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How to Finally Go From Employee to Entrepreneur in 2024

Want to go from employee to entrepreneur? 

Maybe you want to have more impact and fulfillment in your life. Or you want to decide how you spend your time, how much money you make, and be your own boss. 

If so, you’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn what it takes to quit your 9-5 job and build a profitable business. 

Want to learn more? Read on!

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Employee vs. entrepreneur: What is better?  

Do you feel stuck and unfulfilled and wish that you were doing something more meaningful? 

Maybe a business that would give you more freedom, flexibility, and time to live life as YOU want. 

You’re not alone. 36% of the US workforce freelance in some capacity, and this number is set to grow. Research also shows that self-employed people are happier than those who work for others.

But you keep thinking:

“What if I fail? Shouldn’t I focus on my job? Am I just wasting my time?”

Here’s the difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur — and why starting a business probably isn’t as risky as you might think.

Is it better to be an employee or an entrepreneur? 

Before I built my business, I had “made it” with a six-figure salary and a leadership position as the head of a team managing millions of dollars.

But even if I seemed to have it all on the outside, I wasn’t happy. I was tired of feeling unfulfilled at a job I didn’t love. 

I wanted more out of my life and it wasn’t going to be a 9-to-5 I wasn’t passionate about. 

One day, sitting at my desk working on yet another PowerPoint, it hit me…

Is this it?

Having to wake up to that bzzz bzzz bzzz alarm every day and drag myself to a job that left me feeling unchallenged and bored.

I saw myself sitting in that same cubicle 5, 10, 15 years from now…

And that’s when I made a decision that had been brewing inside me for some time. I would start my own business. 

But I still had my fears. Wasn’t entrepreneurship a huge risk? Wouldn’t I be throwing away all that hard work I had put into building my career? 

Why I was afraid of starting my own business

For over two years, I daydreamed about breaking free from the 9-5… but not doing anything to make it happen. 

After all, I didn’t have a lot of time. I had a busy 9-5 and after a long day at work, I just wanted to come home and take a well-deserved rest instead of having to work even more.

I was scared of failing. I didn’t know any entrepreneurs personally and I wasn’t sure if it was really possible. What if I wasted all this time and money and ended up with nothing?

And I didn’t know where to start. There’s so much advice out there on everything you’re “supposed” to do to build a business, and frankly, it’s overwhelming…to say the least.

Feel familiar? 

Fortunately, these are just fears. You can build a business despite them. 

When I finally overcame mine, I went from zero to six-figures in sales in my first 4 months. And today, I’ve built a 7-figure business (and helped over 1,000 people start their own businesses).

The thing is:

Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a huge gamble. Here’s how to start a relatively risk-free and profitable business. 

How to minimize your risk as an entrepreneur 

As an employee, you have a secure and steady paycheck, benefits, and a clear career path ahead of you.

Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, feels like a big risk. What if you don’t find any clients? What if no one wants to buy from you? You don’t even have a business idea, so where would you even start?

Take it from me — I’m incredibly risk-averse. 

When I started my business, I felt turned off by all the people talking about how they quit their jobs, burned bridges, and started a business.

I had worked so hard to get to where I was in my career. And I wasn’t going to throw it all away on a business that might turn into something, someday. 

That’s why I started my business on the side, to avoid as much risk as possible. 

But that’s not all. I also chose to start a business that maximized my chances of quitting my job sooner rather than later. 

Why the right business model is the key to success 

Because I chose the right business model, I didn’t have to wait for years to get it off the ground. 

Instead of creating a physical product, blogging, or founding a tech startup (businesses that take years to build), I focused on selling skills I already had.

At the time, my job was to analyze ad campaigns for brands like BMW and Volkswagen. So I turned my skills into a digital advertising consulting business. 

As personal services like coaching and consulting are high-value, I knew I could sell a certain amount of packages and replace my salary. (I was aiming to double my salary, which I always recommend that my students do before they quit their jobs. As a business owner, you have taxes and expenses to account for.)

To replace my income, I’d only need to sell 20 packages at $5,000. 

Ultimately, I ended up making over $100,000 in 4 months (you can read the story here) and that’s when I quit my job. 

By the time I handed in my notice, I had a roster full of clients and as much, if not more, security as I had in my 9-to-5. 

If you want to learn what steps I took, take a look at this quick video: 

So, as you can see, building a business can be relatively risk-free. (And no, you don’t need to make six figures in a few months to get there.)

Plus, it comes with a lot of perks. Let me explain…

What are the benefits of entrepreneurship?

