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We hear stories all the time about entrepreneurs who leave their 9 to 5 jobs in favor of bringing their side hustles to life. But, what about those working in cushy corporate positions? If the salary and benefits are incredible, wouldn’t one assume it’s better to play it safe in corporate than take a risk on entrepreneurship?
The answer, of course, is that it’s always easy to choose the straight and narrow route. However, it’s just not the same if you know that you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion to change the world or make life a little easier through your services and offerings.
Inevitably, you will leave corporate consistency in favor of the fulfillment found in being your own boss. From beauty to social media, here’s a look at six female millennials who declined the corporate environment in favor of finding meaning (and success) in starting their own side hustles.
Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, Co-Founders, theSkimm
Launched in 2012, the morning e-newsletter that “skims” world news for professionals on the go now has more than 7 million readers. You might even be one of them!
Like most rags to riches entrepreneurship tales, theSkimm came from humble beginnings. Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg both formerly worked media jobs at NBC, but left to start a company together. Then known as The Daily Skimm, they created a newsletter that would break down must-know news for millennials in order to start their day off right.
When the newsletter took off, the pair found themselves breathlessly trying to keep the company growing and financially healthy — which was made all the more difficult in that they only had a combined $4,000 in savings to pay for every expense. Rather than seek outside funding like loans, the pair went into credit card debt. It was a risk, but one that definitely paid off.
Since then, the company raised $8.5 million in series B funding in 2017 and is now valued at $55 million. Oh, and Zakin and Weisberg are also credit card debt-free, too.
Courtney Sanders, Founder, Think and Grow Chick
Few entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their entry into entrepreneurship was “embarrassing,” but Courtney Sanders isn’t your typical entrepreneur.
In 2009, Sanders found herself struggling financially and working a job she didn’t plan on staying in for long. Rather than remain stuck in a rut, Sanders met a life coach who introduced her to a book called “Think and Grow Rich.” She blogged as she read, slowly growing her social media following by sharing the lessons she was learning in finance, personal development and entrepreneurship.
Sanders then began hosting speaking events and put her goal-setting advice into eBooks that she sold to attendees. The eBook interest took off, and allowed Sanders to host digital workshops and coaching sessions. She continued to read about entrepreneurship and work alongside mentors that helped her refine her services and expertise.
In 2016, she left her corporate job behind and made six figures from Think and Grow Chick — and has strategic plans to continue building the business into a million-dollar company.
Stephanie Abrams Cartin and Courtney Spritzer, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, Socialfly
By day, Stephanie Abrams Cartin and Courtney Spritzer used to work corporate jobs. By night and every other free hour they had to spare, they were busy shaping their passion project.
Socialfly, now a full-service social media marketing agency, remained a side hustle for 10 months before Cartin and Spritzer realized they were too invested in and passionate about the business to let it remain part-time for much longer.
The pair left their corporate positions to focus on their agency, which has been in business since 2011. Socialfly prides itself on being ahead of the curve with social media in order to share the stories of brands like 20th Century Fox and Cargo Cosmetics.
Brittny Robins, Founder, Flawless by Friday
Beauty is big business — just ask Brittny Robins. Before she started her own business, Robins worked in an event marketing position. She was bored and had no idea what to do next until she talked to a friend about her true passion: working in the beauty industry. Robins then interviewed at and got a job at L’Oréal’s corporate office in their sales department. The position was exciting and gave her the experience she craved, but after a while, working in corporate no longer felt like a fit.
Robins decided to hit the road to entrepreneurship and started her own skin care kit for all skin types. The five-day kit promised to live up to the brand’s name, Flawless By Friday, and combined natural ingredients with Korean-inspired gel technology. She worked on her passion project on top of her existing full-time workload, taking calls with Korean manufacturers, seeking advice from a major retail mentor.
Flawless by Friday took off and she left her corporate job in 2015 to manage the business full-time. Now, Robins’ has her products in more than 100 stores across North America with plans to launch 32 new products this year.
Take note, if you’re considering taking the leap, allow these millennial entrepreneurs who ditched the corporate environment in favor of pursuing their side hustle dreams full-time to be your inspiration.