Though I was only in the Army for four years, that experience transformed me, teaching me the tenacity and persistence you need as a small business owner. For me and probably a lot of women, the military made me more secure because of what you go through, particularly basic training. Everything creates this backbone.
A few years ago, I had a vivid dream that my house had been transformed into a consignment store. Now I've made that dream a reality. I opened my store, The Puzzle Piece, in that house in December 2011, and sell everything from high-heeled shoes to blenders. My family has since moved into a new home, but each room of the store displays items that fit the room's former use.
I'm nearly breaking even and was able to bring in an employee part-time this spring. So far this year we've had about $30,000 in sales -- before subtracting what we owe consigners. I would love it if my husband, who recently retired from 25 years in the Army, could eventually work with me full time.
These serial entrepreneurs have had their share of successes and failures.