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30 Entrepreneurs That Quit The Corporate World - Career - Nairaland

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30 Entrepreneurs That Quit The Corporate World by Wealthscheme: 1:11am On Nov 11, 2018
Many of you reading this right now hope to be successful entrepreneurs.
You’re not fully there yet, you haven’t fully committed yet, but you are on the
edge, waiting for the perfect chance.
But then doubt comes into play: can I do it? How long will it take? Is it even
worth it?
You know the handful of stories of Facebook, Google, Amazon, IKEA and the
like that have made it big. But for you that’s perhaps too unrealistic.
You also know the million stories of failures that surround businesses. You
know that 9 out of 10 startup fail and that almost half of all small businesses
close down before their 5-year anniversary.
But what about that 1 out of 10 startups? What about the other half of the
small businesses? The successful entrepreneurs that didn’t fail? Where are
their stories?
That’s why we’ve brought to you today these stories of not-giving-up, the
stories of success that you won’t hear about in the evening news. The real
stories of everyday entrepreneurs who quit their jobs to pursue their passions
—and succeeded.
These are the real stories that can help you chart your course on your way to
success, to give up the fear of failing and begin your new life as an
Against the odds
These successful entrepreneurs preserved against all the odds—the constant
doubts placed on them by their friends, family and others. But they not only
survived, they thrived.
1. Daniel C. Lavery, Writer & Civil Rights Attorney
My father discouraged me from the practice of law and said I could never pass
the bar exam. My wife and I had two children with another on the way, and I
wanted to consider a major change by doing something everyone said was
I was successful in passing the exam and I decided to open a civil rights
private practice at 40. Soon I had won the largest defamation verdict west of
the Mississippi, and established precedents in slander law.
For new entrepreneurs, I offer the wisdom I learned not to always follow your
father’s advice, or anyone else’s who does not know your motivation, passion,
and determination. If you have a passion to do something a few people don’t
believe possible, you should not be discouraged.
2. Lori Cheek, Founder of Cheekd
After working in architecture, furniture and design for 15 years, I came up with
an idea that led me into the NYC world of technology and dating with Cheekd,
a newly launched hyper speed Bluetooth mobile dating app. However, I had to
sacrifice a lot for my idea.
I sold nearly $75,000 worth of my designer clothes at consignment shops and
on eBay, doing focus groups, secret shopping, app testing, dog walking, house
sitting. I rented out my West Village Studio in NYC on AirBnB while I couch
surfed for 14 months, nearly got evicted and ultimately lost my lease of 5
years to my gorgeous apartment.
And finally, after four tumultuous years I landed on ABC’s Shark Tank and was
harshly rejected. 48 hours later, Cheekd.com received a record breaking 100K
unique visitors and our inbox filled up with thousands of emails (50 from
interested investors) insisting that the “Sharks” were “out of their minds” for
not investing.
Cheekd has been the most powerful thing that’s ever happened to me.
Building this business has been an incredible learning experience. I’ve never
been more dedicated to anything. Despite the occasional overwhelming stress,
it’s been loads of fun.
Successful entrepreneurs by accident or incident
These entrepreneurs didn’t get to their successful careers fully by their own
choices. In one way or another, a decision was made for them or discovered
by accident. So they took that opportunity to take their careers into their own
hands and become successful entrepreneurs.
3. Dan Nainan, Comedian
I was a senior engineer with Intel Corporation. My job was to travel the world
with the company’s senior executives, doing technical demonstrations on
stage at events, and I was incredibly nervous about speaking on stage. I took
a comedy class to get over the fear, and the comedy kind of took off.
Since leaving Intel to pursue comedy full-time, I have performed at two
Democratic National Conventions, at a TED Conference, at several presidential
inaugural galas, for President Obama, Donald Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, Michael
Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, Steve Wozniak, Arianna Huffington and for many
similar luminaries.
4. Jessica Mehta, Novelist & Founder of Mehtafor
I worked for non-profits and NGOs as a grant writer, events coordinator,
admin, etc. For a few years I was indifferent, but in my last two years I really
burned out.
