that you're at. Yeah. And the same thing with like the duty, duty station bucket list. Mm-hmm. , you know, three years can go by really fast.
[00:19:13] Yeah. Or you know, 30 years depending on how long you're somewhere. But like Sure. If you don't, if you're intentional with your time of what you do, like those months just clip away and then you're like, Wait, I spent three years in Hawaii and I don't know what I did like. Right. You know, you could spend three years somewhere and.
[00:19:29] Go anywhere and see Exactly. Yep. Yep. So, being able to like, write it down, check it off. Again, I'm big on checking things off the list, but a hundred percent just like see it. And you have two in your planner for every year. So, if you're not moving, I know some people use it, like one for things to do and one for places to eat.
[00:19:48] Or if you are moving, then you've got one for where you are and one for where you're going.
[00:19:52] Yeah, I love, I love that cuz I've, I've said it a ton of times, but that is one of like my coping mechanisms, , when we're gonna move is it's like, okay, this is where we're gonna go. And as my kids have gotten older, I've, it helps them as well.
[00:20:07] Like, Hey, this is where we're gonna go. Well, what can we look forward to when we get there? Let's think of all the things like, Oh, we can go do this and we can go do this. And Oh, this place isn't that far. And like that's, we start that like right away. And then I agree with you a thousand percent that you really.
[00:20:21] Have to be intentional if you wanna take advantage of the time that you have in a certain area, right? Like, I don't know that we would ever live in Colorado again. So I'm like, well, we're here. Okay, let's go like Rocky Mountain National Park. Like where's like, here's the list. You know what I mean? Like right.
[00:20:34] And really trying to be, and you really have to be, because it's like, like we, we did a ton of stuff over the summer while the girls were off, but. Now that I'm like, they've been back in school for two months and like every weekend it's like, Oh, we're working on this project, like we haven't done anything.
[00:20:48] And I'm like, Oh my God. Like three months have gone by and we haven't checked anything else off our list. Like you really have to keep it kind of top of mind so that you can again be taking advantage of the area that you're in, you know? So I, I'm ex I'm excited. I'm very excited to, to try it out and to see all those fun things in there.
[00:21:04] So, you have also, aside from the planners, like that was kind of where you started with, right? Mm-hmm. , but you've kind of branched out and you have a couple of other offerings as well. So what other, what other things do you have?
[00:21:15] Yeah, so, planners will always be the heart of spouse, and that's just my heart in general.
[00:21:21] But, they have, we've kinda. Branched out to include different types of productivity. One of the new products is actually a collaboration with another military spouse business. And it's a productivity planner and it's undated and it's about like jumping all of the things out of your brain onto a piece of paper and then prioritizing them through your week and being able to check them off.
[00:21:43] Mm-hmm. . So, that's new this year. Also we have a deployment weekly WINS journal that's new this year. Because deployment can be a season where you're just like, the sky's always falling. Yeah. When my husband was gone on his last Army sponsored business trip mm-hmm. , we had, I feel like. Three trips to the ER in three weeks, because that's just life with kids when you're the only parent, right?
[00:22:06] So it's easy to remember all of the negative things, right? But it's not as easy to be like, these were the things that went really well, and so. Having that journal where you can track it every week, it's undated. Every week has five spots. You get to decide what a win is. If that's that, you just put your laundry away that week, that's a win.
[00:22:25] Yeah. But you get to decide are wins big? Are they small? How many am I gonna track? If you only put one in every week, . You still had one win to look forward to. Sure. So that's something that , I just think I probably need to do that, whether or not my husband's deployed, but just to be sure, almost like a gratitude
[00:22:42] journal, right?
[00:22:43] Yeah. Like yeah. Look for the positive. Yeah. Cause then your brain is looking for that. You program it, it in there. And so then as you're, as you're going through your next day, you're like, Oh, what can I, what can I write in my journal for today? What good things are gonna happen? And you end up noticing more good things so that.
[00:22:59] A little psychological thing. I
[00:23:01] like it. So those are two of the new things this year. We also have, just kinda office supplies in general. Star paper clips, airplane paper clips, for those Air Force or pilot spouses. Yeah. And then some grab bags of different, different office supply goodies and that sort of stuff.
