Unique Business Ideas for Veterans: Becoming a Vetpreneur

Did you know that over 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses employ nearly 5.5 million Americans?  Veterans are a driving force in the U.S. economy, and their contributions extend far beyond their service to our country. At Red Egg Marketing, we highly value our veterans—not only for the sacrifices they’ve made for our country but for their entrepreneurial spirit. This blog is dedicated to supporting our hero entrepreneurs by shedding light on some unique business ideas for veterans.

What is a Vetpreneur?

A vetpreneur is just what it sounds like: a veteran entrepreneur. But it really is more than that. A vetpreneur is a term that captures the skill, discipline, and leadership found through military service. They bring experience in teamwork, problem-solving, and resilience to the business world.

infographic on how to become a vetpreneur with business ideas for veterans listed in circle icons and veteran-owned business facts and skills that veterans possess

Why Veteran-Owned Businesses are More Important Than Ever

Veteran-owned businesses have always been a vital part of the American economy. We’re talking about millions of jobs created, all due to the hard work of our vetpreneurs. In today’s climate, supporting local and small businesses, especially vet-owned ones, is critical. Our veterans have offered their lives in service of our country and offered their hearts in the form of their business. Supporting these vetpreneurs isn’t just about buying something, it’s about giving back. Whenever you can, whether you’re going shopping or looking for a new place to eat, check out your local veteran-owned businesses!

24 Unique Business Ideas for Veterans

Making a living doesn’t have to be boring! Here are some creative, unique business ideas for veterans:

1. Adaptive Sports or Recreation Programs:

Offering specialized programs revolving around sports and recreation is a great opportunity for veterans with disabilities to stay active while still getting involved with their community.

2. Auto Mechanic

Many veterans, especially those who worked on machinery like helicopters or tanks during their service, love projects where they can work with their hands and get to the bottom of how things work. Opening a mechanic shop for for cars, motorcycles, outdoor equipment, or boats, is a great way to channel this passion into a business.

3. Brewery/Winery/Distillery:

If there’s one thing most veterans have, it’s a propensity for adventure and craftsmanship. A cool way to leverage these traits is by creating a unique beverage business.

4. Construction Business:

Here’s another great idea for those who love to build and fix things! A residential or commercial construction company or handyman services is a great way to utilize your practical skillset.

5. Consulting Services:

Former Commanding Officers (COs), this one’s for you. Channel your leadership and problem-solving skills to offer consulting services to businesses.

6. Dog training:

Whether you’re an animal lover or you have experience training dogs, starting a dog training business may be a fun opportunity to consider.

7. Drone Services:

Drones are increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives. Leverage your piloting and technical skills to offer drone photography, inspection, or delivery services.

8. E-commerce stores:

Still loving your military get-up? Try selling military-themed gear or niche products online.

9. Education and Training Programs:

Developing training programs based on your military expertise, like leadership workshops, can be a rewarding way to utilize your unique set of management skills.

10. Event Planning Company:

Being in the military hardwires a deep sense of organization, planning, and delegation into pretty much everything you do. You can use these organization skills to help plan events, specializing in veteran-related projects if desired.

11. Farming/Agriculture:

Many veterans have a passion for adventure and the outdoors. Kickstarting a farming or agriculture-based organization is a smart way to weave that passion into your everyday life.

12. Fitness and Wellness Centers:

Everyone knows that staying fit is a big part of being a part of the military. Many vets may want to get back into that mindset– opening a gym, yoga studio, or personal training wellness center is a good way to stay active and cultivate a sense of community.

13. Franchise owner:

Choose a franchise that aligns with your interests and leverage their support system. From UPS stores to restaurants, coffee shops, and learning centers; there is no shortage of franchise opportunities for our vets!  

14. Healthcare Clinics:

If you are devoted to helping others or have a medical background you may want to dive into healthcare. We recommend opening a clinic for veterans or the general public.

15. Historical Tours/Military Museums:

Many vets share a deep appreciation for history. Leverage this passion to create unique tours or educational experiences at military museums and historical sites.

16. IT Services and Cybersecurity:

Calling all tech-savvy veterans–hone your technological skills by kickstarting a business that offers IT and cybersecurity services.