In my final position, I was actually hired on as a Director and wasn’t told that
my job was *really* to finish up the year’s project before the department was
shut down. I then started working on writing and mehtafor.com, a writing
services company which serves a variety of clients including Fortune500
enterprises and major media outlets.
I was making six figures within 18 months; however, I attribute that to luck,
dogged ambition, and moving overseas where cost of living was much lower
and I had foreign earned income exemption.
5. Jonathan Whitney, Profitable Affiliate Programs
My story is a bit different. I didn’t quit my job, I was let go. I was a discovery
analyst for a law firm in Seattle. The job was alright, but I wasn’t passionate
about it.
After I was let go I started driving for Lyft and Uber. With the huge sign up
bonuses, I figured I could make some money blogging about the industry and
referring drivers. I had no experience with blogging, and didn’t even know how
to build a website. It took months to get the ball rolling. But when it started
rolling it really took off. I made significantly more than a year’s salary in a
short period of time. Moreover, I realized how much I loved blogging and web
6. Kristen R. Edens, Founder of KristheScribbler.com
I quit my job as an exercise physiologist (with a Master’s degree) in 2008 to
pursue my preferred career as a freelance writer.
I loved my job, but hated corporate politics. The commute, salary, gas prices,
and scheduled hours made it more expensive to work than not to work. Lastly,
I wasn’t challenged enough.
In addition to quitting my job, I was unaware of the economic recession
building at that time and was in the process of divorce. Things were tough but
it motivated me to put all my focus in my business. I started with zero and
built it up. Every day I continue to see it grow and succeed. Success is defined
in many ways and I define it as pursuing what makes me happy and solving
problems that others dread.
7. Dana Humphrey, Whitegate PR
I started my business in San Diego in 2007. I was working full time for a
company called Muttropolis and started consulting part time as Whitegate PR.
My grand plan was to go to San Francisco, but I applied for one job in NYC
and got it!
I applied, had a phone interview, flew to NYC and moved within ten days. Two
months later I was laid off on a Thursday. That Friday, the very next day, the
one client I had been consulting for called me and asked that I be available for
more hours. I have been running my business full time since that day.
From hobby to main focus
These successful entrepreneurs had their eye on their hobbies the whole time.
But when they saw the opportunity to really make gains in their careers, they
took their side hustle and made it their main focus.
8. Chris Brantner, Founder of CutCableToday.com & Scribblrs.com
I was a teacher up until recently, and I juggled a side job as a freelance writer
and blogger. I enjoyed teaching, but after 10 years, I was ready to move on. I
wanted to be my own boss and was willing to work hard for it.
Turns out, it paid off. A year ago, I quit my day job as a teacher and went full-
time with my website, CutCableToday.com. The interesting part is that the site
was just another side gig, but then it took off. I started it in March 2015, and
by the summer it was doing really well, and I decided not to go back to
teaching the next fall. Now CutCableToday receives over a million visitors per
9. Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal
Before I started my entrepreneurial journey, I worked as a sales coach at a
Fortune 50 tech company. Having done both jobs for 4 years, I knew that at
some point I was going to have to quit my day job to pursue my startup full
My tipping point was when we hit 500 transactions per week with GreenPal,
which has been described as the Uber for lawn care. What this did was prove
that our concept was something that could scale and allow me to leave with a
better peace of mind.
10. Thomas P. Nguyen, Partner & CMO at Peli Peli
I left my career as an attorney to pursue becoming an entrepreneur. I hated
my job because it wasn’t what I was passionate about. I finally quit because I
knew at 27 I had to make a move or else be doomed to my career that I
hated. It took me many years to achieve success—almost 10!
I have now opened a successful South African restaurant in Houston with
three locations and ranked in the top 3 in Houston on both Tripadvisor and
11. Sumit Bansal, Founder of Trump Excel
I am an MBA and worked as a Marketing Manager in a top technology firm. I
loved my job. I had a great team, good quality work that gave me enough
opportunities, and a good work life balance. But at the end of the day, I was
still an employee in a huge firm.
