Entrepreneurial Powerhouses Flossie Hall and Moni Jefferson Unite to Help Military Spouses create Their Own American Dreams
Flossie Hall has never taken a business class in her life but managed to build, scale a multi-million dollar company. Moni Jefferson didn’t even know what an entrepreneur is, but tapped into the inner drive she had to build and scale her own massively success that includes “accidentally” developing a popular app, building and scaling a PR and media company, and growing a global online community.
Both women point to their lives as military spouses as the reason they tapped into the creative channels they needed to access in order to build their own fulfillment and success. Both speak openly about the challenges attached to life as a military spouse. They also beam when they talk about how they’ve joined forces to create a resource for other military spouses that guides them through the ins and outs of building a career around those challenges.
Experience is a powerful educator. Flossie Hall crafted her own education in business by those experiences she had building a company from the ground up. The disappointment she felt when she realized her dream of going to medical school would have to be delayed, at best, did nothing to dampen her drive to create an income that would help support her family. With her husband deployed and four kids still at home, Flossie trapped into the same grit she’d used to conquer the challenges before when she was a young single mom up against the world.
Life is hard, and when you are constantly pulled in numerous directions, focusing on healthy meals for yourself and your family is often among the first priorities to hit the floor. Flossie knew if this was an issue for her, it was for others as well. She knew she had the moxy to figure things out along the way and she knew she had the talent and brains to create a product that would be sold in stores everywhere.
“I’m a big thinker,” says Flossie. “When I do things, I see these things in a really, really large way.”
Within a few months of creating and selling her food prep products out of her home on base, Flossie took her business commercial. Healthy Momma Meal Prep grew into a flourishing company almost faster than Flossie could keep up with it. Her 16-year-old son became her first employee as she learned how to cook in a commercial kitchen through trial and error.
It’s not a path for the timid soul. The risk of failure and the reality of literally burning yourself as you learn on the job could intimidate some into submission, but Flossie just dug in.
“I don’t have a fear of failure,” she says. “You have to be able to just take the leap and jump and learn and learn from your mistakes. And I knew what I was doing was great, and I knew that people wanted what I was doing, and I just kept going every single day, even though I was getting my butt kicked.”
Flossie Hall turned that company into a multi-million dollar business.
Then, almost as quickly as she’d built and scaled the company, Flossie hit the point where she realized it was not the “thing” that was going to truly fulfill her. At one point she considered selling it. But when that offer fell through she decided to just close the doors.
It had been a good run and provided her with massive value in experience as well as income, but her heart wasn’t truly in it. “I was a slave to that company,” she says. “18 hours a day, 7 days a week. “ When your heart is no longer invested in something, says Flossie, it’s time to move on, no matter how much money you may leave on the table.
This is the part where she could have kicked back and relaxed, invested her money wisely and enjoyed downtime with her family, content with her success. But kicking back is not her style. Flossie was still itching to do something that truly fulfilled her. She wanted to matter in the world, beyond what she’d already achieved. That’s when she connected with Moni Jefferson.
Moni Jefferson had been a stay at home mom for 11 years, with “home” being wherever the military decided to send her husband. While she poured her energy and heart into raising their three children and supporting her husband, Moni’s inner drive to dust off her degrees and unleash her own ambition began to build. First it rumbled, and while her kids were still little she indulged it by creating online groups to connect with others. She started a blog and wrote for other blogs to generate some income and keep busy. But when her youngest started school, that inner drive kicked up into a roar. “How can I be a stay at home mom when there is no one home?”
It was time to focus her energy on her own ambition and fulfillment beyond motherhood. It was time to re-engage with the workforce and brush off the talent and knowledge she possessed. When they moved- again- to another new town, Moni went pedal-to-the-metal in search of a job in the PR field. At first, she was excited at the thought of being hired. Then her excitement turned to disappointment when she realized she was continually being turned down for positions she was qualified for. It didn’t take long for a pattern to emerge; She’d get a call for an interview, crush it in that interview, get called back a second or sometimes a third time, only to get backed into a corner where she’d have to reveal the reason for her inconsistent work history was her frequent moves as an active duty military spouse.
That’s when the callbacks would stop and she would learn she’d been passed over.
