Photo Credit: Joel Davidson

Becka Davidson, a Navy cryptologic veteran and former chief, took a few minutes to answer my questions about how she pursued her passion for yoga. After transitioning from her 13 years in the Navy, she opened her own Bikram Hot Yoga franchise in Virginia Beach.

So from Navy chief to yoga, wow, what a transition! I bet you had a lot of naysayers. How did you deal with them?

Honestly, I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and ignored them. I heard many times, “How can you go from being a chief, being in the Navy, to go and just be a yoga teacher?” Like this was a step down in life or something!

I knew we wanted to have a family someday. I grew up with both parents in the military; I knew firsthand the challenges that would bring. As a dual-military couple, someone’s career always suffers, so my husband and I looked at our options, duty stations, future jobs and decided to cut our losses and I would get out and open a business.

What resources did you use to get your studio started? What veteran-specific resources do you recommend?

I attended a V-WISE (Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) conference where I met the director of my local VBOC (Veterans Business Outreach Center). They offer free classes on a variety of business subjects, which are usually taught by a veteran or by someone who has some association with the military. I also relied heavily on SCORE (Senior Council of Retired Executives). They set me up with a mentor who helped me write my business plan. I still call my mentors that I met through SCORE to ask for advice!

I started my research at the local library. Every city has a branch that has a business library section with a lot of good resources for market research. Other resources I found useful were the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and my local Chamber of Commerce. There is also the Patriot Express Loan that veterans can qualify for to open a business.

What advice would you offer to veterans who are interested in owning their own business?

My best advice is: Do your market research.

Whether it is yoga or something else, find what you are passionate about and make a plan. Be a resource for others and give back. You can learn a lot and get some new ideas simply by helping someone else out! You have to be passionate about whatever business you go into. That passion is what will keep you going when business is slow and you have to work a little extra hard. I have a mission statement in my business plan that I go back to and re-read from time to time. It’s easy to get off track, and having a written mission statement is a good reminder of why you opened the doors in the first place.

As a veteran and parent, what would you suggest to other veterans who are struggling to pursue their dreams while balancing their family life?

For my fellow veterans who are parents and following their dream, my best advice is find balance within your life. I make a list every Sunday of things I have to accomplish that next week. I look at my planner, compare my husband’s schedule with mine, and I write everything down. When I’m home with my son, I’m home with my son. I shut off the computer and play with him. I make those precious hours count.

Finally. . . favorite yoga pose?

Triangle Pose! I used to be really bad at this posture. Over time, I started to get really good at it. This boosted my confidence and just made me feel good.

You heard it here first — for Becka, what was once impossible became possible.

 

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