Chris Healy, the co-founder of The Longhairs, started his career right out of college by working with the national headquarters of his fraternity, Sigma Nu. From the beginning, Chris was laying the foundation of influence and bringing people together into communities. After seven years of launching fraternity chapters all over the country, he decided to take action on the world adventure he dreamed of making. Chris explored and traveled for eleven months, landed in San Diego, CA, and then went to work with his business partner to build a web design agency. The idea for The Longhairs was born several years later after he and his business partner had grown their hair long, and they were tired of shopping for hair ties and not finding suitable products for men. Five years later, The Longhairs have not only made a deal with Mark Cuban on Shark Tank but hold a Guinness World Record. You’ll have to listen to the episode to learn all about how two guys with an idea started a blog, and now have a worldwide community for men who love wearing longhair.
Jessica Potts, of Brand X Consultants, was launching million dollar brands and loving life until she wasn’t. Like most Corporate School Dropouts, Jessica found that her work life no longer aligned with the life she desired. She knew she needed to make some changes to find a better fit to suit her needs, so Jessica took a vacation and soon after partnered up to form Brand X Consultants. Jessica discusses how her core values guide her and her business. Also, the importance of not chasing the dollar bills but realigning your old money stories to a healthier money mindset (something you do not learn in corporate school). I know you’ll find some helpful advice and inspiration in this interview.
Linda Denise, the founder of Linda Denise Coaching, spent the majority of her career in large Fortune25 companies. She even went back to school, became a lawyer, and moved into the legal department of the same company. At the age of 54, Linda decided she couldn’t sit at her desk any longer. Linda knew she wanted something more, but at that time, she didn’t exactly know what that was going to be. After a three day conference, where she shared her experience of finding love by a dating structure derived from her business acumen; Linda declared herself a dating coach and had several clients already signed up. Linda also shares her lessons learned from dating and starting a service-based business after leaving the corporate world. I know you will all be able to relate to Linda’s story and her journey to find romantic and business love.
Sarah Ferrence, founder of Mod.Merchant and host of The Designer CEO podcast began her corporate career in an executive training program and quickly found herself wrapped up in a merger. Sarah stuck out the merger and moved 900 miles to stay with the company in a desirable position. After several years of working with Fortune 500 companies, Sarah purposefully moved around into multiple business functions to grow her skill set. She decided to leave the corporate world behind and planned her exit strategy about 18 months in advance. Sarah knew that she wanted to work with fashion brands and began building Mod.Merchant and recently launched her podcast, The Designer CEO. Sarah’s passion and knowledge of the retail and fashion industry make her a powerhouse and must-have consultant if you’re launching any product to market.
Nikki spent the first five years of her career as a clinical molecular biologist and describes her experience of lab coats, hairnets, booties, and fluorescent lighting. She told herself the story that she had to stick with her career because of the years of schooling and being good at the job. After a long vacation with her husband, Nikki knew she needed to take the time and space to discover her next move, which included six-months of solo traveling the world. After that adventure, she began working on her exit strategy. Already teaching yoga every evening after her days in a lab; Nikki started slowly with a traveling donation-based set up in San Diego. A little over a year later, she opened her first studio in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego. Nikki is growing a beautiful community, if you’re ever in the San Diego area, please drop-in to reUnify.
Alice Terry began her career in the London fashion industry. After several years with big brands like Michael Kors and Net-A-Porter; she traveled to Guatemala and fell in love with everything it had to offer. Alice was visiting family friends and soon made it her home for a year. Her first entrepreneurial venture was making jams to sell in local markets and small restaurants. The next big adventure was moving to New York City; she volunteered with several organizations and started building her freelance business on the side for extra money. During this time is when Let’s Love Sundays got its wings. Named after the letting go of having the Sunday blues, Alice decided that every day of the week needed to be celebrated and loved. Alice has spent the last three years traveling the world, loving Sundays, building her business, and enjoying every new life experience by her motto of saying, “YES!”
Susan and I launched her business, Susan Hill Interior Design in the Spring of 2018. I’m so honored that she not only chose to work with me, but she was eager to share her story on the podcast. Susan worked in the building and construction industry for 20+ years, and after winning multiple American Society of Interior Design (ASID) awards, she decided to launch her business. Susan shares her experience of the struggles, and life changes that starting a business can make, and how she’s come out on the other side, happy, healthy, and thriving. Susan continues to win awards and recently selected for the upcoming Interior Design Society (IDS) Show Home in Charlotte, NC on March 2020. I know you'll enjoy her story and will relate to a lot of the same fears and obstacles that Susan faced. I hope you enjoy the interview!
Caleb left the corporate world by acquiring a company during bankruptcy, which is not our typical story. He speaks about being observant to opportunities and using mentors to help guide your path. Caleb is clear on his vision for his life, which allows him to make better, more informed decisions when it comes to which business idea to explore. Caleb encourages anyone interested in business to educate yourself and be willing to learn and listen from experts who have first-hand industry knowledge. Caleb shares all about partnership, investors, and all the ways he has grown his businesses.
