There hasn’t been an event I’ve attended or a drink I’ve shared around town that hasn’t involved a conversation about entrepreneurship. It’s something that’s very uniquely Miami. This becomes even more obvious when I travel abroad and around the country. The discussions just aren’t the same.
The best part is that Miami is full of success stories. And being an inquisitive person by nature, I’ve come across a lot of them throughout the years. There’s the accountant who started his own fashion consulting business after realizing he cared more about Prada than pennies; the housewife who became a private pilot once her kids went off to college so she could fly around the world; the realtor who started an adventure travel company after he was inspired by a client who had lived out of a tent for a year; the English teacher who became an archaeologist to fulfill her childhood dream of being like Indiana Jones.
“Sometimes dreams come true, sometimes they don’t. But if you allow yourself to keep dreaming no matter what the outcome, you just might wake up to a happy ending.”
Some of the stories I’ve come across are more inspirational than others. Take Chef D, for example. He was once cooked gourmet meals for the stars — he was a culinary genius who decided to leave it all behind to hike the Appalachian Trail for a few months. ALONE. It turned out to be the best decision of his life. After the journey, which only a handful of people in the world have completed, he took a series of jobs at summer camps. He’d gotten the bug for the outdoors (pun definitely intended), and he wanted to share his insights with future generations. Next, he’s planning to start his own wilderness survival program for disabled youth in New England.
“Although the future is often unpredictable, you can always control how and when your story is told.”
Rhonda worked a minimum wage 9 to 5 that was so tedious she would sometimes fall asleep with her eyes open while she was on the clock. She’d spend most of her days sitting at her desk pretending to work while sneaking texts with friends, checking status updates and surfing her favorite websites. She knew she was going nowhere in this dead-end gig but, hey, at least she had a steady paycheck every 2 weeks. Then she woke up one day and like an Om slap to the face, it hit her: Yoga was her calling. That afternoon, she gave notice at her job and enrolled to get her certification. A few months later, she has one of the most popular yoga meet-ups in South Florida, quickly building her following so she can one day open her own studio. She’s even become an ambassador for several major yogi brands around the country. As an added plus, she’s in the best shape of her life.
More recently, I met this woman just the other day who was once a top attorney at a major firm who got fed up with the daily grind and decided to give it up all to start her own firm. At first, it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be, there was liability issues she had to deal with and the never-ending cycle of finding new clients on her own. But anything was better than being stuck in the office for 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week and still having to be on call after hours. Despite her newfound freedom, she still yearned for something. So she started writing in between contracts, client meetings and conference calls. It’s something she always had a knack for, though it wasn’t secure enough an endeavor for her to take the plunge full-time. To date, she’s been published in a couple of newspapers and magazines and has a pretty healthy following on social media. What’s next for her? No one can be sure. Maybe a book? A new career as an editor? Whatever it is, let’s hope it doesn’t extinguish her entrepreneurial spirit. Because isn’t that what we all want? To do something we love for a living…on our terms.