This Entrepreneur Turned Her Passion Project Into a $300 Million Business
Meet Annie Lawless, a female entrepreneur in the food and beverage industry who wrestled with her debilitating state of depression by quitting law school and focusing on her lifetime love of nutrition and juicing. After teaming up with a great partner, Lawless started making cold-pressed juices in her home kitchen and delivering them to a small, but growing set of customers from her yoga community. After a chance encounter with a business strategist, Lawless and her partner, Eric Ethans, took their idea from a small passion project to a mega-successful company, Suja Juice. Scroll through to read Lawless’s secrets on how to be ready for success.
Do what excites you, not what makes you tired.
It’s one thing to be drained because you’re working 24/7 on something that excites you. It’s quite another to feel the heavy weight of fatigue as you slog through a job, and, ultimately, a lifestyle, that you aren’t passionate about. Despite being in high academic standing at law school, Lawless found herself suffering from depression. She was tired to her bones, and not just because of the demanding hours of law school. She was achingly tired because she wasn’t happy. So Lawless quit school and turned to something she loved—nutrition.
Take your passion project one step at a time.
If Lawless quit law school with the intention of starting a $300 million juice business in five years, it’s highly unlikely that she would be the successful entrepreneur she is today. Lawless approached each day by asking herself, What is one small thing you can do today in the direction of your dreams? Setting small tasks that you can accomplish each day builds confidence, and given the amount of rejection that comes with being an entrepreneur, confidence is key.
Be open to serendipity.
Lawless started researching and making cold-pressed juices because she wanted them for herself. But what started as a passion project with a friend soon morphed into profit-generating business after a chance encounter with James Brennan, the husband of a juice customer and a businessman with an eye for opportunity. With Brennan’s help, Suja was born. Since then the juice company has been sold in part (30% to Coca-Cola for $90 million and 20% to Goldman Sachs for $60 million), putting the company’s valuation at $300 million. This impressive growth curve and valuation would not have been possible without Lawless being open to unpredictable opportunities.
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Do you have a passion project? Tell us about it in the comments!