Making a career change can be daunting. You might sit on a burning idea and let your creativity take a backseat for years before you summon the courage to make the leap and do your own thing. But if the stats are anything to go by, now is the time to be bold and go for it. According to a new report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, we are officially living in the age of the entrepreneur, with more and more people ditching their fear and turning their passions into lucrative careers. A record high of 27 million Americans (almost 14%) are starting or running new businesses, and a further 51% have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship and see it as an attractive career option. The fastest-growing group is women. A 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report shows women now own 30% of all businesses in the U.S., which accounts for 9.4 million firms.
So what does it take for you to finally make that jump and land on your feet? To find out, we asked one of the most successful women in the health and wellness arena, Annie Lawless. The co-founder of Suja Juice (valued at $300 million) recently left the profitable startup to pursue her own blog and YouTube channel called Blawnde. Her reason for the switch can be summed up in one word: passion. In fact, Lawless credits this as the motivating force behind everything she does and the reason why she has achieved so much. So if you’re thinking about a professional switch up from a full-time role into an all-consuming self-made career, read on for her top tips, morning routine, food philosophy, and the next big thing in health and wellness trends.
MYDOMAINE: You are one of the brains behind the insanely successful multimillion-dollar juice company Suja. How has that experience shaped who you are personally and professionally?
ANNIE LAWLESS: It has definitely taught me to take risks, follow your passions, and do what you love every single day. Before Suja was successful, I just knew I loved health, wellness, nutrition, and helping people feel their best. By focusing and honing in on that passion, I learned that if you love what you do, you will be successful because you will work hard at it and put the time, effort, and care into it that is necessary.
MD: You recently transitioned out of Suja and into your own YouTube channel and blog, Blawnde. Tell us why you made the switch and how?
AL: Companies change as they get bigger, and lots of personalities become involved. People changed, and dynamics became different. There were things that just didn’t feel good anymore. When that happened, I had to ask myself what was really important to me and in my life. And that answer came very quickly and easily: passion. Passion for what I’m doing and passion for my life and the way I live it every day.
I have never been someone who’s able to accept circumstances that are simply unacceptable to me, even if that’s the easier way to go. Additionally, I had changed, grown, and evolved. I had so many new ideas and a deep itch to create something new and contribute something fresh to the world that challenges and excites me.
MD: So many of our readers are entrepreneurs or budding ones. What's your advice when it comes to following your passion?
AL: This may sound counterintuitive, but don’t focus on making money or profitability in the beginning. Take money out of the equation, and figure out what it is that you really love doing if you didn’t have to worry about money. Then think about how you can elevate that and create value in the world from that passion.
Ask yourself how you can share your passion with the world in a way that makes other people’s lives better. Whether that’s through a product, a service, a program, etc., begin to develop that idea with the goal of improving the lives of others and creating value in the world as your guiding compass. When you do that, you will be successful because you will land on something unique that people want because it improves their quality of life in some way, big or small.
MD: Making a major career change can be challenging; how did you make the leap from a successful startup that was making millions to launching your own blog?
AL: I actually launched my blog while working on Suja a couple years ago, so the transition was a natural and logical evolution. Change is scary, and often we hold back and stay in situations that are less than ideal for us because we don’t want to deal with the discomfort of getting out of them and building something new. Going from a comfortable position to the unknown can be daunting, and dealing with the judgment of others about what we should or shouldn’t be doing is hard.
When I felt the pull to make this change in my life, I turned off all the noise and looked inward to myself and what it was that I really wanted. Other people will always have their opinions of you and what they think about your life and its direction. You can’t worry about what other people think, and by turning off that noise, you are able to hear your own voice and tap into what it is you really want.
MD: What advice do you have for our readers who are thinking of making a career change?
AL: My advice to anyone who may be unhappy, unfulfilled, or uninspired in their life is to make the change. Don’t wait, don’t doubt, and don’t fear the unknown. It can’t be any scarier that what you do know, which is that you aren’t living the life you want to be living. To me, that’s the worst of all.
MD: Now that you have moved out of the juice industry and onto your own platform, what do you think the next big wellness/health trends will be?
AL: Superherbs and adaptogens are a trend I see being big and that I’m really excited about. We’ve all been informed about superfoods and the nutrients they pack, but superherbs do more than deliver vitamins and nutrition; they help the body adapt to stress whether emotional, environmental, or immune related. Ashwagandha, maca, and moringa are just a few of these supercharged herbs that can help our bodies adjust and rebalance in response to stress. I think many of us will be taking herbs over prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs as our remedy of choice.
MD: You mentioned on your introductory YouTube video that you are a morning person. Can you walk us through your routine?
AL: I wake up super early, around 5 a.m., and like to meditate first thing before I do anything else. I take about 30 minutes to close my eyes and put myself in the present moment, allowing my thoughts to pass me by and get my body and mind centered to take on the day. Then I get ready for my workout. I either go to a yoga class, box with my trainer, hike Torrey Pines, or play tennis. After my workout, I eat breakfast with my boyfriend and start responding to emails. These things are so important for me to feel productive and energized to take on the day because I’ve taken time to care for myself and have my “me” time, even if the rest of the day gets crazy.
MD: What motivates you to keep going?
AL: Passion. Things will not always go as planned and some days will kick you in the butt and make you feel like nothing is working out. You can feel exhausted, beat down, and ready to quit. When this happens (and it will) it’s important to get back in touch with your passion and why you are doing what you do every day. We all have bad days, but seeing the bigger picture and knowing the bad stuff will pass will help you put things in perspective.
MD: Do you have any mantras or affirmations that you live by?
AL: Play in the game of life and don’t sit on the sidelines watching everything pass you by. You have to get out there and try. You can’t win if you don’t play, and you will learn a lot of valuable lessons about how to play better next time if you lose.
MD: What is your food philosophy?
AL: I have a whole video about this on my YouTube channel (take a look below.)
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