Katrina Parris
Photo: Sage Sohier
You want to start a jewelry line? Open a stationery store? Become a florist? These women left behind corporate offices and dead-end jobs to follow their dreams—and they're giving you the benefit of their wisdom.
Be Open to Anything
"A friend asked if I wanted to do a food trade show with her. I brought a few products with me, not expecting to sell or anything—and suddenly we got all these orders! I had no idea how we were going to package or prepare so much so quickly, but I never say no unless I completely understand why it can't be done. I think how you approach obstacles is a big part of being successful—you can't give up."
—Alisa Barry, Chef and Owner, Bella Cucina Artful Food

Make an Announcement
"I sent out an email to everybody I knew, announcing what we were doing. For me, the act of saying 'I'm starting a literary magazine' was as brave as actually doing it. When I said it with confidence, people believed me—and I believed me."
—Maribeth Batcha, Publisher, One Story, a literary magazine

Build Your Own Board
"I had to learn so much. I took classes at the local center for nonprofit management and read everything I could get my hands on. I realized the smartest thing I could do would be to surround myself with an advisory board of people who knew more than I did."
—Meredith Blake, Founder Break the Cycle, a domestic violence prevention program

Take Ownership
"There's no store without the concept, so from the very beginning, we trademarked every single thing involved in the look of the store."
—Ninel Pompushko, Founder, T-Shirt Deli, a custom t-shirt store in Chicago.
Read her story

Hone Your Business Skills
"There's a perception out there that you can't be an artist and a businessperson at the same time. Artists are told 'Don't bother with math.' But you have to balance passion and analytical skills. Knowing the business side of my job gives me the ability to take risks in every aspect—from dealing with banks to new designs—and I love that."
—Annie Morhauser, Owner and Creative Director, Annieglass, which produces luxury, handmade glass table art

Next: Why you shouldn't quit your day job just yet

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