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8 Veteran Side Business Ideas to Start Now

8 Veteran Side Business Ideas to Start Now

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Before we dive deep into side business ideas for veterans, on behalf of all Americans, thank you for your service. It’s because of brave men and women like yourself that we are provided with security and freedoms on a daily basis. We hope this article provides value back to you and gives you some veteran business opportunities to help bring in some extra revenue and even offer you the ability to work for yourself rather than punching in and out of a clock every day working for someone else.

When it comes to starting any business, the best thing to do first is to set up an LLC. This will help shield you and add a level of separation between you and the business to help ensure your personal assets are protected from any potential problems or lawsuits that may arise with the business. Think of it as a bulletproof vest for your personal assets, such as your home and bank account.

Before we get into eight veteran business opportunities that you can do in your free time, here are some stats about veteran-owned businesses.

Veteran Businesses By the Numbers

According to SBA.gov, there are plenty of veterans out there who are doing exceptionally well with their own business, and the numbers are pretty impressive.

  • 2.52 million businesses in the U.S. are majority-owned by veterans.
  • 2.08 million businesses are owned by self-employed veterans (without employees).
  • $1.14 trillion in total annual revenues were earned by veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.
  • 5.03 million people are employed by veteran-owned businesses.
  • 84.3 percent of veteran-owned businesses are started by men.
  • States with the highest veteran-owned businesses include California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

With the staggering numbers probably opening your eyes to the opportunities in front of you, here are some lucrative side business ideas for veterans.

Incfile | EIN

8 Side Business Ideas for Veterans

1. Firearms Instructor

Cost to Start: $2,000–$10,000

You are probably way more proficient at handling and shooting firearms than most people in the U.S. due to your specific military training. Why not share some of your knowledge with others who want to learn how to properly handle and use firearms for sporting purposes or self-defense?

The first thing you should do to start your business is get certified as a firearms instructor. From there, you need to look into the laws of your state and any states you might offer your services in since each has different firearm laws and rules about carrying firearms across state lines.

If you have a passion for guns and firearms, this can be a great way to share your love with others, so they know how to safely and properly handle and own firearms. On top of getting your certification, you may need to purchase equipment such as inert firearms, targets, ammo, firearms, pistol/rifle magazines, firearm accessories and even training guns with simulation rounds if you want to go into force-on-force training methods. You can go as deep down the rabbit hole as you wish with your business and training.

2. Self-Defense Trainer

Cost to Start: Under $2,000

Another great side business idea for veterans is starting your very own self-defense program. Men and women across the nation are searching for skills that can keep them safe from an attacker. Whether on the street or in your own home during a robbery attempt, you can teach individuals, families and businesses how to handle and get out of certain situations — and even how to avoid them altogether, such as fortifying your home and making it a hard target to penetrate.

There are plenty of self-defense instructor certifications available out there to choose from. Pick one that you feel will provide you with the ability to expand your military background knowledge. On top of the certification costs, you may need to purchase some props that can be used during scenario drills.

3. Personal Fitness Trainer

Cost to Start: Under $2,000

You didn’t make it into and through the military because you are a couch potato. Why not help whip other people into shape to help them improve their overall health and fitness level? This can be a very lucrative side business for veterans.

With many certifications out there, choose one that is well-respected and not the type that you sign up for and take the test online the same day. Find a certification where you actually learn how to properly train clients to get them the best results possible. Combine that with the training you went through for the military, and you can have yourself a great fitness business.

There are many pieces of equipment that you can consider purchasing for an in-home training business (such as adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands) or an outdoor training business (assuming you live somewhere warm all year). Or, if you’re willing to spend more on your startup costs, you can purchase your own space and build out a gym.

4. Security Personnel

Cost to Start: $2,000–$10,000

Your training has prepared you to protect not only yourself but also those around you. In the military, you form a bond and brotherhood where you protect those who stand with you just as they protect you. Why not carry that same mindset and mentality into the civilian world? There are plenty of events that need security personal and even people who hold prominent positions within companies and the government that call on high-security personnel.

There are many certifications and licenses available for you to choose from. Figure out the direction you want to go with your security details and select a certification that aligns with that niche. Working security can open up many new veteran business opportunities for you and even allow you to cross over into some of the other side business ideas for veterans mentioned in this article.

5. Disaster & Emergency Consultant

Cost to Start: $10,000–$50,000

Your military training has probably provided you with the ability to handle just about anything thrown at you and the knowledge to prepare for the worst of any situation. Natural disasters and emergencies happen quite frequently all across the nation. With your background (and continuing education to keep learning), you have the ability to not only help the everyday citizen prepare their home and life for any situation they may encounter, but also businesses that want to know how to handle things like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and even active shooter scenarios.

You can get a certification to add to your already solid credentials and start your side business locally or even branch out all across the U.S. if you so wish to.

6. Military Preparation Coach

Cost to Start: Under $2,000

Many people have hopes and aspirations to go into the military, but they may lack the discipline and are unprepared for bootcamp and everything else that comes with enlisting. You’ve been there and done that — and survived. Why not take your knowledge and experience from it to help others prepare for their enlistment?

While you don’t necessarily need to get a certification for this, you very well could in order to add some more qualifications to your name and business. Getting together a strong resume with your military skills can take you a long way. Regardless, it’s going to be your job to get individuals mentally and physically ready for the military and the testing they go through to weed out the weak.

7. Niche Blogger

Cost to Start: Under $2,000

It should come as no surprise, but if you want to become a blogger and write about topics that you love (maybe military, training, experiences, war stories, etc.), you need to enjoy writing. Leverage social media and your network to help spread the word about your blog and share content. Pitch your articles to other sites and get paid as a freelancer writer. Focus on finding military or veteran publications that may want to publish an article by you. After some time, you can also get advertisers for your own blog to bring in revenue, add a few affiliate links and products, utilize Google ads, etc., and slowly build your audience and traffic.

While there are a number of free blogging templates and hosting sites, it is highly recommended that you spend a little bit of money on building out a solid and secure website if you want to be taken seriously and truly use this as a side hustle or side business.

8. Podcaster/YouTuber

Cost to Start: Under $2,000

If you can talk for days and feel comfortable speaking, start a podcast or YouTube channel where you can upload content and make money through sponsorships and advertising. There’s no special training needed to become a podcaster or YouTuber, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some research on the best ways to build your platform and engage with your target audience.

If you aren’t a fan of being in front of a camera, a podcast may be your best bet. But if you are charismatic and enjoy being in front of the camera, shooting a video for YouTube may be precisely what you’re looking for. Better yet, extract the audio from your YouTube video and post it as a podcast on the various podcasting platforms — it’s a two-for-one opportunity.

There isn’t much to purchase to get these two ideas off of the ground. You can use something as simple as a smartphone, or you can go up as high as a quality camera, microphone, editing software, backdrop, etc. It would be wise to start small and on a low budget until you get some experience under your belt and can build out from there. The last thing you want to do is take one of these side business ideas for veterans and spend a fortune, only to find you lose interest after a few weeks.

If you’re ready to take one of these side business ideas for veterans and run with it, Incfile can help you get your business up and running. We’ll help you get your LLC formed for $0 + state fee and we can even take care of the little, but necessary, tasks such as getting an EIN. Get started today to make a difference in the lives of those you touch through your new veteran-owned business!