A few years ago, Patriot Advantage co-founders Mary Elaine and Brett Baker were on a completely different path in life. Mary Elaine had her master’s degree in education and was teaching full-time at an elementary school. Brett was serving his country as a U.S. Army Ranger, the only job he’d known as an adult. The young couple had just welcomed their second child and were extremely busy, but also stressed.
Brett was frequently deployed overseas and sent on remote training missions. His availability to help care for the children, deal with household chores and disruptions, paying bills, coping with sickness, and taking their vehicles for maintenance and repair was hit-and-miss.
As a result, Mary Elaine struggled to juggle her career and the needs of her family. She faced the painful realization that she couldn’t give her students at school the full attention they needed and be the mom and wife she wanted to be for her family at home. If her children were sick and couldn’t attend school, she felt like she was neglecting her work when she stayed home with them. When Brett was granted leave from the military, it often didn’t coincide with her vacation time.
Mary Elaine lived with a sense of guilt that she couldn’t fulfill all of her obligations, and both she and Brett agreed that the work and life stresses were taking a toll on their family. “This was not how we were meant to live,” explained Brett. Work and family life were totally out of balance for them both.
It wasn’t an easy decision for Mary Elaine to leave the classroom she had been in for over five years. She loved working and had been employed in various jobs since she was legally able. Having the independence, financial stability, and creative outlet that comes with a career were important to her. What she needed was more flexibility in her work life so that she could be there when her family needed her and be able to enjoy time off with her husband and children.
After learning about a new opportunity from one of her room mothers, Mary Elaine made the decision to take her career in a completely new direction. She began her journey as a personal assistant during summer break over a year and a half ago and loved it so much she hasn’t looked back.
Mary Elaine’s skill sets, learned from teaching and serving as a military spouse, proved to be a natural fit for meeting her first client’s diverse needs. This client, The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, remains a client to this day.
As a personal assistant, Mary Elaine was able to contribute financially to her family and enjoy the sense of independence and accomplishment that comes from having a career, all while having some breathing room within her schedule to meet her family’s needs. Both she and Brett realized that they had stumbled upon a workable solution for improving their work-life balance.
Then the couple had a light-bulb moment. They could use their own experience as a military family and readily available technology to connect the needs of clients with an underutilized and potentially valuable business resource: military spouses. This is a group of people whose family obligations make it difficult for them to employ their talents in traditional jobs and who already know what it means to serve others. Their new business would focus on connecting entrepreneurs struggling with their own work-life balance with fellow military spouses seeking a more sustainable career path.
Just under a year ago Mary Elaine and Brett launched into building their small business—Patriot Advantage Personal Assistants—modeled after Mary Elaine’s own successful career transition. They have worked tirelessly to form a business model that’s different from any they’ve known. Their model is based on shared core values, learned from years of military and work experience, and relies on an extensive process for matching the right assistant to the right client.
Patriot Advantage (and the world of personal assisting) weren’t even a thought when Mary Elaine faced the challenge of finding a better way of balancing a career and caring for her family. Today, she can’t imagine a more fulfilling career, and with the help of her husband, she is continually striving to improve the lives of clients and fellow military families alike.
Follow along with us while we share our journey of developing Patriot Advantage into the country’s premier remote personal assistant business, and please reach out to us if you’re ready to improve your work-life balance. We’d love to be a part of your path to success!