One of the cool things about moving to Portland is that there’s a huge entrepreneurial community here. Within days of unloading the moving truck in 2013, I found myself at a holiday party with local followers of Chris Guillebeau, the author of the $100 Startup and The Art of Non-Conformity, and the force behind the World Domination Summit, a yearly conference in Portland for movers and shakers.
I met some dynamic entrepreneurs at that party, and they quickly became half of my new circle of friends, with the other half coming from plugging into the vibrant quilting community here!
Last year, Chris put a call out to talk with people who had made the transition from one life to another, and I responded. We had a great Skype chat, and he asked me all sorts of questions about my former corporate IT career, my going back to school for Art, and my current incarnation as a pattern designer in the quilting industry.
That chat turned into a case study in his latest book, Born for This. It’s a useful read, especially if you are looking to change careers. In the world of entrepreneurship, it’s easy to find books that tell you to just pick a passion and leap, but this one is different. It leads you through looking pragmatically at your existing skills and passions, and shows you how to leverage those going forward. It doesn’t lose sight of the fact that you need to earn money while you develop your next thing, and talks about the value of the side hustle while you are transitioning. I love that the advice is practical and grounded, and not filled with airy unicorn dreams and glitter!
Chris is very intuitive and perceptive in his ability to tease out the the important threads of a story. During that chat, he was the first to point out to me that I use my favorite skills from my corporate days in my current entrepreneurial endeavors. It was a Steve Jobs-style “connect the dots looking backwards” moment that was very profound for me.
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16 years ago I walked away from a gig as a stock broker’s assistant. I held series 7 and 63 securities licenses and worked for the highest grossing broker in the office. But, I hated him and the job. I’d been researching longarm machine quilting and decided now was the time. Bought my machine in August, took in my first paying quilt in October of 2001 and have never regretted a single moment of the journey.
I would love to do something with quilting, either open an Etsy shop to sell quilts or learn to longarm. I used to work in the Finance area before my kids were born. Now that they are in college, I have no desire to go back to the financial world and instead would like to do something creative. I don’t know if I have the skills though, so I may need to read this book!
I would love to win that………….my dream is to sell my art quilts and upcycled garments made from old clothes into one of a kind fashion.
I bought a longarm machine 8 months ago and I am slowly learning all I can get my eyes and ears on. One day I hope to quilt for people and do more quilts of valor. Thanks for the chance to win your book. Congratulations on your book!
Very proud of you Sam. I’m Still trying to get there myself. Wishing you all thr happiness.
I want to design and publish a coffee table book.
I walked away from my career in engineering 12 years ago so I could spend more time pursuing my love of quilting, and opened my Etsy shop, Cotton Cellar. While I’m still struggling to make sales, I can honestly say I love what I’m doing. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book. Sounds like it’s worth reading! Congrats!
Thirteen years ago during a rare underemployed period, I started a business that has grown nicely into a full distributorship with retail and wholesale customers and crazy hours. I’ve been working in Accounting and Finance for 30+ years, too. Next month, I’ll stop the outside jobs to focus solely on my business. Nervous? Yes, but I am not the person I was and have an inkling of what I can be. This sounds like an insightful book that can help someone like me.
Still waiting to figure out what I was born for. Maybe bike racing! ❤️❤️❤️You inspire me Sam! Congrats!
I am into making bags and wallets and seriously considering setting up a small side business. But my background is in teaching which is not what my main career ended up being. So I can also envision doing something that combines my education background with sewing for a fun career later in life.
I’m really contemplating leaving my corporate job and start longarm quilting. I have all the tools in place just a little scared that it won’t pan out. I may need to read this book!
Sam, congratulations in being featured in this book. My dream over the years was to own a B&B. It was achievable for a while money-wise, but life happened. Still a dream.
How thrilling to have the “Sam Hunter Case Study” included in this book! I’ll have to get this book no matter what – thanks for alerting us to its existence.
Having been pushed out of the corporate nest a few years ago during a downsizing phase I sulked for awhile, looked for a comparable job for awhile and finally took the leap and started my own business – a dream I’d had for many years – an online quilt shop. I’ve never been happier but find myself wanting to expand on my dream and take the shop “outside” on the road, vending at shows and the like, ultimately ending up with a brick and mortar shop. Big dreams I never thought I’d have but here we are! It’s time to spread my wings again and fly …
Designing clothes for the cosplay community. I do it now for my daughter and myself (yes I cosplay at 58 years old) It is fun! Mary Ann
I’ve been living that dream for the last 11 years when I turned the key and opened my quilt shop…from banking to retail…from crunching numbers to counting inches!
I’m thinking pattern design is really what I would like to focus on – I know I don’t want to own a quilt shop because I work in one!
Sounds like a fascinating book!