Marine Corps spouse Lakesha Cole is one of the most successful military spouse small business owners I have encountered. Not only did she successfully (and legally!) run a small business through the Exchange system overseas -- no small feat whatsoever -- but she has since opened a brick and mortar store stateside, runs more business offshoots than I can count and seems to be everywhere at the exact same time. She was also the Armed Force's Insurance Military Spouse of the Year in 2014.
It's some sort of MilSpouse magic.
But to me the best thing about Cole is that she doesn't like to keep her secrets for success to herself. Cole has recently added "self published author" to her list of wins, and her book "Mommy Retailing" is packed with pro-tips and help to let people know how in the word she does it -- and how they can, too.
I was a little hesitant diving into a book on retailing. I'm not a retailer. Not only do I have no desire to open any kind of shop, but the world should thank me for not inflicting them with my creations. I'm also not an entrepreneur, although I do periodically freelance.
But here's the thing about today's job market. No matter who you are or what you want to do, two things are probably true: You have goals and you have to sell yourself to make them happen. We are not all entrepreneurs in the traditional sense of the word. But we are all peddling that brand that is ourselves.
And that's how this book can likely help.
A significant portion of Mommy Retailing discusses successful traditional entrepreneurship with a heavy focus on the how-tos of owning a retail business. If that's you, then this is an even better read.
But what I took away from this book is a view into how one successful military spouse has made it all work for her, from work-life balance to the art of saying "no" and when to say "yes."
When I read Lakesha Cole's book I see someone who isn't hyper-organized or a time management ninja because she wants to be. I see someone who is those things because she has to be if she wants to achieve her goals. Living a goal-driven life means learning to make all of the other things fall in place in such a way to make those accomplishments possible.
I always tell people that they have time for exactly what they want to have time for. Time is a vacuum -- it will be filled. Whether it is filled with Netflix binge watching, starting a new business, training for a marathon, taking your career to the next level, homeschooling or anything else is entirely up to you and your goals. And, yes, seasons of life or things out of your control factor into this equation (deployment? new baby?), but more than anything else, what you are able to accomplish is dependent on your priorities.
Cole's book demonstrates how that is true for her -- and how she makes her time work in her favor. After watching Cole in action for several years, I can safely say we all need a little Lakesha Cole-like drive in our lives. This book is her how-to manual. Do yourself a favor: read it.