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By Molly Klein • March 29, 2017

4 Entrepreneurial Examples to Inspire Your Move from Corporate America

You are ready to make the leap, turn away from a job in corporate America, and begin to realize your dream. It is perfectly natural for you to feel a combination of trepidation, excitement and anxiety. It is a heady time, but you may still wondering, "Can I really do this?"

The answer is an unequivocal, "Yes you can!"

How can you know for sure? You may be wondering how others made the leap. How did they make the decision and what are they doing now? Here are four entrepreneurial examples to inspire your move from corporate America.

1. Making the Internet Simple

Benetrends client Barry Kornspan put in 30 years working for top Fortune 100 companies and small companies in various information technology roles. He had worked as a programmer, manager, and IT leader. 

Yet Kornspan found himself several times caught in the corporate shuffle, a victim of mergers, outsourcing, and corporate reorganizations. He also knew he had a unique talent that combined technical and consultative skills.

"Bottom line," he said, "I was tired of someone telling me when I had a job."

In November 2014, Kornspan founded WSI No Limit, Inc., a franchise of the Toronto, Canada-based WSI (WSI stands for "We Simplify the Internet"). WSI is the largest network of digital marketing consultants worldwide, helping more than 30,000 clients with website design, search engine optimization, local and paid search, and social media strategy. 

Kornspan's franchise operates out of West Orange, New Jersey, where he can interact with clients virtually and over the phone with ease. Today, he is eager to help other entrepreneurs leverage digital marketing to fulfill their dreams. You can read more about his journey here.

2. Picture Perfect

Oana Hogrefe had spent nine years in a high-tech career mode. But when the software development company she worked for reorganized in 2008, she found herself with a daunting choice. She could keep her job and relocate, find a different job, or choose an entrepreneurial path. 

While the latter had been a possibility, it was one she had never actively pursued. "As a corporate employee, you are ultimately working toward someone else's dream," Hogrefe told StartupNation.

Hogrefe, who has a degree from the New York Institute of Photography, decided instead to open her own photography business in Atlanta, Georgia. Her work and charitable interests are aligned closely and focus on photographing families and children. Hogrefe's story is another shining example of the rewards of taking a leap into entrepreneurship. 

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3. Taking a Read

In 1998, John Wood was in his seventh year as a Microsoft executive. He took a three-week, 180-mile trek through Nepal. There he met a headmaster who was saddened by the number of students seeking books from his empty school library.

Thirteen months later, Wood returned, with eight donkeys toting book donations. He also started Room to Read, which provides literacy programs and girls' education programs in 10 countries throughout southeast Asia and Africa. To date, the organization's results have been profound: 10 million children helped by its literacy programs, more than 18,600 partner schools, more than 9,000 teachers and librarians trained, and 18 million books distributed. 

Why make the change? Wood told Inc.com: "I knew I'd be sucked back into the corporate machine and this would be a part-time hobby and I'd maybe create one library a year. Meanwhile, the education divide would get worse and worse."

4. From Teacher to Coach

Yvette Dewar was a teacher for 30 years and had begun selling Mary Kay cosmetics. She moved into sales and then sales management, turning around a company from a laggard to a national top performer. 

Despite her success, Dewar yearned to do more. She launched her own franchise of FocalPoint Coaching and Corporate Training. Now, she helps her clients make the right changes in their professional and personal lives that drive results. She provides one-on-one and group coaching on leadership, management, team building, sales growth and productivity.

"I started my own company because I wanted to control my own destiny and break through the glass ceiling that oftentimes stifles creativity," Dewar said. "My motto is, 'Restoring hope in today's business owner.'"

Follow Your Dream

At Benetrends, we help entrepreneurs pursue their dreams, by advising clients on how to finance their small business. We are experts on using 401(k) and IRA funds to quickly provide entrepreneurs with needed funds to purchase their business, tax-deferred and penalty-free. We offer counsel and services on other small business loans and services such as retirement plan administration, and business growth. 

Would you like a bonus example of how to tap into your entrepreneurial potential? Take a quick look at this Benetrends success story and learn how Larry Mays tapped into our years of experience to fuel his big career move.

If you are considering leaving corporate America and pursuing a different career path, subscribe to our blog and gain more insights on how Benetrends can help you make that dream a reality.