[00:23:18] Note pads in the army we say. That whatever your call sign is, if you're the commander of something, you're, it's whatever your call sign is, Six. And so, you know, typically the joke is in the army. A service member will say like, Oh, do you wanna go do this to his buddy? And he'll say, Oh yeah, I gotta go check with household six.
[00:23:35] Meaning I gotta go ask my wife. Uhhuh, who's the commander, , can I do this Uhhuh? Yeah. And so, we have these notepads that say from the desk of household six. And so,
[00:23:44] I saw that and I was like, I dunno what that is. I'm a Navy.
[00:23:47] Yeah, that's kinda our specific , like , , . I haven't, I'm not entirely sure if any of the other branches do it, but I know it's, it's a big thing in the army, but yeah.
[00:23:56] But yeah, so that's, kind of one of my favorite things because that's something I hear a lot. I was like, Oh yeah, Household six says
[00:24:01] this. Yeah. Yeah. I, well, we, Michael, I think says I need to check with, With the CO and I'm the co . Or check with my boss. I'm the boss. . Yeah, I run the house. You can do, I dunno, you do you your thing over there.
[00:24:18] I'm gonna do my thing over here, . The other night my husband's boss said, I think your chief of staff is calling. So like, like I was in stupid sat . Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So they
[00:24:29] know how it is. They know, they know who runs the show. .
[00:24:34] So those are most of the goodies that we have. This year we have both soft cover and hard cover planners, which is a first, maybe they're always been either soft or hard.
[00:24:43] Okay. So giving people the flexibility. And we also have two different. Cover options. Although if you were to look at the sales that have come in so far, you would think there's only one because people are super passionate about, one in particular, which is exciting because it was designed by another military spouse.
[00:24:59] So it's just, I think that's really trying to stay
[00:25:01] in. Our
[00:25:02] family here. Yeah, I love that. . And that's why I was excited to find you guys because I love a good planner and I feel like I have one that I've used, I've gotten it a couple of times now, but I'm really excited to try this one.
[00:25:15] And, and the same thing I feel like, and then especially as I'm growing with the podcast and I'm talking with more people and more military spouses like I. Be in this space. Like, I wanna, I was just talking to, Michelle actually her interview went out this morning. But she's a navy spouse and she's a lawyer.
[00:25:31] And I'm like, okay. And she told me about how you can find a mill spouse, lawyer in your area. And I'm like, Yes. , let's do that. , let's keep it all, , let's support each other and , that's why I wanted to talk to you so that we can, more people can know.
[00:25:44] The, about your company and about the products that you have to offer that are all for, you know, for us.
[00:25:49] As an entrepreneur, right, and you have this idea that you wanna build this planner and now you have these offerings, How does that happen? So do you outsource, do you literally sit there and make all of the things?
[00:26:05] Do you have a company that makes it for you? What does that part of it look like?
[00:26:10] Well, it has changed. Okay. Dramatically every year I feel like . So, this year is the very first year that I am hand. Making hand making every single one, binding them, punching them, pinching them Here. This is, we have like a, industry little sweat shop here behind me.
[00:26:27] As my husband says, he's coming home to take his, his turn in the sweat shop . But, we, I'm doing them all this year because it just gives me the freedom to be able to offer more things to people ok. And to try new products. And so I wouldn't be able to try these new things. If I was having them printed, because you'd be like locked into a certain number and if it's a new product, like that's kinda the scary thing to lock yourself into, especially as a small business owner.
[00:26:54] Mm-hmm. , I'm a zero debt business and so every dollar really has to be sent intentionally. Yeah. But it also gives me the opportunity to. Offer multiple covers, offer multiple styles of cover mm-hmm. , and to be able to create things that are like collaborations with other businesses. Yeah.
[00:27:13] Because I'm doing that. Gotcha. And so that's been really fun. Prior to this, I have always printed in the United States. That's a passion of mine is to have everything printed here. Mm-hmm. . And I have a fantastic printer in Kansas City. I do use for like really big, I've had a few, big orders for big companies that want to have them for, whether they're a box or for their clients or for some giveaway.
