When I was deployed in Afghanistan, people started to get into some pretty odd things. Some people picked up Magic Cards. Others started training to become the next UFC beast or Tiger Woods. And many suddenly turned (in their minds) into the next Warren Buffet who could predict the next big stock. I was surprised to see everyone from Corporals to Majors jumping on the IPO of Visa. Guys that have never read an investment book or blog in their life, suddenly found their way to somehow eek a little more out of their paychecks. Then tracking the rise and fall of that stock turned into something like a marathon of watching How I Met your Mother, where people couldn’t wait to wake up and see where the stock was headed next. Although I didn’t invest in Visa, I do enjoy investing. But I do it somewhat differently.
Creating multiple streams of passive income has been my preferred method of investing. Passive income is money that shows up in your bank account without you actively working for every one of those dollars. You could look at stock investing as passive income, but I prefer to put a little more work into the success of what I invest in, in order to actually influence whether or not I make money from that investment. For some reason people want to think it is bad to have a side business while in the Army, yet you see people buying and flipping homes and cars, betting on their fantasy football picking skills, or even making money on trading Magic cards; and you don’t see people questioning where their loyalties lie. Why can’t someone invest in a new business, that they created, and work on it in their free time? Do we prefer that soldiers spend their evenings in bars or watching Netflix?
I will be writing individual posts about all of the side businesses I started during my nine years in the Army. I started over ten different businesses and I’ve been able to make back at least my investment on each one of them. Not all of them made me significant amounts of many, but some of them did. When I was a Lieutenant, I made more income than my Colonel in charge of me. [Check out the post “That Time I Was Making $9000/month as a Fresh 2LT in the Army“] I learned an amazing amount about startups and discovered resources and I hope to share that through upcoming posts. So keep reading and hopefully I’ll inspire you to make some more money while still in the military.
*My caveat: never compromise your efforts to serve your soldiers and do your job in the military in order to make more money. That was always my priority and it should be every service member’s. Making extra money and starting businesses should be viewed as a hobby while in the military. If you want to make it a full-time occupation, leave the military.