It was frustrating, to put it mildly. “It feels like a lot of opportunities were missed because instead of embracing it and maybe creating a position for me with the many skills that I had, they would say it’s not a good fit or we can’t invest in you at the time,” she recalls. Finally, she’d had enough.
If no one would make a seat for her at their table, she’d build her own table.
“I had no idea what an entrepreneur was,” she laughs, “but I knew I was going to start my own business.” This business would be something for her.
Public relations is what Moni Jefferson excels at.
Communicating, connecting, and a commitment to her own success were the other strengths she had going for her. Moni put those all to good use by opening her own PR company, Dog Tags and Heels. She proceeded to grow that company into a massive success with a client list packed with other powerhouses.
While growing her company, Moni noticed the burst in virtual support groups for entrepreneurs. Excited to have found people she could connect with, she joined several of these groups and commenced networking. She also joined military spouse groups. The online connections turned out to be less than what she’d hoped, though. This was because Moni didn’t fit squarely into either group: The entrepreneurs were rooted in life, whereas she was more nomadic. The military spouses were rooted in military life and largely frustrated professionally.
Just as Flossie recognized a need for herself and understood other people had that same need, Moni recognized a need she had and knew other military spouses would share that need. Her solution to that need was the MilSpouse Creative Community, a resource for military spouse entrepreneurs.
The online community has now gone global.
Thanks to Moni, military spouses across the world are able to have a safe space to share their unique entrepreneurial challenge and avail themselves of the insight and tools offered in that community.
It’s an impressive, impactful achievement that could have been enough for Moni to feel as if she’d done her part to help others. But Moni was just getting started.
Almost on a whim, Moni decided to design some fun apps specific to the military community. Having wished for these apps herself, Moni knew others would enjoy them too, and that was enough incentive for her to hire someone who turned her idea into a reality, which she then marketed and sold.
Flossie and Moni had been living similar lives in parallel worlds, but their paths had not crossed until Flossie landed in Moni’s MilSpouse Facebook group. Instantly, Flossie’s radar picked up on the synergy between the two of them, and knew she had to meet the “vibrant, amazing, funny Latino with so much energy” who ran that group.
Drawn to Moni’s work ethic and grit, on top of her infectious personality, Flossie immediately knew she would work with Moni one day – now all she had to do was fill Moni in on that knowledge.
At that time, Flossie was working for another organization. She saw an opportunity to connect with Moni directly in a way that was a win-win-win : She created a position at that company for Moni. Moni accepted the invitation to work together, and the company gained the distinction of being the first to benefit from the collaboration of two powerhouses.
It didn’t take long for a friendship to develop. Along with that friendship was the mutual recognition that together, they could dramatically impact military spouses on their paths to professional success.
The Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE) is the result of this collaboration.
AMSE is a bountiful buffet of resources that spring from the combined experiences, network, skill, talent, insight, grit, and heart of these two all-American entrepreneurs. It is a virtual jackpot for any military spouse- male or female- who is serious about thriving professionally regardless of how many times they move, or their spouse deploys, or the massive professional gaps or inexperience they have as a result. It offers everything from beginner information to scaling to millions, and all that lies in between. It connects corporations with qualified candidates and works with those corporations to teach them how to maximize the underutilized talent in the military spouse community.
It’s everything Flossie and Moni wished they’d had when they began their own paths toward entrepreneurship. It will make an enormous impact on the financial and emotional well-being of military families. It will also strengthen the military itself by relieving financial and marital pressure from our active-duty personnel who are often distracted by the strains of low salaries on growing families, numerous deployments, spouses who begin to buckle under the weight of being helpless to generate additional income while left alone to care for children or adjust to constant relocations, and whose own personal identity can fade in the shadow of their active duty spouse’s career. They’ve also extended their invitation to veteran and Gold Star Spouses, as they recognize the same needs and shared circumstances exist.
Quite the achievement for two women who began their entrepreneurial adventures with nothing more than their own resourcefulness and awareness of problems they offered solutions to.
Flossie Hall and Moni Jefferson personify the American Dream, and they stand ready to help others do the same.
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MILITARY SPOUSE ENTREPERENUERS…
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