What if you could chuck it all and support yourself on your own terms, doing something you truly care about?
It’s possible, and we can prove it.
Here, 15 entrepreneurs share their best advice for veering off the beaten path and building an income doing something you love.
Try not to quit your job before you start your business
Cat LeBlanc built her career as an online business coach after leaving a position in investment banking. However, she wouldn't recommend others do it in the same order.
'I started my business in September 2013 after emigrating from Germany to Melbourne, Australia. I had an extremely stressful job in investment banking where I worked over 80 hours a week. Starting a business on the side just wasn't possible, so I had to quit to make time to start the business.
'In my first month of business I earned $297. It was the sweetest and most terrifying $297 I'd ever earned, but as you can imagine, it didn't go far.
'It is common that your income will be sporadic at first. You want to be prepared financially to handle this, which in most cases means staying at the day job until you genuinely no longer need it.'
Be consistent from day one
Despite beginning his career in consulting and accounting, Jason Fitzgerald never stopped running. Then, he became a full-time virtual running coach, earning over $10,000 a month.
'From the day I published my first post, I published two articles per week, every week. It didn't matter if it was Christmas or my honeymoon, it was a consistent schedule. That goes not only for the publication of articles, but also reaching out to other bloggers to build relationships and to coaches asking for opportunities to write guest articles.
'I've seen a lot of people who want to have some type of online business and work at it for a month, and then get too busy and lose steam. You can't build a business if you're not constantly in it. If you're not thinking about it every day, you probably don't have the chops to get it done.'
Focus on the value you can bring to others
Former Lululemon executive Sarah Kaler changed career paths after collapsing from exhaustion, and started her own business coaching women entrepreneurs.
'For me, the difference between being passionate and purposeful is that purpose serves others. Passion can be a little more self-serving -- not that it's not beautiful and wonderful, but how you're going to build your business and create momentum and resonate with other people is when you're being of service to others. If you're truly serving others, you're going to connect.'
It's never too soon to start putting yourself out there
Dan Henry went from working as a pizza boy to pulling in six-figure profits through using and teaching Facebook ads. He's found, for him and for his students, getting a taste of success is critical to growing a business.
'I wish I'd gotten out there and put myself out there like I am now.The biggest check I ever got was $98,000, and when you're standing there, holding the check, feeling the little ridges of the check between your fingers, you're like this is effing real. Now, all the things you didn't do because you were were too lazy or didn't think it would work, now you're excited about them.'
Commit yourself completely to your business
Felicia Spahr quit her job in 2012 and became a leadership and charisma coach, teaching others to develop the skills she comes by naturally. Her business typically earns $8,000 to $10,000 a month.
'The most important aspect is committing to the idea that you want to do something like this, and seeking out the help you'd need in order to do it. In my mind, it was 'I'm going to succeed or I'm going to die,' and I think that contributed quite a bit to my success.'
Don't wait for everything to be perfect
Clarity coach Cailen Ascher runs her business working only three days each week. To make sure everything gets finished, she doesn't get bogged down in the detail.s
'It's always just been a natural inclination for me to do a good job, but not sit on it until it's perfect, which is often a means of procrastination. I would rather get something good out there than have a project sitting on the sidelines because it's not perfect.'
Danny Margulies had always dreamed of being a writer. In his second year as a freelance copy writer, despite having no experience in the field, he earned over $100,000.
'Start small. Go after simple jobs that can be done in a few hours or less, and build from there.'
Fight for the lifestyle you want
After spending eight years in the corporate world, Natalie Sisson built an online business to help other entrepreneurs launch their own companies. It now earns over $200,000 a year, and she runs it remotely as she travels the world.
'To live what many people still see as an unconventional life takes guts and hard work to maintain. You have to fight for your ideal lifestyle at times. It's totally worth it, though, to have the freedom to live life to the fullest.'
Don't be derailed by failure
Chandler Bolt dropped out of college in 2013 to start an online business providing guidance and resources for authors who want to self-publish. This year, he expects the business will bring in over $1 million in revenue.
'Don't be afraid to jump into it. Don't be afraid of failing. That's something I have to work on right now -- being OK with failing more often. Every time you fail it's a sign you're on to something. People who are more successful than anyone else have just failed more times than anyone else.'
Don't neglect your basic business skills
Sarah Jones began her career as an artist, until she realised that ultimately, she wanted to help people. Today, she's a dating coach in the Bay Area who earns up to $20,000 a month. 'I feel so relieved and happy to have found this,' she says.
'I think a lot of people who want to do coaching have the spiritual thing going on, but the practical, systematic, structural, pragmatic side takes a lot of work. Make sure you have the skills you need to know you can help people, and then open your mind to learning from people who you respect.'
Don't wait for the perfect opportunity
Navid Moazzez dropped out of law school to build a branding business that now earns up to $40,000 a month.
'There will never be a perfect time or moment to get started. Take one small step today, act before you're ready, take massive action, and just do it!'
Create your own opportunities
Selena Soo went from working in public relations to serving as a business and public relations coach whose business earned over $300,000 last year.
She credits its growth to her willingness to reach out to people she admired and offer to help them in any way she could.
'I think that rather than waiting for opportunities, we can actually create our own opportunities by being proactive, by identifying who are the people that we really care about and admire. It's not just about the people who can always do the most for you.
'Who do you feel just drawn to, passionate about, maybe you see a piece of yourself in them and they inspire you? The opportunity to help them is the reward. You don't need anything in return, but to be a part of their world and support them. When you're clear about who those people are, then give generously to them.'
Pursue something you're good at doing
Jeff Goins quit his job to become a writer after a friend told him he already was one -- he just had to write. He ended up writing three books and earning so much that his wife also left her job and their income still tripled.
'Do what Parker Palmer calls 'listening to your life' so you understand what you're actually good at and passionate about. The worst thing would be for you to chase the wrong thing.'
Capitalise on the expertise you already have
Bushra Azhar was working full-time as a consultant when she built a side business that now earns around $12,000 in a typical month.
If you aren't ready to ditch your day job, she has some advice:
'Make sure you've built your business in something complimentary to your day job. That way, it's not a physical struggle to detach yourself from your day job and move into your side gig. You could work on a client email, and then in ten minutes you can work on your online gig. If it's too different, it's harder to shift gears.'
Be willing to do the boring stuff
Over the course of their careers, AJ Amyx and Andy Zitzmann have been everything from rock stars, to advertising pros, to corporate managers for major companies.
Now, they run a coaching business that earns up to $30,000 a month, even though they live in two different states.
'You have to have something that people want to buy. You have to learn to get traffic, you have to learn to convert it, you have to learn to manage the business. You have to be willing to do the work and learn the skill set to actually have a lifestyle business.'
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