Hi, I’m Melissa. This is my story.
I’m a caregiver to my wounded warrior, mom of one miracle baby, entrepreneur, and advocate for military veterans and their spouses. I serve as the Elizabeth Dole Fellow for the state of Pennsylvania and am the Co-Founder of Patriots Cove, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving veterans, first responders, and their caregivers.
My husband served in the Army for over 22 years. He was injured in Iraq and had a failed neck surgery at Walter Reed. The surgery resulted in permanent damage, ultimately causing his body to go into sepsis. The only thing that he ever wanted to do was be a soldier, so being told that he was “unfit for duty” and having to medically retire was devasting. PTSD took over our lives immediately upon his illness and retirement.
As my husband was slowly dying before my eyes, we sold our dream home, moved, and I had to end my 18-year career to become his full-time caregiver. I quickly realized that life would never be the same. I was immediately alone. Most of my friends were left behind. No one understood what I was going through, including my family. I hid the truth from everyone to protect my husband’s reputation – I knew that the PTSD was not him. I didn’t take it personally and I did not want him to be defined by it.
Daily I walked on eggshells. I am his mood regulator. I am his life monitor as he struggles with suicidal thoughts. My daily priorities changed from typical life duties to ones that revolved around medication, doctor appointments, advocacy, and fear of leaving home in the event I would return to my husband’s haven taken his life.
After a period of advocating, we found a surgeon who would perform another surgery, correcting the first. Unfortunately, the damage had been done. We corrected the sepsis, but the permanent damage is degenerative. The doctors informed us that it is a miracle that he can eat and speak today, so we celebrate that.
Fast forward a few years…
Things improved with our finances, which I will explain soon. Jeff (hubby) and I purchased a breathtaking piece of property in northeastern Pennsylvania for him to hunt and fish. After we signed the contract, he walked the property and immediately said, “I am not keeping this for myself. I am sharing this with my brothers and sisters. I have a new mission.” Having a total of 30 acres of land on a beautiful trout stream, we (along with many volunteers) founded Patriots Cove, and we now provide outdoor healing to veterans and first responders and respite retreats to their caregivers.
Jeff and I have found healing of our own by serving others. We believe that this has been the key to our restoration. We now have a community, a group of others who understand our everyday challenges and love us just the way we are. We have someone to call when there is a need, an ear to listen, a hand to help. We have a family.
I no longer walk on eggshells. I owe that to the extensive training that I have invested time in, the loving caregivers and veterans that surround me, as well as my faith.
How I pivoted my career…
In 2012 had to end my 18-year career as a director of operations to be Jeff’s full-time caregiver. This was before working from home was “a thing” and I had to figure out a way to make the same amount of money. I was very crafty, so I taught myself how to embroider and sew by watching YouTube videos. After several friends began to purchase my products, I opened an Etsy Shop. I created a brand that quickly became popular, and my business scaled to the top 1% on Etsy worldwide. That’s a Global Rank of 1,779 out of 2.5 MILLION Shops!
What started as a crafting side-gig became a six-figure business within one year of starting my business. But, I didn’t have a solid plan! I spent thousands of wasted dollars because I didn’t have the time to invest in building the foundations of my business, marketing, and SEO. I “Googled” everything I needed to learn. I took the advice of “experts” with a few shop sales. That often took me down the wrong path and I’d mess up, wasting time while losing potential sales. If only I had a business strategist back then!
The overwhelm of working 70 + hours per week inspired me to pivot, and I realized that my passion was to support other business owners create the strategy they need to be combined with the support that would allow them to reach their goals. I became passionate about helping others create businesses that support their lives! I became a certified business and marketing strategist and life coach. Today I combine 25+ years of experience leading and running businesses and thousands of employees while maximizing the many certifications that I have invested in to help business owners reach their business goals while improving their lives.
Why I share my personal story…
One of my immutable laws (core values) is to be vulnerable – to let your guard down. Why? Because it serves others! I share my story regularly as an Elizabeth Dole Fellow nationwide, on news media outlets, at VA Medical Centers, businesses, with politicians, veterans, caregivers, to anyone who will listen! Vulnerability takes strength, and when you are open and authentic, you open the door to help someone in need! I hope that you found some encouragement to use your adversities to create opportunities!
My Core Values for Life and Business…
1. Own Your Story. Your story is your opportunity.
2. Empowered to Live. Work should support your life.
3. Repect Yourself and Others. Lead with love.
4. Let Your Guard Down. Be vulnerable.
5. Serve Your Community. Service before self.
6. Connection is Critical. We are better together.
7. God Gives Us Faith to Overcome.
“Melissa has been instrumental in getting my business organized and optimized for growth! She is detailed oriented, passionate, and exactly the kind of person you want in your business! She has an amazing blend of get-it-done skills and big-picture strategy. Easily the best hire I’ve made! Strongly recommend.“
Laura Briggs, The Freelance Coach, and Author of The Six Figure Freelancer
Why work with me?
With twenty-five years of experience managing corporations, nonprofits, and creating my own consecutive six-figure business, I understand where you are and what you need to get you to where you want to be. I understand the overwhelm of time and financial constraints and how that pressure keeps you from being the creative CEO that you need to be.
In 2012, I had to pivot fast, so that I could work from home. I suddenly found myself panicked, trying to find a way to make money while caregiving for my husband after he was injured in Iraq. I built my brand from scratch; teaching myself on YouTube how to sew, create websites, and learning SEO and product photography. I found my niche, and scaled to the top 1% of Etsy, and earning a six-figure income within a year.
