Entrepreneurs prove you can live the dream
You don’t need a corner office or a super-lucrative gig to create an enchanting professional life. With courage, common sense and a bit of luck, these five movers made their fantasies come true.
Jimmy Carroll, 40, is the co-founder and chief business development officer of Pelorus in Austin, Texas. The company markets itself as the ultimate experiential travel agency, designing bespoke trips and yachting adventures to remote locations.
These days, Carroll splits his time between London and Texas, but you can also often find him organizing client trips, whether it’s a yacht expedition to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, exploring and skiing in remote Alaska, or venturing to Lofoten, Norway. , where a group hiked and cycled through the mountains to waterfalls and through fjords. “I’m very lucky to have a perfect balance between time spent in the office and time spent traveling the world,” he said.
Carroll and his co-founder, Geordie Mackay-Lewis, are former captains in the British Army, and their time spent leading reconnaissance units on long-range desert patrols and helicopter operations helped them. serves well as they plot personalized travel routes.
When the duo realized there wasn’t much competition in the yachting industry outside of the Caribbean and Mediterranean favorites, they got to work.
“With our military background in planning and execution, we could approach it differently, with a little more creativity,” Carroll said.
Carroll considers networking to be what “really makes a difference when trying to get into a niche industry.” On top of that, he added, “It’s also important to be proficient in many disciplines.”
New York Adventure Club
Corey William Schneider, 33, is CEO and founder of Midtown-based tour and event company New York Adventure Club, which emphasizes story and creative storytelling in exploring the city.
The company started as a Facebook group in 2013, with Schneider hoping to convince more of his friends to join him on personal adventures around town. “In 2014, I wrote an article for a local blog about an interesting place in New York that the New York Adventure Club was going to visit,” he said. “I just wanted a few people to join me so I didn’t waste all my money on this private tour I booked.”
To his surprise, 100 foreigners joined the group asking how to get a ticket, and he decided to try to turn the concept into a business.
Like countless companies in 2020, Schneider turned to hosting virtual dating, which led to the organization’s biggest increase in viewership and revenue since its inception. Currently, it runs a hybrid calendar of in-person events, mostly weekends (six to 10 on Saturday and Sunday) and virtual weekday events (with 15 to 20 Monday through Friday).
Schneider encourages other Adventure Club style getaway enthusiasts to continue creating the types of outings they are passionate about.
“Creating and running the New York Adventure Club community took a lot of time, patience and perseverance, and the only way to hold on is to be 100% invested in the product,” he said. he declares. “By creating consistent offerings of your events and researching related communities, you will eventually attract a loyal audience.”
The Ivy League of Comedy
The key to success, as 61-year-old Shaun Eli Breidbart illustrates, is finally figuring out how to match your passion with your work. Going by Shaun Eli on stage, this comic is “paid to make people laugh. What could be better?”
He also enjoys commuting to work, traveling and mingling with the funniest people around. “And since I’m self-employed, I don’t have to work with or for anyone I don’t like,” Eli said.
Eli attributes luck and an innate sense of humor to his ability to achieve his ambitions. “And hard work,” he added, “because no one starts out well in stand-up comedy — or anything else, for that matter.”
Eli founded and is executive director of the Ivy League of Comedy in Westchester, producing clean comedy shows for special events and theaters. “When I was a banker, I had a bunch of co-workers and clients coming up to me at comedy clubs,” he explained.
“They often said that even though my comedy was clean and appropriate for corporate entertainment, the rest of the comics in the shows were dirty. They wanted entirely clean shows. And there weren’t any. That made me therefore seemed obvious: a demand for a product and no supply. I could create the supply.
His best advice to aspiring pranksters is to start with an acting lesson. “And then get on stage as much as you can.”
Also, be nice to people. “You never know where your next break will come from. I went to an audition at a club and asked the bartender for water. He said, ‘No charge.’ I left a tip. Turns out he wasn’t the bartender. The bartender didn’t show up. He was the owner and the one watching the auditions.
Drawings by Swati Goorha
As an Indian immigrant, Swati Goorha, 42, noted that children from her culture were being pushed into STEM-centric careers. Charting her own path helped her land her professional holy grail when she started interior design firm Swati Goorha Designs, based in New Providence, NJ.
“I decided to get a master’s degree in interior design to change careers,” she said. “I was a young mum with a toddler – grad school was grueling, but it was the best decision. A long winding road with an array of jobs later, I took the leap and created my own design company, and, as they say, the rest is history.
There is no substitute for education in pursuing your career goals, stresses Goorha, who added, “Education doesn’t just mean going to college and university. Listen to podcasts related to your field. Meet other industry professionals and ask them what they are doing differently. Attend conferences and lectures.
Goorha has found it beneficial to enroll in coaching classes with multiple professionals to understand how to run her business, be profitable, price her services, and be growth-oriented.
Carving out a niche is also essential. “What sets you apart is what is authentic to you. In my case, I started as an interior designer in a very saturated market with many established and new design companies,” she said. said “My greatest weakness was an uncommon name, which became my strength – I designed colourful, timeless spaces inspired by the world and layered with color, texture and pattern.”
Maria Boustead, 45, is a longtime industrial designer and urban cyclist who has turned her obsession with pedaling into a profession. The founder and CEO of the Harlem company, Po Campo, now designs bicycle panniers, combining the two passions. “I spend my days bringing cooler bags to market that are designed specifically to make cycling a better, more transparent part of your life,” she said.
Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” was an inspiring read, she recalls. “He describes the ideal trio for a small business: the entrepreneur (sets a vision); the manager (creates the systems to execute the vision); and the technician (the person dedicated to making the best product).
Boustead’s best advice? “Surround yourself with people who share your interest but also complement your skills. Shared passion will be the anchor of the business – what keeps things on track when times get tough. A mix of skills will help you divide and conquer,” she said.
Yet, owning a small business is not without challenges. “It doesn’t always feel like we’re living a dream. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and stressful,” she continued. “But at the end of the day, it’s very rewarding to have work that you’ve created that’s built around the things that really matter to you.”