Guam spouse makes most of military life
Proud husband Dave Gibson, a service member stationed on Guam with his family, recently reached out to Stripes Guam to tell us about his wife, Emily. The author and home-based business owner has a lot going on and has some good advice for fellow military spouses, so we asked Emily to share her thoughts.
Name: Emily Gibson
Age: You never ask a lady her age… Haha. I am 38.
Years married: Married for 13 years but we’ve been together for 18 years.
Years being military spouse: 11 years. It will be 12 years in November.
Occupation(s): Cosmetologist, Blogger and Author
Places stationed: Great Lakes, Illinois; Honolulu, HI; Athens, GA; Groton, CT; Bangor, WA; Naples, Italy, Lisbon, Portugal; Guam and in June Monterey, CA
Q: Tell us your book and what inspired you to write?
It is called The Chopped Gem. It is fiction with a little side of romance and fantasy. I wanted it to be geared towards young adults, which it is, but adults of any age can enjoy it too. It’s an easy read. I am certainly not a literary buff so I always tell my clients, if they purchase a copy and hate it, to remember I am a wife, mother and hairstylist first and foremost. I really never thought I would write this sort of book but certain travel adventures and life situations inspired me to write it. As a hairstylist, people share a lot with you. So I thank my clients I have serviced over the years and the communities we’ve had the chance to live in and explore for the inspiration. They made their mark on this book.
Q: Has being a military spouse helped you in your writing. If so, how?
It most definitely has. I would say being a military spouse has helped me in my writing by not being fearful. We are forced to manage the home by ourselves and if we have kids we are single parents at times. The independence it instills in you can make you stronger. I tend to not care or worry about all the opinions that float around in this world. There are so many and being a military spouse has taught me you can do anything and that includes writing a book.
All the places we’ve lived have impacted me in different ways. Each place we’ve been stationed has a different beat and dance that you must learn to sway to. There are always new adventures waiting around every corner. Many ideas for my writing come from experiences as a military spouse. There have been various cultures I have truly enjoyed with so many different personalities and traditions. They’ve left big imprints on me that have changed me as a person and how I view the world. Being a military spouse has provided me with the ability to journey into foreign places that I once thought would never be possible.
Q. You’re not only a writer but you run your own biz out of your home. How have you been able to run a biz even though you frequently PCS?
Well, it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist since 2002 and with each time you move you have to start over and that becomes tiresome. You get to where you have a clientele base that you enjoy and then duty calls and you have to move again. Going through the proper procedure in each state or country, as a licensed professional, you generally have to go through many steps. This takes time and energy away from what you’re skilled at doing, delaying the process of getting to work and bringing in extra income for our family. You can’t just pack up, move to a new location and pick up where you left off from the last place. You have to start all over again. It can take a lot from you. Packing up and starting over isn’t ideal but I’ve learned to buck up, be strong and carry on. Make the best of it, although sometimes it can be difficult. Thankfully, other military spouses are always in need of a hairstylist. Building a clientele base while stationed in one area can happen pretty quickly. I like to keep my hands busy, so if pampering through salon/spa services won’t work during the time at the current duty station, I’ve found other avenues or ideas for a business. Entertaining through blogging of our adventures online and writing a book have kept my creative side going while not being able to open up shop in a certain part of the world.
Q. What advice would you give other military spouses who want to start their own home businesses?
Believe you can do it. Follow your passion. Find a way to do what you love. Develop a business that suits you and your family’s needs. Make realistic expectations and don’t give up if your business doesn’t take off as fast as you’d like. If it takes off quickly, run with it. Your business can grow exponentially by word of mouth and social media. Also draw boundaries with your business, or your energy can be sucked right out of you. Finding balance with work and family is the key. In today’s day and age you can work around the clock because a lot of business is done via the web. Designing a time to click off, and remind yourself, this can wait for tomorrow. Many wives are really creative in their mobile businesses. Find something that doesn’t take all of your time and know that at some point you may have to move on and start over again. Also work with others that have similar interests as you. This is very beneficial because you will need a place to refer your clients when it’s time to move or your clientele is overflowing and you just can’t take on any new business. Just remember you have to be flexible when you’re a spouse to a military member, especially when you have kids in this lifestyle. Most importantly above all, have FUN!
Q. You have a lot going on in your life, including raising your child. What motivates you and how do you juggle it all?
My husband and my son are my motivation. When I am taking time doing something I love for others or myself, I am a better mom and wife. I also want my son to learn that you have to work for what you want in life. You can’t beat earning a living, by doing what you love. When my husband and I decided to have a child I wanted to stay home and raise my son. So having my own business allows me to work from home, telling myself I can’t do it all, knowing there is a season for everything, and lots of prayer, have been the keys to helping me juggle it all.
Q. It is said the being a military spouse is the hardest job in the military. What’s your thoughts on that?
We as spouses do handle a great deal. I don’t know if it is the hardest job, because I’ve never served as the member in the military. I think it would be painstakingly difficult to be in the service member’s shoes. Having to deploy, leaving my family behind doesn’t sound easy. We as spouses do wear many hats though and finding your tribe at each new place can make the job a little easier.
Q. What does the future hold for you?
Well, another move or two, three or four…. We will be leaving Guam in June and relocating to Monterey, CA for 18 months. During my time in CA I plan on writing the sequel to The Chopped Gem called, Gem War and apply for my California cosmetology license. We’re only there for a short amount of time but I want to legally be able to wash heads all day long if I want. J I hope to also have some of our travel photos put on canvas and sell them at the Farmer’s Markets. I need to feed the travel junkie side of me, so I look forward to new adventures stateside. It has been almost six years of living abroad. Oh and I can’t forget that in the future, I will continue to be mom and wife. My favorite titles in the world are mom and wife.
Q. Hey, where can folks check out your writing?
My book The Chopped Gem is available in paperback or Kindle download and can be found @ www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.waterstones.com and www.choppedgem.com. The rest of my chopped thoughts, travel photos of adventures, products for sale and salon & spa menu can be found at www.gibsonchop.com