This is what my schedule looks like these days: 


Couple of things I hope you note from this screenshot:

  • There’s a LOT of white space (aka time for me to use however I want)
  • On the rare days that I have meetings, they don’t start until 1pm or later. Because I like to do my own things in the mornings. (Takeaway for you: When you have a profitable business, YOU get to control your schedule)
  • My business continues to run itself — through systems and people — without my being actively involved (That’s not magic. It’s actually the definition of a true business)

I’m showing this to illustrate what a profitable business can look like. It can mean…

…More impact. (You help people achieve life-long goals.)

…More fulfillment. (Running your own show is a lot more fulfilling than sitting through yet another pointless meeting.) 

…More flexibility. (You decide when and how you work.)

That’s not to say I snapped my fingers and had a successful business. It took me years to get here and it required lots of work. But it IS possible.  

So, how do you build a business, while still in your 9-5? 

That’s what we’ll look at next.  

How to shift into entrepreneurship

First, you need a business model so that you can decide on a business idea.

I briefly mentioned that I chose coaching and consulting as my business model because of the many perks it has for people who are in a full-time job. 

For this business model, you don’t need a time-consuming and expensive fancy funnel, a website, or even an email list to start building your business. 

That’s because people are willing to pay a premium price for one-on-one time with you. 

If you instead sell physical products or software, you have to build up your business in a completely different way (it will take you years). 

You see, a physical product might sell for $50-$100 and your coaching starts at $1,500.

With a few coaching packages sold, you can already replace a big part of your salary. And the more you coach, the more you can charge for your offers. 

The best part? You build your business based on a skill you already have, which means that you can get started today. 

Take a look at this video to learn more about choosing the right business model: 

To show you what I mean, let’s take a look at some of my own students and the businesses they’ve built. 

How these employees became successful entrepreneurs

Here are some of my favorite entrepreneur stories, so that you can see just how possible it is to build a profitable business. Ruby, Spencer, Sanae, and David all went through my program to build their businesses with skills they already had. 

Ruby built a successful relationship coaching business 

Ruby is a relationship coach, who started her business while she was in a 9-5, working for companies like eHarmony. 

But she wanted more out of life and so she decided to start a business. 

Early on, Ruby had a lot of fears about how to make enough money and find people to work with. She made the decision to push through and just a few months later, she had her first client. 

Ruby then went on to make enough for her to quit her job. Today, she runs a 6-figure business and hasn’t looked back. 

Spencer quit her job of 18 years and is making 3x what she used to

Spencer is a mindset coach with years of experience in the industry. She ended up quitting her job of 18 years and today, she makes 3x what she used to make, while working one-quarter of the time she used to and doing work she loves. 

Sanae went from 0 to $30,000 in 3 months 

Sanae, a sales coach, spent 20 years as a sales manager in the corporate world. When she encountered some challenges that affected her work life, she felt like she wasn’t given the same support and loyalty she had offered for years as an employee. Sanae fell out of love with corporate and started looking to build a different kind of life. 

That jump ended up paying off. In the first two months after we started working together, she made $5,000/month. In her third month, she made over $15,000 in just two weeks and today, she runs a successful sales coaching business. 

David got his 2 first paying clients in 2 months

David is a health coach who helps people to use herbs to improve their health. 

When David came to me, he was trying to figure it out on his own by piecing together information about building a business.

In the first two months, he got his two first ever coaching clients and since then, he’s built up his full-time weight loss coaching business. 

How to transition from employee to entrepreneur

What’s the reason these entrepreneurs were able to build their businesses? I outline it in this short video: 

It essentially comes down to two steps:

#1: Decide on a business idea

People tend to make this way more complicated than it is. No, you don’t have to come up with the next Facebook or Amazon.

Use skills you already have!

When I started my first online business, I actually went through a couple of ideas before I landed on a winning idea. And they were all skills I had already mastered.

First, I started an Excel consulting business, helping people improve their Excel skills. (This idea petered out because I realized that I didn’t enjoy working with Excel outside of my 9-5.)

Then, I started a career coaching business. At that point, I had achieved several career milestones and people were constantly asking me for advice. So, I thought: why not build my business around it? (Turns out I wasn’t too passionate about this idea, either. But it led to my third, and winning, idea.)

When I had gone through these two other business ideas, I wondered if I even had any more skills to sell. That’s when I happened to notice just how many entrepreneurs were asking for help with Facebook ads. 

This was exactly what I worked with in my day job. So I started a digital advertising consulting business, replaced my salary, and didn’t look back.

To use this for yourself, look at what skills you have mastered in your job or outside of it. Maybe you don’t find the perfect idea right away, but by taking steps and testing, you WILL get there. 

#2: Start on the side 

I can’t emphasize this enough:

Don’t quit your job before you’ve replaced your salary.

Pretty much anyone I’ve worked with who quit their jobs too soon struggled more than those who started their businesses on the side.

