How My Military Experience Helped Me to Become My Own Boss
After serving her country for 17 years in the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and the Army Medical Command, Christine Matthews felt confident in her military career. However, it was returning to civilian employment that proved to be the real challenge for Matthews, even with a master’s degree in education.
“I worked civilian jobs on an off in between military training and two oversees deployments,” said Matthews. “But, having a civilian career was not easy since I didn't know when my unit would be called up again to deploy. Also, not having much experience in my career field made it difficult to get employment when returning from oversees.”
Matthews eventually moved to Colorado in 2014 and started a job in education. Even though working in education was fulfilling in many ways, Matthews felt there was something missing. So, she decided to research her interests more closely to discover her true passion. Ultimately, her search led her to 9Round.
“Kickboxing has been part of my life for 14 years and has helped me cope with the demands of my military and civilian jobs. After trying the 9Round workout, I knew I had found the exercise program I was looking for, so I became a member. Little did I know at the time, Round would eventually play a much larger role in my life.”
Eventually, Matthews realized that her passion for wellness and healthy living was her true calling, and becoming a 9Round owner provided a great opportunity for her to live her dream.
“Before becoming a 9Round franchisee, I'd been searching to find a fulfilling career outside of the military. Like many other military members, I knew I loved serving others, but was unsure how to transfer that skill and energy into an interesting, civilian career,” said Matthews. “Once I experienced 9Round, I realized I had found something special. 9Round allows me to combine my passion for physical fitness and helping others into a business I love. It’s the perfect fit.”
Matthews now owns two 9Round locations in the Denver area and leads a team of nine employees. She is confident the values and experience she gained from her military service, combined with 9Round’s strategic business model, have been key factors in the success of her growing business. With her own franchise locations, Matthews is able to incorporate key military training into her career through impactful decision making, organization, efficiency, human resource skills and everyday discipline.
“Every core Army value – leadership, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage – as well as work ethic and lessons learned while in the military, shaped who I am as a person and who I am as 9Round owner,” said Matthews.
Matthews believes her time in the military strengthened her confidence, encouraged her to take risks and truly developed her passion to serve others. By owning a 9Round franchise, Matthews is able to make a difference in people’s lives by encouraging positive changes that lead to better, healthier lifestyles.
“Military members have such a distinctive and specialized skill set, so it’s important to continuously search for opportunities that can be transformed into great success. Oftentimes, franchising provides that kind of an opportunity,” said Matthews. “Passion, strong work ethic, dedication and the power to make influential decisions are all a part of owning a franchise. With 9Round, I go home every day knowing I was able to impact someone’s life whether it be through stress relief, improving personal health goals or helping them push past their comfort zone.”
Matthews encourages active military members and veterans who feel unfulfilled in their civilian life to explore the opportunity of franchising. She believes owning a business reinforces one’s military skills and training, and when applied in the right opportunity, can lead to financial success, life satisfaction and overall happiness.
Matthews' advice for veterans looking to enter franchising:
- Thoroughly research the company and brand before investing. Depending on the time commitment and investment for the franchise, this may be the biggest decision you've ever made.
- Ask yourself if this brand is something that's aligned with you and your vision, and whether you believe in the product or service. This is crucial to your happiness and commitment to the company.
- Remember your “Why.” The reasons you became an entrepreneur and franchise owner will be your driving motivation through tough times.
- Put your employees first. Always. A strong team and culture can determine whether a business will succeed or not. This can be accomplished by having a "we" mentality vs. "me" mentality.
- Treat mistakes as learning opportunities. If we get down on ourselves or our employees for making mistakes, business ownership can be a long, hard road. Learning and growing from difficult situations is what this journey of life and entrepreneurship is all about.
Enjoy the ride!
Christine Matthews has been an active military member for 17 years serving in the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and the Army Medical Command. After struggling to find her passion in civilian employment, Matthews began searching for a career that complemented her experience, specialized skill-set and interests. She soon discovered 9Round, a kickboxing franchise with over 700 locations, where she found happiness in helping others better their lives and being her own boss. Matthews is now the owner of two successful 9Round locations and hopes to share her advice with other military members struggling to find their place in civilian employment.