Shannon was the first person I interviewed to be a guest on Corporate School Dropout. Though I wasn’t ready to start recording for a few more months, she was great and shared her story with me. Shannon spent three years straddling the corporate ladder and her side hustle business. After overhearing a conversation about 7Up salad, she knew that she wanted something different for her life than a windowless, beige office. She started by growing a freelance business building websites, then transitioned into affiliate sales, and finally added a podcast called Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. Shannon is passionate about sharing her knowledge and journey with new solopreneurs so that they can build a business and leave the 9 to 5.
Kelly began her full-time entrepreneurial journey after a round of corporate layoffs, she took full advantage of the newfound freedom and hit the ground running. She took inspiration from podcasts and other entrepreneurs and wasn’t worried about the fate of her success. Kelly used her natural talents and launch Loud Blonde, a marketing company for female entrepreneurs to find their authentic voice and build a bold presence online. Her first book, LOUD will be out in September 2019 and definitely on the must-read list. Kelly’s interview is fun and lively. We dive into our first jobs out of college, losing friends, binging Netflix, and how we continue to grow and change as our businesses grow. I know you’ll love this episode!
Katie doesn’t regret a single moment of her corporate career, but there came a moment in her family’s life that they needed her more than ever. After packing up the three cats and the family for RV life, Katie was diagnosed with cancer. She’s now on the road to good health but found that healing her body and mind started back in the kitchen. Katie is a fantastic cook, and her friends and family were always asking for support and ideas for busy families. So, she started a blog and sharing cooking tips online, but the “aha moment” came when she realized that she had the tools to be of service to help other people, it was crystal clear that she was on the right path. Katie’s journey is beautiful and messy with twist and turns of real-life, and I’m blessed to have the honor to share it with all of you.
Barbara and Mark’s story is unique, they both worked in the corporate world for years, and with the support of each other, they dropped out to create a business that serves both of their talents. Barbara is the creative designer, and Mark focuses on the technical web development aspect of the company. They describe what it’s like to work with each other and how they’ve developed a schedule and routine that keeps them both balanced and in the flow at the right times. Traveling the world is part of their makeup, so building in vacations to explore and recharge is high on their priority list.
Have you ever wanted to work with your partner? Take a listen to hear how Barbara and Mark are making it work.
Samantha got her start in the insurance business right out of school and loved it; she said she was addicted to managing the risk and found that it spilled over into other areas of her life. After starting and growing multiple insurance offices for other people, she was ready to step it up and become a Loan Officer, but that’s just where the story gets started. Samantha had a mentor that would encourage her to pursue other ventures and what finally lead to her starting her own business. Samantha is passionate about teaching other people how to use social media to grow their brand and their online presence. Seriously, learning about social media and how to use it appropriately can be the hardest part of a brand strategy, but Samantha wants to make it easier for all her clients. The right people and opportunities appeared in the crucial moments of Samantha’s life, so now she gets to pay it forward and grow more businesses in the process.
Erica was climbing the ladder and building large global departments and teams, when she decided to take the next steps to own her own company. She’s always known she wanted to run a company, and she realized that in order to do that, she had to take action. In November 2018, she went full time with her business organization consulting company, Quigley Management Consulting. Erica talks about overcoming the networking and sales conversations and how she tracks all of her connections in an online CRM tool. By pushing herself out of the comfort zone and meeting three new people every week, Erica now has a full networking calendar and is an advocate for the power of a network. If you’ve ever wondered how someone builds a consulting company, this is the episode for you.
Cali was moving and shaking for years in pharmaceutical sales, but after the death of her mother to cancer, she decided she needed to reevaluate and find her place in life. She started going to the gym as a way to grieve and heal herself from years of working for someone else’s bottom line. Cali says she finally felt most like herself in the gym and met some amazing people who would encourage and guide her on her path. Early on, her mother introduced her to yoga as a way to heal her body and mind from injury, so she knew yoga was going to be a part of her training as well. Not only is Cali a personal trainer and yoga instructor, she recently obtained her Level 1 USA Weightlifting certification. Cali has dedicated her life to sharing her knowledge of healing through exercise and healthy living.
Rock spent seven years growing his skill set in the Corporate race from environmental companies to biotech. As a certified PMP, he took his love of operational excellence, structure, and processes and created a company called Easie. Easie is a friction-less work product or integrated lifestyle management company. You can ask Easie (text or email 24/7/365) to do anything from paint your house, build a website, create a marketing plan, or anything else you need help on in your personal and business life. I appreciate Rock’s story because he saw that the gig economy was growing and found a gap that he knew he could fill.
Jared started his career in Los Angeles with an education-based startup, but from the story he tells, he got his real-life education from his world travels. I feel like there is so much more to Jared’s story, but he gives you a glimpse of all his journeys in this interview. From a head-on collision in Malibu that broke both his legs, to the living and working in a Shamanic Healing Retreat in Ecuador. He’s soulful and inviting and his willingness to share is infectious; I feel blessed to hear his story and to share it with you all.
