Empowered Women Empower: Elizabeth Diehl Boardman

March 29, 2017

Name: Elizabeth Diehl Boardman
Brand: Milspo Project
Year Started: 2014
Based In: North Carolina, but serving in the US and beyond!
Military Affiliation: US Navy

First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand/company.
I came into military life so unsure of myself, and knowing little about what this lifestyle required. My dreams of being a writer and more specifically a journalist were soon adjusted as we hopped from duty station to duty station. When living near Ft. Bragg in 2014 I started my own business, and ended up starting Milspo Project with a friend and Air Force Spouse to support the underground and underserved military spouse entrepreneur movement that was growing at the time.
Today Milspo Project is a 501c-3 non-profit member-run, organization. Our mission is to empower and educate military spouse entrepreneurs through leadership resources. As a Milspo Project member, military spouses receive access to online workshops, monthly goal-setting workbooks, in-person chapter meet ups with other military spouse business owners, as well as book club resources. Annually, Milspo Project hosts a business and leadership conference called Embark which helps military spouses grow a successful, rewarding, and creative business or career, and meet like-minded milspouses in the process.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship chose me. It is a great solution to unemployment. When I started my business we had already been through four military moves, which meant I had been through just as many jobs. I was tired of reinventing myself after each PCS, and I really wanted one area of my life where I could have autonomy and passion about the work I was doing.

How has being a military spouse affected your journey and your business?
Of course owning a business and being a military spouse isn’t always easy. The rhythm of military life makes it so, that is just part of our journey.As a military spouse I have had to practice patience at every turn. You just get used to rolling with the punches. Ultimately it has given me the clarity to see myself for who I truly am, and stand in my unique truth and power that only military life can teach you, and no person can take away.
What were some of the big challenges you faced along the way? How did you overcome them?
Military life can really beat you down sometimes. There was recent season in my life where I felt completely overwhelmed by my commitments and was feeling deflated from my husband’s back-to-back deployments, and the toll that took on our marriage. I was able to overcome by getting rid of the non-essentials in my life that were robbing my of precious time, and put more energy into the things that mattered most. Also, I just hung on for dear life, and was lucky enough to come up for air on the other side, with a few scars, but definitely stronger because of it. As military spouses we learn how to grow a muscle for things. One day you wake up and think, “oh I can can handle this now.”
How do you balance family life and your business?

I don’t believe in work-life balance, and I actually don’t like when people say that there needs to be a “balance”. In my opinion there is work-life rhythm. It is up to us to decide what is most important to us in our life. Once we have determined our non-negotiables, we must let our habits and routines flow from that place of self-understanding.

What are some pieces of advice you can share with other women entrepreneurs?
Let’s all stop chasing someone else’s idea of success. Know yourself, and define what success looks like to you. If you want to work two days a week, awesome! We all need to stop beating ourselves up trying to be someone else’s definition of happy.
What do you love most about what you do?

What I love about the work we do at Milspo Project is that we empower military spouses. I think there is something so beautiful about empowering someone else. You are telling them that they are worthy of your attention, and capable of achieving anything. I think we should all tell more women in our lives that they are capable, it would make the world a happy place to live and exist.

What is one of the most proud achievements of your career this far?
We now have 38 Milspo Project meet ups happening each month around the world, and that is thanks to the volunteer efforts of so many. Every morning I wake up and feel humbled and grateful I am the one who gets to lead the charge.
What's on the horizon for your company?

So many wonderful things. We have an events calendar that was created for with the needs of military spouses in mind that launches next month. Also, we have plans to launch some online courses and MilspoTV later this year. What I am most excited about right now is our Military Spouse Appreciation Day fundraiser happening May 2017.

A little more about Elizabeth:

Coffee order? - Green tea, all day everyday.
Go-to workout? Hot yoga and my local gym.
Most recent book read? Tribes by Seth Godin (reread) + Adam Grant’s new book Originals
Your phone camera is filled with photos of… My dog 
If you could have dinner with any woman, who would it be and why? My grandma Patty, I never got to meet her and I hear she was an incredible woman.

 

Connect with Elizabeth: Instagram | Facebook

Connect with Milspo Project: Website | Instagram | Facebook