We all aspire to spin the “negatives” that life throws our way into “positives.” Bridget Platt founded her entire business on her potent ability to do so. She never seems to dwell on the downsides of military life, instead pushing past them to secure her Master’s degree, establish a career teaching English, and ultimately start a business founded on bringing joy to children with deployed parents.
Sometimes, pilots’ spouses seem to have it particularly difficult. As many military spouses know, pilots are gone a lot. Bridget’s husband, an EA6B Prowler flight instructor, discovered that he would be leaving for four months, then deployed for seven, just 10 days after Bridget gave birth to their daughter. This is nothing new to many military families. The military has a way of turning a joyous event into a new challenge. For Bridget, this changed everything.
As she began searching for books to help her daughter understand her father’s deployment, she realized that there was nothing on the market that put a positive spin on this challenging subject. The books that existed to coach children through deployments were surprisingly negative. Bridget didn’t want her daughter to have any misconceptions that her life would be sad. With that, Bridget wrote what she describes as her “own positive story for her: one that would be brightly colored, a story that would show the strength of a military family.”
Helping The “Tiniest Warriors” Fight Their Battles
In August 2012, Bridget began her business to help the people she describes as our nation’s “tiniest warriors.” With a tremendous cause but no business experience, she “read every book (The Lean Start-Up by Eric Reiss being her favorite), and learned how to formulate an LLC, register a trademark, obtain a text copyright, and operate a successful online business.”
With her business smarts and her passion in hand, she was able to find success “early on,” in spite of her struggle with being for profit while helping military families. She was able to overcome her concerns about profit after speaking with the president of a business/entrepreneurial magazine who reminded her, “You found a need for a product and you’re helping people. I have to imagine that any family would pay a lot more than $33 for such a fantastic coping tool.” This reassured that it was “ok” to charge for this valuable resource.
Mixing compassion with effectiveness, she has become the consummate CEO. She knows in her heart that she and her team are doing “great things,” which enables her to continue her effort to turn challenges into successes. Her obstacles have become learning opportunities for her. She explains that every misstep she made in the process of growing her business was because she didn’t trust her gut.
Late Nights & Early Mornings
When you’re a mother, wife, and CEO, sleep becomes elusive. In order to have sufficient time with her family, Bridget came to realize that she had to “stay up late at night and wake up early in the morning.” But she is quick to point out that balance will be different for every Milpreneur. The important thing to know is that it is attainable. She was able to obtain her Master’s while functioning as a full-time stay-at-home mom with a deployed husband. She still struggles with balance, as do many spouses, parents, and hardworking businessmen/women.
Her knowledge of social media was central to the process of making it all work. A great deal of her business’ traffic came through social media for quite some time; ninety percent was through Facebook. Since then, she has handed her social media management over to another successful military spouse-owned company, Pressed Branding. Remarkably, her business’ Facebook presence has blossomed into “too much” for one person to handle.
Bridget is sustained in her endeavors by the personal relationships she is able to forge with nearly “every family that orders a book.” She explains that they become part of her own family. She is able to enjoy their homecoming pictures, photos of them reading her book with their children, and stories about how the deployment books have helped.
Bridget insists that any military spouse can begin her own business. “We have an unfair advantage,” she explains. “We have programs like Patriot Boot Camp, V-Wise, and INC Magazine’s Military Entrepreneur Program available.”
She has been able to find the distinct advantages in military spouse life, from the lessons spouses can learn from deployments to the opportunities and resources uniquely available to veterans and spouses.
It may seem like a lonely journey sometimes, particularly when deployments and frequent moves take you far from friends and family. Fortunately, the start-up community is a helpful and welcoming one, and if you ask Bridget, “There is no reason you can’t start your own business.” Ever the optimist, she believes that “if you take every opportunity available, you will succeed.” Judging by Bridget’s own journey to success, her advice is probably sound. Who knows what you’ll stumble upon simply by keeping your head high, your ambition strong, and your goals lofty?
Learn more about Bridget’s endeavor at www.daddysdeployed.com!