Meg tells her story of multiple dropouts of the Corporate world, which enabled her to gain the skills and prep time to set her course with her family. With four daughters, Meg knew that she wanted to incorporate fun, family and play into her business ventures, and created a marketing business called EIEIO, and you’ll have to listen to the episode to find out what the acronym stands for in her company. Meg’s interview is fun and insightful and genuinely inspiring how she involves the whole family throughout the entire process.
Alana spent ten years in the corporate banking industry before she took a leave of absence and never returned. She gave herself time and space to figure out what was next for her and freelanced until she was ready to start her professional organizing business. Alana’s love and passion for her work come out in the podcast interview that leaves you feeling like you got a big hug from a family member. When I first met Alana, she told me she wanted “to do something that brought value and purpose.” She’s found a way to give back to her clients that is not only fulfilling for them but serves her mission as well. I hope you enjoy Alana’s dropout story.
Tyson began a career in sales and Amazon before a heartbreak would change his trajectory for the last decade. He bought a one-way ticket to Thailand, and his social enterprise journey began. The key ingredient that made it all happen was “not asking for permission.” He had a dream one night of importing coffee from South East Asia back to Seattle and selling it at a coffee stand, where a video would show the journey of the coffee from farm to stand. The dream turned into a new version that he would cultivate and grow for the next ten years. Follow Tyson’s journey through his interview; it’s an extraordinary story that impacts so many people across the world.
Nicole was climbing the corporate ladder with a boutique law firm, four years into to her legal career she had a daughter, while not knowing at the time she suffered from postpartum anxiety and extreme separation anxiety. She knew that she could not keep up with the 12-14 hour days and had to find a better way to live the life she and her family desired. Without leaving the profession she loved, she turned her skills into an on demand roll and found that it this structure was a great fit. After three years in business, she’s created multiple income streams and loves supporting other entrepreneurial moms who are building their online businesses. Nicole’s interview has tons of helpful advice to the person who knows that need legal support but doesn’t know where to turn. I hope you enjoy Nicole’s dropout story.
Ashley dropped out of the corporate world and described that it was never a career because she was never invested. She quickly found social media and online marketing to ignite her passion; she remembers the days of learning code, designing and building websites at the early age of 11. Ashley is a wealth of knowledge, and after three years of business, she’s got lots to offer in advice and lessons learned along the way. I hope you enjoy her story and it inspires you along your journey.
Liz worked her way up the ladder in corporate hospitality, but always had a passion for nutrition and healthy eating. She's a recent Dropout but hit the ground running to turn her love for people and food into Santosha Nutrition, a plant-based nutrition service offering personalized programs, cooking classes, and events. I love this interview, it’s chopped full of inspiring messages, and I hope you enjoy Liz’s story as much as I do.
The first time I connected with Jessica, I found out she not only started her first bookkeeping business in 2017, but she also branched out to work with cannabis companies. I asked a million questions and knew she had an exciting story to tell. We talk about all aspects of starting a business from the mindset work one must do, to knowing when it’s time to ask for help. Jessica has found ways to prioritize herself, her family, and her business. I hope you enjoy her dropout story.
The funny story about meeting Melisa, is that we run in the same networking circles in San Diego, we have mutual friends, commented on each other’s post on social media, but we just met in person very recently. I kept hearing that I should meet this amazing person, and it is true, Melisa is a wealth of knowledge and action oriented. One hour with Melisa, you’ll have goals and action items to get your business off the the ground and running.
Erica left her big New York City job that you’d see on your favorite RomCom, for moving back in with her mom to prep for the next leap in her career. I was impressed that she was able to drop out and started to follow her passion for travel at such an early age. She is in Ecuador during the recording of this interview, so if her internet fades out there’s a good reason why.
Lauren dropped out of the corporate world on January 19, 2017. She didn’t dropout to start a business, she sold her house, quit her job all to move to San Diego, California for a new start at beach living. Her life was great in Denver, Colorado, but she was eager for something new. It was never her intention of create her small business Right Hand Business Coach, but after deciding she couldn’t possibly go to another job interview, she knew she had a marketable skill. By turning her love of Project Management, she now coaches women leaving the corporate industry to plan and launch their small business dream.
Corporate School Dropout · (noun)
someone who wants off the hamster wheel, who favors ‘island-time’ over island screensavers, who believes there’s more to life than hating what you do 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday
Host of Corporate School Dropout Podcast
Hi, I’m your host!
And I’m a Dropout!
As a corporate full-time job survivor, I know what it’s like to choose the life you want, and so many other’s do too!
My Story in Cliff Notes:
It wasn’t until September 2018, that the idea for Corporate School Dropout came to life. After two years of building my own small business, I found that I was surrounded by people who had left the corporate world to start their own businesses. Then I remembered what I felt like four years ago, sitting at my desk, scrolling through LinkedIn, reading articles about how to survive my job, all the while knowing there had to be a better way.
I didn’t initially start out as a Dropout, but when I moved to a new city, I discovered that it was almost mentally impossible for me to go to another job interview. It took five separate attempts to purchase the blazer you see in this photo, it’s hard to spend money on something that symbolizes something you no longer identify. (Full disclosure: I paired the jacket with leather pants because that’s how I roll these days.) I turned down all those job offers and began my small business journey, and met so many cool people in the process, who had a story tell.