Making The Leap: From Employee to Entrepreneur

Making the transition from a traditional job to working from home or starting your own business can be scary. You are giving up the known for the unknown, giving up stability and schedule for something that isnt guaranteed. But you are also giving up limitations for unlimited possibilities, and a strict schedule for complete flexibility...

I had the opportunity to share my own start-up story with a friend over coffee yesterday. I still laugh at myself when I think back on it, because the idea was completely crazy - yet I was totally confident that it would work. Chalk it up to age (23 at the time) and inexperience, but that naive confidence was probably the one factor that contributed most to my own success as an entrepreneur.

It was basically the Think and Grow Rich concept, even though I wasnt familiar with Napoleon Hill or his work at the time. While it takes more of a deliberate thought process now - 10 years later, with plenty of experiences to contribute to decision making and goal setting - at the time I simply believed in it, and then went through the steps to make it happen.

10 years ago I was a working wife and mother, and we were a combined family with 4 children. My husband wasnt working, and I was making barely over $6/hour at my job in the small town where we lived. The house was rented, the car was always breaking down, and we were barely getting by from paycheck to paycheck (my one paycheck, for 6 people, at that). We had no savings, no assets and no real shot of making it "out of the rut" anytime soon.

What I did to make the transition to successful entrepreneur is not necessarily something I would advise to others. That said, it did work for me, and I was up and running and (at least somewhat) financially stable within 3 months. To give you the short story: I quit my job cold turkey, sold everything that we owned, and started a service-based business out of our home. When I say "sold everything" - I mean the china, furniture, the kids' toys, right down to my eelskin heels. It all went to auction.

I was in it to succeed, and had every intention of replacing it all. And did.

The most common advice, though, is that you save up at least 3 months worth of living expenses before you quit your job, or make the transition to working from home full-time. I think that this is great advice, and recommend it myself.

Another option is to begin working from home in your spare time, while keeping your current job. While this may mean insanely long days and unrealistic hours for you... it is only an investment you have to make for a short time. Once your business begins to earn what you are making at your job, you can comfortably leave that job and get back to normal working hours.

No matter which option you choose, you will most likely be making a sacrifice of some sort... and taking a chance. Plan smart, believe in yourself, and resolve to do whatever it takes to see your dreams come true.

Most people go into business for themselves because they want more out of life. More free time, more flexibility, more options, more financial stability. Whatever your "more" is, want it bad enough to throw caution to the wind and make it happen!


P.S. I am now starting my 11th year in business, and never had to even consider taking another "job" since I left mine in early 1997. If a struggling mother with a full house, and an unemployed husband, can do it - then so can you! 😉

If you would like my help, and the help of others like me, join us on my eBiz Discussion Forum where you can get advice about business - and get your questions answered - 7 days a week. It's free to register, and we'd be happy to share resources and give you the answers you need to make the next move!

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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Ade Lamidi says


    Thanks for this useful post. My day job contract finished today and I have decided to become a full time internet marketer. I am really excited about the future and having been invovled in internet marketing on a part time basis for the past few months, I can't wait to get started. I will keep you posted on how I progress.


  2. Congratulations, Ade!

  3. Lynn this is a great post, and really hits home with me. I'm quitting my job by May 25th (decided last month) and it is very exciting yet scary at the same time! I've been working at home in my spare hours while working my full time job and yes it has meant long long days and little sleep but I know it is going to all be worth it once I get myself home full time.

    Inspiring story 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Angela! Keep us posted when you get the time & opportunity. I look forward to hearing how the transition goes for you!

  5. i quitted my job too. And opened i will devote 112% of my energies to it, and it will become my success.

  6. hi lynn, must say reading your newsletter, and this article too, got me really thinking about starting my own little business. Now i am hesitating between entering an affiliate program or just starting my own business. I just have an issue trusting those programs. I receive some emails advertising such affiliate programs. Yet the emails never really explain what the business are. I am the type of person that can pay for a product he does not understand. what is your advise concerning affilate programs? Would you recommand some to me?

  7. errata : I meant " I am the type of person that cannot pay for a product he does not understand."

  8. Hi Kanian,

    It would be hard for me to advise you not know much about the emails you are referring to, the type of affiliate program you are looking at, or what type of business you are considering starting yourself.

    That said, I have done a little bit of everything over the last 10 years - a brick and mortar offline business, a web-based service business, affiliate marketing, etc.

    The best thing that you can do is ask questions in a discussion forum where the members have some collective experience across the board. You can ask about specific programs, business models, ideas, etc.

    I would love to have you join us at the SSWT Forum. It is free to register and the members there are super helpful. I am involved there daily myself, and would be happy to help you with anything you are considering!

    Lynn Terry

  9. Nell Taliercio says

    Congrats to everyone who is quitting their jobs! I worked part time as a telecommuter for a couple years before I took the plunge full time.

    My first son is the reason I had the courage to quit my job and come home full time as a business owner and telecommuter.

    Sometimes you need that extra little push...and he was the best reason I had for taking the leap of faith.

  10. That goes to show that sometimes you will make huge leaps when you HAVE to. We often don't act with urgency but if we did we could see a huge change in our lives.

    It's amazing what we can accomplish when our backs are against a wall!

  11. Rian Brooklyn says

    Nice words of encouragement. I'm still employed, but packing up and heading back to the US for my merge to full time marketer. I'll be living off my savings until the really big checks start coming in, but things are starting to pick up nicely. By this time next year, working for the "boss" will be a very distant memory. Anyone making the switch, I highly recommend the "4 Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss.