[00:27:40] Mm-hmm. . So all of those go through my printer in Kansas City. Mm-hmm. . But as far as the spouse planner this year and all of the things that are for on the website right now are printed here, which is just really fun for me to be able to be. I made this for you, Yeah. That's why it's , it is my heart because it is literally made by me.
[00:28:00] Yeah. And you know, tiny humans helping the, are like putting on the stickers for the, the packaging slips, that sort of stuff. Yeah.
[00:28:08] I love that. So, so like realistically that sounds. An incredible amount of stuff to take on yourself when you have lots of tiny humans around and not a lot of free time. So what is that like realistically?
[00:28:22] How is that for you to. Have that big of a hand in putting those things together.
[00:28:30] Because this is the first year, it's a lot different because prior we had, you know, stock and then people orders would come in and we would just ship 'em out. Yeah. And so I kind of had prepped what I thought based on previous year's launches was going to happen.
[00:28:45] Ok. And those were, and then some and like those were ready to go. So for launch day I was like, Alright, we're good. I'm ahead of. Orders can come in and I can keep building as we go, but I gotcha. Stuff is like coming in and like the orders that will come in on launch day will just immediately check.
[00:29:01] Okay. Well that was a really great plan and I'm very fortunate to see the launch day blew every launch day I'd ever had out of. The water, like literally five times over. And so that's a huge blessing. But it's also like, Oh, well you don't have your planner yet. . Cause , I'm sitting on dining room table.
[00:29:20] And so know it's know in it's, it's cover being made. Right. and the hard covers do take a little bit longer. Yeah. There are more steps to go into those. Sure. And so, You know, I'm almost cut up on all the soft covers and so, it was a big few days. Yeah. And which has been really fun because then like every day my kids and I are going to the post office and dropping off a whole bunch of patriotic bags and they're like, What are we doing?
[00:29:47] And I get to explain to them, and I'm like, My kids are really little and so they're just learning. Sure. And it's fun for them and they're like, Oh, I wanna help give a planner to carry and I wanna drop it in. And so yeah, that's been fun. But, it's a very busy season right now. I already told my husband's.
[00:30:02] Gonna probably be deployed or just getting back from deployment around launch day next year. And so I told him, I was like, I'm gonna have them all made before you go home from deployment. Cause when you get home, I really wanna just be packaging and mailing. Yeah, yeah, for sure. So looking at
[00:30:22] how you did it this year, going into next year, you would just do more because you, but you know what, Wouldn't it be awesome if next year it you have five times the amount of
[00:30:34] That would be really awesome. But I think that, this year I also. Normally I would've had a lot of stuff done sooner in the summer, being that we did, he moved in July, and then my husband immediately left and was gone for six weeks. I was unpacking for a lot longer than I anticipated. Yeah. So business stuff couldn't happen Sure.
[00:30:54] As quickly as I had anticipated. So, this next year then, that we're not moving this next year, I think there'll be a. Of opportunity for me to be even more ahead of it and like, yeah, hopefully I'll have the same problem next year where it just blows me out of the water again. But, I plan to be a little bit more on top of it because, I mean, I just could have never foreseen the way that launch they went, and I'm so grateful for that.
[00:31:16] And so it's a great problem to have.
[00:31:18] Yeah, for sure. I just, I like asking kind of those questions just because, you know, part of this show is really focusing on military spouse careers cuz it's so hard Right? To have a career and to have that continuity. And so I like to kind of get into the nuts and bolts of , what does it look like?
[00:31:36] If someone else has something that they wanna build, you know, how, how is that work in, in your lifestyle? And I know, okay, so, oh, so this, so I guess this isn't really. Fly for you this time cuz you stayed in the same state. But I've talked to other military spouses that have, She, she wrote a book and like, that's kind of her thing, but she would ha you have to restart your business whenever you move to another state.
[00:32:00] And that's really, it's just a lot of work. There's a lot of red tape and that's really prohibitive I think, for a lot of, of military spouses to have to deal with. Do have you had to deal with that at all or what are your
[00:32:11] thoughts? Yes. So when we started the company initially, Brittany, my co-founder and I were both in, Tennessee.
[00:32:18] We were stationed at Port Campbell. And so we started the business there and then that first year she moved and then the next year I moved. Yeah. And then the next year we both moved here. Yeah. So, we had to. We've always kept the business home office with me. Okay. And then, she's a, or was a satellite location and so we had to pay certain taxes and that sort of thing.
