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Have the entrepreneurial itch but afraid of making the jump to a business or career you’re passionate about? I’ve been there. And many others have too.
The desire to do fulfilling work while gaining control of your schedule and income can be strong. But so can the fear of leaving the traditional path. With families to feed and societal pressures, stepping away from a well-paying job to try something new isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright terrifying.
I still get strange looks when I tell people I left a hedge fund career to run a blog. And there are days when I worry about growing the business. About the cost of health insurance and whether I should take on more freelance work to bolster the blog’s income while I grow. It’s scary. And it can feel lonely. Yet, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I don’t want anyone to live in fear of chasing their passions. So today, I’m kicking off the Profitable Passion series.
Profitable Passion Interview Series
That lonely feeling of being an entrepreneur led me to seek out others who’ve stepped away from traditional corporate jobs to pursue their passions. Whether that meant starting a business, joining a new company to help them grow, or making a major career change. After hearing these amazing stories, I wanted to bring them to you.
The Profitable Passion interview series will be a monthly segment on Mama Fish Saves where you can get an inside look at the entrepreneurial life. You’ll hear how these individuals got motivated to make a change, actually took the leap, and what it meant for their lives.
Today, we’ll hear from Tiffany. She never felt settled in a job until she started working for herself. Take it away, Tiffany!
Profitable Passion Interview: Doing Work You Love
My questions are in heading form, Tiffany’s answers (in her own words!) are below each question.
Hi There! My name is Tiffany and I’m 28 years old currently living in Idaho. I live with my husband and my three furry children who snuggle with me while I work every day! Currently, I’m running my own business and have tried several methods of making an income online! Our dream is to be successful at multiple passive income methods so that we can pay off debt at a faster rate and live our lives to their full potential.
What were you doing for work before pursuing your passion? Why wasn’t it fulfilling?
I was one of those that could only stay in a job for a couple of years before finding something else. I enjoyed almost all of my jobs that I’ve had, including opening a lending branch for a loan company, managing a team of employees at retail stores, and working for the government as an IT specialist. But I just couldn’t seem to get settled and say, “Okay, I’m going to do this for the next thirty years”.
Even with the variety of jobs, I could never find the career that felt like I was “living the dream”. I knew that there was more to life than sitting in a cubicle. I want to travel the world, give back to animals by volunteering at wildlife rescues around the world, and I can’t do that in a cubicle with 5.5 vacation days per year. So I wanted to find a way to obtain that freedom!
What finally made you realize something needed to change?
My husband and I have strong values that we should do what we love in life. There are too many people out there that just let life pass them by, without being fulfilled in what they are doing! It makes me terribly sad. We live in an incredible time to be able to do what we love. Instead of shoving our dreams aside, we were happy to explore our options for finding our dream careers, since it takes up such a large part of our lives!
As my husband and I have gone through college and accrued a large amount of student loan debt in the process, I knew there was a way we could have the freedom we wanted, and the ability to pay off our loans faster than our hourly wage would allow. We didn’t want our lives to be dictated by how much we make per hour, without it being in our control somehow, either.
What is your current passion-based business and how did you decide on that business?
I started by selling products on Amazon, and have since added blogging into the mix. So that’s what we are currently focusing on in our business. We focus on the multiple ways to make passive income online to live the life you crave!
Although we have bounced around using different methods, I still sell on Amazon and recently started my blog called The Success Mountain so that I can help others make the transition and grow their businesses as well!
Did you start the business before leaving your prior job or did you save up to give yourself time to become profitable?
I wanted to be smart about my transition into being an entrepreneur. I started the business about a year and a half before I left my job. We became profitable enough that I was able to put enough aside as a contingency and as a source of business capital to continue growing the business. We gave it enough time to become profitable before making that leap – trust me, you’ll want to stay at your job as long as you can!
What was the scariest part of making the transition?
I think the scariest part was the mindset that came with not having a boss there to support you. It was a big mental change (at least for me) when it came to not having a company to help back you up if something goes wrong.
Going from the work where you’re comfortable and know what tasks need to be done, to instead you getting to choose every single task (and it better be the right ones to move your business forward) was a bit nerve-wracking!
Note from Chelsea: Heck yes! Too many of us underappreciate the support we get from our bosses and juniors in a traditional job.
Did you face any pushback from friends or family when you made the jump?
I was so nervous to tell my friends, family, co-workers, and boss. But I surprisingly was supported by mostly everyone. Those that didn’t approve just nodded silently and never said anything. That’s better than saying something in my mind!
My boss was so kind when it came to me leaving. I was SO nervous when it came to putting in my notice, but he was so excited for me! He was kind enough to give me a few months to transition as a part-time employee while they were searching for someone to take over my position.
My other cheerleader is my husband – he’s had many “meetings” with me and really helps me talk things out with him about the business!
How long did it take for your business to become profitable? What did you learn about running a business in the process?
When I first began, I started selling on Amazon which was very quick to become profitable. You don’t need a lot of startup capital and you can literally go to almost any store and find products that will make you money very quickly. With the small startup costs, it took me only a couple of months to become profitable.
Within six months of starting our Amazon business, it replaced my previous income. But we have since transitioned to other streams of income to diversify our income portfolio.
I learned through my Amazon community that in order to grow and scale your business, you need to have systems in place to save you time and be as productive as possible. Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of hats that you need to wear at any given time. By having systems in place, or even a virtual assistant like I do, we can manage all of those tasks in the most efficient way.