  12. Congratulations, Rian! It sounds like you have some solid goals, and I have no doubt you will enjoying the independence by next year as you expect.

    I do have a review of 4 Hour Workweek here at ClickNewz that is probably different than most you have read. I would welcome your comments on that.

  13. Angel Gleed says

    I believe in the saying that if you do ordinary things-which are but what you're used into doing,you will get the usual result. So,if you think out of the box and do something extraordinary then prepare for something extraordinary too that you would have. Life is but full of opportunities and its on us how we will handle it

  14. Polly Taskey says

    Lynn, Your knack for writing and your success has been inspirational to me for some time! Especially when I hit those "lulls" and "lows" that have me asking, "what the HECK were you thinking?"!

    Looking back, myself, feels like recalling a movie I had once seen about someone else's life and almost "Twilight Zone" obstacles.

    The power of the Internet coupled with a woman's determination can produce some amazing results.

    Thank you so much for being my mentor, even if you didn't realize that you were. 😉

    Still a long ways I want to go and lots I want to learn, but I WILL get there!

    Smiles, Polly

  15. How kind 😀

    Thank you, Polly - and you're most welcome!

  16. Educative Internet Marketing Online Articles says

    Haa! Beautiful piece again. For me, I'd never have to work for anyone since I left college. This was a decision I made long time - I mean when I was in the college to go all out on my own to 'work' as an entrepreneur.

    Well now I am plying my trade online as an affiliate marketer and other things. For me, it's a matter of making the decision and stick by it - do not be afraid of the so-called 'ups and downs' and one day you will hit the nail on the head.

    I love being on my own and won't ever go back...

  17. Good Advice Lynn! I will take the second option.

  18. Lynn

    Thank you! I am going through the emotions now. I work in the corporate world-- successful ..but I want more. I just had my 2nd baby 5 months ago -- and I want more in life than a job that dictates my life.
    My toddler daughter asked me "mommy what are you gonna be when you grow up?".. I then realized I have gone off my path -- I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur.. its now time.

    I know if I put the same 40+ hrs a week in something Im passionate about -- I can make more, have flexibility and be there for my girls. If it doesnt work --what do I have to loose ? I can go back to the grind --which I wont!

    I am taking the leap this week ---

  19. Congratulations Praveena!

  20. hats off to you, now this is my third entry on first day on your site, tell me one thing did you always had that knack for writing or you learned it during this fantabulous journey of yours.......

  21. I've always enjoyed writing, for as long as I can remember, but there's certainly been some refining along the way 😉

  22. Technology Transfer says

    Your story is absolutely unbelievable and trust me when I tell you that you are a hero, a model that all of us could follow and be proud of.

  23. Very kind words. Thank you 😀

  24. This is a great post, I wished I had read it earlier. I am just starting my adventure. It has been almost 6 months since I launched my own website. I wouldn't hope to get successful as fast as you did. Your story did give me a lot of hope. Sure thanks for posting

  25. I read and listen to Think and Grow Rich over and over again. I'm learning a lot as I shift from employee mindset to entrepreneur. I 'fired my boss' couple of months back. I took a leap and loving it. I am inspired by stories like yours. Thank you.

  26. Jarvis Edwards says

    Very inspiring story! When it seems that everyone around me are naysayers or cynics, I can go online and find stories such as yours and my motivation continues. I need some positive backing grow my new business and quit my full time job thanks!

  27. Congrats on making the transition! I've been thinking about leaving my job to start my own small business so it's great to hear some success stories. I think at the moment I'm just trying to get as much information as possible and try to get everything organised and prepared before I take the leap. Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice!

  28. Thanks so much for this great article. I am in a similar situation where the long days of doing both a full time gig and launching 3 different ventures at once is crazy but being fueled with passion does not make it seem so bad. I know that we are landing clients and making moves daily so its only a matter of time before I make the leap. 🙂

  29. I really like what you are saying to "want it bad enough" and to make it happen. It is like having a good idea to be in business versus having a "no option except to succeed" kind of thinking. I wish someday i can be sharing my story to you. Thanks.

  30. hi lynn, must say reading your newsletter, and this article too, got me really thinking about starting my own little business. Now i am hesitating between entering an affiliate program or just starting my own business. I just have an issue trusting those programs. I receive some emails advertising such affiliate programs. Yet the emails never really explain what the business are. I am the type of person that can pay for a product he does not understand. what is your advise concerning affilate programs?

  31. I just ran across this and am so happy. I started a pet sitting/dog walking business in Sept. 2009 and while building that continued to work fulltime at a company that was over 1 hour to get there and over 1 hour to get home and then in the evenings run the business, etc. I am happy to say that my last day at my fulltime job is May 27th. Yes, long hours, sleepless nights but the day finally came !! I am a little scared and nervous because I live alone and do not have any other financial support but I am at the place now where my business can pay the bills and I love what I do !

  32. A bold move on your part. I was just thinking of this myself and blogged ( about being a bit more on the lead up to making the jump.

    I hope you got to buy yourself some more china, toys & eelskin heels once you got up & running!

  33. Well, I've got to admit you are certainly far more adventurous than I! Right now I'm sort of in the last category you mentioned. I have a full-time job but I've been trying to build various projects off on the side, part-time. When I'm confident that I'll be able to succeed in that venture, and begin to see a steady income stream I'll make the jump. Congratulations on your success!

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