When you’re thinking about taking the leap and working for yourself, a lot of things can hold you back. After all, it’s hard to turn your back on a consistent paycheque when the alternative is uncertain. So, we asked the QuickBooks Community to think back on their experiences and share what milestones made them reset a traditional career path to strike it out alone.
Fed up with the corporate world
Lee Weinstein, who is now head of his own firm, Weinstein PR, changed his career path thanks to a passionate conviction he needed to do something different with his life. “I’d been at Nike 15 years. I loved working there. I was literally shaving one morning, and I asked the guy in the mirror, do you want to be there 20 years? He said, ‘Hell, no!’ I was surprised I felt that strongly. I didn’t know what I wanted to do if I left Nike, and that led me to a whole process of figuring it out”.
Change of location, change of career
Travis Troyer worked in accounting and IT for about 10 years before he got tired of his great ideas getting lost in steering committees. So when he moved to be with his partner, he also made a career change and started Basik Candle Co. “I took some classes and during a candle-making workshop, the instructor shared her story about starting her own business. It inspired me. I spent about 9 months in product development before releasing our Basik Candle Co. products to the world.”
Ceramics artist Heather McCalla was teaching at a university, but she needed to supplement her income. “I thought to start my own business might be a good way to do that while still giving me the flexibility I needed to maintain my teaching schedule two days a week”, she says. That’s how Heather McCalla Studio began where she now creates not only ceramics but also sculpture and other fine art pieces.
New baby, a new focus
Erica Voges had a degree in fashion design and set out to sell her hand-sewn designs through her small business, Caustic Threads. But after having a baby, she found her current designs far too time-consuming to finish during naptime, so she knew that she needed a new product if she wanted to stay in business. “I purchased a screen-printing kit several years ago and taught myself how to use it”, she says. “When I started screen printing I didn't really have any expectations, but I'm thrilled that my business became successful enough to do it full-time”.
Learning what you don’t want to do
Artist Dan Schmitt originally intended to pursue a career in sports medicine, but it only took one term of classes for him to realise that career wasn’t for him. “I decided that, from then on, I would just take classes that sounded interesting, and I ended up in a ceramics course”, he says. “After the first few lessons I was hooked, and I began spending all my free time in the studio. Within 3 weeks I switched my course to Art and have been focused on ceramics ever since!” He now runs his business as Dan Schmitt Pottery, making tableware and functional pottery.
Do you see yourself in any of these pivotal moments? If so, maybe it’s time you finally leave your full-time job and forge out on your own. If you want to hear more inspiring start-up stories, join the QuickBooks Community and hear it straight from small-business owners themselves.
Before you go
What made you take the leap and work for yourself? What are your milestone moments? Share them in the comments below!
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I took the leap to work for myself whilst at university. I wanted a side-hustle and it's now grown into something rather big. I run a health and fitness blog and it's my favourite hobby/job! I have won an award for my writing and I will continue to inspire others. I left my weekend job to become self-employed because I had a passion and a burning desire. If you have a passion and it's something you think about daily, you should definitely take the leap. Being self-employed isn't easy. It's lonely, it can be challenging... But it's so exciting too!
@JJJZ What made you take the leap and start your own business? How do you feel about it?