APPLE PODCASTS | SPOTIFY Today’s guest on the podcast is Monica Fullerton, Founder and CEO of Spouse-ly: an online marketplace that supports deserving businesses within the military community. After marrying her high school sweetheart turned Air Force husband, Monica realized that the military community was ripe with entrepreneurs, but there was no central place to shop for […]
Today’s guest on the podcast is Monica Fullerton, Founder and CEO of Spouse-ly: an online marketplace that supports deserving businesses within the military community.
After marrying her high school sweetheart turned Air Force husband, Monica realized that the military community was ripe with entrepreneurs, but there was no central place to shop for their products and services – so she created one!
Monica’s lack of experience in the tech space hasn’t held her back from building a successful e-commerce marketplace. Her story is a powerful reminder that with hard work and determination, you can figure anything out.
Press play for the full interview or keep reading below!
Monica never planned on becoming a military spouse. Born and raised in a small town in Ohio, she dreamed of becoming the next Oprah. “I’ve always loved communication, the power of stories, and people coming together to support one another.”
But those plans were sidelined when she married her high school sweetheart and he joined the Air Force. Monica quickly realized her dream of attending broadcasting school wasn’t going to be possible in military life, where they were expected to move every two to three years. So she pivoted.
While her husband was stationed in San Antonio, Monica found a corporate job in logistics. Although she loved the company she worked for, and was grateful they let her stay on remotely through several moves, she didn’t feel the same passion she had once felt for her career.
“I felt very lost in the military community at first because I was so career-driven,” Monica says. “I always had one foot in and one foot out.”
Many of her fellow military spouses chose to stay at home. Despite their talents and qualifications, juggling a career with military life was just too difficult, leading to higher-than-average unemployment rates.
“Why do we have to settle?” Monica wondered. “How can we, as spouses, continue to do what we love, and pursue our own careers and dreams while on this military journey?”
Frustrated by the lack of flexible job options available to military spouses, Monica started researching and discovered that across the country, there were millions of businesses owned by military families.
Monica looked for an online marketplace that would make it easy to support those businesses – when she couldn’t find one, she decided to create it. She started with a free Facebook group to gauge interest in her idea. Within two weeks, over 1,000 people had joined.
Nine months later, Monica launched Spouse-ly with a mission to provide career flexibility and stability to military families, no matter where life takes them.
Building a business from the ground up is never easy, but a tech business can be especially daunting. Using the funds from her corporate job, Monica worked with a web developer to design Spouse-ly’s e-commerce platform.
“We didn’t have millions of dollars to spend but we wanted to do right. I’m such a big believer that when there’s a will, there’s a way.”
That’s not to say there weren’t challenges. Entrepreneurship has a unique way of making you realize your strengths and weaknesses, and Monica knew finance wasn’t her expertise.
“It’s incredible how the value of a dollar changes when you’re at the ground level of building.”
Monica’s solution was to bring other people onto the Spouse-ly team so she could focus on other areas, but for solopreneurs that isn’t always an option. If you need help with the numbers side of your business, check out The Blueprint Model!
About a year and a half into running Spouse-ly, Monica reached a point where it was impossible to juggle the business with her day job. Leaving the stability of her full-time position was scary, but she knew it was the right call.
“When you’re building something that you’re so passionate about, and you know it’s much bigger than yourself, you know the impact it’s going to have on others…for me, there was no question.”
To any entrepreneur considering going full-time, Monica says: “There is no right time. There’s never going to be a right time, you just have to be willing to take the leap.”
As a mom of seven-year-old twins, Monica sometimes finds herself operating as a single parent when her husband is away – and likewise, he finds himself in the same position when she’s working.
They’ve found what works best for their family is to stick to a routine. No matter who’s working or at home, they always sit down at the dinner table. Sharing meals has become a cornerstone of their daily routine, and for a military family, those touchpoints are everything.
Although she didn’t end up the next Oprah, it’s safe to say that Monica has found a deeply rewarding career. Spouse-ly has not only given her the flexibility she craved but it’s created financial stability and new possibilities for military families across the country.
Monica didn’t know how to build a tech business when she started. She never planned on becoming a military spouse or an entrepreneur, but that didn’t stop her from going after what she wanted.
Her best advice for fellow business owners is to remember: “Growth begins when comfort ends.”
To hear the full story and more about Michelle Boyd, press play on the player above for the full interview or click here to download the transcript.
Monica Fullerton is the founder and CEO of Spouse-ly: an online marketplace that supports deserving businesses within the military community.
She is a twin mom on a mission to provide more career flexibility and stability no matter where the military life takes you. Monica is a firm believer that anything is possible if you just put your mind to it. She hopes that this platform helps provide a place where everyone can come together and support each other! When you shop small you are truly making a big impact.
She has been honored as a Forbes Next 100 and Inc. Female Founder.
December 14, 2023