At the same time, I had a fledgling online business where I was teaching
people how to use Excel spreadsheets. I quit when I couldn’t see myself doing
what I was doing in my corporate job for long. Having a backup online
business gave me the strength to take the plunge. When I quit my job, my blog
was already 2 years old. It was growing fast and I was able to give it my full
attention. While success means different things for different people, it was 6
months after quitting my job that I could earn enough to think of it as a long
term business.
12. April Davis, LUMA (Luxury Matchmaking)
I was always a hard worker, working my way up a Fortune 500 company. But
if there was one thing I knew more than anything – it was how to help people
find love. I was a Matchmaker for years within my own circle of friends and
acquaintances; I just didn’t know that I was one at the time.
I often wondered why so many of my girlfriends were single – they were all
high-caliber women who were beautiful on the inside and out. The challenges
involved in singles meeting quality matches became increasingly apparent, and
it was then that I realized I needed to take my matchmaking from a hobby to
a full time career. My matchmaking service has taken off, with more than $1M
in sales last year. I have expanded the company to over 20 locations in the
U.S. and plan to expand even more in the upcoming year.
13. Dave Hermansen, Founder of Store Coach, Inc.
While working as an AutoCAD drafter for a large electrical engineering company
in the early 2000s, I started trying to learn eCommerce. My first couple of
sites were not super successful but I kept at it for two and a half years,
surfing the web for any help I could get on how to generate traffic. Once I
learned SEO and the secret to generating free organic traffic, my website
started producing real income.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and always dreamed of having my own
business. When I started seeing real success with my website, I knew it was
time to escape the cubicle and devote my efforts full time to eCommerce. Once
I had unlocked the secret to success with one website, I knew I could do it
again and again.
We currently run more than 50 eCommerce websites of our own, in addition to
running our Store Coach eCommerce training course and have owned nearly
100 successful web stores over the past decade.
They needed more
These successful entrepreneurs just felt they couldn’t get what they wanted
from their day jobs. This is the main cause of why people quit their jobs—and
the main motivator on their road to becoming successful entrepreneurs.
14. Jovim Ventura, Founder of InoPrints
I was working as a Sales & Marketing Analyst for SurePayroll (online payroll
company that got acquired for $115M). I lived in Excel and Databases.
My Dad always told me to focus more on the learning experience than the
paycheck when looking for a job. At my age (22 at the time), with limited
responsibilities in life, his advice worked. I knew it was time to quit when I felt
I couldn’t add any more value to the company. Also, I always had a burning
urge to start my own business again (I failed at starting 7 businesses before
finally going corporate). I learned so much from so many smart people at
SurePayroll, that it was time to see if I could apply the lessons I learned to my
own venture.
The 1st year I was working out of my bedroom at my parent’s house.
The 2nd Year I was working in a freezing basement storefront (I couldn’t
afford to pay the heating bill).
The 3rd year, I wanted to quit 2 times after seeing all my friends buying nice
cars and driving up to my storefront.
The 4th year, I hired my first employee (a friend) and the company finally
turned a profit.
The 8th year, we spawned off 2 other companies: CrowdSigns.com &
15. Catherine Wood, Founder & Executive Life Coach of Unbounded Potential
After returning from four years on the Peace Corps to work as a Senior
Economist for the Federal Government, I felt stuck behind two computer
monitors and a sea of data in comparison to the adventure-packed and
rewarding work I had been doing.
For six years, I was very unhappy, although I was really good at what I did
given my background in economics.
What finally made me quit was a declaration that I made to myself. I set a
time-sensitive intention of having “x” amount of money in the bank, “x”
number of clients contracted, and giving my notice by a certain date. Walking
into my boss’ office to hand in my two week notice may be the scariest thing I
have ever done, but it was almost the most important decision I have ever
made. My practice has blossomed, and my lifestyle and level of joy are as
different as night and day in comparison to what they used to be.
