When it comes to finding support on the homefront, Krystel Spell's ArmyWife101.com is connecting with spouses in unique ways. Launched in 2009, this blog is best known for Krystel's "tell it like it is" blog posts on current happenings in the military spouse world and her videos.
Krystel is a mom of two and has been married to the military for over 6 years. Her husband is currently a National Guardsman who also served full time in the Army and is a former Marine.
I recently talked with Krystel about her popular blog, being a contributor to a new television show and her advice to other military spouses looking to start their own business. Here is what she had to say:
Me: Tell us about Army Wife 101?
Krystel: I started the blog March 2009 in my hotel room in Savannah, GA while getting ready to PCS to Hawaii. I use videos a lot, because I'm impatient. I'm also a visual person. I didn't want to see sad, sappy stuff all the time. I struggled with anxiety. I wanted a place spouses could come and say, "Hey, I've had a crappy day, my kids are driving me crazy". A place they can learn something new; give someone a laugh, instead of things that make you ponder the deployment. I created a place for spouses to be able to come and get answers to their questions.
Me: What advice do you have for other military spouses wanting to start a business?
Krystel: Take the time to research what you're trying to create. Be authentic, that will bring out the difference between you and others that are doing something similar. Use all of your free resources; make sure you don't waste your money. Dive into social media beyond Facebook. Create that uniqueness about you and your brand.
Me: What has been the biggest hardship when it comes to making money with your site?
Krystel: When I started I didnt know you could make money off blogging. I'm on my blog 15 hours a day. There has to be some kind of compensation for what I do. I struggle with charging what I'm worth. ArmyWife101 now brings in 70% of my household income.
Me: What is one of the mistakes that you've made and what did you learn?
Krystel: Naming my site ArmyWife101. I didn't know what blogging was and what it could be. Ive progressed and sometimes feel I've outgrown my name. Be really sure to about your name.
Me: Do you miss working in a traditional workplace environment?
Krystel: Not one bit! I love being able to take a break when I want to and determining how high of the corporate ladder I climb without having to go through anyone. There are more then enough co-workers (of sorts) to communicate with in the social media world (online).
Me: What is coming next for ArmyWife101?
Krystel: ArmyWife101 has some great things in store. The biggest happening is I will be a weekly contributor on a new show premiering February 4th called "Raising America" with Kyra Phillips on Headline News (HLN) TV. The show will discuss current events and news, but from a parent's perspective. It will be a lot of fun because it is going to be very interactive with lots of tweeting and Facebooking.
Have a success story about your business? Leave a comment!