When people go into business for themselves, they frequently choose the solo version of what they were already doing. So someone who works for a law firm will open a private practice, and someone who works for a clothing label will become a designer.
Then there are those who turn their backs on all their years of hard work. “I’m not doing that anymore,” they say. “I’m becoming a magician.” And with that, the transition from working stiff to living off a hobby is born.
The transition is rarely easy, and many who leave the workforce to pursue a hobby for profit often end up with nothing but humiliation and maxed out credit cards to show for it. But a select few have left traditional jobs to do something they had previously only done for fun, and found success.
CNBC.com spoke with people who made this transition. Read ahead to find out who they are.
Laura J. Benson was dissatisfied and bored as an attorney.
“I couldn’t stand being a lawyer,” she said. “My gray cube felt like a prison.”
On a trip to France, she became infatuated with “market baskets,” the eco-friendly choice of French grocery shoppers. She decided to make her own and founded Jeanne Beatrice.
“I self-financed and have been in the black since the second year,” she said. “It grows a little every year. I currently sell to about 200 retail shops around the U.S., as well as online. … Gross for 2013 was up 30 percent over 2012, and I expect similar growth for 2014. … I love what I do and do not consider it work.”