16. Spencer Shulem, CEO at WeDo
I was Head of User Experience for Mobile & Desktop at Procore (a 500m
software company) and the youngest employee.
At the time I was really interested in starting something of my own. The
company wasn’t huge, it had about 200 employees, but it already started to
take the plague of a big company. Things were slow to move or change, new
ideas were often swapped for simply improvements on existing ideas, and the
urgency and passion behind the company was starting to die.
Less than a month after I quit, WeDo—the software company I started that
makes a really simple to-do list app that you can use for yourself or
collaborate with others—raised $1m from local angel investors. It was not an
incredibly easy round to raise, but it started quickly and I was able to start on
a company and product that I truly love.
17. Lisa Chu, Founder of Black N Bianco Kids Apparel
Before I started my own small business I worked as a sales agent for an
apparel company. The job was fulfilling at times, but I never had the
opportunity to become more than a sales agent. My passion has always been
fashion and I wanted to contribute my ideas and move up the ladder. The
moment that I realized I was going nowhere made me quit my job.
Being in the fashion industry for almost a decade gave me a smooth path to
creating and launching a small clothing brand. I was able to use the
relationships I established to create a high quality apparel goods at a very
generous cost.
It took me two years to build up my brand credibility and start earning a
profit. Success was not easy and passion was the only thing that didn’t stop
me. I now enjoy every second of my day because I am able to do what I love.
Expressing myself through my brand was by far the most fulfilling joy I have
ever felt. Seeing customers enjoy what I have designed and produced is the
frosting on the cake.
18. Mike Scanlin, CEO of Born To Sell
I was a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and had been doing that for 6 years.
Although it paid well, the job is a 60+ hour/week grind. I was on an airplane
3x per week for some Board meeting or conference. The first couple of years
were fun but soon it got to be more of a hassle and routine.
I had been thinking about (read: dreaming of) an online business for the last
year or so. I had seen other people do it and felt the lifestyle would agree with
me. Once I had a really good idea figured out, I quit.
I self-funded the development of borntosell.com (a web site for covered call
investors). I hired 35 freelancers to help me with various parts of it (design,
coding, SEO, affiliate program, etc) and it took 18 months. Because we had
put so much thought into the UI and features, it did well right away. Won
some industry awards. It took about 6 months to reach cash flow positive and
be profitable. For the last 4-5 years it’s been my primary source of income
and is doing well.
19. Vienne Brown, Founder of VienneMilano
I was a Program Manager at Akamai Technologies (a Content Delivery
Network business).
Although I did not love my job, I enjoyed the paycheck. To elaborate, I did
enjoy working at Akamai mainly because I felt like I was working with really
smart people and cutting-edge technology. However, I cannot say that I am
passionate about content delivery software – it was not where my heart was.
While working in high-tech, I often found it difficult to find thigh highs that
would stay up on my leg. This was the first spark of my business idea. The
other reasons are that I’ve always loved fashion and I was turning 30 at the
time, and I thought: wouldn’t it be nice to start my 30’s with a new leaf? So I
After about two years, I became successful. By our second year, it was clear
that folks had started to take notice of thigh high stockings and that our
business was growing.
20. Maureen Witten, Founder of Be Yourself Wellness
I quit my job as an Elementary School Teacher to become an Emotional Eating
Coach. I loved teaching the kids, I hated working with unsupportive principles,
uninvolved parents and using part of my paycheck each month for new school
It took me two years to learn how to market my business online, get my
education and craft a signature program. This is my third year and I’m finally
starting to generate revenue. I have time for my kids and clients and make
more in 8 hours than I did in one month working as a teacher.
The idea just came in a flash
These successful entrepreneurs are the ones movies are made of. They live
their corporate jobs until one day an idea just hits them and they can’t shake
it off until they follow that idea. And that’s how they became successful
entrepreneurs, by taking a chance and reaping the rewards.
for more info visit
Re: 30 Entrepreneurs That Quit The Corporate World by lightdream: 7:03pm On Sep 21, 2020
Thanks for these piece

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