Why? Because having a job gives you the security you need to start and grow your business. You don’t need to stress about paying your bills and the decisions you make in your business are SO much better than if you feel pressured.

It does take work but it doesn’t have to take up all your time.

In fact, a few hours a week is more than enough to get you started.

I used to schedule my business-building activities during my lunch breaks, in the evenings, and during weekends.

Business calendar first year

That said, while you now know how to tactically start your business, you also need to master an entrepreneurial mindset. That’s what we’ll look at next. 

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

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When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

How to let go of your fears and finally launch your business

Something I hear a lot of students say is, “but HOW did you do it? What’s the “secret” to your success?” 

A lot of new entrepreneurs think that they have to find a silver bullet strategy and that’s what’s going to make their businesses successful. 

But your mindset and beliefs are just as, if not more, important as the strategies you use. 

Here’s what I mean.

Mindset shifts for new entrepreneurs

Early on in my business, I used to look around at successful entrepreneurs and think:

“What’s wrong with ME?”

“What do they have that I don’t?”

At first, I assumed they must know some strategies or tactics that I didn’t. And if I just figured out that missing piece, I’d have their success too.

So I learned all the strategies and tactics. I worked on my confidence. I went through every book and training that I could find to identify that one piece I was missing. 

Ultimately, I realized what was really going on:

The real problem was, I was doing all the “work” while doubting and questioning myself 24/7: “What if this isn’t really possible?”

Well. Turns out it’s very hard to have something if you don’t actually believe you can have it. Or if you believe it’s got to be harder for you than for anyone else. Because you’re less lucky, smart, worthy, charismatic, or confident.

And with that mindset, here’s what happens even as you do the “work” of building your business…

In the back of your mind, you’re telling yourself, “It’s ok if it doesn’t work out. I still have my job to fall back on.”

And the more you tell yourself that, the more you find yourself thinking that your business dream is just that…a nice dream. That you should get back to the realities of your job and life and responsibilities.

That’s why you need to shift your mindset. To build your business, you need to believe in it and yourself. 

Want to learn how? Watch this short video: 

How to overcome your fear of starting a business

To even get started building your business, you need to overcome one of the most common fears out there, the fear of starting a business. 

Take it from a massive introvert who spent years letting that fear hold her stuck… but then went on to start her first online business and make over six figures and replace her salary. (I’m talking about myself, by the way.)

You might be thinking, “What if I fail? Wouldn’t it just be better to focus on getting ahead at my job?”

Early on in my business, I had to call out my fear. I realized, “I could fail. But what’s more important to me — to try and fail or to not try at all and not fail?” 

For years, it was more important for me to not try and not fail. But ultimately, I knew that I would regret it more if I didn’t try at all. 

Plus, if you think about it, failure is not a stopping point or end destination. It’s part of the journey.

The thing is: any successful entrepreneur has failed. Just take Elon Musk. He was kicked out of his second startup, PayPal. And he almost went bankrupt while building Tesla. 

You pretty much can’t avoid failure. 

Here, I talk more about overcoming your fears: 

How to build your business faster

By now, we’ve covered a lot.

At this point, many new entrepreneurs ask themselves, “where should I even start?”

I know I did when I was starting my business. At the time, there were no programs for people with a 9-5 who wanted to build a business.

So, I had to learn it all from the ground up. I actually ended up paying $100,000+ for programs and coaching to learn how to do it all. 

You don’t have to go through the same. 

Even if you’re trapped behind a desk for 50+ hours a week, you can build a successful business. 

The fastest way? Use a tried and true system that actually gets results. 

That’s why I created my program, Employee to Entrepreneur.

It doesn’t just include one piece of the puzzle, but ALL of them. And it’s designed for people who are still in their day jobs and don’t have a ton of time on their hands (you only need a few hours a week). 

This is the program that people like Sanae, Ruby, and countless other ETE’ers have used to go from stuck and unfulfilled to more income, freedom, and control than they ever dreamed possible.

My students’ results speak for themselves: 

If you want to know more, grab your free PDF to get started building your business and find out when I open the program again: 

Want to Build a 6-Figure Coaching Business So You Can Achieve More Freedom?

Get Instant Access To My FREE Ultimate Guide Below!

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

Over to you!

There you have it! Now you know how to go from employee to entrepreneur. 

Next, I’d love to hear from you: 

Why do you want to start a business?

Let me know in the comments below!

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

Want to know how to build a profitable, meaningful business to replace your 9-5?

The proven blueprint for building your own online business - that frees you from the 9-to-5

When you sign up, you’ll also receive regular updates on building a successful online business.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Luisa,
    I signed up for your waitlist for the Employee to Entrepreneur program, but can you tell me when it will be opening again?

    Thank you!

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