Did you take any courses to learn to sell on Amazon?
I did take a couple of courses when I first started selling on Amazon. I took a course by Jessica from The Selling Family who was able to bring her husband home from his day job. Jessica teaches how to do retail arbitrage and online arbitrage.
After some time, I realized I wanted to scale my business faster, so I found a course on how to buy wholesale products and sell them at retail price. The course I purchased has a bit of a hefty price tag, but it was well worth it! This course is called The Wholesale Formula. This course helped me with a tremendous leg up on how to deal with purchasing wholesale products and helped me learn how to get those big brands!
I learned a lot of my tricks from The Wholesale Formula, but the main secret sauce of getting approved to sell wholesale brands is to focus on the value that you can provide that brand. In other words, it’s extremely important to think of how you can help that brand by determining through conversations with them what their pain points are.
Without going too much into detail since the process can be a bit complicated, what are they struggling with? Are they having difficulty competing with Amazon? Are they having problems on the platform with other sellers, competition, ads, or something else entirely? Finding out what their problems are and determining how you can help them is going to be the key to your success with wholesale.
Note from Chelsea: If you are interested in learning more about selling on Amazon, I highly recommend checking out Jessica’s FREE webinar on 6 Steps To Starting a Profitable Amazon FBA business!
What has been your biggest accomplishment since pursuing your passion?
This is a good question because it is a good reminder to see how far you’ve come as you grow. I’ve had some great moments! I’d have to say my biggest accomplishments were either when I got approved to sell products from brands that have been on Shark Tank, or when I got exclusive approval from a brand to carry their product and launch them into the Amazon Canadian marketplace. A multi-million dollar company wants little-old-me to help their brand? Wow! That was a big eye-opener for me!
Note from Chelsea: Tiffany says that for the sake of the brands’ privacy, she can’t share which Shark Tank deals she landed. But she can tell us it was two pet product brands and one grocery brand!
What do you wish you had known before making the jump?
I would tell past Tiff that taking action is more important than letting fear scare you. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is going to be uncomfortable, yes, but it’s necessary in order to take action. As Jack Canfield says, “feel the fear, and do it anyway!”
Fear is a mindset, and you just have to understand that it’s okay to be uncomfortable for a little while when you’re making the leap. Don’t run away from something just because you’re nervous about doing it. It’s often not as scary as you think it will be.
Another thing is, you never know if what you’re doing is the right decision, so learning to be okay with that is important.
How does your work-life look today and what is your next big business goal?
I’ve since transitioned from solely selling on Amazon to still selling on Amazon but launching into the blogging world as well! I realized that I care more about working with brands and people that mean something to me rather than selling giant volumes of product. Part of me that wants to help others with their leap to their passions. I want to teach others that it’s not that scary to leave their jobs and start another career doing something they love because it’s worth it and you don’t have to feel stuck with the job you have.
Today, I am focused on creating great content for my readers and creating quality products for my ecommerce shop. My next big business goal is to grow my blog and help others get there as well!
What advice do you have for people who are unhappy in their current job or feel like they can do more?
I know our society makes it seem like you have to choose a job and stay in it forever, but as someone once said, everything is figureoutable.
Everyone has in them what it takes to make the jump to their dream job. The hardest part is just taking that first step in figuring out what it is that you want, and taking action on it. That first step is always scary, but if you really want change in your life, you will have to do some uncomfortable things to get there. It’s often not as scary as you think it will be! You’ve got this!
Plus, if your first idea doesn’t work, the best part about life is that you can start again. Entrepreneurs especially are always trying again and adjusting. If you can be adaptable, you will make things a lot easier on yourself!
Where can readers follow you?
You can read more over at The Success Mountain where we find the hidden gems of successful people to help you elevate your life and your online business to reach your full potential! We chat about ecommerce, making passive income online, productivity and a bit of self-improvement as an entrepreneur!
Mama Fish’s Thoughts
Thanks to Tiffany for sharing her amazing Amazon success story!
Just like I do in the Aha! Moment Debt Interviews, I want to share some thoughts:
- Be willing to try things. Tiffany, while a successful entrepreneur, was a great first interview for the Profitable Passion series. Not because she had some deep, fiery passion for a topic and chased it. Because she knew what her passion wasn’t going to be – sitting in a cubicle – and was willing to try things to find her path. Waiting to act until you’re certain about something often means never taking the leap. Know your values, then evaluate options and choose things that move you closer to those values.
- Remember the value of your job. While many of us may find our jobs stressful and no fun, focused on it eating up our time and limiting our vacation, remember to take a step back and recognize the other benefits it brings. No, not health insurance. But support. When you leap into entrepreneur-land, you’re usually the one-and-only. At least for a while. Tiffany (and I) noticed the strain of being the sole decision-maker.
- Don’t let imposter syndrome keep you from landing big fish. Tiffany has landed multiple Shark Tank brands as wholesale clients. In her own words, “they want to work with little old me?” The fact is, a lot of these big brands are still trying to figure out the online world. And someone who has been there, even if they haven’t managed sales for a major company before, probably knows a lot more than them. Own your knowledge, address a company’s pain points, and you can win customers.
Thank you again, Tiffany!
What did you think of Tiffany’s story? Any thoughts you would add?