We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Amos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was involved in direct sales in legal services for about three years when I was ready to start my own business. The opportunity to get started happened on accident. I was a social media volunteer for a professional networking organization when someone asked me, “How much do you charge for your social media services?” I replied, “Let me get back to you,” then pulled an all nighter drafting a business plan and a proposal for this prospect. From 2013 to 2018, my small social media marketing services expanded to an online marketing agency where I’d contract other freelancers to help me offer tailored services.
I definitely struggled with some shame and guilt when I started to transition from doing direct sales to running my own online marketing agency. I wasn’t just moving on from my first experience in sales, but I felt like I was letting down my sales team, which felt like my second family. In the end, I felt that it was important to explore starting my own business. One of the greatest books that continues to serve me when making hard decisions is Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud.
I faced a similar fork in the road again in 2018 when I decided to close up shop with my online marketing agency and start working in financial services. As I continue to come into my own as an entrepreneur, I’m learning the importance of the three basic things, according to the self-determination theory cited in the book Tribe by Sebastian Junger, to be content with my decisions: (1) I need to feel competent at what I do, (2) I need to feel authentic in my life, and (3) I need to feel connected to others.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
There are three difficult topics that often come up within the military community: deployments, divorce and death. The individual that’s often burdened to cope with these topics are the military spouse. Because America has become a volunteer service since the early 1970s, spouses are expected to have a “stiff upper lip” about the emotional challenges of military life. Yet, the responsibility of a military spouse is indescribably heavy, sporadic, and awfully under appreciated.
There’s a general understanding and denial in the military community that the service member may one day lose their life. It’s easy to ignore this possible fact when a military couple is focused on the unforgiving pace and spontaneity of day-to-day responsibilities. The denial of possible death comes head-to-head when military couples have to eventually make the choice of keeping or opting out of the Survivor Benefit Plan before military transition, in which it’s the military spouse’s sole choice to make. According to the U.S. Department of Defense Military Compensation, “The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) allows a retiree to ensure, after death, a continuous lifetime annuity for their dependents.” But if a spouse and their service member isn’t ready to have the ‘morbid talk’ of death, the last-minute decision is to keep the Survivor Benefit Plan, with little education and confidence that this is the best decision for the family.
This is why we created the Spouse Benefit Plan.
With the Spouse Benefit Plan, we take an empowering approach to help military spouses and couples make informative, intentional and confident decisions about their family finances and beyond. Since death is evident for all of us, we prefer to focus on today’s positive benefits of being a military spouse by providing a full understanding of the service member’s military pay benefits and income.
Spouses are the cornerstone of military families. As many spouses already take on the role of managing the family budget, we simply offer ourselves as a guide to ensure that they have peace of mind that they’ve secured a strong financial foundation from now to post-military life and thereafter.
As a former military child, Gold Star daughter, and veteran spouse, it’s become my desire to validate, amplify and support the needs of today’s military families. Although it may have taken me a handful of years working with my colleagues at US VetWealth to create the Spouse Benefit Plan, I’ve really been forging this message since our family lost my father while he was serving in the military.
A Gold Star family member is the immediate family member(s) whose loved one died in service to our nation. For me, this was my father. It’s true that being a Gold Star family member is a title that no one hopes to wear or even think about while our service members are on active duty. Unfortunately, it happens. Rather than my existence as a surviving family member be an unpleasant reminder of one’s mortality and unexpected transition to civilian life, I hope that my story and the Spouse Benefit Plan inspire couples to celebrate the benefits of their present life by maximizing all that the military has to offer them. Our hope is that couples who actively live an intentional and purposeful military life will also have a smooth and successful transition to civilian life. The first step starts with military couples, and especially the spouse, making an informed and confident decision to keep or opt out of the Survivor Benefit Plan, which US VetWealth can assist on with the Spouse Benefit Plan. To inquire about the Spouse Benefit Plan, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First thing Saturday morning, my best friend and I would take our dogs to the Little Italy Dog Park in San Diego to burn off some energy. Then, we’d walk around the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market to grab coffee and a breakfast sandwich. We’d sit at one of the outdoor seating areas around the Little Italy Fountain and catch up for a while, enjoy the weather and the view of the San Diego Bay. For dessert, we grab ice cream at Salt & Straw. Once we’re feeling up for it, I’d take them to Fort Rosecrans Cemetery to visit my father’s marker, as well as my favorite spot to see all of Downtown San Diego. My friends and I often enjoy spending hours catching up if we haven’t seen each other for a while. So it’s not surprising when my best friend and I do the same while enjoy the view of Downtown San Diego. If our dogs are still energetic, I’d take us on a stroll around Fiesta Island. Before the end of the day, I’d take us to Sunset Cliffs to catch sunset.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate this shoutout to everyone that’s been and continues to be part of my entrepreneurial journey. I can be awfully imperfect at doing this. It’s thanks to every interaction with all of you (no matter the length in time) that I continue to show up, fail forward, and refine the way that I do business.
Other: Email: email@example.com Holding Down the Fort (Parent Podcast): https://www.holdingdownthefortpodcast.com/