Farnoosh Brock is a career and business coach. She started Prolific Living in 2010 when it became clear that her corporate career could not fulfill her purpose, her mission, and her dreams. Together with her husband, they left their corporate careers behind and became full-time entrepreneurs. This decision was the beginning of their new journey.
Read on to see how it all got started.
What did you do prior to becoming an entrepreneur?
I worked for a Fortune 100 technology company as a project manager in my last role. I held several different positions over the years starting from an engineer to a technical writer to a process improvement specialist to project management of various size projects.
I was quite sure that I would be an employee for life, and I was quite good at what I was doing but after five years at my job, I started to get unhappy and unfulfilled, and even though I learned how to double my salary and earn big promotions and work on exciting stuff, I was not sure of the career path I was taking. I started questioning the purpose of my entire professional path and my life, and that’s when I stopped being interested in life as an employee.
What drove you to pursue a writing business?
I love the way you put it. I think of my business in many different ways since it doesn’t fit into a box. It’s a coaching business, an online business, a published author business, a teaching courses business, a juicing and smoothie niche business, but I never thought of it as just a writing business.
But I am a big believer that writing is the essence of all wealth and writing is at the heart of my business, and I stumbled into it by complete accident. What drove me to do this was the hunger for creating something of my own, and I am in love with writing so it fit who I was and what I wanted to do. At first, I started a personal blog. I loved the process so much that I decided to pursue it. I wanted to do something I love for a change. Hence the birth of my official business.
How did you make the transition from corporate America to an entrepreneur?
I think this one mindset shift was the single factor in my successful transition: I stopped looking at my hobby as a hobby. I started treating it like a business and that was the day my exit plan started to form. I started educating myself day and night about creating a successful blog and producing great products and programs and becoming a business coach and creating success for my clients and everything that goes into building your first business. (It’s a long list!).
So constant mostly-free self-education and learning from those who have done it at first, followed by investing in myself later through coaches and programs and taking constant massive action were the keys to making the transition happen.
Related Content: How to Turn a Hobby into a Full-Time Job
When you were working in the corporate world, how did you find time to learn the business and attract new clients?
I created the time by taking time away from the things that no longer mattered to me. I was brutal about cutting my social life. It was very clear to me that I wanted a profitable online business more than I ever wanted to attend a baby shower, a random lunch, a coffee to chit chat with a friend or other minutia of life that we do not have to do but we find ourselves doing just to pass the time.
If you are not vigilant about your time, you will never have enough of it. And knowing your priorities is the first step to creating the time in which to make them happen. Also, I used to wake up very early and lose out on sleep, on my hobbies – I gave up my Argentine tango pursuits completely – and I also put very strict boundaries on what I did and did not do for my day job.
Since I was no longer pursuing a career, I did not go above and beyond one single bit. I did the work that I had to do and no more. I drew the lines very clearly and poured my heart and soul into the only thing that mattered to me: My business.
Do you think it is a good idea to let your employer know that you’re starting a business on the side?
No, no, and absolutely no. I do not believe you need to exercise that level of transparency with even the best employer under the sun. I work with professionals who are creating their exit plans in my course, Smart Exit Blueprint course, and one of the main modules that we cover is the logistics of managing a side-hustle and the rule is to never let your employer know.
It’s none of their business AS LONG AS there is no conflict of interest. If you are a banker and you set up a side-hustle as a “Finance coach”, there IS conflict of interest, and not only do I not recommend you do that, but you also absolutely need to disclose it. But if you are starting a puppy training business, I advise you to not tell your employer. Just don’t provide information that does not improve you as an employee in their eyes AND can seriously hurt you depending on the circumstances.
Related Content: 6 Tips for Turning Your Side Hustle into a Small Business
How are you growing your business today?
I grow my business by creating fresh new content for my websites and my newsletter subscribers, as well as through educating and investing in myself with coaches and mentors and programs. I also build relationships on a daily level, and I work hard to meet people whenever I travel. I have met some of my great online friends and clients during my travels all over the world. I also participate in mastermind groups, and accountability through my mastermind peeps. I also brainstorm regularly with my husband, who is also my business partner, regularly about ways we can grow and expand our business.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to leave corporate America and make the leap into entrepreneurship?
I would say before you make that leap, ask and find out exactly why you want to do it. If you are not crystal clear on your why — you will have a hard time sustaining yourself in the journey. Understand the why first. Then figure out your tolerance for risk and the unknown. Some of us do better than others. If you are attached to a monthly fixed income and you cannot imagine surviving without it, then realize that building a business takes time and it can be very unpredictable at the beginning if you are creating a dream business based on your passions, and get to know yourself and how you deal with such situations.
I also advise you to engage in a program that gives you tons of support and how-to plus regular coaching program. Check out Smart Exit Blueprint with the rising entrepreneurs that have quit their (in some case 6-figure) jobs like me and are creating their own online empires.
On those “don’t feel like it days”, what motivates you to keep going?
A shift in focus on my health and well-being is what keeps me going. Let me explain. If I am not feeling like it, it means I am ignoring my health. I also hold to a very strict and intense Ashtanga yoga practice as well as extremely healthy eating, but I do have times when I let it slip.
My low motivation is usually directly related to my moods and to my food intake and I am willing to bet that I am not alone. So I go for raw foods, for green juices, for a quick yoga practice, for a walk, or for a quick meditation to regroup and re-center myself. I also talk to my husband who is extremely supportive. You need to have a supportive partner on this journey and your life partner would be a great person if you can make it happen.
Any final words of advice that you can give to someone who is trying to launch an online business?
Trust yourself that you can make it happen, as long as you are serious that this is what you want, and you know why you want it, and you know what you are willing to do to make it happen. After that, there is no “try”, there is only do or do not – right? Thank you, Yoda!
Also, one more thing, invest in yourself. Don’t be cheap about investing in yourself and your business. That only slows you and your business down and makes you want to give up. Be strategic and smart about how you do it but learn from those who have done it before and be willing to invest.
And remember, having a successful online business has nothing to do with your past, with your family history and genetics, with your personality, with your background or schooling. Anybody can learn this and make it happen and that’s the best part of entrepreneurship: It’s generous and inclusive of all who want to experience the journey!
Related Content: Professional Women Are Leaving Corporate America
Thanks to Farnoosh Brock for sharing her story!