[00:32:43] Yeah. Depending on what was done wherever she was. Yeah. But, yeah, the home business has always been with me, so it's just registering me and the company wherever we are. And like you said, we didn't move states this year. When we found out we were coming to Fort Riley, like we didn't really anticipate that we would be coming here, but I went, Oh my gosh, I don't have to change the business.
[00:33:05] Yeah, I just had change the address. Yeah. And we live on, on post housing and so we had to register the business also with the post so that they can approve to say , Yes, you can run this business out of your home. And so there are so many steps and , I don't even think. I could have guessed at how many steps there are when we started this company.
[00:33:25] Just like everything, I mean, like with anything, you don't really know what you're getting into until you're into it. Sure. But the learning curve is steep, but the reward is strong. So, and I feel that way about a lot of things in business. Like, you know, you don't know what you don't know, so just start learning and it will get better.
[00:33:44] And, . And so it's just been, it's been busy because you know, as we look at moving, not next year, but in two years, Yeah. It's like, okay, what are the rules for registering a business somewhere else And Sure. So, There are a lot of nuts and bolts to go into
[00:34:00] it. Yeah. So as a small business owner and like just growing from where you've been, is there anything that you've done that's been super helpful for you?
[00:34:09] Like have you, have you found mentors or coaching or is there anything that, that you have found as a business owner has really helped you , grow your business?
[00:34:19] I think the biggest thing has been to build a community with other military spouse, business owners. Okay. Just like military spouse, life in general.
[00:34:29] Yeah. Military spouses get what you're going through. Yeah. More than anyone else. And so military spouse, business owners have the same issues of like having to transfer their business. Yeah. Clients coming and going from their area. You know, living on an installation and different roles there. Mm-hmm.
[00:34:44] so they know what you're in. And so like having that community to also be like a sounding board and to be like, support for them and they support me. Mm-hmm. . That's been I think, the most helpful because Okay. I can be like, Okay, I have this idea on how to serve military families. Sure. Does this make sense to you or does it just make sense in my head?
[00:35:02] Mm-hmm. . And so , they are my ideal client. I'm not there to sell to them, but I'm kinda. Be a sounding board for them on their ideas, because I'm sure I'm their ideal client in a lot of ways. Right. But then they can also do that for me. And so we just lift each other up and like, I love this saying a rising tide lifts all boats and like mm-hmm.
[00:35:22] it really does. It's not about , Oh, so and so is doing a business that is similar to mine or so and so if I spend money here, I can't spend money there. It's like no, a rising tide lifts all bits. Yeah. So, having that community is so helpful, especially because like we move and we have to make all new friends, but those people I can reach out to all the time and I'm like, Yeah, if I'm not going to a business office and I'm working outta my.
[00:35:49] I don't have coworkers to meet and make new friends that way. Mm-hmm. . So it's like my neighbors, my kids friends parents, and the people that I do work with, like digitally .
[00:36:00] Yeah. Yeah. So where, where are you connecting with these other military business owners? Like where, where are you finding them and, and connecting.
[00:36:10] Well, most of us have connected via Instagram, which has been fun. Okay. But now I'm feeling really old cause Instagram is not the new thing anymore. Oh. And , all these people are like, Oh, well I'm on t and I'm like, Well, I'm for that. I . I feel . I'll not be there. . I'm on the gram. Yeah. Right. I will be there with my skinny jeans and my side part and it'll be, yes, I'll be right there with you
[00:36:34] But like most of us connect there. But then, I have been to a few conferences that are military spots specific and Okay. I'm hoping to go back again next year. This year, like I said, we're gearing up for deployment, so our dates kinda all shifted. Ok. But that's been really great to then be able to meet those people in real life that.
[00:36:53] You get to talk to online and then like several in every installation I feel like, I'm like, Oh my gosh, we know each other online and now I get to like know you in real life or you meet somebody, like I met Michelle from the Waiting Warrior. Didn't know that she was Michelle from the Waiting Warrior, just met her at the playground at Fort Campbell.