17. Landscaping:

Outdoorsy vets, here’s another one for you! Try starting a business offering lawn care, gardening services, or specializing in sustainable landscaping.

18. Mental Health Counseling:

Veterans undergo heightened amounts of stress and distressing experiences during their time in the military, and unfortunately, this may result in mental health issues like PTSD or anxiety. Support and connect with your fellow veterans by starting a mental health counseling organization.

19. Security Services:

It goes without saying that most vets have developed a sixth sense for security and defense. Start a security firm or offer security consulting based on your security protocols knowledge.

20. Survival Skills Training:

Survival skills are baked into the DNA of every vet. If you thrive under pressure and want to teach others how to support themselves in unforeseen situations, consider teaching wilderness survival skills, self-defense, or disaster preparedness workshops.

21. Tactical Gear & Supplies:

Gear enthusiasts and those who love sharing high-quality survival tools and equipment could thrive by opening a store specializing in outdoor gear, tactical equipment, or survival supplies.

22. Veteran Clothing & Apparel:

If you like to flex your creative muscles—a great way to harness this is through designing and selling clothing that celebrates veterans and their service.

23. Veteran-focused Non-Profits:

After serving, many veterans struggle with adjusting to civilian life. Operating a non-profit dedicated to supporting veterans like yourself in areas like job training or even mental health is a fulfilling way to help give them the resources they need to succeed.

24. Wilderness Leader:

Vets who can’t get enough of the outdoors and are looking for new opportunities to employ their leadership skills should consider leading backpacking trips, hikes, or other wilderness adventures.

Veteran Skills Apply to Owning a Business

Across all military branches, veterans have the opportunity to learn all sorts of crafts. From mechanical engineering skills that keep vehicles operational to medical and dental skills to keep their fellow soldiers healthy, the U.S. military teaches skills for them all. Vetpreneurs can take their learned skills in leadership, adaptability, discipline, problem-solving, resilience, integrity, team building, risk management, and other technical skills to build thriving unique business ideas.

Tips for Vetpreneurs

So, you’ve chosen one of the business ideas for veterans above–now what? Here are a few tips to get ready for vetprenurship.

Master Your Finances: Keeping meticulous records is the backbone of any successful business. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your cash flow and expenses so your business is positioned to thrive.  

Fuel Your Passion: Remember why you started this adventure! Passion is the fire that drives your success.

Craft a Winning Plan: Develop an ironclad marketing plan to reach your target audience and achieve your goals.

Leverage Resources: Showcase your business on Buy Veteran and hire other veterans from GI Jobs.

Prioritize Customers: Actively listen to their needs, improve their experience, and strive for exceptional customer service.

Balance is Key: Manage your time effectively, delegate tasks, and don’t forget to take care of yourself – a healthy you leads to a healthy business.

Facts About Veteran-Owned Businesses

  1. Over 1.9 million veteran-owned businesses in the US
  2. VOBs contribute $1.2 trillion annually to the US economy
  3. VOBs employ over 5.5 million people
  4. The number of veteran-owned businesses has grown steadily over the past decade, with an average annual growth rate of 5.2%
  5. Veterans are 45% more likely to start businesses
  6. The number of VOBs doubled in 2021
  7. 80% of VOBs consider themselves successful
  8. On average, veteran-owned businesses generate $679,000 in annual revenue
  9. Veteran-owned businesses boast a higher profitability rate compared to non-veteran-owned businesses
  10. The highest concentration of veteran-owned businesses are in construction, professional and business services, healthcare, social assistance, and retail industries.

Become a Vetpreneur with these Business Ideas for Veterans

Veteran-owned businesses are a powerful force in the U.S. economy, contributing significantly to jobs and revenue. Their success is fueled by a unique combination of valuable skills honed through military service, a high rate of entrepreneurship, and supportive programs. With a growing number of VOBs and a strong track record, veteran-owned businesses are poised for continued success in the years to come.

If you’re a veteran looking to start a business and you’re on the hunt for a marketing partner, Red Egg has your back. Contact us here and we can start brainstorming different methods to bring your business to new heights.

Sources: SBA, NOV 2023, US Census Bureau, SBA 2014, Mission Roll Call, IVMF 2022 survey, National Veteran Business Coalition,  Patriot Boot Camp