Sounds great, right? Well, the immediate success created challenges such as a lack of a foundation and systems for my processes, outgrowing my manufacturer and having to quickly add on new production operations, and scaling without a team to support me. In short, I was overworked, burned out, and frustrated. On the outside, it looked great. But I traded my quality of life for work and everything was out of balance.
I have walked in your shoes – whether you are a business owner, executive, or assistant starting over to work remotely. I know what you need and how to articulate it, the systems you need to be built, and the importance of freeing up your time to do what you love!
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”― Mahatma Gandhi
Here’s what others are saying about working with Melissa:
“You exemplify leading with love and are a bright spot in my day. I thoroughly enjoy our Voxers, particularly when our ideas start flowing! You put your heart into everything you do, making our team and clients feel special and taken care of. I am so proud to have you on our team!“
Dr. Sabrina StarlingThe Business Psychologist™ author of the How to Hire the Best series and Founder of Tap The Potential, LLC
“Melissa goes above and beyond when it comes to helping you identify your true potential. It doesn’t matter to her if she has known you for a day or a year, she quickly identifies your strengths and weaknesses then walks you through your path to success. Melissa is more than a great teacher, she has become my cheerleader and life coach, as well as a great friend! !“
Regina VillaMilitary Veteran + Executive Assistant
“You are a great addition to the team. You are an inspiration in your Volunteer work and you bring that into what you do at TTP. You are a great example of leading with love. I appreciate your kindness and desire to put your best into what you do. Thank you for all you do Melissa”
Darren HopmanTap the Potential Success Team Lead
“I had a meeting with Melissa Swire. As the Military Spouse Program Director, she introduced me to the ADU curriculum and specifically, the business canvas exercise. I now feel more confident in the direction my business is going and have gained a true mentor to help me feel supported and not get discouraged.“
“Melissa has equipped me with the training and resources I needed to become a successful executive assistant. She’s helped me strengthen my project management, communication, team building, design, and online marketing skills. She helped me identify what I have to offer business leaders, taught me how to utilize tools and systems to enhance our organization’s operations, and provided creative solutions that improved internal communications within our organization.”
Kaitlyn BeaverDirector of Marketing
“What I appreciate most about you is how you pulled us all together as you learned about us at TTP, your questions, connections and take action seems to have been the thing that helped us all gel at one time as a team that could be developed. You always have a positive attitude, willing to jump in and help – adding your own creative spirit, full of love and care for us and the broader community. Your leadership with the Patriots Cove work is inspiring, and makes all of us see ways that we can do more and extend the work we are doing at TTP in bigger ways.”
Stacey SequinStrategist, iPEC trained coach, energy leadership master practitioner & Profit First Master
“Melissa Swire introduced me to remote work and changed my life for the better! First off, let me start by telling you a little about myself. My name is Sonya, and I am a mom of 4 and the caregiver & spouse of a wounded warrior. He was permanently injured in Iraq during his deployment. After numerous surgeries, he was medically retired from the Army. Over the years, I worked seasonal jobs and sold handmade products to help with finances; but there was a change in the caregiver program that cut out a large portion of the payment we received, so I found myself needing a full-time job outside the house. It was only minutes away, so I could come home at lunchtime and check in on my husband. For a year or so, it worked out well, then COVID hit, and everything changed. The kids were home and needed help with virtual learning; just so many things were screaming at me to be home. Luckily that is where Melissa came in; her training and guidance made it possible for me to secure a career from home. I started with my first client part-time, and within weeks my client was asking me to work full-time. I accepted and now successfully work from home and love every minute of it. I have since taken on a few more clients and make more than double the money I was making at my 9-5 job; plus, I make the rules for the hours and days I will work. I tell everyone I know about working remotely and how it can change your life. Being a part of this network that Melissa has built is a reward all in itself! I genuinely love being apart of this TRIBE!“
Sonya YauneridgeMilitary Caregiver + Executive Assistant
“I can not thank MilSpouse ADU enough for hiring Melissa Swire! She has been a phenomenal mentor to me and I owe so much of my business development to our brainstorming sessions! She has challenged me to think outside the box and put my skills to good use! She has lifted me up in a time where I started to doubt my mission and products. I can’t say thank you enough!!“
“Melissa has been instrumental in getting my business organized and optimized for growth! She is detailed oriented, passionate, and exactly the kind of person you want in your business! She has an amazing blend of get-it-done skills and big-picture strategy. Easily the best hire I’ve made! Strongly recommend.”
Laura BriggsThe Freelance Coach, author of The Six Figure Freelancer, host of the Advanced Freelancing Podcast, and Founder of Operation Freelance
“What I appreciate most is your kind and giving heart, your drive to always be learning and growing, your willingness to step in and go above beyond, and how you always lead with love!”
Amy MarieFounder of Heart Soul CEO™, Certified Online Business Manager, Certified Pumpkin Planner Strategist, Certified Fix The Next Advisor
“My friend and my business manager…she manages my business…and life…and is just an incredible support system and advocate for military spouses!”
Laura BriggsFounder of Operation Freelance, TEDx Speaker, Author, Podcaster, Military Spouse
“It’s hard to put into words how Melissa has shaped me into the young professional I am today. Her mentorship has guided me, her values and principles molded me into a true servant leader, and her counseling has helped me “get out of my own way” and determine a path for my own success. She truly is my life coach, and I aspire to be her when I grow up.”
Kaitlyn BeaverOutreach Coordinator/Career Navigator EDSI | Outreach Coordinator/Career Navigator
REAL Reentry Program, Luzerne County, PA