[00:37:11] Right. And then, you know, got to meet her. And we've been friends for several years now, so, yeah. Lots of duty stations in between there, . Yeah, for
[00:37:20] sure. So what, the conferences that you have attended for military spouses, what, what are those? Have you found most
[00:37:27] helpful? My favorite so far, and it's actually coming up, I'm not sure if they still have tickets available, but it's the Inspire Up Foundations conference.
[00:37:35] Mm-hmm. . Last year it was in Kansas City, which was super convenient for me cause I lived 40 minutes outside . Yeah. So, and then this year it's in Nashville and I'm not gonna be able to go but. It's gonna be a great time. And then there's the Military Influencers Conference, which I hadn't really intended to go to this year.
[00:37:51] And again, the dates aren't gonna work out super great for us, but. I believe that one's in Vegas. I dunno if it's always, I think previous years it might have been in San Antonio, so it may move around as well. But those are the two of the big ones that I hope to be at next year. Okay, cool. And it's a great way to meet other military spouses who are in it.
[00:38:10] The inspire of foundation is not just for military spouse businesses, it's just for military spouses first respond. Spouses. And so it's just kind of a, a weekend to pour into you as like it's about you, and it's not about serving other people. It's about what, what you need. And so that was really fun last year.
[00:38:28] We got to go and meet a lot of really awesome people and spend a fun weekend focused on us. Brittany and I both went, we both took our nursing babies with us because we had both had babies. They were both under six months old at the time. Oh geez. So we were the weirdos with our babies at conferences.
[00:38:45] Yeah. Yeah. What
[00:38:46] are you gonna do? I like sometimes when you're in that stage of life, it, it is what it is, right? It is what it is. Yes. .
[00:38:53] Okay. So we traveled as a herd. There you go, .
[00:38:56] How can people get a hold of your product?
[00:38:59] Spouse serve is all the products are available on spouse serve.com and you can find us on Instagram and Facebook both that way.
[00:39:07] But they're also available on Spousely. So if you are Spousely supporter, which, if you dunno, Spousely is kind of like Etsy where all of the vendors are military, spouses, veterans, or first responder spouses. Mm-hmm. . So you can shop there as well, spouse or on spouse, Lee. Yeah. Awesome.
[00:39:25] Okay, cool. Okay, so just to end the show, what do you, I like to ask people this question and I haven't told you that I'm gonna ask it.
[00:39:32] , what is the best, piece of advice that you have gotten as a military spouse?
[00:39:37] I think the very best piece of advice, which is so cliche, is just to bloom where you're planted. Every place that we have. I have not been excited about literally every place we've been.
[00:39:48] I went kicking and screaming to every place, and every place I've been. Like, if you were to ask me what my favorite installation is, I can't one, because every place has been amazing. Every group of people has been amazing, but you're only gonna. Out of it. If you put into it and if you try to bloom, if you look for negative stuff, you're going to find it like we're talking about with that deployment weekly wins journal.
[00:40:14] Like if you train your mind to look for positive and you try to bloom somewhere, you will. Yeah. And so you can't choose where you're planted, but just bloom there and do your best to dig in roots for however long you're. Pour into the people you're with, pour into the community you're in, whether that's volunteering, working, just being around your friends and you will.
[00:40:37] Yeah, I love that. I think that's, that's really true cuz it's, I, you know, I'm in a lot of Facebook groups, which I'm sure a lot of other military spouses are too, and I feel like that's something that you see a lot, right? Is, Oh, I'm going here, tell me, like gimme the good, the bad and the the ugly. And all you get is the bad and the ugly, right?
[00:40:55] So then you go into this new place with all of this negative mindset. I think it's almost better to just. You know, , hey, I need to know , who's your, I need to know schools. Tell me, talk to me about schools. What's the best school or you know, just frame it in a different way to set yourself up for success.
[00:41:10] You know what I mean? So I love that. I think that's great. Well Julia, I really appreciate your time. I am super excited to get my planner and I will be sharing all about it on, on my Instagram as well. And, thank you for your time and spouse. Is so spouse serve.com and also on Spousely and your spouse serve on Instagram as well?
[00:41:31] Yes. Yeah, All the things to make it easy. All the
[00:41:34] things. All the things. All right, Julia, thank you for your time. I
[00:41:36] appreciate it. Thank you so much. .