Military Spouse Business Stories: How KR Design Got Started

Deployment Photo-Blog PostBeing a military spouse isn’t easy. Especially if you’ve never lived that type of lifestyle before. The only person who was in the military was my uncle and he was stationed in Germany for over 10 years. Because he was so far away for so long, it never seemed real to know what it meant to have someone you love in service. So, I grew up in the normal American lifestyle: I had a job, lived in Los Angeles for the last 6 years, and was lucky to be close to my family. My mom, sister, and brothers were 15 minutes away and all of my grandparents were 30 minutes away. So you see, I had no clue what it meant to be married to a Marine and his career.

I met my husband in college. He told me that his ambition was to become a Marine. That didn’t surprise me too much because his dad was a Marine at the time (retired after 28 years of service), his mom was a Marine (retired at 20 years of service), so it made sense that he was going to follow in his parents’ footsteps. Eventually, his younger brother also became a Marine. Getting to know his family and from the stories they told, it should’ve occurred to me that my life as a military spouse wouldn’t be the same as the life I was leaving behind. Like I said, not too surprised that he wanted to be a Marine, but I didn’t know EXACTLY what that meant until we got married.

Shortly after we got married and we were stationed in North Carolina, I began to have some issues. The biggest one was that I couldn’t find a job. This was really hard on me because I am a very ambitious person and I was so used to climbing the corporate ladder in Los Angeles. I would work in a company, get promoted to a better position, another company would notice how awesome I was, the new company would hire me, and the cycle would repeat. I couldn’t do that as a military spouse. I realized early on that I would be moving around too frequently (we move every 3 years) to be in a position long enough to get promoted. The second thing I noticed was that employers could tell I was a military spouse and they knew that I wouldn’t be staying around as long as they would like. My resume was a dead giveaway that I was a military spouse because it showed the positions I held in Los Angeles, CA, Beaufort, SC and other places within a 5 year span. This was very frustrating for me.

8590186_sThen one day, I had it! I just blew up. I started yelling, screaming, and crying because career-wise I couldn’t get what I wanted. My dream was to be a top executive at a big company and have my office window overlooking the ocean or some awesome type of view, doing what I loved, and having my own executive assistant. Why couldn’t I have that dream AND the love of my life? It just wasn’t fair! Kudos to my husband who just stared at me with his eyes in shock and just listened to me rant and get my frustration out. He pulled me into a big hug and said, “I’m sorry wife.” I calmed down and we started thinking of how to solve this problem. We came up with a great solution: start my own business. “You’ve always wanted to start your own business,” he pointed out. “If you really want to do this, I’ll support you, and we can make this happen.”

Fast forward, 5 years later and we both couldn’t be much happier with the solution we came up with. We both have careers doing what we love and can be anywhere in the world. What we both didn’t know and have come to love about KR Design is that having my own online business allows me to be more flexible and have more freedom than a job. I can be available for promotions, unit functions, family events, and still get work done. Oh, and my dream to have an office that overlooks the ocean or some type of cool view, doing what I love, and having my own assistant? Currently, my office is in Hawaii (my office window overlooks the mountains), I love what I do (social media and online marketing), and I have own assistant!

Who would’ve thought that KR Design would be born from an afternoon of frustration, crying, and ranting? Yet at the same time, we’re both very happy that it’s come to this. So, what’s your story? How was your business born? Comment below, I would love to hear it!

8 thoughts on “Military Spouse Business Stories: How KR Design Got Started

  1. Wonderful story! My business, doing pretty much the same thing that you do, was started after a few years of unfulfilling but lifestyle-fitting “work at home jobs”. I found I loved the ability to be at home with my young son and my disabled husband really needed me to be at home too, especially after his mother passed away, because he often can’t do simple things like tying his shoes or zipping his jeans. After learning my way around and being inspired by many of the clients I was encountering, I have managed to build my business into something that is growing daily. I too look forward to the day when I will be sitting with my laptop working with a view of a beach or a mountain top or something awesome! For now I settle for my lovely backyard when the weather cooperates. With a 16 year old in high school sports it pretty much means there is no moving around for us until graduation. But I’m ok with that!

    And THANK YOU to your husband for his service to our country! And to you for your service as his wife. 🙂

  2. Stopping by from the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

    Congratulations on going after your dream and attaining it.

    It’s amazing how we as women can take a situation that might seem bleak and turn it into a beacon of light for others by doing what we do best.

    Starting my business almost 30 years ago was all about being with family.

    Having your own business enables you to be flexible and available for life’s precious moments that you don’t want to miss out on.

    My window view? It’s lush green and tropical:)

    I wish you much continued success.

    • It’s amazing at the reasons at why we start our own business. The flexibility and freedom is priceless! Thanks for stopping by Toni!

  3. Kristen, I remember when you first started in NC. My how you’ve grown your business from then! I certainly admire your strength, dedication, and hard work. I also admire your other half. I enjoy watching KR Designs grow from afar. Perhaps we will meet again.

  4. Hello, great story! I started my small business in 2013 with the help of my husband. I’m not a military wife but I’m a daughter of an ex marine who’s no longer with me . It’s slow and busy at times. But I keep going. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Michele! Thank you so much for stopping by and glad that you’re keeping at it with your business! Hope to see you around in the KR Design community!

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